Mycenae, Greece


The Mycenean Acropolis dominates the surrounding area; on the top was the palace, the focus of the public life of the king; Mycenae, Greece


From the port of Nafplio we drove inland about one-half hour to the ruins of the Mycenean Acropolis.  The ancient city of Mycenea is described by UNESCO (a World Heritage Site) as “the most important and richest palatial center of the Late Bronze Age in Greece.”  Mycenae was the main center of the Mycenean world and gave its name to a period and a civilization that evolved throughout the entire Greek world between the 16th and 12th centuries B.C. and spread to all the known sites of this period in the Mediterranean basin.  Mycenae was the home of King Agamemnon and his wife, Clytemnestra, whose story is part of the Trojan War epic poems written by Homer in the Illiad and the Odyssey; they were real people, not mythological figures, and their royal tombs are located in Mycenae.  The site is located 90 kilometers (56 miles) southwest from Athens.



Scale model of the Mycenae Acropolis in the site’s museum, showing the famous Lion Gate (# 1) — the monumental entrance to the fortified citadel, the palace (top center) and numerous houses, workshops, granaries, cisterns; Mycenae, Greece


“The Mycenean acropolis, dominating the surrounding are and the Argive plain, uniquely placed to control the communication routes in all directions – to the Peloponnese and to mainland Greece – and naturally strongly defended, was the most appropriate site to house the royal house of the Atreidae and their people.

“Life on the hill goes back much further.  The excavations begun in 1874 by Heinrich Schliemann, which still continue today , have demonstrated that the site was inhabited already in the 3rd millennium B.C.; they have brought to light brilliant creations of the Middle Helladic perios (1900 – 1580 B.C.), attesting to the glory and might of a ruling house earlier than the Atriedae, possibly the dynasty associated with the founding-father of Mycenae, Perseus…

“The dynasty of Atreus and his descendants, Agamemnon, Orestes and Teisamenos followed.  This dynasty imposed itself on the other local rulers in the Peloponnese, mainland Greece and the Aegean, as far afield as Minoan Crete, and [Agamemnon] led the Greek expedition against Troy.  Within the impregnable Cyclopean walls of the citadel [the acropolis at Mycenae], unfolded the life and terrible sufferings of the family of Agamemnon; the names of its members (Clytaemnestra, Iphigeneia, Electra, Orestes, together with Agamemnon’s rival Aegisthus) furnished material for the Homerica poems, the ancient Greek tragic poets, and post-Renaissance classical European and international literature.” – source: Mycenae Museum, Monuments and Museums of Greece



The famous Lion Gate is regarded as Europe’s oldest monumental sculpture; it is the main, monumental entrance to the fortified citadel of the Mycenae Acropolis and is the only known monumental sculpture of Bronze Age Greece, Mycenae



Detail of the two confronted lions covering the triangle above the lintel of the Lion Gate; its construction was an amazing technical feat (1350-1200 BC) and has been attributed with some justification to the mythical Cyclopes, Mycenae, Greece



The main hall – the throne room – of The Palace of the Mycenae Acropolis; the architecture of the palace foreshadows the form of the Classical ancient Greek temple of historical times, Mycenae, Greece



Remains of many houses and workshops below The Palace on the Mycenae Acropolis, Mycenae, Greece




Grave circle A was a cemetery of royal tombs from the beginning of the Late Helladic I period (16th century B.C.), Mycenae Acropolis, Mycenae, Greece



Clay sculpture (figure of a woman), dating to around the 14th century B.C., Mycenae Museum, Mycenae, Greece



Pottery dating to around the 14th century B.C. that was found in the houses in the acropolis, Mycenae Museum, Mycenae, Greece



A fragment of a fresco from around the 14th century B.C. from a house in the acropolis, Mycenae Museum, Mycenae, Greece



Beautiful gold jewelry dating to around the 14th century B.C., Mycenae Museum, Mycenae, Greece




A replica of The (gold) Death Mask of Agamemnon, king of Mycenae and leader of the Greek army attacking Troy, discovered in 1867 by Heinrich Schliemann, referred to as the “Mona Lisa” of prehistory, Mycenae Museum, Mycenae, Greece


“The Death Mask of Agamemnon, king of Mycenae and leader of the Greeks at Troy, was discovered in 1867 by Heinrich Schliemann.  It is referred to as the ‘Mona Lisa’ of prehistory.  Schliemann believed that he had discovered the body of the legendary Greek leader Agamemnon, naming his son after him in 1878, but modern archaeological research suggests that the mask is from 1550-1500 BCE – earlier than the life of Agamemnon, as tradition regards it. The [original] mask is currently displayed in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.” — Wikipedia



The Treasury of Altreus (The Royal Tomb (Tholos) of King Agamemnon) who was murdered at the Lion Gate entrance to the Mycenae Acropolis on his return home from Troy by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus, Mycenae, Greece


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