Mycenaean Citadels c. 1350–1200 BC by Nic Fields (

Формат документа: pdf
Размер документа: 4.9 Мб

Прямая ссылка будет доступна
примерно через: 45 сек.

  • Сообщить о нарушении / Abuse
    Все документы на сайте взяты из открытых источников, которые размещаются пользователями. Приносим свои глубочайшие извинения, если Ваш документ был опубликован без Вашего на то согласия.

Mycenaean Citadels
c. 1350-1200 BC
Nic Fields • Illustrated by Donato Spedaliere

DR NIC FIELDS started his
career as a biochemist before
joining the Royal Marines
for eight years. Having left
the military he went back to
university and completed a
BA and PhD in Ancient History
at the University of Newcastle.
He was Assistant Director at the
British School of Archaeology,
Athens, and is now a lecturer
in Ancient History at the
University of Edinburgh.
born in 1967 in Lausanne,
Switzerland, and moved to
Tuscany at the age of 10, where
he still lives. Having studied at
the Instituto Nazionale di Belle
Arti in Florence he served in the
Italian Army as a paratrooper.
He is the chief illustrator of Alina
lllustrazioni, the company he
founded in 1998 with his wife
the architect and painter Sarah
Sulemsohn. They have created
illustrations for books, museums
and magazines throughout
Europe, working for companies
including Osprey and the BBC.

Fortress • 22
Mycenaean Citadels
c. 1350-1200 BC
Nic Fields • Illustrated by Donato Spedaliere
Series editors Marcus Cowper and Nikolai Bogdanovic

First published in Great Britain in 2004 by Osprey Publishing, Elms Court, Chapel Way, Botley, Oxford OX2 9LP, United Kingdom. Email:
© 2004 Osprey Publishing Ltd.
All rights reserved. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, electrical, chemical, mechanical, optical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. Enquiries should be addressed to the Publishers.
ISBN 1 84176 762 X
Editorial by llios Publishing, Oxford, UK ( Maps by The Map Studio, Romsey, UK Index by Alison Worthington Design: Ken Vail Graphic Design, Cambridge, UK Originated by The Electronic Page Company, Cwmbran, UK Printed in China through L-Rex Printing Company Ltd.
04 05 06 07 08 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 I
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
Osprey Direct UK, PO Box 140,Wellingborough, Northants, NN8 2FA, United Kingdom. Email:
Osprey Direct USA, c/o MBI Publishing, PO Box I,
729 Prospect Ave, Osceola, Wl 54020, USA.
Artist's note
Our sincere thanks to all who have helped in the preparation of
this book. We would like to dedicate this book to our dearest
daughter Alina.
Readers may care to note that the original paintings from which
the colour plates in this book were prepared are available for
private sale. All reproduction copyright whatsoever is retained by
the Publishers. AII enquiries should be addressed to:
Sarah Sulemsohn
Tel-Fax: 00 39 0575 692210
The Publishers regret that they can enter into no correspondence
upon this matter.
Editor's note
When classical authors are referred to throughout the text the
standard form of reference has been adopted. The formula used is
'author', 'title' (if the author wrote more than one work) followed
by a one-, two- or three-figure reference. If the work is a play or
poem, the figure reference indicates either'line' or'book' and
'line'. Thus 'Homer (Odyssey 8.512)' refers to line 512 of the eighth
book of the Odyssey. Alternatively, if the work is a treatise, the
figure reference indicates'book' and 'chapter' or'book','chapter'
and 'paragraph'. Thus 'Strabo (13.1.32)' refers to paragraph 32 of
chapter 1 of the 13th book of the only surviving work by Strabo.
When modern authors are referred to throughout the text the
Harvard system of referencing has been adopted. The formula
used is 'author', 'publication date' followed by page number(s).
Thus 'Drews (1993: 106)' refers to page 106 of his 1993
publication, that is, The End of the bronze Age: Changes in Warfare
and the Catastrophe c. 1200 BC.

Introduction 4
Terminology and chronology 6
Aegean Bronze Age chronology • Chronology of major Bronze Age events
Mycenaean fortification systems 10
Location • Method of construction • Building programmes • Entrances
Distribution • Sources of inspiration
Mycenaean palace complexes 19
Distribution • Megaron • Court • Function
The sites 22
The Catalogue of Ships • Mycenae • Tiryns • Midea • Gla
Pylos • Other citadels
The Mycenaeans 53
'Bronze-armoured Achaians' • Mycenaean society • Collapse
Ancient authors 60
Apollodoros of Athens (fl. 140 BC) • Homer (c. 750-700 BC)
Pausanias (fl. AD I 15-176) • Strabo (b. c. 63 BC)
The sites today 61
Glossary 62
Bibliography 63
Index 64

Fortification systems are pre-eminently the materialised expression of the
human fear of being attacked, and of losing life, freedom or property. Thus for
as long as humankind has required protection it has built fortifications. Put
simply, the art of fortification consists of the combination of terrain with
available materials to form defences. Conversely, siegecraft concerns the attack
of these fortifications. Throughout history there has been a changing balance
between attack and defence as technology and tactics swing the advantage first
one way and then the other. The prehistoric period is no different in this respect.
The earliest extant representation of siegecraft is a Dynasty V
(c. 2498-2345 BC) limestone bas-relief from the rock-cut tomb of Inti at
Deshaheh, Middle Egypt. It shows Egyptian warriors storming a fortified city by
a combination of scaling and breaching. Some are climbing the walls under
covering fire from archers, while others are busy prising at the mud-bricks, of
which the walls are evidently built, with picks. The walls, viewed from above,
are studded with well-built semicircular towers.
One of the primary purposes of the prehistoric development of permanent
habitation sites was defence, as illustrated by the preponderance of settlements
upon naturally defensible terrain. This purpose would evolve further, and the
first major urban centres, complete with elaborate fortification systems, were
flourishing in southern Mesopotamia by the second half of the 4th millennium
BC. A favourable geographical and ecological setting, namely the fertile valley of
the Tigris-Euphrates, and complex technological innovations, like the plough
and the irrigation canal, had enabled the production of a substantial food surplus
with relative ease. This led to the concentration of wealth and the need for walls
to defend it, as at Uruk (biblical Erech), where the enceinte was approximately
9.5km in length and studded by 900 or more semicircular bastions.
Although the oak-covered hills to the east and north of the Tigris-Euphrates
valley were home to a number of the earliest settled sites, the world's first
discernible fortified settlement was Jericho (Tell es-Sultan). The fortifications at
this oasis in the Jordan valley, which may have first attracted settlers as a hunting
site, have been dated to the early 7th millennium BC, although the most recent
opinion suggests they date back to the beginning of the 8th millennium BC. The
most impressive component of this Neolithic fortification system was a circular
stone tower standing 8.5m high and 10m in diameter. Associated with a
stone-built curtain-wall, 7m high and 3m thick, and a continuous V-shaped fosse
cut into bedrock, the tower was a solid stone structure with an internal staircase
of 22 steps that gave access to a fighting-platform. To these three defensive
elements - fosse, circuit-wall, tower - fortification architects were to add little
until the advent of gunpowder. Within the enceinte the settlement of
roundhouses covered an area of 3ha and contained some 1,500 people, of which
one-third were probably capable of bearing arms. Jericho should be viewed not
simply as a refuge but also as a stronghold, that is, a place not merely of
short-term safety but also of active defence.
Modern scholars have hypothesised that there were two major reasons that
lay behind the construction of walls around settlements. First, walls were
developed as a defence from handheld projectile weapons, that is, the self-bow
and the sling, two products of the recent revolution in weapons technology.
Second, the development of a sedentary lifestyle based upon agriculture and
animal husbandry. The two are intrinsically linked, since protection against
projectile weapons was possible only once humans had settled and began to live 4

in a fixed place, thus giving them the opportunity to construct permanent
defensive works. Behind their new walls Neolithic communities could store
surpluses of food and, because they could fall back behind the walls for
protection, they could exploit the land outside them with some sense of security.
The development of fortified settlements in Europe began towards the end
of the Neolithic period, and there is evidence of the enclosure of habitation
sites with ditches and/or timber palisades. Such enclosing features later
developed into genuine fortifications, their strength reflecting not only the
need to protect a settlement and its contents, but also a desire to display power
and wealth as a sign of rank at a time of emerging social differentiation. Some
of the earliest examples are to be found in Greece. They include Sesklo and
Dimini in Thessaly, two earlier unfortified settlements that were enclosed by
stone walls sometime in the 4th millennium BC. The strength of the
fortifications at Dimini, and probably at Sesklo too, was not so much in the
walls itself, as in their number and placement.
The hill site was surrounded by at least six circuit-walls, one within the other
and 1 to 15m apart. They vary in thickness from 0.6 to 1.4m, were possibly 2 to
3m in height, and were made of rough slate set in clay. The walls followed the
natural contours of the oval-shaped hill and had no corners or bastions. Many
narrow entranceways provided access to the centre, and the passageways
between each circuit-wall had cross-wall partitions, which further strengthened
the defences by creating a challenging maze for any attacker trying to reach the
central point of the enclosure. This example of a Late Neolithic fortification
nicely illustrates the simplicity of offensive weapons and the means that
attackers had for assaulting an enclosed settlement.
The Argive plain, looking north
towards Mycenae from the Larissa
of Argos, the citadel crouches
between the two conical-shaped
mountains just right of centre.
Watered by the Inachos, the
Charadros and other seasonal
streams, this plain was the
powerhouse of the Mycenaean
world. Its dryness was attributed in
antiquity to the wrath of Poseidon
because Inachos, the chief river of
Argos and its god, allotted the
country to Hera. Hence Argos is
'very thirsty' in Homer (Iliad 4.171).
Close to the sea, however, the land
is marshy, and between the marshes
and the upper part of the plain is
the fertile tract of land, which was
celebrated in Homer (Iliad 2.287)
for the horses bred in its pastures.
(Author's collection)

Terminology and
The splendid vista, looking
south-west from the palace of
Mycenae, takes in the Argive plain
with the Larissa of Argos prominent
just left of centre. A Mycenaean
citadel was a fortification and
residence rather than a mere
fortress, and the placement of the
palace at Mycenae on the summit of
a rocky outcrop could be taken as
evidence that a view was a common
concern of Mycenaean architects.
However, it is far more likely that
the occupant of this palace simply
wanted his residence to be located
physically above any other structure
within his capital as a symbol of his
own elevated social status.
(Author's collection)
Humankind knew metal as early as the Neolithic period, but the terms 'Stone',
'Bronze' and 'Iron' ages have their roots in Christian Jiirgensen Thomsen's
Three-Age System (1819). For sake of convenience this three-part system for the
chronological classification of prehistoric artefacts is still employed as reference
points to this day. The main characteristics of the Aegean Bronze Age - apart
from the wider use and distribution of metals - are as follows:
• Technical specialisation and the division of labour
• Increase in population
• Long-distance trade and contact with the Near East
• The emergence of social complexity and hierarchy
• The emergence of hilltop citadels
• Monumental building programmes
• Urban planning
• High quality art and metalwork
• The administrative use of seals and writing
Lacking written records, we rely upon stratification and the comparison of
objects from other sites to establish a relative chronology for the Aegean
Bronze Age. Absolute dating may be approached through proven Aegean
relationships with Egypt and Mesopotamia, but its use is less than reliable.

This problem is well illustrated by the fierce debate, which has been raging
since 1987, over the absolute date for the eruption of the Cycladic island of Thera
(Santorini). The caldera created by the volcanic eruption measures some 83km 2
in area, the largest to date. It presently extends down as much as 480m below sea
level inside the wall of cliffs that surrounds it, which themselves rise as much as
300m above sea level. Unsurprisingly, its impact upon the cultural history of the
Aegean and eastern Mediterranean worlds has been widely discussed. According
to S. Marinatos, the first excavator of the Bronze Age settlement of Akrotiri on
the southern tip of Thera (1967-74), there is an intimate connection between the
Theran eruption and the collapse of the Minoan palatial civilisation on Crete
and the subsequent arrival of the Mycenaeans there.
Traditionally this cataclysmic event was placed around 1500 BC, but in
recent years this date has been questioned and pushed back to circa 1628 BC. If
this date is correct, which is based on radiocarbon dating with further
confirmation from ice-core dates from Greenland and dendrochronological
evidence from Northern Ireland, then the whole chronological system of the
eastern Mediterranean needs to be changed.
It is, therefore, always best to describe an archaeological assemblage in terms
of a relative chronological label (e.g. Early Cycladic, Middle Minoan, Late
Helladic) rather than in terms of its supposed duration in calendar years BC.
Historical phasing in Aegean archaeology is primarily based upon a regional
classification system derived from common traits in material culture,
socio-political organisation and religious beliefs. For the Aegean Bronze Age
four regional cultures can be distinguished: mainland Greece, Cyclades, Crete,
and Western Anatolia.
Classification has its roots in the archaeological discoveries of the 19th
century when Heinrich Schliemann and his excavation at Mycenae (1874-76)
established Aegean prehistory, the term 'Mycenaean' being applied to similar
material found in other Aegean sites. However, Schliemann was only seeking
The legendary citadel of Mycenae,
as seen from the Treasury of Atreus
looking north-east. Directly behind
the citadel rock rises Profltis llias
(750m), one of the two peaks that
overlook Mycenae, and to the right
runs the winter torrent known as
the Khavos. Access to the citadel,
therefore, is made difficult by these
physical features and, as a
consequence, the hill (278m) is a
splendid natural strongpoint, despite
it being lower than the surrounding
peaks. (Author's collection)

sites that featured in the Homeric epics, excavating Troy, Mycenae, Tiryns and
Orchomenos with the primary aim of verifying the legends. The excavations of
C. Tsountas, however, at Early Bronze Age cemeteries in the Cyclades
(1898-99) and Neolithic sites in Thessaly (1901-03), provided evidence for the
existence of a pre-Mycenaean culture. He was also responsible for the
methodical excavation of the fortified hilltop settlement at Kastri on Syros, one
of the important examples that serve as possible forerunners to Mycenaean
military architecture.
The first scientific excavation at Phylakopi on Melos (1896-99), under the
British School at Athens, set out to investigate the relationships of Tsountas'
'Cycladic Civilisation'. Soon after, Sir Arthur Evans devised a tripartite system
of classification for Aegean prehistory based upon his excavation at the Minoan
palace of Knossos, with the assumption that all civilisations have a period of
rise, maturity and decay. Accordingly, he divided the Cretan material into three
phases, namely Early, Middle and Late Minoan, paralleling the tripartite
division of Egyptian history into Old, Middle and New Kingdoms. He saw
Minoan civilisation (named after the legendary king Minos) as ordered, with a
highly centralised bureaucracy analogous to contemporary Near Eastern states.
The terminology used for the Aegean Bronze Age was firmly based on
discoveries in the Near East, that is, palace, town, state, king and military elite.
As a result, attention was now focused upon Late Bronze Age palaces, and the
discovery of elaborate architecture, fortification systems and rich burials.
Bucking the trend, C. W. Blegen and A. J. B. Wace conducted excavations at
Korakou in Corinthia and Eutresis in Boiotia (1920) and established a
pre-Mycenaean phase that they named 'Helladic', thereby stressing the
individuality of the Greek mainland past. This was in direct conflict with Evans
and his acolytes, who assumed that Helladic culture was Minoan and not Greek.
The Bronze Age culture of the mainland is labelled 'Helladic' after Hellas, the
Greek term for Greece. The Early Helladic (EH) was a time of prosperity, with
the use of metals and a growth in technology, economy and social
organisation. By comparison the Middle Helladic (MH) period was a backwater
period, developing at a much slower pace with the evolution of megaron-type
cist (or box-shaped) graves, use of wheel-made pottery and contacts with the
Cyclades and Minoan Crete. However, towards the end of the Middle Helladic
period a number of centres of power arose, sites of considerable wealth
dominated by a small military elite (cf. the Shaft Graves in Grave Circle A at
Mycenae with their vast quantities of gold, weapons and exotic imports). The
Late Helladic (LH) or Mycenaean period (c. 1650-1050 BC) represents the first
advanced civilisation with its palace and urban organisation, fortification
systems, works of art and writing system. Needless to say Minoan culture
played a major role in the shaping and development of Mycenaean culture.
After the eruption of Thera and the series of catastrophes that swept Crete,
the centre of gravity shifted from the Aegean to mainland Greece. The
Mycenaeans superseded the Minoans and spread their influence throughout
the Aegean. Around the mid-15th century BC they established themselves at
Knossos. The earliest palace structures are likely to be the megaron-type
buildings, such as the Menelaion in Lakonia. Palaces proper are datable to the
LH IIIA period when the Cyclopean fortifications were built at Mycenae and
Tiryns. During the LH IIIB period Mycenaean Greece reached its apogee. This
was the time of the Mycenaean commonwealth (koine) throughout the Aegean
(cf. 'The Trojan War').
Aegean Bronze Age chronology
All dates are approximate, not absolute, and come almost entirely from two
sources, namely, radiocarbon dates and artefacts. The artefacts are those foreign
objects of reasonably secure date found in archaeologically sound Aegean
contexts, and Aegean objects (whose relative date in Aegean contexts is secure) 8

found as imports in foreign (mainly Egyptian) contexts whose date does not
depend entirely on a relative cultural sequence.
Near East Mainland Greece Dates
Early Bronze Age (EBA)
Middle Bronze Age (MBA)
Late Bronze Age (LBA)
Early Helladic (EH)
Middle Helladic (MH)
Late Helladic (LH)
c. 2900-2000 BC
c. 2000-1650 BC
c. 1650-1050 BC
LH I, IIA & IIB Grave Circles A & B, Mycenae c. 1650-1425 BC
LH IIlA&lllB
Mycenaean palace complexes
Palace destruction levels
c. 1425-1200 BC
c. 1200 BC
LH lllc
Sub-Mycenaean Transition to Iron Age
c. 1190-1050 BC
c. 1050-1000 BC
Chronology of major Bronze Age events
All chronological dates must be taken as circa not absolute, as the latter are not
yet very reliable and many different sets of dates are often in use for one and
the same phase or period.
3100 Start of Bronze Age culture on mainland Greece, Cyclades and Crete
3100-1900 Minoan Pre-Palatial period on Crete (EM l-lll & MM IA)
2900 Hisarlik is settled and soon fortified (Troy I)
2600 Start of Cycladic culture in the Cyclades
2450 Troy Ik destroyed but soon rebuilt (Troy HA)
1900-1700 Minoan Proto-Palatial period on Crete (MM IB-IIB)
1700-1450 Minoan Neo-Palatial period on Crete (MM III-LM IB)
1700-1250 Troy VI, established by Neo-Trojans, major trade centre and
maritime power
1650-1 550 Grave Circle B at Mycenae (LH I)
1650 Foundation of Hattusas-Bogazkoy by Hattusili I
1628 Cataclysmic eruption of Thera (Santorini) according to scientists
1600 Cyclades under Minoan influence
1550-1425 Grave Circle A at Mycenae (LH I-IIB)
1500 Cataclysmic eruption of Thera according to archaeologists
1457 Battle of Meggido
1450 Mycenaeans at Knossos on Crete (Linear B) and in Cyclades
1400 Dendra Panoply (LH IIIA)
1380 Destruction of Knossos
1300 Treasury of Atreus at Mycenae (LH IIIB)
1275 Battle of Kadesh
1260/50 Destruction of Troy Vlh (Homer's Troy?)
1250 Lion Gate and North-East Postern, Mycenae (mid LH IIIB)
1200 North-East extension, Mycenae (end LH IIIB)
Warrior Vase from Mycenae (LH IIIB/C)
1200/1180 Widespread destruction of Mycenaean citadels (LH IIIB/C)
1190/80 Destruction of Hattusas-Bogazkoy
1185 Destruction of Ugarit
1184 Traditional date for destruction of Homer's Troy according to Herodotos
1180 Destruction of Troy VIIA
1179 Rameses III defeats the'Peoples of the Sea' in the Nile Delta
1100 So-called invasion of Dorian Greeks from north-west Greece
1050 Migration of mainland Greeks to Aegean islands and Anatolia

