The Ring of King Minos

King Minos - The story of an ancient Ring

The story of the ring, known as the "ring of King Minos", started in 1928, when a little boy found it by accident in the area of the archaeological site of Knossos.

The boy’s father, a destitute farmer in the same area, handed the ring over to the meddlesome village priest father Polakis who presented it to Sir Arthur Evans with the intention to sell it. However, there was no deal between the two, since the former demanded a whole lot of money. Nevertheless, Evans made two copies of the ring, one in gold and another in amber. Today these copies are found in the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology in Oxfordshire.

Approximately in 1933 or 1934 father Polakis turned to the Museum of Heraklion. It was the period when distinguished archaeologists Nikolaos Platon and Spyridon Marinatos were in service. N. Platon decided that the ring was genuine while S. Marinatos thought the ring was forged. Being in disagreement, the archaeologists decided to return the ring to the priest.

King Minos Ring

However, N. Platon kept a copy of the ring by casting it in plasticine. The cast was later found in Platon's archive. Many years later, when N. Platon manifested fresh interest in the ring, the priest reported that he had given it to his wife for safekeeping but she had lost it!

Since then all traces of the ring were lost. The only information about the ring came from the copies made and a number of archaeological reports associated with those copies.

On the basis of those published reports Minoan civilization experts support the view that the ring is genuine – a royal ring – judging by its size, wealth of representations and the fact that it was found near a royal tomb.

The ring is a magnificent gold jewel-seal with representations of tree worship (dendrolatry).

There is a representation of a goddess descending from heaven to earth and into a rowing boat.

There is a symbolism in this representation linking the heavens, earth and sea. A more detailed description of the ring can be found in Evans book "Palace of Minos" as well as in the treatise of N. Platon on the subject of Minoans' ruling of the seas ("thalassocracy").

The story ends with a heir of priest Polakis delivering the ring to a group of experts who examined it thoroughly to rule that the ring was genuine. This expert opinion was ratified by the Central Archaeological Council.

Subsequently, the Ministry of Culture awarded permanent custody of the ring to the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion where it is now on exhibit.

from STIGMES Magazine