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Lecture

Mycenae

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Department
Classical Studies
Course
Classical Studies 1000
Professor
Christopher Brown
Semester
Fall

Description
Mycenae  Before this area was excavated, towns were under huge hills  When this was discovered, there was scepticism about what we thought we might know about the Bronze Age world, which was derived from old poems (ex: Homer) but as time went on people became more sceptical about what these poems contained, but a discovery of a place like Mycenae changed how we think of certain questions and gave reality to the mythical poems  Complex living area plan  Built walls to be defensive of the sea  Mycenaeans buried the elite dead inside a communal grave with rich offerings inside the city gates(much unlike the Romans who always buried outside city walls because they thought the dead would contaminate the city)  Heinrich Schliemann o Example of the amateur who made a considerable contribution o He made a fortune to fund his interest in antiquity o From his small German hometown, there was a man with a classical education. o This man would recite the Homeric poems and Schliemann became interested so made money as a business man to prove that these poems had a fundamental truth to them. o There was little support for him, but he still found the site of the Mycenae and the city of Troy (which many thought was truly mythical). Mycenae  A major center of power during the Later Helladic period  Known from Homer as the home of Agamemnon, leader of the Achaean forces at Troy  Excavations of tombs by Schliemann brought to light many extraordinary finds o Grave goods important source of archeological evidence so finding these things is remarkable o Many graves were looted in early times, so finding graves that still had valuables in theme is extraordinary  The city wall was not decorative, only defensive  Circle graves right when you walk into gates  Was an elaborate, well-fortified, wealthy center  Most famous items found were burial masks (many found by Schliemann) o Gold leaf fitted tightly over the face of the deceased to suggest features o Schliemann had thought he’d found Agamemnon when he
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