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Mycenae ( ; grc, Μυκῆναι or , ''Mykē̂nai'' or ''Mykḗnē'') is an
archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also kn ...

archaeological site
near Mykines in
Argolis Argolis or Argolida ( el, Αργολίδα , ; , in ancient Greek and Katharevousa) is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the modern regions of Greece, region of Peloponnese (region), Peloponnese, situated in the eastern part of ...
, north-eastern
Peloponnese The Peloponnese (), Peloponnesia, or Peloponnesus (; el, Πελοπόννησος, Pelopónnēsos, ) is a peninsula and geographic regions of Greece, geographic region in southern Greece. It is connected to the central part of the country by the ...
,
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
. It is located about south-west of
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...

Athens
; north of
Argos Argos usually refers to: * Argos, Peloponnese Argos (; Greek language, Greek: Άργος ; Ancient Greek: Ἄργος ) is a city in Argolis, the Peloponnese (region), Peloponnese, Greece and is one of the List of oldest continuously inhabited ci ...
; and south of
Corinth Corinth ( ; el, Κόρινθος, Kórinthos, ) is the successor to an ancient city, and is a former municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of sel ...

Corinth
. The site is inland from the
Saronic Gulf The Saronic Gulf (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxim ...

Saronic Gulf
and built upon a hill rising above sea level. In the second millennium BC, Mycenae was one of the major centres of Greek civilization, a military
stronghold A fortification is a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically officially authorized and maintained by a sovereign state, w ...

stronghold
which dominated much of southern Greece,
Crete Crete ( el, Κρήτη, translit=, Modern Modern may refer to: History *Modern history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology Archaeology or archeology ...

Crete
, the
Cyclades The CYCLADES computer network A computer network is a group of computers that use a set of common communication protocols over digital signal, digital interconnections for the purpose of sharing resources located on or provided by the Node (ne ...

Cyclades
and parts of southwest
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
. The period of
Greek history The history of Greece encompasses the history of the territory of the modern nation-state of Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or ...
from about 1600 BC to about 1100 BC is called Mycenaean in reference to Mycenae. At its peak in 1350 BC, the
citadel A citadel is the core fortified area of a town or city. It may be a castle in East Sussex East Sussex is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brooke ...

citadel
and lower town had a population of 30,000 and an area of 32 hectares. The first correct identification of Mycenae in modern literature was during a survey conducted by Francesco Grimani, commissioned by the
Provveditore GeneraleThe Italian title ''prov ditore'' (plural ''provveditori''; also known in gr, προνοητής, προβλεπτής; sh, providur), "he who sees to things" ( overseer), was the style of various (but not all) local district governors in the exten ...
of the
Kingdom of the Morea The Kingdom of the Morea or Realm of the Morea ( it, Regno di Morea) was the official name the Republic of Venice gave to the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece (which was more widely known as the Morea until the 19th century) when it was c ...
in 1700, who used
PausaniasPausanias (; Greek language, Greek: Παυσανίας) is the name of several people: *Pausanias of Athens, lover of the poet Agathon and a character in Plato's ''Symposium'' *Pausanias (general), Spartan general and regent of the 5th century BC *Pa ...
's description of the
Lion Gate The Lion Gate ( el, Πύλη των Λεόντων) was the main entrance of the Bronze Age citadel of Mycenae, southern Greece. It was erected during the 13th century BC, around 1250 BC, in the northwest side of the acropolis and is named after t ...

Lion Gate
to identify the ruins of Mycenae.


Etymology

Although the citadel was built by
Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllines'' ) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has cer ...

Greeks
, the name ''Mukanai'' is thought not to be Greek but rather one of the many pre-Greek place names inherited by the immigrant Greeks. Legend has it that the name was connected to the Greek word ''mykēs'' (μύκης, "mushroom"). Thus,
PausaniasPausanias (; Greek language, Greek: Παυσανίας) is the name of several people: *Pausanias of Athens, lover of the poet Agathon and a character in Plato's ''Symposium'' *Pausanias (general), Spartan general and regent of the 5th century BC *Pa ...
ascribes the name to the legendary founder
Perseus In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of s originally told by the , and a of . These stories concern the and , the lives and activities of , , and , and the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own and practices. ...

Perseus
, who was said to have named it either after the cap (''mykēs'') of the sheath of his sword, or after a mushroom he had plucked on the site. The earliest written form of the name is ' (Μυκήνη), which is found in
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally re ...

Homer
. The reconstructed
Mycenaean Greek Mycenaean Greek is the most ancient attested form of the Greek language Greek (modern , romanized: ''Elliniká'', Ancient Greek, ancient , ''Hellēnikḗ'') is an independent branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European family of lan ...
name of the site is 𐀘𐀏𐀙𐀂 (mu-ka-na-i), which has the form of a plural like ''
Athḗnai
Athḗnai
''. The change of ''ā'' to ''ē'' in more recent versions of the name is the result of a well-known
sound change A sound change, in historical linguistics Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of language change Language change is variation over time in a language A language is a structured syste ...
in later
Attic An attic (sometimes referred to as a ''loft 's Near West Side A loft is a building's upper storey or elevated area in a room directly under the roof (American usage), or just an attic: a storage space under the roof usually accessed by a lad ...
-
Ionic Ionic or Ionian may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Ionic meter, a poetic metre in ancient Greek and Latin poetry * Ionian mode, a musical mode or a diatonic scale Places and peoples * Ionian, of or from Ionia, an ancient region in western An ...
.


History


Neolithic Age

Mycenae, an
acropolis An acropolis (Ancient Greek: ἀκρόπολις, ''akropolis''; from ''akros'' (άκρος) or ''akron'' (άκρον), "highest, topmost, outermost" and ''polis'' (πόλις), "city"; plural in English: ''acropoles'', ''acropoleis'' or ''acropol ...

acropolis
site, was built on a hill above sea level, some inland from the Gulf of Argolis. Situated in the north-east corner of the Argive plain, it easily overlooked the whole area and was ideally positioned to be a centre of power, especially as it commanded all easy routes to the
Isthmus of Corinth The Isthmus of Corinth (Greek language, Greek: Ισθμός της Κορίνθου) is the narrow land bridge which connects the Peloponnese peninsula with the rest of the mainland of Greece, near the city of Corinth. The word "isthmus" comes ...

Isthmus of Corinth
. Besides its strong defensive and strategic position, it had good farmland and an adequate water supply. There are only faint traces of Neolithic settlement on the site although it was continuously occupied from the
Early Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is the ...
(EN; c. 5000–c. 4000 BC) through the
Early Helladic Helladic chronology is a relative dating system used in archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch of socio-cultural ...
(EH; c. 3200–c. 2000 BC) and
Middle Helladic Helladic chronology is a relative dating system used in archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch of socio-cultural ...
(MH; c. 2000–c. 1550 BC) periods. EN Rainbow Ware constitutes the earliest ceramic evidence discovered so far.


Early and Middle Bronze Age

The population had grown considerably by the Middle Helladic. As elsewhere, a dominant Cretan influence prevailed from c. 1600 BC, the first evidence of this coming from the shaft graves discovered in 1876 by
Heinrich Schliemann Heinrich Schliemann (; 6 January 1822 – 26 December 1890) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germa ...

Heinrich Schliemann
. Schliemann's shaft graves came to be known as Circle A to distinguish them from the Circle B graves which were found at a later date, although Circle B are the earlier graves dated c. 1650 BC to c. 1550 BC and entirely within MHIII. Circle A is dated to the sixteenth century BC including the transition from Middle to Late Helladic IA (LHIA; c. 1550 – c. 1500 BC). The contents of Circle B are less wealthy than those of Circle A. Pottery material spanning the entire Early Helladic was discovered 1877–78 by Panagiotis Stamatakis at a low depth in the sixth shaft grave in Circle A. Further EH and MH material was found beneath the walls and floors of the palace, on the summit of the acropolis, and outside the
Lion Gate The Lion Gate ( el, Πύλη των Λεόντων) was the main entrance of the Bronze Age citadel of Mycenae, southern Greece. It was erected during the 13th century BC, around 1250 BC, in the northwest side of the acropolis and is named after t ...

