Minoan religion

Susan Lupack*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The shrines situated on mountains, called peak sanctuaries, are a distinctive feature of Minoan religion. The most common finds are clay figurines, which appear in the form of animals, human votaries, and parts of the human body, such as feet, eyes, and genitalia. These votives reflect the concerns of the worshippers-their own fertility and well-being and that of their animals. Richer peak sanctuaries have stone vessels, Linear A inscriptions, jewelry, seals, bronze blades, figurines, and double axes. The more costly finds were found at a limited number of sites and generally date to the Neopalatial period. The ritual focus of the shrine may consist of a flat rock, a cairn of stones, and/or concentrations of white pebbles. Actual architectural remains appear at only nine sites, eight of which were those that continued into the Neopalatial period.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean
Subtitle of host publication(ca. 3000-1000 BC)
EditorsEric H. Cline
Place of PublicationOxford, United Kingdom
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9780199968671
ISBN (Print)9780199873609
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes



  • Fertility
  • Figurines
  • Minoan religion
  • Neopalatial period
  • Peak sanctuaries
  • Ritual
  • Shrines
  • Votives

Cite this

Lupack, S. (2010). Minoan religion. In E. H. Cline (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean: (ca. 3000-1000 BC) (pp. 251-262). Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199873609.013.0019