mycenaean greece


  • Mycenaean Greece perished with the collapse of Bronze Age culture in the eastern Mediterranean, to be followed by the Greek Dark Ages, a recordless transitional period leading
    to Archaic Greece where significant shifts occurred from palace-centralized to decentralized forms of socio-economic organization (including the extensive use of iron).

  • [33][35] Among the various burial types, the shaft grave became the most common form of elite burial, a feature that gave the name to the early period of Mycenaean Greece.

  • [33] A number of centers of power emerged in southern mainland Greece dominated by a warrior elite society;[3][31] while the typical dwellings of that era were an early type
    of megaron buildings, some more complex structures are classified as forerunners of the later palaces.

  • [65][67] Collapse or Postpalatial Bronze Age (c. 1200–1050 BC)[edit] Initial decline and revival[edit] Marching soldiers on the Warrior Vase, c. 1200 BC, a krater from Mycenae
    In c. 1250 BC, the first wave of destruction apparently occurred in various centres of mainland Greece for reasons that cannot be identified by archaeologists.

  • [36] The royal shaft graves next to the acropolis of Mycenae, in particular the Grave Circles A and B, signified the elevation of a native Greek-speaking royal dynasty whose
    economic power depended on long-distance sea trade.

  • [82] The hypothesis of a Dorian invasion, known as such in Ancient Greek tradition, that led to the end of Mycenaean Greece, is supported by sporadic archaeological evidence
    such as new types of burials, in particular cist graves, and the use of a new dialect of Greek, the Doric one.

  • [12] Alternative names: Mycenaean civilization; Geographical range: Mainland Greece, Aegean islands and Western Anatolia; Period: Bronze Age; Dates: c. 1750 – c. 1050 BC;
    Type site: Mycenae; Major sites: Pylos, Tiryns, Midea, Orchomenos, Iolcos; Characteristics: Palace-centric administrative system, economy and culture, Cyclopean masonry, Linear B script records of the Greek language; Preceded by: Minoan civilization,
    Korakou culture, Tiryns culture; Followed by: Greek Dark Ages Chronology The Bronze Age in mainland Greece is generally termed as the “Helladic period” by modern archaeologists, after Hellas, the Greek name for Greece.

  • [85] In general, due to the obscure archaeological picture in 12th–11th century BC Greece, there is a continuing controversy among scholars over whether the impoverished societies
    that succeeded the Mycenaean palatial states were newcomers or populations that already resided in Mycenaean Greece.

  • [29] Notwithstanding the above academic disputes, the mainstream consensus among modern Mycenologists is that Mycenaean civilization began around 1750 BC,[1] earlier than
    the Shaft Graves,[30] originating and evolving from the local socio-cultural landscape of the Early and Middle Bronze Age in mainland Greece with influences from Minoan Crete.

  • [2] Another theory proposes that Mycenaean culture in Greece dates back to circa 3000 BC with Indo-European migrants entering a mainly-depopulated area; other hypotheses argue
    for a date as early as the seventh millennium BC (with the spread of agriculture) and as late as 1600 BC (with the spread of chariot technology).

  • [80] The site of Mycenae experienced a gradual loss of political and economic status, while Tiryns, also in the Argolid region, expanded its settlement and became the largest
    local center during the post-palatial period, in Late Helladic IIIC, c. 1200–1050 BC.

  • [81] Hypotheses for the collapse[edit] See also: Late Bronze Age collapse and Dorian invasion Invasions, destructions and possible population movements during the collapse
    of the Bronze Age, c. 1200 BC The reasons for the end of the Mycenaean culture have been hotly debated among scholars.

  • [59] Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East during the 14th century BC; Mycenaean Greece in purple In c. 1400 BC, Hittite records mention the military activities of an
    Ahhiyawan warlord, Attarsiya, possibly related to the mythic character of Atreus.

  • [111] Based on archaeological findings in the Middle East, in particular physical artifacts, textual references, inscriptions and wall paintings, it appears that Mycenaean
    Greeks achieved strong commercial and cultural interaction with most of the Bronze Age people living in this region: Canaanites, Kas

  • [23][24] Recent scholarship, based on textual evidence, new interpretations of the Hittite inscriptions, and recent surveys of archaeological evidence about Mycenaean–Anatolian
    contacts during this period, concludes that the term Ahhiyawa must have been used in reference to the Mycenaean world (land of the Achaeans), or at least to a part of it.

  • [94] Economy[edit] Mycenaean palace amphora, found in the ArgolidMycenaean stirrup vase found in the acropolis of Ugarit, Eastern Mediterranean (c. 1400–1300 BC) Organization[edit]
    The Mycenaean economy, given its pre-monetary nature, was focused on the redistribution of goods, commodities and labor by a central administration.

