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Western University
Classical Studies
Classical Studies 1000
Christopher Brown

1 Week 3 Lecture 1 September 23, 2013 Mycenae • Mainland Greece • The citadel of Mycenae was built on the top of a hill (like Knossos on Crete).  See image on the slide to see the hilltop and the remains of a defensive wall. • Our knowledge of this site is owed to Heinrich Schliemann who was an amateur archaeologist. He grew up in Germany and loved the Classics. • The Homeric poems tell the story of a war between the Greeks and the Trojans but the view of Schliemann’s time was that the world described in Homer didn’t really happen. o Schliemann believed Homer’s poems were true and the characters were real. • Schliemann was a wealthy business man and after he retired he used his money to be an archaeologist. • He thought there was something at Knossos but couldn’t convince anyone that there was anything there, Evans discovered it later. • He wanted to find Mycenae. the home of the Greek kingAgamemnon and the city of Troy. o Found gold treasure and jewelry at Mycenae in the burial shafts. o Remember that he wasn’t trained as an archaeologist and was not that different from a grave robber. The only difference is that he wanted conservation of the artifacts. • Mycenae seems to have been a major power during the Later Helladic Period. • The name ‘Mycenaean’is applied to the whole of this Helladic civilization and is a modern convention. o Because of the history of the excavation this is the most popular area but it is unclear that this was a center of rule and that the Mycenaean civilization was at all unified. o We will see later that in the historical period, cities were not unified under one main area either. • The city is known from Homer as the home ofAgamemnon, leader of the Achaean (i.e. Greek) forces at Troy. o The relationship between myth and reality is difficult. o The later BronzeAge shaped myth as we have it.  This doesn’t mean that the Iliad is true, but it shows there is a connection between it and reality. • Excavations of tombs by Schliemann brought to light many extraordinary finds including Burial sites showing that there was a wealthy elite. 2 • Slide: acropolis of Mycenae – this acropolis has a series of buildings that suggests that this was a powerful society that had access to resources. This area was fortified (vs. palace at Knossos which was not). o Slide: The Lion Gate seems to have been significant because the lion has a connection with the royal family in Greek myth and this shows influence with the Near East. This slide also shows the extent of the walls. • Slide: Circle GraveA(Mycenae) was a communal burial ground with many burial goods; this is important because the dead were buried within the city limits (which didn’t happen in the historical period and shows attitudes shifting over time.) o This is interesting because the burial site itself is also fortified. This shows that this area was marked as sacred and it makes this area ritually symbolic. • Slide:Artists’reconstruction at Pylos. Since there is not a lot left of Mycenae this gives some idea of what Mycenae may have looked like. • Slide: Death masks. These masks are pieces of gold leaf that were placed over the face of the deceased; when Schliemann found this, he believed that it was the death mask of Agamemnon himself and to him this was the validation of his quest. • Slide: Diadem and rhyton. Many other goods were found made of gold. o Slide: Wall paintings compliment those found on Crete. • Slide: Nestor’s Cup. The question of the reality of the BronzeAge world and its connection with the Homeric poems is difficult. o There are many drinking vessels that have been found and in Homer’s Iliad there is a description of an old warrior named Nestor (who was king of Pylos) and he uses an elaborate drinking vessel described like the one in this slide. o This shows an interesting connection with passages in the Iliad and the Mycenaean world. The drinking cup (from ca. 725-720 BCE) on this slide has Greek on it and it speaks about Nestor’s cup: “[???] Nestor’s well made cup: whoever drinking of this cup will immediately be seized by desire from fair-garlandedAphrodite”. o This is interesting because Nestor was an aged man and was not concerned with the subject matter of love. o We don’t have the first word so we don’t know what the context of this description is.  eimi (‘I am’) and erroi (‘To Hell with’) have been suggested. o This cup was from a graveyard and it was found in an area where women were buried so it is possible that this cup belonged to a prostitute. o Was the inscription humorous or serious?Ajoke or love-magic? o Abasic feature of this society are practices of love magic. Here perhaps attempting to make someone fall in love or causing people to fall out of love. Perhaps this cup touches on a system of beliefs that was very pervasive (i.e. that his cup was a love charm.) 