Mycenaean fortification
A general view of Mycenae, looking
north-east from Grave Circle B,
showing the west curtain-wall. Almost
the whole of the enceinte is built in
the Cyclopean style of large blocks of
limestone, quarried from the rock of
the citadel itself, and either
completely unworked or dressed in
only rudimentary fashion. On the
summit of the citadel, the extant
ruins of the palace complex can be
made out. (Author's collection)
The initial Mycenaean fortification systems were intimately linked with the
establishment of major palace complexes on mainland Greece. As such they
may also reflect a consolidation of control and expression of power more than
any perceived need for active defence. On the other hand, the final fortification
systems were laid out with considerable care, and incorporated technical
refinements such as secret cisterns, galleries, sally ports and projecting bastions
to protect gateways.
Mycenaean citadels depended for their strength not only on planning but
also on size and adaptation to the terrain. They were normally defensive, aimed
at providing lasting protection against current siege techniques. Yet despite
being impressive examples of military architecture, they were not solely
utilitarian. The message of power, dignity and awe constitutes the metaphysics
of fortification systems, and Mycenaean circuit-walls, bastions and gateways
were designed for visual impressiveness as well as functional efficiency. The
Mycenaeans fully appreciated the symbolism of war expressed in architecture.
Just as architectural devices could represent the dangers of defeat, so a feeling
of strength could be imparted to deter an attacker. Protection without resort
to force, achieved by deterrence alone, has always been a major feature
of fortification.
Mycenaean fortification walls tended to be built along the edge of a sharp
change in elevation in the local topography so that the masonry of the
circuit-wall combined with the natural contours of the site to create an even
more formidable obstacle for attackers. The citadel itself was also accompanied
by 'hamlets' of associated non-fortified agrarian settlements.
In choosing a site to fortify, therefore, the prerequisites were few, simple and
logical. The Mycenaean architects looked for a hill, ideally flat-topped and not
too high, but rocky and adapted to fortification. There had to be sufficient space
for a palace complex on the flat summit. The citadel had to be in the immediate
vicinity of a fertile area and a constant supply of water. The nearness of rock
quarries to provide large amounts of building material without the additional
expense, effort and delay of long-distance
transportation was also highly desirable.
The locations of actual or possible citadel sites
fall into three main groupings, all of which fulfil
the above-mentioned requirements. First, the
'island' acropolis type, which rises in a plain
enclosed by mountains and the sea (Tiryns,
Athens, Gla). This group is further characterised
by a location at the head of a bay and probably
derives importance from controlling land-to-sea
movements (Argos, Iolkos, Lamia). Second, the
'recess' type, which nestle in one corner of a
plain hard up against the mountains and
controls the land routes passing through them
from one plain to the next (Mycenae, Midea,
Krisa). Third, the 'promontory' acropolis type,
which directly overlooks the sea and protects a
good harbour, thereby owing their importance 10

to overseas contacts (Aulis, Asine). It should be noted, however, that the majority
of Mycenaean sites are located at least several kilometres inland at a safe distance
from any direct and sudden impulse from the sea. Thucydides refers to this
situation, explaining that 'ancient cities, both on the islands and on the mainland,
were built at some distance from the sea on account of the piracy that long
prevailed' (1.7).
Method of construction
'Cyclopean' is the term normally applied to the masonry style characteristic of
Mycenaean fortification systems, and describes walls built of huge, unworked
limestone boulders weighing several metric tonnes. These were roughly fitted
together without the use of mortar or clay to bind them, though smaller hunks
of limestone fill the interstices. The exterior faces of the boulders may have
been roughly hammer-dressed, but the boulders themselves were never
carefully cut blocks. Thus their placement formed a polygonal pattern, thereby
giving the curtain-wall an irregular but imposing appearance. The major
determining factor here was the nature and slope of the bedrock. In many
places the curtain-wall was built over steep rock continuing the natural defence
provided by it. Elsewhere, the bedrock was levelled to form a base for a high
and protective superstructure. In both situations, however, the curtain-wall was
usually founded in extremely shallow beddings carved out of the bedrock.
The curtain-wall as a whole was composite in construction, being built as
two megalithic 'skins' with a fill of smaller rubble and earth, which is typical of
Cyclopean masonry. This building method forms strong bulwarks and near
impregnable defences, which may reach a thickness of 8m or more. At the top
it would have been quite wide enough for a walkway with a narrow protective
parapet on the outer edge, possibly of sun-dried mud-brick and having
hoop-like crenellations.
The term 'Cyclopean' came about because the later Greeks believed only the
one-eyed Cyclopes could have constructed walls built of boulders so gigantic
(Bacchylides 10.77, Euripides Iphigeneia at Aulis 1500, Apollodoros Bibliotheca
2.2.1, Strabo 8.6.11, Pausanias 2.16.5, 25.8, 7.25.3). Enormous boulders are
typical of the Mycenaean walls at Mycenae, Tiryns, Argos, Krisa and Athens.
Somewhat smaller boulders occur in the walls of Midea, whereas large
limestone slabs are characteristic of the walls at Gla. Cut stone masonry is used
only in and around gateways, conglomerate at Mycenae and Tiryns and
perhaps both conglomerate and limestone at Argos.
Mycenaean megalithic construction is also characterised by corbel vaulting,
or the projection of each successive course of stones slightly beyond the course
below, so that the wall is stepped upward and outward. As the centre of gravity
of the whole tended to move beyond its base
as each course was added, counterbalance
was provided by piling an increasing
thickness of masonry around the exterior.
This technique was used to span both
circular spaces, such as tholos tombs, and
rectangular ones, such as stairways and
passageways. Another conspicuous feature of
Mycenaean megalithic construction is the
use of a relieving triangle above a lintel
block. This is an opening, often triangular,
designed to reduce the weight over the lintel.
The space was filled with some lighter stone.
Yet another defining characteristic was
the system of constructing artificial terraces
both to extend the area available for building
and to strengthen the foundations of major
The junction of the north and the
west curtain-walls of Mycenae,
which forms the distinctive
north-west salient of the enceinte.
Mycenaean curtain-walls were built
as two megalithic 'skins' with a fill of
smaller rubble and earth, which is
typical of Cyclopean masonry. This
building method forms strong
bulwarks and near impregnable
defences, which may reach a
thickness of 8m or more. At the top
it would have been quite wide
enough for a walkway with a
narrow protective parapet on the
outer edge, possibly of sun-dried
mud-brick and having hoop-like
crenellations. (Author's collection)

structures. These terraces were usually built in compartments for strength and
filled with relatively small stones mixed with soil and domestic rubbish, largely
pottery. Such terraces required advances in drainage; water was allowed to seep
through to be channelled out by built drains through the outer terrace walling.
In the case of curtain-walls the drains were carefully built narrowing at the
outlet so that the press of water would keep the exit clear.
Tools available to Mycenaean builders included the pendulum-saw and the
bow-drill, as well as bronze axe and adze blades. However, hard labour was
more important than elaborate equipment. The massive Cyclopean boulders
would apparently have needed, with the aid of earth ramps and wooden rollers,
at least four men to manoeuvre them. As most of the citadels were built on
craggy hilltops from which the limestone could be prised with levers, the
boulders were probably moved only a short distance to their place on the
fortification walls. It seems highly likely that the Mycenaeans used a corvee
system of labour.
Building programmes
Tripartite building programmes have been detected at both Mycenae and
Tiryns, although it is unclear whether the various stages of building at the two
sites are contemporary. At both sites, the earliest fortification systems are dated
to the late LH IIIA period, while the final fortification systems (including
hidden water-supply systems at both sites) are dated to the advanced LH IIIB
period. The Mycenaean fortifications of the Athenian Acropolis are said to be
of LH IIIB date, although the evidence for such a dating is not very abundant.
The water-supply system at Athens can, however, be dated quite confidently to
the end of the LH IIIB period, this system being in all probability an imitation
of the functionally similar arrangements at Mycenae and Tiryns. Gla's
fortifications were apparently built all at once in the early LH IIIB period. The
circuit-walls at Midea, Argos and Krisa have yet to be dated accurately.
The major extension of the fortification system to the north in Tiryns' third
phase of fortification building used to be considered as the enclosure of a large
open space in which herds of animals might be kept during times of siege.
However, the German excavations directed by K. Kilian in the late 1970s and
early 1980s within this Unterburg (Lower Citadel) have demonstrated that the
space in question was fairly densely occupied by domestic structures. Both at
Mycenae and at Tiryns, a major feature of the extensions built in the third
phase of fortification at these sites was the inclusion of tunnels leading from
within the walls of these extensions to underground water sources outside the
walls. In both cases, the water sources in question lay at relatively low levels
beneath the hilltops, which were enclosed within the walls. The builders of
these fortifications evidently rejected the option of weakening the fortification
circuit as a whole by including the water sources within the enceinte. Sally ports
were located fairly close to the tunnels leading to the water sources in order to
provide defence of these water-supply systems in case a besieging enemy tried
to foul the water or destroy the tunnels themselves. The tunnels leading to the
water sources were cunningly camouflaged where they extended beyond the
area actually enclosed within the enceinte.
The water-supply systems at Mycenae, Tiryns and Athens are clear evidence
for a concern with siegecraft never before attested during the Aegean Bronze
Age, except in the form of an apparently earlier LH II or IIIA underground water
source just outside the enceinte at Ayia Irini on Keos. The construction of the
large galleries at Tiryns, presumably facilities for the storage in quantity of
surplus agricultural produce, can be viewed as reflecting the same concern on
the part of their builders. A feature peculiar to Mycenae and Tiryns is the
construction of a number of small, corbel-vaulted chambers within the
thickness of their circuit-walls. At Mycenae, these are located in a stretch of the
north curtain-wall, while at Tiryns they occur frequently in the fortification 12

walls of the Unterburg. The function of these
chambers is not always clear, nor need it have
been one and the same for all. Some were
simply storage spaces like the somewhat
similar but much larger chambers that
comprise the galleries at Tiryns. Others may
have functioned as guard-posts. Yet others,
furnished with arrow slits, seemingly served as
firing positions for archers.
The main approach to the citadel was always
from the lowest and most gently sloping side,
which afforded easy access for both foot and
vehicular traffic. Because the entrance at the
terminal point of the approach route was
precisely at the most accessible, and thus weakest, point of the defences, extra
protective measures had to be incorporated in the plan and construction of the
gateways there. As a whole, Mycenaean gateways embody the principal
functions of a gateway as both a recipient and repeller.
At Tiryns and Gla, access to major gateways in the fortifications is by way of
a long, fairly steep and artificially constructed ramp. At Mycenae, such a ramp
leading up to the Lion Gate is a natural feature of the local topography at the
site. In general Mycenaean gateways were so designed that an attacker would
have to present the side on which he would normally carry his offensive
weapons (shieldless or right side) toward the defenders in approaching the
entranceway. This was achieved through one of two methods. Either by placing
the main approach route along the curtain-wall length (Tiryns, Midea), or by
projecting a massive bastion to the right of someone entering (Mycenae, Gla).
Indeed, the bastion threatening the exposed right side of the enemy was a
Mycenaean development and became a regular feature of gateway architecture
on the Greek mainland, and was later employed in the Near East.
The second, or middle, gateway leading to the palace complex at Tiryns in
that site's third phase of fortification is virtually identical in its plan and
elevation to the Lion Gate at Mycenae. Most modern commentators view one
as a conscious imitation of the other, although it is impossible to state with any
degree of certainty which was the first to be built. Both Mycenae and Tiryns
have one principle entrance and one minor (or postern) gateway, as well as one
or more sally ports in the extensions representing their third phase of
fortification construction. Gla is unusual in having four major gateways located
at roughly the cardinal points of the compass. This peculiarity is a further
indication of a specialised function for this citadel that distinguishes it from
the standard Mycenaean citadel. Athens and Midea appear to have been typical
in having one major gateway and a postern.
The distribution of Mycenaean citadels in the late Mycenaean period is a
peculiar one. Such fortresses are common in the Argolid (Mycenae, Tiryns,
Midea, Argos, Asine) and in Boiotia (Gla, Eutresis, possibly Thebes and
Orchomenos). In Attica there is only the Athenian Acropolis, while in Messenia
and Lakonia there are no known LH IIIB fortification systems of any
importance. One question which immediately arises is, against whom were
such fortifications intended as a form of protection? At least two possible
varieties of responses suggest themselves:
The Lion Gate at Mycenae, made
famous by the heraldically opposed
felines above it, is in fact carefully
arranged so that any potential
attacker can be attacked from the
salient of the fortification walls that
flanks the left-hand (north-east) side
of the approach route. The situation
was made even more lethal for the
attackers by the presence of the
rectangular bastion immediately to
the right (south-west) of the
entrance passage. (Author's
• Against attackers from other Mycenaean political entities
• Against attackers from outside the Mycenaean cultural sphere 13

Lion Gate, Mycenae Mycenaean fortification systems were designed for visual impressiveness as well as functional efficiency. This reconstruction depicts the principle entranceway of Mycenae, as a visitor entering the citadel would have seen it. Above the massive lintel sits the famous limestone relief of 'heraldic' lionesses flanking a column.The heads, which are of a softer stone such as steatite, face the visitor. To the visitor's right stands the projecting bastion covering the approach route. In times of war this would function as an elevated- fighting platform, thus enabling defenders to pour missile fire into the unshielded right sides of those attempting to force the gate.

Since the Argolid has most often been considered by scholars to be ruled by a
single Mycenaean ruler in the LH III period, the second answer has normally
been the preferred one.
Support for the notion of an external, non-Mycenaean threat to the Argolid
has been seen in the trans-Isthmian fortification wall discovered and partially
cleared by O. B. Broneer (1957). Its course was traced for 1km westward from
the Saronic gulf, at a location just south-east of the Isthmus at the east end of
the Corinth canal. The construction is Cyclopean, that is, a double 'skin' of
large rough stones in horizontal courses with an earth and rubble fill. Along a
section 45.4m long the wall reaches a thickness of 4m. In another section some
22m long it is preserved to a height of 2.5m. Along the north face of the wall
four towers are placed at a distance 7.9 to 9.5m apart. They project 0.7m from
the wall and vary between 2.1 to 2.6m wide. Mycenaean pottery shards found
in the wall are dated to the latter years of the LH IIIB period. Its construction
would then correspond in date to the extension of the fortification walls at
Bronze Age sites of mainland
Greece. (© Osprey Publishing Ltd.)

ABOVE The Lion Gate, the principal
gateway of Mycenae, showing the
projecting bastion covering the
entranceway. This elevated fighting-
platform enabled the defenders to
pour fire into the unshielded right
sides of those attempting to force
the gate. The bastion was built in
pseudo-ashlar style of enormous
blocks of conglomerate. This stone
comes from natural deposits in the
area of Mycenae and, in its natural
state, occurs in fairly regularly
shaped blocks. These were sawn
into shape and laid in regular
courses of stretchers and headers.
(Author's collection)
RIGHT Perched on a sheer and
isolated hill above the sea, the EC IIIA
fortified settlement of Kastri on
Syros is one of the possible sources
of inspiration for Mycenaean
defensive architecture. The site
consists of domestic structures
crammed inside a double-walled
circuit equipped with
horseshoe-shaped towers.
Constructed of small fieldstones, in
the vestigial form of mud-brick
construction, the fortification walls
were built directly on the bedrock
without any preparation or levelling
of it. Here we are standing within the
settlement looking north towards the
fortifications. (Author's collection)
Mycenae and Tiryns, and perhaps indicate that there was a threat to the
Peloponnese from the north. However, it is by no means impossible that the
major Mycenaean centres in the Argolid were each ruled by independent
warlords. Therefore these citadels could be viewed as a product of small or
divided sovereignties, proliferating at a time when central authority had not
been established or is struggling to establish itself.
Greek tradition suggests that there were at one time independent kingdoms
based on Thebes and Orchomenos in Boiotia, while in the Argolid we know of
legendary kings at Mycenae (Atreus, Agamemnon), Tiryns (Herakles,
Diomedes), and Argos (Akrisios). The paramount importance of Agamemnon as
leader of a confederacy in Homer's Iliad, leading by force of his own character
and because of his resources, has led most commentators to assume that the
ruler of Mycenae dominated the Argolid. This view has received support from
the wealth of the Shaft Graves and the large number of tholos tombs (e.g.

Treasury of Atreus) at that site. Nevertheless, few scholars are now willing to
consider Homer a reliable historical source for the Mycenaean period, and the
Shaft Graves and most of the tholos tombs are in any case features of the early
Mycenaean era and not of the LH III period. It must be remembered that the
Iliad and the Odyssey were composed as epic tales and not historical texts. To
use Shakespeare's Macbeth as a source for 11th-century Scottish history would
rather miss the point of the play, and the same is true of the Homeric epics.
The fortifications and palatial architecture of Tiryns are at least as impressive
as those of Mycenae in the later Mycenaean period. Now that Linear B tablets
have been discovered at both sites, a fact suggesting that the two may well have
maintained independent administrative archives, there seems to be no
compelling reason to assume that Tiryns was controlled by Mycenae at this
time. If the two were in competition, their similarities in defensive architecture
may even be viewed as evidence for an LH III period 'arms race'. At the same
time, in Messenia where the Linear B tablets from Pylos suggest that a single
ruler controlled the entire region, there is no evidence at all for LH IIIB citadels.
Presumably, the ruler of Messenia was confident of his ability to protect his
capital by keeping his enemies, whether Mycenaean or non-Mycenaean, far
from Pylos itself. On the other hand the rulers at Tiryns, Mycenae, Midea,
Argos, Asine, Eutresis, Thebes and Orchomenos, controlling significantly
smaller kingdoms and lacking significant buffer zones with which to protect
their capitals, felt forced to invest in defensive architecture on a grand scale.
Sources of inspiration
Mycenaean fortification architecture clearly owes nothing to Minoan
inspiration. Not only are Minoan fortifications virtually unknown after the end
of the Proto-palatial period but all Mycenaean fortification systems date from
a period well after the collapse of Minoan power. It is possible that the idea of
fortification programmes on a grand scale was adopted from the Hittite sphere
of influence in central Anatolia. However, in terms both of scale and of
architectural details, Hittite fortifications are quite different from those of the
Mycenaean citadels.
Perhaps the most likely sources of inspiration for Mycenaean defensive
circuits are the fortification systems at such Cycladic sites as Kastri and
Phylakopi. Perched on a sheer and isolated hill above the sea, the EC IIIA
fortified settlement of Kastri (near Khalandriani on Syros) consists of small
houses crammed inside a double-walled circuit equipped with
horseshoe-shaped towers. The outer wall was built directly on the bedrock
without any preparation or levelling of
it. The construction is of small
fieldstones, in the vestigial form of
mud-brick construction, forming a
thickness of 1 to 1.1m. At a distance
ranging from 4.5 to 6.5m stands the
inner wall. Although it too is built of
small, unworked stones without any
clay binding, it is thicker than the outer
strip, varying from 1.4 to 1.6m. It is also
built with better defences, as the five
towers that are preserved are placed at
intervals of 4.5 to 8m apart along its
course. Pebbles of various sizes were
found in great numbers between the
walls and inside the towers. They may
have been used as missiles.
On the other hand, much of what is
most distinctive about Mycenaean
Like the outer circuit, the inner
circuit-wall of Kastri is built of small,
unworked stones without any clay
binding. However, it is thicker than
the outer strip, varying from 1.4 to
1.6m, and has five towers placed at
intervals of 4.5 to 8m apart along its
course. Of significance is the fact
that pebbles of various sizes were
found in great numbers between the
walls and inside the towers. They
may have been used as missiles.
Here we see Tower Gamma, looking
south. (Author's collection)

Another possible forerunner to
Mycenaean defensive architecture is
Lerna, an EH II fortified settlement
situated on a low artificial mound
on the western shores of the
Argolid gulf. One of the most
important prehistoric sites in
Greece, Lerna lies not far from the
marshy lake where, according to
legend, Herakles slew the Hydra
(Hesiod Theogony 313-18, Strabo
8.6.2, Pausanias 2.37.4). The
fortification (Lerna III) consists of a
double ring of walls with gateways
and towers. Here we see Tower U, a
horse-shaped tower with its
distinctive masonry in a herringbone
pattern. This in fact is the socle, as it
supported a superstructure of
sun-dried mud-bricks. (Author's
This shot shows one of the
cross-walls than ran between the
outer and inner rings of Lerna's EH
II fortification system (Lerna III). The
socle of the wall consists of small
limestone blocks set in a
herringbone pattern and bonded
with clay. This supports a
superstructure of sun-dried
mud-brick. The fire that destroyed
the site (Lerna IV) towards the end
of the EH III period preserved the
bricks, which were hardened and
are now protected by the
terracotta tiles. (Author's collection)
military architecture may in the end prove to be the product of purely
indigenous developments from humble Middle Helladic antecedents. In the
thriving palatial societies of Mycenaean Greece, military architecture is best
understood as serving both practical and ideological functions. Thus
monumental fortifications physically protected a citadel, and by extension its
territory, but were at the same time a compelling and enduring statement of
centralised power, a public display of the conspicuous consumption of wealth
and energy, often far exceeding any practical needs.