Lion Gate
in the area of the ancient cemetery.. An EH–MH settlement was discovered near a fresh-water well on top of the Kalkani hill south-west of the acropolis. The first burials in pits or
cist Cist A cist ( or ; also kist ; from grc-gre, κίστη, Middle Welsh Middle Welsh ( cy, Cymraeg Canol, wlm, Kymraec) is the label attached to the Welsh language of the 12th to 15th centuries, of which much more remains than for any earlier ...
graves manifest in MHII (c. 1800 BC) on the west slope of the acropolis, which was at least partially enclosed by the earliest circuit wall.


Late Bronze Age

In the absence of documents and objects that can be precisely dated, events at Mycenae can only be dated relatively within the constraints of
Helladic chronology Helladic chronology is a relative dating system used in archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch of socio-cultural ...
which relies on categorisation of stratified material objects, mainly pottery, within an agreed historical framework. Mycenae developed into a major power during LHI (c. 1550 – c. 1450 BC) and is believed to have become the main centre of Aegean civilisation through the fifteenth century to the extent that the two hundred years from c. 1400 BC to c. 1200 BC (encompassing LHIIIA and LHIIIB) are known as the Mycenaean Age. The Minoan hegemony was ended c. 1450 and there is evidence that Knossos was occupied by Mycenaeans until it too was destroyed c. 1370 BC. From then on, Mycenaean expansion throughout the Aegean was unhindered until the massive disruption of society in the first half of the twelfth century (LHIIIC) which ended Mycenaean civilisation and culminated in the destruction of Mycenae itself c. 1150 BC.


Late Helladic I (LHI; c. 1550–c. 1450 BC)

Outside the partial circuit wall, Grave Circle B, named for its enclosing wall, contained ten cist graves in Middle Helladic style and several shaft graves, sunk more deeply, with interments resting in cists. Richer grave goods mark the burials as possibly regal. Mounds over the top contained broken drinking vessels and bones from a repast, testifying to a more than ordinary farewell.
Stelae A stele ( ),Anglicized plural steles ( ); Greek plural stelai ( ), from Greek , ''stēlē''. The Greek plural is written , ''stēlai'', but this is only rarely encountered in English. or occasionally stela (plural ''stelas'' or ''stelæ''), ...

Stelae
surmounted the mounds. A walled enclosure,
Grave Circle A Grave Circle A is a 16th-century BC royal cemetery A cemetery, burial ground, gravesite or graveyard is a place where the remains of dead people are burial, buried or otherwise interred. The word ''cemetery'' (from Greek language, Greek , " ...
, included six more shaft graves, with nine female, eight male, and two juvenile interments. Grave goods were more costly than in Circle B. The presence of engraved and inlaid
sword A sword is an edged, bladed weapon intended for manual cutting or thrusting. Its blade, longer than a knife A knife (plural knives; from Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Ge ...
s and
dagger A dagger is a knife A knife (plural knives; from Old Norse 'knife, dirk') is a tool or weapon with a cutting edge or blade, often attached to a handle or hilt. One of the earliest tools used by humanity, knives appeared at least Stone Ag ...

dagger
s, with spear points and arrowheads, leave little doubt that warrior
chieftain A tribal chief or chieftain is the leader of a tribal society The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a category of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, chara ...
s and their families were buried here. Some art objects obtained from the graves are the Silver Siege Rhyton, the
Mask of Agamemnon The Mask of Agamemnon is a gold funeral mask discovered at the ancient Greek site of Mycenae. The mask, displayed in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, has been described by Cathy Gere as the "''Mona Lisa'' of prehistory". German archa ...
, the Cup of Nestor, and weapons both
votive Bronze animal statuettes from Olympia, votive offerings, 8th–7th century BC. A votive offering or votive deposit is one or more objects displayed or deposited, without the intention of recovery or use, in a sacred Sacred describes some ...

votive
and practical. The chemical compositions of the silver objects indicate that the silver was sourced from several locations.


Late Helladic II (LHII; c. 1450–c. 1400 BC)

Alan Wace divided the nine tholos tombs of Mycenae into three groups of three, each based on architecture. His earliest – the Cyclopean Tomb, Epano Phournos, and the Tomb of Aegisthus – are dated to LHIIA. Burial in tholoi is seen as replacing burial in shaft graves. The care taken to preserve the shaft graves testifies that they were by then part of the royal heritage, the tombs of the ancestral heroes. Being more visible, the tholoi all had been plundered either in antiquity, or in later historic times.


Late Helladic III (LHIII; c. 1400–c. 1050 BC)

At a conventional date of 1350 BC, the fortifications on the acropolis, and other surrounding hills, were rebuilt in a style known as
Cyclopean Cyclopean masonry is a type of stonework found in Mycenaean architecture, built with massive limestone Limestone is a common type of carbonate rock, carbonate sedimentary rock. It is composed mostly of the minerals calcite and aragonite, wh ...
because the blocks of stone used were so massive that they were thought in later ages to be the work of the one-eyed giants known as the
Cyclopes In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A bel ...

Cyclopes
. Within these walls, much of which can still be seen, successive monumental palaces were built. The final palace, remains of which are currently visible on the acropolis of Mycenae, dates to the start of LHIIIA:2. Earlier palaces must have existed, but they had been cleared away or built over. The construction of palaces at that time with a similar architecture was general throughout southern Greece. They all featured a
megaron The megaron (; grc, μέγαρον, ), plural ''megara'' , was the great hall#REDIRECTGreat hall A great hall is the main room of a royal palace, nobleman's castle or a large manor house or hall house in the Middle Ages In the ...

megaron
, or throne room, with a raised central hearth under an opening in the roof, which was supported by four columns in a square around the hearth. A throne was placed against the center of a wall to the side of the hearth, allowing an unobstructed view of the ruler from the entrance.
Fresco Fresco (plural ''frescos'' or ''frescoes'') is a technique of Mural, mural painting executed upon freshly laid ("wet") lime plaster. Water is used as the vehicle for the dry-powder pigment to merge with the plaster, and with the setting of the ...

Fresco
s adorned the plaster walls and floor. The room was accessed from a courtyard with a columned portico. A grand staircase led from a terrace below to the courtyard on the acropolis. In the temple built within the citadel, a scarab of
Queen Tiye Tiye (c. 1398 BC – 1338 BC, also spelled Tye, Taia, Tiy and Tiyi) was the daughter of Yuya Yuya (sometimes Iouiya, or Yuaa, also known as Yaa, Ya, Yiya, Yayi, Yu, Yuyu, Yaya, Yiay, Yia, and Yuy) was a powerful ancient Egypt Ancie ...
of
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
, who was married to
Amenhotep III Amenhotep III ( egy, imn-ḥtp(.w) "Amun Amun (; also ''Amon'', ''Ammon'', ''Amen''; egy, jmn, ''reconstructed'' ; Ancient Greek, Greek ''Ámmōn'', ''Hámmōn'') was a major ancient Egyptian deities, ancient Egyptian deity who appears ...

