Here is one of the few places in the world where even the least visitor history buff will have the impression of being in unfamiliar country, where things and the names will cause the return in crowds from distant memories. On this rocky hill defeated, according to Homer, the heart of Greece heroic. The place is forever haunted by the memory of the family of Atreus: Agamemnon, the leader of the Achaean coalition against Troy, his wife Clytemnestra who murdered him with the help of her lover Aegisthus, Orestes, who killed his own mother. .. At the mention of the bloody fate of the cursed line adds the exceptional interest of monuments, with their 3,000-year history, are among the greatest architectural and archaeological wonders of the world: the Lion Gate the Treasury of Atreus, the Cyclopean walls.

Mycenae in History

Before the Achaean invasion

Like most of the other cities of heroic Greece, the most distant past of Mycenae is crowned by the magic of myth. According to tradition, the Pelasgians, considered indigenous, were first submitted by Danaos, which would come from Egypt. The Kingdom of Danaos was divided between his descendants Acrisios settled in Argos, brother Proetus Tirynthe founded with the help of the Cyclops while Perseus, grand-son of Acrisius, founded Mycenae after his long expeditions in Asia. The dynasty of the Perseid disappeared when the Achaeans, led by the Pelopidae came from Elis, settled in the Peloponnese. Without being able to illuminate all these legendary details, archaeological research, however, to suggest that the hill of the Acropolis was occupied at the beginning of the Bronze Age (around 3000-2800 BC.).

Mycenae flagship city of a civilization

Archaeologically speaking, the arrival of Achaean is located around 2000 BC. AD By this time Mycenae became the capital of a powerful kingdom. Her princes were related with other sovereigns of Fthiotida and Laconia. It was the way for archaeologists to recognize his primacy to attribute its name to the civilization that flourished over much of mainland Greece in the second millennium BCE.

Mycenae, « rich in gold »

As evidenced by the many valuable objects discovered in the shaft graves of the two royal circles, Mycenae was to be an already prosperous city in the late Middle Bronze Age (1600 BC. Approximately). It thus justified the Homeric epithet "rich in gold" (polychrysos). Very close relationship had been established with Crete, whose influence is evident in the finds made in the graves. Shortly after the middle of the fourteenth century BC, the citadel was enlarged and protected by cyclopean wall. Mycenae was then the most powerful Achaean principalities. His influence extended into Syria, Palestine and Egypt.

The Homeric city

The power of Mycenae appears to have increased in the eighteenth century. Agamemnon, king of Mycenae, was the undisputed leader of the coalition of Achaeans against Troy. There was, says Homer, the Argos and on many islands. During the absence and after return of Agamemnon, crimes and disorders bloodied the house of Atreus. Aegisthus and Clytemnestra murdered Agamemnon, Orestes killed his mother and father had to leave the kingdom. About this time, the lower town was burned, probably during a civil war or at the time of a dynastic crisis. The royal city, protected by powerful Cyclopean walls, seems not to have suffered from these disorders. The Dorian invasion ended the kingdom of Mycenae to the late twelfth century, the citadel and the city were then burned.

In historical times, Mycenae, like neighboring Tiryns was only a village. Hostile to the domination of Argos, it was destroyed by the Argives to 468 BC In the third century AD avavtn, they founded a fortified town. As written by Pausanias, it was already in ruins in the Roman Empire.

Visit Mycenae

From the parking lot at the end of the access road to Mycenae first win you the acropolis, then back through the Lion Gate, the second royal circle and the tomb of Clytemnestra. Going down the road taken to get to the acropolis, you then examine the left, the ruins of several houses in the lower town before reaching the right, 500 m from the car park, the Treasury of Atreus. You finally go up to the parking lot and having visited most.