The Golden Age Of Heroes: The Glory Of The Mycenaean Civilization

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The Golden Age Of Heroes: The Glory Of The Mycenaean Civilization

The Golden Age Of Heroes: The Glory Of The Mycenaean Civilization

The myths and legends of classical Greece told of a Golden Age of Heroes, of mighty kings, glorious palaces and warriors who fought courageously in fierce battles. This age that inspired the classical world was believed to be pure myth for millennia. For almost 3,000 years, the Mycenaeans, ancestors of the classical Greeks, were lost and forgotten beneath the soil in the land they had once ruled, until archaeologists and historians began restoring them to their former glory.

Golden Age Of Heroes: Ancient Roman floor mosaic of Agamemnon (cascoly2/ Adobe Stock)

Humble Origins Of Mycenaean Civilization

Scholars have proposed several hypotheses on the origins of the Mycenaeans. According to one theory, they date back to the fourth millennium BC with Indo-Europeans entering a sparsely populated area. Other hypotheses argue for a date as early as the seventh millennium BC with the spread of agriculture, or as late as 1600 BC, with the spread of chariot technology.

The highly strategic corner of the Argolis plain was one of the first areas to be settled on the Greek mainland as the inhabitants could control of the passage to and from Corinth and the rest of the mainland. It overlooked much of the region, stretching from the mountains down to the sea.

The citadel of Mycenae, overlooking the valley. Peloponnese, Greece. ( Haris Andronos/ Adobe Stock)

The Mycenaean domination rose to become one of the high civilizations of the Bronze Age in the Aegean and is considered one of Europe’s first civilizations. Theirs was the last phase of the Bronze Age in Ancient Greece, spanning the period from approximately 1600 BC to 1100 BC. It represents the first advanced and distinctively Greek civilization on the mainland with its palatial states, urban organization, works of art, and writing system.

Although the Mycenaeans did not seem to have been as much of a cohesive single state as near eastern contemporaries, the powerful states included Mycenae (for which it was named), Pylos to the south, Tiryns with its massive walls reminiscent of a formidable Medieval castle, Gla, Athens, Thebes, Iolcos, Orchomenos and Argos which would later become prominent in classical times and also boasted significant palace complexes in the Mycenaean period. These autonomous states were linked by a dense network of roads and for much of the time they maintained peaceful relations.

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