Amenhotep III
, was placed in the Room of the Idols alongside at least one statue of either LHIIIA:2 or B:1 type. Amenhotep III's relations with ''m-w-k-i-n-u'', *Mukana, have corroboration from the inscription at Kom al-Hetan - but Amenhotep's reign is thought to align with late LHIIIA:1. It is likely that Amenhotep's herald presented the scarab to an earlier generation, which then found the resources to rebuild the citadel as Cyclopean and then, to move the scarab here. Wace's second group of tholoi are dated between LHIIA and LHIIIB: Kato Phournos, Panagia Tholos, and the Lion Tomb. The final group, Group III: the
Treasury of Atreus Reconstruction of one of the capitals from the Treasury of Atreus in the British Museum The Treasury of Atreus or Tomb of Agamemnon is a large ''tholos'' or beehive tomb , a beehive tomb romos entrance to the Treasury of Atreus . Of note are the ...

Treasury of Atreus
, the Tomb of Clytemnestra and the Tomb of the Genii, are dated to LHIIIB by a sherd under the threshold of the Treasury of Atreus, the largest of the nine tombs. Like the Treasury of Minyas at Orchomenus the tomb had been looted of its contents and its nature as funerary monument had been forgotten. The structure bore the traditional name of "Treasury". The pottery phases on which the relative dating scheme is based (EH, MH, LH, etc.) do not allow very precise dating, even augmented by the few existing C-14 dates due to the tolerance inherent in these. The sequence of further construction at Mycenae is approximately as follows. In the middle of LHIIIB, around 1250 BC or so, the
Cyclopean Cyclopean masonry is a type of stonework found in Mycenaean architecture, built with massive limestone Limestone is a common type of carbonate rock, carbonate sedimentary rock. It is composed mostly of the minerals calcite and aragonite, wh ...
wall was extended on the west slope to include Grave Circle A. The main entrance through the circuit wall was made grand by the best known feature of Mycenae, the
Lion Gate The Lion Gate ( el, Πύλη των Λεόντων) was the main entrance of the Bronze Age citadel of Mycenae, southern Greece. It was erected during the 13th century BC, around 1250 BC, in the northwest side of the acropolis and is named after t ...

Lion Gate
, through which passed a stepped ramp leading past circle A and up to the palace. The Lion Gate was constructed in the form of a "Relieving Triangle" in order to support the weight of the stones. An undecorated postern gate also was constructed through the north wall. One of the few groups of excavated houses in the city outside the walls lies beyond Grave Circle B and belongs to the same period. The House of Shields, the House of the Oil Merchant, the House of the Sphinxes, and the West House. These may have been both residences and workshops. Citadel facts and figures
Circuit length:
Preserved height: up to
Width: 7.5-17M
Minimum stone required: 145,215 Cu.M or 14,420 average stones (10 tons)
Time to move 1 Block using men: 2.125 days
Time to move all Blocks using men: 110.52 years
Time to move 1 Block using oxen: 0.125 days
Time to move all Blocks using oxen: 9.9 years
Based on 8-hour work day. The largest stones including the lintels and gate jambs weighed well over 20 tonnes; some may have been close to 100 tonnes. Somewhat later, toward the end of LHIIIB around 1200 BC, another, final extension to the citadel was undertaken. The wall was extended again on the northeast, with a sally port and also a secret passage through and under the wall, of corbeled construction, leading downward by some 99 steps to a cistern carved out of rock 15 m below the surface. It was fed by a tunnel from a spring on more distant higher ground. Already in LHIIIA:1, Egypt knew *Mukana by name as a capital city on the level of Thebes and Knossos. During LHIIIB, Mycenae's political, military and economic influence likely extended as far as
Crete Crete ( el, Κρήτη, translit=, Modern Modern may refer to: History *Modern history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology Archaeology or archeology ...

Crete
,
Pylos Pylos (, ; el, Πύλος), historically also known as Navarino, is a town and a former municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdiv ...

Pylos
in the western Peloponnese, and to
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...

Athens
and Thebes. Hellenic settlements already were being placed on the coast of Anatolia. A collision with the Hittite Empire over their sometime dependency at a then strategic location, Troy, was to be expected. In folklore, the powerful Pelopid family ruled many Greek states, one branch of which was the Atreid dynasty at Mycenae.


Decline

By 1200 BC, the power of Mycenae was declining; finally, during the 12th century BC, Mycenaean dominance collapsed entirely. The eventual destruction of Mycenae formed part of the general
Bronze Age collapse The Late Bronze Age collapse was a transition period in a large area covering much of Southeast Europe, West Asia and North Africa North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly ac ...
in the Greek mainland and beyond. Within a short time around 1200 BC, all the palace complexes of southern Greece were burned, including that at Mycenae. This was traditionally attributed by scholars to a
Dorian invasion The Dorian invasion is a concept devised by historians of Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th ce ...
of Greeks from the north, although many historians now doubt that this invasion caused the destruction of the Mycenaean centres. Displaced populations escaped to former colonies of the Mycenaeans in Anatolia and elsewhere.
Emily Vermeule Emily Dickinson Townsend Vermeule (August 11, 1928 – February 6, 2001) was an American classical scholar and archaeologist. She was a professor of classical philology and archaeology at Harvard University. Early life and education Emily Dickinso ...
suggests that the disruption of commercial networks at the end of the 13th century BC was disastrous for Greece and this was followed by the coming of the mysterious "
Sea Peoples The Sea Peoples are a purported seafaring confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty, confederations of ...
", who caused chaos in the Aegean. According to Egyptian records, the "Sea Peoples" destroyed the
Hittite Empire The Hittites () were an Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing first a kingdom in Kussara before 1750 BC, then the Kanesh or Nesha kingdom (c. 1750–1650 BC), and next an empire centered on Hattusa Hattusa (also ...

Hittite Empire
then attacked the 19th and the 20th dynasties of Egypt, circa 1300–1164. They may be related with the destruction of the Mycenaean centers (the records of
Pylos Pylos (, ; el, Πύλος), historically also known as Navarino, is a town and a former municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdiv ...

Pylos
mention sea-attack). However at the end of LHIIIB period, the Mycenaeans undertook an expedition against Troy, which meant that the sea was safe with no indication of destruction in the Aegean islands. Another theory has
drought A drought is an event of prolonged shortages in the water supply, whether atmospheric (below-average precipitation In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the (which include and ), with a major focus on . The study of meteorolog ...

drought
as the primary cause behind the Mycenaean decline.
Manolis Andronikos Manolis Andronikos ( el, Μανόλης Ανδρόνικος) (October 23, 1919 – March 30, 1992) was a Greek archaeologist and a professor at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Biography Andronikos was born on October 23, 1919 at ...
claimed that internal conflicts involving social revolutions were the sole cause behind the destruction of Mycenaean sites, but this is contradicted by the fact that all the Mycenaean centers throughout Greece were destroyed almost simultaneously. George E. Mylonas noticed that after 1200 BC, some attempt was made for recovery in Mycenae. He believes that in the Argolid there was internal fighting, and this was followed by the Dorian invasion. It seems that the Dorians moved southward gradually in small clans, until they managed to establish themselves. Amos Nur argues that earthquakes played a major role in the destruction of Mycenae and many other cities at the end of the Bronze Age. However, no conclusive evidence has been brought forward to confirm any theory of why the Mycenaean citadel and others throughout Greece fell almost simultaneously at this time. Whatever the cause, by the LHIIIC period (whose latest phase is also termed "Submycenaean"), Mycenae was no longer a major power. Pottery and decorative styles were changing rapidly with craftsmanship and fine art undergoing a decline. Although settlements were significantly reduced in size, the citadel remained occupied but never regained its earlier importance.


Archaic and classical periods

A temple dedicated to Hera was built on the summit of the Mycenaean citadel during the Archaic Period. A Mycenaean contingent fought at
Thermopylae Thermopylae (; Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ...

Thermopylae
and
Plataea Plataea or Plataia (; grc, wikt:Πλάταια, Πλάταια), also Plataeae or Plataiai (; grc, wikt:Πλαταιαί, Πλαταιαί), was an ancient city, located in Greece in southeastern Boeotia, south of Thebes (Boeotia), Thebes.Mi ...

