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Mycenae

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Mycenae

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?Mycenae in southern Greece is one of the oldest cities in the world, the center of rich myth, culture, and history.? For centuries, legends abounded about the wealth, fame, and power of this city, particularly concerning its involvement in the Trojan War.? Yet, just 200 years ago, people wondered whether the ancient city of Mycenae even existed.? However, archaeological work in the past two centuries has confirmed the existence and greatness of this ancient civilization.? The major finds include the city?s walls, palace, and tombs.? These discoveries provide a connection to this ancient city and make it come to life again today.

?Our first knowledge of Mycenae came from Greek legends written by ancient poets who described Mycenae as ?the well-build citadel,? ?the broad-wayed,? and ?rich in gold? (Mylanos 11).? This city was one of the most powerful in the pre-Hellenic period.? According to tradition, Mycenae was founded by Perseus, one of Zeus? sons.? The last ruler of this line, Eurytheus, imposed the 12 labors on Heracles which led to his murder (LFC 7).? Atreus was then chosen as ruler to begin the Pelopid dynasty.? During this time the city reached its highest point, controlling most of southern Greece and some of the islands.? Agamemnon became the city?s greatest king and led the Greeks against Troy in the Trojan War.? When Agamemnon returned from the war, he was killed by his wife, Clytemnestra, and her lover, Aegisthus.? However, Agamemnon?s son, Orestes, killed both of them seven years later and took power.? Under the rule of Orestes? son Tisamenos, the city was destroyed by Dorian tribes, ending this civilization.

?Until the nineteenth century, many questioned if there was any basis...

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... of ancient Greece.? We now have an understanding of pre-Hellenic culture, something that used to exist only in legend.? The excavations of ancient Mycenae confirm the greatness of this civilization.? The wealth and skill of the Mycenaeans are demonstrated in their architectural marvels and the contents buried in their graves.? We now can picture the environment in which the great leader Agamemnon lived, ruling over southern Greece and trading throughout the eastern Mediterranean.

Works Cited

?Mycenaean Age?.? Lake Forest College.? <www.lfc.edu/academics/greece/BrzMyc.html>.

Mylanos, George E.? Ancient Mycenae: The Capitol City of Agamemnon.? Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1957.

Samuel, Alan E.? The Mycenaeans in History.? New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc, 1966.

Taylour, Lord William.? The Mycenaeans.? London: Thames and Hudson, Ltd, 1983.
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