Greece — Cycladic, Minoan, Mycenaean
CKM 2018-19 / Aziz Yardımlı


Greece — Cycladic, Minoan, Mycenaean

  Ancient Greece (from 3000 BC)

📹 Ancient Greek History — Introduction and Timeline (VİDEO)

Ancient Greek History — Introduction and Timeline (LINK)

In the first video we will review the various epochs during Ancient Greek history and set the stage for the rest of the videos in the series. (LINK: Hystoryden)


📹 Ancient Greece in 18 minutes (VİDEO)

Ancient Greece in 18 minutes (LINK)


  Neolithic Greece

Neolithic Greece

Neolithic Greece (c. 7000-3200 BC) (W)

Neolithic Greece
Neolithic Greece
Period Neolithic Europe
Dates c. 7000-3200 BC
Major sites Nea Nikomedeia, Sesklo, Dimini, Franchthi Cave, Athens
Preceded by Balkan Mesolithic, Pre-Pottery Neolithic B
Followed by Sesklo culture, Cycladic culture, Minoan civilization, Helladic period, Cardium Pottery, Starčevo culture

Neolithic Greece
is an archaeological term used to refer to the Neolithic phase of Greek history beginning with the spread of farming to Greece in 7000-6500 BC. During this period, many developments occurred such as the establishment and expansion of a mixed farming and stock-rearing economy, architectural innovations (i.e. "megaron-type" and "Tsangli-type" houses), as well as elaborate art and tool manufacturing.


The Neolithic Revolution reached Europe beginning in 7000-6500 BC when agriculturalists from the Near East entered the Greek peninsula from Anatolia mainly by island-hopping through the Aegean Sea. Modern archaeologists have divided the Neolithic period of Greek history into six phases: Pre-Pottery, Early Neolithic, Middle Neolithic, Late Neolithic I, Late Neolithic II and Final Neolithic (or Chalcolithic).

Period Approximate Date
Pre-Pottery (or Aceramic) 6800–6500 BC
Early Neolithic 6500–5800 BC
Middle Neolithic 5800–5300 BC
Late Neolithic I 5300–4800 BC
Late Neolithic II 4800–4500 BC
Final Neolithic (or Chalcolithic) 4500–3200 BC



📹 Greek history - Neolithic period (6800-3200 BC) (VİDEO)

Greek history — Neolithic period (6800-3200 BC) (LINK)


📹 A Brief Timeline of Neolithic Greece (7000-3000 BC) (VİDEO)

A Brief Timeline of Neolithic Greece (7000-3000 BC) (LINK)


Neolithic Greece

Neolithic Greece

Vase from Dimini

The most beautiful example of Greek Neolithic pottery is this two-handled vase from Dimini dated between 5300 and 4800 BC. The vase (25 cm h.) is superb for its shape and its well arranged decoration. [Source: George A. Papathanassopoulos, ed. Neolithic Culture in Greece (Athens: Goulandris Found., 1996), pasim.].

The partially-restored "campstool fresco" from Knossos

The two best known Neolithic sites in Greece are located in Thessaly. Sesklo and Dimini represent two characteristic neolithic villages in Greece.

Sesklo is located on a terrace terminating in the small coastal plain of Volos. The first inhabitants, who were farmers and stock-raisers, founded a small settlement around 6500 BC. The settlement was inhabited until c. 1500 BC.

Dimini was established some time after 5000 BC.

Bull-Leaping Fresco found at Knossos


  Cycladic Culture

Cycladic culture

Cycladic culture (c. 3200-1050 BC) (W)

Cyclades islands.

Cycladic culture
Period Bronze Age
Dates c. 3200-1050 BC
Major sites Grotta (Naxos), Phylakopi, Keros, Syros
Preceded by Neolithic Greece
Followed by Minoan civilization

Cycladic culture (also known as Cycladic civilisation or, chronologically, as Cycladic chronology) was a Bronze Age culture (c. 3200-1050 BC) found throughout the islands of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea. In chronological terms, it is a relative dating system for artefacts which broadly complements Helladic chronology (mainland Greece) and Minoan chronology (Crete) during the same period of time.

The significant Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Cycladic culture is best known for its schematic flat female idols carved out of the islands' pure white marble centuries before the great Middle Bronze Age ("Minoan") culture arose in Crete, to the south. These figures have been stolen from burials to satisfy the Cycladic antiquities market since the early 20th century. Only about 40% of the 1,400 figurines found are of known origin, since looters destroyed evidence of the rest.

A distinctive Neolithic culture amalgamating Anatolian and mainland Greek elements arose in the western Aegean before 4000 BC, based on emmer and wild-type barley, sheep and goats, pigs, and tuna that were apparently speared from small boats (Rutter). Excavated sites include Saliagos, Naxos and Kephala (on Keos), which showed signs of copper-working. Kea is the location of a Bronze Age settlement at the site now called Ayia Irini, which reached its height in the Late Minoan and Early Mycenaean eras (1600-1400 BC). The Mycenaean town of Naxos (around 1300 BC) covered the area from today's city to the islet of "Palatia", and part of it was discovered under the square, in front of the Orthodox Cathedral, in Chora, where the archaeological site of Grotta is located today.

Naxos has been inhabited since the fourth millennium BC until now unceasingly. The study of the toponyms asserts that Naxos has never been deserted by residents. Each of the small Cycladic islands could support no more than a few thousand people, though Late Cycladic boat models show that fifty oarsmen could be assembled from the scattered communities (Rutter). When the highly organized palace-culture of Crete arose, the islands faded into insignificance, with the exception of Kea, Naxos and Delos, the latter of which retained its archaic reputation as a sanctuary through the period of Classical Greek civilization (see Delian League).

