The comparative evidence afforded by the discovery of Egyptian relics shows that the Great Age of the Cretan palaces covers the close of the third and the first half of the second millennium before our era.
Meantime Cretan autonomy had been proclaimed (loth March).
Quite distinct was the Idaean Hercules, a Cretan Dactyl connected with the cult of Rhea or Cybele.
A third curve, from the south-easternmost promontory of the Peloponnese through Cerigo, Crete, Carpathos and Rhodes, marks off the outer deeps of the open Mediterranean from the shallow seas of the archipelago, but the Cretan Sea, in which depths occur over 1000 fathoms, intervenes, north of the line, between it and the Aegean proper.
Zaimis, as high commissioner, took the oath to the new constitution elaborated after much debate by the Cretan national assembly.
The story of Talos, the Cretan man of brass, who heated himself red-hot and clasped strangers in his embrace as soon as they landed on the island, is probably of similar origin.
The security of the island was apparently violated not long after 150o B.C., the Cnossian palace was sacked and burned, and Cretan art suffered an irreparable blow.
At Naxos Ariadne (probably a Cretan goddess akin to Aphrodite) was associated with Dionysus as his wife, by whom he was the father of Oenopion (wine-drinker), Staphylus (grape), and Euanthes (blooming), and their marriage was annually celebrated by a festival.
In general the Cretan constitution is characterized by a conservative spirit, and contrasts with the ultra-democratic systems. established in Greece and the Balkan States.
The whole course of the older Cretan civilization is awhile interrupted, and is separated from the new by the true dark ages of Greece.