Plataea
during the
Persian Wars The Greco-Persian Wars (also often called the Persian Wars) were a series of conflicts between the Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empi ...
. In 468 BC, however, troops from
Argos Argos usually refers to: * Argos, Peloponnese Argos (; Greek language, Greek: Άργος ; Ancient Greek: Ἄργος ) is a city in Argolis, the Peloponnese (region), Peloponnese, Greece and is one of the List of oldest continuously inhabited ci ...
captured Mycenae, expelled the inhabitants and razed the fortifications.


Revival and abandonment

Mycenae was briefly reoccupied in the
Hellenistic The Hellenistic period spans the period of History of the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31  ...

Hellenistic
period, when it could boast a theatre (located over the
Tomb of Clytemnestra The Tomb of Clytemnestra was a Mycenaean Beehive tomb, tholos type tomb built in c. 1250 BC. A number of architectural features such as the semi-column were largely adopted by later classical monuments of the first millennium BC, both in the Greek a ...
). The site was subsequently abandoned, and by the
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Laz ...

Roman
period in Greece its ruins had become a
tourist at the archaeological site of Chichén Itza. in Vienna. Tourism is travel for pleasure or business; also the theory and practice of touring (disambiguation), touring, the business of attracting, accommodating, and entertaining tourists, and th ...

tourist
attraction. The ancient travel writer
PausaniasPausanias (; Greek language, Greek: Παυσανίας) is the name of several people: *Pausanias of Athens, lover of the poet Agathon and a character in Plato's ''Symposium'' *Pausanias (general), Spartan general and regent of the 5th century BC *Pa ...
, for example, visited the site and briefly described the prominent fortifications and the Lion Gate, still visible in his time, the second century AD. Pausanias also describes being led to the site by shepherds, showing that the surrounding area was never completely abandoned.


Political organization

It appears that the Mycenaean state was ruled by kings identified by the title , ''wa-na-ka'' ("wanax') in the
Linear B Linear B is a syllabic script In the linguistic Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The tradition ...
inscriptions at
Knossos Knossos (also Cnossos, both pronounced ; grc, Κνωσός, Knōsós, ; Linear B: ''Ko-no-so'') is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and has been called Europe's oldest city. Settled as early as the Neolithic period, the na ...

Knossos
and
Pylos Pylos (, ; el, Πύλος), historically also known as Navarino, is a town and a former municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdiv ...

Pylos
. Wanax had the supreme authority and was represented by a number of officials. In the
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally re ...

Homer
ic poems, the word form is ''
anax (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 mil ...
'' (), often translated in English as "lord". Some inscriptions with a list of offerings indicate that the king was probably divine, but the term "for the king" is usually accompanied by another name.. It is possible that a priest-king system was adopted from the East and the title probably indicates that his right to rule was given by the god.. The term , ''qa-si-re-u'' (
cf. The abbreviation ''cf.'' (short for the la, confer/conferatur, both meaning 'compare') is used in writing to refer the reader to other material to make a comparison with the topic being discussed. Style guides recommend that ''cf.'' be used only ...
, " basileús"), which was later used in Greece for "king", was apparently used for the "chief" of any group of people, or for a provincial official. (Homer mentions many ''basilees'' in
Ithaca Ithaca, Ithaki or Ithaka (; Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population ...

Ithaca
). The land possessed by the king is usually called , ''te-me-no'' (, " témenos"), a word that survived in classical Greece (the ''temenos'' placed by
Hephaestus Hephaestus (; wikt:Hephaestus#Alternative forms, eight spellings; grc-gre, Ἥφαιστος, Hḗphaistos) is the Greek god of blacksmiths, metalworking, carpenters, craftsmen, artisans, sculpture, sculptors, metallurgy, Fire (classical el ...
on the shield of Achilles is called "royal"). In classical times the word has a religious connotation . Other important landowners were the , ''ra-wa-ke-ta'' ("lāwāgetas"), literally translated as “the leader of the people”, and sometimes interpreted as a given Kingdom's military leader, though this is not confirmed by the inscriptions. Alternatively, he may have been the crown prince or, if one follows the argument of a single Mycenaean state, a local king who was a vassal to the overarching wanax / Great King. Below these two elevated persons, Linear B texts situate the , ''te-re-ta'' ("telestai"), the officials. Leonard Robert Palmer suggests that the "telestai were the men of telos- the fief holders". The , ''e-qe-ta'' (''ekwetai'', "companions" or "followers") were a group of nobles (aristocrats), who followed the king in peace and war. It seems that they were representatives of the king among military groups and religious personnel. There is also at least one instance of a person, Enkhelyawon at Pylos, who appears titleless in the written record but whom modern scholars regard as being probably a king.
pp. 71–72
From the existing evidence, it seems that the kingdom was further subdivided into sixteen districts. The , ''ko-re-te'' was the "governor of the district" and the , ''po-ro-ko-re-te'' was the "deputy". It is possible that these represent ''koreter'' and ''prokoreter''. The , ''da-mo-ko-ro'' (''damokoros'') was an official appointment but his duties are not very clear. The communal land was held at the hands of , ''da-mo'' (literally, "people", cf. Attic δῆμος, ''dễmos''), or "plot holders". It seems that the ''da-mo'' was a collective body of men, representing the local district and that it had certain power in public affairs. It is suggested that ''qa-si-re-u'' had a council of elders, a , ''ke-ro-si-ja'', (later "" ''gerousia''), but Palmer believes that it was an organization of "bronze smiths". The land was held by the wanax, by the damos, and by individual land owners. It seems that people lived in small family groups or clans around the main cidadel. Occupying a lower rung of the social ladder were the slaves, ''do-e-ro'', (
cf. The abbreviation ''cf.'' (short for the la, confer/conferatur, both meaning 'compare') is used in writing to refer the reader to other material to make a comparison with the topic being discussed. Style guides recommend that ''cf.'' be used only ...
, ''doúlos''). These are recorded in the texts as working either for the palace or for specific deities.. According to the traditional view, Mycenae or any other palatial center of mainland Greece was not an empire, and the mainland consisted of independent city-states. This view has in recent years, however, been challenged by various specialists, such as
Jorrit Kelder Jorrit Kelder (Hoorn Hoorn () is a and in the northwest of the , in the of . It is the largest town and the traditional capital of the region of . Hoorn is located on the , 20 kilometers (12 mi) east of and 35 kilometers (22 m ...
and, most recently, Birgitta Eder and . Kelder pointed out that a number of palaces and fortifications appear to be part of a wider kingdom. For instance,
Gla GLA or Gla may refer to: Entertainment * ''GLA'' (album), by Scottish alternative rock band Twin Atlantic * Great Lakes Avengers The Great Lakes Avengers (also known as The Lightning Rods, The Great Lakes X-Men, The Great Lakes Champions, and ...
, located in the region of Boeotia, belonged to the state of nearby Orchomenos. The palace of Mycenae probably ruled over a territory two to three times the size of the other palatial states in Bronze Age Greece. Its territory would have also included adjacent centers, including
Tiryns Tiryns or (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), re ...
and
Nauplion Nafplio ( ell, Ναύπλιο, Nauplio or Nauplion in Italian and other Western European languages) is a seaport town in the Peloponnese The Peloponnese () or Peloponnesus (; el, Πελοπόννησος, Peloponnesos, ) is a peninsula A p ...

Nauplion
, which could plausibly be ruled by a member of Mycenae's ruling dynasty. Certain archaeological features in the palatial centers like the architectural uniformity, the uniformity of the administrative system, the uniformity in pottery, the imperial language and some large scale projects (drainage systems, harbours, roads etc.) indicate that large parts of Greece may have fallen under the sway of a single king, with various degrees of control over local vassals: a situation not dissimilar from the contemporary
Hittite Hittite may refer to: * Hittites, ancient Anatolian people ** Hittite language, the earliest-attested Indo-European language ** Hittite grammar ** Hittite phonology ** Hittite cuneiform ** Hittite inscriptions ** Hittite laws ** Hittite religion ** ...

