Nimatallah/ Art Resource, NY

MANY OARS MAKE A FASTER SHIP. This 13th-century B.C. fresco from the island of Thera (modern Santorini) reflects the importance of ships and nautical prowess in the Late Bronze Age, a time that witnessed what some scholars refer to as the Minoization of the Aegean. Such frescoes, along with the island’s architecture and pottery, suggest that Thera had Minoan origins. The Minoans retained a strong sea presence and traded with Egypt, the Near East and Greece, where fine Minoan objects were found in the grave circles at Mycenae. Thera, located 60 miles from Crete, would have been a natural port for the Minoans as they made connections with eastern Mediterranean ports.