Location Mycenaean was a city in ancient greece, located 10km north of agros in the southern peninsula
The Mycenaean civilization flourished during the period roughly between 1600 BC, it perished with the collapse of bronze age civilization in the eastern Mediterranean. The major Mycenaean cities were Mycenae and Tiry ns in Argolis, Pylos in Messenia, Athens in Attica, Thebes and Or chomenus in Boeotia, and Iolkos in Thessaly.
Invasion•The Mycenaeans entered Greece from the north ornortheast c.2000 B.C., displacing, seemingly withoutviolence, the older Neolithic culture, which can be datedas early as 4000 B.C.•These Indo-European Greek-speaking invaders broughtwith them advanced techniques in pottery, metallurgy, andarchitecture. Mercantile contact with Crete advanced andstrongly influenced their culture, and by 1600 B.C.,•Mycenae had become a major center of the ancient world.•The great Mycenaean cities—Mycenae, Tiryns, Pylos,Thebes, Orchomenos—were noted for their heavy, complexfortifications and the massive, cyclopean quality of theirmasonry, while Minoan cities were totally unfortified.•Mycenaean palaces were built around great halls calledmegara rather than around an open space as in Crete.
Trade and commerce . Wide-ranging commerce circulated Mycenaean goods throughout the Mediterranean world from Spain and the Levant. The evidence consists primarily of vases, but their contents (oil, wine, and other commodities) were probably the chief objects of trade. During the Mycenaean period, the Greek mainland enjoyed an era of prosperity centered in such strongholds as Mycenae, Tiryns, Thebes, and Athens. Local workshops produced utilitarian objects of pottery and bronze, as well as luxury items, such as carved gems, jewellery, vases in precious metals, and glass ornaments.
By the close of the Bronze Age contacts between the Aegean and its neighbours were well established. Mycenaean connection extended as far as southern Spain Mycenaean pottery, for example, has been found in Sardinia,Southern Italy and Sicily Besides being bold traders, the Mycenaeans were fierce warriors and great engineers who designed and built remarkable bridges, fortification walls, and beehive-shaped tombs—all employing Cyclopean masonry—and elaborate drainage and irrigation systems.
pottery Mycenaeans made a great deal of pottery. Archaeologists have found a great quantity of pottery from the Mycenaean age, of widely diverse styles—stirrup jars, pitchers, kraters, chalices sometimes called "champagne coupes" after their shape, etc. The vessels vary in size The products destined for export were generally more luxurious and featured heavily worked painted decorations incorporating mythic, warrior, or animal motifs. A number of vases have been found in the Aegean, in Anatolia, the Levant, Egypt and farther west in Sicily, even in Central Europe and as far away as Great Britain. In a general way, the circulation of Mycenaean goods is traceable thanks to nodules, ancestors of the modern label. They consisted of small balls of clay, molded with the fingers around a lanyard (probably of leather) with which they were attached to the object. The nodule displayed the imprint of a seal and an ideogram representing the object
society Mycenaean society appears to have been divided into two groups of free men: the kings entourage, who conducted administrative duties at the palace, and the people, who lived at the commune level; these last were watched over by royal agents and were obliged to perform duties for and pay taxes to the palace. . On a lower rung of the social ladder were found the slaves,
writing•The most significant Mycenaeanachievement was the invention of a newwriting system, the syllabary namedLinear B.• The decipherment of this writingverified that the official language ofthe Mycenaean palaces was the Greeklanguage.• This ascertainment shifted theMycenaean period from Prehistory toProtohistory.•The Mycenaean texts are of a purelyrecord keeping character since theyinclude only the necessary registrationsfor the control of the economicmanagement.• Therefore, we do not know whetherthe Mycenaeans had written texts of adifferent kind, such as letters, religiousor literary texts.