Hittite
world, although the archaeological evidence remains ambiguous. A loose confederacy of city-states under the king of Mycenae,
Agamemnon In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical cosmology, nature of ...
, is mentioned by
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally re ...

Homer
in ''
Iliad The ''Iliad'' (; grc, Ἰλιάς, Iliás, ; sometimes referred to as the ''Song of Ilion'' or ''Song of Ilium'') is an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Moder ...

Iliad
''.


Religion

Much of the Mycenaean religion survived into
classical Greece Classical Greece was a period of around 200 years (the 5th and 4th centuries BC) in Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dar ...
in their pantheon of
Greek deities The following is a list of gods A deity or god is a supernatural being considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' defines deity as "a God (male deity), god or goddess (in a polytheistic religion)", or anything ...
, but it is not known to what extent Greek religious belief is Mycenaean, nor how much is a product of the
Greek Dark Ages The Greek Dark Ages is the period of Greek history The history of Greece encompasses the history of the territory of the modern nation-state of Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a count ...
or later. Moses I. Finley detected only few authentic Mycenaean beliefs in the 8th-century
Homeric Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally re ...
world, but
Nilsson Nilsson is a Swedish surname and the fourth most common surname in Sweden Sweden (; sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern Europe.The United N ...
suggested that the Mycenean religion was the mother of the Greek religion. From the history traced by Nilsson and Guthrie, the Mycenaean pantheon consisted of
Minoan The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the , as proposed in mod ...
deities, but also of gods and goddesses who appear under different names with similar functions in East and West.. Many of these names appearing in the
Linear B Linear B is a syllabic script In the linguistic Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The tradition ...
inscriptions can be found later in classical Greece like
Zeus Zeus or , , ; grc, Δῐός, ''Diós'', label=genitive In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Ling ...

Zeus
,
Hera Hera (; grc-gre, Ἥρα, Hḗrā; grc, Ἥρη, Hḗrē, label=none in Ionic Ionic or Ionian may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Ionic meter, a poetic metre in ancient Greek and Latin poetry * Ionian mode, a musical mode or a diatonic ...

Hera
,
Poseidon Poseidon (; grc-gre, Ποσειδῶν, ) was one of the Twelve Olympians upright=1.8, Fragment of a relief Relief is a sculptural technique where the sculpted elements remain attached to a solid background of the same material. The ...

Poseidon
,
Athena Athena or Athene, often given the epithet An epithet (, ) is a byname, or a descriptive term (word or phrase), accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shades of meaning when applied ...

Athena
,
Hermes Hermes (; grc-gre, Ἑρμῆς) is an Olympian deity in ancient Greek religion and Greek mythology, mythology. Hermes is considered the herald of the gods. He is also considered the protector of human heralds, travellers, thieves, mercha ...

Hermes
,
Eileithyia Eileithyia or Ilithyiae or Ilithyia (; grc-gre, Εἰλείθυια; (''Eleuthyia'') in Crete Crete ( el, Κρήτη, translit=, Modern Modern may refer to: History *Modern history Human history, also known as world history, ...
and
Dionysos Dionysus (; grc-gre, Διόνυσος) is the god of the grape-harvest, winemaking, fertility, orchards and fruit, vegetation, insanity, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, festivity and theatre in Religion in ancient Greece, ancient Greek reli ...

Dionysos
, but the etymology is the only evidence of the cults. There are several reasonable guesses that can be made, however. It seems that originally the Mycenaeans, like many
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...
s, considered divine any object that inherited an internal power (
anima Anima may refer to: Animation * Ánima Estudios Ánima Estudios (stylized and also known as ÁNiMA) is a family entertainment company founded in 2002 by Fernando De Fuentes S. and Jose C. Garcia De Letona, the studio is best known for produci ...

anima
). Certain religious beliefs were mixed with the beliefs of the local populations as it appears in the old cults of isolated
Arcadia Arcadia may refer to: Places Australia * Arcadia, New South Wales, a suburb of Sydney * Arcadia, Queensland * Arcadia, Victoria Greece * Arcadia (region) Arcadia ( el, Ἀρκαδία) is a region in the central Peloponnese. It takes its name ...
, which survived up to classical
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
. In these cults,
Poseidon Poseidon (; grc-gre, Ποσειδῶν, ) was one of the Twelve Olympians upright=1.8, Fragment of a relief Relief is a sculptural technique where the sculpted elements remain attached to a solid background of the same material. The ...

Poseidon
appears usually as a horse, representing the river spirit of the underworld as it usually happens in northern-
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
an folklore. The precursor goddesses of
Demeter In ancient Greek religion Ancient Greek religion encompasses the collection of beliefs, rituals, and Greek mythology, mythology originating in ancient Greece in the form of both popular public religion and Cult (religious practice), cult ...

Demeter
and
Persephone In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical cosmology, nature ...

Persephone
are closely related with the springs and the animals, and especially with Poseidon and
Artemis Artemis (; grc-gre, Ἄρτεμις Artemis, ) is the Greek goddess Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or ori ...

Artemis
who was the first
nymph A nymph ( grc, νύμφη, nýmphē, el, script=Latn, nímfi, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Gree ...

nymph
.. Mycenaean religion was almost certainly polytheistic, and the Mycenaeans were actively syncretistic, adding foreign deities to their pantheon of deities with considerable ease. The Mycenaeans probably entered Greece with a pantheon of deities headed by some ruling sky-deity, which linguists speculate might have been called ''*Dyeus'' in early
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...
. In Greek, this deity would become
Zeus Zeus or , , ; grc, Δῐός, ''Diós'', label=genitive In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Ling ...

Zeus
(pronounced ''Zeus'' or ''Dias'' in
ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
). Among the
Hindus Hindus (; ) are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic re ...
, this sky-deity becomes "
Dyaus Pita Dyaus ( ), or Dyauspitar (Devanagari द्यौष्पितृ, ), is the Ṛgvedic sky deity. His consort is Prithvi, the earth goddess, and together they are the archetypal parents in the Ṛg·veda. Name stems from Proto-Indo-Ira ...
". In Latin he becomes "deus pater" or
Jupiter Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the List of Solar System objects by size, largest in the Solar System. It is a gas giant with a mass more than two and a half times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined, but ...
; we still encounter this word in the etymologies of the words "deity" and "divine". Later in some cults,
Zeus Zeus or , , ; grc, Δῐός, ''Diós'', label=genitive In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Ling ...

Zeus
is united with the
Aegean Aegean may refer to: *Aegean Sea *Aegean Islands *Aegean Region (geographical), Turkey *Aegean Region (statistical), Turkey *Aegean civilizations *Aegean languages, a group of ancient languages and proposed language family *Aegean Sea (theme), a n ...
, who is represented by
Hera Hera (; grc-gre, Ἥρα, Hḗrā; grc, Ἥρη, Hḗrē, label=none in Ionic Ionic or Ionian may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Ionic meter, a poetic metre in ancient Greek and Latin poetry * Ionian mode, a musical mode or a diatonic ...

Hera
in a "holy wedding" (''hieros gamos''). At some point in their cultural history, the Mycenaeans adopted some
Minoan The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the , as proposed in mod ...

Minoan
goddesses like
Aphaea Aphaea ( grc-gre, Ἀφαία, ''Aphaía'') was a Greek goddess Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. ...
,
Britomartis Britomartis ( grc-gre, Βριτόμαρτις) was a Greek goddess Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin m ...
, Diktynna and associated them with their sky-god. Many of them were absorbed by more powerful divinities, and some like the vegetation goddesses
Ariadne Ariadne (; el, Ἀριάδνη; la, Ariadne) was a Cretan princess in Greek mythology. She was mostly associated with mazes and labyrinths because of her involvement in the myths of the Minotaur and Theseus. The ancient Rome, ancient Roman aut ...