The chronology of Cycladic civilization is divided into three major sequences: Early, Middle and Late Cycladic. The early period, beginning c. 3000 BC, segued into the archaeologically murkier Middle Cycladic c. 2500 BC. By the end of the Late Cycladic sequence (c. 2000 BC), there was essential convergence between Cycladic and Minoan civilization.

There is some tension between the dating systems used for Cycladic civilization, one "cultural" and one "chronological". Attempts to link them lead to varying combinations; the most common are outlined below:

Cycladic chronology
Phase Date Culture
Early Cycladic I (ECI) Grotta-Pelos
Early Cycladic II (ECII) Keros-Syros culture
Early Cycladic III (ECIII) Kastri
Middle Cycladic I (MCI) Phylakopi
Middle Cycladic II (MCII)
Middle Cycladic III (MCIII)
Late Cycladic I
Late Cycladic II
Late Cycladic II



Archaeology (W)

The first archaeological excavations of the 1880s were followed by systematic work by the British School at Athens and by Christos Tsountas, who investigated burial sites on several islands in 1898-99 and coined the term "Cycladic civilization". Interest then lagged, but picked up in the mid-20th century, as collectors competed for the modern-looking figures that seemed so similar to sculpture by Jean Arp or Constantin Brâncuși. Sites were looted and a brisk trade in forgeries arose. The context for many of these Cycladic Figurines has thus been mostly destroyed; their meaning may never be completely understood. Another intriguing and mysterious object is that of the Cycladic frying pans.

Early Cycladic culture evolved in three phases, between c. 3300 and 2000 BC, when it was increasingly submerged in the rising influence of Minoan Crete. Excavations at Knossos on Crete reveal an influence of Cycladic civilization upon Knossos in the period 3400 to 2000 BC as evidenced from pottery finds at Knossos.


📹 Harp Player, Early Cycladic period (Smart History) (VİDEO)

Harp Player, Early Cycladic period (LINK)


📹 Frescoes from Akrotiri, Thera (Smart History) (VİDEO)

Frescoes from Akrotiri, Thera (LINK)


Cycladic Art and Culture

Cycladic Art and Culture

Cycladic idol

Cycladic idol, parian marble; 1,5 m high (largest known example of cycladic sculpture. From Amorgos, Early cycladic II period (Keros-Syros culture), 2800-2300 BC, Spedos variation. National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

Clay frying-pan vessel with incised decoration of a ship.

Found at Chalandriani on Syros island. Early cycladic II period (Keros-Syros culture, 2800-2300 BC)

Terracotta kernos (vase for multiple offerings) (LINK — THE MET)

Period: Early Cycladic III–Middle Cycladic I
Date: ca. 2300–2200 B.C.
Culture: Cycladic
Medium: Terracotta
Dimensions: Overall: 34.6 cm
Other: 35.5cm

Although the kernos was used in widely disparate regions during the prehistoric period, particularly impressive examples have come to light in the Cyclades, and this is one of the grandest preserved. The receptacles probably contained foodstuffs of various kinds or perhaps of flowers.

The kernos was found, together with the jar (2004.363.2) and the jug (2004.363.3) displayed nearby in this gallery, in 1829 in a tomb on Melos by Captain Copeland, a British naval officer. In 1857 his widow gave the objects to Eton College, where they remained until coming to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on loan in 1996.

Terracotta jar (LINK — THE MET)

Period: Early Cycladic III–Middle Cycladic I
Date: ca. 2300–1900 B.C.
Culture: Cycladic
Medium: Terracotta
Dimensions: Overall: 41.6 cm

The jar, the jug (2004.363.3), and the kernos (2004.363.1) displayed nearby in this gallery were found together in 1829 in a tomb on Melos by Captain Copeland, a British naval officer. In 1857 his widow gave the objects to Eton College, where they have remained until coming to The Metropolitan Museum of Art on loan in 1996.

Marble seated harp player (LINK — THE MET)

Period: Late Early Cycladic I–Early Cycladic II
Date: 2800–2700 B.C.
Culture: Cycladic
Medium: Marble
Dimensions: H. with harp 29.21 cm

A male figure playing a stringed instrument sits on a high-backed chair. This work is one of the earliest of the small number of known representations of musicians. It is distinguished by the sensitive modeling of the arms and hands.


Early Cycladic Art and Culture

Early Cycladic Art and Culture (LINK)

The Cyclades, a group of islands in the southwestern Aegean, comprises some thirty small islands and numerous islets. The ancient Greeks called them kyklades, imagining them as a circle (kyklos) around the sacred island of Delos, the site of the holiest sanctuary to Apollo. Many of the Cycladic Islands are particularly rich in mineral resources — iron ores, copper, lead ores, gold, silver, emery, obsidian, and marble, the marbles of Paros and Naxos among the finest in the world. Archaeological evidence points to sporadic Neolithic settlements on Antiparos, Melos, Mykonos, Naxos, and other Cycladic Islands at least as early as the sixth millennium B.C. These earliest settlers probably cultivated barley and wheat, and most likely fished the Aegean for tunny and other fish. They were also accomplished sculptors in stone, as attested by significant finds of marble figurines on Saliagos (near Paros and Antiparos). In the third millennium B.C., a distinctive civilization, commonly called the Early Cycladic culture (ca. 3200-2300 B.C.), emerged with important settlement sites on Keros and at Halandriani on Syros. At this time in the Early Bronze Age, metallurgy developed at a fast pace in the Mediterranean. It was especially fortuitous for the Early Cycladic culture that their islands were rich in iron ores and copper, and that they offered a favorable route across the Aegean. Inhabitants turned to fishing, shipbuilding, and exporting of their mineral resources, as trade flourished between the Cyclades,

Early Cycladic culture can be divided into two main phases, the Grotta-Pelos (Early Cycladic I) culture (ca. 3200?-2700 B.C.), and the Keros-Syros (Early Cycladic II) culture (ca. 2700-2400/2300 B.C.). These names correspond to significant burial sites. Unfortunately, few settlements from the Early Cycladic period have been found, and much of the evidence for the culture comes from assemblages of objects, mostly marble vessels and figurines, that the islanders buried with their dead. Varying qualities and quantities of grave goods point to disparities in wealth, suggesting that some form of social ranking was emerging in the Cyclades at this time.

