Thread: This is the famous Minoan "dolphins fresco" from Knossos, Crete, dated to 1500BC...

Why is it important do determine what type of dolphins were depicted on this fresco?

Spoiler: animal calendar markers...🙂
In my thread about the strange "dolphin attacking ibex goat" Minoan seal, I talked about different types of dolphins that live in Mediterranean sea

Here they are again...So which one of these dolphins was depicted on the above Minoan fresco? I would say that we can pretty much immediately discard the Bottlenose dolphin because of the color...
The other two look quite similar. But if we look at the central line, on the dolphins depicted on the fresco, we can see that the only dolphin that has the same feature is the Stripped dolphin.
Add to that that the Stripped dolphin is the most abundant dolphin species in the Mediterranean, I think that the dolphins depicted on the Minoan fresco are the Stripped dolphins.
Yeeeey! Now what?

Well as I said in my thread about the Minoan swallows fresco, these animal depictions should be treated as animal calendar markers...


Well, here is a very interesting Minoan sealstone discovered at Akrotiri, Thera, and dated to the 18th c. BC. It depicts a griffin suckling a dolphin...
The pic of the seal is from "Thera, Pompeii of the Ancient Aegean" by Christos Doumas (…).
The pic of the seal drawing is from "Minoan Sacrificial Ritual" by Nanno Marinatos (…)
The author of the "Minoan Sacrificial Ritual" paper says this about this seal: "The dolphin's speed, size and intelligence must have impressed Minoans who attributed special powers to it and made it companion to the divinity in similar manner as the lion and the griffin..."
Hmmmm...Is there anything else that could connect dolphins, lions and griffins...Could these all be animal calendar markers pointing a the same time of the year maybe?
I think so...Animal calendar markers mark the time when the depicted animal either mates, gives birth or rarely, migrates, goes to hibernation...

Let's check our real and imaginary animals mating seasons... 🙂
Have a look at this:

Common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) May - Aug, peak Jun/Jul
Short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) May - Sep, peak Jul/Aug
Striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) Jul - Oct, peak Sep
So, the striped dolphin mates from beginning to the end of autumn (Jul/Aug - Oct/Nov)...Which means that it could be used as a calendar marker for beginning of autumn, Jul/Aug (beginning of its mating season) or for autumn in general (Jul/Aug - Oct/Nov)...
What about lions? I think we are in luck here...The main mating season of Eurasian lions starts at the beginning of autumn, Jul/Aug and spans the whole of autumn, (Jul/Aug - Oct/Nov)...
The main mating season of Eurasian lions starts at the beginning of autumn, Jul/Aug and spans the whole of autumn, (Jul/Aug - Oct/Nov)...

Which is why lion is used as an animal calendar marker known as Leo, which marks Jul/Aug

This is also why lion is the symbol of autumn in general (Jul/Aug - Oct/Nov)...…
What about griffins? Eeeee, I can hear you say...Griffin!!! Mythical monster!!! Not a real animal...Actually griffin is not a mythical animal, but a complex animal calendar marker for autumn (Jul/Aug - Oct/Nov). Minoan griffin (there are different griffins)🙂
Minoan griffin consists of

Lion, animal calendar marker known as Leo, marks Jul/Aug, cause the mating season of Eurasian lions starts in Jul/Aug
Vulture, animal calendar marker known as Eagle, marks Oct/Nov, cause the mating season of Eurasian vultures starts in Oct/Nov
This is an ancient symbol and I talked about it in this thread
So all three of these real or imaginary animals can be used as animal calendar markers for autumn (Jul/Aug - Oct/Nov).

So why would Minoans care about any of this? I think Hesiod can answer this question. Writing in the 8th century BC, he says that:
"Fifty days after the solstice,
when the season of wearisome heat is come to an end,
is the right (best) time for men to go sailing"

This is at end of July beginning of August. In Leo...At the beginning of the mating seasons of lions and striped dolphins...And griffins 🙂
This is the time when Romans celebrated the Neptunalia. Apparently the authorities are not sure why Romans celebrated Neptune at exactly that time of the year. I will let authorities ponder this further...

Here I will propose that maybe Minoans also celebrated sea god in Leo...
Here is another amazing Minoan fresco. It is known as "Minoan Admirals Flotilla Fresco", and was found Akrotiri, Thera (Santorini) and was dated to c. 1613 BC. It shows a flotilla sailing out of the harbor as part of some kind of celebration...
This is a restored detail of this fresco showing the admiral's ship. You can see that the hull of the ship is decorated with lions and striped dolphins...Why?

