Not only is one of the most famous pieces of ancient Greek art-the celebrated gold and ivory statuette of the Snake Goddess-almost certainly modern, but Minoan civilization as it has been popularly imagined is largely an invention of the early twentieth century. This is Kenneth Lapatin's startling conclusion in Mysteries of the Snake Goddess-a brilliant investigation into the true origins of the celebrated Bronze Age artifact, and into the fascinating world of archaeologists, adventurers, and artisans that converged in Crete at the turn of the twentieth century. Including characters from Sir Arthur Evans, legendary excavator of the Palace of Minos at Knossos, who was driven to discover a sophisticated early European civilization to rival that of the Orient, to his principal restorer Swiss painter Emil Gillieron, who out of handfuls of fragments fashioned a picture of Minoan life that conformed to contemporary taste, this is a riveting tale of archeological discovery.
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