  • [46][47] Thus the Mycenaeans became the dominant power of the region, marking the beginning of the Mycenaean ‘Koine’ era (from Greek: common), a highly uniform culture that
    spread in mainland Greece and the Aegean.

  • This land is geographically defined in an inscription from the reign of Amenhotep III (r. c. 1390–1352 BC), where a number of Danaya cities are mentioned, which cover the
    largest part of southern mainland Greece.

  • [11] Various theories have been proposed for the end of this civilization, among them the Dorian invasion or activities connected to the “Sea Peoples”.

  • [68] Moreover, the palace of Mycenae appeared to have ruled over a territory two to three times the size of the other palatial states in Bronze Age Greece.

  • [74] In general, in the second half of 13th century BC, trade was in decline in the Eastern Mediterranean, most probably due to the unstable political environment there.

  • [49] Two Mycenaean chariot warriors on a fresco from Pylos (about 1350 BC; left) and two female charioteers from Tiryns (1200 BC; right) The state was ruled by a king, the
    wanax, whose role was religious and perhaps also military and judicial.

  • [25][26] This term may have also had broader connotations in some texts, possibly referring to all regions settled by Mycenaeans or regions under direct Mycenaean political

  • [71] It appears that after this first wave of destruction a short-lived revival of Mycenaean culture followed.

  • [31][32] Towards the end of the Middle Bronze Age (c. 1700/1675 BC),[1] a significant increase in the population and the number of settlements occurred.

  • [1] It represents the first advanced and distinctively Greek civilization in mainland Greece with its palatial states, urban organization, works of art, and writing system.

  • [72] Athens and the eastern coast of Attica were still occupied in the 12th century BC, and were not destroyed or abandoned; this points to the existence of new decentralized
    coastal and maritime networks there.

  • [94] Among those who could be found in the palace were well-to-do high officials, who probably lived in the vast residences found in proximity to Mycenaean palaces, but also
    others, tied by their work to the palace and not necessarily better off than the members of the da-mo, such as craftsmen, farmers, and perhaps merchants.

  • [61] Meanwhile, Ahhiyawa appears to be in control of a number of islands in the Aegean, an impression also supported by archaeological evidence.

  • [48] From the early 14th century BC, Mycenaean trade began to take advantage of the new commercial opportunities in the Mediterranean after the Minoan collapse.

  • [21][22] In the official records of another Bronze Age empire, that of the Hittites in Anatolia, various references from c. 1400 BC to 1220 BC mention a country named Ahhiyawa.

  • Knossos in Crete also became a Mycenaean center, where the former Minoan complex underwent a number of adjustments, including the addition of a throne room.

  • [87] Political organization Palatial states[edit] Mycenaean palatial states, or centrally organized palace-operating polities, are recorded in ancient Greek literature and
    mythology (e.g., Iliad, Catalogue of Ships) and confirmed by discoveries made by modern archaeologists such as Heinrich Schliemann.

  • [57] If some kind of united political entity existed, the dominant center was probably located in Thebes or in Mycenae, with the latter state being the most probable center
    of power.

  • [49][88] Considering this sense of uniformity, the Pylos archive, which is the best preserved one in the Mycenaean world, is generally taken as a representative one.

  • [86] The period following the end of Mycenaean Greece, c. 1100–800 BC, is generally termed the “Greek Dark Ages”.

  • [51] Apart from the archaeological evidence, this is also attested in Hittite records, which indicate that Miletos (Milawata in Hittite) was the most important base for Mycenaean
    activity in Asia Minor.

  • There is also at least one instance of a person, Enkhelyawon, at Pylos, who appears titleless in the written record but whom modern scholars regard as probably a king.

  • [91] Alternatively, based on archaeological data, some sort of confederation among a number of palatial states appears to be possible.

  • [57][90] On the other hand, contemporary Hittite and Egyptian records suggest the presence of a single state under a “Great King”.

  • [89] The unearthed Linear B texts are too fragmentary for the reconstruction of the political landscape in Mycenaean Greece and they do not support nor deny the existence
    of a larger Mycenaean state.

  • [37] During this period, the Mycenaean centers witnessed increased contact with the outside world, especially with the Cyclades and the Minoan centers on the island of Crete.

  • [39] Early Mycenaean civilization from the Shaft Grave period generally showcases heavy influence from Minoan Crete in regards to e.g.

