The theory has been advanced that the Early Bronze Age society of Crete, and Greece, was matriarchal or ‘woman-centred’. This has recently been contested. The views predominantly held today are set in detail below.
In Pre-Palace Crete, society was articulated into independent communities largely organised on the basis of equality, in which all members lived together without being subjected to any form of authority. There were, of course, differences in living standards at individual or group level. Although there is some archaeological evidence pointing to the existence of security problems, it is rather unlikely that there was a military or warrior class in the societies of the period. Scholars are divided on the question of how the communities were structured. Some consider that the basic social unit was the family (especially in Crete), citing the study of the material from the settlement of Myrtos and the tholos tombs of Mesara. Others believe that the communities were organised by clan, within which the importance of women as factors for social cohesion is recognised. The social system probably accorded equal recognition to men and women.
Dr Andonis Vasilakis