Art work Mycenaean swords an amber object inscribed with Linear B symbols has been found in Bavaria, Germany A Mycenaean funeral mask identified as Mycenaean bronze the "Mask of Silver repoussé rhyton with double axes and Agamemnon" gold horns, from Grave Circle other objects dating by Heinrich A at Mycenae, 16th century from 13th century Schliemann BC(Archaeological Museum, Athens BC have been found in Ireland and in Wessex and Corn wall in England.
The painting of the Mycenaean age was muchinfluenced by that of the Minoan age.Fragments of wall paintings have been found inor around the palaces (Pylos, Mycenae,Tiryns)Various themes are represented: hunting, bullleaping (tauromachy), battle scenes,processions etc. Some scenes may be part ofmythological narratives Other frescoes include geometric or stylisedmotifs, also used on painted pottery
The graves of the bronze age Two sets of graves found in the soil of Mycenae have given a fascinating glimpse of the wealth and artistic accomplishments of this city. The graves in each were enclosed within a circular wall. The older set, tentatively dated between 1700 and 1600 B.C., was outside the walls that surround the citadel of Mycenae there were wealthy Greeks, perhaps from a royal family or clan. Alongside the bodies, the surviving relatives had deposited various offerings, for example, a golden rattle in a childs grave. The second set of graves, inside the citadel walls, far surpassed the older ones in wealth.Their contents include such stunning luxuries as three masks of gold foil that were pressed on the faces of the dead and a complete burial suit of gold foil wrapped around a child, as well as swords, knives, daggers, and hundreds of gold ornaments. Bulls heads in the graves indicate the influence of Crete on artists working in Greece.
The tablets The earliest record of greek mythology comes from clay tablets dating back to the mycenaean civilisation The clay tablets describe the chief mycenaean god as Poseidon. He appeared in later greek mythology as a major figure. The tablets themselves are preserved only because they were baked in fire as these several cities were destroyed by invaders. All the tablets are rosters and inventories, cataloguing oil, seed, objects of metal, men, and women, all in
Architecture The style of architecture used by the Mycenaeans in their cities developed during the Early Mycenaean period. As with the art of the Mycenaeans, their architecture owes a great deal to the influence of the Minoans of Crete. The plan and layout of the Bronze Age cities on the mainland resemble the “palaces” of Crete in many ways, however, the Mycenaeans did develop their own style over the following centuries. Architecture of the heroic age in southern Greece from the 17th to 13th century B.C. Exemplified in the earliest phase by shaft graves cut into the sloping rock, with sidewalls of stone masonry and a timber roof; in the middle period by monumental beehive tombs constructed of superimposed layers of enormous stone blocks progressively projecting to create a parabolic corbeled vault, with a stone-faced, inclined access passage leading to the entrance composed of upward-slanting jambs and a heavy stone lintel supporting a characteristic Mycenaean relief triangle ; in the late period by fortified palaces having Cyclopean walls, underground passages with corbeled vaults, postern gates, and cisterns, laid out on an irregular ground plan, with distinctive propylaea, one or more unconnected columnar halls with porches facing individual courts, and long corridors linking auxiliary and storage rooms.
Fortifications The principal Mycenaean towns were well fortified. against a large hill as in Mycenae, or on the coastal plain, like Gla or Pylos. Besides the citadels, there are also isolated forts that undoubtedly served to militarily control territory. Mycenaean walls were often made in a fashion called cyclopean, which means that they were constructed of large, unworked boulders up to eight meters (26 ft) thick, loosely fitted without the clay mortar of the day. Different types of entrances or exits can be seen: monumental gates, access ramps, hidden doors, and vaulted galleries for escaping in case of a siege. Fear of attack meant that the chosen site must have a cistern or well at its disposal.
Corbel vaulting Many of the Mycenaean constructions utilized stone blocks of an enormous size. Some of the blocks are the size of a small truck. This technique can be used to span arched corridors and circular domes in buildings and is often used to lighten the weight above doorways. The corbel vault is created by arranging courses of stones with each successive course projecting slightly more into the space, until a single stone can be placed over the top of the triangular arch. The tunnel at Mycenae leading to the “secret spring” and the tholos tombs of the Mycenaeans are the most recognizable uses of corbel vaulting.