Mycenaean palace
A Mycenaean citadel was a fortification and residence rather than a mere fortress.
The placement of the palace complexes at Mycenae, Tiryns and Pylos on the
summits of hills or rocky outcrops could be taken as evidence that having a
picturesque view was a common concern of Mycenaean architects. However, it is
far more likely that the occupants of these palaces simply wanted their residences
to be located physically above any other structure within their capitals as symbols
of their own elevated social status. That is, the Mycenaean palace dominates its
immediate physical environment in much the same fashion as one imagines that
a Mycenaean ruler (the wanax of the Linear B tablets) dominated his social one.
The architectural focus of the Mycenaean palace complex was its central hall,
known as a megaron after the Homeric term for the king's hall, rather than a
central courtyard as on Minoan Crete, and a visitor to the palace was inevitably
steered directly towards it. Mycenaean palatial structures have thus been
identified in the following regions of mainland Greece:
• Argolid (Mycenae, Tiryns, probably Midea and Argos)
• Messenia (Pylos)
• Lakonia (the Menelaion)
• Attica (Athens)
• Boiotia (Thebes, probably Orchomenos)
The best-preserved palaces, fully cleared, are those at Pylos and Tiryns.
Those at Mycenae and the Menelaion are only partially preserved, while those
at Thebes and Orchomenos have been only partially exposed. The palace at
Athens has been almost totally destroyed, to the extent that we can say little
more than that a palace almost certainly once existed on the Acropolis. A
substantial building at Iolkos is claimed to be a palace by its excavator, but the
only part of it to have been exposed does not prove it to have been one.
The focal point of the socio-political aspect of a Mycenaean citadel was the
megaron. The megaron appears at Pylos, Tiryns, Mycenae, and probably at
Built at different levels on the
uneven bedrock, the main element
of the palace complex at Mycenae
was the megaron, with its throne
room (seen left) - complete with
large circular fixed hearth -
anteroom (seen centre) and porch
(seen right), and the court (right of
shot). Two entrances led to the
court, the propylon and west
passage to the north-west, and the
Grand Staircase to the south.
(Author's collection) 19

Orchomenos. Two smaller, less elaborately furbished megara occur in the
so-called palace at Gla. The characteristic features of this architectural unit are:
Tripartite division into porch, anteroom and throne room, all
constructed on a rigid axis
Large circular fixed hearth, centrally located in the throne room
Four columns arranged in a square around the hearth
A throne against the middle of the right-hand wall in the throne room
(Pylos, Tiryns, probably Mycenae)
Plastered floors decorated with painted patterns throughout the unit
(Pylos, Mycenae, Tiryns)
Access to the throne room only from the anteroom, through an axially
placed doorway
Two columns between antae in the porch
Rich decorative embellishment of the walls throughout the unit by
means of frescoes
Because of the summit's sheer sides
to the south and east, the megaron
at Mycenae was partly erected on a
massive artificial terrace. Looking
east from the court, this view takes
in the three characteristic elements
of the megaron unit: the porch
(seen front); anteroom (seen
centre); and the throne room (seen
rear). (Author's collection)
This unit seems likely to have been the place where the ruling authority
resident in the palace held court. There is a megaron at the Menelaion, but this
lacks a central hearth, columns, and most of the other features listed above.
However, the palatial building there is closely comparable in its overall design
to the architectural layout of the palace at Pylos. If indeed it is a palace, then
the Menelaion ranks as one of the earliest examples.
A large court lies directly in front of the megaron at Mycenae, Tiryns and Pylos.
Colonnades surround this court on three and a half sides at Tiryns, on two and
a half sides at Pylos, and probably on just one and a half sides at Mycenae. The
court is entered at both Tiryns and Pylos from a propylon placed slightly off
the short axis of this rectangular feature. At Mycenae the court is entered either
by means of a corridor or from the top of the Grand Staircase, a monumental
stairway of two flights, which provided access from the terrace below to the

Many scholars have argued that the Mycenaean palace complexes were centres
of massive redistributive operations for subsistence commodities. The fact that
the Linear B tablets show large amounts of agricultural products and goods,
including luxury items, entering into and exiting from the palaces certainly
strengthens this view. However, the theory remains questionable and one
recent study (Halstead 1992) distinguishes between the highly specialised
economies of the palaces, which concentrated on large-scale cultivation of a
few crops and the production of perfumed olive oil, fine textiles, and other
craftwork, and the mixed economies of the ordinary settlements. These were
not directly controlled from the palaces but interacted with them, providing
some foodstuffs in taxes and others, like pulses, on an irregular basis. To judge
from the Pylos tablets, which provide most of the documentary information,
the palace directly maintained a workforce of many hundreds, and controlled
most of the distribution and working of bronze. Despite the lack of mineral
resources in most of Greece, the Mycenaeans used metal in astonishing
quantities and the search for copper and tin, as well as gold, was one of the
factors underlying the extensive pattern of maritime trade.
We should never underestimate the symbolism of power expressed in
Mycenaean palaces, however, especially
with regards to the basic scheme upon
which these residences were built. The
overall plan was based upon the principle
of ascent towards the ruler, beginning at
the point of entry through a well-fortified
gateway and leading along narrow streets
and up stairways before the summit of
the citadel is reached. There the visitor
finally entered the sizeable megaron,
with its central hearth and throne
positioned to one side. The impression
gained by the visitor called to the ruler's
presence was further heightened by the
lavishly decorated interior, which
flaunted images designed intentionally to
demonstrate the political and religious
power of the ruler.
The megaron at Mycenae, looking
north-east from the anteroom into
the throne room. In the centre is
visible the elevated central hearth,
which was once surrounded by four
stuccoed wooden columns. These
columns rested on stone bases,
three of which are still preserved.
The throne probably stood in the
middle of the south wall, to the
right as the visitor entered.
(Author's collection)
Beyond Mycenae's fortification walls
three buildings with extensive
basements stood on a Cyclopean
terrace at the foot of the west
slope. Archaeological evidence
suggests these once belonged to
wealthy merchants of the LH IIIB
period. Here we see the foundations
of the House of the Shields, which
yielded carved ivories, many in the
shape of the figure-of-eight shield.
The building conforms to the usual
Mycenaean technique: rubble packed
with clay supporting a timber frame
filled in with sun-dried mud-brick.
(Author's collection) 21

The Sites
The Catalogue of Ships
The Catalogue of Ships forms part of the second book of the Iliad (lines
494-759), and is a muster list of the leaders of the Achaian army encamped
outside Troy, the places from which their men came, and the number of the
warships they commanded.
This roll call (of 29 contingents, 44 warlords, 175 cities and other localities,
1,186 warships, and some 100,000 men) was not created for its present place in
the Iliad. The evidence for this is threefold:
1. Contingents that are important here have no specific part to play in the
rest of the Iliad. In particular the Boiotians head the list in the Catalogue,
and are given the largest number of named leaders and cities, but their
significance in the Iliad is not great.
2. The imperfect tense throughout and the insistence on the number of
ships would better suit the assembly of the whole force at Aulis than the
situation found in the Iliad, that is, the 10th year of the war.
3. In three cases the poet has inserted lines to assimilate the Catalogue to
the Iliad situation. He had to do this because three of the original leaders
are not appearing on the field of battle this day, namely Achilles (refuses
to fight), Protesilaos (dead), and Philoktetes (exiled).
These considerations lead to the belief that a separately existing catalogue has
been inserted into the Iliad, with a few modifications, which we can see, and
perhaps others, which we cannot.
If this is so, where did the Catalogue come from? There is evidence
associating 'catalogue poetry' with Boiotia and the school of Hesiod (e.g. The
Catalogue of Women). Our Catalogue begins with the Boiotian 'contingent, and
puts more emphasis on it than could be justified by the Boiotians' insignificant
part in the Iliad or in any other version of the Trojan War known to us, such as
the Kypria, the Ilias parva and the Iliupersis.
More importantly, what about the geopolitical information in the
Catalogue? All shades of opinion are held, ranging from those who argue that
the Catalogue is a poor invention interpolated into the Iliad by a late and
decadent poet, to those who see in it a miraculously preserved record of the
historical army of Agamemnon in descriptions preserved through oral
tradition. While the latter is certainly an overstatement, it is probably nearer to
the truth. Because of the general conformity with our knowledge of the
Mycenaean world, and because of a number of descriptive epithets for cities
whose very existence has been forgotten in historical times, we may accept that
the Catalogue contains (preserved down the centuries in verse) invaluable
evidence about Bronze Age Greece in the late Mycenaean period.
The Catalogue divides the Achaian world into five major geographical
1. Mainland Greece north of the Isthmus (Iliad 2.494-558)
2. The Peloponnese (Iliad 2.559-624)
3. The western islands and western Greece (Iliad 2.625-44)
4. Crete and south-eastern Aegean islands (Iliad 2.646-80)
5. Northern Greece (Iliad 2.681-759) 22

If we look at the map of the whole area, we see that this is a spiral, clockwise
description by groups of contingents, with the south-eastern islands inserted
out of order. It is of great interest that the other islands of the Aegean and the
cities of Anatolia (both of considerable importance in historical times) are not
mentioned at all. Whatever its origins and its relationship to the rest of the
Iliad, it all adds to the impression that this Catalogue reflects the state of the
Greek world at a particular time in history, namely Mycenaean Greece.
A number of clues suggest that the Catalogue does indeed reflect the
political geography of Mycenaean Greece. Many of the named heroic
kingdoms do equate to the later historical geo-political groupings. Nestor's
Pylos, for instance, resembles the area prior to Spartan domination.
Agamemnon, on the other hand, is not only the ruler of Mycenae but also 'lord
of many islands and over all Argos' (Iliad 2.108) and of 'wealthy Corinth' (Iliad
2.570). Unfortunately, however, no geopolitical arrangement corresponds to
Agamemnon's kingdom in historical Greece; Mycenae naturally fell under the
control of Argos, while Corinth was independent. Furthermore, the Arcadians
were normally regarded by Homer as a single, unified race (ethnos), but during
historical times found it natural enough to squabble amongst themselves.
Above all, certain locations are not even mentioned in Homer at all: Phleious,
Megara, Tanagra, Chaironeia, Pharsalos, and Larissa are examples of important
historical centres not listed in the Catalogue.
On the other hand, of the 175 names contained in the Catalogue only some
40 were unknown in historical Greece, and perhaps more significantly 90 of
the remaining 135 can be shown to have been inhabited in the Mycenaean
period. Indeed, of those that have been excavated, none has so far failed to
produce evidence of Mycenaean occupation, and of these, roughly one-third
have so far failed to produce evidence of subsequent Iron Age occupation.
Caution must be practised, however. Even though archaeology seems to prove
a Mycenaean origin for at least a part of the Catalogue, finding evidence can be
a hit-and-miss affair that relies on seeking pottery shards, the most abundant
and durable of Mycenaean artefacts, through surface exploration.
Two possibilities exist for why 40 sites appear not to exist. Either they are
fictitious, or are real places that are lost to time through some natural or man-made
disaster. Strabo sums it all up very nicely when he remarks that 'three of the cities
mentioned by the poet, "Rhipe and Stratia and windy Enispe", are not only hard
to find, but are no use to any who find them, because they are deserted' (8.8.2).
One such example from the Catalogue seemingly lost to time was 'sacred
Krisa' (Iliad 2.520). A Homeric hymn dedicated to Pythian Apollo describes the
archer-god passing Krisa, which is perched upon a rocky spur of Mount
Parnassos that overhangs a deep and rugged plain, on his way to Delphi (Hymn
to Apollo 282-85, cf. Pindar Pythian Odes 5.34-35). The literary tradition led
scholars to believe that Krisa was located somewhere near Delphi, and French
excavators subsequently confirmed this when they discovered, on the acropolis
site at Khrisso, a Mycenaean citadel that had been destroyed by fire during the
LH III period.
The building of Mycenae is attributed by the legends to the Gorgon-slaying
Perseus, the son of Zeus and of Danae, daughter of Akrisios king of Argos
(Apollodoros Bibliotheca 2.4.4, Strabo 8.6.19, Pausanias 2.15.4, 16.3). Although
inhabited since the Neolithic period, Mycenae is a citadel known to
archaeology as the seat of the great Helladic civilisation and to tradition as the
capital of Agamemnon. There is some debate about how much power Mycenae
had over the other citadels (and, indeed, whether it was the 'main' capital of
Mycenaean Greece), but whether it ruled over or merely had a trading
partnership with Pylos, Knossos and the other citadels, the material culture was
essentially the same. 23

The inner facade of the North-East
Postern, Mycenae's secondary
gateway, which served as a ready
access to the copious spring just
beyond the walls to the north-east.
Although much smaller, this gateway
seems in style of building to be
contemporary with the Lion Gate,
that is, it was part of the second
building phase (mid LH IIIB).
(Author's collection)
Armed with a copy of Pausanias' Periegesis,
Schliemann (1874-76) initiated the earliest
systematic excavations at Mycenae, which
uncovered the Lion Gate and five of the six
Shaft Graves of Grave Circle A. He was
succeeded by P. Stamatakis (1876-77), and
digging was continued by the Greek
Archaeological Service under C. Tsountas
(1884-02). British involvement with Mycenae
begins with the excavations of A. J. B. Wace
(1920-23), then director of the British School
at Athens. The impetus to excavate at Mycenae
came largely from Sir Arthur Evans, who at
that time was interested in the relationship
between the mainland Bronze Age culture
contemporary with the Minoan remains he
was excavating at Knossos. The second period
of British School excavations was again carried
out under the direction of Wace and was
begun in 1939, but because of the interruption
of World War II the subsequent seasons were
1950 to 1955. Lord William D. Taylour
directed the third period of British School
excavations in cooperation with his colleague
G. E. Mylonas of the Archaeological Society of
Athens (1959-60, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968-69).
In recent years a joint project directed by E. B.
French (British School) and S. E. Iakovidis
(Archaeological Society of Athens) has sought
to map out in great detail the antiquities of
Mycenae and its immediate surroundings.
Mycenae was built for command and control.
Crouching on top of a fairly steep triangular-shaped hill (278m), the citadel lies
some 15km from the sea, half-hidden in a mountain recess between two
triangular peaks, Profitis Ilias (750m) on the north and Mount Zara (600m) on the
south. Mycenae, in the words of Homer, was 'at ease deep in the recess (Homeric
Greek mychos) of horse-pasturing Argos' (Odyssey 3.263), which is supposed by
some modern commentators to be the origins of the name. Its retired position,
therefore, was one of great importance. In the first place it oversaw the fertile
Argive plain, and secondly it controlled the communications north through the
mountains to Corinth and the Isthmus. The citadel, which Homer calls 'rich in
gold' (Iliad 7.180, 11.46), 'well-built' (Iliad 2.569) and 'broad-streeted' (Iliad 4.52),
was proverbial in Classical times for its wealth. At its zenith Mycenae consisted of
a heavily fortified administrative centre with further settlements scattered beyond
the enceinte.
The enceinte
The Cyclopean circuit-wall is preserved for its whole extent. There is a gap
along the precipitous south-east slope where there is no need of fortification.
Built of the dark-coloured limestone of the surrounding mountains, the 900m
circuit follows the contours of the rock and encompasses an area of some
30,000m 2 (c. 3ha). In general it varies in height between 4.5 and 10.5m,
reaching some 12m on the south-west side. The thickness mostly varies from 3
to 7m but in places on the north and south-east sides the circuit-wall is as
much as 10 to 14m in width. There are two gateways, the Lion Gate at the 24

north-western angle and the North-East Postern on the north side, and two
sally ports in the north-east extension.
The Lion Gate was built during the second building phase (mid LH IIIB) when
the circuit-wall was extended so as to include the rich and elaborate burials of
Grave Circle A. Presumably the later rulers of Mycenae promoted themselves as
the direct descendants of those interned here. The plan of the Lion Gate ideally
illustrates the Mycenaean principle of mural defence,
namely the throwing out of a strong bastion on the
shieldless or right side of attackers. On the left side a
salient of the circuit-wall covers the approach to the
gateway, while a terrace wall inside and left of the
entrance allowed defenders to hurl down missiles on
attackers who managed to funnel through the
The entranceway is composed of four massive slabs
of local conglomerate stone, which had been sawn in
rectangular blocks and squarely cut at the corners.
These blocks make up a threshold, two vertical
doorjambs (3.2 by 1.7 by 0.54m) and a lintel (4.5 by
1.9m by 0.8m). Above the latter the wall was corbelled
to leave a relieving triangle, in which is set the famous
limestone relief of lions (more properly, lionesses)
flanking a column. The heads, set separately, probably
of a softer stone such as steatite, are missing but would
have faced the approaching visitor. In the lintel and
threshold are pivot-holes for a double-leafed gate. The
doorjambs slope inwards to provide an opening that
narrows from 3.1m at the bottom to 2.95m at the top.
In the doorjambs are rectangular sockets to hold a
sliding wooden crossbar, which could keep the gate
(wood reinforced with bronze plates) securely shut.
There are also oblong sockets into which the
gate-handles would sink when the gate was kept wide
open. The threshold was scored to give foothold and
rutted either side for chariot-wheels.
LEFT Grave Circle A lies directly
inside and to the right of the Lion
Gate, Mycenae. It contains six shaft
graves, which held 19 inhumations:
nine men, eight women and two
infants. The enceinte was extended
inc. 1250BC (mid LH IIIB) to
incorporate the circle within the
confines of the citadel; earlier it had
stood outside. The incorporation of
the burial site, which was now
replanned as a monument, was
probably an attempt by later rulers
to appropriate the 'heroic past' as
their own. (Author's collection)
BELOW Cut perpendicularly in the
bedrock to a depth of 7.5m, the
shaft graves of Grave Circle A date
to circa 1550-1450 BC (LH I-IIB)
and reveal that extensive trading
practices and impressive wealth -
the gold artefacts alone weigh
around 18kg- existed even in the
early Mycenaean period. Found in
these six graves were objects
representing, or at least inspired by,
Mycenaean, Minoan, Cycladic, Hittite
and Egyptian cultures. This is Shaft
Grave V from which Heinrich
Schliemann recovered the Mask of
Agamemnon. (Author's collection)

North-east extension
North-East Postern
House of columns
Lion Gate

Grave Circle A
Palace complex
'Well-built Mycenae'
At its zenith Mycenae consisted of a heavily fortified administrative centre with further settlements scattered
beyond the ence/nte.This reconstruction panorama, looking from the north-west, ideally shows how Mycenae
was built for command and control. Crouching on top of a fairly steep triangular-shaped hill, which rises 278m
above sea level, the citadel lies some 15km from the Argolid gulf, half-hidden in a mountain recess between two
triangular peaks, Profitis llias (750m) on the north and Mount Zara (600m) on the south. South-east of the
citadel, and immediately below it, runs the winter torrent, the Khavos. In the words of Homer, the citadel was
'at ease in the recess of horse-pasturing Argos' (Odyssey 3.263). Its retired position, therefore, was one of great
importance. In the first place it oversaw the fertile Argive plain, the powerhouse of the Mycenaean world, and
secondly it controlled the communications north through the mountains to Corinth and the Isthmus.

