My interest in the Minoan civilization of Crete was sparked when I noted a conspicuous parallel between the Indus and Minoan cultures – that of the popularity of the sport of bull-leaping. Indus seals from c.2600 BCE onwards show acrobats leaping over a bull, while in Cretan art bull-leaping appears at the beginning of the Late Bronze Age in c.1700 BCE.

The bull-leaping fresco at the Great Palace at Knossos, Crete, dated to c.1450-1400 BCE.
Fig 1: The bull-leaping fresco at the Great Palace at Knossos, Crete, dated to c.1450-1400 BCE. Two men are positioned at each end of the bull, while another somersault over the bull. Public domain image.
Impression of a Banawali seal from c.2300 – 1700 BCE, showing an acrobat leaping over a bull
Fig 2: Impression of a Banawali seal from c.2300 – 1700 BCE, showing an acrobat leaping over a bull. Source: UMESAO 2000:88, No. 335
Bull-leaping was extremely popular in Minoan Crete. At the Great Palace at Knossos, bull-leaping was prominently depicted on frescoes. Archaeologists believe that the large ceremonial courtyard at the center of the Knossos palace complex may have served as the bull-ring, as the major entrances leading to the courtyard were adorned with paintings of processions and bull-leaping.

This reminded me of the Indus Valley site of Dholavira, where archaeologists have found a large ceremonial ground furnished with tiered, stepped, stands on all four sides.[1] A ceremonial pathway led from the castle to the stadium. Could it be that the ceremonial ground at Dholavira also served as an arena for bull-leaping games?

Another piece of Minoan art that caught my attention was a three-dimensional bronze figurine of a Minoan bull leaper from c.1600 BCE, fashioned using the lost wax method. It is well-known that the Indus artisans had perfected this technique, well over a thousand years earlier. The famous “dancing girl” figurine of Mohenjo-Daro from c.3000 BCE was cast using the lost-wax method. I wondered how the Minoans acquired the skill to make these bronze statues in the second millennium BCE, when Crete had no natural sources of copper or tin to make bronze, and relied on an extensive maritime network to obtain these materials.
Bronze figurine of a Minoan bull leaper from Crete c. 1600 BCE, made using the lost-wax method.
Fig 3: Bronze figurine of a Minoan bull leaper from Crete c. 1600 BCE, made using the lost-wax method. Source: Wikimedia Commons / Mike Peel CC-BY-SA 4.0
Is it possible that a group of Indus tribes settled in Crete sometime around 1700 BCE, soon after the Indus Valley civilization started to collapse at around 1900 BCE, and took with them their cultural practices and technological skills? Bull-leaping and the lost-wax method of bronze casting appears in Minoan Crete roughly 200 years after the collapse of the Indus civilization. So, the timing is just about right. There is a sufficiently large window of time for a migration to have taken place.

As I discussed in my earlier article “Bull-Leaping: Did it spread from the Indus Valley to Syria, Egypt, and Crete?”[2], the collapse of the Indus Valley had set off a chain of migrations out of the most densely populated civilization of the ancient times. The Kushites moved from the Indus Valley to Ethiopia, and probably played a part in introducing bull-leaping in Avaris in the 15th century BCE, while the Mitanni migrated to Syria and Turkey where bull-leaping images start appearing from the 15th century BCE as well.

Could it be, therefore, that certain Indus tribes migrated to Minoan Crete sometime around 1700 BCE? If so, elements of the Indus Valley culture should be reflected in the social, religious, and technological aspects of the Minoan society. In this brief comparative study of the two cultures, I have identified a number of interesting parallels between the two civilizations, which indicates deep cultural interactions.

Water Management Techniques

Although the Minoan civilization flourished on the Aegean island of Crete from around c.3600 BCE, it was only around 1900 BCE (the Protopalatial Period) that they started constructing large palaces. A terrible cataclysm in Crete, possibly an earthquake, led to the utter destruction of the old palaces. This was followed by the Neopalatial Period from 1700 BCE – 1450 BCE, which marked the apex of the Minoan civilization.

One of the most notable characteristics of the Minoan palaces of the Neopalatial Period was their highly-sophisticated water management techniques, which are astonishingly similar to those found in the Indus Valley cities from c.3000 BCE.

The palace at Knossos (Crete), as well as the houses of the Indus Valley cities, had toilets on the upper floors from where the waste water was carried by vertical terracotta pipes to a network of underground sewers. In Crete, the sewerage system was built of stone and lined with cement, while in the Indus cities both bricks and stones were used. The sewers were provided with manholes, through which municipal workers could enter the sewers and remove the sullage. The Minoans and the Indus inhabitants also built large storm water drains for carrying the rain water away from the city.
The Water Management Systems of Minoan Crete and the Indus Valley Civilization are surprisingly similar
Fig 4: Water Management Systems in Minoan Crete and IVC
For drinking water, the Minoans and the Indus people built numerous wells, as well as huge reservoirs which were filled using rain-water harvesting techniques. Dholavira (Indus Valley) saw a remarkable innovation -  a series of dams diverted the river waters to fill up a complex network of 16 reservoirs that surrounded the town. Aqueducts brought freshwater from the springs to the palace at Knossos, which was distributed throughout the palace through a network of terracotta piping located beneath the palace floors. In Dholavira, aqueducts carried the waters from the reservoirs to the heart of the city, while canals carried them into the fields for irrigation.

All the water management techniques employed by the Minoans during the Neopalatial Period had been in use in the Indus Valley since c.3000 BCE.

How did the Minoans acquire these sophisticated hydraulic technologies at the beginning of the Neopalatial Period in c.1700 BCE, when none of their neighboring cultures in the Mediterranean possess them? The technologies appear in their mature state, without a corresponding period of development. Could there have been an infusion of technology from outside Crete?

If so, the only place from where these water management techniques could have been introduced into Crete was the Indus Valley, for it was the only contemporary civilization that had implemented these technologies since c.3000 BCE.

The Goddess Cult

Goddess worship was popular in the Indus Valley, as well as in Minoan Crete, as indicated by the discovery of a large number of female terracotta figurines, at least some of which were probably goddess figures.

A particularly important Minoan deity was the Snake Goddess – a name given to a striking terracotta figurine depicting a woman holding a snake in each hand. Her figurines were found only in house sanctuaries, indicating that she was a household cult goddess. Another terracotta figurine identified as the Snake Goddess has snakes entwined around her body.