Lion gate•The Lion Gate of Mycenae was theentrance to the city. Atop the gate, twolions rampant are carved in stone relief.Similar bas-reliefs of two lions rampantfacing each other are found in a number ofplaces in Phrygia in Asia Minor.1•The twin lions shown here flanking a pillarwere positioned above the main entranceto the citadel of Mycenae.• The gate was about 10 feet wide and 10feet high; the carved stone with the lionsis about three feet high. It forms what iscalled a "relieving triangle", because thecarved slab weighs much less than thestones to the right and left; this reducedpressure on the lintel block below it. Thatblock weighs two tons or so. The door wasmade up of two wooden leaves openinginward.•The lions originally had heads made ofmetal, but they have long sincedisappeared. The column the two lions
The megaron The megaron is the great hall of the Grecian palace complexes. It was a rectangular hall, fronted by an open, two-columned porch, and a more or less central, open hearth vented though an oculus in the roof above it and surrounded by four columns. It is the architectural predecessor of the classical Greek temple. It was used for poetry, feasts, worship, sacrifice, formal royal functions, councils, and is said to be where guests of the king would stay during their visits . Originally it was very colorful — made with the Minoan architectural order, the insides made of fired brick and a wooden roof supported on beams. The rooftop was tiled with ceramic and terracotta tiles. In the theory of architecture, the Megaron is considered to be the earliest architectural act. It is the earliest intervention that transforms utilitarian buildings into buildings with architectural qualities. The Megaron creates the notion of special approach and axis and thus is considered to be the predecessor of all orders in architectural theory
Mycenaean palaces the palaces of the mainland Mycenaeans are sprawling buildings usually located at the center of the fortified citadel. The best examples of the Mycenaean palace are seen in the excavations at Mycenae, Tiryns and Pylos. Within the palace complex residential space, storerooms and workshops were arranged around the central megaron, considered to function as the audience chamber for the royals. Most were probably two-storied, but in all cases the second story has not survived and must be hypothesized from stairways. The plan of the palace varies a great deal from site to site, but they all share the megaron as their central feature This plan features two megarons suggesting a public audience chamber as well as one reserved for more important visitors and family.
Palace of tyrins•The city of Tiryns, situated on a ridge inthe plain between Nauplion and Mycenae,has been inhabited since the Neolithic Age(3rd millennium BCE) but attained itsgreatest splendor in the late Mycenaeanperiod (c. 1400-1200 BCE).•The bluff on which it stood was only 18 m(59 ft) higher than the surrounding plain,which in ancient times was a salt march.• The palace on the summit of the citadelwas excavated (1884-85) by the Germanarchaeologist Heinrich Schliemann and untilthe later discoveries in Crete wasconsidered the most complete example ofthe home of a prehistoric king in theAegean area.• It includes entrance gates, paved courts,large halls, vestibules, smaller rooms, and abath.• It was apparently built by stages; thecomplex of buildings representing bothearlier and later palaces. Tiryns survivedinto the classical period but was destroyed
Knossos palace•Labyrinth, or Knossos Palace, is the largestBronze Age archaeological site on Crete andprobably the ceremonial and political centre ofthe Minoan civilization and culture•. The palace appears as a maze of workrooms,living spaces, and store rooms close to a centralsquare. Detailed images of Cretan life in thelate Bronze Age are provided by images on thewalls of this palace•. It is also a tourist destination today, as it isnear the main city of Heraklion and has beensubstantially restored by archaeologist ArthurEvans.•The palace has an interesting layout .The1,300 rooms are connected with corridors ofvarying sizes and direction, which is differentthan other palaces of the time period whichconnected the rooms via several main hallways.• The 6 acres (24,000 m2) of the palaceincluded a theatre, a main entrance on each ofits four cardinal faces, and extensive
•The 6 acres (24,000 m2) of the palace included atheatre, a main entrance on each of its four cardinalfaces, and extensive storerooms (also calledmagazines).•The storerooms contained pithoi (large clay vases)that held oil, grains, dried fish, beans, and olives.•Many of the items were created at the palaceitself, which had grain mills, oil presses, and winepresses.•Beneath the pithoi were stone holes used to storemore valuable objects, such as gold.• The palace used advanced architecturaltechniques: for example, part of it was built up tofive stories high The compartments in the floorwere for grain and produce.• An alternative explanation for thesecompartments is that they were catch basins forthe contents of the pithoi if one should break orleak. It would be very hazardous to store grain orproduce in the floor of a magazine, the mainpurpose of which was to hold giant vases of liquids.