In "Minoan Sacrificial Ritual", professor Nanno Marinatos tries to explain this decoration like this:
"Let us now look at some representations where the dolphin can be designated as an aggressor by virtue of analogy, because it is shown together with other predatory animals. On the major ship of the fleet...there appear emblems of aggression: lions and dolphins."
"The association of the two would be problematic, were it not for the observation made above, that the dolphin is itself a hunter which makes it equivalent to a lion. Thus, the two animals represent aggression in two domains, the land and sea."
Hmmmmm, well you could argue that...But maybe these two animals are depicted together because this flotilla is part of the Minoan version of Neptunalia...Celebration of the Minoan sea god, whatever his name was...
Which takes place in Leo, at the beginning of autumn, at the beginning of the mating season of both Eurasian lions and striped dolphins...And griffins 🙂 At the best time to sail the Mediterranean sea...
That's it...More about animal calendar markers found in ancient cultures, start here… then check the rest of the blog posts I still didn't add to this page, and finally check my twitter threads I still didn't convert to blog post...I am 7 months behind now

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with oldeuropeanculture

oldeuropeanculture Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @serbiaireland

13 Oct
Thread: Sumerian limestone bowl fragment with three ibex goats following a lion...3300-3100 BCE, Currently in the Detroit Institute of Arts…

What's all this about?

Well, I think, climate in Mesopotamia and annual lifecycle of the depicted animals... Image
I am so sorry only a fragment of this bowl has survived. But I could bet that the original bowl had

3 ibex goats, following 3 lions, following 3 bulls, following 3 leopards...

Check this thread out. It is about a copper bowl from the same period and the same area...And about the climatic year in Sumer and Elam, and local Sumerian/Elamite animal calendar markers for the four seasons

Read 4 tweets
11 Oct
Thread: This is a detail of the griffin fresco (reproduction) from the throne room, palace of Knossos, Crete, dated to 1700-1450 BC.

In this shortish thread I would like to explain why I think that the flowers depicted around the lying griffin are sea daffodils... Image
To start, check this thread in which I showed that Minoans basically treated both the animals and plants they depicted together as calendar markers. For instance swallows nesting season overlaps with Madonna lily flowering season

Then check this thread in which I explained why I believe griffin is not a mythical animal, but actually a complex animal calendar marker for autumn (Aug/Sep/Oct)...

Read 5 tweets
23 Sep
Thread (longish): The charge of the Polish Winged Hussars at the 1683 battle of Vienna. 3000 of them took part of the biggest cavalry charge in history, which finally stopped the Turkish expansion into Europe...…
This is the story about their origin...

And about a very interesting and unusual Serbian phrase: "Kititi se tuđim perjem" which means "To take credit for something great someone else has done", but literally it means "To adorn oneself with someone else's feathers"...
So where do we start? With Nicolas de Nicolay, a French nobleman, who In 1567 publish a book entitled "Quatre premiers livres des navigations" which recorded his observations about the Ottoman court and peoples from his 1551 mission to Istanbul on behalf of the French government.
Read 55 tweets
20 Sep
Thread: I wonder if people looking at this image realize that it contains a proof that people in one part of this map preserved a story about the arrival of agriculture as an oral legend for at least 5000 years, before it was first written down...
I am talking about these dudes here...The dudes who lived in the ancient city of Susa ( which is currently located in Iran
When archaeologists excavated the city, they discovered, among other things, a text, known today as "How grain came to Sumer" (…)
Read 12 tweets
18 Sep
Thread: Enki/Ea, the god of sweet water standing between two mountains, with trees and flowers...Enki is identifiable by the fact that he is holding two jars from which a water is pouring out, and which are symbols of the source of Tigris and Euphrates...

Super important image Image
Important cause of this: "Enki lives in Abzu, the source of Tigris and Euphrates"...The official explanation is that Abzu is "an underground aquifer"...

Which I think is completely wrong. I think Abzu was the name for the great mountains from which Tigris and Euphrates emerge... Image
That Abzu is a mountain is actually spelled for us in the Early Dynastic Za-me hymns where we read:

"Abzu, place that is a big mountain, princely crown of the heaven and earth. To the lord Nudimmud (Enki), (give) praise!"

Read 6 tweets
18 Sep
Thread: Enki/Ea, god of sweet water and the annual flood. He is shown here holding two jars with water flowing out of them, which represent the sources of Tigris and Euphrates...But why is he standing on a carp fish? Image
The water flow of Tigris and Euphrates peaks during Apr/May.

Left: Tigris
Right: Euphrates ImageImage
And as I explained in this thread about the origin and meaning of the Goatfish symbol, this is the exact time of the year when the giant Mesopotamian carp swims upstream to mate.

Read 6 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!