The majority of Cycladic marble vessels and sculptures were produced during the Grotta-Pelos and Keros-Syros periods. Early Cycladic sculpture comprises predominantly female figures that range from simple modification of the stone to developed representations of the human form, some with natural proportions and some more idealized.

Many of these figures, especially those of the Spedos type, display a remarkable consistency in form and proportion that suggests they were planned with a compass. Scientific analysis has shown that the surface of the marble was painted with mineral-based pigments — azurite for blue and iron ores, or cinnabar for red. The vessels from this period — bowls, vases, kandelas (collared vases), and bottles — display bold, simple forms that reinforce the Early Cycladic predilection for a harmony of parts and conscious preservation of proportion.

Department of Greek and Roman Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

October 2004





  Minoan civilization — “the first link in the European chain.”

🕑 Timeline



Minoan civilization

Minoan civilization (c. 2700-1100 BC) (W)

Minoan Crete
Minoan civilization
Period Bronze Age
Dates c. 2700-1100 BC
Major sites Knossos, Phaistos, Malia, Zakros
Preceded by Cycladic culture
Followed by Mycenaean Greece

The Minoan civilization was an Aegean Bronze Age civilization on the island of Crete and other Aegean Islands which flourished from c. 2700 to c. 1450 BCE, before a late period of decline, finally ending around 1100 BC. It preceded and was absorbed by the Mycenaean civilization of ancient Greece.The civilization was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans. The name "Minoan" derives from the mythical King Minos and was coined by Evans, who identified the site at Knossos with the labyrinth and the Minotaur. The Minoan civilization has been described as the earliest of its kind in Europe, with historian Will Durant calling the Minoans “the first link in the European chain.”

Minoan Crete, Knossos

The Minoan civilization is particularly notable for its large and elaborate palaces, some of which were up to four stories high, featured elaborate plumbing systems and were decorated with frescoes. The most notable Minoan palace is that of Knossos, followed by that of Phaistos. The Minoan period saw extensive trade between Crete, Aegean and Mediterranean settlements, particularly the Near East. Through their traders and artists, the Minoans' cultural influence reached beyond Crete to the Cyclades, the Old Kingdom of Egypt, copper-bearing Cyprus, Canaan and the Levantine coast and Anatolia. Some of the best Minoan art is preserved in the city of Akrotiri on the island of Santorini, which was destroyed by the Minoan eruption.

The Minoans primarily wrote in the undeciphered Linear A, encoding a language hypothetically labelled Minoan. The reasons for the slow decline of the Minoan civilization, beginning around 1550 BCE, are unclear; theories include Mycenaean invasions from mainland Greece and the major volcanic eruption of Santorini.


Linear A

Linear A (W)

Linear A is a writing system used by the Minoans (Cretans) from 2500 to 1450 BC. Along with Cretan hieroglyphic, it is one of two undeciphered writing systems used by ancient Minoan and peripheral peoples. Linear A was the primary script used in palace and religious writings of the Minoan civilization. It was discovered by archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans. It is related to the Linear B script, which succeeded the Linear A and was used by the Mycenaean civilization.

In the 1950s, Linear B was largely deciphered and found to encode an early form of Greek. Although the two systems share many symbols, this did not lead to a subsequent decipherment of Linear A. Using the valuesassociated with Linear B in Linear A mainly produces unintelligible words. If Linear A uses the same or similar syllabic values as Linear B, then its associated language, dubbed "Minoan", appears unrelated to any known language.

Many scholars who study Linear A believe it was used primarily for accounting purposes.

The Phaistos disk, found at the Minoan palace of Phaistos, written in Minoan script (2000 BC).


Knossos (W)

Minoan Crete, Knossos Palace

(also Cnossos, both pronounced /(kə)ˈnɒsɒs, -səs/; Greek: Κνωσός, Knōsós [knoˈsos]) is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and has been called Europe's oldest city.

Settled as early as the Neolithic period, the name Knossos survives from ancient Greek references to the major city of Crete. The palace of Knossos eventually became the ceremonial and political centre of the Minoan civilization and culture. The palace was abandoned at some unknown time at the end of the Late Bronze Age, c. 1380-1100 BC. The reason why is unknown, but one of the many disasters that befell the palace is generally put forward.

In the first palace period around 2000 BC the urban area reached a size of up to 18,000 people. In its peak the palace and surrounding city boasted a population of 100,000 people shortly after 1700 BC.

Builder Unknown
Founded First settlement about 7000 BC. First palace dates to 1900 BC.
Abandoned Some time in Late Minoan IIIC, 1380–1100 BC
Periods Neolithic to Late Bronze Age. First palace built in the Middle Minoan IA period.
Cultures Minoan, Mycenaean
Associated with Middle Minoan: people of unknown ethnicity termed Minoans Late Minoan: Mycenaean Greeks



📹 Minoan Greece (VİDEO)

Minoan Greece (LINK)

Published on 20 Aug 2015


A short cultural and historical overview of the Bronze Age Greek civilization known today as the Minoan civilization Program includes discussions of Minoan art as well as the legend of the Minotaur, and the lost city of Atlantis.


📹 Ancient Greek History — Minoan Civilization (VİDEO)

Ancient Greek History - Minoan Civilization — 1.5 (LINK)

We explore the Minoan Civilization from Ancient Greece in this video.


