The Museum of Cycladic Art (https://cycladic.gr/) , the Regional Services of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports (Ephorates of Antiquities of Chania, Rethymno, and Herakleion) and the Region of Crete (https://www.crete.gov.gr/) are co-organizing the exhibition entitled “Crete. Emerging cities: Aptera ― Eleutherna ― Knossos. Three ancient cities revived” from 12 December 2018 to 30 April 2019. This is a multi-faceted exhibition with rich audio-visual aids, including screens, maps, and innovative technologies.
The exhibition focuses on three of Crete’s one-hundred cities, according to Homer (hekatompolis), and their common characteristics: their establishment, acme, decline, destruction, abandonment, and demise. Cities with centuries-long history, cities that were abandoned and forgotten, but are also tangible examples of archaeological investigation using similar or different approaches.
The exhibition comprises approximately 500 artefacts dating from the Neolithic (7th-6th millennium BC) to the Byzantine period (8th century AD), some newly discovered, others from old excavations, most of them never presented to the public before: statues, reliefs, figurines, inscriptions, vases, weapons, jewellery, coins, and other artefacts of various materials—limestone, marble, clay, metal (bronze, iron, silver, and gold), faience, glass, ivory, and semi-precious stones. This is the first time that so many artefacts leave the storerooms of the Antiquities Ephorates and display cases of the museums of Crete for a temporary exhibition in Athens.
Antiquities from each one of the three cities speak of its territory, public and private life, religious beliefs, sanctuaries, and cemeteries, fragments of its historical continuum. A special place is given to artefacts relating to each city’s founding myths and also to personal stories: Soterios from Eleutherna who live and died at Aptera, the young man of Eleutherna who died before knowing love, and the child buried with their toys at Knossos.
The exhibition also showcases Renaissance books and maps, including the Vincenzo Maria Coronelli’s map of Crete (1707) with its famous fruit garland inscribed with the names of the 100 Cretan cities mentioned by Homer, including the three presented here.