1 Lions and Warriors: Mycenaean Greece Lecture 12
2 Greece Anatolia (Turkey) CYCLADES ISLANDS CRETE
3 Europa and the Bull. According to the Greek myth, Zeus, disguised as a bull, kidnapped the beautiful young Europa and swam with her on his back to Crete, where her descendants included King Minos. The legend hints at the historical links between Crete, the Near East, and the birth of literate civilization in Europe.
5 Heinrich Schliemann ( ) Businessman Lover of Homer Discoverer of Mycenae
6 After his excavations of ancient Troy in northwestern Anatolia during the early 1870s, Schliemann crossed the Aegean to begin excavating in Greece, which had declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire in His search took him to Mycenae, base of King Agamemnon, leader of the expedition against Troy described in the Iliad.
7 There at Mycenae, in 1876, Schliemann excavated a heavily fortified citadel, approached through this impressive gate.
8 Later Greeks wondered whether the massive walls of the Mycenaean palaces had been built by giants, hence the nickname for this style of construction -- Cyclopean masonry. The lion gate at Mycenae remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in contemporary Greece.
10 Inside the cyclopean walls at Mycenae, Schliemann found a grave circle with the tombs of Bronze Age kings or warriors.
11 Some of the shaft graves at Mycenae included weapons, like this dagger sheath decorated in gold with scenes of a lion hunt. On right, a modern restoration of a Mycenaean short sword.
12 Inside the tombs lay inhumation burials with offerings of Mycenaean drinking cups and, over some skeletons, thinly hammered sheets of gold.
13 When Schliemann found this mask in one of the shaft graves at Mycenae, he sent a triumphant telegram claiming, I have gazed upon the face of Agamemnon. Unfortunately, the chronology does fit Schliemann s interpretation. The mask dates to ca BC, some four hundred years before the alleged date of the Trojan War.
14 Aerial view of the citadel at Mycenae. Scholars use the site s name for the late Bronze Age society centered on the fortified palaces of southern Greece, a.k.a., the Mycenaeans.
16 Linear B tablet. Derived from the Linear A writing system on Crete, Linear B was used to manage the affairs of the Mycenaean palaces. In 1952, an English architect named Michael Ventris deciphered the syllabic script of Linear B and proved that the language on the tablets was an early form of Greek.
17 The geographic extent of Mycenaean civilization can be mapped through the distribution of key objects, such as archives of linear B tablets, architecture composed on Cylcopean masonry, hilltop citadels, and both imported and locally made pottery. Note how closely the four maps correspond. Historians and archaeologists frequently use distribution maps like these to trace the geographical boundaries of a particular culture.
18 By ca BC, Mycenaean civilization encompassed not only the whole of southern Greece, but also many of the Aegean islands, including Crete, where archaeologists have found signs of Mycenaean settlement, such as Linear B tablets, over the ruins of the earlier Minoan palaces.
19 Ground plan of the Mycenaean palace at Pylos, on the southern tip of the Peloponnesus, where, according to Homer, King Nestor reigned. Find Pylos on the map in the previous slide.
20 The details of this reconstruction are imaginative, but archaeology supports the general conclusion that Mycenaean palaces adopted many features of Minoan palace decoration.
21 A Mycenaean fresco depicting an unidentified woman. The frescoes suggest that Mycenaean women imitated both the hairstyles and dress of their Minoan predecessors.
22 But the fragmentary frescoes of the Mycenaean palace also contain many scenes of combat and warfare that are rare in Minoan art.
23 The martial orientation of the Mycenaeans is also reflected in the variety of bronze swords and other weapons found in the graves at Mycenae and other sites.
24 Mycenaean artists did not have access to the large quantities of gold that were available in Egypt. Instead, they hammered their gold into thin sheets, which could then be decorated and attached to objects of high prestige, such as this sword hilt. Mycenaean sword handle
25 Note the variety of finely worked designs on these Mycenaean swords. Artisans capable of craftwork like this were highly valued at the courts of Mycenae, Pylos, and the other citadels of Mycenaean Greece.
26 Lion hunt on Mycenaean sword
27 The warrior vase from Mycenae (ca BC) offers a rare, intact depiction of a line of Mycenaean warriors, with their spears, shields, grieves, armor, and boar-tusk helmets.
29 LINEAR B TABLET in early Greek language
30 A Mycenaean gold cup. Linear B tablets like the one included in your course pack record the donation of similar cups as votive offerings in honor of the gods.
31 The Liner B tablets preserve the names of many of the major Greek gods, such as Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Artemis, and Athena. Here, a bronze statue of Zeus (or Poseidon) from 500 BC., more than 600 hundred years after the collapse of Mycenaean civilization.
32 In Greece, the mountains often come down close to the sea, and good ports are rare. Even so, the Mycenaeans developed into accomplished sailors and merchants.
34 The Mycenaeans imported a wide range of luxury products from Anatolia, Syria, and Egypt, as well as raw materials from Cyprus, Anatolia, the Balkans, and the West. In return, they exported fine pottery and probably other items, such as slaves, not represented directly in the archaeological record.
35 With its bold black and red painting on creme-colored surfaces, Mycenaean pottery is easy to recognize. Animal imagery was common.
36 Mycenaean ceramics sometimes imitate the shapes and designs of Minoan pottery, though less convincing naturalism. Here, a rather stiff-looking octopus.
37 The factors behind the collapse of Bronze Age civilization ca remain obscure. Although archaeologists have discovered evidence for the burning and abandonment of nearly all of the palace citadels of the Aegean world during this period, we do not know who was responsible for their destruction. The most likely explanation is some combination of factors, including prolonged internecine warfare, invasion, disease, and famine, probably triggered by drought and/or other environmental factors.