📹 The Magnificent Minoan Palace Of Knossos — Europe's Oldest City (VİDEO)

The Magnificent Minoan Palace Of Knossos — Europe’s Oldest City (LINK)


The magnificent Minoan palace of Knossos , the center of the Minoan civilisation. Knossos is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and is considered Europe's oldest city. The palace of Knossos was undoubtedly the ceremonial and political centre of the Minoan civilization and culture. It appears as a maze of workrooms, living spaces, and storerooms close to a central square. An approximate graphic view of some aspects of Cretan life in the Bronze Age is provided by restorations of the palace's indoor and outdoor murals, as it is also by the decorative motifs of the pottery and the insignia on the seals and sealings. In the first palace period around 2000 BC the urban area reached a size of up to 18,000 people. In its peak the Palace and the surrounding city boasted a population of 100,000 people shortly after 1700 BC.


📹 Minoan civilization painting murals (VİDEO)

Minoan civilization painting murals (LINK)


📹 The Knossos Palace and the The myth of Theseus and Minotaur (VİDEO)

The Knossos Palace and the The myth of Theseus and Minotaur (LINK)

Ricostruzione del Palazzo di Cnosso e della leggenda del Minotauro. Knossos Palace 3D reconstruction and the Minotaur legend.


Minoan Art and Culture

Minoan Art and Culture

Theseus, Hero of Athens

Theseus, Hero of Athens

Theseus, Hero of Athens (LINK)
Theseus, Hero of Athens

In the ancient Greek world, myth functioned as a method of both recording history and providing precedent for political programs. While today the word “myth” is almost synonymous with “fiction,” in antiquity, myth was an alternate form of reality. Thus, the rise of Theseus as the national hero of Athens, evident in the evolution of his iconography in Athenian art, was a result of a number of historical and political developments that occurred during the sixth and fifth centuries B.C.

Myth surrounding Theseus suggests that he lived during the Late Bronze Age, probably a generation before the Homeric heroes of the Trojan War. The earliest references to the hero come from the Iliad and the Odyssey, the Homeric epics of the early eighth century B.C. Theseus’ most significant achievement was the Synoikismos, the unification of the twelve demes, or local settlements of Attica, into the political and economic entity that became Athens.

Theseus’ life can be divided into two distinct periods, as a youth and as king of Athens. Aegeus, king of Athens, and the sea god Poseidon both slept with Theseus’ mother, Aithra, on the same night, supplying Theseus with both divine and royal lineage. Theseus was born in Aithra’s home city of Troezen, located in the Peloponnesos, but as an adolescent he traveled around the Saronic Gulf via Epidauros, the Isthmus of Corinth, Krommyon, the Megarian Cliffs, and Eleusis before finally reaching Athens. Along the way he encountered and dispatched six legendary brigands notorious for attacking travelers.

Upon arriving in Athens, Theseus was recognized by his stepmother, Medea, who considered him a threat to her power. Medea attempted to dispatch Theseus by poisoning him, conspiring to ambush him with the Pallantidae Giants, and by sending him to face the Marathonian Bull.

Likely the most famous of Theseus’ deeds was the slaying of the Minotaur. Athens was forced to pay an annual tribute of seven maidens and seven youths to King Minos of Crete to feed the Minotaur, half man, half bull, that inhabited the labyrinthine palace of Minos at Knossos. Theseus, determined to end Minoan dominance, volunteered to be one of the sacrificial youths. On Crete, Theseus seduced Minos’ daughter, Ariadne, who conspired to help him kill the Minotaur and escape by giving him a ball of yarn to unroll as he moved throughout the labyrinth . Theseus managed to flee Crete with Ariadne, but then abandoned her on the island of Naxos during the voyage back to Athens. King Aegeus had told Theseus that upon returning to Athens, he was to fly a white sail if he had triumphed over the Minotaur, and to instruct the crew to raise a black sail if he had been killed. Theseus, forgetting his father’s direction, flew a black sail as he returned. Aegeus, in his grief, threw himself from the cliff at Cape Sounion into the Aegean, making Theseus the new king of Athens and giving the sea its name.

There is but a sketchy picture of Theseus’ deeds in later life, gleaned from brief literary references of the early Archaic period, mostly from fragmentary works by lyric poets. Theseus embarked on a number of expeditions with his close friend Peirithoos, the king of the Lapith tribe from Thessaly in northern Greece. He also undertook an expedition against the Amazons, in some versions with Herakles, and kidnapped their queen Antiope, whom he subsequently married). Enraged by this, the Amazons laid siege to Athens, an event that became popular in later artistic representations.

There are certain aspects of the myth of Theseus that were clearly modeled on the more prominent hero Herakles during the early sixth century B.C. Theseus’s encounter with the brigands parallels Herakles’ six deeds in the northern Peloponnesos. Theseus’ capture of the Marathonian Bull mirrors Herakles’ struggle with the Cretan Bull. There also seems to be some conflation of the two since they both partook in an Amazonomachy and a Centauromachy. Both heroes additionally have links to Athena and similarly complex parentage with mortal mothers and divine fathers.

However, while Herakles’ life appears to be a string of continuous heroic deeds, Theseus’ life represents that of a real person, one involving change and maturation. Theseus became king and therefore part of the historical lineage of Athens, whereas Herakles remained free from any geographical ties, probably the reason that he was able to become the Panhellenic hero. Ultimately, as indicated by the development of heroic iconography in Athens, Herakles was superseded by Theseus because he provided a much more complex and local hero for Athens.