An almost exact counterpart of this deity in India is called Manasa. She is still a popular household deity amongst the village folks in the eastern part of India, particularly in Bengal. Manasa is the goddess of snakes, often depicted holding snakes with both hands, and attended by snakes. She provides protection from snake bites and immunity from danger. She is eulogized as the most enchanting and graceful in the three worlds (Jagadgauri), possessing supreme wisdom (Maha Jnanayuta), who can even revive the dead (Mrtasamjivani).
The Minoan Snake Goddess has an almost exact counterpart in Manasa, the Indian Snake Goddess
Fig 5: Minoan and Indian Snake Goddess.
A hymn dedicated to Manasa, quoted by Kasirama Vacaspati, correlates very closely to the Minoan terracotta figurines of the Snake Goddess:
“I take shelter unto the goddess, the mother of Astika. She has a young child (on her lap). She shines like the golden lotus. Huge snakes always attend on her on all sides. She has full and prominent bosoms.  She holds two snakes in her two hands. She has a smiling countenance, and is decorated with the ornaments of shining snakes.”[3]
Manasa was popular amongst the tribal cultures as well, and was worshipped by the Buddhists as the serpent goddess Janguli. Her worship extends back to the very early periods of history, for even in the Atharva Veda (X.4.14; X.4.24) a poison-dispelling goddess called Taudi / Ghrtaci is mentioned. It is possible, therefore, that Indus sea-faring traders carried the worship of Manasa to Crete. A Snake Goddess with a similar iconography and enjoying popular appeal is rarely to be found in other cultures. Moreover, Manasa has been traditionally popular amongst the mercantile class of Bengal, and the Minoans were also a mercantile people engaged in overseas trade.

What lends even more credence to this hypothesis is that, "the name of a goddess Ma-Na-Sa appears prominently on the famous offering tablet Tn 316 from the Mycenaean palace of Pylos, which had strong ties with Knossos", as noted by Astrid van den Kerkhof and Peter Rem of the Delft University of Technology (Netherlands) in their article titled Minoan Names. Surely, this leaves very little doubt that the cult of the Snake Goddess, Manasa, was transferred from the Indus Valley to Crete.

Another Minoan goddess is called the “Mistress of Animals”. She was a Mountain Goddess who was worshiped at peak sanctuaries since the Protopalatial Period (c.1900 BCE) i.e. when the first large palaces and villas were built. On a seal from Knossos, she is shown standing on top of a mountain, holding a staff, attended by lionesses, and receiving adoration from a worshiper. She can be readily identified with the Hindu goddess Durga, who rides a lion, holds a spear, and whose shrines dot the hill-tops in the Indian countryside.
The Minoan Mistress of animals resembles the Indian Goddess Durga
Fig 6: Minoan and Indian lion-riding Mountain Goddess.
Interestingly, one of the most well-known acts of goddess Durga was the slaying of the buffalo-demon Mahishasura, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the Cretan Minotaur, a creature with the head of a bull and body, who was confined in the center of the Labyrinth in Crete, receiving annual offerings of youths and maidens to eat, until he was killed by the Athenian hero Theseus. While the legend of Mahishasura and the Minotaur are quite different, their representations in art and sculpture are similar enough to raise eyebrows.
The iconography of Durga killing Mahisasura resembles that of Theseus slaying the Cretan Minotaur
Fig 7: Mahishasura and the Minotaur
A lion-riding goddess of war and fertility, however, was popular all over the Middle-east such as Inanna (Sumeria), Ishtar (Assyria / Babylonia), Al-lat (Arabia), Astarte (Phoenicia) etc. from the very ancient times. So, the Cretan Mistress of Animals may have been influenced by the Middle-eastern cultures at an early stage, and subsequently by migrants from the Indus Valley.
Ancient Akkadian cylinder seal depicting Inanna / Ishtar resting her foot on the back of a lion
Fig 8: Ancient Akkadian cylinder seal depicting Inanna / Ishtar resting her foot on the back of a lion, while Ninshubur stands in front of her paying obeisance, c. 2334-2154 BCE. Public Domain image.
Tree Worship

The worship of sacred trees and boughs (i.e. branches broken from the trees) took a very prominent place in the Minoan religion. Although tree-worship was prevalent across the world, as shown by Sir James Frazer in The Golden Bough, the engravings on a number of Minoan gold rings show a close similarity to Buddhist iconography and customs.

The Ring of Minos from Knossos depicts a detailed tree worship scene. On the left, a Minoan woman is holding onto the branch of a sacred tree. She may be praying for fertility, for it was believed in the ancient world that holding the branch of a sacred tree promotes fertility and eases childbirth. In the nativity of Lord Buddha, his mother Maya Devi is shown holding the branch of an Ashoka tree. The Minoan lady can also be interpreted as the benevolent, wish-fulfilling, tree-spirit called yakshi, who is generally represented in Indian art as a voluptuous maiden entwined with the tree and holding on to a branch.
Tree-worship depicted on the Ring of Minos resembles tree worship depictions in Buddhism
Fig 9: Tree-worship on the Ring of Minos and Hindu- Buddhist art
In the center of the image on the Minoan ring, there is a sacred tree within an enclosure, which looks similar to the sacred tree in Buddhist sculptures. To the right of the sacred tree, a male helper appears to be plucking the fruit of the sacred tree, possibly with the intention of offering it to the seated female worshipper. This is a continuing tradition in India, where-in barren women consume the fruit of the sacred tree to promote conception. For instance, the mango tree occurs frequently amongst the sculptures of Bharhut stupa (c.184 BCE), and its fruit is believed to be symbolic of male progeny[4]. Since the Minoan sacred tree has been identified botanically as either fig or olive[5], the consumption of its fruit for promoting fertility may have been a prevalent custom.

The seated female worshipper is looking towards the sky at what seems to be an angelic figure. This is a common motif in Buddhist art, where angelic beings hover around the sacred tree, often carrying garlands and other offerings.

Minoan tree-worship customs and iconography, therefore, are very similar to that of India of the early historical period. Historians believe that Hindu-Buddhist tree worship practices are a continuation of Indus Valley traditions, for a tree-spirit is depicted on multiple Indus seals.
Fig 10: This ring from Tiryns shows a man holding a sacred tree which is planted in an enclosure containing a pillar / baetyl. Source: benedante.blogspot.in
Fig 11: The Phourni ring shows a man embracing a rock, and another man grasping a tree, a while a lady worshipper looks on. Source: benedante.blogspot.in
Interestingly, on some Minoan rings, the tree grows out of a shrine which contains within it a sacred pillar, indicating that the pillar and the plant are symbolically interrelated.[6] This custom still prevails in India where a Shiva-Linga can be seen installed at the base of a peepal tree. Sir Arthur Evans had noted this connection, for he writes that, “In India, where worship of this primitive character is perhaps best illustrated at the present day, the collocation of tree and stone is equally frequent.”[7]

Thus, Minoan tree-worship customs can be effectively explained through an analogy with ancient Indian practices. Although an ancient tree-goddess called Asherah (who was worshipped under trees or in the form of a sacred pole) was popular in Syria, Phoenicia and Canaan, very little is known of their specific customs or iconography in order to draw a parallel with Crete.

