That the palaces had a religious character is evident from the fact that entire sections of them were devoted to religious purposes (sanctuaries and shrines). The political system that evolved may be described in part as theocratic, since the rulers seemed to have exercised a religious authority derived from deity and their laws were universally respected as God-given. Clear evidence for this is provided by the legend of the lawgivers Minos and Rhadamanthys and their relationship with their father, Zeus. Everyone probably contributed voluntarily to the building of the palaces, since they were the house of the deity, represented by the king who dwelt in it.
The founding of the palaces coincided with the emergence of a social hierarchy. Matriarchal elements dictated the orientation of the palaces towards the communities, and they presumably did not wield central authority but rather secured the cooperation needed to arrange intercommunity affairs.
Religion continued to be ‘woman-centred’. Pictorial representations placing emphasis on female fertility characteristics, however, are rarer in this period. Emphasis is now laid on ritual dress, which was the new trend in female figurines. These new pictorial conventions may be explained in terms of a desire to achieve a symbolic balance of power between the two sexes.
Dr Andonis Vasilakis