Ariadne
and
Helen Helen may refer to: People * Helen of Troy, in Greek mythology, the most beautiful woman in the world * Helen (actress) (born 1938), Indian actress * Helen (given name), a given name (including a list of people with the name) Places * Helen, Ge ...

Helen
survived in Greek folklore together with the cult of the "divine child", who was probably the precursor of
Dionysos Dionysus (; grc-gre, Διόνυσος) is the god of the grape-harvest, winemaking, fertility, orchards and fruit, vegetation, insanity, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, festivity and theatre in Religion in ancient Greece, ancient Greek reli ...

Dionysos
.
Athena Athena or Athene, often given the epithet An epithet (, ) is a byname, or a descriptive term (word or phrase), accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shades of meaning when applied ...

Athena
and
Hera Hera (; grc-gre, Ἥρα, Hḗrā; grc, Ἥρη, Hḗrē, label=none in Ionic Ionic or Ionian may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Ionic meter, a poetic metre in ancient Greek and Latin poetry * Ionian mode, a musical mode or a diatonic ...

Hera
survived and were tutelary goddesses, the guardians of the palaces and the cities. In general, later Greek religion distinguishes between two types of deities: the Olympian, or sky deities (including Zeus), which are now commonly known in some form or another; and, the
chthonic The word chthonic is derived from the Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speaker ...

chthonic
deities, or deities of the earth.
Walter Burkert Walter Burkert (; 2 February 1931 – 11 March 2015) was a German scholar of Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of ...
warns: "To what extent one can and must differentiate between Minoan and Mycenaean religion is a question which has not yet found a conclusive answer." He suggests that useful parallels will be found in the relations between Etruscan and Archaic Greek culture and religion, or between Roman and Hellenistic culture. The pantheon also included deities representing the powers of nature and wildlife, who appear with similar functions in the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
region. The "Mistress of the Animals" (''
Potnia Theron The Potnia Theron (, , lit. "The Animal Queen") or Lady/Queen of Animals is a widespread motif (visual arts), motif in ancient art from the Mediterranean world and the ancient Near East, showing a central human, or human-like, female figure who gr ...
''), later called
Artemis Artemis (; grc-gre, Ἄρτεμις Artemis, ) is the Greek goddess Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or ori ...

Artemis
, may be identified as the Minoan goddess
Britomartis Britomartis ( grc-gre, Βριτόμαρτις) was a Greek goddess Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin m ...
/Dictynna.
Poseidon Poseidon (; grc-gre, Ποσειδῶν, ) was one of the Twelve Olympians upright=1.8, Fragment of a relief Relief is a sculptural technique where the sculpted elements remain attached to a solid background of the same material. The ...

Poseidon
is the lord of the sea, and therefore of storms and earthquakes, (the "Earth shaker" in
Linear B Linear B is a syllabic script In the linguistic Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The tradition ...
tablets). He may have functioned as a pre-Hellenic chthonic Zeus, the lord or spouse of the
Earth goddess An Earth goddess is a deification of the Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining ...
.
Athena Athena or Athene, often given the epithet An epithet (, ) is a byname, or a descriptive term (word or phrase), accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shades of meaning when applied ...

Athena
whose task was to protect the olive-trees is a civic Artemis. The powers of animal nature fostered a belief in
nymphs A nymph ( grc, νύμφη, nýmphē, el, script=Latn, nímfi, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Gree ...
whose existence was bound to the trees and the waters, and in gods with human forms and the heads or tails of animals who stood for primitive bodily instincts. In
Arcadia Arcadia may refer to: Places Australia * Arcadia, New South Wales, a suburb of Sydney * Arcadia, Queensland * Arcadia, Victoria Greece * Arcadia (region) Arcadia ( el, Ἀρκαδία) is a region in the central Peloponnese. It takes its name ...
were depicted animal-headed gods, indicating that in the remote past the gods were conceived as animals and birds, in a surrounding of animal-headed daemons. Later the gods were revealed in human forms with an animal as a companion or symbol. Some of the old gods survived in the cult of
Dionysos Dionysus (; grc-gre, Διόνυσος) is the god of the grape-harvest, winemaking, fertility, orchards and fruit, vegetation, insanity, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, festivity and theatre in Religion in ancient Greece, ancient Greek reli ...

Dionysos
(
Satyrs In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A be ...
) and
Pan Pan may refer to: Prefix *''Pan-'', a prefix A prefix is an affix which is placed before the stem of a word. Adding it to the beginning of one word changes it into another word. For example, when the prefix ''un-'' is added to the word ''happy ...
(the goat-god). The Mycenaeans adopted probably from the east a priest-king system and the belief of a ruling deity in the hands of a theocratic society. At the end of the second millennium BC, when the Mycenaean palaces collapsed, it seems that Greek thought was gradually released from the idea that each man was a servant to the gods, and sought a "moral purpose". It is possible that this procedure started before the end of the Mycenaean age, but the idea is almost absent or vague in the
Homeric Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally re ...
poems, where the interference of the gods is not related to the rightness or wrongness of men's actions. Later,
Hesiod Hesiod (; grc-gre, Ἡσίοδος ''Hēsíodos'', 'he who emits the voice') was an ancient Greek poet generally thought to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēr ...
uses a lot of eastern material in his
cosmology Cosmology (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...
and in the genealogical trees of the gods, and he introduces the idea of the existence of something else behind the gods, which was more powerful than they.: "Moira is not a god, because otherwise the will of the god would be predestinated. Compare in Muslim religion." The Olympian Pantheon is an ordered system. The Greek divinities live with Zeus at the helm and each is concerned with a recognizable sphere. However, certain elements in some Greek cults indicate the survival of some older cults from a less rationalized world: old cults of the dead, agrarian magic, exorcism of evil spirits, peculiar sacrifices, and animal-headed gods. In the Homeric poems, the avenging
Fate Destiny, sometimes referred to as fate (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Lat ...
was probably originally a
daemon Daemon is the Latin word for the Ancient Greek daimon (δαίμων: "god", "godlike", "power", "fate"), which originally referred to a lesser deity or guiding spirit such as the daemons of ancient Greek religion and Greek mythology, mythology a ...
acting in parallel with the gods. Later, the cult of
Dionysos Dionysus (; grc-gre, Διόνυσος) is the god of the grape-harvest, winemaking, fertility, orchards and fruit, vegetation, insanity, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, festivity and theatre in Religion in ancient Greece, ancient Greek reli ...

Dionysos
Zagreus In ancient Greek religion and mythology Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether nonfictional ( memoir, biography, news report, docum ...
indicates that life-blood of animals was needed to renew that of men. A similar belief may be guessed from the Mycenaean Hagia Triada sarcophagus (1400 BC), which combines features of
Minoan civilization The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the , as proposed in mod ...
and Mycenaean style. It seems that the blood of a bull was used for the regeneration of the reappearing dead. Probably most of these cults existed in the Mycenaean period and survived by immemorial practice. A secondary level of importance was the cult of the heroes, which seems to have started in the Mycenaean era. These were great men of the past who were exalted to honor after death, because of what they had done. According to an old
Minoan The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the , as proposed in mod ...
belief, beyond the sea there was an island called Elysion, where the departed could have a different but happier existence. Later, the Greeks believed that there could live in human form only heroes and the beloved of the gods. The souls of the rest would drift unconsciously in the gloomy space of Hades. Gods and men had common origins, but there was an enormous gap between the immortal gods and mortal men. However, certain elements indicate that the Mycenean Greece, Myceneans probably believed in a future existence. Two well-preserved bodies were found in Shaft Grave VI, and Wolfgang Helbig believed that an embalming preceded the burial. In the shaft graves discovered by
Heinrich Schliemann Heinrich Schliemann (; 6 January 1822 – 26 December 1890) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germa ...

