Lecture Week 2 Sept. 17-21

The father of agamemnon their family is often called

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Unformatted text preview: o Scholars generally thought that the epics were fiction o The discovery and excavation of Mycenae has made this distinction more controversial Mycenaean citadel • Before it was excavated the site of Mycenae just looked like a hill top • Discovered by Heinrich Schliemann (lived 1822 ­1890) o Schliemann was a business man and amateur archaeologist / treasure hunter o His business fortune funded his interest in antiquities Schliemann heard the Homeric epic as a child and believed that the stories and characters were factual o He used the Homeric epics as guides in his search for Mycenae (and Troy) o He had good instincts and was less restrained by scholarly procedure than • Mycenae was a major center of power during the late Helladic period o In the Homeric epics, it was ruled by Agamemnon, who was the leader of the Achaean expedition to Troy • Previously undisturbed tombs were found by Schliemann o They had not been looted before the excavation Many extraordinary grave goods were uncovered • Works in Gold – rare, since gold items were often melted down and re ­ used • Stone outlines of the buildings in the citadel have been excavated • Had fortification walls • Tombs were within the citadel o This would be unusual in the classical period in Greece when it was unacceptable for people to be buried within the city; belief that this caused religious pollution o Mycenaeans seem to have thought differently o Citadel tombs may have been reserved for only some people • Lions gate – a gate with the sculpted image of two lions flanking a column above it o Interesting givent he heavy literary associations between the ‘house of Atreus’ and lions (Atreus was the father of Agamemnon; their family is often called the ‘house of Atreus’) • An elaborate, well ­fortified and wealthy centre Mycenaean Society • Mycenaeans – term applied to inhabitants of Mycenae and South central Greece during the Late Helladic period (ca. 1600 – 1050 BCE) • Artistically influenced by Minoan culture; however they had their own distinct culture • 14th and 13th c. BC was the pea...
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