In southern Greece, from around the year 5000 – 1100 B.C., there bloomed a civilization called Mycenae. When German archeologist Heinrich Schliemann discovered, on the banks of Turkey, in the late 19th century, ancient Troy, he went further and excavated grave sites in Mycenae to uncover the burial mask of Agamemnon, the mythical Mycenaean king who fought in the Trojan War.

The mythical Agamemnon and his fierce warriors came from Mycenae. This, together with the fact that the city is surrounded by a giant fortification wall, strongly tells that these people were warlike. Additionally, swords, spear heads, arrowheads and other weaponry have been excavated there.

Lion Gate

The Lion Gate

Later on, different archeologists uncovered the impressive and famous Lion Gate, which guarded the entrance to the main city. They also uncovered ancient writings from these people and deciphered them to find that they were similar to Linear A writings of the Minoans. So they named the Mycenaean ones, Linear B.

Yet, despite the strong emphasis on battle, the Mycenaean people were greatly focused on government. Mycenae was ruled by a king. Under him were large land owners and officials who had second command over the army. Under the king were also governors, and their deputies, who ruled over the sixteen districts that made up Mycenae.

The Mycenaean people had a great respect for their king, but their worship was given to the gods of Mt. Olympus. However, these gods were not the only ones worshipped; the Mycenaeans also took some Minoan goddesses that represented nature. This pantheon of gods is portrayed in the poem the Iliad, by Homer.

However, in the 12th century Mycenae began to decline. The Dorians, a nearby Greek nation, invaded and the Mycenaeans were scattered around the south of Greece. But they only survived until the Persian War, when they were conquered.





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