A close-up view of the Lion Gate,
showing the 'heraldic' lions (in truth,
lionesses). Dated to c. 1250 BC (mid
LH IIIB), the gateway belongs to the
second building phase when the
circuit-wall was extended so as to
include the rich and elaborate
burials of Grave Circle A. Carved on
a thin slab of limestone and set in
the relieving triangle above the lintel,
the composition has been variously
interpreted: as purely decorative; as
cultic, the column between the
rampant felines being an aniconic
representation of the Great Mother
Goddess; and finally as heraldic,
representing either the unification of
two powerful kingdoms, or the
palace, the ruler and his family
flanked by the guardian lionesses.
(Author's collection)
The North-East Postern served as a ready access to
the copious spring just beyond the walls to the
north-east, the Peresia (named after the founding-hero
Perseus), and, although much smaller, seems in style
of building to be contemporary with the Lion Gate.
The plan is similar in having a projecting bastion on
the right of an approaching attacker, but there is no
relieving triangle. The entranceway, like that of the
Lion Gate, consists of four great slabs of conglomerate
- lintel, threshold and two doorjambs. In the lintel
(2.99 by 1.41 by 0.64m) and the threshold are
pivot-holes for a double-leafed gate and a drain runs
beneath it. Both doorjambs taper slightly inward at the
top and there are sockets for a wooden crossbar to
fasten the gate within.
The palace complex on the summit of the citadel would
certainly have been conspicuous; part of it was built on
an artificial terrace supported by the east curtain-wall.
From the entrance on the west side a corridor runs south
and then east to a court paved with stucco and divided
off into squares painted with geometric patterns. The
monumental stairway (Grand Staircase) south of the
court may have been the official entrance. To the west of
the court lies a suite of rooms thought to be a guest suite,
while to its east stands the megaron. Measuring
externally 23 by 11.5m, this unit consists of the
characteristic porch, which had two wooden columns, an anteroom and the
throne room. A circular hearth surrounded by four stuccoed wooden columns
dominated the latter. On analogy with Pylos and Tiryns a throne would have stood
in the middle of the right-hand wall. There would have been hunting and battle
scenes painted on the walls and gypsum slabs on the floor.
On a lower terrace at the east end of the citadel is the so-called House of the
Columns, a building of unusual plan but apparently a residence of high status
and quality. The house is entered from the north through an imposing
doorway into a long corridor leading to an open court with the columns from
which the house is named. Opening onto the court is a pair of large rooms,
from one of which there is access to a stair and at least one small room. The
south part of the house is on three levels of which the basement was devoted
to storage. This is demonstrated by some of the few examples of the Linear B
script from within the citadel - two transport stirrup jars, vessels that usually
held olive oil, and a clay tablet listing 'cloths of KO-U-RA type' (the exact
meaning is still unknown). Next-door stood the so-called Artisans' Quarters, a
structure of unusually large rectangular plan in which a very considerable
amount of raw materials and workshop debris was found.
The extension
The extension of the citadel to the north-east belongs to the final building
phase (end LH IIIB). It includes two sally ports, one near the south-east angle of
the new wall, the other on the north, and the 'Secret Cistern' to the north-west,
all three paralleled in style of building by the Tiryns galleries.
The South Sally Port pierces the curtain-wall at right angles via a long,
narrow and unobtrusive passage through its thickness. The passage roof has
corbel vaulting. At either end the passage was probably guarded by reinforced
wooden doors, which, when opened, would allow the defenders to slide
through singly if the need arose. The North Sally Port runs obliquely through 28

LEFT The inner facade of the Lion
Gate, showing the conglomerate
lintel estimated to weigh in excess
of 20 tonnes. Above the lintel block,
so as to reduce the load resting
upon it, the wall was corbelled to
leave a relieving triangle, in which is
set the famous limestone relief of
lions (more properly, lionesses)
flanking a column, the back of which
is seen here. (Author's collection)
the curtain-wall and is low and pretty narrow. It
was originally thought to have been a man-size
drain but is more likely to have been an exit, as
demonstrated by the wear and tear on the inner
and outer thresholds.
The Secret Cistern is approached by an
oblique passage through the curtain-wall,
descending 18 steps north-west followed by a
horizontal passage of 2.5m, which in turn leads
to 20 steps west, three steps north-west and,
finally, 60 steps north-east, all of which were
cut through the bedrock. At the bottom is a
rectangular shaft, which once served as a
cistern. Water flowed via gravity-fed pipes from
springs in the hills to the east, thereby bringing
fresh water supplies within the citadel. The
cistern itself is not large, but the capacity was
enormously increased when the water was allowed to flood the whole of the
lower flight of steps where the rock vault rises to a height of over 3.6m. To
prevent seepage this part of the staircase was covered with waterproof cement.
Invisible from the outside, the Secret Cistern was obviously designed and built
so that the citadel could better withstand the rigours of a siege, which strongly
suggests the Mycenaeans of this period were anticipating troubled times ahead.
According to legends, Tiryns was the oldest of the Mycenaean citadels of the
Peloponnese. In one legend it is Tiryns, and not Thebes, that is recorded as the
birthplace of Herakles, later serving as the base for his labours (Apollodoros
Bibliotheca 2.4.12). Systematic excavation of the site began when Schliemann,
with his collaborator Wilhelm Dorpfeld, turned his attention to Tiryns
(1884-86). The German Archaeological Institute in a number of prolonged
campaigns (1905-14, 1926-29, 1967-86) has lain bare much more of the site.
Tiryns squats menacingly on a long, low, rocky height (27m) to the south of the
Argive plain near the innermost cove of the Argolid gulf. The hill rises like an
ABOVE When the inhabitants
realised that Mycenae lacked an
adequate supply of water to
withstand a prolonged siege, they
remedied the problem by extending
the fortifications to the north-east,
the third and final building phase of
the citadel (end LH IIIB). Fresh
water was then transported via
gravity-fed pipes from springs in the
hills to the east to a subterranean
cistern. Known as the Secret
Cistern, this was excavated just
outside the new fortification walls,
and was accessed via an elaborate
descending stepped passage with a
concealed entrance, seen here, just
inside the curtain-wall. (Author's

ABOVE The citadel of Mycenae and
the surrounding area. (© Copyright
Osprey Publishing Ltd.)
RIGHT Of the two sally ports that
pierce Mycenae's north-east
extension, this, the South Sally Port,
is the more monumental. Once
thought to be a secret, or at least
concealed entrance, it is, in truth,
anything but hidden, as the area it
leads to is unsuitable for tactical
manoeuvring. A systematic
investigation of this area
demonstrated that there was a low
terrace covering the uneven surface
of the bedrock in front of the
curtain-wall. This afforded a view
over the ravine of the Khavos and
served the ends of both security
and relaxation. (Author's collection)
island out of the plain and the geoarchaeological work of E. Zangger has
demonstrated that the coastline in the Mycenaean period was less than 1km
from Tiryns. Always famous for its great walls, Homer speaks of 'wall-girt Tiryns'
(Iliad 2.559), while Pindar stands in awe of the 'Cyclopean doorways' (fr. 169.6 30

The Secret Cistern, Mycenae
A major feature of the north-east extension, built in Mycenae's
third and final phase of fortification building, was the inclusion of a
tunnel leading from within the enceinte to an underground water
source outside the walls. As this cutaway reconstruction shows, the
Secret Cistern is approached by an oblique passage through the
north curtain-wall.The tunnel then descends 18 steps north-west
followed by a short horizontal passage, which in turn leads to 20
steps west, three steps north-west and, finally, 60 steps north-east.
At the bottom is a rectangular shaft, which serves as a cistern.
Water flows via gravity-fed pipes from springs in the hills to the
east of the citadel, thereby bringing fresh water supplies within the
fortification walls.The cistern itself is not large, but the capacity is
enormously increased when the water is allowed to flood the
whole of the- lower flight of steps where the rock vault rises to a
height of over 3.6m.To prevent seepage this part of the staircase is
covered with waterproof cement.

RIGHT The entrance to the Secret
Cistern ideally demonstrates the
principles of the corbelled arch, one
of the main characteristics of
Mycenaean megalithic construction.
Corbel vaulting is the projection of
each successive course of stones
slightly beyond the course below, so
that the wall is stepped upward and
outward. As the centre of gravity of
the whole tended to move beyond
its base as each course was added,
counterbalance was provided by
piling increasing thicknesses of
masonry around the exterior.
(Author's collection)
TOP RIGHT The staircase down to
the Secret Cistern starts inside the
enceinte and goes down below the
north curtain-wall, constantly
changing direction. This shot shows
the first of three sections that make
up the staircase. This section begins
with a corbelled entrance, which
allows access to the corbelled
tunnel seen here. The 16 irregular
stone steps lead obliquely down
through the curtain-wall to a door,
built in the Cyclopean style, which
gives onto a narrow landing roofed
with horizontal slabs. At this point
the second section starts.
(Author's collection)
BOTTOM RIGHT The South Sally Port
pierces the south curtain-wall at
right angles via a long, narrow and
unobtrusive passage through its
thickness. The passage roof has
corbel vaulting. At either end the
passage was probably secured by
reinforced wooden doors, which,
when opened, allowed the defenders
to slide through singly as the need
arose. (Photograph Esther Carre)
Sandys). Pausanias (9.36.3) considers
the fortification walls are no less
deserving of respect than the
pyramids of Egypt. Elsewhere, he
describes the walls as consisting of
natural rocks 'so huge that a pair of
mules would not even begin to shift
the smallest' (2.25.7). And despite the
ravages of time, Tiryns' Cyclopean
walls remain the finest specimens of
the military architecture of the
The enceinte
After piecemeal fortification of the
higher southern part of the hill and
the founding of a palace during the
earliest palatial period (LH IIIA), the
entire summit was encircled by the
splendid Cyclopean walls still visible
today (LH IIIB). Built of red and grey
limestone, which is abundant on the hillock itself and on the hill of Profitis
Ilias just east of the site, the circuit-wall of the third and final building phase
(Citadel III) represents the apogee of Mycenaean military architecture.
Encompassing an area of 23,000m 2 (2.3ha) the circuit-wall runs for some 725m
around the brow of the hill. It is composed of irregular boulders of varying
dimensions, laid as far as possible in horizontal courses. The stones, the largest
of which are estimated to weigh over 14,000kg, are partially hammer-dressed.
Smaller stones bonded with clay mortar fill the interstices. Round the Unterburg
the walls are 7 to 8m thick and stand directly on the bedrock. Those round the
irregular Upper Citadel, where towers, salients and re-entrant angles break their
line, vary in thickness from 4.5 to 17m, in many places they average 7.5m, and
stand to about half their original height of around 10m.
In two locations the fortification walls of the Upper Citadel contain galleries
(East Gallery, South Gallery). The East Gallery is a long narrow passage (29.1 by 32

The earliest of all the Mycenaean
citadels,Tiryns served as the
archetype on which the others
were modelled. The citadel is most
impressive from below, and here we
see the conspicuous remains of the
west curtain-wall looking from the
south-east. (Author's collection)
1.65m) with a corbel-vaulted roof. Six square
chambers open at regular intervals along its
eastern length, which are entered through
openings varying from 1.5 to 1.7m wide. The
chambers themselves measure 4.9 to 5.05m by
3 to 3.1m. The South Gallery is shorter (21.9 by
2.58m) and five chambers open off it. The
doorways vary in width from 1.2 to 1.5m,
while the chambers here measure 4.25 to 5.4m
to 3.25 to 3.35m. Set within the thickness of
the circuit-wall, these chambers may well have
been magazines.
The principal entrance was in the middle of the
east curtain-wall, while a postern pierced the
great semicircular bastion that projects on the
west flank of the Upper Citadel. In addition,
there were two posterns in the Unterburg.
The East Gate opened in the outer wall, here
7.5m thick, and was approached via a 47m
long and 4.7m wide steep ramp that was
suitable for chariots. Its disposition exposed
the attacker's unshielded side to the defenders
and necessitated a sharp turn at the top.
Beyond the gate itself, of which there is no
trace but was probably double-leafed and
reinforced with bronze plates, runs a long
narrow passage running north and south
between the inner and outer walls. Turning
right the passage leads down to the Unterburg,
while some 50m to the left stands another entrance, the middle gateway, which
is almost equal in dimensions to the Lion Gate at Mycenae and built of the
same material. Here the monolithic threshold has pivot-holes for the
double-leafed gate that closed the entranceway, and in the rebated doorjambs
are the boltholes, 15cm in diameter, allowing a wooden crossbar to be shot
home into the wall. Beyond the passage widens to form a roofed corridor (or
barbican), narrowing again to a point where a third entrance, the inner
gateway, stood, which gave access to the palace complex.
This is the most elaborate of Mycenaean entrance systems, combining three
gateways, outer, middle and inner, and two long narrow passages or 'killing
boxes'. The latter, which formed a no-man's land between outer and middle
The impressive remains of the ramp
leading up to the East Gate, the
principal gateway of Tiryns, looking
from the north-east. Some 4.7m
wide, this ramp formed an approach
practicable for chariots, while its
disposition exposed the attacker's
right, or unshielded side, to the
defenders on the east curtain-wall
and necessitated a sharp turn to the
right at the summit. (Author's
collection) 33

'Wall-girt Tiryns' Tiryns squats menacingly on a long, low, rocky limestone height, which rises like an island out of the Argive plain near the innermost cove of the Argolid gulf. This reconstruction takes the form of an oblique aerial shot from the south­ west, thereby emphasising Tiryn's impressive west curtain-wall. Composite in construction, the curtain-wall was built as two megalithic 'skins'
a fill of
rubble and earth.
Typical of Cyclopean masonry, this building method forms strong bulwarks and near impregnable defences, which, along this stretch of Tiryns' enceinte, average some 7.5m in thickness. Crowning the curtain-wall is a walkway with a narrow protective parapet on the outer edge of sun-dried mud-brick.

35 East Gate.Tiryns This cutaway reconstruction shows the gateway complex that forms the principle entranceway of Tiryns.The East Gate is the most elaborate of Mycenaean entrance systems, combining three gateways, outer, middle and inner, and two long narrow, open passages or 'killing boxes' running north and south between the inner and outer walls. Attackers could have been trapped in these confined spaces and picked off by the defenders
room for movement, each one was a trap difficult to escape. Note that the disposition of the outer gateway exposed the attacker's unshielded side to the defenders and necessitated at the top of the ramp a sharp turn. Beyond the gate itself runs the first of the two 'killing boxes'.

BOTTOM LEFT Homer-speaks of
'wall-girt Tiryns' (Iliad 2.559) and
the Cyclopean enceinte is built of
two kinds of local limestone, red
and grey, in irregular blocks of
different sizes, laid as far as possible
in horizontal courses. These massive
stones, the largest of which are in
truth boulders weighing over
14,000kg, are partially
hammer-dressed; smaller stones
bonded with clay mortar fill the
interstices. In this shot we are
looking at the inner facade of the
East Gate. (Author's collection)
BOTTOM RIGHT The middle gateway
of Tiryns, looking back towards the
East Gate (right of centre) with the
continuation of the passage down
to the Unterburg, is almost equal in
dimensions to the Lion Gate at
Mycenae and built of the same
material - conglomerate. Here the
monolithic threshold has holes for
the pivots of the double-leafed gate
that once closed the entrance, and
in the rebated doorjambs are the
bolt-holes allowing a wooden
crossbar to be shot home into the
wall. (Author's collection)
gateways, and middle and inner gateways, recall the parallel walls that fortified
earlier sites as Dimini and Kastri. Attackers could have been trapped in these
confined spaces and picked off by the defenders. With little room for
movement, each one was a trap difficult to escape.
The West Gate, in truth a postern and added onto the existing circuit-wall
during the third building phase (Citadel III), is a splendid example of
Mycenaean fortification engineering. A massive bastion (West Bastion), which
forms a sickle-shaped extension of the second-phase west curtain-wall (Citadel
II), fully contains and protects this entrance system. On the outside the
entranceway is small and unobtrusive, 2.5m high with corbelled exterior and
no trace of a door. Inside however, it quickly opens up both in height and
width as it proceeds through the thickness of Cyclopean curtain-wall to a
stairway than runs along the line of the circuit-wall. Opposite the postern and
roughly parallel to the stairway stands the original west curtain-wall. From its
parapet the defenders could have easily compromised the attackers, who,
because of the curving course of the stairway, were left completely exposed to
missiles hurled from above. Finally, at the top of the flight of 65 steps stands a
tower, which obviously served to guard this section of the entrance system.
Having negotiated the three gateways that make up the principal entrance to
the citadel the visitor passes through the Great Propylon, a monumental
gateway to the palace complex, and reaches a forecourt. Of regular plan, this
unit occupies the entire southern section of the Upper Citadel. A smaller
colonnaded propylon at the north end of the forecourt takes the visitor into
the core of the palace complex.
First comes a court with porticoes on three sides, which would have
supported balconies at first-floor level. Here is a circular altar on the axis of the
megaron, and it was certainly likely that ceremonies were held in the court.
Facing south along the axis of the court stands the megaron, the principal
element in the palace complex, forming a rectangle measuring externally 25 by
12.5m. Having entered by a porch, the visitor then passes through the
anteroom to finally reach the large throne room (11.8 by 9.80m) dominated by
its circular hearth, some 3m in diameter, enclosed by four stuccoed wooden
columns. A throne sat on the right side of the room, opposite the hearth. The