The Sacred Pillar

Pillar worship was an integral part of the Minoan religion. Caves were sacred places, and naturally formed pillars (stalagmites) in caves were worshipped by the Minoans since the Protopalatial Period (c.1900 BCE). A number of cult caves with rich votive offerings have been found, of which the most well-known is the “Cave of Eileithyia” which has a cylindrical stalagmite enclosed by a rectangular wall.
The worship of stalagmites inside cave sanctuaries in Crete and India.
Fig 12: Worship of stalagmites inside cave sanctuaries in Crete and India.
Indians still worship stalagmites within caves as manifestations of Shiva, and many such cave shrines are scattered across the country. Whether it is the ice-stalagmite at the famous cave shrine of Amarnath in Kashmir, or the naturally formed stone stalagmite at the Gupteshwar cave in Orissa – they continue to draw thousands of pilgrims every year.

Every Minoan palace had a number of small, dark, rooms called “pillar rooms” or “pillar crypts”, which contained a central pillar (or two rectangular pillars) of ritual significance. A quadrangular channel (or depression) surrounded the central pillar in the royal palaces at Knossos and Hagia Triadha.[8] A pair of basins or vats were connected to the channel on opposite sides.
The Pillar Crypt in the Royal Villa Knossos resembles the form of a Shiva Linga
Fig 13: Pillar Crypt in the Royal Villa Knossos resembles the form of a Shiva Linga
This brings to mind the structure of a Shiva-Linga where the central pillar (symbolizing the cosmic form of Shiva as a fiery column of light) is surrounded by a channel which drains out the water offered as libation to the deity. In the Minoan pillar rooms, remains of large oil-jars have been found, which indicates that libations were offered to the pillar deity, which may have flowed through the channels into the basins. A pillar in the palace of Mallia in eastern Crete has a “trident” symbol engraved on it [9], which reinforces the connection with Shiva, since the trident is the foremost symbol of Shiva in modern iconography.

Shiva was worshipped in his pillar form since the Indus days. Pillar-shaped stones, resembling the Shiva-linga, have been found at Harappa and Kalibangan. At Dholavira, archaeologists have discovered circular huts with a limestone pillar base in the center (with a hole on top of the pillar), resembling the pillar rooms of the Minoan palaces.
Pillar Rooms in the Indus Valley and Minoan Crete
Fig 14: Pillar Rooms in the Indus Valley and Minoan Crete
While it is tempting to think that pillar worship in Crete was a result of an Indus Valley influence, it must be noticed that the Minoan pillars are square or rectangular in form as opposed to the rounded Shiva-Lingas of India. These kinds of square, sacred pillars were popular amongst the people of Syria, Canaan, and Arabia. The Suda Lexicon, which was compiled at the end of the 10th century, states:
“Theus Ares (Dushara): this is the god Ares in Arabic Petra. They worship the god Ares and venerate him above all. His statue is an unworked square black stone. It is four-foot high and two-feet wide. It rests on a golden base. They make sacrifices to him and before him they anoint the blood of the sacrifice that is their anointment.”
At the archaeological site of Tel Gezer in Israel, archaeologists have discovered a Canaanite “high place” where a row of ten, monumental, rectangular, standing stones, each of which is called a masseba or matseva (note the correlation between suffix seba / seva and Shiva) had been erected at around 1600 BCE. The Phoenician temples also had carefully wrought sacred columns; Herodotus states that the temple of Melkart at Tyre contained two sacred pillars.
Tel Gezer stone pillars at a Canaanite “high place”
Fig 15: Tel Gezer stone pillars at a Canaanite “high place”. Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Hebrews also regarded stone pillars as a sacred representation or habitation of a deity. The Old Testament frequently records them raising sacred stones as monuments as a reminder of God’s covenant and for commemorating significant events. For instance:
"And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had set up for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. (Genesis 28; 18-19).
"And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the LORD" (Joshua 24;26).
The worship of stone pillars as a sacred representation of a deity was prevalent throughout the Middle-east since the very ancient times. It is possible, therefore, that Minoan pillar worship was initially influenced by the Middle-eastern cultures, with a subsequent Indus influence starting from around 1900 BCE.

The Horns of Consecration

The term “horns of consecration” was coined by Sir Arthur Evans to refer to the u-shaped, stylized rendering of a bull’s horns by the Minoans. Usually made of alabaster or clay, they were used for decorating altars and were displayed prominently on the roofs of palaces and peak sanctuaries in Neopalatial Crete. Horns of consecration were also used as decorative motifs on pottery, and as votive offerings at shrines.
Reconstructed Horns of Consecration at Knossos made of porous limestone.
Fig 16: Reconstructed Horns of Consecration at Knossos made of porous limestone. Public Domain Image
A reconstruction of the tripartite shrine found on the Procession fresco at Knossos.
Fig 17: A reconstruction of the tripartite shrine found on the Procession fresco at Knossos. Source: http://antiquatedantiquarian.blogspot.in

The significance of the horns of consecration remain shrouded in mystery. Do they symbolize the horns of a bull, the distant mountain-tops of Crete, or hands raised in prayers? There is no unambiguous explanation for this sacred cult symbol.

My initial thinking was that the horns of consecration may symbolize Nandi – the bull of Shiva – who acts as Shiva’s vahana (carrier) and as a gatekeeper of Shiva’s abode. A stone image of a seated Nandi is generally installed in front of a Shiva temple, with the face of Nandi facing the main shrine. But this does not explain why the Minoans placed the u-shaped symbol on their altars and on top of the peak sanctuaries.

