The picture above is one of those barren, yet beautifully alluring places where the sky, land and sea intersect. Viewed from above this island is a broken ring about ten miles in diameter. The land is circular because it is a caldera, the remnant of a not-so-ancient volcano. It is broken because of the titanic force of the most recent eruption about four thousand years ago. The small island in the center of the lagoon, barely visible in the picture above, is the remnant of the smoldering cone. From a geologic perspective, the mountain recreates itself.
The island lies in the Aegean Sea and today, during the summer months, swells with heat, cruise ships and tourists. It was not always this way. In the time before the eruption, an immense, fertile peak rose thousands of feet above the deep green Mediterranean waters. Great mineral wealth lay within the deep fractures of the mountain’s igneous bedrock. Its sloping sides were a patchwork of verdant fields, connected by fast flowing streams, hot springs and lakes. In conjunction with nearby Crete, this was the heart of a maritime empire, a crossroads between Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
This was the sea ruled by Minos and the culture in which an Athenian architect named Daedalus, built the first dance floor, and then a complex labyrinth beneath the palace of his benefactor, King Minos, to house a half-man, half bull . . . for an Athenian warrior/prince named Theseus to one-day slay. But Daedalus’ life’s work, his masterpiece was to design and build something akin to a modern day hang glider and to use his invention to flee the island and fly to freedom, together with his son, Icarus.
These were some of the heroes of the Minoan civilization, living citizens of an advanced and ancient culture; one that collapsed shortly after the cataclysmic eruption. In its wake the ancient Greeks succeeded to what was left of their islands, becoming the beneficiaries of both their stories and their technologies.
I love these people and their times. At this stage in my own life I find myself inspired by their ideas, the legends and myths, and the rich history of these people and times. This website is dedicated to their preservation and promotion.