  • [15] Moreover, it revealed that the bearers of Mycenaean culture were ethnically connected with the populations that resided in the Greek peninsula after the end of this cultural

  • This period is divided into three subperiods: The Early Helladic (EH) period (c. 3200–2000 BC)[13] was a time of prosperity with the use of metals and a growth in technology,
    economy and social organization.

  • [94] In general, Mycenaean society appears to have been divided into two groups of free men: the king’s entourage, who conducted administrative duties at the palace, and the
    people, da-mo.

  • [38] In the early 15th century BC, commerce intensified with Mycenaean pottery reaching the western coast of Asia Minor, including Miletus and Troy, Cyprus, Lebanon, Palestine
    and Egypt.

  • The Mycenaean era saw the zenith of infrastructure engineering in Greece, and this appears not to have been limited to the Argive plain.

  • Its territory would have also included adjacent centers, including Tiryns and Nauplion, which could plausibly be ruled by a member of Mycenae’s ruling dynasty.

  • [1] Identity The decipherment of the Mycenaean Linear B script, a writing system adapted for the use of the (Indo-European) Greek language of the Late Bronze Age,[14] demonstrated
    the continuity of Greek speech from the second millennium BC into the eighth century BC when a new Phoenician-derived alphabetic script emerged.

  • [10] The Mycenaean Greeks introduced several innovations in the fields of engineering, architecture and military infrastructure, while trade over vast areas of the Mediterranean
    was essential for the Mycenaean economy.

  • This indicates that Attica participated in long-distance trade, and was also incorporated in a mainland-looking network.

  • [3] Based on recent research, Alex Knodell (2021) considers the beginning of Mycenaean occupation in Peloponnese in Middle Helladic III (c. 1750–1675 BC), and divides the
    whole Mycenaean time into three cultural periods: Early Mycenaean (c. 1750–1400 BC), Palatial Bronze Age (c. 1400–1200 BC), and Postpalatial Bronze Age (c. 1200–1050 BC).

  • [2] An issue with this theory, however, is the very tenuous material and cultural relationship between Aegean and northern steppe populations during the Bronze Age.

  • Their syllabic script, Linear B, offers the first written records of the Greek language, and their religion already included several deities that can also be found in the
    Olympic pantheon.

  • One of the ethnic groups that comprised these people were the Eqwesh, a name that appears to be linked with the Ahhiyawa of the Hittite inscriptions.

  • [92] Society and administration[edit] The Neolithic agrarian village (6000 BC) constituted the foundation of Bronze Age political culture in Greece.

  • [72] Mycenaean Greece continues to be mentioned in international affairs, particularly in Hittite records.

  • It appears that the Dorians moved southward gradually over a number of years and devastated the territory, until they managed to establish themselves in the Mycenaean centers.

  • art, infrastructure and symbols, while also maintaining some Helladic elements as well as some innovations, and some West Asian influences.

  • [88] A number of palaces and fortifications appear to be part of a wider kingdom.

  • [84] Alternative scenarios propose that the fall of Mycenaean Greece was a result of internal disturbances which led to internecine warfare among the Mycenaean states or civil
    unrest in a number of states, as a result of the strict hierarchical social system and the ideology of the wanax.

  • [73] Another contemporary Hittite account reports that Ahhiyawan ships should avoid Assyrian-controlled harbors, as part of a trade embargo imposed on Assyria.

  • [49] Mycenaean panoply, found in Dendra, Argolid, c. 1400 BC Excavations at Miletus, southwest Asia Minor, indicate the existence of a Mycenaean settlement there already from
    c. 1450 BC, replacing the previous Minoan installations.

  • Mycenaean Greece was dominated by a warrior elite society and consisted of a network of palace-centered states that developed rigid hierarchical, political, social and economic

  • [110] Trade[edit] Gold earring, c. 1600 BC, Louvre Museum Reconstruction of a Mycenaean ship Trade over vast areas of the Mediterranean was essential for the economy of Mycenaean

  • [85] Another theory considers the decline of the Mycenaean civilization as a manifestation of a common pattern for the decline of many ancient civilizations: the Minoan, the
    Harappan and the Western Roman Empire; the reason for the decline is migration due to overpopulation.

  • [17] Various collective terms for the inhabitants of Mycenaean Greece were used by Homer in his 8th-century BC epic the Iliad in reference to the Trojan War.