I noticed that some of the stone pillars (masseba) raised by the Canaanites had a pair of horns on top. The “horned altar” of the Israelites used for burnt sacrificial offerings (incense, grains, wine, or animals) had horns at each of the four corners. In fact, some of horned altars discovered at the biblical site of Be’er Sheva look surprisingly similar to the Minoan horns of consecration! The u-shaped symbol, in both cases, have been fashioned out of two stone pieces joined together at the base.
A reassembled horned altar at Tel Be’er Sheba
Fig 18: A reassembled horned altar at Tel Be’er Sheba. Source: Youtbe/ Zahi Shaked
Horned Incense Altar found at Megiddo, 10th century BCE.
Fig 19: Horned Incense Altar found at Megiddo, 10th century BCE. Source: uchicago.edu
But what do the horns signify? Since the horns appears on top of pillars, or pillar-like stone altars, my guess is that it is probably a symbol associated with Shiva. In the Indus Valley depictions of Shiva as a seated yogi, he is shown wearing a horned head-dress. In modern depictions of Shiva, however, the horned head-dress is missing. What we find instead is a crescent moon in his matted locks, which is the source of amrita (nectar). The Phoenician war-goddess Astarte (the counterpart of the Babylonian Ishtar and Hindu Durga) also wears a crescent moon as a crown, resembling a pair of horns.
The horned headdress transformed into the crescent moon
Fig 20: Horns and Crescent Symbols
The crescent moon also appears as a finial on top of Islamic mosques as well as some Hindu temples, just as the Minoan horns of consecration are placed at the apex of their peak sanctuaries. This custom was probably guided by the ancient cosmic conception that the temple spire represents the cosmic axis-mundi and the moon god was stationed on top of this axis. The incense altars of Saudi Arabia were built according to the same principle – the altar was either horned or had a crescent moon inscribed on top. Nannar, the Sumerian Moon-god (who later became identified with Sin, the Moon-god of the Assyrians and Babylonians) was depicted with a crescent moon on his crown, pillars topped with crescent signs, and horned altars.
The horns of consecration of Minoan Crete were a stylized rendering of the crescent moon
Fig 21: Horns of Consecration and Crescent Symbols
It is very likely, therefore, that the u-shaped horns of consecration of Minoan Crete were a stylized rendering of the crescent moon on top of the cosmic axis-mundi. The stylistic similarity of this symbol with the Canaanite and Israelite renditions suggests that, in this respect, the Cretans may have been influenced by the Middle-eastern cultures.

Minoan Names and Vedic Sanskrit

The Minoan Linear A script, which was used by the Minoans in their palace and religious writings, still remains undeciphered, much like the Indus script . Interestingly, some of the Linear A signs look exactly like those of the Indus script, which is an area that needs further exploration.

Moreover, according to Dr. Gareth Alun Owens, the language transcribed by Linear A (using the same syllabic values as Linear B) shows strong connections to Sanskrit. He says, "beginning our research with inscriptions in Linear A carved on offering tables found in the many peak sanctuaries on the mountains of Crete, we recognise a clear relationship between Linear A and Sanskrit, the ancient language of India."[14]

Indeed, a number of Minoan names can be easily interpreted using Vedic Sanskrit, as shown by the authors Astrid van den Kerkhof and Peter Rem of the Delft University of Technology (Netherlands) in their article "Minoan Names". Here are some excerpts from their article.

An example is the issue concerning the names of the Minoan kings raised by H.J. Rose: “Who Minos really was we probably shall never know, nor whether the word is a proper name or a title.” The Vedic stem mino or minu means to mete out and, more specifically, to judge. The meaning of the stem fits well with the office of Minos, who was a legendary judge…

The name of Radamanthus ends on the Vedic mantus, which means anything from adviser, manager to ruler, king. Since rādhā means prosperity, the options for interpretation are between King Rādhā and manager of prosperity...

The Linear A administration of the Minoan marine port at Hagia Triada offers what appear to be similar constructs. Record HT 85 mentions a KI-KI-RA-JA (ciki-rāja: chief of intelligence) and a monogram reading PA-TI-PA-TI (pathi-pati: protector of the (sea-)ways, cf. Vedic pathi-pa: protecting the road): officials of a highly organized society with well-defined responsibilities…

The Vedic word idā means refreshing drink, libation. It is also the name of the Vedic libation-goddess Ida. She provides gods and men with her powerful drinks, based on milk and butter, for which she is associated with the cow (like the Vedic Mother goddess Aditī). The word I-DA is one of the most frequently recurring terms in the religious Minoan formulas that are inscribed on tables, ladles and cups used for the libation ritual. The inscriptions show I-DA on its own, as I-NA-I-DA (inā idā: mighty Ida), or as U-PA-MA-I-DA (upamā idā: excellent Ida). The text I-DA-MA-TE (libation-mother) is found on two votive double axes, of gold and silver, offered to a sacred mountain cave (cf. Duhoux 1994-1995 about the Linear A text DA-MA-TE inscribed on a Minoan libation spoon)….
The significance of these interpretations can hardly be overstated. It clearly shows that the Minoan language was intimately related to, or derived from, Vedic Sanskrit. The most plausible explanation for this is a migrant population from the Indus Valley arriving in Crete prior to the beginning of the Neopalatial Period (c.1700 BCE).

A Multicultural Minoan Society

One of the surprising aspects of the Minoan and Indus cultures is the absence of any signs of warfare. No implements of war have been found, no depictions of soldiers, fighting, or captives are to be seen on their pottery, frescoes, rings, or seals. Both cultures appear to have been peace-loving, industrious, and technologically advanced, practicing simple rites, free of ostentatiousness. The Swastika symbol has been found in profuse numbers in both cultures, indicating a propensity towards peace, good luck, and well-being.

Women enjoyed an elevated status in both Minoan and Indus society. On Minoan frescoes, women are shown dressed ornately and participating in public life. At the Indus sites, archaeologists have found terracotta female figurines adorned with jewelry and elaborate head-dresses, indicative of high social status.

A Minoan fresco shows a dignified female, possibly the Minoan queen, being carried through a crowd on a palanquin, quite like the Indian kings and queens who were carried around on a palanquin on ceremonial or religious occasions. A Cretan gem engraving shows a “woman blowing a shell trumpet before an altar with horns of consecration, apparently to invoke the presence of the gods.”[11] As is well-known, the blowing of a conch shell in a ritualistic context still continues in the Hindu-Buddhist religion.

The Minoan society, quite strikingly, was multicultural. The frescoes depict an admixture of men and women with white and brown complexion, participating in cultural and religious activities. This is one of the reasons why, when Sir Arthur Evans had discovered Palace of Knossos in Crete in 1900, he had surmised that the Minoans may have been refugees from the delta region of Egypt.
The Minoan society was multicultural. The frescoes depict an admixture of men and women with white and brown complexion, participating in cultural and religious activities.
Fig 22: The multicultural Minoan society
Recent genetic studies based on mitochondrial DNA markers, however, refute Arthur Evans’s North African hypothesis. It seems that the early population of Crete descended from the Neolithic people who migrated to Europe from the Middle East and Turkey starting from around 7000 BCE.[12] Wolfgang Haak, a molecular archaeologist at the University of Adelaide in Australia, thinks that Crete’s early history is complicated, with multiple Neolithic populations arriving at different times.[13]

Neolithic migrations from the Middle East could account for some of the early cult symbols of the Minoans such as the sacred pillars, the horns of consecration, and the lion-riding deity known as the Mistress of Animals who was worshiped in peak sanctuaries.