floor was decorated with squares
separated by zones of rosettes,
enclosing alternately an octopus
and a pair of dolphins framed by
a net pattern. Three zones of
rosettes surrounded the base of
the throne. The walls of this
room were decorated with
A long corridor around most
of the megaron connects a series
of smaller apartments and also
gives admittance to a second
megaron and court on the east.
Similar apartments to its west
included a bathroom. Here the
extant floor consists of a single
block of grey limestone, gently
tilted so that wastewater drains
away. Panels, possibly of wood
that had been plastered, were
fixed in the drilled dowel holes
around the edge of the block.
Having negotiated the East Gate
(left of centre), the visitor then
entered a long narrow passage
running north and south between
the inner and outer walls of Tiryns.
Turning right (towards the camera)
the passage leads down to the
Unterburg, while some 50m to the
left stands another entrance, the
middle gateway, seen here in the
distance. As this picture perfectly
illustrates, would-be attackers could
have been trapped in this confined
space and picked off by the
defenders positioned on the
curtain-walls. (Author's collection)
The Unterburg
The Unterburg is connected to the Upper Citadel via the north
extension of the passage immediately beyond the outer gateway
of the East Gate. It also has two approaches of its own, the North
Postern and the West Postern. The Unterburg is arranged on a
terrace and built to a single plan. The structures within were
aligned along the length of the circuit-wall and separated by
alleyways orientated north to south. A central street runs south
from the North Postern to link up with the passage leading to
the Upper Citadel. Ten building complexes have been identified.
They seem to have been residences and workshops, the latter for
working metal and precious materials such as ivory. Similar uses
are also attested in the galleries of the circuit-wall.
Two openings in the north-west section of the circuit-wall
provide access to passages that lead diagonally through the
Cyclopean curtain-wall. They continue outside, underground,
sloping down to the west where there is a natural spring with its
waters seeping through the rock. The openings inside the
curtain-wall are some 9m apart, but they gradually converge
beyond the wall. The northern passage is 28.9m long and
terminates in a small, shallow reservoir hollowed out of the
bedrock. The southern passage also terminates in a rock-cut
basin after a length of 30.7m through the wall and out beyond
it. The walls of both passages are built with Cyclopean masonry, and evidence
of clay is preserved at the joints between the boulders. The roofs of the passages
are corbel-vaulted. The average height in each passage is 3.5m, while the width
at the base is 1.4m. Since the water supply was plentiful and in demand, two
passages better fulfilled the function of supplying the needs of those seeking
protection behind the fortification walls in time of siege.
Apollodoros (Bibliotheca 2.4.4) associates Midea with the hero Perseus, who, as
with Mycenae, was its founder. Certainly Midea's prominent position amongst
The East Gallery was built into the
thickness of the south-eastern
corner of Tiryn's east curtain-wall.
The gallery, a long narrow passage
with a corbel-vaulted roof, gives
access to six square chambers
placed at regular intervals along its
eastern length (seen right). The
chambers may well have been
magazines for the storage of
foodstuffs. (Author's collection) 37

the Mycenaean centres of the Argolid has been emphasised by scholars. It is
considered the third Mycenaean citadel after Mycenae and Tiryns, thanks
chiefly to the rich finds, which include the Dendra Panoply from the LH IIIA
cemetery in the neighbouring area of Dendra, just a kilometre to the west. It
has been assumed that the acropolis of Midea and the necropolis at Dendra
were connected because of the close proximity of the two sites.
Excavations at the site began in 1907 under the auspices of the German
Archaeological Institute, and were continued in 1939 by the Swedish
archaeologist A. W. Persson, who opened a number of trenches on the lower
terraces and brought to light a few architectural remains on the summit of the
hill. These he attributed to a palace. In 1963 the current Greek-Swedish
collaboration began in Midea with a small trial excavation near the East Gate.
Excavations within the enceinte were resumed in 1983 and have continued
systematically since then under the joint direction of K. Demakopoulou (Greek
Archaeological Service) and, until 1999, P. Astrom (Swedish Institute at
Athens). Since 2000 A-L. Schallin has directed the Swedish side of the project.
Although not listed by Homer in the Catalogue of Ships, Strabo describes Midea
as near Tiryns (8.6.11). Pausanias is a little more precise, and says that,
returning from Tiryns on the road leading from Argos to Epidauros, 'you will
reach Midea on the left' (2.25.9). Dominating the eastern edge of the Argive
plain, the citadel sits atop a conical hill (270m) and is located about halfway
between Mycenae and Tiryns.
The enceinte
The circuit-wall encloses an area of about 24,000m 2 (c. 2.4ha) protecting the
upper citadel and the lower terraces. Covering a circuit over a kilometre long,
it follows the natural contours of the rock in sweeping curves. However, the
south-west slope is precipitous enough to have remained unfortified. In length
it is third only to Gla and Eutresis.
The construction of the circuit-wall is of medium-sized (not Cyclopean) flat
blocks, placed roughly in courses but having a polygonal effect due to their
irregular shapes. An interesting feature of this circuit-wall is that these blocks
form the entire thickness of the wall; there is no trace of the rubble and earth fill
found in Cyclopean walls. This is also true of the circuit-wall at Gla and, along
with the use at both sites of medium-sized flat blocks, suggests a second type of
Mycenaean fortification construction. This may be partly due to the great length
of the circuits at both sites, and to the building stone available locally.
The two gateways of the citadel are opposite to each other on the east and west
sides of the fortification.
The East Gate opens inwards, from a width of 1.55m at its outer entrance to
2.25m in the interior. This is probably a characteristic feature of Mycenaean
gateways. The pavement consists of thick, irregular stone slabs over a bed of
earth and rubble fill. The approach leading up to the entranceway cannot be
traced, but it was probably a steep ramp leading up from the north-west. The
enemy who ventured along it would thus leave his right flank exposed to the
defenders on the curtain-wall. Just inside the gateway, facing the entranceway,
the bedrock rises vertically, obliging the visitor to turn at right angles and
proceed southward to the top of the citadel. A corridor some 4.5m wide is thus
formed similar to the one that forms part of the entrance system at Tiryns. The
defenders of the gateway could stand at the top of this eminence and rain
down missiles on anyone attempting to force an entrance.
The West Gate lies between the end of the south-west part of the
circuit-wall, which at this point was extended to form a bastion projecting 38

5.25m from the wall, and a retaining wall covering a vertical cliff. The opening
between them is 4.56m on the outside, and narrows down to 4.1m where the
bastion ends and the thickening of the wall begins. The location of this
gateway was carefully chosen for the natural advantages it offered for the
protection of the citadel as a whole. The ramp used as an approach was cut out
of the bedrock. It extends 70m southward and is limited to a width of 3m by a
precipice on its west side and the wall of the citadel rock on the east.
The summit consists of the bare citadel rock. At about the centre of the
acropolis, which also happens to be its highest point, a 50m area was levelled
presumably for the palace. In outline it is L-shaped and reminiscent of the
'palace' at Gla. The longer section runs north to south and a wing on the south
side runs east to west. A large amount of coarse ware for domestic use and fine
decorated pottery was found, all of which is dated to the middle years of the
LH IIIB period. Other finds include jewellery, sealstones, fresco fragments,
terracotta roof tiles and numerous clay figurines, all similar to that from
Mycenae and Tiryns.
In the area inside the West Gate recent excavations (1996-2000) have
brought to light a complex of rooms built on successive terraces parallel to the
fortification wall. The evidence to date suggests that it was a large building
complex with two wings separated by a central corridor with a built drain
running through it. The best-preserved rooms, which were basement rooms,
are those built against the circuit-wall. The finds, such as stirrup jars;
millstones; whetstones; stone mortars; stone, bronze and bone tools; raw
materials such as ochre, fluorite and mother-of-pearl; and a steatite mould for
casting beads, show that most of these rooms were magazines and workshops,
some of the latter for the manufacture of jewellery. With regards to storage, of
special interest are four clay sealings with Linear B inscriptions and three
stirrup jars also bearing Linear B inscriptions, which show that Midea was an
administrative centre like Mycenae and Tiryns.
Gla attracted the interests of travellers and antiquarians from as early as the
beginning of the 19th century. Visitors to the site included E. Dodwell (1805),
W. M. Leake (1806), and L. Ross (1834). All noted it as a fortified hill or island
(depending on the season at which they saw it). Schliemann made an
excursion on horseback to here from nearby Orchomenos (1881), but did not
consider it worth investigating.
F. Noack was the first scholar to survey the site (May 1893), and drew plans
of the rock, the enceinte and the visible remains. A month later A. de Ridder,
who was to excavate the buildings within the enceinte and study the
fortifications, came to the site. He dated the entire site to the late Mycenaean
period. The following year, Noack completed his survey and produced a
topographical plan of the hill and the structures on it. Thereafter, the Greek
Archaeological Service conducted extensive excavations, first by I. Threpsiades
(1955-61), and more recently by S. E. Iakovidis (1981-91).
A citadel without a name
The modern inhabitants of the area know the citadel as Paliokastro (literally
'ancient fortress'), while in archaeological literature it appears as Gla, the
Albanian equivalent of its Greek name. Noack (1894: 463-74) equated Gla with
Homer's 'Arne, rich in grapes' (Iliad 2.507), whereas an earlier visitor to the site,
K. Bursian (1862), had previously identified it with Kopai (Iliad 2.502), the town
from which the name lake Kopais derived in antiquity. Hope Simpson and
Lazenby (1970: 31), on the other hand, argue that if Gla was a citadel rather
than a settlement, the epithet 'rich in grapes' would be somewhat 39

The Kopaic basin, looking south-west
from the South Gate of Gla towards
Mount Helikon, the legendary home
of the Nine Muses. Throughout the
centuries, the basin was annually
flooded and transformed into a
marsh or lake, depending on the time
of the year, and on these occasions
the citadel rock became an island.
While the Mycenaean drainage
system was functioning, however, Gla
was surrounded by a fertile plain and
could be approached by dry land, as it
can today, now that the lake has been
drained again. (Author's collection)
inappropriate. Although attractive, the case for linking Gla with Homer's Kopai,
which means 'oars' and thus possibly reflects a time when the normal method
of transport to the place was by boat, no longer stands. Kopai has almost
certainly been located at the modern village of Topolia near Levadia. Sadly, like
Midea, Gla appears to have been omitted from the Catalogue of Ships.
Located in the north-east corner of the Kopaic basin, Gla squats upon a low,
rocky eminence that rises sharply from 9.5 to 38m above the surrounding
plain. The hill is pear-shaped, almost 900m long from east to west and a
maximum of 575m across from north to south. The total surface area covered
is some 200,000m 2 (c. 20ha), and has a comparatively even summit, though the
sides are very steep, especially on the north. Throughout the centuries, the
Kopais was annually flooded and transformed into a swamp or lake, depending
on the time of year, and on these occasions the citadel rock became an island.
This condition arose when the Mycenaean drainage system of
Cyclopean-walled dykes and canals was neglected and the sinkholes
(katavothroi) became choked up by refuse in antiquity (Strabo 9.2.40, Pausanias
9.38.7). While the drainage system was functioning, however, the rock was
surrounded by a fertile plain and could be approached by dry land.
The enceinte
Enclosing the entire summit-plateau - an area ten times greater than at Tiryns
and Athens, and seven times greater than Mycenae - the enceinte circles the hill
in a continuous unbroken circuit along the brow of the rock, and is some
2.8km in length. Built as a single unit, the preserved height ranges between 3
and 5m. It exhibits a uniform thickness of 5.4 to 5.8m, but has no galleries or
drains. Uniquely, at intervals of 6 to 12m, the outer face of the circuit-wall is
broken by vertical offsets that project 10 to 60cm, giving the wall a serrated
appearance. This configuration of the outer face is duplicated on the inner,
where the row of offsets is repeated in reverse. This was devised as a means of
breaking up the curved line of the circuit-wall into short, straight sections.
According to Iakovidis (2001: 12) the local limestone is veined in a manner that
when quarried it breaks into regular blocks unsuitable for curved surfaces. 40

Like Midea, the circuit-wall was thus constructed using medium-sized slab-like
blocks, roughly dressed at their sides and corners, with small stone wedges
between. The bedrock was first dressed, and an irregular layer of flat stones was
then laid on top so as to create a more or less level surface. On top of this the flat
blocks were laid in almost horizontal courses, which make up the whole thickness
of the wall rather than rubble and earth fill found in Cyclopean walls.
In total, four gateways (South Gate, West Gate, North Gate, South-East Gate)
pierce the circuit-wall. All were built with carefully selected and assembled
blocks - long square blocks (almost ashlar) in fairly horizontal courses. A
Mycenaean road encircles the site, which ascends to all four gateways via ramps
made of packed earth and small stones, except that leading up to the South
Gate, which has a stone-paved ramp 100m long and 6m wide.
This gateway is the largest and strongest, protected by two massive bastions
built at an angle to the circuit-wall and projecting beyond and behind it. The
diagonal position of the entranceway in relation to the line of the circuit-wall
is because the slope of the ground requires it. The outer projections are solid
(packed fill), while the interior ones are chambered and probably served as two
guardrooms. The bastions are built of rectangular blocks in courses, and larger
headers and stretchers strengthen the corners. The blocks are not placed tightly
together, but the interstices are filled with smaller stones (as at Tiryns).
The west bastion projects 5.9m forward from the threshold, and the east
11.64m, thus the difference in lengths offered the opportunity of enfilading
attackers both flank and rear. Moreover, the entranceway has an approach
requiring a turn, and whether the enemy approached from the east or west
side, the east bastion, projecting a little further than the west bastion, was
always to the right of the attacker. A 3.5m-wide ramp led up to the summit of
the east bastion and the entire gateway complex. Evidence of brick hardened
by fire indicates that the superstructure was of sun-dried mud-brick reinforced
by a timber framework. Further burnt remains, namely charcoal, white ash,
pieces of bronze and broken nails, indicate that the double-leafed gate was
made of wood reinforced with bronze plates. As there is no evidence for
stone-built or monolithic lintel and doorjambs (as at Mycenae and Tiryns), the
frame was probably wooden also.
The West Gate is approached by several steps cut out of the rock or formed
by two blocks alongside one another, which lead up the short, steep slope on
this side of the hill. The steps end before the entranceway (5.25m wide). This
is protected on either side by a projecting bastion, some 5.6m wide, thrown out
from the regular line of the circuit-wall, which forms an obtuse angle with the
north bastion and an acute angle with the south one. The entranceway then
was inserted at a diagonal line through the wall, and the bastions were added
onto the thickness of the wall itself. The bastions are built of flat-cut blocks,
and larger headers and stretchers strengthen the corners. Small stones are
wedged in between the corners to fill the interstices.
The North Gate is approached from the north-west along a gently sloping
pathway coming from the direction of Orchomenos and leading into the
citadel. The only indication of an opening along this rather straight section of
the circuit-wall is the slight projection of the bastions on either side of the
entranceway (5.5m wide). The bastions project 0.6 and 0.7m respectively from
the outer face of the circuit-wall. The north-west bastion is 5.9m wide, the
north-east one 6.28m. The large size and construction of the bastions here,
similar to those of the West Gate, provide the defences for this gateway.
The South-East Gate differs from the others in that it has a double entrance,
each with its own guardroom placed on the right as you enter. There is a very
slight projection of the bastions, whose extensions line the entranceways on
either side and include the guardrooms within their thickness. The east bastion 41

Gla A reconstruction panorama, looking from the south-east, illustrating Gla. Its fortifications circle the low, rocky eminence in a continuous unbroken circuit along the brow of the summit-plateau. Within lies a large enclosure divided in two by a cross-wall, the north section housing the 'palace', and the south section the 'agora'. Four gateways, located at roughly the cardinal points of the compass, pierce the
At the
of the
is the Mycenaean
the citadel and beyond lies arable land.Throughout the centuries, the Kopa'i's was annually flooded and transformed into a swamp or lake, depending on the time of year, and on these occasions the citadel-rock became an island. While the Mycenaean drainage-system of dykes and canals was functioning, however, Gla was surrounded by a fertile plain and could be approached by dry land.

is 3.9m wide, the west one 4.9m. As a wall running roughly north from the
South-East Gate divides the citadel into two unequal parts, this gateway serves
the walled-off 'lower town' area with its eastern opening and the main citadel
with its western one.
The western section covers nine-tenths of the summit plateau, and contains a
centrally placed large enclosure divided into two by a cross-wall, the north section
housing the 'palace' and the south section the 'agora'. Abutting the circuit-wall,
the perimeter wall of this enclosure is preserved for its entire length and
encompasses an area of about 66,000m 2 (c. 6.6ha). The main entrance to the
enclosure was situated in the middle of the south perimeter wall, opposite the
South Gate.
The palace is an L-shaped building, consisting of two long narrow wings, one
orientated east-west (North Wing), and the other north-south (East Wing). The
whole complex perches on an artificial Cyclopean terrace, with the north wing
incorporated in the circuit-wall. Each wing is made up of multifarious and
abnormally small apartments, two to three rooms each, connected by corridors.
There is an entrance and main corridor to each wing. However, there is no throne,
hearth, or bath: the typical attributes of a Mycenaean palace. The two wings are
a mirror image of each other, and Iakovidis (2001: 40) argues that this structure
was the residence of two high administrative officials of equal rank.
The agora contains two long, narrow, parallel building-complexes running
north south, with two oblong rectangular buildings to the south that are identical
in size and plan: a central north-south passage divides each building into two
equal parts, which are subdivided in two large rooms. The west building complex
is a continuous long structure, with three narrow pillared halls (south) and a row
of small apartments (north). The east building complex exhibits a narrower,
simpler plan. De Ridder (1894: 297-301) postulated that the 'agora' could have
been the barracks for the garrison while Iakovidis (2001: 83), on the other hand,
argues for magazines and workshops.
Gla is too bare, rocky and waterless to be a suitable location for a 'great
Mycenaean city' (Threpsiades 1962: 47-48). On the other hand, the remains
unearthed at Gla strongly suggest that the site was a sort of military stronghold.
The 'palace' is made up of a number of unusually small apartments, and the
'agora' could easily be interpreted as military quarters, the warriors perhaps
occupying the row of small apartments in the west building complex, with stables
(i.e. chariots) in the east building complex. Besides, the rectangularity of the
ground plan is rather unlike what we should have expected in a Mycenaean urban
settlement, and conjures up a picture of something much more like a Roman fort.
Moreover, the distinct lack of pottery shards also seems inconsistent with Gla
being an urban settlement. In fact, the most likely explanation for the
surrounding of such a barren site with a circuit-wall some 2.8km long is surely a
military one.
Gla is best seen as the headquarters for the maintenance of all the forts in the
north-west bay of the Kopais and the look-out posts on Mount Ptoon to the east.
Nearby stands Orchomenos, one of the major Mycenaean centres whose heyday
was probably the LH IIIB period, as was that of Gla. It can be reasoned, therefore,
that during this period Orchomenos, the wealth of which became proverbial (Iliad
9.381), controlled the citadel of Gla and the outposts and drainage system
associated with it.
Strabo best sums up the controversies about the location of Nestor's Pylos when
he says 'there is a Pylos in front of Pylos and indeed there is still another Pylos' 43

