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The Bull Of Minos

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  112 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
This brilliant book explores the most remote beginnings of the Mediterranean civilizations that became classical Greece.
Mass Market Paperback, 223 pages
Published 1955 by Pan Books Ltd (first published 1953)
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Barnaby Thieme
Cotrell's book reads rather like a hagiography of the two great venerable figures of modern Greek archaeology, Arthur Evans and Heinrich Schliemann. While both deserve praise and gratitude, both have likewise earned a degree of criticism for their impatience, gradiosity, runaway imaginations, and lack of intellectual discipline that arguably led to as much harm as good. One reads with a sense of agony of Schliemann burrowing hastily through and destroying entire levels of Troy, now lost to us fo ...more
Dec 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
First off, I must say I flat-out adored the writing style. A tale of early archaeological studies, done by the wealthy and obsessed amateurs Heinrich Schliemann (Troy) and Arthur Evans (Minos), this book was exactly that - a wildly improbable tale, Boys Own style.

Written in 1953, it really is a great read. The author traveled in the footsteps of these two, and it's as much a travel adventure as a scholarly piece and all to the good, I say. I can't imagine how many young people this book must ha
Jan 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book covers the archaeological discovery of an entirely unknown pre-Greek civilization contemporary with the Egyptian Middle Kingdom - the Minoan civilization. The author leads us through the search and discovery of Troy and Mycenae before following the clues to Crete. This edition was 1961 so some conclusions may have been superseded in later years. However, the story of the discovery was enlightening.
Victor Szepessy
Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cottrell can really write and his passion and enthusiasm for archaeology fills every page. He expertly leads you on a path to the very origin of Western Art, in the footsteps of Schliemann and Evans, so that you feel you are there making every discovery with them yourself for the first time.
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
«He contemplado el rostro de Agamemnón.»
H. Schliemann, verano de 1876.

Sucede en ocasiones que comenzamos a leer cierto libro sin tener de él grandes expectativas, acaso cierta curiosidad porque el tema que trata nos interesa o porque conocemos al autor por otros libros, pero conforme vamos adentrándonos en la lectura, ésta nos revela tesoros completamente inesperados y su encanto sorpresivo llega a envolvernos por entero antes de haber podido darnos cuenta.

Ya en un par de ocasiones había yo vist
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent lay-introduction to Trojan, Cretan, and Mycenaean archaeology. The book, written in the early 1950s, focuses on two gifted, self-taught archaeologists, Heinrich Schliemann and Arthur Evans, and their work in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Today, the archaeologists' reputations endure some criticism because they were not trained archaeologists and, possibly, because both were wealthy. Some of the criticism may be justified and some of the criticism may be jealousy ...more
Sep 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found "The Bull of Minos" long ago as a bibliography item for Mary Renault's "The King Must Die", and it's been a favourite since my high school days (yes, about the same time as Minos ruled at Knossos). Cottrell's account of Evans at Knossos is absorbing and vivid. For all the changes that archaeology has undergone over the last couple of generations, Evans' image of Minoan Crete has held up remarkably well, and his reconstructed Palace of Minos is there at Knossos as something very much on m ...more
Dec 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
Not the best place to get a popular summary of the Minoan civilization. Of course, you already know that the best place is Wikipedia, but I'll explain briefly. This book is a several decades out of date and it spends most of its space on archeologists from several decades before that. I'm not an expert on the subject, but the result can't be state of the art. Furthermore, the author has decided to interrupt the book's real content with descriptions of his own sabbatical in the isles of Greece. T ...more
C.S. Boag
Aug 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: archeology
This is a fine journalistic effort to marry myth and reality and bring both within the scope of the common reader -eg, me.
Cottrell travels to Greece and traces the work of amateur archaeologists in the 19th century and early 20th century to show how the myths like that of the famous minotaur have their basis in fact. So much that I was brought up to believe fairy stories happened. The Bull of Minos is a sweet, slow moving threnody. Enlightening
Kit Dunsmore
Dec 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: research, archaeology
I found this fascinating. A nice mix of the early history of the archaeology of ancient Greece, along with details of what was found. Includes stories of the finding of Troy, Mycenae, and the palace at Knossos. Read with a grain of salt, however. Published in 1952, some of the interpretations have changed as more has been discovered. Has me eager to find some more recent sources to answer the unanswered questions.
Leonardo Rodríguez
Mar 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ensayo
Deliciosas páginas sobre ese par de loquitos inspirados, aunque no siempre irreprochables, que fueron Heinrich Schliemann y Arthur Evans. Otros asuntos (griegos, arqueológicos, míticos) son tratados con ligereza, empatía y saber. Y las andanzas de Cottrell por Grecia (especialmente Creta) son tan perspicaces como las de Miller o Lawrence Durrell. A veces, más.
Apr 12, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Less than 100 pages to go. Very interesting how amateurs did all this.
Just started this - recommended by my friend the historian, Jim.
Took a year to finish but glad I did. Amazing stuff about amateurs who found so many artifacts.
Michael Brady
Mar 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, religion
Before Rome, Greece, or even Troy, there were the Minoans of Crete...
Virginia Van
Although dates, this book provides an interesting layperson's introduction to the excavations at Troy, Mycenae and Knossos. Good background reading for anyone planning a trip to Greece.
Jun 22, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heinrich Schliemann and Sir Arthur Evans -- Greek history and archaeology.

Working from a list of books I read years ago.
Apr 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Realmente esperaba un libro que tratase mas sobre los minoicos que sobre arqueologia, sin embargo el texto es interesante y ameno de leer
Joshua Spotts
Dec 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cottrell is a very skilled writer. He makes archaeology interesting. It is as enjoyable as listening to Liam Neeson as dictator for the documentary I watched on ancient Crete.
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Jacqui Solie
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Fernando Arteaga
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Leonard Eric Cottrell was a prolific and popular British author and journalist. The majority of his books were popularizations of the archaeology of ancient Egypt.
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