However, another migration into Crete may have taken place at a later date – sometime before the beginning of the Neopalatial Period at around 1700 BCE. This migration, possibly from the Indus Valley, has not yet been considered by archaeologists, and has been generally overlooked in genetic studies. As I have indicated in my earlier article “Bull-Leaping: Did it spread from the Indus Valley to Syria, Egypt, and Crete?”, the J2 haplogroup is found in high frequencies in the Indus Valley region, and a migration of Indus tribes to the Mediterranean region may have been responsible for the high frequencies of J2 in this region, particularly in those places such as Crete, Turkey, Spain etc. where bull-leaping sports used to be popular.

The Indus migrants brought into Minoan Crete a number of technological innovations and religious practices such as advanced water management techniques, the lost-wax method of bronze casting, the bull-leaping sport, the worship of the Snake Goddess, Pillar Worship in cave sanctuaries, and Tree Worship rituals. The depiction of white and brown-skinned people on Minoan frescoes is an important indicator of this migrant population. They also brought with them their language of liturgy, Vedic Sanskrit, which has been successfully used by scholars to interpret Minoan names.

I think that the coastal Indus sites like Dholavira or Lothal are the most likely sources of the migrant population to Crete. Dholavira has a number of conspicuous parallels with the Minoan civilization, as already pointed out. Besides, the migration to Crete is likely to have been accomplished by sea-faring traders, who probably sailed across the Indian Ocean and up the Red Sea to reach Avaris, the capital of the Hyksos in the Nile Delta, and from there sailed down the Nile to the Mediterranean Sea, and reached Crete.

The hypothesis highlights an important historical event that has been generally ignored in cultural studies -  the collapse of the Indus Valley civilization at around 1900 BCE, and the subsequent migrations out of this densely populated ancient civilization. It had a far-reaching effect in taking Indian culture to distant shores, the signs of which are visible even today.


[1] “Excavations-Dholavira”, Archaeological Survey of India <http://asi.nic.in/asi_exca_2007_dholavira.asp>
[2] Bibhu Dev Misra, "Bull-Leaping: Did it spread from the Indus Valley to Syria, Egypt, and Crete?" 13 Jan 2017 <http://www.bibhudevmisra.com/2017/01/bull-leaping-did-it-spread-from-indus.html>
[3] Thomas E. Donaldson, Iconography of the Buddhist Sculpture of Orissa (Abhinav Publications, 2001) 405.
[4] Pradyot Kumar Maity, Human Fertility Cults and Rituals of Bengal: A Comparative Study, (Abhinav Publications, 1989) 181
[5] Carole M. Cusack, The Sacred Tree: Ancient and Medieval Manifestations (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011) 33.
[6] Marija Gimbutas, The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe, 6500-3500 B.C.: Myths and Cult Images (University of California Press, 2007) 80.
[7] Arthur John Evans, The Mycenaean Tree and Pillar Cult and Its Mediterranean Relations (Cambridge University Press, 2013) 8
[8] Marija Gimbutas, The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe, 6500-3500 B.C.: Myths and Cult Images (University of California Press, 2007) 79.
[9] Martin Persson Nilsson, The Minoan-Mycenaean Religion and Its Survival in Greek Religion (Biblo & Tannen Publishers, 1950) 242
[10] Francesco Brighenti, "Buffalo Sacrifice and Tribal Mortuary Rituals", Svabhinava.org 10 March 2007 <http://www.svabhinava.org/friends/FrancescoBrighenti/BuffaloSacrifice-frame.php>
[11] Martin Persson Nilsson, The Minoan-Mycenaean Religion and Its Survival in Greek Religion (Biblo & Tannen Publishers, 1950) 220
[12] Hughey, J. R. et al. A European population in Minoan Bronze Age Crete. Nat. Commun. 4:1861 doi: 10.1038/ncomms2871 (2013).
[13] Ewen Callaway,"Minoan Civilization Originated in Europe, Not Egypt" Nature Magazine 15 May 2013 <http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/minoan-civilization-origin-europe-not-egypt/>
[14] "Linear A" in Wikipedia
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Bibhu Dev Misra

Independent researcher and writer on ancient mysteries, cultural connections, cosmic wisdom, religion and science. Graduate of IIT and IIM with two decades of work experience in different fields

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  1. As some one who has suspected that there is much more about the story of human civilization which has been lost and systematically eradicated and suppressed by Christian and Islamic cultures, I am surprised how I missed you all these years-why your work is not known well enough? You are the most interesting find of this year. Thanks for all your work. Hope to see your videos on you tube and books on amazon.

    1. Thank You! Very happy to know that you have found my articles interesting. Books and videos are part of my plan, and I hope they will come in course of time.

  2. Really enjoyed your article, this information has been deliberately suppressed by western powers.

    1. Thanks. I agree that the Indian cultural influence in the West has generally been suppressed or ignored by the colonial historians.

  3. Brilliant articles as usual..I too thought of this similarity long ago...but it compilation of data and subsequent research is awesome..sadly we Indians both general populace and the Mainstream archaeologists never bothered to look into these areas..

    1. Thanks. Its great to know that you noticed some of the connections yourself. It is true that Indian historians do not give much attention to the plethora of cultural connections that exist between ancient India and other civilizations. As a result, individual researchers have to strive hard to bring this to the attention of the interested readers.

  4. guter Artikel. Mond und Stier waren einst wichtige Symbole. Der Montag war einst ein Feiertag.

    1. Thank you. The Moon God Nanna was the most important deity of the Mesopotamians. In India the lunar dynasty (chandravanshis) included avatars such as Krishna and Balarama. The bull continues to be an important symbol in Hindusim, and was once popular all over the world. Thanks for your comment.

  5. This article raises quite a few interesting points. In regards to the Minoian Snake Goddess and the possible connection to the Hindu Goddess Manasa I would like to note that in Linear B texts, which are written in Mycenaean Hellenic, the theonym Ma-na-sa is attested. A Deity name that is otherwise unknown in Hellenic religion from later times. It is known the Minoans and Mycenaeans were very much in contact with each other and exchange between the two civilisations was very much a thing. So the Minoans might have worshipped this Manasa and subsequently teh Mycenaeans also did.

