The Lion’s Gate was the main entrance of the Bronze Age citadel of Mycenae, southern Greece. It was erected during the 13th century BC in the northwest side of the Acropolis of Mycenae and is named after the relief sculpture of two lionesses or lions in a heraldic pose that stands above the entrance.
The Lion’s Gate is the sole surviving monumental piece of Mycenaean Sculpture, as well as the largest sculpture in the prehistoric Aegean. The Lions Gate is the only monument of Bronze Age Greece to bear an iconographic motif that survived without being buried underground, and the only relief image which was described in the literature of classical antiquity, such that it was well known prior to modern archaeology.
The first correct identification of the Lions Gate 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.
The greater part of the Cyclopean Wall in Mycenae Archaeological Site, where the Tomb of King Agamemnon is also located, including the Lion’s Gate itself, was built during the second extension of the citadel which occurred in the Late Helladic period IIIB.
See the Lion’s Gate in Mycenae Archaeological Site with one of our tours: