Greek thesaurus


Mycenaean civilization
• The Acropolis at Mycenae
• The Tholos tombs of Mycenae
• Mycenae's Grave Circle A
• Grave Circle B
• Funerary Assemblages from Grave Circle B
• The Pylos Palace
• The Tiryns Acropolis
• Linear B Tablets
• The Mycenaean world between East and the West
• The Development of Mycenaean Pottery
• Mycenaean Attica
• Mycenaean civilization
Photo Gallery
• Mycenaean Pottery
• Mycenaean Figurines
• Mycenaean Jewellery
• Mycenaean Painting



Plan your summer holidays to Nafplion. Visit Mycenae, Epidaurus, Tiryns

Historical periods and civilizations
• Neolithic Period
• Cycladic civilization
• Minoan civilization
• Mycenaean civilization
• Geometric period
• Classical period
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• The Acropolis of Athens
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                                                       The Acropolis at Mycenae
Mycenaean Acropolis reconstrucion



Heinrich Schliemann's 1876 excavations on the Mycenaean citadel brought to life before the astonished eyes of his contemporaries, a legendary world, that formed the core of the Homeric epics. Christos Tsountas (1857-l934), Allan J. B Wace (1879-1957), George Mylonas (1898-1988) and, in recent years, professor Spiridon Iakovidis are among those arhaeologists who have carried on Schliemann's great work.

The citadel, which covers a surface area of 30,000 sq. m, is surrounded by walls composed of huge boulders. According to Greek myth, the walls, like those of Tiryns, were built by the Cyclops, hence their name Cyclopean. The earliest (14th century BC) fortification wall at Mycenae enclosed only the top of the hill. This wall was extended in the 13th century to the south to include Grave Circle A, the burial grounds of the Mycenaean rulers who founded Mycenaean authority in the 16tn century BC. This wall was further extended around 1200 BC to the North-east to incorporate the citadel's underground fountain, which was accessed by a vaulted stone stairway. The main entrance to the acropolis, the monumental Lion Gate, is an impressive structure with its massive lintel and imposing relief decoration: two erect lions on either side of a column. These heraldic beasts are represented in profile facing each other with their front paws resting on two small concave altars. A smaller secondary entrance was inserted in the north wall.

As the administrative, financial and religious centre for a wide region in the 14th and 13th centuries BC, the citadel included a palace, with the ruler's formal megaron at the top, shrines decorated with wall-paintings near the south wall, artists' workshops and store-rooms. Ivory workshops were discovered outside the citadel's precinct, in the so-called House of the Sphinxes and House of the Shields, named after the ivory plaques with corresponding motifs that were discovered there. These houses, as well as those conventionally dubbed the House of the Wine Merchant and House of the Oil Merchant, also contained tablets inscribed in Linear B, the first Greek script. The palace maintained trade relations with the equivalent ruling centres of Near East and Egypt, while the local goldsmiths, coppersmiths, ivory carvers, stone carvers and other craftsmen worked under the supervision of palace officials. Agriculture and animal-husbandry, as well as the manufacture of woolen cloths, wine, oil and perfumes were also controlled by the central palatial administration.

Large stirrup jars, some with Linear B inscriptions, naming the owner or the product and the production area, were used to transport liquids. Fine Mycenaean pottery was exported and copied throughout the Mediterranean region. Pictorial style pottery, with human and animal representations, was especially popular in Cyprus where it was copied by local workshops. The collapse of the centralized palatial administrative system towards the end of the 13th century BC did not put an end to occupation on the acropolis. Instead, life continued throughout the last phase of the Mycenaean civilization in the 12th century BC.





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