Pausanias was a Greek traveler and geographer of the second-century AD, who lived in the time of Roman emperors Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius. He is famous for his Description of Greece, a lengthy work that describes ancient Greece from his first-hand observations; this work provides crucial information for making links between classical literature and modern archaeology. Andrew Stewart assesses him as: A careful, pedestrian writer...interested not only in the grandiose or the exquisite but in unusual sights and obscure ritual. He is careless or makes unwarranted inferences, his guides or his own notes sometimes mislead him, yet his honesty is unquestionable, his value without par. Pausanias was born in 110 AD into a Greek family and was a native of Lydia. Before visiting Greece, he had been to Antioch and Jerusalem, to the banks of the River Jordan. In Egypt, he had seen the pyramids. While at the temple of Ammon, he had been shown the hymn once sent to that shrine by Pindar. In Macedonia, he appears to have seen.
Crossing over to Italy, he had seen something of the wonders of Rome. He was one of the first known to write of seeing the ruins of Troy, Alexandria Troas, Mycenae. Pausanias' Description of Greece is in each dedicated to some portion of Greece, he begins his tour in Attica, where the city of its demes dominate the discussion. Subsequent books describe Corinthia, Messenia, Achaea, Boetia and Ozolian Locris; the project is more than topographical. Pausanias digresses from the description of architectural and artistic objects to review the mythological and historical underpinnings of the society that produced them; as a Greek writing under the auspices of the Roman empire, he was in an awkward cultural space, between the glories of the Greek past he was so keen to describe and the realities of a Greece beholden to Rome as a dominating imperial force. His work bears the marks of his attempt to navigate that space and establish an identity for Roman Greece, he is not a naturalist by any means, although from time to time, he does comment on the physical realities of the Greek landscape.
He notices the pine trees on the sandy coast of Elis, the deer and the wild boars in the oak woods of Phelloe, the crows amid the giant oak trees of Alalcomenae. It is in the last section that Pausanias touches on the products of nature, such as the wild strawberries of Helicon, the date palms of Aulis, the olive oil of Tithorea, as well as the tortoises of Arcadia and the "white blackbirds" of Cyllene. Pausanias is most of Delphi, yet in the most secluded regions of Greece, he is fascinated by all kinds of depictions of deities, holy relics, many other sacred and mysterious objects. At Thebes he views the shields of those who died at the Battle of Leuctra, the ruins of the house of Pindar, the statues of Hesiod, Arion and Orpheus in the grove of the Muses on Helicon, as well as the portraits of Corinna at Tanagra and of Polybius in the cities of Arcadia. Pausanias has the instincts of an antiquary; as his modern editor, Christian Habicht, has said, In general, he prefers the old to the new, the sacred to the profane.
Some magnificent and dominating structures, such as the Stoa of King Attalus in the Athenian Agora or the Exedra of Herodes Atticus at Olympia are not mentioned. Unlike a Baedeker guide, in Periegesis Pausanias stops for a brief excursus on a point of ancient ritual or to tell an apposite myth, in a genre that would not become popular again until the early nineteenth century. In the topographical part of his work, Pausanias is fond of digressions on the wonders of nature, the signs that herald the approach of an earthquake, the phenomena of the tides, the ice-bound seas of the north, the noonday sun that at the summer solstice, casts no shadow at Syene. While he never doubts the existence of the deities and heroes, he sometimes criticizes the myths and legends relating to them, his descriptions of monuments of art are unadorned. They bear the impression of reality, their accuracy is confirmed by the extant remains, he is frank in his confessions of ignorance. When he quotes a book at second hand he takes pains to say so.