The earliest extant representation of Theseus in art appears on the François Vase located in Florence, dated to about 570 B.C. This famous black-figure krater shows Theseus during the Cretan episode, and is one of a small number of representations of Theseus dated before 540 B.C. Between 540 and 525 B.C., there was a large increase in the production of images of Theseus, though they were limited almost entirely to painted pottery and mainly showed Theseus as heroic slayer of the Minotaur. Around 525 B.C., the iconography of Theseus became more diverse and focused on the cycle of deeds involving the brigands and the abduction of Antiope. Between 490 and 480 B.C., interest centered on scenes of the Amazonomachy and less prominent myths such as Theseus’ visit to Poseidon’s palace. The episode is treated in a work by the lyric poet Bacchylides. Between 450 and 430 B.C., there was a decline in representations of the hero on vases; however, representations in other media increase. In the mid-fifth century B.C., youthful deeds of Theseus were placed in the metopes of the Parthenon and the Hephaisteion, the temple overlooking the Agora of Athens. Additionally, the shield of Athena Parthenos, the monumental chryselephantine cult statue in the interior of the Parthenon, featured an Amazonomachy that included Theseus.

The rise in prominence of Theseus in Athenian consciousness shows an obvious correlation with historical events and particular political agendas. In the early to mid-sixth century B.C., the Athenian ruler Solon (ca. 638–558 B.C.) made a first attempt at introducing democracy. It is worth noting that Athenian democracy was not equivalent to the modern notion; rather, it widened political involvement to a larger swath of the male Athenian population. Nonetheless, the beginnings of this sort of government could easily draw on the Synoikismos as a precedent, giving Solon cause to elevate the importance of Theseus. Additionally, there were a large number of correspondences between myth and historical events of this period. As king, Theseus captured the city of Eleusis from Megara and placed the boundary stone at the Isthmus of Corinth, a midpoint between Athens and its enemy. Domestically, Theseus opened Athens to foreigners and established the Panathenaia, the most important religious festival of the city. Historically, Solon also opened the city to outsiders and heightened the importance of the Panathenaia around 566 B.C.

When the tyrant Peisistratos seized power in 546 B.C., as Aristotle noted, there already existed a shrine dedicated to Theseus, but the exponential increase in artistic representations during Peisistratos’ reign through 527 B.C. displayed the growing importance of the hero to political agenda. Peisistratos took Theseus to be not only the national hero, but his own personal hero, and used the Cretan adventures to justify his links to the island sanctuary of Delos and his own reorganization of the festival of Apollo there. It was during this period that Theseus’s relevance as national hero started to overwhelm Herakles’ importance as Panhellenic hero, further strengthening Athenian civic pride.

Under Kleisthenes, the polis was reorganized into an even more inclusive democracy, by dividing the city into tribes, trittyes, and demes, a structure that may have been meant to reflect the organization of the Synoikismos. Kleisthenes also took a further step to outwardly claim Theseus as the Athenian hero by placing him in the metopes of the Athenian treasury at Delphi, where he could be seen by Greeks from every polis in the Aegean.

The oligarch Kimon (ca. 510–450 B.C.) can be considered the ultimate patron of Theseus during the early to mid-fifth century B.C. After the first Persian invasion (ca. 490 B.C.), Theseus came to symbolize the victorious and powerful city itself. At this time, the Amazonomachy became a key piece of iconography as the Amazons came to represent the Persians as eastern invaders. In 476 B.C., Kimon returned Theseus’ bones to Athens and built a shrine around them which he had decorated with the Amazonomachy, the Centauromachy, and the Cretan adventures, all painted by either Mikon or Polygnotos, two of the most important painters of antiquity. This act represented the final solidification of Theseus as national hero.

Andrew Greene
Department of Greek and Roman Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

August 2009


The partially-restored "campstool fresco" from Knossos
The "Prince of Lilies" Fresco from Knossos
Bull-leaping fresco from the palace of Knossos (LINK)

The “Temple Repositories”

Evans found the sculpture of the Snake Goddess in a secondary exploration of the complex he called a “palace” at Knossos. After digging out the entire western wing, he decided to check under the paving stones. Most covered nothing but earth, but just south of the Throne Room, he discovered two stone-lined pits containing a wide variety of precious things, mostly broken: scraps of gold, ivory, faience (the largest deposit of faience on Crete), stone inlay, unworked horn, ceramic vessels, seal stones, sealings, shells, the vertebrae of large fish, and the broken pieces of at least three figurines, of which the Snake Goddess was one.

Because of the fragmentary nature of these valuable objects, Evans assumed what he had found were damaged pieces that had been cleaned out from a temple. He named the pits the “Temple Repositories” and immediately set upon the reconstruction of as much as he could, with special interest in the figurines, which he assumed were of goddesses. (LINK)

Snake Goddess from the palace at Knossos, c. 1600 B.C.E., majolica, 29.5 cm high
Two Snake Goddesses from the palace of Knossos, c. 1600 B.C.E., faience, 34.2 cm and 29.5 cm high

It has been said that the image of the Snake Goddess, discovered by Sir Arthur Evans at Knossos on Crete, is one of the most frequently reproduced sculptures from antiquity. (LINK)

Snake Goddess from the palace at Knossos, c. 1600 B.C.E., faience, 29.5 cm high

Fresco Knossos paleis

The celebrated palace of Knossos, the most magnificent Minoan monument, residence of the mythical king Minos. (LINK)

Knossos Sarayı


  Mycenaean Civilization

🕑 Timeline



Mycenaean Greece

Mycenaean Civilization (c. 1600-1100 BC) (W)

Mycenaean Greece
Mycenaean Greece
Period Bronze Age
Dates c. 1600-1100 BC
Preceded by Minoan civilization
Followed by Greek Dark Ages

Mycenaean Greece
(or the Mycenaean civilization) was the last phase of the Bronze Age in Ancient Greece, spanning the period from approximately 1600-1100 BC. It represents the first advanced civilization in mainland Greece, with its palatial states, urban organization, works of art, and writing system. Among the centers of power that emerged, the most notable were those of Pylos, Tiryns, Midea in the Peloponnese, Orchomenos, Thebes, Athens in Central Greece and Iolcos in Thessaly. The most prominent site was Mycenae, in the Argolid, after which the culture of this era is named. Mycenaean and Mycenaean-influenced settlements also appeared in Epirus, Macedonia, on islands in the Aegean Sea, on the coast of Asia Minor, the Levant, Cyprus and Italy.

