Was the "Minoan Genius" a God? An Essay on Near Eastern Deities and Demons in Aegean Bronze Age Iconography

Abstract

Although the hybrid creature known as the Minoan Genius was clearly derived from the Egyptian Ashaheru / Taweret, according to the iconographical evidence in the Aegean, its functions and meaning differ considerably. Nonetheless, in images showing the Minoan Genius as accompanied by a lion, flanked by lions, dogs or men, or performing actions on a podium-like structure, this fantastic being is clearly defined as a deity. Although a hybrid creature with the position of a deity is highly unusual in Minoan and Mycenaean iconography, we cannot do otherwise than attribute to the Minoan Genius the semi-divine character of a minor deity which is unique in the Aegean Bronze Age. Additionally, seal motifs of the Minoan Genius allow us to pose the question whether Neopalatial Crete was really a coequal member of a ‘Near Eastern koiné’ or whether it was positioned, instead, at the periphery of this ‘ideological realm’.

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Blakolmer, F., (2015) “Was the "Minoan Genius" a God? An Essay on Near Eastern Deities and Demons in Aegean Bronze Age Iconography”, Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections 7(3), p.29-40. doi: https://doi.org/10.2458/azu_jaei_v07i3_blakolmer

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Fritz Blakolmer (University of Vienna)

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