Pylos as a whole was not fortified
during the LH IIIB period, although it
appears to been in an earlier LH IIIA
phase. The flat-topped ridge, upon
which the palace complex sits, rises
abruptly on all sides in a steep,
almost precipitous bank. It is only
towards the easternmost angle that
a relatively narrow terrace descends
somewhat lower. In this shot we see
the remains of what once was the
East Gate, either side of which are
traces of the corresponding
circuit-wall. (Author's collection)
(8.3.7). Strabo's preferred candidate for Nestor's capital was the Triphylian
Pylos, although it was well inland (8.3.14), whereas references by Homer
(Odyssey 3.4-5, 386-87, 423-24, 15.215-16) imply a site close to the sea. But
the discovery of the magnificent Mycenaean palace on the low but abrupt hill
of Epano Englianos, and the decipherment of the Linear B tablets, in which the
name PU-RO frequently occurs, have at least made it virtually certain that this
was the original 'sandy Pylos' of Homeric fame.
The palace on Epano Englianos ranks among the best preserved of Bronze
Age monuments in Greece. Beginning in 1939, excavations by C. W. Blegen
revealed the complete floor plan of a large palace complex with decorated walls
and floors, Linear B tablets and sealings, pottery and a variety of artefacts. In
the course of Blegen's campaigns at Pylos (1939, 1952-69), Piet de Jong, a
visiting architect, plotted walls as they appeared during excavation.
A citadel without walls
Strictly speaking Pylos is a palace not a citadel - Mycenae, Tiryns and Athens
are both palaces and citadels, whereas Gla is a citadel but arguably not a palace.
The hilltop site was not fortified during the LH IIIB period, although it appears
to have been in an earlier LH IIIA phase. The puzzling question, therefore, is
why was the Mycenaean palace not protected, as was the norm, by Cyclopean
walls? The gentle north-eastern approach was certainly fortified by a gateway
and curtain-walls before the period of the last palace. The large number of
administrative records surviving on the clay tablets (about 1,200 fragments)
demonstrates Pylos was a centre of government in the LH IIIB period,
comparable to Mycenae or Tiryns. It is certainly hard to believe that in the
period when the walls of Mycenae, Tiryns and Athens were being strengthened
and the area within them enlarged, a new palace complex in the south-western
Peloponnese was built without renewing or replacing the fortifications that
protected its predecessor.
One possible solution to this conundrum is to believe that Pylos was the
unchallenged power in Messenia, with no powerful neighbours to threaten it, as
was probably the case with Mycenae and Tiryns, and Thebes and Orchomenos).
With regards to possible external threats it probably relied upon its seapower for
security. Over 600 oarsmen are listed on two Linear B tablets (An 1, An 610),
while another (An 724) deals with those who are missing from the muster. All in
all these tablets suggest preparation for a naval operation. Another group of texts 44

contains lists of men who are assigned guard duty along the coast. The heading
of one tablet (An 657) reads: 'Thus the watchers are guarding the coast'.
Alternatively, it has been suggested that the Mycenaean economies were
overstrained by the construction of elaborate fortifications, and their absence, as
at Pylos, may reflect prudence or recognition of limits to their resources on the
part of local rulers.
The palace complex is set, within sight of the bay of Navarino, in a broken but
fertile landscape on a ridge between two ravines. The flat-topped ridge (150m)
has a maximum length of about 170m from south-west to north-east and a
width not exceeding 90m. It rises abruptly on all sides in a steep, almost
precipitous bank, some 4 to 7m high. It is only towards the north-easternmost
angle that a relatively narrow terrace descends somewhat lower. The palace
itself occupies only a little more than the south-western half of the hill. Its
position, however, commands an extensive view. From here a great part of the
coast to the west is clearly visible as well as the hinterland rising to the
mountain barrier of Aigaleon to the east.
The palace
In its last and most splendid phase, dated to the LH IIIB period, the palace
complex consisted of two-storeyed half-timbered buildings in three main
blocks. The exterior walls were faced in squared slabs of soft limestone (poros)
bonded with clay, the inner walls were of rubble coated in mud plaster with a
lime plaster surface decorated with frescoes, and had wooden wainscots. The
upper storey had mud-brick walls between the vertical timbers. Columns,
door-casings, wainscoting, ceiling and roofs were all constructed mainly of
wood, and this abundance of combustible material accounts for the
devastating effect of the fire that destroyed the palace complex.
The Main Building contained the megaron, propylon, palace archives,
magazines and private chambers. Its most conspicuous feature was the
megaron, two storeys high, the idiosyncratic Mycenaean architectural unit was
composed of a porch with two wooden columns, an anteroom and the
rectangular throne room (12.9 by 11.2m) decorated in bright frescoes. One of
the preserved frescoes depicts a couchant lion and a couchant griffin, while
another shows a male figure seated on a rock and playing a lyre. The main
feature of the throne room was its circular fixed hearth. Fashioned of richly
decorated stuccoed clay, even
today it forms an impressive 4m
diameter circle raised some 20cm
above the floor. Dominating the
throne room, this must have been
symbolic and not simply a source
of heat. The floor was divided
into patterned squares, all abstract
in design except for one with
an image of an octopus. This is
directly in front of a depression in
the floor against the right-hand
wall where a throne stood. Beside it
in the floor is a hollow from which
a narrow V-shaped channel leads to
a second slightly lower hollow
some 1.8m away. These may have
been used in some libation
ceremony performed from the
The highlight of any visit to the
Palace of Nestor (Pylos) must be
the throne room of the megaron. In
the centre of the throne room is a
great ceremonial hearth, made of
clay coated with stucco. The latter
was lavishly adorned with painted
patterns, such as symbolic flames
(some of which are still visible) and
spirals. The hearth itself was framed
by four stuccoed wooden columns,
which stood on stone bases - two
of which are visible here - and
supported a surrounding balcony
and a high clerestory. The throne
once stood to the right, facing the
hearth. (Author's collection)

The bathroom at the Palace of
Nestor, the only one of its kind yet
found in a Mycenaean palace with
its equipment still fairly well
preserved. Here we see the
terracotta larnax, or tub, decorated
with painted patterns, set into a
stucco-coated base made of clay.
The larnax is of the type that has a
slightly pinched-in waist. The bather
presumably sat in it while an
attendant poured water over him
or her. A convenient step of clay,
coated with stucco, made it easy to
step from the floor into the bath.
(Author's collection)
The hearth was surrounded by four stuccoed wooden columns, which held
up the ceiling leaving an open space at its centre. A balcony surrounded the
hearth on the second floor, which ended in a lantern above the roof to draw
off the smoke. Presumably there were private quarters on the first floor for the
ruler and his family. On the ground floor, besides the megaron, there were
archive rooms, olive-oil magazines and a pantry where hundreds of wine cups
(kylikes) were discovered. There is also a smaller megaron and bathroom with
its fixed terracotta tub (larnax) still in situ, which probably belonged to the
ruler's consort.
The South-West Building and North-East Building housed workshops,
magazines and private chambers. The extensive magazines have indicated to
some that the palace was playing an active economic role, mainly that of a
redistributor of agricultural products (Renfrew 1972: 296), and a large
settlement, covering some 200,000m 2 (c, 20ha), has been located around the
palace hill but has not yet been fully explored. The functions of the various
workshops have been identified from fragments found in them and tablet lists.
They included a chariot repair shop and an armoury. Further to the north is a
separate building, the Wine Magazine, in which a large room contains some 35
large storage jars (pithoi) still in situ. Clay sealings were found marked in Linear
B with the ideogram interpreted as 'wine'. The impressions had been stamped
on lumps of clay wrapped around cords that tied on the lids or stoppers of the
wineskins or other containers that were brought here. In this way the senders
had certified the kind or vintage or source of each skin or jar.
Other citadels
Argos (Argolid)
The two heights in Argos, which lies some 7km inland at the head of the
Argolid gulf, are the lofty acropolis of Larissa (literally 'citadel'), and a lower
rounded hill called Aspis (literally 'round shield'). The Larissa (276m) is an
insulated conical rocky hill and one of the strongest fortresses in Greece, hence
its long and continuous history of occupation. The summit of the Aspis (100m)
is crowned with the remains of a Middle Helladic enceinte running about 150m
and approximates half the circumference of the circuit. Another Cyclopean
wall with a much larger circumference is evident in the north-east section of
the summit. Its thickness is 2.6m. The method of construction used here is the 46

Nestor's Palace This reconstruction shows a cutaway view of the palace at Pylos. Its most conspicuous feature is the megaron, which is the idiosyncratic Mycenaean architectural unit composed of a porch with two wooden columns between antae, an anteroom and the throne room sumptuously decorated by means of frescoes. Although the throne of the wanax stands against the middle of the right-hand wall, the main feature of the throne room is its circular fixed hearth. Symbolic and not simply a source of heat, this enormous hearth is surrounded by four stuccoed wooden columns that support the ceiling leaving an open space at its centre. A balcony surrounds the hearth on the second floor, which ends in a lantern above the roof to draw off the smoke. There are private quarters on the first floor for the ruler and his family. On the ground floor, besides the megaron, there are archive rooms, olive-oil magazines and a wine-pantry.

The Larissa of Argos, one of the
strongest fortresses in Greece, has
a long and continuous history of
occupation. Sections of antique
masonry can be traced in the
medieval kastro, which was built
largely on the old foundations by
the Byzantines and Franks, and
enlarged by the Venetians and
Ottoman Turks. Archaeology has
revealed that the medieval inner
keep incorporates traces of a
Cyclopean wall, which once
protected the Mycenaean citadel,
and Euripides refers to Argos as 'the
city built by the Cyclopes'
(Herakles 15). Looking south-east
towards Nauplion from the summit
of the Larissa, here we see part of
the medieval fortifications, with the
modern agricultural town of
Argos immediately below.
(Author's collection)
same as that of the smaller wall, though the later blocks are much larger. Along
its internal face domestic structures were built up against it.
It may be that the early settlement fortified by the circular wall was followed
by a Mycenaean one that was not sufficiently protected by its fortifications, so
the citadel was moved up to the Larissa. Unfortunately later fortifications here,
dominated by the imposing Frankish castle, have obscured the earlier remains.
Asine (Argolid)
Homer notes Asine's location in the Catalogue of Ships, unusual for Mycenaean
sites, as 'lying down the deep gulf (Iliad 2.560), that is, the Hermionic gulf
some 8km south-east of Navplio. The acropolis (51m) overlooks an excellent
deep-water harbour with wide beaches, suitable for the drawing up of ancient
ships, and sheltering islands.
The citadel sits on a triangular rocky hill, which is steep and naturally fortified
on the west side, excepting a few narrow ravines. On the east, it slopes gently
towards the sea (to the south-east) and sand dunes (to the north-east), and is
protected by the later Hellenistic and Venetian fortifications. The principal
entrance into the citadel is on the north-east while a triangular, terraced area on
the north-west and lower down forms the so-called Lower Town, where the
remains of a large Mycenaean building complex are still visible. Of the scanty
remains of the Mycenaean circuit-wall of Cyclopean construction, the best
preserved is the section running south-east to north-west and on the seaward side.
Athens (Attica)
In mythology we hear of the early kings of Athens who dwelt on the Acropolis,
kings such as Erechtheus in whose palace the goddess Athena was a frequent
visitor (Iliad 2.546-49, Odyssey 7.78-81), or Theseus of the many exploits, the
most celebrated of which was his slaying of the Minotaur (Apollodoros Epitome
1.7-9, Plutarch Theseus 15-19).
The Acropolis is a flat-topped rock (156m) rising from the centre of an enclosed
plain about 10km from the sea. Although the Acropolis owes its widespread fame
to the 5th-century BC buildings now visible, its history goes back at least to the
early Mycenaean period, when it was already the centre of a small settlement
nestled around its base. The level summit above was the site of a palace complex,
which reached its zenith in the LH IIIB period when a Cyclopean circuit-wall was
erected along the edge of the rock. Near the south-east corner of the south wing 48

of the Propylaia a section of curtain-wall is still
visible. Preserved in a continuous line - the outer
and inner faces are complete - the limestone
blocks are large and massive. It is some 6m thick.
The south-west corner of the Acropolis forms
a natural bulwark at a point where the rock
slopes down to form a convenient approach.
The natural advantages of this area were
recognised by the Mycenaean architects and
incorporated in the building of a projecting
bastion to protect the approach and principal
entranceway, which is now covered by the Nike
temple. However, excavations have shown that
this bastion was aligned east to west. The
construction of the faces consists of larger and
smaller unworked limestone blocks with a fill of
small stones and earth. The blocks were placed
directly on the bedrock, which was levelled and
dressed to receive them. The bastion itself is
considered as typical Mycenaean in form with
the formation of a long approach route along
the curtain-wall, which also could be defended
from the projecting bastion. A left turn was
then required to enter the citadel, thereby
hindering the enemy further in his attempt to
reach the entranceway itself.
For greater security, a second fortification
wall or outwork protected the bastion and the
whole western part of the Acropolis. This was
erected at the foot of the rock, enclosing the
west side and a little of the adjoining sections of
the north and south slopes. This outwork also
enclosed two sources of potable water.
In the course of fortifying the Acropolis the
Mycenaeans discovered a natural spring on the
north slope below where the Erechtheion now
stands. Deep within a cave an interior rock-cut
stairway of seven flights was constructed so that the spring could be reached from
the Acropolis above for supplies of fresh water. A little to the west of this secret
passage stood the North Postern, the second entranceway to the citadel.
Aulis (Boiotia)
Known to us from mythology as the gathering place of the Achaian fleet prior to
its departure for Troy, Aulis is a coastal site overlooking two bays some 5km south
of the Euripus strait. Here Iphigeneia, the daughter of Agamemnon, was fated to
be sacrificed for the safe voyage of the fleet, a theme developed by Euripides in his
tragedy Iphigeneia at Aulis. Trial excavations have revealed sections of a circuit-wall
built of very large blocks along the western slopes of the rocky promontory,
known locally as Nisi, which divides the bay of Aulis (Megalo Vathy) on the south
from the smaller bay (Mikro Vathy) on the north. The walls date to the LH III
period, and thus were part of the Mycenaean fortifications of Homer's 'rocky
Aulis' (Mad 2.496).
Eutresis (Boiotia)
Eutresis is situated in southern Boiotia and lies on a low, flat-topped hill at the
northern end of the plain of Leuktra not far from the Corinthian gulf. Homer
(Iliad 2.506) and Strabo, who calls it a 'small village' (9.2.28), both refer to it. The
Asine is mentioned by Homer (Iliad
2.560) as one of the places subject
to Diomedes, the king of Argos and
one of the most famous of the
heroes who fought at Troy. The site
includes the acropolis, built upon a
triangular rocky hill hard by the sea,
the surrounding area and Mount
Barbouna to the west. The Swedish
excavations have brought to light a
Mycenaean settlement (Lower Town)
with a corresponding necropolis on
Mount Barbouna. The extant
fortification walls of the acropolis,
seen here, include the large
projecting Hellenistic tower (c. 300
BC), named after Crown Prince (later
King) Gustaf Adolf, who came here
in 1920 on a private tour of Greece
and was the initiator of the Asine
excavations. (Author's collection)

The remains of a pillbox, built by
Italian soldiers during World War II,
on the acropolis of Asine. In his
Catalogue of Ships, Homer has
Asine 'lying down the deep gulf
(Iliad 2.560), that is, the Hermionic
gulf some 8km south-east of
Nauplion. As the view through the
gun-port of the pillbox indicates, the
acropolis overlooks and commands
a sheltered, deep-water harbour.
(Author's collection)
extensive circuit-wall of Cyclopean masonry, which encloses an area of
213,000m 2 (21.3ha), bear out the tradition that the citadel was important in the
LH IIIB period. In sheer size it is the equal of Gla, but unlike Gla only a small
proportion of the area enclosed by the circuit-wall, some 35,000m 2 (c. 3.5ha), was
inhabited. Perhaps the topography of the site determined the layout of the
fortification walls at Eutresis, which probably served as a refuge for all the nearby
Iolkos (Thessaly)
Although rarely mentioned in historical times, lolkos is celebrated in the heroic
age as the residence of Jason, and the place where the Argonauts assembled
before setting out for the distant shores of the Black Sea in quest of the Golden
Fleece. Homer, who gives it the epithets of 'strong-founded' (Iliad 2.712) and
'broad-streeted' (Odyssey 11.256), certainly makes mention of it.
lolkos is situated on the northern shore of the bay of Volos, sheltered by
Mount Pelion from whose forest, as legend has it, the timber for the Argo was
hewn. Evidence points to the fact that it was a significant Mycenaean
settlement, though its history remains obscure and the main area of habitation
for much of the period may have been inland at Dimini, where there are two
tholos tombs. Nevertheless, the large area covered by the ruins (some 400 by
700m over the surface of the hill, crowned with the impressive remains of the
Ottoman fortifications and overlooking the modem port of Volos) makes it
perhaps the largest prehistoric settlement in Greece. Moreover, a Mycenaean
palace is located on the northward side of the site, which makes it, if indeed it
is a palace, the northernmost one in Greece. Excavations have shown that
lolkos was inhabited continuously from the EH II period until the destruction
of the LH IIIB palace at the beginning of the LH IIIC period.
Krisa (Phokis)
Occupying the tip of a long rocky spur projecting southwards from Mount
Parnassos, the citadel of 'sacred Krisa' (Iliad 2.520) completely dominates the
Krisaean gulf and the inland routes up the Pleistos valley, namely, the upper
one via Delphi and the lower one along the valley bottom. A Homeric hymn
to Pythian Apollo describes its situation perfectly: it stands on a rocky spur
looking westward, overhanging a deep and rugged plain, at the foot of snowy
Parnassos (Hymn to Apollo 269, 282-85, 438).
Krisa combines natural with man-made defences. Fortifications were
unnecessary on the southern and eastern sides, but on the north and west there
are remains of extensive Cyclopean walls, which date to the LH III period only. 50

