In this companion to The Knossos Labyrinth (Routledge, 1990), Castleden gives us an outline of the Minoan culture that, he alleges, is more consistent with recent archaeological evidence: that Knossos was a temple, not a palace, in which occurred not only athletic games and graceful rites, but also human sacrifice and other behaviors pointing to a previously unsuspected dark side to the Minoan personality; and that the Minoan world view and distinctive artistic vision were stimulated by the widespread eating of opium. His revision is not implausible. In early cultures the line between church and state tended to be hazy; so with its architecture. On the other hand, in his zeal to reexamine all traditional theories Castleden frequently proposes scenarios drawn more from psychosocial inference than evidence, yielding arguments less compelling than the originals. A nation of addicts could scarcely have had the energy to execute drug-induced creativity, much less to develop the commercial empire that was ancient Crete under the Minoans. Thought-provoking nonetheless.--Jo-Ann D. Suleiman, Sanad Support Technologies, Rockville, Md.
"Displaying sound scholarship, Castleden cites excavations and
theories in detailed but accessible prose. . . . A more complex,
even contradictory, image of the Minoans than appears in other
"Strongly recommended for all ancient history collections."
"Well researched, well illustrated, and bang up to date as far as recent discoveries are concerned."