The Mycenaean Greeks introduced several innovations in the fields of engineering, architecture and military infrastructure, while trade over vast areas of the Mediterranean was essential for the Mycenaean economy. Their syllabic script, the Linear B, offers the first written records of the Greek language and their religion already included several deities that can also be found in the Olympic Pantheon. Mycenaean Greece was dominated by a warrior elite society and consisted of a network of palace states that developed rigid hierarchical, political, social and economic systems. At the head of this society was the king, known as wanax.

Mycenaean Greece perished with the collapse of Bronze Age culture in the eastern Mediterranean, to be followed by the so-called Greek Dark Ages, a recordless transitional period leading to Archaic Greece where significant shifts occurred from palace-centralized to de-centralized forms of socio-economic organization (including the extensive use of iron). Various theories have been proposed for the end of this civilization, among them the Dorian invasion or activities connected to the "Sea Peoples". Additional theories such as natural disasters and climatic changes have been also suggested. The Mycenaean period became the historical setting of much ancient Greek literature and mythology, including the Trojan Epic Cycle.



Mycenae (W)

The Mycenaean palace-states. Approximate borders based on archaeology and Late Bronze Age scripts.

Mycenae (Ancient Greek: Μυκῆναι Mykēnai or Μυκήνη Mykēnē) is an archaeological site near Mykines in Argolis, north-eastern Peloponnese, Greece.

In the second millennium BC, Mycenae was one of the major centres of Greek civilization, a military stronghold which dominated much of southern Greece, Crete, the Cyclades and parts of southwest Anatolia. The period of Greek history from about 1600 BC to about 1100 BC is called Mycenaean in reference to Mycenae. At its peak in 1350 BC, the citadel and lower town had a population of 30,000 and an area of 32 hectares.


Heinrich Schliemann — dynamites and smuggling

Heinrich Schliemann — dynamites and smuggling (W)


Heinrich Schliemann (6 January 1822-26 December 1890) was a German businessman and a pioneer in the field of archaeology. He was an advocate of the historicity of places mentioned in the works of Homer and an archaeological excavator of Hisarlik, now presumed to be the site of Troy, along with the Mycenaean sites Mycenae and Tiryns. His work lent weight to the idea that Homer's Iliad reflects historical events. Schliemann's excavation of nine levels of archaeological remains with dynamite has been criticized as destructive of significant historical artifacts, including the level that is believed to be the historical Troy.

Schliemann smuggled the treasure out of Turkey. He defended his "smuggling" in Turkey as an attempt to protect the items from corrupt local officials.

Along with Arthur Evans, Schliemann was a pioneer in the study of Aegean civilization in the Bronze Age. The two men knew of each other, Evans having visited Schliemann's sites. Schliemann had planned to excavate at Knossos but died before fulfilling that dream. Evans bought the site and stepped in to take charge of the project, which was then still in its infancy.


Arthur Evans

Arthur Evans (W)


Sir Arthur John Evans (8 July 1851-11 July 1941) was an English archaeologist and pioneer in the study of Aegean civilization in the Bronze Age. He is most famous for unearthing the palace of Knossos on the Greek island of Crete. Evans continued Heinrich Schliemann's concept of a Mycenaean civilization, but found that he needed to distinguish another civilization, the Minoan, from the structures and artifacts found there and throughout the eastern Mediterranean. Evans was also the first to define Cretan scripts Linear A and Linear B, as well as an earlier pictographic writing.


Linear B

Linear B (W)

Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, the earliest attested form of Greek. The script predates the Greek alphabet by several centuries. The oldest Mycenaean writing dates to about 1450 BC. It is descended from the older Linear A, an undeciphered earlier script used for writing the Minoan language, as is the later Cypriot syllabary, which also recorded Greek. Linear B, found mainly in the palace archives at Knossos, Cydonia, Pylos, Thebes and Mycenae, disappeared with the fall of Mycenaean civilization during the Late Bronze Age collapse. The succeeding period, known as the Greek Dark Ages, provides no evidence of the use of writing. It is also the only one of the Bronze Age Aegean scripts to have been deciphered, by English architect and self-taught linguist Michael Ventris.

Linear B consists of around 87 syllabic signs and over 100 ideographic signs. These ideograms or "signifying" signs symbolize objects or commodities. They have no phonetic value and are never used as word signs in writing a sentence.

The application of Linear B appears to have been confined to administrative contexts. In all the thousands of clay tablets, a relatively small number of different "hands" have been detected: 45 in Pylos (west coast of the Peloponnese, in southern Greece) and 66 in Knossos (Crete). It is possible that the script was used only by a guild of professional scribes who served the central palaces. Once the palaces were destroyed, the script disappeared.


Fall of Mycenaeans

Fall of Mycenaeans (W)

The Mycenaean civilization started to collapse from 1200 BC. Archaeology suggests that, around 1100 BC, the palace centres and outlying settlements of the Mycenaeans' highly organized culture began to be abandoned or destroyed, and by 1050 BC, the recognizable features of Mycenaean culture had disappeared, and the population had decreased significantly. Many explanations attribute the fall of the Mycenaean civilization and the Bronze Age collapse to climatic or environmental catastrophe, combined with an invasion by Dorians or by the Sea Peoples, or to the widespread availability of edged weapons of iron, but no single explanation fits the available archaeological evidence.

(W) Accounts vary as to the Dorians’ place of origin. One theory, widely believed in ancient times, is that they originated in the northern mountainous regions of Greece, ancient Macedonia and Epirus, and obscure circumstances brought them south into the Peloponnese, to certain Aegean islands, Magna Graecia, Lapithos and Crete. Mythology gave them a Greek origin and eponymous founder, Dorus son of Hellen, the mythological patriarch of the Hellenes.