The work left faint traces in the known Greek corpus. "It was not read", Habicht relates. The only manuscripts of Pausanias are three fifteenth-century copies, full of errors and lacunae, which all appear to depend on a single manuscript that survived to be copied. Niccolò Niccoli had this archetype in Florence in 1418. At his death in 1437, it went to the library of San Marco, Florence it disappeared after 1500; until twentieth-century archaeologists concluded that Pausanias was a reliable guide to the sites they were excavating, Pausanias was la
Knapping is the shaping of flint, obsidian or other conchoidal fracturing stone through the process of lithic reduction to manufacture stone tools, strikers for flintlock firearms, or to produce flat-faced stones for building or facing walls, flushwork decoration. The original Germanic term "knopp" meant strike, shape, or work, so it could theoretically have referred well to making a statue or dice. Modern usage is more specific, referring exclusively to the hand-tool pressure-flaking process pictured. Flintknapping or knapping is done in a variety of ways depending on the purpose of the final product. For stone tools and flintlock strikers, chert is worked using a fabricator such as a hammerstone to remove lithic flakes from a nucleus or core of tool stone. Stone tools can be further refined using wood and antler tools to perform pressure flaking. For building work a hammer or pick is used to split chert nodules supported on the lap; the chert nodule will be split in half to create two cherts with a flat circular face for use in walls constructed of lime.
More sophisticated knapping is employed to produce near-perfect cubes. There are many different methods of shaping stone into useful tools. Early knappers could have used simple hammers made of antler to shape stone tools; the factors that contribute to the knapping results are varied, but the EPA indeed influences many attributes, such as length and termination of flakes. Hard hammer techniques are used to remove large flakes of stone. Early knappers and hobbyists replicating their methods use cobbles of hard stone, such as quartzite; this technique can be used by flintknappers to remove broad flakes that can be made into smaller tools. This method of manufacture is believed to have been used to make some of the earliest stone tools found, some of which date from over 2 million years ago. Soft hammer techniques are more precise than hard hammer methods of shaping stone. Soft hammer techniques allow a knapper to shape a stone into many different kinds of cutting and projectile tools; these "soft hammer" techniques produce longer, thinner flakes allowing for material conservation or a lighter lithic tool kit to be carried by mobile societies.
Pressure flaking involves removing narrow flakes along the edge of a stone tool. This technique is used to do detailed thinning and shaping of a stone tool. Pressure flaking involves putting a large amount of force across a region on the edge of the tool and causing a narrow flake to come off of the stone. Modern hobbyists use pressure flaking tools with a copper or brass tip, but early knappers could have used antler tines or a pointed wooden punch; the major advantage of using soft metals rather than wood or bone is that the metal punches wear down less and are less to break under pressure. In cultures that have not adopted metalworking technologies, the production of stone tools by knappers is common, but in modern cultures the making of such tools is the domain of experimental archaeologists and hobbyists. Archaeologists undertake the task so that they can better understand how prehistoric stone tools were made. Knapping is learned by outdoorsmen. Knapping gun flints, used by flintlock firearms was a major industry in flint bearing locations, such as Brandon in Suffolk and the small towns of Meusnes and Couffy in France.
Meusnes has a small museum dedicated to the industry. In 1804, during the Napoleonic Wars, Brandon was supplying over 400,000 flints a month for use by the British Army and Navy. Brandon knappers made gun flints for export to Africa as late as the 1960s. Knapping for building purposes is still a skill, practiced in the flint-bearing regions of southern England, such as Sussex and Norfolk, in northern France Brittany and Normandy, where there is a resurgence of the craft due to government funding. Flint knappers suffered from silicosis, due to the inhalation of flint dust; this has been called "the world's first industrial disease". When gun flint knapping was a large-scale industry in Brandon, silicosis was known as knappers' rot, it has been claimed silicosis was responsible for the early death of three-quarters of Brandon gun flint makers. In one workshop, seven of the eight workmen died of the condition before the age of fifty. Modern knappers are advised to work in the open air to reduce the dust hazard, to wear eye and hand protection.
Some modern knappers wear a respirator to guard against dust. Modern American interest in knapping can be traced back to the study of a California Native American called Ishi who lived in the early twentieth century. Ishi taught scholars and academics traditional methods of making stone tools and how to use them for survival in the wild. Early European explorers to the New world were exposed to flint knapping techniques. Additionally, several pioneering nineteenth-century European experimental knappers are known and in the late 1960s and early 1970s experimental archaeologist Don Crabtree published texts such as "Experiments in Flintworking". François Bordes was an early writer on Old World knapping; these authors helped to ignite a small craze in knapping among prehistorians. English archaeologist Phil Harding is another contemporary expert, whose exposure on the television series Time Team has led to him being a familiar figure in the UK and beyond. Many groups, with members from all walks of life, can now be found across the United States and Europe.