    I do have a few issues with this theory, however. First, why has such a migration not shown any evidence in genetic research? Surely such a migration would have left a distinct footprint on the genetic make-up of ancient and modern Cretans? Even if not immediately recognised as being of an Indian origin, this would have left a genetic anomaly in the population make-up of Crete compared to surrounding regions. Second, this migration would have had to have happened in the span of a human lifetime. I am not sure otherwise the required knowledge and experience of building the advanced water management systems would have been preserved enough to be implemented again on Crete.

    1. Thanks for leaving your comment. It is interesting for me to know that Manasa is attested in the Mycanaean texts. This strongly suggests that the Minoan Snake Goddess was the same as Manasa - the Hindu goddess of snakes and wisdom.
      I have mentioned in the article that genetic research routinely leaves out the Indus Valley as a possible source of migrations into Crete. Although studies have shown that many Neolithic migrations have taken place into Crete from the Middle East and Anatolia since c.7000 BCE, none of them considered regions as far away as the Indus Valley. The genetic imprint cannot be seen if it has been deliberately ignored.
      Since the migration from the Indus Valley probably took place by boats along the coastal route, it would have been accomplished within one generation. I dont see a problem here.

    2. There is also the possibility that Ma-na-sa as a theonym in Mycenaean texts refers to a different Deity altogether, it would not be in the first time words or names sound similar but have no connection otherwise. In regards to the Minoan Snake Goddess, the problem is that we don't, in fact, know if it is an image of a Goddess at all. The statuette might also depict a priestess performing a sacred dance carrying snakes. One of the issues facing Minoan studies is that there is no clear iconological distinction between humans and Deities, much of the time, in terms of what they are wearing, what object they hold, etc. There are exceptions, such as the Potnia Theron or Mistress of Animals theme that is clearly continued in later times.

    3. True, but the Snake Goddess is generally understood as a goddess figure. In that light, the stark similarities in both iconography and name with Manasa need to be seriously explored.

  6. "The Buddhist refer to the Meru as Su-Meru (meaning the Good Meru), and there have been suggestions that this lies at the root of the term Sumeria."

    I am afraid I am going to have to firmly disagree with you on this point. Firstly, Sumer (not Sumeria) is a rather flat land, lacking any great mountains that might have been seen as an axis mundi or a home of teh Gods or anything like that.

    Secondly, Sumer is not even what the Sumerians called themselves or their land. Sumer comes from the Akkadian Šumeru. Akkadian is a Semitic language and unrelated to either Sumerian or any Indian languages, nor does the term in any way relate to a mythical mountain that serves as axis mundi or home of the Gods in Mesopotamian traditions. The Sumerians calle themselves "ùĝ.saĝ.gíg.ga" or "Black-Headed People" and their land "ki.en.gir" or "Land of Noble Lords".

    I am afraid this may just be a case of coincidental phonetic similarity without any actual relation.

    1. It is interesting that the term "Sumer" came from the Akkadian term "Sumeru". As per Wikipedia, "the phonological development leading to the Akkadian term šumerû is uncertain." So, the meaning and root of the word Sumeru in Akkadian is not known. And yet, it is a Sanskrit term, and had a very important significance in the Indus region, with whom the Mesopotamians had extensive trade relations.
      Is it not possible that the term entered into Akkadian vocabulary due to trade contacts between the Akkadians and Indus people? There is far too much going on here to attribute it to mere coincidence in my opinion. It is a real mystery why the Akkadians used a well-known Sanskrit term Sumeru to describe the ancient inhabitants of Southern Mesopotamia. I think this point deserves a lot more thought and analysis by experts.

    2. Another thing we should remember is that many ancient cultures considered their city or kingdom as the "center of the universe", with the "invisible" axis-mundi passing through the exact center of their kingdom, where they generally built the palace of the king or the central place of worship. Therefore, a kingdom could derive its name from the central axis-mundi, even though, the terrain is flat and devoid of high mountains.

    3. Since you mention that, I suppose you might be able to consider the ziggurat of each city as an axis mundi, as those were the temples of the city states'patron Deity, or even more specifically the ziggurat É.KUR, seat of the God EN.LÍL, the King of the Gods. This was also the central sanctuary for the Sumerian league of city states. However, it seems strange they would use a term from Sanskrit, which is documented only much later than either Sumerian or Akkadian, when they had their own words for these things. I think it is nothing but a coincidence. Humans tend to want to see connections of causality, even when there is no connection at all, so this is really nothign but conjecture. While the origin of the term Šumeru may be lost to time, it is not unreasonable it may be a geographic term from an unattested substratum-language. A thesis strengthened by the fact even the Sumerians themselves attributed the discovery of writing the people they called "Subaraeans", an otherwise unknown people that may have existed in the region. And geographic names are very often passed on from substratum languages to other languages moving into an area and eventually replacing the older languages. This seems more likely to me than borrowing a word from a language that may not even have been spoken in India yet. Just because there *seems* to be a connection doesn't always mean there actually is one.

    4. Agathokles Martinios: What you say may be true, but at the same time we should not be hasty in dismissing it completely as a coincidence. Otherwise we may potentially lose out on an aspect of history which has not yet been explored or understood.

    5. I agree that it can not be ruled out. However, we must take care not to jump to conclusions either. In general, the simplest answer that fits all the facts is the most likely to be correct. In this case, Šumeru being based on an older toponym inherited from a substratum language is a simpler explanation than it being related to the Indian concept of Meru for reasons I have already stated above.

  7. Agathokles Martinios: Since we discussed about the Minoan Snake goddess earlier, do you have any thoughts on why Hera's chariot is drawn by peacocks?
    Peacocks are a bird native to India, although they are also found in Aghanistan and Persia. Alexander saw the peacock for the first time in India (c.300 BCE) and after that the bird became popular in Greece.
    Hera, on the other hand, was worshiped from at least c.800 BCE, if not earlier. How did the peacock - a bird native to India and unknown in the West before c.300 BCE - become associated with her?

    1. Actually, Hera was already worshipped by the Mycenaean Hellenes of the Bronze Age, as Her name was discovered in Linear B offering lists. So Her worships dates back even further than you mention, even though we know very little about the actual details of Her worship before the Archaic Period.

      I don't know for certain, but knowledge of peacocks, and perhaps actual peacocks might have been brought to Anatolia and the Aegean already in the Bronze Age, given the existence of an extensive trade network at this time, stretching from Cornwall to India. At least the knowledge of peacocks must have reached the Hellenes early on, as there is even a myth that explains how the peacock got the "eyes" on its tail.

