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Construct vast fleets of ships and build a Mediterranean trade network that will be commemorated on the vibrant frescos within your grand palaces.

The Minoans are a Mediterranean civilization in Age of Empires. Centered on the island of Crete in the Aegean Sea (with subsequent territorial expansion in the adjacent islands in the Sea of Crete to the north and the Mediterranean to the south along with the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea to the north as well), they were a Bronze Age Indo-European people, most likely stemming from Anatolia. They were named after the mythical figure King Minos, said to have been a king of Knossos, capital and cultural, administrative as well as religious center of Crete during Antiquity. It is known in popular culture for the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur.

Their architectural type is Greek, which is shared with the Greeks and Phoenicians. The Minoans are often regarded as the first civilization to have emerged in Europe, therefore being the eldest on the European continent. Nonetheless, many aspects regarding their culture and civilization remain a mystery to this day, including, perhaps most notably, their language.


Civilization bonuses[]

  • Ships cost -15%/-20%/-25%/-30% in the Stone/Tool/Bronze/Iron Age.
  • Improved Bowman-line +1/+2 range in the Bronze/Iron Age.
  • Farmers work 10% faster.*

Team bonus[]

Docks cost -20%.

Missing technologies[]

Fortified Wall, Guard Tower, Urbanization, Astrology, Mysticism, Afterlife, Monotheism, Fanaticism, Zealotry

Missing units[]

Legionary, Chariot Archer, Horse Archer, Elephant Archer, Chariot, Heavy Cavalry, War Elephant, Fire Galley


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The Minoans are strictly an aggressive civilization due to their bonuses and technology tree, but do work well defensively before the Iron Age. However, their defensive qualities fall short in the Iron Age due to the lack of Guard Towers and Fortified Walls. Their Temple also lacks Astrology, Mysticism, Afterlife, Monotheism, Fanaticism, and Zealotry


ReturnRome-AoEIcon Age of Empires[]

AoE2Icon-ReturnRome Return of Rome[]

  • Team bonus added.
  • Civilization bonus Farms have +60 food removed
  • Civilization bonus Farmers work 10% faster added.
  • With update 93001, the Improved Bowman line has +1/+2 range in the Bronze/Iron Age, respectively.
  • With update 99311, ships cost -15%/-20%/-25%/-30% in the Stone/Tool/Bronze/Iron Age.

Campaign appearances[]

The Minoans appear as AI players in:

AoE Ascent of Egypt icon Ascent of Egypt[]

NuRoR hoplite idle Glory of Greece[]

NuRoR priest idle Voices of Babylon[]

  • 8. Nineveh (original)
    • Enemy - Enemy

The Rise of Rome[]

  • 6. Mithridates
    • Romans - Ally (since the Definitive Edition)

Ave Caesar[]

AI player names[]

When playing a random map game against the computer, the player may encounter any of the following Minoans AI characters.

  • Minos - Mythological king of Crete, from whom the name of Minoan civilization is derived. Brother to Rhadamanthys and Sarpedon
  • Rhadamanthys - Mythological king of Crete, brother to Sarpedon and Minos
  • Sarpedon - Mythological king of Milyas (Lycia), brother to Minos and Rhadamantys
  • Erythrus - Son of Rhadamanthys, founder of Erythrae
  • Gortys - Son of Rhadamanthys, associated with Gortyn, Crete
  • Aiakos - Mythological king of Aegina
  • Androgeus - Son of Minos and Pasiphaë
  • Pasiphae - Mythological wife of Minos, daughter of Helios (the sun) and Perse (an Oceanid)
  • Aeacus - Latinized form of Aiakos

The following AI players are only present before the Definitive Edition:

  • Minos II - Did not exist in Minoa
  • Rhadamanthys II - Did not exist in Minoa
  • Minos III - Did not exist in Minoa
  • Rhadamanthys III - Did not exist in Minoa
  • Minos IV - Did not exist in Minoa


Main article: /History
2200 to 1200 BC

Primitive agricultural communities sprang up around the Aegean Sea by 6000 BC but this area lagged behind Egypt and Mesopotamia in advancing toward civilization. For reasons not yet understood, the island-based Minoan culture made a sudden leap forward around 2000 BC and became the first civilization of Europe. The sudden take-off may have been stimulated by trading contact with Mesopotamia through Levant ports or through contact with Egypt. One theory suggests that refugees from Egypt during a time of turmoil may have emigrated to Crete and brought technology and ideas with them.
—Excerpt from the Age of Empires manual


  • The civilization's icon introduced in Return of Rome portrays a "figure of eight" shield which were made of ox hide and reinforced with bronze, and were used by Minoans and Mycenaean Greeks, with mentions in Homer's Iliad and surviving artworks of them.
  • The user interface image in Return of Rome depicts a popular fresco found in the palace of Knossos, "ladies in blue", dated to 1525–1450 B.C., at Knossos, Greece.
  • As opposed to their in-game development, the Minoan civilization was predominantly peaceful. It thrived for centuries mainly given the richness of Crete's soil and the abundance of fish in the Sea of Crete, the Aegean Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea.
  • The downfall of the Minoans was marked in part by natural disaster such as several earthquakes on the island of Crete which destroyed their palaces as well as a large volcanic eruption on the island of Santorini (formerly known as Thera), where a former Minoan colony was once founded, which unleashed large tsunami waves southward towards Crete.



Civilizations in Age of Empires categorised by architecture set
East Asian architectureChoson AoE Choson · Lac Viet AoE Lac Viet · Shang AoE Shang · Yamato AoE Yamato
Egyptian architectureAssyrians AoE Assyrians · Egyptians AoE Egyptians · Hittites AoE Hittites
Greek architectureGreeks AoE Greeks · Minoans AoE Minoans · Phoenicians AoE Phoenicians
Mesopotamian architectureBabylonians AoE Babylonians · Persians AoE Persians · Sumerians AoE Sumerians
Roman architectureCarthaginians AoE Carthaginians · Macedonians AoE Macedonians · Palmyrans AoE Palmyrans · Romans AoE Romans