Works Cited

[‘The ? symbol indicates lack of mtDNA haplogroup due to contamination or damage of the tested sample.
2. ^ Females do not inherit Y chromosomes; hence the – symbol, indicating inapplicability.
3. Knodell 2021, Table 1, pp. 7, 65.
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p. xii (Fig. 1); p. 2: “The strongest evidence for Mycenaean presence in Epirus is found in the coastal zone of the lower Acheron River, which in antiquity emptied into a bay on the Ionian coast known from ancient sources as Glykys Limin (Figure 2-A).”
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destruction and abandonment of some settlements after EH II and EH III, the transition between these periods shows many signs of continuity […] Furthermore, the succeeding transition between EH III and MH I seems to have been less abrupt than previously
thought, with evidence of continuity in some of the ceramics and lithic traditions at Lerna […] Likewise, it was thought through the 1970s that the shaft graves at Mycenae announced a dramatic cultural change beginning in LH I (with some scholars
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111. ^ Gilstrap, William; Day, Peter; Kaza, Konstantina;
Kardamaki, Elina (9 May 2013). Pottery Production at the Late Mycenaean site of Alimos, Attica. Materials and Industries in the Mycenaean World: Current Approaches to the Study of Materials and Industries in Prehistoric Greece, University of Nottingham,
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117. ^ Castleden 2005, p. 107: “Huge quantities of olive oil were produced and it must have been a major source of wealth. The simple fact that southern Greece is far more suitable climatically
for olive production may explain why the Mycenaean civilization made far greater advances in the south than in the north. The oil had a variety of uses, in cooking, as a dressing, as soap, as lamp oil, and as a base for manufacturing unguents.”
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Tartaron 2013, p. 29; Kling 1989; Nikolaou 1973; International Archaeological Symposium 1973.
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141. ^
Nilsson 1967, Volume I, pp. 500–504; Chadwick 1976, p. 88: “Pa-ja-wo suggested Homeric Paieon, which earlier would have been Paiawon, later Paidn, an alternative name of Apollo, if not again a separate god.”
142. ^ Jump up to:a b c Chadwick 1976,
p. 95
143. ^ Chadwick 1976, pp. 95, 99.
144. ^ Nilsson 1967, Volume I, pp. 565–568.
145. ^ Chadwick 1976, p. 99.
146. ^ Chadwick & Baumbach 1963, p. 176f.
147. ^ Kn V 52 (text 208 in Ventris and Chadwick); Chadwick 1976, p. 88.
148. ^
Jump up to:a b Mylonas 1966, p. 159.
149. ^ Chadwick 1976, pp. 92–93.
150. ^ Mylonas 1966, p. 159: “Wa-na-ssoi, wa-na-ka-te, (to the two queens and the king). Wanax is best suited to Poseidon, the special divinity of Pylos. The identity of the
two divinities addressed as wanassoi, is uncertain.”
151. ^ Chadwick 1976, p. 76.
152. ^ Jump up to:a b Whittaker von Hofsten 2007, pp. 3–18.
153. ^ Hughes-Brock 1999, pp. 277–296.
154. ^ Stocker & Davis 2017, pp. 588–589.
155. ^ Evans 1930,
pp. 502, 691.
156. ^ Jump up to:a b Billigmeier & Turner 1981, pp. 3–20.
157. ^ Jump up to:a b Olsen 2015, pp. 107–138.
158. ^ Olsen 2014.
159. ^ Jump up to:a b c Fields 2004, p. 19
160. ^ Cline 2012, p. 485
161. ^ Ταράντου, Σοφία (28
April 2009). “Βρήκαν μυκηναϊκό ανάκτορο”. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
162. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g Kelder 2010, p. 109
163. ^ Fields 2004, p. 21
164. ^ Kelder 2010, p. 110
165. ^ Fields 2004, p. 20.
166. ^ Fields 2004, p.
167. ^ Fields 2004, p. 46
168. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Fields 2004, p. 10.
169. ^ Schofield 2006, p. 78.
170. ^ Jump up to:a b c Fields 2004, p. 11.
171. ^ Tandy 2001, p. 20: “In LH IBBB (ca. 1310-1190), Mycenaean material culture spread
widely throughout coastal and inland Epirus; in this period Mycenaean engagement in Epirus was strongest, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Though the Kiperi tholos may have gone out of use early in LH IIIB, the Cyclopean wall found there, as
well as those at Ephyra, Kastriza, and Ayia Eleni, cannot have been built (and probably after) LH IIIB.”