📹 Ancient Greek History — Mycenaean Civilization (VİDEO)

Ancient Greek History — Mycenaean Civilization (LINK)

We explore the Mycenaean Civilization from Ancient Greece in this video.


📹 Ancient Greek History - Part 2 on the Mycenaean Civilization (VİDEO)

Ancient Greek History — Part 2 on the Mycenaean Civilization (LINK)



📹 The Sound of the Mycenaean Greek Language (Linear B Syllabary) (VİDEO)

The Sound of the Mycenaean Greek Language (Linear B Syllabary) (LINK)

The Sound of the Mycenaean Greek Language (Linear B Syllabary)

The symbols & characters shown here in this vid are Minoan.

Mycenaean Greek is the most ancient attested form of the Greek language, on the Greek mainland, Crete and Cyprus in Mycenaean Greece (16th to 12th centuries BC), before the hypothesised Dorian invasion, often cited as the terminus post quem for the coming of the Greek language to Greece. The language is preserved in inscriptions in Linear B, a script first attested on Crete before the 14th century. Most inscriptions are on clay tablets found in Knossos, in central Crete, as well as in Pylos, in the southwest of the Peloponnese. Other tablets have been found at Mycenae itself, Tiryns and Thebes and at Chania, in Western Crete. The language is named after Mycenae, one of the major centres of Mycenaean Greece.

The tablets long remained undeciphered, and many languages were suggested for them, until Michael Ventris deciphered the script in 1952.

The texts on the tablets are mostly lists and inventories. No prose narrative survives, much less myth or poetry. Still, much may be glimpsed from these records about the people who produced them and about Mycenaean Greece, the period before the so-called Greek Dark Ages.

Linear B

In 1900 the archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans (1851-1941) discovered a large number of clay tablets inscribed with mysterious symbols at Knossos on Crete. Believing he had discovered the palace of King Minos, together with the Minotaur's labyrinth, Evans dubed the inscriptions and the language they represented as 'Minoan'.

Evans spent the rest of his life trying to decipher the inscriptions, with only limited success. He realised that the inscriptions represented three different writing systems: a 'hieroglyphic' script, Linear A and Linear B.

The hieroglphic script appears only on seal stones and has yet to be deciphered. Linear A, also undeciphered, is thought to have evolved from the hieroglyphic script, and Linear B probably evolved from Linear A, though the relationship between the two scripts is unclear.



📹 The Palace and Grave Circle A, Mycenae, c. 1600-1100 B.C.E. (VİDEO)

The Palace and Grave Circle A, Mycenae (c. 1600-1100 BCE) (W)


📹 The Mycenaeans — The Real Civilization who fought the Trojan War (VİDEO)

The Mycenaeans — The Real Civilization who fought the Trojan War (W)


Mycenaean Greece

Mycenaean Greece

The Lion Gate, the main entrance of the citadel of Mycenae, 13th century BC.
Mycenaean chariot warriors on a fresco from Pylos (about 1350 BC).
Two female charioteers from Tiryns (1200 BC).

3 Terracotta female figures (LINK)

Period: Late Helladic IIIA
Date: ca. 1400–1300 B.C.
Culture: Helladic, Mycenaean
Medium: Terracotta
Dimensions: 10.8 cm); 10.8 cm; 10.5 cm

These terracotta female figurines are referred to as phi (35.11.17-.18), tau (35.11.16), or psi figurines, for their resemblance in shape to those Greek letters. They generally wear a long, enveloping garment, perhaps a kind of robe. Their long hair is usually drawn back in a plait or "ponytail," with some loose locks over the forehead. Often, they are adorned with a polos, a tall headdress associated with divinities, and a necklace.

The two phi-type figurines depicted here have circular bodies completely covered with painted wavy lines, perhaps indicating folds of drapery. Breasts are indicated, although the arms are little more than bulges hanging down at the sides. Their faces are typically pinched, with eyes applied as separate slips of clay. The tau-type figurine has the conventional hollow, columnar stem with the head rendered somewhat larger in proportion to the body. Characteristically, the figure is high waisted with arms, rendered as singly applied strips of clay, folded neatly over the breasts. Like the other two figurines, this one wears a long garment, only here it is simply decorated with two vertical lines down the front and back. The figurine's coiffure is particularly distinct, with a plait that is rendered over the top of the headdress and down the back of the neck. A fringe of hair peeks out from under the edge of an elaborately festooned polos.

Terracotta stemmed cup with murex decoration (LINK)

Period: Late Helladic IIIA
Date: ca. 1400–1300 B.C.
Culture: Helladic, Mycenaean
Medium: Terracotta
Dimensions: H. 21.2 cm

By the Late Helladic III period, methods of firing improved on the Greek mainland, making possible this type of long-stemmed cup known as a kylix. The shape becomes the standard form of drinking cup throughout most of the Mycenaean world from the fourteenth century B.C. onward. On this particular kylix, the high, striped stem supports a flaring body decorated with marine life, sea anemones and murex shells that attest to the sea as an important source of food and wealth for Mycenaean civilization. The murex, a type of mollusk, was prized throughout antiquity as a source of purple dye.

A Mycenaean woman bearing a basket with gifts

The '[So-called] Mask of Agamemnon', discovered by Heinrich Schliemann in 1876 at Mycenae.
Mycenaean Civilization


Mycenaean is the term applied to the art and culture of Greece from ca. 1600 to 1100 B.C. The name derives from the site of Mycenae in the Peloponnesos, where once stood a great Mycenaean fortified palace. Mycenae is celebrated by Homer as the seat of King Agamemnon, who led the Greeks in the Trojan War. In modern archaeology, the site first gained renown through Heinrich Schliemann’s excavations in the mid-1870s, which brought to light objects whose opulence and antiquity seemed to correspond to Homer’s description of Agamemnon’s palace. The extraordinary material wealth deposited in the Shaft Graves at Mycenae (ca. 1550 B.C.) attests to a powerful elite society that flourished in the subsequent four centuries.

