The Golden Mycenae
Mycenae or Mykines was one of the oldest Greek cities. It was built on a rocky hill at the foot of the Argolic Gulf. After the decline of Crete, Mycenae became the most important center of Greece. The greatest prosperity of the city is placed chronologically from 1600 to 1100 BC, which is why this period is called Mycenaean.

According to mythology, the city was founded by Perseus, son of Zeus and Danae. It was fortified with a strong wall, which was called the Cyclops and survives to this day. In fact, Mycenae was inhabited from 2500 BC. During the Middle Helladic period, the Achaeans settled there. Two dynasties ruled Mycenae: the Persians and the Atreides. During the reign of Agamemnon, the city experienced days of glory and wealth.

Homer calls them golden Mycenae, while the Trojan campaign testifies to its military strength

The Egyptians and Hittites had friendly relations with the kings of Mycenae and many claim that the gold found in the city came from Egypt. During the reign of Tisamenos, son of Orestes, the Dorians descended to the Peloponnese.
Mycenae declines, but retains its independence. In the Persian wars, Mycenaeans fought against the Persians. In 468 BC. the Argives captured the city and deserted it.

Today the cyclopean walls, the gate of the Lions, the floor of the palace of Agamemnon, as well as the vaulted tombs are preserved.

The reconstruction of the palaces, which are visible today, began around 1350 BC. in the Late Helladic IIIA2 period. Then began the fortification of the citadel, in which three phases can be distinguished. The first enclosure was built with the cyclopean system on the rock. One hundred years later, in the HR IIIB1 period, the fortification moved to the west and south and the Lions' Gate was built, the monumental entrance with its bastion.

The religious center and the Burial Circle A, which was formed into a place of ancestral worship, were included in the walled area, with the raising of its initial level.

It is then possible that the vaulted tomb known as the treasure of Atreus was built, with its huge lintels and high honeycomb dome.

Around 1200 BC, in the HR III-III period, after extensive destruction, possibly by an earthquake, the extension of the walls to the northeast of the hill was constructed so that the underground fountain could be included in the walled area. Repeated destructions accompanied by fires led to the final abandonment of the area around 1100 BC.

After the collapse of the palace system and the dissolution of the Mycenaean Common, the hill remained sparsely inhabited until the classical period. During this period, local heroic cults were created in the area, due to the fame of Mycenae, which the Homeric epics carried throughout the Greek world, while at the top of the hill an archaic temple dedicated to Hera or Athena was established.

In 468 BC, after the alfalfa wars in which the city participated, Argos conquered it and demolished parts of its fortifications. Later, during the Hellenistic period, the Argites founded a coma on the hill, repairing the prehistoric walls and the archaic temple and building a small theater above the road to the vaulted tomb of Clytemnestra. In the following centuries the town remained almost abandoned and was already in ruins when Pausanias visited it in the 2nd c. A.D.

The cyclopean walls of the Mycenaean citadel, however, remained visible over the centuries and were a pole of attraction for many travelers and archaeologists, who did not hesitate to plunder the area in the 18th and 19th centuries, taking advantage of the indifference and greed of the Turks.


Many etymologize the word Mycenae from the innards that determine its location. Others produce the word from the heroine Mycenae, daughter of Inachos. Others associate it with the word fungus, arguing that the city was named after the fungus (the edge of the sword case) of the founder of Perseus. Some linguists even associate it with the toponyms Mykali and Mykalissos which are considered pre-Greek.

Mycenae was founded between two high conical hills, Profitis Ilias (805 m.) And Sarah (660 m.), On a low hill that dominated the Argolic plain and had control of road and sea communications. The oldest human activity in the area is documented by very few remains due to the later construction phases and dates back to the 7th millennium BC, during the Neolithic era. The habitation was continuous until historical times, but most of the monuments that are visible today, belong to the heyday of the area, the Late Bronze Age, between 1350 and 1200 BC.

At the beginning of the 2nd millennium there was a small settlement on the hill as well as a cemetery on its southwest side, with simple burials in pits. Around 1700 BC. Hegemonic and aristocratic families appeared, as evidenced by the use of monumental tombs, richly decorated and enclosed in a stone enclosure, called Tomb Circle B. This development continued at the beginning of the Mycenaean period, around 1600 BC, when a large building main building at the top of the hill, a second stone enclosure, Burial Circle A, as well as the first vaulted tombs.

The findings show that the rulers of Mycenae were powerful and participated in a complex network of trade with the Mediterranean countries.

From 1600 to 1100 BC in mainland Greece we have the development of the Mycenaean civilization, which took its name from its most important center, Mycenae. This time period is also called post-Helladic.
Homer, in his epics, spoke of the prosperity and civilization of the Mycenaean centers. But to all of them, they seemed fantastic until the end of the last century.

The Mycenaean civilization got its name from Mycenae for two main reasons:
1. This city was the most important center of this culture and, at the same time,,
2. It was the first city in the Mycenaean world to come to light, with the excavations of Henry Schliemann in 1876.

Mycenae (Mykines, Mikines, Mycene) was an ancient city of Argolida near the mountain Tritos and opposite the Argolic Gulf. Homer is the first to mention the city, describing it in the words broad-shouldered, golden.

Regarding the origin of the Mycenaeans, some believe that they are descended from the Cretans, but the strongest view is that they are descended from the Achaeans, a warlike people who came from the north.

The Mycenaean period is divided into three phases:
Α)Early Late Helladic (1600 - 1500 BC) which was the last phase of the Bronze Age. During this period the Mycenaean civilization developed mainly in Mycenae.
Β) Middle Late Helladic (1500 - 1400 BC) in this phase the Mycenaean civilization spread throughout Greece and the islands.
Γ) Newest Late Helladic (1400 - 1100 BC) to this phase belong the palaces found in Thebes, Tiryns and Pylos.

Also then the huge walls were built, the so-called Cyclopean walls, samples of which are found in Mycenae, Tiryns and the Acropolis of Athens.

From the findings of the royal tombs in Mycenae we are convinced that as early as 1600 BC. An active and organized people lived in the area, which reached its peak after the end of the Minoan civilization. He knew the script, lived with an organized administrative and social organization, traded and fought. One of the most famous cities of the Mycenaean civilization, apart from Mycenae, is Tiryns, Pylos.

We learn many things about this era from the Homeric Epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey

The last period of Mycenae is connected with the Trojan War, from the adventures of which not only Homer was inspired, but, much later, the great Athenian tragedians.

The mythical king Agamemnon and the royal family of the Atreides continue to inspire and move to this day.

The Mycenaean civilization was influenced by the Minoan, in the field of technology, art and the idea of writing. The Mycenaeans, having contact with the Minoans from the 17th century, fruitfully assimilated many elements of their culture. However, the Mycenaeans were pioneers in the field of monumental architecture. This is proved by the cyclopean fortifications of the citadels and the vaulted tombs.

One of the most important creations of Mycenaean architecture is the walls that surround the citadels.

The so-called Lions Gate in the citadel of Mycenae is very famous

Also of interest are the tombs where the Mycenaeans buried their dead. The kings and members of the royal families were buried in the so-called vaulted tombs, the most imposing of which is located in Mycenae and is known as the treasure or tomb of Atreus.

The Mycenaean civilization is a unified culture among the various Mycenaean centers, the culture of the Mycenaean common.
After the decipherment of Linear B, there is no doubt that the Mycenaean civilization is the first great civilization of mainland Greece.
The Mycenaeans spoke the Greek language and worshiped the same gods that the Greeks of the historical period later worshiped.


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