Running a length of some 1,500m, several courses reach a height of over 3m
and are composed of large blocks with smaller stones filling the interstices.
Each 'skin' of the curtain-walls is between 0.7 and 0.9m thick, and the distance
of about 2m between them is packed hard with rubble and earth. A gap, some
3.75m wide, in the eastern end of the wall suggests the existence of a gateway
here. It is flanked by a semicircular tower, 6.2m in diameter and preserved to
2m height. The defences, both natural and man-made, thus enclosed an area
350 by 300m, large in comparison with other Mycenaean citadels.
Lamia (Thessaly)
This great stronghold dominates the lower valley of the Spercheios and the
plain adjacent to the head of the Maliac gulf, thereby controlling the route
linking Thessaly with central Greece. It seems probable, therefore, that the
castle-hill of Lamia was previously occupied in Mycenaean times. Still visible
are the late 6th-century walls and the Frankish castle of Zitouni, all of which
hide any possible earlier remains.
Orchomenos (Boiotia)
Pausanias claims that Orchomenos was 'as famous and glorious as any city in
Greece' (9.34.5). Certainly the wealth of Orchomenos was proverbial, at least
amongst the Achaians outside Troy. Not even 'all that is brought in to
Orchomenos' (Iliad 9.381) was enough to placate the wrath of Achilles. This
reputation for affluence was linked with Minyas, a legendary ruler of the city
(Iliad 2.511), who gave his name to the Minyans, the clan to which the
Argonauts were said to belong (Strabo 9.2.40, Apollonios Argonautica
Orchomenos is situated in the north-west corner of the Kopai'c basin, on the
east end of a ridge of Mount Akontion. The location is a naturally strong one.
The north and south flanks of the ridge are steep and protected by rivers on
both sides. Although the early occupation levels have been disturbed, it is clear
that Orchomenos was a major Helladic site. There is a distinctive type of
Middle Helladic pottery that is known as Minyan Ware because Schliemann
first discovered it at Orchomenos during his excavations of the site (1880-86).
The so-called Treasury of Minyas, one of the finest Mycenaean tholos tombs
and comparable with the Treasury of Atreus at Mycenae, was constructed in the
early LH IIIB period. Pausanias calls it 'one of the greatest wonders of Greece
and of the world' (9.38.2), and only a powerful dynast could have afforded
such a lavish tomb. It may be no coincidence that the Mycenaeans fortified Gla
at around this time and drained lake Kopai's. If Orchomenos led this project, as
seems likely, it was undoubtedly vying with Thebes for Boiotian supremacy.
Moreover, unlike the Mycenaeans of the Argolid and Messenia, the tholos
The modern town of Volos, looking
south-west from Makrinitsa, a village
on the western slopes of Mount
Pelion. The site of lolkos is situated
on the northern shore of the bay of
Volos, sheltered by Mount Pelion
from whose forest, as legend has it,
the timber for the Jason's Argo was
hewn. Although the hill upon which
it once stood is now crowned with
the impressive remains of the
Ottoman fortifications overlooking
the port of Volos, archaeological
evidence points to the fact that
lolkos was a significant Mycenaean
settlement. (Author's collection) 51

tomb was never popular with the Mycenaeans of Boiotia, and the Treasury of
Minyas could be seen as an ostentatious assertion of independence.
Fit for a king, the Mycenaean tholos consists of a circular, subterranean
tomb chamber roofed by a corbelled vault and approached by an entrance
passage (dromos). The entire chamber, which resembles the classic beehive
(hence the term 'beehive tomb'), is built of stone rather than simply being
hewn out of bedrock. Tholos tombs of this kind are usually, though not
invariably, set into slopes or hillsides. Burials were either laid out on the floor
of the tomb chamber or were placed in cists or shafts cut into this floor. The
whole structure was then deliberately covered with earth, thereby forming a
visible tumulus.
Thebes (Boiotia)
Supposedly founded by Kadmos, the son of Agenor of Tyre, legendary Thebes
was the birthplace of Herakles (Iliad 14.323-24), who, as its champion, threw
off the tribute imposed upon it by the king of Orchomenos (Pausanias 9.5.1,
37.2). Oedipus, a descendant of Kadmos, became ruler after he had murdered
his father, Laios, outwitted the riddling Sphinx, and married his mother,
Jocasta. When he abdicated his sons Eteokles and Polyneikes quarrelled over
the throne. Polyneikes led the Seven against Thebes and the brothers ended up
killing each other. Small wonder, then, that Thebes serves as the macabre
setting for a number of ancient tragedies (Aischylos' Seven against Thebes,
Sophokles' Oedipus Tyrannus, Statius' Thebaid).
The modern centre of Thebes stands on the ancient acropolis, or Kadmeia,
a large pear-shaped plateau 800m long and 400m at its widest point with steep
slopes on all sides except to the south. Rising 60m above the surrounding plain,
the Kadmeia is bounded on either side by rocky gullies. Thebes is well placed,
at the meeting point of five main routes, and controlling the fertile
grain-bearing Aonian plain.
Thebes is frequently mentioned in Homer, who speaks of its celebrated
seven gates (Iliad 4.406, Odyssey 9.263). However, its name does not appear in
the Catalogue of Ships as it was supposed not to have recovered from its recent
sacking at the hands of the Epigonoi, the sons of the Seven who, ten years prior,
had unsuccessfully waged war on Thebes. As with other places in Greece that
have been inhabited continuously, most of the evidence for Mycenaean
occupation has long disappeared. But nowhere has this taken place more
completely than at Thebes. This is hardly surprising, as Thebes was mercilessly
razed to the ground on three separate occasions. First by the Macedonians
under their warrior-king, Alexander the Great (335 BC), second by the Normans
of Sicily under their admiral, George of Antioch (1147), and finally by the
'gung-ho' Catalan Company (la Companya Catalana) after they fell out with
their employer Gautier de Brienne, the Duke of Athens (1311).
Yet despite the repeated destruction of Thebes, beneath the modern streets
lie two superposed Mycenaean palaces, the extent and positions of which have
been tentatively plotted, and sections of the Cyclopean circuit-wall have been
securely identified. Mycenaean pottery shards found on the western slope of
the Kadmeia dated to the LH IIIB period and indicate the date of the building
of the fortification walls. Quite recently (1993-95) some 250 Linear B tablets
were unearthed in the area of the so-called Armoury belonging to the first
palace (The House of Kadmos'), which was destroyed by fire in the LH IIIA
period. Further finds include frescoes; ornaments of gold; lapis lazuli; onyx and
ivory, all of which indicate a level of refinement normally associated with a
Mycenaean palace complex. More remarkable is the discovery of 42 exotic
cylinder seals from the Near East, some of which were already antiques when
the building went up in flames. Thebes presumably controlled the whole of
southern Boiotia at this time, but Orchomenos was also a major Mycenaean
centre and it is likely that the two citadels were already rivals. 52

The Mycenaeans
By the mid-14th century BC Mycenae had assumed the hegemony of the
Aegean world, giving its name to the advanced civilisation in which it played
the predominant part. Not that impressive memorials of the period are lacking
in other parts of Greece: Messenia, Boiotia, Attica and Lakonia were all heavily
populated, and it is to Pylos in Messenia that we turn for the best preserved
palace on the mainland. The Linear B archives from there suggest that the
'warrior-king' (WA-NA-KA, wanax) of each region stood at the head of his own
highly organised 'feudal system'.
'Bronze-armoured Achaians'
In Homer's version of the tale of Troy, despite the anachronisms, one basic fact
is clear and consistent in his picture of the political geography of Greece.
Namely, Agamemnon of Mycenae was the most powerful warrior-king of
Achaia, and that he wielded some sort of loose overlordship over the other
independent warrior-kings of Achaia, of Crete, and some of the Aegean islands.
These local warlords, in their turn, were obliged to supply him
with contingents for foreign ventures like that mounted against
Troy. If we are to accept Homer's tale, this geopolitical unity is
basic to it. The Homeric conception of Achaia as a nation under
a single ruler may reflect Mycenaean reality. Here it should be
noted that for Homer the term 'Achaia' is the collective name
for mainland Greece, and 'Achaians' the Greeks and their allies
ranged against the Trojans.
Nearly a third of Homer's monumental epic, which is over
15,600 lines long, is devoted to graphic descriptions of battle.
Unfortunately for military historians the Homeric battlefield is
confused and contradictory, an apparent amalgam of military
customs and practices fashioned from some five centuries of
bardic improvisation. On the other hand, excavations over the
last century or so have produced a wealth of archaeological
evidence, which enables us to build up a tentative picture of the
Homeric warrior. Homer's warriors seem to be a jumble of
Mycenaean traditions padded out with details from the bard's
own day, that is, close to 750 BC. The Homeric hero rides to battle
in a two-horsed war-chariot but fights on foot. He is armed with
two throwing spears and a long slashing sword, which Homer
claims could sever an opponent's head, leg or arm, or cut him in
two. He wears bronze body armour, helmet and greaves. He also
has a large round shield hanging from a neck-strap, which can be
swung round to protect his back when he is in retreat.
Homer's warriors are often described as being heavily
armoured with bronze (Iliad 5.698, 13.372, 14.383), while the
epithet commonly used to describe them collectively is
'bronze-armoured Achaians' (Iliad 1.371, 3.131, 10.287). The
regimented figures depicted on the Warrior Vase (LH IIIB/C), found
by Schliemann at Mycenae are the best representations of warriors
from the Trojan War period. The bearded warriors wear plumed
horned helmets, body armour and greaves, and carry shields that
are round except for a scallop on the bottom; they are armed with
short spears.
Made of thick beaten sheet-bronze,
this extraordinary body armour was
discovered in a chamber tomb at
Dendra (LH IIIA) near Midea. It
exhibits many advanced features
such as the articulated shoulder
pieces and skirt. Such panoply would
not have required a shield and
seems rather rigid and cumbersome,
not to mention extremely heavy and
hot to wear, for a foot warrior. The
skirt of bronze around the thighs
must have prevented the wearer not
only from running, but even walking
at a normal pace and most probably
belonged to a chariot warrior.
(Author's collection)

Known as the 'Head of Odysseus',
this ivory inlay (LH IIIA) from
Mycenae depicts a warrior wearing a
boars'-tusk helmet. The cut slivers of
boar's tusk are clearly visible, as are
two layers of what appears to be
the leather thongs hanging down the
back of the helmet to form a flexible
neck guard. Boars' tusks, while
adding strength and impregnability
to the construction, were also
trophies of the hunt and thereby a
visible means of expressing
manhood. For a man to own such a
helmet he must have hunted a great
number of wild boars. Estimates
suggest 60 to 80 or as many as 150
tusks would be needed, implying that
30 to 40 or 75 boars must be
hunted and killed to provide a single
helmet. (Author's collection)
Although the horned helmet was common in the eastern Mediterranean at this
time and Homer sings of such (Iliad 16.793-94), he does describe another type
of helmet, that worn by Odysseus. This was 'a helmet wrought of hide, with
many a tight stretched thong was it made stiff within'. On the outside cut
slivers of boars' tusks were 'set thick on this side and that, well and cunningly,
and within was fixed a lining of felt' (Iliad 10.261-65). Indeed, the boars'-tusk
helmet is the commonest form of helmet shown in Mycenaean art, and
examples of pierced boars' tusks have been recovered from Thebes, Mycenae
and Knossos.
As reconstructed, the hide thongs probably criss-crossed over the crown
making it thicker on the top where the force of a blow would be felt, and some
helmets appear to have the ends of the thongs hanging down at the back to
form a flexible neck-guard. The inside of the helmet was lined with felt, which
would have provided comfort and additional protection as well as keeping the
layers taut. The helmet's conical shape served to deflect missiles.
Body armour
Virtually no body armour from the late Mycenaean period has survived. Bronze
scales were found at Mycenae and Troy, and this, the oldest form of metal body
armour, was used widely throughout the eastern Mediterranean and the Near
East. Swedish archaeologists, however, discovered the earliest example of a
beaten bronze cuirass at Dendra. It forms part of the Dendra Panoply (LH IIIA),
which consists of 15 separate pieces of bronze
sheet held together with leather thongs, which
encased the wearer from neck to knees. The
panoply also includes both greaves and lower
arm-guards. The arm-guard is unique but
greaves, probably made of linen, are often
depicted in late Mycenaean art. A few bronze
examples have been found, and these only
covered the shins and may have been worn over
linen ones. Although we have only one complete
panoply to date, the Dendra Panoply appears
often as an ideogram on Linear B tablets from
Knossos (Sc series), Pylos (Sh series) and Tiryns
(Si series).
The panoply's cuirass consists of two pieces
for the chest and back. These are joined on the
left side by a hinge. There is a bronze loop on the
right side of the front-plate and a similar loop on
each shoulder. Large shoulder-guards fit over the
cuirass. Two triangular plates are attached to the
shoulder-guards and gave protection to the
wearer's armpits when his arms were in the raised
position. There is also a deep neck-guard. The
Linear B ideogram depicting armour of this type
makes the neck-guard clearly discernible, and
protection by a high bronze collar was a typical
feature of Near Eastern body armour. Three pairs
of curved plates hang from the waist to protect
the groin and the thighs. All these pieces are
made of beaten bronze sheet and are backed with
leather and loosely fastened by ox-hide thongs to
allow some degree of movement. The complete
panoply thus forms a cumbersome tubular suit of
armour, which not only fully protects the neck, 54

but also extends down to the knees. It appears that
lower arm-guards and a set of greaves further protected
the warrior, all made of bronze, as fragments of these
were also found in the grave at Dendra. Slivers of boars'
tusks were also discovered, which once made up a
boars'-tusk helmet.
As previously mentioned, the figures on the Warrior
Vase are wearing body armour. However this is an
embossed waist-length leather corselet with a fringed
leather apron that reaches to mid-thigh and possible
shoulder-guards, very much like that worn by the
'Peoples of the Sea' depicted on the mortuary temple of
Rameses III (d. c. 1155 BC) at Medinet Habu, Lower
Egypt. Alternatively, the body armour was a 'bell'
corselet of beaten bronze sheet, a type also found in
central Europe at this time.
In the Iliad, shields are usually described as round and
very large. Agamemnon's shield, for example, can
shelter a man on either side. Round shields are seldom
seen in Mycenaean art but all the 'Peoples of the Sea'
used them, and they were common in central Europe at
this time. Homer's description could possibly apply to
shields with curved rims such as those on the Warrior
Vase. In the dual between Ajax of Salamis and Hector,
however, both combatants use full-body shields. Homer
compares Ajax's shield to a tower (Iliad 11.485, 527) and
as Hector walked off after the duel Homer says 'the dark
leather of his bossed shield tapped him on the ankles
and the neck' (Iliad 6.117-18).
Two forms of full-body shield, namely the figure-of-eight and the tower
type, were used in the early Mycenaean period and both types hung from a
neck-strap and could be swung round onto the back when running away. The
weight of the shield would
clearly have been crucial in
allowing the warrior some
freedom of movement and
they were presumably
made from perishable
materials as none survive
in corpore. However, both
forms are represented on
the Lion Hunt Dagger and
the Silver Siege Rhyton
found in Shaft Grave IV at
Mycenae (c. 1550-1450
BC), but disappear from
later Mycenaean art.
Homer's shields were made
of several layers of ox hide,
probably stretched and
then sewn over a wicker
frame. This stitching is
shown in a fresco from
Knossos, and the dappling
of the shields on the Lion
ABOVE Remains of a boars'-tusk
helmet recovered from one of the
Warrior Graves in the North
Cemetery at Knossos. Homer
describes this type of Mycenaean
helmet in great detail, using such
phases as 'thongs of leather','felt'
and, of course,'the white teeth of a
tusk-shining boar' (Iliad 10.261-65).
He even notes how the slivers of
boars' tusks are laid in rows with
the curves alternating. (Author's
LEFT Fresco fragment from Mycenae
depicting a figure-of-eight shield
(National Archaeological Museum
Athens, Inv. No. 11671). The frame
consists of two bow-shaped pieces
of heat-bent wood fastened to form
a cross. The shield is made of
several layers of toughened rawhide
glued and stitched to a wicker core.
It is finished off with a long boss,
probably made of bronze or
rawhide, and a rim of similar
material. (Author's collection) 55

Hunt Dagger suggests the use of ox hide. Both artistic depictions also indicate
that the shields had bosses and were edged with bronze. These shields would
have afforded good protection as they curved around the otherwise
unprotected body, although their size would undoubtedly have made them
somewhat cumbersome.
Spearhead (LH I-IIB) from Shaft
Grave IV, Grave Circle A, Mycenae
(National Archaeological Museum,
Athens, Inv. No. 446). It is
remarkable for its large size (c.
0.65m), and thus could only have
been attached to a long thrusting
weapon such as a lance. This is
probably the enchos of both Homer
and the Linear B tablets, the
weapon wielded by a chariot
warrior. (Author's collection)
War chariots
In battle the Homeric warrior normally dismounted from his war chariot and
advanced upon the enemy on foot (Iliad 8.320-22, 11.47-49, 16.426-27). He
carried either one or two spears, which he could throw against his opponent
(Iliad 3.346, 4.459, 14.461). If the enemy remained unscathed, he then
protected himself with his shield against the retaliatory shafts (Iliad 5.15-20,
13.159-68, 21.159-73). If the spears of both parties were hurled in vain, the
two warriors might set about each other with swords or, before resorting to
these weapons, they might throw heavy stones at each other (Iliad 3.361-63,
22.306-11 [swordplay], 4.518-22, 12.379-85 [stone throwing]). Homeric war
chariots, therefore, were not used for massed charges but merely for carrying
the warriors to the front line where they dismounted and fought on foot.
In the 'Chariot Kingdoms' of the Near East, on the other hand, war chariots
were not used as 'taxis' but were formidable close-quarter weapons. At the
battle of Kadesh (c. 1275 BC), for instance, the Hittite king is said to have
deployed no less than 3,500 chariots against his Egyptian opponents. No
recognisable parts of a Mycenaean chariot has been brought to light but an
inventory discovered in the 'armoury' at Knossos lists approximately 550
chariot bodies and at least as many pairs of wheels (Sc series). Similarly, at Pylos
Linear B tablets list at least 200 pairs of wheels as well as wood for the making
of 150 axles (Sa series), and two specifically mention chariot makers (En 421,
809). Requiring the services of a large number of specialists - besides chariot
warriors and charioteers, the privileged elite, horse trainers, grooms,
veterinarians, and carpenters were also a must - chariot forces were notoriously
expensive to maintain. The rulers of Knossos and Pylos devoted a fair
proportion of their resources to the maintenance of a chariotry of several
hundred vehicles. To find the two-horsed war chariot often depicted in
Mycenaean art need occasion no surprise.

Mycenaean society
Linear B tablets indicate that Mycenaean society conforms to the
anthropological model of a proto-state. The features of such include:
• Centralised socio-political organisation
• Social stratification
• Rulers dominate the socio-political elite
• Ruled must fulfil obligation to rulers
• Society is sustained by a common ideology
According to the evidence of the texts from Pylos and Knossos, social
organisation was clearly hierarchical. At the head of it was the wanax
('warrior-king'), who was also the largest landholder. Under him was the
lawagetas ('leader of the people'), who also owned extensive estates but whose
role seems mainly religious. They stood at the head of a landed military
aristocracy known as the eqeta ('companions'). These men possessed estates,
wore a distinctive type of cloak and owned war chariots. In the Linear B tablets
eqeta are distinguished by the use of the patronymic following their names.
Forming the socio-political elite, they presided over communities that were
small in scale. Although most settlements ranged in size from a few households
to some hundreds, the exploitation of the land was being expanded, probably
to provide commodities for trade as well as to support an increasing
population. In the Pylos and Knossos tablets, the damos is an entity that can
allocate landholdings. It is perhaps best translated as 'village', which can refer
either to the people of the community or to the land held by that community.
The Linear B evidence strongly suggests that the damos is nothing more than a
group of individual landholders, that is, a collective landholding body. Land
could be leased from different owners and in various ways, but its tenure may
always have entailed payment to the palace in taxes or service.
The Linear B tablets also list doeros and doera. Such personnel are common
at both Pylos and Knossos. Although the later Greek cognates doulos and doule
The Lion Hunt Dagger (LH I-IIB)
from Shaft Grave IV, Grave Circle A,
Mycenae. The central rib of this
bronze ceremonial dagger is inlaid
with gold and silver on a
background of niello, an alloy of
copper, lead, borax and sulphur,
which produces a distinctive black
or blue-black colour. The craftsman
has graphically depicted the
figure-of-eight shield and the tower
shield in this hunting scene, even
making the effort to include the
strap that suspended the
body-length shield from the
warrior's neck. (Author's collection)

mean 'male slave' and 'female slave' respectively, the Mycenaean Greek forms
may have had a significance closer to 'bondsman/bondswoman'. Some doeros
are clearly the property of living individuals, while others are described as
being 'of a god/goddess'. The latter are the most common form at Pylos, but it
is possible that a 'god's slave' had a status quite different from that of other
slaves, since he or she could have leases on land and appears to have lived in
much the same fashion as ordinary free persons.
The theories that attempt to explain the collapse of Mycenaean society
(LH IIIB/C) can be roughly categorised as follows:
A war chariot depicted on three
non-joining fragments of a Chariot
Krater (LH IIIB) fromTiryns (National
Archaeological Museum. Athens, Inv.
Nos. 1511, 10548, 10549). Although
the scene is highly stylised, the artist
has made some attempt to represent
both horses. Note, also, the two
armoured foot warriors preceding
the chariot, both of who are armed
with small round shields and short
spears. The dog beneath the horses
may be of the hunting or war variety.
(Author's collection)
• Economic factors: Vermeule (1960), Iakovidis (1974), Betancourt (1976)
• Climatic change: Carpenter (1966)
• Internal social upheaval: Andronikos (1954), Mylonas (1966)
• Foreign invasion: Desborough (1964), Rutter (1973), Winter (1977),
Deger-Jalkotzy (1983)
• Changes in the nature of warfare: Drews (1993)
In fact, the relatively sudden, extensive, and thorough eradication of
Mycenaean palatial civilisation is likely to have been caused by a combination
of factors. In any case, no one of the theories listed above addresses all of the
questions inherent in a reconstruction of the Mycenaean collapse. These
questions include, but are by no means limited to, the following:
• How stable was Mycenaean society in the first place? Was it flexible
enough to withstand substantial 'shocks'?