Heinrich Schliemann
, the corpses were lightly exposed to fire in order to preserve them. Mycenaean religion certainly involved offerings and sacrifices to the deities, and some have speculated that their ceremonies involved human sacrifice based on textual evidence and bones found outside tombs. In the Homeric poems, there seems to be a lingering cultural memory of human sacrifice in King
Agamemnon In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical cosmology, nature of ...
's sacrifice of his daughter, Iphigenia; several of the stories of Trojan heroes involve tragic human sacrifice. In the far past, even human beings might be offered to placate inscrutable gods, especially in times of guilty fear. Later sacrifice became a feast at which oxen were slaughtered. Men kept the meat, and gave the gods the bones wrapped in fat. Beyond this speculation we can go no further. Somewhere in the shades of the centuries between the fall of the Mycenaean civilization and the end of the Greek Dark Ages, the original Mycenaean religion persisted and adapted until it finally emerged in the stories of human devotion, apostasy, and divine capriciousness that exists in the two great epic poems of
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally re ...

Homer
.


Mycenae in Greek mythology and legends


Perseid dynasty

Classical Greek myths assert that Mycenae was founded by
Perseus In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of s originally told by the , and a of . These stories concern the and , the lives and activities of , , and , and the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own and practices. ...

Perseus
, grandson of king Acrisius of
Argos Argos usually refers to: * Argos, Peloponnese Argos (; Greek language, Greek: Άργος ; Ancient Greek: Ἄργος ) is a city in Argolis, the Peloponnese (region), Peloponnese, Greece and is one of the List of oldest continuously inhabited ci ...
, son of Acrisius's daughter, Danaë and the god
Zeus Zeus or , , ; grc, Δῐός, ''Diós'', label=genitive In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Ling ...

Zeus
. Having killed his grandfather by accident, Perseus could not, or would not, inherit the throne of Argos. Instead he arranged an exchange of realms with his cousin, Megapenthes, and became king of
Tiryns Tiryns or (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), re ...
, Megapenthes taking Argos. After that, he founded Mycenae and ruled the kingdoms jointly from there. Perseus married Andromeda (mythology), Andromeda and had many sons. His son, Electryon, became the second of the dynasty, but the succession was disputed by the Taphos, Taphians under Pterelaos, another Perseid, who assaulted Mycenae, lost, and retreated with the cattle. The cattle were recovered by Amphitryon, a grandson of Perseus, but he killed his uncle by accident with a club in an unruly cattle incident and had to go into exile. The throne went to Sthenelus, third in the dynasty, a son of Perseus. He set the stage for future greatness by marrying Nicippe, a daughter of King Pelops of Ancient Elis, Elis, the most powerful state of the region and the times. With her he had a son, Eurystheus, the fourth and last of the Perseid dynasty. When a son of Heracles, Hyllus, killed Sthenelus, Eurystheus became noted for his enmity to Heracles and for his ruthless persecution of the Heracleidae, the descendants of Heracles. This is the first we hear in legend of those noted sons, who became a symbol of the Dorians. Heracles had been a Perseid. After his death, Eurystheus determined to annihilate these rivals for the throne of Mycenae, but they took refuge in Athens, and in the course of war, Eurystheus and all his sons were killed. The Perseid dynasty came to an end and the people of Mycenae placed Eurystheus's maternal uncle, Atreus, a Pelopid, on the throne.


Atreid dynasty

The people of Mycenae had received advice from an oracle that they should choose a new king from among the Pelopids. The two contenders were Atreus and his brother, Thyestes. The latter was chosen at first. At this moment nature intervened and the sun appeared to reverse direction by setting in the east. Atreus argued that because the sun had reversed its path, the election of Thyestes should be reversed. The argument was heeded, and Atreus became king. His first move was to pursue Thyestes and all his family – that is, his own kin – but Thyestes managed to escape from Mycenae. In legend, Atreus had two sons,
Agamemnon In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical cosmology, nature of ...
and Menelaus, the Atreids. Aegisthus, the son of Thyestes, killed Atreus and restored Thyestes to the throne. With the help of King Tyndareus of Sparta, the Atreids drove Thyestes again into exile. Tyndareus had two ill-starred daughters,
Helen Helen may refer to: People * Helen of Troy, in Greek mythology, the most beautiful woman in the world * Helen (actress) (born 1938), Indian actress * Helen (given name), a given name (including a list of people with the name) Places * Helen, Ge ...

Helen
and Clytemnestra, whom Menelaus and Agamemnon married, respectively. Agamemnon inherited Mycenae and Menelaus became king of Sparta.


Homeric Poems

Soon, Helen eloped with Paris (mythology), Paris of Troy. Agamemnon conducted a 10-year war against Troy to get her back for his brother. Because of lack of wind, the warships could not sail to Troy. In order to please the gods so that they might make the winds start to blow,
Agamemnon In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical cosmology, nature of ...
sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia. According to some versions of the legend, the hunting goddess
Artemis Artemis (; grc-gre, Ἄρτεμις Artemis, ) is the Greek goddess Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or ori ...

Artemis
replaced her at the very last moment with a deer on the altar, and took Iphigenia to History of Crimea#Tauri and Scythians, Tauris (see ''Iphigenia in Tauris'' by Euripides). The deities, having been satisfied by such a sacrifice, made the winds blow and the Greek fleet departed. Legend tells us that the long and arduous Trojan War, although nominally a Greek victory, brought anarchy, piracy, and ruin; already before the Greek fleet set sail for Troy, the conflict had divided the gods as well, and this contributed to curses and acts of vengeance following many of the Greek heroes. After the war
Agamemnon In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical cosmology, nature of ...
returned to Mycenae and was greeted royally with a red carpet rolled out for him. Shortly thereafter, he was slain by Clytemnestra, who hated him bitterly for having ordered the sacrifice of their daughter Iphigenia in order to gain favorable winds to Troy. Clytemnestra was aided in her crime by Aegistheus, her lover, who reigned subsequently, but Orestes (mythology), Orestes, her son by Agamemnon, was smuggled out to Phocis. He returned as an adult with his sister Electra to slay Clytemnestra and Aegistheus. He then fled to Athens to evade justice and a matricide, and became insane for a time. Meanwhile, the throne of Mycenae went to Aletes (son of Aegisthus), Aletes, son of Aegistheus, but not for long. Recovering, Orestes returned to Mycenae with Electra to kill Aletes and took the throne. This story is told in numerous plays, including the Oresteia, Electra (Sophocles play), Sophocles' ''Electra'', and Electra (Euripides play), Euripides' ''Electra''.


End of the Atreids

Orestes then built a larger state in the Peloponnese, but he died in
Arcadia Arcadia may refer to: Places Australia * Arcadia, New South Wales, a suburb of Sydney * Arcadia, Queensland * Arcadia, Victoria Greece * Arcadia (region) Arcadia ( el, Ἀρκαδία) is a region in the central Peloponnese. It takes its name ...
from a snake bite. His son, Tisamenus, the last of the Atreid dynasty, was killed by the Heracleidae on their return to the Peloponnesus. They claimed the right of the Perseids to inherit the various kingdoms of the Peloponnese and cast lots for the dominion of them. Whatever the historical realities reflected in these stories, the Atreids are firmly set in the epoch near the end of the Heroic Age, leading up to the arrival of the Dorians. There are no established stories of a royal house at Mycenae later than the Atreids, and this could reflect the fact that not much more than fifty or sixty years seem to have separated the fall of Troy VIIa (the likely inspiration of Homeric Troy) and the fall of Mycenae.