Palace of pylos The most thoroughly excavated palace is that of Pylos, the fable home of King Nestor. The site is one of the few Mycenaean cities that was undamaged by later settlement on the site, so modern excavations have been quite fruitful. The information recovered from Pylos reveals the high level of decoration that occurred in Mycenaean palaces. The walls, floors and ceilings of the megaron were covered in frescoes of bright colors. the residential suites on the ground floor were quite spacious,
The kingdom of Pylos was divided into two great provinces, the near province, and the far province. The kingdom was further subdivided into seven districts, then into a number of communes. To manage these districts, the king named governor and a vice governor. A damokoros,( one who takes care of a damos), in charge of the commune, shared responsibility at the communal level The staircases found in the palace of Pylos indicate palaces had two stories. Located on the top floor were probably the private quarters of the royal family and some storerooms. These palaces have yielded a wealth of artifacts and fragmentary frescoes.
Citadel and fortifications The citadel of Mycenae was probably the greatest and the largest of all the Mycenaean cities. Located on the top of a hill, the city was meant to take the fullest advantage of the natural defenses. The fortified wall surrounding the city was built up in progressive stages with the last section completed only a short time before the city was abandoned. The city walls were immense, incredibly thick, and consisting of several ton boulders
Tombs The tombs of the Mycenaeans are famous for their unique construction and, of course, the amazing riches that were found in many of them. The first style of tomb popular on the mainland was the shaft grave. Two well preserved examples from Mycenae are known as Grave Circle A and Grave Circle B. Both were communal graves, the first held 19 skeletons and the second, 24. The spectrum of ages represented in each suggest common family burials. Both contained many fine examples of Early Mycenaean art pieces, including the now infamous Mask of Agamemnon.
The tholos tomb became popular for the burials of entire royal families later in the Mycenaean period. These tombs are known throughout Greece during the Bronze Age and are easily recognized by their bee-hive shape created by corbel vaulting of a round building. The most famous of these tholos tombs by far is the so-called Treasury of Atreus discovered by Heinrich Schliemann. These tholos tombs were entered through a dromos, or entrance passage. Dimensions : At the Treasury of Atreus, this dromos is of monumental proportions, 6m wide and 36m long. The dome of the tholos is equally impressive, 14.6m in diameter and 13.5m to the top of the dome. The stone work of the interior is very refined for the period, with a smooth surface of limestone.
Reason of its collapse Around 1100 BC, the Mycenaean civilization collapsed. Numerous cities were sacked, and the region entered what historians describe as a dark age for its lack of inscriptions, with some Mycenaeans fleeing to Cyprus as well as other Greek islands and coastal parts of Anatolia. During this period, Greece experienced decreasing population and the limited literacy, connected with bureaucrats of palace culture, disappeared. Historians have traditionally blamed this decline on an invasion or uprising by another wave of Greek people, the Dorians, who may have been a subjugated local people, although Pylos was probably destroyed by sea peoples. Alternate theories for the decline also include natural disasters such as a series of earthquakes or large-scale drought, although these recent theories are more controversial.