      This myth is about Io, a nymph loved by Zeus. When Hera, Zeus's wife approached, Zeus quickly turned Io into a cow before Hera saw her. Hera, suspecting Zeus was up to something but not having any real evidence against His claims that He was not, decided to ask Zeus to give Her the cow. Zeus obliged Hera, Who then took the cow and hid her in a cave. She appointed Argos as the guardian of the cave to guard the cow, Argos being a giant with a hundred eyes. This meant that he had at least one eye open at all times, thus being ever-vigilant.

      Zeus then enlists the aid of His son Hermes to rescue Io from her predicament. Hermes, a God of Trickery and Guile (among many other things), went to Argos and offered to play him a song on his flute. Argos agreed to this and Hermes played a soothing, calming song that eventually made Argos fall asleep with every one of his one hundred eyes. Once Argos was fast asleep, Hermes slew him, earning him the epithet of "Argeiphontes" or "Argos-slayer". Io then escaped, but Hera noticed and set a gadfly upon her to ceaselessly chase her across the Earth, as Hera now knew that the cow was a nymph that Zeus had an affair with. Eventually, Io gets rescued by Zeus and turned back into her true form, and so on, but the important part in relations to peacocks is the following: When Hera came upon the corpse of Argos, She wanted to reward him for his loyalty, even in death, and so she took Argos'one hundred eyes and placed them upon the tail of her favourite bird, the peacock.

      This shows a very close connection between Hera and the peacock. I think it is Her favourite bird on account of its beauty and splendour, and it would have been a very expensive creature to own in ancient Hellas, something only the wealthy might be able to afford. Therefore, it might have a connection to royalty, thus befitting the Queen of All. Going off track a little bit, it is also interesting, in regards to the myth of Io, that the cow is also a sacred animal of Hera, and Hera is Herself even called "Boöpis" or "Cow-eyed" for this.

    2. Thanks for sharing the story. Its interesting how the cow was sacred in Egypt, being associated with Hathor, in Greece, and of course in India where it is still worshiped as a form of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth.
      In India, the peacock is the mount of Kartikeya, the god of war and enlightenment. A demon called Soorapadman had defeated all the gods, and taken them as his prisoners. Kartikeya, the son of Shiva, defeated Soorapadman in battle, and when the demon begged him for forgiveness he was transformed into Kartikeya's peacock mount. So, the story has certain parallels with the Greek legend that you mentioned.
      I would also like to point out that if you look at the depictions of Zeus's thunderbolt, particularly those found on the ancient Greek coins, you will notice that they look extremely similar to the Hindu-Buddhist depictions of the vajra or thunderbolt, that was held by the sky-god Indra. The thunderbolt, of course, is a mythical weapon, which finds no use in actual warfare. So, to find such similarities in a symbolic artifact indicates a cultural interaction.
      There must have been long standing trade ties between the east and west, as you have already mentioned. I remember reading somewhere that some river channels, which are now dried up, connected the Mediterranean with the Red Sea. I wonder if the ancient merchants knew of such short-cuts. The Phoenicians, allegedly, kept their maritime trade routes a secret. I believe that the Phoenicians must have traded with the Indus Valley, for archaeologist S.R.Rao had discovered many “three-holed triangular stone anchors” off the western coast of Gujarat (near Dwaraka) which were identical to the ones used by the Phoenicians.
      I wonder what you think of Herodotus's observation that the Phoenicians originally came from the shores of the Erythraean Sea i.e. the Arabian Sea. He had written that:
      “According to the Persians best informed in history, the Phoenicians began to quarrel. This people, who had formerly dwelt on the shores of the Erythraean Sea, having migrated to the Mediterranean and settled in the parts which they now inhabit, began at once, they say, to adventure on long voyages, freighting their vessels with the wares of Egypt and Assyria.”
      The shores of the Arabian Sea includes the Indus Valley, Iran, and the Arabian peninsula. Herodotus suggests there was a migration from these regions to the Mediterranean. What do you make of it?

    3. When it comes to the Thunderbolt, I have to agree with Anthonie on that one. It goes back to a common Indo-European theme. Even if stylistically the depictions of it seem to be very alike, it can happen through similar considerations for how to depict something like lightning. And how old are the oldest depictions in India of it? Because depending on the age it may also have been a stylistic influence from the Indo-Hellenic Kingdom, which we know did influence Asian art. The most important example of their influence is how they very likely started the depiction of the Buddha in an iconic (i.e. human-like) way, whereas before he was always depicted aniconically.

      I suppose Anthonie is right when she says Greek culture has been the most influential in the history, since it forms one of the foundations on which Western culture is based, which held world-wide sway in colonial days, and in many ways still holds a dominant position on the world stage. However, that does not mean Hellenic civilisation is inherently superior to any other. Furthermore, even the Hellenic foundation rests upon a deeper foundation of the Ancient Near East, from where agriculture, metallurgy, the idea of writing, etc., came.

      Regarding the Phoenicians, the most likely candidates for the origin of the Semitic languages that are the Maghreb region of North-Africa and the Levant region of Southwest-Asia. So basically, according to that second theory, Semitic languages would originate in the region where Lebanon is. On top of this, genetic research has already indicated a great degree of continuity between modern Lebanese people and the peoples who have lived in that region for millennia, including the Phoenicians and the preceding Canaanite civilisation.

      Overall, it can be dangerous to rely overly much on Herodotos without other confirmation. He wasn't always as critical of his sources as he probably should have been, and can relay things that are not true. It is not for nothing that he is called both "Father of History" and "Father of Lies"... It all depends on when it is supposed to have happened. Also, if you are hinting at the possibility of the Phoenicians being originally from India, I feel this is not the case. There is little cultural connection to India. The Phoenicians were solidly a Semitic people, with Semitic Gods who have parallels among other Semitic peoples, speaking a Semitic language,... You're going to need some extraordinary evidence to argue they originally came from India. I think you are grasping at straws here. At best there could at some point have been a migration from the Red Sea or Arabian peninsula, but more likely it seems the Phoenicians are a local people that had been there for quite some time. The Canaanites were their ancestors, so it would have had to have been at least before the Canaanites culture and language and religion became established in the region. And if the Levantine Origin Theory holds true, then the Phoenicians would simply be indigenous. I am not sure whether even Herodotos' Persian sources would have known about these things.

