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The exhibit

1500-1400 BC

The imagery of the so-called “Ring of Minos” stands out among the scenes depicting aspects of Minoan religious ideology. This exceptional gold ring may be the largest ever found in Crete. It was discovered in 1928 in a field near the Royal Temple Tomb of Knossos, on the Gypsadhes hill. At first, many scholars were unsure of its authenticity, mainly because of its iconography. The ring was first examined by the excavator of Knossos, Sir Arthur Evans, and also the archaeologist Nikolaos Platon, who did not doubt it was real. As the years went by, other finds with many similarities to the images on this ring came to light. Today the scholarly consensus is that it is one of the most representative examples of Minoan seal-carving. The ring is a signet ring which obviously belonged to a member of the ruling class wielding temporal and/or religious authority. On its oval bezel is incised a complex scene depicting stages and symbols of the apparition of the goddess, as well as acts of the cult ritual of tree worship. On the left side of the composition, a female figure is gently shaking a tree branch emerging from a built stepped sanctuary. In the centre, a kneeling man is pulling a tree branch with his right hand while holding a fruit picked from the tree in his left. He appears to be offering the fruit to a female figure, probably the goddess, seated on a built stepped platform. The divine nature of the figure is reinforced by a small hovering figure visible to her right, descending from above. The lower part of the scene is occupied by a row of oval rocks and a scene of the goddess sailing on the sea, in a boat containing a stepped altar crowned with horns of consecration. The scene, unique in Minoan iconography, is a summary of the Minoan conception of the divine and the unity of the universe. The presence of the goddess in the air as a floating figure, on land as a personified seated female form, and at sea in a boat, symbolises her various aspects and her dominion over the celestial, terrestrial and marine worlds. Tree cult scenes are associated with the epiphany process, heightening the strong semantic charge of the scene.
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1 January: closed

6 January: 08:30 – 15:00

Shrove Monday: 08:30 – 15:00

25 March: closed

Good Friday: 12:00 – 17:00

Holy Saturday: 08:00 – 15:00

1 May: closed

Easter Sunday: closed

Easter Monday: 08:00 – 20:00

Holy Spirit Day: 08:00 – 20:00

15 August: 08:00 – 20:00

28 October: 08:00 – 20:00

25 December: closed

26 December: closed