Gallery of the Bronze Age Aegean | Level 3

  • 12th century BC larnax (sarcophagus) from Minoan Crete.
  • Mycenaean artistry reflected in a ceramic kylix.
  • The Cycladic culture of the Neolithic period is known for its schematic figurines, made from local pure white marble
  • Small bronze male figurines were left as votive offerings by the Minoans.

The rise and fall of three mighty civilizations.

Long before the Classical Age the prehistoric Cycladic, Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations flourished in Greece and the Aegean. This was before the age of written history, but these cultures inspired the myths and legends of Greece – tales of the heroes of the Trojan War and the legendary King Minos of Crete. The people of the Cyclades were skilled craftsmen from the Neolithic period. The Minoans on Crete constructed massive building complexes such as the palace of Knossos, and traded far and wide. Their successors, the Mycenaeans, based on mainland Greece, constructed fortified citadels such as Mycenae for defence and administrative control. The reason for the destruction of these civilisations is still unexplained. 

This gallery highlights the periods when the Cycladic, Minoan and Mycenaean flourished, but after the mysterious destruction of these civilisations their knowledge, artistic and building techniques were lost, and Greece entered a ‘Dark Age’. At the end of this gallery, objects from Athens in the Geometric period provide evidence for the first signs of revival and the beginning of the story of Classical Greece. The gallery is generously supported by the Hellenic Republic and the Greek communities of Canada. 

About the Gallery


Over 100 artifacts in four thematic areas: the Cycladic, the Minoan, the Mycenaean, and the Geometric Period.


Greece and the islands of the Aegean Sea.


Approximately 3000 - 700 BC.

ROM Staff

Associate Curator (North American Archaeology)

Lisa Golombek

Curator Emeritus (Islamic Art) Retired

Authored by: Noman Siddiqui