3 • Slide: Linear B Tablet. Linear B can be read unlike LinearA; it is all lists and records but still gives valuable insight. Mycenaeans as a People • The term ‘Mycenaeans’is applied by archaeologists to all of those in southern- central Greece in the LH period (ca. 1600-1050 BCE). • The Linear B shows that they were descended from the Indo-Europeans who arrived around 2000 BCE (Possibly from northwestAnatolia?) • The shaft graves show that this world was ruled by a warrior elite. • There is also an influence of Minoan culture. th th • The 14 and 13 centuries BCE were the height of Mycenaean power and influence. • The Mycenaeans may be referenced in the texts of the Hittites as the Ahhiyawa and their ruler is called ‘Great King’. (This could be similar to the Homeric poems?) th • At the end of the 13 century BCE there is evidence of an earthquake and a decline in Mycenaean power. The Trojan War is later so it is difficult to tell if it actually happened. • In Homer’s poems, the heroes survive by raiding neighboring villages so perhaps this is why they attacked Troy if they were in fact in a decline. • It is difficult to tell what was happening but many assume that there was some sort of invasion that weakened Mycenaean civilization. There are references in Near Eastern texts of marauding sea people Schliemann and Troy for a discussion of the film in relation to archaeological evidence. • From the Homeric Poems we know more or less where it is (see map slide) • When Schliemann started his campaigns, no one believed it was there but in the case of both Mycenae and Troy, he looked for them where Homer said they were • Today there is not a lot there (slide) and it is difficult to tell what kind of city this was and whether it was rich enough to attack a force like the Greeks o Was it worthwhile to attack this city Lecture 2 September 25, 2013 Troy 4 • While the Greeks eventually lived inAsia Minor, during the BronzeAge Troy was not a Greek city and it is difficult to tell who they were and what language they spoke. • The site of Troy was discovered in 1820 and was excavated by Schliemann from 1870-1890 because he wanted to prove the reality of the Homeric epic poems. • The most influential excavations were carried out by Carl Blegen of the University of Cincinnati (1932-1938). o He was a professional archaeologist (vs. Schliemann who was an amateur). o The results of Blegen’s work appeared to show that this city was fairly small and not very significant and that there was a disconnect between the Homeric world and reality. (In Homer Troy was a powerful city and ruled over by king Priam). • Important excavations were then done by Manfred Korfmann (1988-present) who is anAnatolian archaeologist. He works on Turkey instead of Classics which is concerned with Greece and Rome. o He used modern technology to decide where to dig since it was such a big area and there was no obvious place to start, the technique is called Ground Penetrating Radar which fires sound into the earth and this sound bounces back and tells the archaeologist if something is there. o Korfmann showed that Blegen’s conclusions were not correct and argued that what Blegen found was just the fortified citadel and was not actually the main city. The City of Troy • The site was occupied (more or less continuously) from ca. 3000 BC toAD 1200. • This is difficult because there are different layers that indicates that there were 46 different building phases in 9 bands and the bands correspond to distinct inhabitants and kinds of culture. o Layers VI to VIIb have been identified as “Priam’s Troy” and there is also evidence of its destruction at this time. • Slide: The site of Troy. Shows what Korfmann excavated; his friend (a Homerist) produced a book that tried to bring together Homeric studies and Homeric archaeology. o In this slide we can see what Blegen had excavated was a small section at the top. Korfmann, with his radar, shows that the city extends far beyond and there was a defensive ditch at the south-west. More recent evidence has uncovered a second ditch (#2 on the slide) which shows that the city was growing and required more fortification. • Korfmann’s team found a seal (like a stamp) that was used with ink to run along paper and used by scribes. The one found here is from a scribe and it is Luvian (one of the principle languages spoken in the western part of the Hittite empire). This suggests that Troy was part of the Hittite Empire or had very close ties to it. 5 • Blegen and his team looked at the location of Troy and he said that it was off the major trade routes to the Middle East. More recently, underwater archaeology off the coast of Asia Minor (modern Turkey) shows that the waterway around the area of Istanbul was an important route for traders. This makes the location of Troy very important and it is understandable why it may be attacked. • The relationship between the fiction of myth and reality is very difficult in this case. • Slide: Model of Troy. The citadel at the top is what Blegen thought the whole city was. In this photo we can see a large urban area that may have been an outpost of the Hittite Empire. The Homeric Poems • For the Greeks, these poems were the greatest works of literature. • The Greeks had a very pessimistic world view that once everything was very good but it has gone downhill and the present is awful. o For them, literature begins with Homer and it is downhill after this. • Homer: the name of the person the Greeks believed composed the Iliad and Odyssey. There is evidence of his life (he was blind, from Chios etc.) o Most scholars do not accept that he actually existed but he is a construct of the Greek imagination. • What we call ‘poetry’is ‘song’to the Greeks. These are a product of a deeply rooted performance tradition and they had been
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