These organizations continue to
The Bronze Age is a historical period characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron system, as proposed in modern times by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen, for classifying and studying ancient societies. An ancient civilization is defined to be in the Bronze Age either by producing bronze by smelting its own copper and alloying with tin, arsenic, or other metals, or by trading for bronze from production areas elsewhere. Bronze itself is harder and more durable than other metals available at the time, allowing Bronze Age civilizations to gain a technological advantage. Copper-tin ores are rare, as reflected in the fact that there were no tin bronzes in Western Asia before trading in bronze began in the third millennium BC. Worldwide, the Bronze Age followed the Neolithic period, with the Chalcolithic serving as a transition. Although the Iron Age followed the Bronze Age, in some areas, the Iron Age intruded directly on the Neolithic.
Bronze Age cultures differed in their development of the first writing. According to archaeological evidence, cultures in Mesopotamia and Egypt developed the earliest viable writing systems; the overall period is characterized by widespread use of bronze, though the place and time of the introduction and development of bronze technology were not universally synchronous. Human-made tin bronze technology requires set production techniques. Tin must be mined and smelted separately added to molten copper to make bronze alloy; the Bronze Age was a time of developing trade networks. A 2013 report suggests that the earliest tin-alloy bronze dates to the mid-5th millennium BC in a Vinča culture site in Pločnik, although this culture is not conventionally considered part of the Bronze Age; the dating of the foil has been disputed. Western Asia and the Near East was the first region to enter the Bronze Age, which began with the rise of the Mesopotamian civilization of Sumer in the mid 4th millennium BC.
Cultures in the ancient Near East practiced intensive year-round agriculture, developed a writing system, invented the potter's wheel, created a centralized government, written law codes and nation states and empires, embarked on advanced architectural projects, introduced social stratification and civil administration and practiced organized warfare and religion. Societies in the region laid the foundations for astronomy and astrology. Dates are approximate, consult particular article for details The Ancient Near East Bronze Age can be divided as following: The Hittite Empire was established in Hattusa in northern Anatolia from the 18th century BC. In the 14th century BC, the Hittite Kingdom was at its height, encompassing central Anatolia, southwestern Syria as far as Ugarit, upper Mesopotamia. After 1180 BC, amid general turmoil in the Levant conjectured to have been associated with the sudden arrival of the Sea Peoples, the kingdom disintegrated into several independent "Neo-Hittite" city-states, some of which survived until as late as the 8th century BC.
Arzawa in Western Anatolia during the second half of the second millennium BC extended along southern Anatolia in a belt that reaches from near the Turkish Lakes Region to the Aegean coast. Arzawa was the western neighbor – sometimes a rival and sometimes a vassal – of the Middle and New Hittite Kingdoms; the Assuwa league was a confederation of states in western Anatolia, defeated by the Hittites under an earlier Tudhaliya I, around 1400 BC. Arzawa has been associated with the much more obscure Assuwa located to its north, it bordered it, may be an alternative term for it. In Ancient Egypt the Bronze Age begins in the Protodynastic period, c. 3150 BC. The archaic early Bronze Age of Egypt, known as the Early Dynastic Period of Egypt follows the unification of Lower and Upper Egypt, c. 3100 BC. It is taken to include the First and Second Dynasties, lasting from the Protodynastic Period of Egypt until about 2686 BC, or the beginning of the Old Kingdom. With the First Dynasty, the capital moved from Abydos to Memphis with a unified Egypt ruled by an Egyptian god-king.
Abydos remained the major holy land in the south. The hallmarks of ancient Egyptian civilization, such as art and many aspects of religion, took shape during the Early Dynastic period. Memphis in the Early Bronze Age was the largest city of the time; the Old Kingdom of the regional Bronze Age is the name given to the period in the 3rd millennium BC when Egypt attained its first continuous peak of civilization in complexity and achievement – the first of three "Kingdom" periods, which mark the high points of civilization in the lower Nile Valley. The First Intermediate Period of Egypt described as a "dark period" in ancient Egyptian history, spanned about 100 years after the end of the Old Kingdom from about 2181 to 2055 BC. Little monumental evidence survives from this period from the early part of it; the First Intermediate Period was a dynamic time when the rule of Egypt was divided between two competing power bases: Heracleopolis in Lower Egypt and Thebes in Upper Egypt. These two kingdoms would come into conflict, with the Theban kings conquering the north, resulting in the reunification of Egypt under a single ruler during the second part of the 11th Dynasty.
