Crocuses in Context: A Diachronic Survey of the Crocus Motif in the Aegean Bronze Age

by Jo Day

Hesperia, Volume 80, Issue 3
Page(s): 337-379
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2972/hesperia.80.3.0337
Year: 2011


Floral imagery plays a major role in Minoan art, and the crocus has long been recognized as an important motif. Previous studies, however, have been narrowly focused on specific materials or interpretations, thereby obscuring the richness of crocus iconography and its meanings. This article presents a detailed survey of the crocus in Aegean art from the Early Bronze Age to Mycenaean times, exploring the diversity and development of the motif across different media and reassessing possible explanations for its importance. A complex world of floral symbolism is revealed, in which the polysemic crocus functions as a key element in Minoan identity.