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Lecture 4

CLA230 Lecture 4 Notes

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Department
Classics
Course
CLA230H1
Professor
Dimitri Nakassis
Semester
Winter

Description
CLA230 Lecture 4 Notes Mycenaean Greece and Linear B - illustration how historians and archaeologists work with linear B - linear B – clay tablets of varying sizes, from hand sized to as large as a sheet of paper - text (Morris and Powell) – Mycenaean kings were considered to be god-like and controlled a powerful redistribution command economy, like in the Near East – no longer thought to be this way - Crete becomes Mycenaean-ized – Greek speakers conquering Crete or local Cretans adopting Mycenaean way of life - linear B script found Chania and Knossos on Crete – not just the language but the writing – more than just Mycenaean culture was adopted - Palace of Pylos – “Palace of Nestor” - Aylos Vasilios – new palace found there – “Palace of Menelaus” perhaps? - Gla – fortress near Thebes - Thebes – excavations done under modern roadwork - Iolkos – Greek hero Jason supposedly originated from here - linear B found in many of these major sites – not always found because clay tablets were not meant to be permanent - clay tablets – preserved by accident - fired – preserved – often by a destructive fire - documents are administrative – official state records – found in palaces - Mycenae, Tiryns, Pylos – most well-known – center of palace contains the throne room – central room with hearth, flanked by four columns - emplacement for throne is on the right-hand side - in front of the palace center – anteroom, then preceding that is a porch with two columns, then a courtyard in front - megaron – throne room area – complex of rooms previously described - corridor running along the side of the megaron - palatial structure – set up differently from Minoan palace, with its right and left courts (east and west wings in Minoan palaces) – Minoan architecture - Minoan palace – more focused on the group – group activity – courts were gathering places - Mycenaean palace more focused on the individual – built around the throne room where the king sat - Lion Gate – 1250 B.C. – masonry associated with Mycenaean civilization – enormous blocks, walls about five metres thick – designed and built to impress, but also for military function – built sloping tower - built tower on the right side, where soldiers are naturally exposed – shield is commonly held on the left side – right hand holds the sword – most people right handed - palatial decoration – art on the walls of the megaron - “the architecture of Minoan and Mycenaean palaces and the art of their walls suggests that, as in the Near East, the wanakes may have persuaded their subjects to believe that they were closer to the gods than others.” (Morris and Powell, p. 62) - next to throne at Pylos – evidence of griffin and lion wall art - throne room at Knossos – debate – architectural changes in rooms – perhaps Mycenaean throne and griffin flanking throne - king associated with supernatural animals – perhaps an allusion to closeness with the gods - griffin – found by tomb next to palace at Pylos – can mean closeness of the supernatural – or in may be a heraldic symbol/emblem of the royal family - painted floor in the megaron – octopus tile in front of the throne – in Mycenaean culture - wall opposite the throne – remains of man sitting on a rock playing the lyre, with a bird – below the man with the lyre there are men sitting at tables holding up cups – Pylos - representation of a feast/drinking party – perhaps thrown by/for the king - palaces in Mycenaean culture spent a lot of time planning these events – perhaps religious – sacrificial feasts – burn bones and fat for the gods - feasting associated with sacrifice – wine was a luxury at this time perhaps – established king as a person of importance and generosity – invited fairly large amount of people to elaborate feast Linear B - most likely invented on Crete – signs of linear B adapted from linear – adapted to write Mycenaean Greek - script used to write Mycenaean Greek – not the same as with linear A - big difference between script and language - three types of scripts • syllabograms – each ‘grama’ (sign) is a syllable – strung together to write – used to write names, verbs, etc. • logograms – each sign is a ‘logos’ (word) – used for depictions of commodities, etc. – whole words not just syllables or letters • numerals – decimal system – vertical line = 1, horizontal line = 10, circle = 100 - logograms very common - some logograms are more abstract than others – some quite representative of what is actually being depicted - only scribes could read the script – scribes had to be very trustworthy - provide records of the way the palace worked Uses of Linear B - no literary/epic texts, religious texts - purely administrative/economic uses - no letters – royal correspondence – occurred in areas around Greece but not in early Mycenaean culture - purely palatial – no private or temple texts - for temporary uses – tablets used as archaeological evidence were preserved in accidents - to record – taxation, land-holding texts, labour recruitment, payment
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