The Middle Kingdom of Egypt laste
Nero was the last Roman emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. He became Claudius' heir and successor. Like Claudius, Nero became emperor with the consent of the Praetorian Guard. Nero's mother, Agrippina the Younger, was implicated in Claudius' death and Nero's nomination as emperor, she dominated Nero's early life and decisions. Five years into his reign, he had her murdered. During the early years of his reign, Nero was content to be guided by his mother, his tutor Lucius Annaeus Seneca and his Praetorian prefect, Sextus Afranius Burrus; as time passed, he started to play a more active and independent role in government and foreign policy. During his reign, the redoubtable general Corbulo conducted a successful war and negotiated peace with the Parthian Empire, his general Suetonius Paulinus crushed a major revolt in Britain, led by the Iceni Queen Boudica. The Bosporan Kingdom was annexed to the empire, the First Jewish–Roman War began. Nero focused much of his attention on diplomacy and the cultural life of the empire, ordering theatres built and promoting athletic games.
He made public appearances as an actor, poet and charioteer. In the eyes of traditionalists, this undermined the dignity and authority of his person and office, his extravagant, empire-wide program of public and private works was funded by a rise in taxes, much resented by the middle and upper classes. Various plots against his life were revealed. In 68 AD Vindex, governor of the Gaulish territory Gallia Lugdunensis, rebelled, he was supported by the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis. Vindex's revolt failed in its immediate aim, but Nero fled Rome when Rome's discontented civil and military authorities chose Galba as emperor, he committed suicide on June 9, 68 AD, when he learned that he had been tried in absentia and condemned to death as a public enemy, making him the first Roman Emperor to commit suicide. His death ended the Julio-Claudian dynasty, sparking a brief period of civil wars known as the Year of the Four Emperors. Nero's rule is associated with tyranny and extravagance. Most Roman sources, such as Suetonius and Cassius Dio, offer overwhelmingly negative assessments of his personality and reign.
Suetonius tells that many Romans believed that the Great Fire of Rome was instigated by Nero to clear the way for his planned palatial complex, the Domus Aurea. According to Tacitus he was said to have seized Christians as scapegoats for the fire and burned them alive motivated not by public justice but by personal cruelty; some modern historians question the reliability of the ancient sources on Nero's tyrannical acts. A few sources paint Nero in a more favorable light. There is evidence of his popularity among the Roman commoners in the eastern provinces of the Empire, where a popular legend arose that Nero had not died and would return. At least three leaders of short-lived, failed rebellions presented themselves as "Nero reborn" to enlist popular support. Nero was born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus on 15 December 37 AD in Antium, he was the only son of Agrippina the Younger. His maternal grandparents were Agrippina the Elder, he was Augustus' great-great grandson, descended from the first Emperor's only daughter, Julia.
The ancient biographer Suetonius, critical of Nero's ancestors, wrote that Augustus had reproached Nero's grandfather for his unseemly enjoyment of violent gladiator games. According to Jürgen Malitz, Suetonius tells that Nero's father was known to be "irascible and brutal", that both "enjoyed chariot races and theater performances to a degree not befitting their position."Nero's father, died in 40. A few years before his death, Domitius had been involved in a political scandal that, according to Malitz, "could have cost him his life if Tiberius had not died in the year 37." In the previous year, Nero's mother Agrippina had been caught up in a scandal of her own. Caligula's beloved sister Drusilla had died and Caligula began to feel threatened by his brother-in-law Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. Agrippina, suspected of adultery with her brother-in-law, was forced to carry the funerary urn after Lepidus' execution. Caligula banished his two surviving sisters and Julia Livilla, to a remote island in the Mediterranean Sea.