During the Mycenaean period, the Greek mainland enjoyed an era of prosperity centered in such strongholds as Mycenae, Tiryns, Thebes, and Athens. Local workshops produced utilitarian objects of pottery and bronze, as well as luxury items, such as carved gems, jewelry, vases in precious metals, and glass ornaments. Contact with Minoan Crete played a decisive role in the shaping and development of Mycenaean culture, especially in the arts. Wide-ranging commerce circulated Mycenaean goods throughout the Mediterranean world from Spain and the Levant. The evidence consists primarily of vases, but their contents (oil, wine, and other commodities) were probably the chief objects of trade.

Besides being bold traders, the Mycenaeans were fierce warriors and great engineers who designed and built remarkable bridges, fortification walls, and beehive-shaped tombs—all employing Cyclopean masonry—and elaborate drainage and irrigation systems. Their palatial centers, “Mycenae rich in gold” and “sandy Pylos,” are immortalized in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. Palace scribes employed a new script, Linear B, to record an early Greek language. In the Mycenaean palace at Pylos—the best preserved of its kind—Linear B tablets suggest that the king stood at the head of a highly organized feudal system. By the late thirteenth century B.C., however, mainland Greece witnessed a wave of destruction and the decline of the Mycenaean sites, causing the withdrawal to more remote refuge settlements.


Colette Hemingway
Independent Scholar

Seán Hemingway
Department of Greek and Roman Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

October 2003

Mycenaean Greece — named for Mycenae, its largest citadel — was divided into local kingdoms based on a hierarchical system led by a king and staffed by a series of bureaucrats. Scribes recorded transactions on clay tablets in Linear B script. With its decipherment and attribution as an early form of the ancient Greek language, Mycenae can be considered the first-known “Greek” culture or civilization.



  Greek Dark Ages

Greek Dark Ages Timeline

Greek Dark Ages Timeline


Greek Dark Ages

Greek Dark Ages (c. 1100-900 BC) (W)

The Greek Dark Ages, Homeric Age (named for the fabled poet, Homer) or Geometric period (so called after the characteristic Geometric art of the time), is the period of Greek history from the end of the Mycenaean palatial civilization around 1100 BC to the first signs of the Greek poleis, city states, in the 9th century BC.

The archaeological evidence shows a widespread collapse of Bronze Age civilization in the Eastern Mediterranean world at the outset of the period, as the great palaces and cities of the Mycenaeans were destroyed or abandoned. Around then, the Hittite civilization suffered serious disruption and cities from Troy to Gaza were destroyed. Following the collapse, fewer and smaller settlements suggest famine and depopulation. In Greece, the Linear B writing of the Greek language used by Mycenaean bureaucrats ceased. The decoration on Greek pottery after about 1100 BC lacks the figurative decoration of Mycenaean ware and is restricted to simpler, generally geometric styles (1000-700 BC).

It was previously thought that all contact was lost between mainland Hellenes and foreign powers during this period, yielding little cultural progress or growth, but artifacts from excavations at Lefkandi on the Lelantine Plain in Euboea show that significant cultural and trade links with the east, particularly the Levant coast, developed from c. 900 BC onwards. Additionally, evidence has emerged of the new presence of Hellenes in sub-Mycenaean Cyprus and on the Syrian coast at Al-Mina.

Fall of Mycenaeans

Fall of Mycenaeans (W)

The Mycenaean civilization started to collapse from 1200 BC. Archaeology suggests that, around 1100 BC, the palace centres and outlying settlements of the Mycenaeans' highly organized culture began to be abandoned or destroyed, and by 1050 BC, the recognizable features of Mycenaean culture had disappeared, and the population had decreased significantly. Many explanations attribute the fall of the Mycenaean civilization and the Bronze Age collapse to climatic or environmental catastrophe, combined with an invasion by Dorians or by the Sea Peoples, or to the widespread availability of edged weapons of iron, but no single explanation fits the available archaeological evidence.

Mediterranean warfare and Sea Peoples

Around this time large-scale revolts took place in several parts of the eastern Mediterranean, and attempts to overthrow existing kingdoms were made as a result of economic and political instability by surrounding people, who were already plagued with famine and hardship. Part of the Hittite kingdom was invaded and conquered by the so-called Sea Peoples, whose origins, perhaps from different parts of the Mediterranean such as the Black Sea, the Aegean and Anatolian regions, remain obscured. The 13th- and 12th-century inscriptions and carvings at Karnak and Luxor are the only sources for "Sea Peoples", a term invented by the Egyptians themselves and recorded in boastful accounts of Egyptian military successes.[3] For these so-called "Sea Peoples", there is little more evidence than these inscriptions.

The foreign countries... made a conspiracy in their islands. All at once the lands were on the move, scattered in war. No country could stand before their arms…. Their league was Peleset, Tjeker, Shekelesh, Denyen and Weshesh.

A similar assemblage of peoples may have attempted to invade Egypt twice, once during the reign of Merneptah, about 1208 BC, and again during the reign of Ramesses III, about 1178 BC.


With the collapse of the palatial centres, no more monumental stone buildings were built and the practice of wall painting may have ceased; writing in the Linear B script ceased, vital trade links were lost, and towns and villages were abandoned. Writing in the Linear B script ceased particularly because the redistributive economy had crashed, and there was no longer a need to keep records in Linear B script. The population of Greece was reduced, and the world of organized state armies, kings, officials, and redistributive systems disappeared. Most of the information about the period comes from burial sites and the grave goods contained within them.


📹 Ancient Greek History — Homer and the Greek Dark Ages (VİDEO)

Ancient Greek History — Homer and the Greek Dark Ages (LINK)

In this video we discuss Homer and the Greek Dark Ages.



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