It is hidden but always present.Laozi
On display for all to see at The Archeological Museum in Heraklion, Crete, are objects that were once hidden but now found and available to the public. Even so, the origin and meaning are still not fully understood by international scholars, residents of the area, and plain ol’ tourists like us who are still learning the secrets of ancient lands.
One of these objects was actually something we had seen in a tourist shop in downtown Heraklion before going to the museum: a Festus, it was called. And when we asked what that meant, we had a hard time understanding its importance or hidden history . . . until we saw the original on display in its own glass case.
“Festus” is a sort of made-up, shortened, altered word based upon where this object was found: Phaistos, on the island of Crete, one of the Minoan trading posts around the second century B.C.
After this long-hidden Phaistos Disc was found in 1908, scholars developed the theory that its inscription, written in a spiral on both sides of the disc was a prayer to a mother goddess. But so valuable was the interpretation of the words formed by its 45 individual signs, the discovery of the Phaistos Disc (and the resulting translation) was compared to the value of the Rosetta Stone in opening up languages previously unknown until its discovery. The translations of the Phaistos Disc enabled scholars to interpret much of what was previously written and “hidden” in the discoveries in Mycenae and Crete.
So, of course, when offered jewelry copied from this Festus, as it was called, I seized the moment. After all, what was hidden is now found (and copied and mimicked and sold) in shops all over Heraklion.
And our memory of seeing this actual ancient find is just another reason why we love to travel!
Rusha & Bert
This post is one of a series of one-word prompts for April 2020 called Discover Prompts by WordPress. Enjoy!