According to The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome, Agrippina was exiled for plotting to overthrow Caligula. Nero's inheritance was taken from him and he was sent to live with his paternal aunt Domitia Lepida, the mother of Claudius' third wife Valeria Messalina. Caligula's reign lasted from 37 until 41, he died from multiple stab wounds in January of 41 after being ambushed by his own Praetorian Guard on the Palatine Hill. Claudius succeeded Caligula as Emperor. Agrippina became his fourth wife. By February 49, she had persuaded Claudius to adopt her son Nero. After Nero's adoption, "Claudius" became part of his name: Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus. Claudius had gold coins issued to mark the adoption. Classics professor Josiah Osgood has written that "the coins, through their distribution and imagery alike, showed that a new Leader was in the making." David Shotter noted that, despite events in Rome, Nero's step-brother Britannicus was more prominent in provincial coinages during the early 50s.
Nero formally entered public life as an adult in 51 AD—he was around 14 years old. When he turned 16, Nero married Claudius' daughter (
Chthonic means "subterranean", but the word in English describes deities or spirits of the underworld in Ancient Greek religion. The Greek word khthon is one of several for "earth". Chthonic, a form of khthonie and khthonios, has a precise meaning in Greek; these include, but are not limited to, Persephone and Hades in classical mythology. Nocturnal ritual sacrifice was a common practice in many chthonic cults; when the sacrifice was a living creature, the animal was placed in megaron. In some Greek chthonic cults, the animal was sacrificed on a raised bomos. Offerings were burned whole or buried rather than being cooked and shared among the worshippers. In his book The Mycenaean World and classicist John Chadwick argues that many chthonic deities may be remnants of the native Pre-Hellenic religion and that many of the Olympian deities may come from the Proto-Greeks who overran the southern part of the Balkan Peninsula in the late third millennium BC, he does, note that this may be somewhat of an overgeneralization and that the origins of chthonic and Olympian deities are much more complex.
The German classicist Walter Burkert explicitly rejects the notion of chthonic deities as pre-Greek and the Olympian deities as Indo-European in his book Greek Religion. He comments, "It is the chthonic chaoi which are related to Indo-European, whereas the Olympian sacrifice has connections with Semitic tradition." The myths associating the underworld chthonic deities and fertility were not exclusive. Myths about the Olympian deities described an association with the fertility and prosperity of Earth, such as Demeter and her daughter, who both watched over aspects of the fertility of the land, but Demeter had a Olympian cult while Persephone had a chthonic one due to her association with Hades, by whom she had been captured; the categories Olympian and chthonic were not, however separate. Some Olympian deities, such as Hermes and Zeus received chthonic sacrifices and tithes in certain locations; the deified heroes Heracles and Asclepius might be worshipped as gods or chthonic heroes, depending on the site and the time of origin of the myth.
Moreover, a few deities are not classifiable under these terms. Hecate, for instance, was offered puppies at crossroads – a practice neither typical of an Olympian sacrifice nor of a chthonic sacrifice to Persephone or the heroes – but because of her underworld roles, Hecate is classed as chthonic. In analytical psychology, the term chthonic has been used to describe the spirit of nature within, the unconscious earthly impulses of the Self, one's material depths, not with negative connotations. See anima and animus or shadow; the term chthonic has connotations with regard to gender in cultural anthropology. This was by no means universal. Greek mythology has female deities associated with the sky, such as Dike, goddess of justice, who sits on the right side of Zeus as his advisor, Eos, goddess of dawn – and Hades as god of the underworld; the term allochthon in structural geology is used to describe a large block of rock, moved from its original site of formation by low angle thrust faulting.
From the Greek "allo", meaning other, "chthon", designating the process of the land mass being moved under the earth and connecting two horizontally stacked décollements and thus "under the earth". Burkert, Greek Religion, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-36281-0 Chadwick, John; the Mycenaean World. New York: Cambridge University Press. P. 85. ISBN 978-0-521-29037-1. Dillon, Matthew. Girls and Women in Classical Greek Religion. London: Routledge. ISBN 0415202728. Media related to Chthonic beings at Wikimedia Commons
Helios is god and personification of the Sun in Hellenistic religion. He is depicted in art with a radiant crown and driving a horse-drawn chariot through the sky. Though Helios was a minor deity in Classical Greece, his worship grew more prominent in late antiquity thanks to his identification with several major solar divinities of the Roman period Apollo and Sol; the Roman Emperor Julian made Helios the central divinity of his short-lived revival of traditional Roman religious practices in the 4th century AD. Helios figures prominently in several works of Greek mythology and literature, in which he is described as the son of the Titan Hyperion and the Titaness Theia, brother of the goddesses Selene and Eos; the Greek ἥλιος is the inherited word for the Sun, from Proto-Indo-European *seh₂u-el, cognate with Latin sol, Sanskrit surya, Old English swegl, Old Norse sól, Welsh haul, Avestan hvar, etc. The name Helen is thought to share this etymology, may express an early alternate personification of the sun among Hellenic peoples.