LEFT The 'Mask of Agamemnon',
recovered by Heinrich Schliemann
from Shaft Grave V of Grave Circle
A at Mycenae. Dated to the early
Mycenaean period (LH I-IIB), this
death mask is just one of an
impressive amount of gold objects
brought to light by Schfiemann's
spade, and justifies Homer's
description of Mycenae as 'rich in
gold' (Iliad 7.180, 11.46).
(Author's collection)
BELOW A Mycenaean chariot
depicted on the shelly sandstone
grave stela (LH I-IIB) that marked
Shaft Grave V, Grave Circle A,
Mycenae (National Archaeological
Museum, Athens, Inv. No. 1428). This
is the first known representation of
the war chariot in Bronze Age
Greece. Here an armed warrior in a
chariot pursues a second fleeing foot
warrior. The chariot warrior appears
to be levelling a long thrusting spear
or lance. Alternatively, he could be
holding reins of the horses harnessed
to his chariot. (Author's collection)
• Were there certain 'shocks' that affected Mycenaean
society as a whole? Were these in every case
ultimately responsible for the destruction of
individual citadels or were such upheavals often the
final links in highly localised chains of causation?
• Why were the palaces never rebuilt?
• Why were large areas of the Peloponnese, including
some of the richest agricultural zones in southern
Greece, so thoroughly depopulated during the
century following the destruction of the palaces?
What percentages of the population that
disappeared died in Greece of famine and disease or
in battle, and what percentage migrated south to
Crete, east to Cyprus, or west to the Ionian islands?
What is indisputable, however, is that the continuity of
civic life was disrupted and material progress was set back
for several centuries.

Ancient authors
Myths were at the heart of ancient Greek life and
culture. They held a central place in poetry at public
and private festivals, and were told and retold by
professional taletellers; changing and developing as
time went by, and from the 6th century BC onwards
forming the subject of gripping dramas played out on
the tragic stage. But these myths were more than mere
stories. To the Greeks they were the stuff of history,
telling of real people in the real past. Myth explained
a man's genealogy, often originating from a divine
mythical ancestor, and thus showed his place in the
world and his relation to the great heroes of old. Other
uses included the foundation of social and political
order, thereby explaining how cities originated or how
tribal groupings arose. Naturally the question of how
far the myths are based on fact is a difficult one, and
there is no generally agreed answer, nor ever likely to
be. For some, myself included, the feeling is that many
of the myths have a core of truth. Pausanias himself
(8.8.3) obviously had doubts initially, yet on his travels
he came to realise otherwise and thus see a deeper
meaning in many myths:
When I began to write my history I thought these
Greek stories were rather silly, but now I have
reached Arcadia I have decided to treat them from
the point of view that the famous Greek wise men
told their stories in riddles and not out of stupidity.
As we have seen, myths are intimately associated
with Mycenaean citadels. The expansion of
Mycenaean power coincides with the myths of the
foundation of Mycenae by Perseus and of Thebes by
Kadmos, while the legend of Herakles reflects the
essence of Boiotian politics, which were moulded by
rivalry between Thebes and Orchomenos.
Myth was originally the product of an oral society,
but the arrival of writing brought important changes.
In addition to the poets and the playwrights, the myths
were also told, re-told, collected or commented upon
by philosophers, historians, geographers and travellers.
Listed below, therefore, are the most frequently cited
ancient authors whose literary works contribute to the
myths in various forms, and are easily accessible in
translation (Penguin Classics and/or Loeb editions).
Apollodoros of Athens (fl. 140 BC)
Apollodoros, having studied in Alexandria, spent
much of his life in Athens where he wrote a number of
scholarly works on grammar, history and mythology.
His best-known works, only fragments of which
survive, are On the Gods, a prose treatise, and his verse
Chronicle, treating Greek history from the fall of Troy.
He was considered quite an authority and, hence,
various forgeries were written in his name, especially
the Bibliotheca.
Providing a grand summary of Greek myths and
heroic legends, the Bibliotheca is an essential account
of what the Greeks believed about the origin and early
history of the world and of the Hellenic people. This
treasury of narratives about gods and heroes has been
attributed to Apollodoros, but its author, judging from
the language used in the text, probably lived sometime
during the 1st or 2nd centuries AD.
Homer (c. 750-700 BC)
Homer is the name given to the author of two epic
poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, but they may not be
by the same person. These epics, the 'bible' of the
Greeks, were the product of a long tradition of oral
poetry, and were only written down towards the end
of the 8th century BC. Both epics were meant to be
recited aloud, and deal with heroic exploits of
'mythical' men and gods. Their exact relationship to,
or reflection of, any particular historical period is a
matter for fierce debate.
Pausanias (fl. AD 115-176)
The noted antiquarian and traveller who lived during
the period of the Antonine emperors, Pausanias was
probably a Greek from Lydia. He was certainly familiar
with the western coast of Anatolia, but his travels
extended far beyond the limits of this region.
Writing for tourists, Pausanias produced the highly
competent Blue Guide of his day, the Periegesis
(Description of Greece). This takes the form of a tour in
the Peloponnese and parts of central Greece. For us his
work is extremely valuable for questions of topography,
architecture, mythology, derivations of names, and
anecdotal stories vis a vis culture and history.
Strabo (b. c. 63 BC)
We are fortunate in possessing all 17 books of the
Geographia by Strabo, written in Greek although he
himself was mixed Asiatic and Greek stock from
Amaseia in Bythnia-Pontus. Strabo was educated at Nysa
in Caria, and in 44 BC went to Rome, where he studied
philosophy. From about 25 BC to 20 BC he was in Egypt,
based at Alexandria. His Geographia was written between
9 BC and 5 BC and parts revised in AD 18/19. 60

Strabo claimed to have travelled widely to bring
together an enormous amount of geographical
knowledge. It is generally accepted, however, that he
must have compiled much of this information in the
library at Alexandria, where he had access to many
earlier texts now lost. The Geographia is of key
importance to our whole knowledge of the history of
Greek cartography. Many of the earlier treatises that
touch upon maps are known to us only through
Strabo, while the interest of his commentary on these
writers is in its critical handling of their theories.
The sites today
Navplio, an attractive seaside town, is the best centre for excursions in the
Argolid. With a hired car, it is possible to make a superficial tour of Tiryns,
Argos and Mycenae in one day. Nestor's Palace (Pylos) is the other
archaeological site of note, which is easily reached from Pilos some 16km away.
Dominated by the Turko-Venetian fortress of Neokastro, this charming little
town rises from the southern shore of the bay of Navarino, famed as the
location for the last naval engagement involving wooden sailing ships
(27 October 1827).
A major attraction well worth the visit is the Hall of the Mycenaean
Antiquities in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens. The unique
Mycenaean treasures, unearthed by Schliemann, include the Mask of
Agamemnon and the Warrior Vase. Other archaeological museums worth
visiting are those at Argos (Lerna finds), Navplio (Dendra Panoply), and Chora
(Pylos finds).
Useful contact information
National Archaeological Museum, Athens
Tel. (+30) 210 821 7717, 7724
Fax (+30) 210 821 3573
Archaeological Museum, Argos
Tel. (+30) 275 106 8819
Archaeological Museum, Navplio
Tel. (+30) 275 202 7502
Fax (+30) 275 202 4690
Archaeological Museum, Chora
Tel. (+30) 276 303 1358
Tel. (+30) 275 107 6585
Tel. (+30) 275 202 2657
Fax (+30) 275 202 4690
Tel. (+30) 276 303 1437
Greek National Tourist Organisation (EOT)
Tel. (+30) 210 870 7000

An unusually extensive and specialist vocabulary has developed in the field of
military architecture. A glossary has therefore been supplied to guide the reader
through the technical terms used in the literature of Mycenaean fortification
systems. Obviously many of the terms below are common to pre-gunpowder
fortifications in general.
Acropolis Literally 'high city', but in a Mycenaean context the citadel rock
Ashlar Worked stone with a flat surface, usually of regular shape and square
Bastion Projecting work either at the angle of two walls in a fortification or set
adjacent to a gateway; structural rather than inhabitable and generally
serving as a fighting-platform
Cistern Storage place for potable water, invariably underground
Citadel A Mycenaean site so identified as fortified but not necessarily the seat
of a ruler's residence
Corbel vault System of roofing with each course projecting slightly further than the
Crenellation Fortified parapet, complete with merlons and crenels, at the top of a
Curtain Main wall of a defensive work or the part of a rampart hung between
two contiguous bastions or towers
Cyclopean Drystone masonry of huge blocks or boulders
Enceinte Area enclosed within a citadel's main line of ramparts, but excluding its
Fosse A ditch, either with or without water in it, in front of the rampart
Gallery Long corbel-vaulted passage or chamber built into the circuit-wall
Header A stone block laid across a wall so that its end is flush with the outer
surface (cf. stretcher)
Lintel Horizontal stone block or wooden beam bridging an opening to carry
the weight of the wall above it
Megaron Central hall of a Mycenaean palace with a fixed hearth surrounded by
four wooden columns and approached through a columned porch via
an anteroom; its basic configuration is a forerunner of later Greek
temple forms
Magazine A storage place
Palace Residential architecture reserved for a Mycenaean ruler (wanax)
Parapet Low narrow defensive wall, usually with crenels (open part) and
merlons (closed part), along the upper outer edge of the curtain-walls
Polygonal Drystone masonry of large roughly worked blocks
Postern Small additional gateway
Propylon Monumental gateway
Salient Projection of the circuit-wall
Sally port A concealed tunnel or passage providing access to outside the citadel;
may be intended as a means of escape, for sorties in a siege or as a
shortcut during peace
Scaling ladder A ladder for scaling or mounting curtain-walls or ramparts
Stretcher A stone block laid horizontally with its length parallel to the length of a
wall (cf. header)

Aravantinos, V., 'New Archaeological and Archival
Discoveries at Mycenaean Thebes'. Bulletin
of the Institute of Classical Studies 41: 1996,
Blegen, C.W., A Guide to the Palace of Nestor:
Mycenaean Sites in its Environs and the Chora
Museum. Princeton: American School of Classical
Studies at Athens, 2001
Blegen, C. W., and Rawson, M., The Palace of Nestor at
Pylos in Western Messenia, vol. I. Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1966
Blegen, C. W., Rawson, M., Taylour, W. D., and
Donovan, W. P., The Palace of Nestor at Pylos in
Western Messenia, vol. III. Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1973
Broneer, O. B., 'The Cyclopaean Wall on the Isthmus
of Corinth and its Bearing on Late Bronze Age
Chronology'. Hesperia 35: 1966, 346-62
Broneer, O. B., 'The Cyclopaean Wall of the Isthmus
of Corinth, Addendum'. Hesperia 37: 1968,
Demakopoulou, K., 'Mycenaean Citadels: Recent
Excavations on the Acropolis of Midea in the
Argolid'. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies
40:1995, 151-76
Dickinson, O. T P. K., The Aegean Bronze Age.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994
Fields, N., Fortress 17: Troy c. 1700-1250 BC. Oxford:
Osprey, 2004
Fitton, J. L., The Discovery of the Greek Bronze Age.
London: British Museum Press, 1995
French, E. B., Mycenae: Agamemnon's Capital. Stroud:
Tempus, 2002
Halstead, P., 'The Mycenaean Palatial Economy:
Making the Most of the Gaps in the Evidence'.
Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society 38:
1992, 57-86
Hope Simpson, R., A Gazetteer and Atlas of Mycenaean
Sites. London: Institute of Classical Studies, 1965
Hope Simpson, R. and Lazenby, J. R, The Catalogue of
the Ships in Homer's Iliad. Oxford: Clarendon Press,
Iakovidis, S. E., Gla and the Kopais in the 13th Century
BC. Athens: Archaeological Society at Athens, 2001
Jannoray, J., and van Effenterre, H., 'Fouilles de Krisa
(Phocide)'. Bulletin de correspondance hellenique 61:
1937, 299-353
Lang, M. L., The Palace of Nestor at Pylos in Western
Messenia, vol. II. Princeton: Princeton University
Press, 1969
Loader, N. C, Building in Cyclopean Masonry: With
Special Reference to the Mycenaean Fortifications on
Mainland Greece. Jonsered: Paul Astrom, 1998
Manning, S. W., 'The Bronze Age Eruption of Thera:
Absolute dating, Aegean Chronology and
Mediterranean Cultural Interrelations'. Journal of
Mediterranean Archaeology 1: 1988, 17-82
Manning, S. W., 'The Theran Eruption: The Third
Congress and the Problems of the Date'.
Archaeometry 32: 1990, 91-100
Manning, S. W., A Test of Time: The Volcano of Thera
and the Chronology and History of the Aegean and
East Mediterranean in the mid-Second Millennium
BC. Oxford: Oxbow Books, 1999
March, J., Dictionary of Classical Mythology. London:
Cassell, 1998
Mylonas, G. E., Mycenae and the Mycenaean Age.
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1966
Mylonas, G. E., Mycenae Rich in Gold. Athens:
Ekdotike Athenon, 1983
Renfrew, C, The Emergence of Civilisation: The Cyclades
and the Aegean in the Third Millennium BC.
London: Methuen, 1972
de Ridder, A., 'Fouilles de Gla'. Bulletin de
correspondance hellenique 18: 1894, 271-310
Scoufopoulos, N. C, Mycenaean Citadels. Goteborg:
Paul Astrom, 1971
Symeonoglou, S., The Topography of Thebes from the
Bronze Age to Modern Times. Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1985
Taylour, W. D., The Mycenaeans (2nd edition).
London: Thames and Hudson, 1983
Threpsiades, I., 'Kopais: Arne-Glas'. Ergon 1961: 1962,
Wace, A. J. B., Mycenae: An Archaeological History and
Guide. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1949
Wardle, K. A., and Wardle, D., Cities of Legend: The
Mycenaean World. Bristol: Bristol Classical
Press, 1997
Warren, P. W., The Aegean Civilizations (2nd edition).
London: Phaidon, 1990
Warren, P. M., and Hankey, V., Aegean Bronze Age
Chronology. Bristol: Bristol University Press, 1989
Wood, M., In Search of the Trojan War (2nd edition).
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998
Zangger, E., The Geoarchaeology of the Argolid. Oxford:
Oxbow Books, 1994

Figures in bold refer to illustrations
Agamemnon 16-17, 23, 53, 55
Mask of 25, 59
Alexander the Great 52
Apollodoros of Athens 37, 48, 60
Argive plain 5, 6, 27
Argos 5, 6, 46-48, 48
armour 53, 53, 54-55
Asine 48, 49, 50
Astrom, R 38
Athenian Acropolis 48-49
dating and water supply 12
entrances 13, 49
masonry 11
palace 19
Aulis 49
Blegen.C.W. 8,44
Broneer, O. B. 15
Bronze Age, characteristics and chronology 6-9
building programmes 12-13
Catalan Company 52
chariots 56, 58, 59
construction 11-12
corbel vaulting 11, 32
Corinth, trans-Isthmian wall 15-16
courts 20
Crete see Knossos
Cyclopean masonry 11,12
Tiryns 32, 34, 36
daggers 57
Demakopoulou, K. 38
Dendra, finds from 54, 55-56
Dimini 5
entrances 13
Athenian Acropolis 13, 49
Gla 13, 41-43
Midea 13,38-9
Mycenae: Lion Gate 13, 13, 14, 16, 25, 28, 29
Mycenae: North-East Postern 24, 28
Mycenae: South Sally Port 30, 32
Tiryns 13, 33-36, 33, 35, 37, 38
Euripides 48, 49
Eutresis 8, 49-50
Evans, Sir Arthur 8, 24
distribution 13-17, 15
location 10-11
French, E. B. 24
George of Antioch 52
Gla 39-43, 40, 42
entrances 13, 41-43
masonry 11, 40-41
palace 20, 43
Helladic periods 8
helmets 54, 54, 55
Homer 60
on Argive plain 5
on Asine 49, 50
on Athens 48
Catalogue of Ships 22-23
on Eutresis 49
Iliad 53-56
on lolkos 50
on Mycenae 24, 27
on Orchomenos 51
on Pylos 44
reliability of 16-17
on Thebes 52
on Tiryns 31
lakovidis, S. E. 24, 39
Iliad see Homer
inspiration sources 17-18
Inti's tomb 4
lolkos 50, 51
Jason and the Argonauts 50, 51
Jericho 5
Jong, Piet de 44
Kastri 8, 16, 17, 17
Kilian.K. 12
Knossos 8, 55, 56
Korakou 8
Krisa 23, 50-51
Lamia 51
Lerna 18
Marinatos, S. 7
megara 19-20
see also palaces
Menelaion 19, 20
Mesopotamia 5
Midea 11, 13, 37-39
Minoan civilisation 7-8
Mycenae 6, 7, 23-29, 26-27, 30
dating 12-13
entrances: Lion Gate 13, 13, 14, 16, 25, 28, 29
entrances: North-East Postern 24, 28
entrances: South Sally Port 30, 32
finds from 53, 54, 55, 55, 59
fortifications 10, 11, 24-25
House of the Columns 28
House of the Shields 21
masonry 11
palace 19, 19, 20, 20, 21, 28
power 16-17, 23
and Schliemann 7-8
Shaft Graves 8, 16-17, 25
tholos tombs 16-17
water supply 12-13, 28, 29, 29, 31, 32
Mycenaean period 8-9
Mycenaean society 57-59
Mycenaean warriors 53-56
Mylonas, G. E. 24
National Archaeological Museum, Athens 61
Nestor 23
Noack, F. 39
Orchomenos 19, 20, 51-52
palaces 19-21
Athenian Acropolis 19
Gla 20,43
Mycenae 19, 19, 20, 20, 21, 28
Pylos 19, 20, 45-46, 45,46
Tiryns 19, 20, 36-37
Pausanias 32, 38, 51, 60
Persson. A.W. 38
Phylakopi 8, 17
Pilos 61
Pindar 30-32
Pylos 43-46, 44, 47
and chariotry 56
palace 19, 20, 45-46, 45, 46
power 23, 44-45
Ridder. 39
Santorini, eruption of 7
Schallin, A.-L 38
Schliemann, Heinrich 7-8, 24, 29, 39, 51
Sesklo 5
shields 55-56, 55, 57
spears 56, 56
Stamatakis, P. 24
Strabo 23, 38, 43-44, 49, 60-61
Taylour, Lord William D. 24
terracing 12-13
Thebes 19, 52
Thera, eruption of 7
Thomsen, Jiirgensen 6
Threpsiades, 1, 39, 43
Thucydides 11
Tiryns 29-37, 33, 34
dating and water supply 12
entrances 13, 33-36, 33, 35, 37, 38
finds from 58
masonry 11, 32, 34, 36
palace 19, 20, 36-37
power 17
Unterburg 12,37
tools 12
Tsountas, C. 8, 24
Uruk 5
Wace, A.J.B. 8, 24
war chariots 56, 58, 59
weapons 56, 56, 57 64

Fortress • 22
Design, technology and history of key fortresses,
strategic positions and defensive systems
Unrivalled detail Cutaway artwork
c. 1350-1200 BC
Mycenaean society was constantly
geared for battle and invasion.
Their 'cities' were heavy fortresses
with unimaginably thick
perimeter walls. Legendary sites
such as Mycenae, Tiryns, Argos,
Krisa, the Athenian Acropolis
and Gla are all representative
of these fortified citadels that
dominated the Greek countryside
for some 300 years until
their sudden decline and
abandonment around 1100 BC.
This title describes the golden
age of these fortifications;
it details how these formidable
structures were constructed and
extended, as well as revealing the
elaborate palace complexes built
by the great Mycenaean warlords
immortalised in the verses
of Homer's Iliad.
Full colour artwork