Cycladic Civilization

Greek: Κυκλαδικος Πολιτισμος
Time Period: 3000 BC-1100 BC
Geographical Area: Cycladic islands

A statuette from the Cycladic civilization.

A statuette from the Cycladic civilization.

The Cycladic Civilization was a civilization that lived in the region of the Cycladic Islands during the Bronze Age. During this time the Minoan civilization was living on the island of Crete and the Helladic civilization (the ancient Greeks) were living on the Greek mainland. The Cycladic people were highly skilled maritime traders, with trade links in Asia Minor, mainland Greece, Crete, North Africa and Europe. The people were also active in fishing, as it was their main source of food. Ruins can be found on almost all the Cycladic islands leaving behind important details of the Cycladic culture.

The Cycladic civilization is broken up into three periods: the Early Period (3000 – 2000 BC), the Middle Period (2000 – 1500 BC) and the Late Period (1500 – 1100 BC). During the Early Period the Cycladic people built houses on hills to be protected from enemies and flooding. The Cycladic civilization came to an end when the Thera volcano erupted in 1630 BC,completely destroying the island of Thera and leaving the surrounding islands almost completely destroyed from the tsunami waves that followed.

Statuettes (also known as “idols”) carved out of Parian marble during 2800 BC are among the most important legacy left by the Cycladic Civilization. The statues depicted the image of Mother Earth. Among the most famous of these figurines is a harp-player and pipe-player, considered to be the earliest extant musicians from the Aegean. Most of these figures are a representation of the female human form, nude, with their arms folded across the stomach. They were thought to have been brightly painted when created and to have been used in funerary practice as they were all found in graves. Many other artefacts have also been discovered, such as tools, weapons made from bronze, vases and pots made from clay and even gold jewellery.

Cycladic Art:

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