The female offspring of Helios were called Heliades. The Greek sun god had various bynames or epithets, which over time in some cases came to be considered separate deities associated with the Sun. Among these is Hyperion, Phaëton "the radiant", Hekatos. Helios is depicted as a handsome young man crowned with the shining aureole of the Sun, who drove the chariot of the sun across the sky each day to earth-circling Oceanus and through the world-ocean returned to the East at night. In the Homeric Hymn to Helios, Helios is said to drive a golden chariot drawn by steeds. Still the horses were given fire related names: Pyrois, Aeos and Phlegon; the imagery surrounding a chariot-driving solar deity is Indo-European in origin, is common to both early Greek and Near Eastern religions. The earliest artistic representations of the "chariot god" come from the Parthian period in Persia, where there is evidence of rituals being performed for the sun god by Magi, indicating an assimilation of the worship of Helios and Mithras.
Helios is seen as both a personification of the Sun and the fundamental creative power behind it, as a result is worshiped as a god of life and creation. Homer described Helios as a god "who gives joy to mortals", other ancient texts give him the epithet "gracious", given that he is the source of life and regeneration, associated with the creation of the world. One passage recorded in the Greek Magical Papyri says of Helios, "the earth flourished when you shone forth and made the plants fruitful when you laughed, brought to life the living creatures when you permitted." L. R. Farnell assumed "that sun-worship had once been prevalent and powerful among the people of the pre-Hellenic culture, but that few of the communities of the historic period retained it as a potent factor of the state religion"; the Attic literary sources used by scholars present ancient Greek religion with an Athenian bias, according to J. Burnet, "no Athenian could be expected to worship Helios or Selene, but he might think them to be gods, since Helios was the great god of Rhodes and Selene was worshiped at Elis and elsewhere".
James A. Notopoulos considered Burnet's distinction to be artificial: "To believe in the existence of the gods involves acknowledgment through worship, as Laws 87 D, E shows". Aristophanes' Peace contrasts the worship of Helios and Selene with that of the more Greek Twelve Olympians, as the representative gods of the Achaemenid Persians; the island of Rhodes was an important cult center for Helios, one of the only places where he was worshipped as a major deity in ancient Greece. The worship of Helios at Rhodes included a ritual in which a quadriga, or chariot drawn by four horses, was driven over a precipice into the sea, in reenactment to the myth of Phaethon. Annual gymnastic tournaments were held in Helios' honor; the Colossus of Rhodes was dedicated to him. Helios had a significant cult on the acropolis of Corinth on the Greek mainland; the Dorians seem to have revered Helios, to have hosted His primary cult on the mainland. The scattering of cults of the sun god in Sicyon, Ermioni and Laconia, his holy livestock flocks at Taenarum, seem to suggest that the deity was important in Dorian religion, compared to other parts of ancient Greece.
Additionally, it may have been the Dorians. The tension between the mainstream traditional religious veneration of Helios, which had become enriched with ethical values and poetical symbolism in Pindar and Sophocles, the Ionian proto-scientific examination of the sun, a phenomenon of the study Greeks termed meteora, clashed in the trial of Anaxagoras c. 450 BC, in which Anaxagoras asserted that the sun was in fact a gigantic red-hot ball of metal. His trial was a forerunner of the culturally traumatic trial of Socrates for irreligion, in 399 BC. In Plato's Republic, the Sun, is the symbolic offspring of the idea of the Good. While the predominance of Helios in Sparta is unclear, it seems Helen was the local solar deity. Helios is sometimes identified w
Mycenae is an archaeological site near Mykines in Argolis, north-eastern Peloponnese, Greece. It is located about 120 kilometres south-west of Athens; the site is 19 kilometres inland from the Saronic Gulf and built upon a hill rising 900 feet above sea level. In the second millennium BC, Mycenae was one of the major centres of Greek civilization, a military stronghold which dominated much of southern Greece, 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; the first correct identification of Mycenae in modern literature was during a survey conducted by Francesco Grimani, commissioned by the Provveditore Generale of the Kingdom of the Morea in 1700, who used Pausanias's description of the Lion Gate to identify the ruins of Mycenae. Although the citadel was built by Greeks, the name Mukanai is thought not to be Greek but rather one of the many pre-Greek place names inherited by the immigrant Greeks.