172. ^ Iacovou 2013, p. 610. Iacovou quotes Vassos Karageorghis who states that “The introduction of ‘Cyclopean’-type walls at the very beginning
of the LC IIIA period at Enkomi, Kition, Sinda and Maa-Palaeokastron was due to the arrival of Mycenaean settlers in Cyprus.”
173. ^ Kelder 2010, p. 127.
174. ^ Fields 2004, p. 44.
175. ^ Wikander 1990, p. 288; Shear 2000, p. 134.
176. ^ Cline
2012, p. 305.
177. ^ Jump up to:a b c Cline 2012, p. 313.
178. ^ Palaima 1999, pp. 367–368.
179. ^ D’Amato & Salimbeti 2011, p. 10.
180. ^ Howard 2011, p. 7.
181. ^ Jump up to:a b Howard 2011, p. 50.
182. ^ Schofield 2006, p. 306; D’Amato
& Salimbeti 2011, p. 13.
183. ^ Howard 2011, p. 63.
184. ^ Fields 2004, p. 22.
185. ^ Schofield 2006, p. 119.
186. ^ D’Amato & Salimbeti 2011, p. 23.
187. ^ D’Amato & Salimbeti 2011, p. 27.
188. ^ Kagan & Viggiano 2013, p. 36: “In fact,
most of the essential items of the “hoplite panoply” were known to Mycenaean Greece, including the metallic helmet and the single thrusting spear.”
189. ^ D’Amato & Salimbeti 2011, p. 20.
190. ^ Cline 2012, p. 312; Schofield 2006, p. 123.
191. ^
Hood 1978, pp. 17–18, 23–24.
192. ^ Wood, J. R.; Hsu, Y-T.; Bell, C. (2021). “Sending Laurion Back to the Future: Bronze Age Silver and the Source of Confusion”. Internet Archaeology. 56 (9). doi:10.11141/ia.56.9. S2CID 236973111.
193. ^ Hood
1978, pp. 227–228 (p. 228 quoted).
194. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Castleden 2005, p. 135.
195. ^ Castleden 2005, pp. 135–137: “Large kraters decorated in Pictorial Style are found almost exclusively in Cyprus, and for a long time it was naturally assumed
that they were manufactured there, but a few examples have been found on the Greek mainland, mostly near Mycenae, and it has now been established that they were all manufactured at workshops close to Mycenae, probably at Berbati just to the east of
the city, where there are the right clay sources. The ware was probably specifically made for export to Cyprus, where they were used as centerpieces for drinking ceremonies. The decoration appears to have been painted on at high speed and the effect
is sometimes crude, Reynold Higgins calls it ‘barbarous’, which is a fair description, but the scenes showing warriors, horses and chariots can still tell us much about everyday life in Mycenaean Greece, and as much again about Mycenaean religious
beliefs and mythology. One krater from Enkomi in Cyprus shows a charioteer with his groom riding along, perhaps into battle, while a long-robed god, Zeus perhaps, stands in his way holding the scales of destiny that will decide his fate. It is an
archetypal scene reminiscent of several in the Iliad, where the gods are shown intervening in battle and deciding the outcome.”
196. ^ Furumark 1941, p. 78: “There are two types of Mycenaean lamps. One of these (type 321) has a broad horizontal
lip with two opposite depressions for wicks. This type is the clay version of a Minoan stone lamp, known in many examples both from Crete and from the Mainland. The other (type 321 a) has one wick-spout and a handle at the opposite side.”
197. ^
Castleden 2005, pp. 56, 166.
198. ^ Schofield 2006, p. 107.
199. ^ French 1971, pp. 101–187.
200. ^ See account of their use in K.A. and Diana Wardle “The Child’s Cache at Assiros, Macedonia”, in Sally Crawford and Gillian Shepherd (eds): Children,
Childhood and Society: Institute for Archaeology and Antiquity Interdisciplinary Studies (Volume I) Oxford: Archaeopress, 2007.
201. ^ Hägg & Marinatos 1981, Robin Hägg, “Official and Popular Cults in Mycenaean Greece”, pp. 35–39
202. ^ Moore,
Taylour & French 1999
203. ^ Renfrew, Mountjoy & Macfarlane 1985
204. ^ Hood 1978, pp. 77–83; Immerwahr 1990.
205. ^ Taylour 1969, pp. 91–97; Taylour 1970, pp. 270–280.
206. ^ Cavanagh & Mee 1998.
207. ^ Taylour, French & Wardle 2007; Alden
208. ^ Pelon 1976.
209. ^ Hammond 1967, p. 90.
210. ^ Dickinson 1977, pp. 33–34, 53, 59–60.
211. ^ Lewartowski 2000.
212. ^ Dickinson 1977, pp. 53, 107; Anthony 2007, p. 48.
213. ^ Papadimitriou 2001.
214. ^ Castleden 2005, p.
215. ^ Kelder 2010, p. 95.
216. ^ Graziado 1991, pp. 403–440.
217. ^ Jump up to:a b c Hruby 2017, “Souvlaki trays”, pp. 23–25.
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227. ^ Castleden 2005,
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