Records in Asia Minor

On March 5, 1223 BC, there was a total eclipse of the sun in the Aegean Sea, Aegean, which Atreus might have twisted into a setting of the sun in the east. However, this date does not solve all unknowns. A late date is implied for the Trojan War, which would, in that case, have been against Troy VIIa after all. The Perseids would have been in power circa 1380 BC, the date of a statue base from Kom el-Heitan in Egypt recording the itinerary of an Egyptian embassy to the Aegean in the time of
Amenhotep III Amenhotep III ( egy, imn-ḥtp(.w) "Amun Amun (; also ''Amon'', ''Ammon'', ''Amen''; egy, jmn, ''reconstructed'' ; Ancient Greek, Greek ''Ámmōn'', ''Hámmōn'') was a major ancient Egyptian deities, ancient Egyptian deity who appears ...

Amenhotep III
(r. 1391–1353 BC or 1388–1351 BC). ''M-w-k-i-n-u'' (phonetic "Mukanuh") was one of the cities visited, a rare early document of the name of Mycenae. It was one of the cities of the ''tj-n3-jj'' ("Tinay"), The Homeric Danaans were named, in myth, after Danaë, which suggests that the Perseids were in fact in some sort of dominion. Also in the 14th century BC, Ahhiya began to be troublesome to numerous kings of the
Hittite Empire The Hittites () were an Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing first a kingdom in Kussara before 1750 BC, then the Kanesh or Nesha kingdom (c. 1750–1650 BC), and next an empire centered on Hattusa Hattusa (also ...

Hittite Empire
. Ahhiyawa or Ahhiya, which occurs a few dozen times in Hittite clay tablet, tablets over the century, is probably Achaiwia, reconstructed Mycenaean Greek for Achaea. The Hittites did not use "Danaja" as did the Egyptians, even though the first Ahhiya reference in the "Indictment of Madduwatta". precedes the correspondence between
Amenhotep III Amenhotep III ( egy, imn-ḥtp(.w) "Amun Amun (; also ''Amon'', ''Ammon'', ''Amen''; egy, jmn, ''reconstructed'' ; Ancient Greek, Greek ''Ámmōn'', ''Hámmōn'') was a major ancient Egyptian deities, ancient Egyptian deity who appears ...

Amenhotep III
and one of Madduwatta's subsequent successors in Arzawa, Tarhunta-Radu. There are no indications in the external sources for an overarching authority, such as a great king, or another unifying structure behind Ahhiya and the Tinay, at this (LHIIIA:1) time, though the Egyptian sources do seem to suggest that Tinay was a single ‘country’ (much like Keftiu - Crete). For example, in the "Indictment of Madduwatta", Attarsiya, the "ruler of Ahhiya", attacks Madduwatta and drives him from his land. He obtains refuge and military assistance from the King Tudhaliya of the Hittites. After the death of the latter and in the reign of his son, Arnuwanda, Madduwatta allies with Attarissiya and they, along with another ruler, raid Alasiya, that is, Cyprus. This is the only known occurrence of a man named Attarissiya, and indeed the only secure attestation of any royal Mycenaean name in the Hittite texts (though a brother of the king of Ahhiyawa is named in a later text; see below). Attempts to link this name to ''Atreus'' have not resulted in scholarly consensus. The eminent scholar Martin Litchfield West, Martin West suggested, however, that the name ''Atreus'' may be a shortened derivate from an earlier, Mycenaean name (possibly ''Atresias'') that was similar to Attarissiya. Alternatively, Albrecht Goetze proposed that ''Attarissiya'' may be compared to the Homeric possessive ''Atreid''; used to designate both Menelaos and Agamemnon as "sons of Atreus." During LHIIIA:2, Ahhiya, now known as ''Ahhiyawa'', extended its influence over Miletus, settling on the coast of
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
, and competed with the Hittites for influence and control in western
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
. For instance, Uhha-Ziti's Arzawa and through him Manapa-Tarhunta's Seha River Land. While establishing the credibility of the Mycenaean Greeks as a historical power, these documents create as many problems as they solve. Similarly, a Hittite king wrote the so-called Tawagalawa Letter to the Great King of Ahhiyawa, concerning the depredations of the Luwiyan adventurer Piyama-Radu. Neither of the names of the great kings are stated; the Hittite king could be either Muwatalli II or his brother Hattusili III, which at least dates the letter to LHIIIB by Mycenaean standards. The fact that the King of Ahhiyawa is addressed as a "Royal Brother" and designated as a "Great King", however, is striking, for only few ancient monarchs were accorded this honorific title. This Ahhiyawan Great King remains unfortunately unnamed. His brother, however, is named in this text, as ''Tawagalawa''; which may have been the Hittite rendering of *Etewoclewes (Eteocles). But neither the Atreus nor the Agamemnon of legend have any brothers named *Etewoclewes (Eteocles); this name, rather, is associated with Thebes. Intriguingly, though the region around Thebes (the Thebaid) may be listed, as Tqs, in the Kom el Hetan text (dating to Amenhotep III),the town itself is not (compare to Mycenae, which is specifically mentioned in that very same text).


Excavation

The first excavations at Mycenae were carried out by Greek archaeologist Kyriakos Pittakis in 1841 where he found and restored the Lion Gate.. In 1874,
Heinrich Schliemann Heinrich Schliemann (; 6 January 1822 – 26 December 1890) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germa ...

Heinrich Schliemann
excavated deep shafts all over the acropolis without permission; in August 1876, a complete excavation of the site by Schliemann commenced with the permission of the Archaeological Society of Athens (ASA) and the supervision of one of its members, Panayiotis Stamatakis. Schliemann believed in the historical truth of the Homeric stories and interpreted the site accordingly. He found the ancient Grave Circle A, shaft graves with their royal skeletons and spectacular grave goods. Upon discovering a human skull beneath a gold death mask in one of the tombs, he declared: "I have gazed upon the Mask of Agamemnon, face of Agamemnon". Since Schliemann's day, more scientific excavations have taken place at Mycenae, mainly by Greek archaeologists but also by the British School at Athens. Christos Tsountas, another member of the ASA, cleared a significant portion of the citadel during his excavations of the site beginning in 1884 and ending in 1902. The Athens Archaeological Society is currently excavating the Mycenae Lower Town (), with support from Dickinson College and the Institute for Aegean Prehistory. Afterwards, Tsountas and the ASA gave permission to the British School of Archaeology (BSA) to excavate; the BSA conducted excavations from 1920 to 1955 under the supervision of Alan John Bayard Wace, assisted by Winifred Lamb. In 1951, workers discovered Grave Circle B. After Wace died in 1957, excavation work was finished by Lord William Taylour from 1958 to 1969, especially on the west slope of the citadel. The ASA continued excavation work on the site with efforts led by Ioannis Papadimitriou and Nicolas Verdelis in the late 1950s and early 1960s, as well as by George Mylonas from 1957 up until 1985. In 1985, excavation work was directed by Spyros Iakovidis who, , is still overseeing the ASA's research mission in both fieldwork and publication preparation.


See also

*List of ancient Greek cities *Boar's tusk helmet *Fortification of Mycenae *Gold Grave Goods at Grave Circles A and B *National Archaeological Museum of Athens


References


Citations


Sources

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Wood J. R., Hsu, Y-T and Bell, C. 2021 Sending Laurion Back to the Future: Bronze Age Silver and the Source of Confusion, Internet Archaeology 56. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.56.9


Further reading

* * * * * * * * * * * *


External links


Dickinson College Excavations at Mycenae
{{Authority control Mycenae, Aegean palaces of the Bronze Age Buildings and structures in Argolis Former populated places in Greece Locations in the Iliad Populated places in ancient Argolis Mycenaean palaces Mycenaean sites in Argolis Tourist attractions in Peloponnese (region) World Heritage Sites in Greece Late Bronze Age collapse