HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF GREEK MYTHOLOGY
New archaeology is constantly changing our
understanding of Ancient Greece and rome, especially in
regard to the sagas of MYCENAE and TROY.
HEINRICH SCHLIEMANN (1822-1890) pioneer of
archaeological work in Mycenaean world.
SIR ARTHUR EVANS followed at the turn of the century,
unearthing palace at Minos at Cnossus in Crete.
GREECE was settled in Paleolithic times, before
little figurines found have led some to conclude early
religion (little women figurines with bellies and
exagerated breasts and buttocks). great controversy.
could be toys, right.
THE BRONZE AGE
Stone Age gave way to Bronze Age in greece, crete, and
the islands with a MIGRATION FROM THE EAST - Asia
Minor, across the aegean to southern Peloponnesus and
up into greece. these invaders were responsible for
MINAN CIVILIZATION of Crete.
1. EARLY BRONZE: 3000-2000 BC
2. MIDDLE BRONZE: 2000-1600 BC 3. LATE BRONZE: 1600-1100 BC
three geographic areas:
MINOAN - Crete
CYCLADIC - the Cyclades are the islands that encircle
HELLADIC - Hellas is the Greek name for the Country of
Matured in Middle Bronze Age, pinnacled in 1600-1400
a great THALASSOCRACY: sea-power
Palace at Cnossus compled and suggests the historical
basis for the legend of the labyrinth and the slaying
of the Minotaur by Theseus.
Crete dominated the whole area for this pinnicle time,
No city walls, reliant on sea defence
highly developed sense of religion, imporance of the
bull in ritual, dominant role of a snake goddess, and
the sacred significance of the double ax (LABRYS)
labyrinth: home of the double axe
about 1400bc, power shifted to mainland greece
the reason for Crete's fall from power is controversial
and divided into two groups:
those who think Mycenaean (Greek) encroachment eventually took control of the island and those who
snake goddess suggests that before mycenaean
ascendancy, their was first worship of a Great Mother
THE MYCENAEAN AGE
ON THE MAINLAND, THE MIDDLE BRONZE AGE WAS USHERED IN
BY AN INVASION FROM THE NORTH AND POSSIBLY EAST. THESE
INDO EUROPEANS ARE THE FIRST GREEKS (SPOKE GREEK) TO
ENTER THE PENINSULA. they brought with them the worship
of a supreme god of the sky: ZEUS
Mycenaean Civilization reached it's culmination in the
late Helladic period (1600-1100), learning much from
Minoans: painting, palaces, pottery...
MYCENAE excavated by Schliemann in 1876. It had
CYCLOPEAN walls (so large they were said to beult by
two lions flanked the columns at the entrance to the
THOLOS TOMBS Confirm belief in afterlife. built like
huge beehives into sides of hills.
SCHLIEMANN'S discoveries established the certainty of a
link between the traditional tales of greek saga adn
the actual places named in the poems ie Mycenae.
These northerners religion of a patriarchal sky god
differed much from Minoan fertility goddess worship.
these two clearly blended in Mycenaen civilization.
CARL BLEGAN discovered palace at Pylos where the family of Nestor lived. Found Linear B tablets
MEGARON - a feature of Mycenaean architecture (not
found in Minoan palaces) that is a large room in the
palace with a central hearth.
Tablets at Pylos that prove that the worship of
Dionysus came to the area before the Mycenaean age