Genetics found the descendants of the inhabitants of Crete and heroes myths of Ancient Greece

© Illustration RIA Novosti . Polarisavenue Alina revealed the secret of the origin of the Greek heroes and the mysterious MinoansGenetics found the descendants of the inhabitants of Crete and heroes myths of Ancient Greece© Illustration RIA Novosti . Alina Polyanina

The heroes of the Iliad and other Greek myths, as well as other representatives of the Mycenaean and Minoan civilizations were close relatives of the ancient inhabitants of Turkey and Iran, as well as the inhabitants of the Russian steppes of the Caspian sea, discovered genetics, published an article in the journal Nature.

«We wanted to understand were the Minoans and the Mycenaeans at the genetic level, they have each other relatives, who were their ancestors, and whether or not the modern Greeks and Cretans are descendants of these ancient civilizations,» says Johannes Krause (Johannes Krause) from the University of tübingen (Germany).

Hector, Achilles, Hercules, and other heroes of ancient Greek myths refer to the two mysterious cultures of antiquity, the Minoan and the Mycenaean, which existed on Crete and on mainland Greece, about 5-3 thousand years ago. These ancient peoples disappeared from the face of the Earth after the invasion of the tribes of the Dorians, bringing their culture was almost completely destroyed, and the origin story was a big mystery to scientists.

The first noteworthy traces of Minoan civilization were discovered only in the early 20th century, when British archaeologist Arthur Evans discovered the «dead city» of Knossos, the supposed capital of ancient Crete. In the following years, scientists discovered on the territory of the palaces of Knossos traces of the mysterious civilization, combining as signs of cultures of Egypt and Libya, and of the peoples of the Balkans and Anatolia. This gave rise to disagreements among archaeologists, divided into supporters of the «European» and «African» versions.

Problems and adds that the script of the ancient Minoans and was not encrypted, which neither historians nor linguists have no idea about what the peoples of the ancient world was their immediate relatives and where they lived the ancestors of the heroes of the Trojan war before their migration to Greece and Crete. Therefore, discussions about the origin of these peoples are already over a hundred years and not think to stop.

Krause, David Rach (David Reich) from Harvard University (USA) and many other well-known paleogenetics took a big step to resolving all of these disputes, «raising» and deciphering DNA 19 Mycenaeans and the Minoans. Their remains were found on the territory of the former Argolis, where themselves of Mycenae, the island of Salamis, in the Central regions of Crete and the ruins of the city-States on the coast of modern Asia minor.

Caspian trail

Deciphering these ancient DNA, the researchers compared sets of small mutations in them with three hundred other genomes of the ancient inhabitants of Europe and Asia Minor, as well as with DNA of the two thousand inhabitants of modern Greece and Crete. This allowed them to find their ancestors, and the descendants of the ancient Mycenaeans and the Minoans, and to understand how varied their population over time.

For example, Krause and his colleagues found that the Mycenaeans and Minoans really had each other’s relatives, their ancestors penetrated into the future of Hellas from Anatolia and Iran around the same time about four thousand years ago.

Once at the new home, they mixed with the local tribes people, who lived in Greece from Neolithic times, after which their destiny was divided. The Minoans, as I think Rach and his colleagues led a fairly isolated life and had contact only with the Mycenaeans, so their genome has remained almost unchanged. The Mycenaeans, in turn, has experienced at least one episode of mixing with alien peoples, from whom they inherited approximately 13-18% of their DNA.

The role of these peoples, according to Krause, expect the first tribes of Indo-Europeans who lived as recently discovered by geneticists in the Russian and Ukrainian steppes at the shores of the Black sea and the Caspian sea is about 5-6 thousand years ago. Another option would be the invasion of tribes of hunter-gatherers from the North, not the East, as in the case of «Caspian» version.

All this, as the researchers note, once again refutes the popular «cultural» theory that the Minoans and the Mycenaeans were relatives of the peoples of Ancient Egypt and other southern countries, migrated to Crete and the Peloponnese by sea.

Interestingly, DNA of the ancient inhabitants of Greece shows that the frescoes of the palaces of Knossos and figures on Greek amphorae do not distort reality – the representatives of these civilizations did possess fair skin, dark hair and eyes, and typical Greek features.

Accordingly, modern Greeks can really consider themselves heirs of the first European civilization,as their DNA, how they make Rach, Krause and their colleagues, contains traces of the genomes of the Mycenaeans and the Minoans with a small admixture of other peoples with whom the Greeks had contact after the end of the «Golden age» of Ancient Greece.