      In regards to Dwarka, it is certainly possible that the Phoenicians traded with them. They might have had trading deals with the Egyptians for crossing from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea for access to trade with India. I have never heard of any ancient canals, natural or artificial, connecting the Mediterranean and Red Seas. It is more likely that the Phoenicians had a trade port in Egypt on the Red Sea shore. Egypt would benefit from such trade, having precious goods brought in when they themselves were not a sea-faring people at all, as would the Phoenicians as they could circumvent the Mesopotamians and trade with India more directly. However, with just three anchors in a sunken city as evidence, I find it rather meagre. It can be suggestive at most.

    4. Agathokles Martinios: Did you look at the depictions of the thunderbolt on Greek coins and the Hindu-Buddhist vajra? It is a complex symbol, almost exactly represented in both cultures, and it does not resemble a thunderbolt in any way. I find it difficult to accept that this symbol could have been developed independantly in both cultures. Whether it was an Indian influence on Greece or vice versa is not clear, but it certainly hints at cultural interaction.
      I do not agree with your statement that the Greeks introduced iconic representations of the Buddha. Buddha icons can be seen in the Ajanta caves from the 2nd century BCE, and Buddha scultpures were independantly developed in Mathura, in an indegeous style without any Greek influence, from the 1st century AD, around the same time that the Gandhara Buddha sculptures were being developed.
      Coming to the Phoenicians - It is possible that Herodotus may or may not have been correct in his statement. But is it not odd that this point is not mentioned in any research paper that discusses about the Phoenicians. Its almost as if scholars are afraid as to what will spring out of the bag if they go down this route. I have not claimed that Phoenicians came from the Indus Valley, but said that they traded with them. If their original homeland was on the shores of the Arabian Sea as Herodotus claimed, they would have had absolutely no problem finding their way to Dwaraka.

  8. Again, what are the earliest depictions of the vajra that we know of? Are there images of the vajra that predate Alexander's conquest and which still greatly resemble Hellenic depictions of the thunderbolt? Because if the similarities postdate Alexander's conquests it may be direct cultural interaction, if they predate Alexander's conquests than there must have either been interaction from earlier on. We must also consider whether intermediary cultures (Persians, Mesopotamians, Canaanites, Anatolians) also used a similar depiction of the thunderbolt. Because if that is teh case, Indians and Hellenes might have inherited the design from any of those cultures.

    Regarding the anthropomorphic representation of the Buddha, this does seem to have emerged in the first century CE simultaneously in the Indo-Hellenic Kingdom and in Mathura. Perhaps there was some interaction and the idea arose and these two centres then developed their own unique styles? At the very least it does seem that the Indo-Hellenes had a great impact on the popularity of iconic images of the Buddha and spreading that idea far and wide across Asia, given Menander I's (known as Milinda in Indian texts) great role in promoting and spreading Buddhism.

    1. Right, I need to explore the vajra symbolism in more detail to find out its use amongst the ancient cultures, and possible interaction points.
      The Indo-Greek kings of Gandhara, of course, played an important role in the adoption and spread of Buddhism. In fact, even during the time of Ashoka, in the 3rd century BC, Greeks took active roles in spreading Buddhism as leading missionaries. One of the Buddhist missionaries named Dharmaraksita, who was sent by Ashoka to propagate the faith to the northwestern parts of India, has been described in the Buddhist historical texts, the Dipavamsa and the Mahavamsa, as being a Greek (Pali: “Yona” which means “Ionian”).

  9. Interesting article about the possible connections between the Indus Valley culture and Minoan Crete. I wish to point out another, albeit mythical, connection between the Greek areas and the Indian subcontinent, that is; the myth of the Greek god of wine - Dionysos! He is attested already in the Mycenaean Linear B-tablets and he is said to have "conquered" India in Greek mythological stories. Check out this Wikipedia-link for an "overview" of his myhological, and other, oeuvre:


    Don't know if this is helpful, but it certainly speaks of some connection, although in some mythical past.

    Best Regards
    /K. A.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It is true that Dionysus is an important mythical connection between India and Greece. There are many versions about his birth and exploits. Alain Danielou, the French historian, connected Dionysus to the Hindu god Shiva (Gods of Love and Ecstasy: The Traditions of Shiva and Dionysus), while Sir William Jones associated him with Indian monarch Rama. Whatever be the exact story, the point remains that the persona of Dionysus signified a period of cultural interaction between India and Greece in the proto-historical period.

    2. Hello again,

      and thank you for your reply! I would like to forward this link, where the excerpts of ancient Greek and Roman authors are presented regarding the topic of Dionysos in the subcontinent:


      Some of the quotes are fascinating in its highly detailed descriptions of the culture and topography of ancient India, and they give an insight into the impressions that the ancient Hellenistic cultures had of India.

      Take care and all the best!

      /K. A.

    3. Thanks for sharing the link. It is an interesting read. Arrian's "Indica" (in which he quotes from Megasthenes, Nearchus and others) has a lot of details about India from the time of Alexander, which we dont find elsewhere. I have read these accounts earlier, but it is interesting to go though them again.


  10. I found the article fascinating & the comments engaging, however I think sometimes it becomes clear that even in the most even handed attempts, elements of historical 'nationalism'raises it's head. I prefer to evaluate these issues from essentially a 'simple' point of view and apply evidence & method to an opinion/finding. Using modern day analogues, what is clear that 'thoughts & ideas' travel; We know that the Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) arose and fell & they were responsible for some remarkable achievements. We know following modern analogues that when things slowly stop working in a community, its the most capable (resources & intellect) that look for new homes. I believe that's what happen with the demise of the IVC, indeed all declining civilizations. As they travel to more lucrative regions they take they history values etc with them. Along the way they mix with others (historically, genetically etc); ultimately what works for their descendants is what remains to be carried even further. Using European Jewry as an example, I doubt a Jewish person from 2000 years ago would recognize a European white Jew of today as being 'old world orthodox' and even remotely related to him/her - but none the less no one questions the 'Jewishness' of today's Blonde haired blue eyed Jew! I think it is pointless to introduce consciously or unconsciously elements of 'historical nationalism' into the debate. It distracts from the science. Whilst I am convinced there appears to be parallels between Minoan & IVC, I do not think there is a direct connection between the two civilizations, and none has been provided yet. Comparing the Minoan script to Sanskrit does more to muddy the waters than clear it up. Even European archaeologists are unclear as to whether the Minoans were Greek or not; some declaring that they were others suggesting they were not. If these basic facts are still currently under discussion then I think proposing (actively or by suggestion) that the IVC (and by extension India) directly bequeathed other civilizations with the building blocks of innovation is incorrect. Clear evidence is needed.