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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
Joined: 01 Aug 2004

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PostPosted: Wed 09 Aug, 2006 5:24 pm    Post subject: Huge Axes - worlds oldest wallhangers?         Reply with quote

I just stumbled across this picture whilst googling. The site if found it at was very sketchy to put it mildly, but they said the axes were in the Baghdad Museum, and that they were Sumerian. After a some more searching I found another pic from this site:

http://www.mieraus.com/Greece/Palace%20of%20Knossos/index.htm

Does anyone know the history of these axes? Where were they found? Obviously they are too large to be wielded by a human, so either A: they were used by several people for some sort of ceremony or B: they are just giant wallhangers.



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Allen W





Joined: 02 Mar 2004

Posts: 285

PostPosted: Wed 09 Aug, 2006 8:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

They're Minoan. I've often heard references to the use of double-bitted axes in Minoan ceremonies but these were always vague and I have no idea of their function.
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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
Joined: 01 Aug 2004

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PostPosted: Wed 09 Aug, 2006 8:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh that's right... the labrys. I've read a blurb here and there about them, apparently they are a religious item. I have seen a gold version before, but I had no idea they were so ... enormous. Eek! Any record of these being used outside religious context? Were they used for ritual sacrifice? Surely they weren't all this large. Any Minoan history buffs out there?
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George Hill




Location: Atlanta Ga
Joined: 16 May 2005

Posts: 614

PostPosted: Wed 09 Aug, 2006 11:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gavin Kisebach wrote:
Oh that's right... the labrys. I've read a blurb here and there about them, apparently they are a religious item. I have seen a gold version before, but I had no idea they were so ... enormous. Eek! Any record of these being used outside religious context? Were they used for ritual sacrifice? Surely they weren't all this large. Any Minoan history buffs out there?


I know a very small amount about them. Basically, the labrys was a very important symbol, for reasons unknown. But take any important symbol, and people are going to do it up big.

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Malcolm A




Location: Scotland, UK
Joined: 22 Mar 2005

Posts: 89

PostPosted: Thu 10 Aug, 2006 6:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all,
I saw these items when on holiday in Crete; they are actually at the Heraklion museum which is worth a visit.
Yes, they really are that big BUT they are very thin and hence can only be decorative / religious symbols rather than an actual working" tool / weapon. You will have come to that conclusion no doubt already.
There are smaller versions I seem to recall of the same design and similarly thin, also probably not a practical item. And if my memory serves me right, one or two "proper" axes are there, ones with a more substantial mass and no doubt were used for something real - chopping wood, trees or people!
The labrys was, as already pointed out, a very religious icon / design and can be seen in many forms; it was even carved in to the stonework at the Knossos Palace.

It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom -- for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

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PostPosted: Thu 10 Aug, 2006 9:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh, those are neat! Yes, presumably they are more architectural features than anything else. The double axe symbol was all over the place back then. Incidentally, the word "labyrinth" literally means "Place of the Double Axe", i.e., the palace at Knossos. It's a big maze of a place, and is the basis of the Minotaur legend.

Matthew
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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
Joined: 01 Aug 2004

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 650

PostPosted: Fri 11 Aug, 2006 8:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've often heard the labrys sited as an example of a double-bitted battle axe, but based on what you're describing, it doesn't sound like they would be a valid example. I've also heard folks mention the Persian? tabar, but as often as not they appear to be single bitted, soi'm beginning to think tabar simply means 'axe', rather than a specific type. I would like to see a good clean picture of one of those gold labrys.
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