THE HISTORY OF KING MINOS’ ROUTE AND OF MINOAN – SACRED ROUTES
The Minoan civilization, recreated by Arthur Evans and his archaeologists and certified by the surviving iconography, resembles a Golden Age integrated into a heavenly structure, which perceived the world as a limitless continuum. This myth of the Golden Age has already been widespread since antiquity with Hesiod and it refers to a period when man had access to a divine world, to knowledge and integrity. Within this field, many ancient writers refer to the ideal state of the Cretans, with its fair laws. According to the prevailing theory and interpretation, at the beginning of every ninth year or every hundredth month, King Minos, “Minos enneoros” (Odyssey, T 178-179 and Plato, Minos 319-320), started from Knossos, covering a large way to the sacred cave, to meet his father Zeus and discuss with him in person. There, he would learn about the mistakes that had been made and receive oracles concerning the best legislation for the future.
In order to communicate with Zeus, King Minos used to travel through this sacred path which, according to literary sources, started from Knossos and through Lyktos or Lyttos ended in the stalagmite cave of Dikteon Andron (Homer, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Apollonius, Apollodorus, etc.), located on Mount Dikte of the Ida or Ideon mountains of Crete (the current mountain of Psiloritis), (Strabo, Geography). In Plato’s dialogues Laws and Minos, no name is mentioned for the location of Crete where the cave of Zeus was. There is only a simple description of the natural beauty of the route.
For thousands of years people have been used to moving from one place to another in order to pursue God. This act has been known as “ierapodimies” (Partridge, 2006). People often travelled great distances to participate in sacred rituals so as to strengthen the relations in the community, to deposit offerings in places of worship and to revive the specified routes of holy figures who came into contact with the supreme deity (Epiphany).
According to the previously mentioned reports, the so-called Minoan routes, which have been organized nowadays by the Municipality of Minoa Pediadas in cooperation with the Municipality of Lassithi Plateau, follow King Minos’ footsteps. These routes also reveal impressive natural scenery, in which one can say that nature interrelates with metaphysical elements. In addition traditional customs have revived, such as the throwing of the stone at Tsouli’ s grave.