Legend has it. Thus, Pausanias ascribes the name to the legendary founder Perseus, said to have named it either after the cap of the sheath of his sword, or after a mushroom he had plucked on the site; the earliest written form of the name is Mykēnē, found in Homer. The reconstructed Mycenaean Greek name of the site is; the change of ā to ē in more recent versions of the name is the result of a well-known sound change in Attic-Ionic. Mycenae, an acropolis site, was built on a hill 900 feet above sea level, some 19 kilometres inland from the Gulf of Argolis. Situated in the north-east corner of the Argive plain, it overlooked the whole area and was ideally positioned to be a centre of power as it commanded all easy routes to the Isthmus of Corinth. Besides its strong defensive and strategic position, it had good farmland and an adequate water supply. There are only faint traces of Neolithic settlement on the site although it was continuously occupied from the Early Neolithic through the Early Helladic and Middle Helladic periods.
EN Rainbow Ware constitutes the earliest ceramic evidence discovered so far. The population had grown by the Middle Helladic; as elsewhere, a dominant Cretan influence prevailed from c. 1600, the first evidence of this coming from the shaft graves discovered in 1876 by Heinrich Schliemann. Schliemann's shaft graves came to be known as Circle A to distinguish them from the Circle B graves which were found at a date, although Circle B are the earlier graves dated c. 1650 to c. 1550 and within MHIII. Circle A is dated to the sixteenth century BC including the transition from Middle to Late Helladic IA; the contents of Circle B are less wealthy than those of Circle A. Pottery material spanning the entire Early Helladic was discovered 1877–78 by Panagiotis Stamatakis at a low depth in the sixth shaft grave in Circle A. Further EH and MH material was found beneath the walls and floors of the palace, on the summit of the acropolis, outside the Lion Gate in the area of the ancient cemetery. An EH–MH settlement was discovered near a fresh-water well on top of the Kalkani hill south-west of the acropolis.
The first burials in pits or cist graves manifest in MHII on the west slope of the acropolis, at least enclosed by the earliest circuit wall. In the absence of documents and objects that can be dated, events at Mycenae can only be dated within the constraints of Helladic chronology which relies on categorisation of stratified material objects pottery, within an agreed historical framework. Mycenae developed into a major power during LHI and is believed to have become the main centre of Aegean civilisation through the fifteenth century to the extent that the two hundred years from c. 1400 BC to c. 1200 BC are known as the Mycenaean Age. The Minoan hegemony was ended c. 1450 and there is evidence that Knossos was occupied by Mycenaeans until it too was destroyed c. 1370 BC. From on, Mycenaean expansion throughout the Aegean was unhindered until the massive disruption of society in the first half of the eleventh century which ended Mycenaean civilisation and culminated in the destruction of Mycenae itself c. 1150 BC.
Outside the partial circuit wall, Grave Circle B, named for its enclosing wall, contained ten cist graves in Middle Helladic style and several shaft graves, sunk more with interments resting in cists. Richer grave goods mark the burials as regal. Mounds over the top contained broken drinking vessels and bones from a repast, testifying to a more than ordinary farewell. Stelae surmounted the mounds. A walled enclosure, Grave Circle A, included six more shaft graves, with nine female, eight male, two juvenile interments. Grave goods were more costly than in Circle B; the presence of engraved and inlaid swords and daggers, with spear points and arrowheads, leave little doubt that warrior chieftains and their families were buried here. Some art objects obtained from the graves are the Silver Siege Rhyton, the Mask of Agamemnon, the Cup of Nestor, weapons both votive and practical. Alan Wace divided the nine tholos tombs of Mycenae into three groups of three, each based on architecture, his earliest – the Cyclopean Tomb, E