The Mycenae Archaeological Site
The Mycenae Archaeological Site is an eerie place where a curse once lay – tormenting a royal family with a cruel destiny. The fascinating topography of The Mycenae Archaeological Site begins through the famous Lion’s Gate and The Cyclopean Walls. A few hundred meters away is the Tomb of King Agamemnon. It is not hard to imagine the drama that once took place here. Myth and history intertwine, leaving only the ruins as a memory… Mycenae Archaeological Site was once a mighty kingdom of Ancient Greece, and its ruler, Agamemnon, was considered one of the greatest of them all. He also had a brother named Menelaos. When Helen, Menelaos’s beautiful wife, was abducted by the Trojan prince Paris, the history of Greece was consequently about to come into one of the most famous phrases: The Trojan War (Dates given by Eratosthenes 1194-1184 BC).
But many events precede the above. The founder of the Mycenaean Kingdom was the war hero Perseus. When his last descendant, King Eurystheus died, the people voted for Atreus to be their new King. Atreuse’s brother, Thyestes, seduced his wife. Atreus took his revenge by killing Thyeste’s two sons and then serving them to their father. Filled with rage and disgust, Thyestes cursed Atreus and his children. Great unhappiness was to haunt them thereafter.
Atreus’s two sons were Agamemnon and Menelaus. Agamemnon, who was the oldest, inherited the Kingdom of Mycenae. Menelaus became king of Sparta. They married two sisters, Clytemnestra and Helen. Everything seemed like a happy fairy tale. However, this would not last for long, as mentioned initially about The Trojan War.
The three Greek Goddesses: Hera, Athina, and Aphrodite had a contest of beauty and wished for the Trojan prince Paris to be the judge. They each tried to bribe him, but Aphrodite had promised him the most beautiful woman in Greece. Paris chose her, and Helen was his prize. With the help of the goddess, Helen went to Troy with Paris, leaving the outraged Menelaus and so he declared war on the Trojans. He asked his brother for help, and as a result, together they raised an army of Greek kings and heroes. When Agamemnon was about to leave, he had left Clytemnestra with a singer. His beautiful songs were to prevent her from falling in love with any other man. She was already very upset with her husband since he had sacrificed their daughter Iphigenia to the goddess Artemis. Then Aegisthus arrived.
Aegisthus was the incestuous son of Thyestes after he forced himself on his daughter Pelopia. He had already killed his uncle, Atreus, and finally ruled over the Mycenaean Kingdom with his father, Thyestes, for some time. When Thyestes died, the throne was quickly taken by Agamemnon. Filled with hate against him, Aegisthus decided to do everything in his power to seize the throne. Once the king decided to leave for the Trojan War, he finally seized his chance.
At first, Clytemnestra resisted him, but when Aegisthus realized the reason the singer was there, he took him away. The couple then ruled Mycenae Kingdom in the king’s absence, and as soon as Agamemnon returned, they murdered him. Agamemnon’s son, Orestes, took revenge for his father’s murder by killing his mother and her lover. After a long time of persecution by the Furies, the relentless and ruthless punishers of oath breakers, he was finally cleared of the crime by the god Apollo, when Orestes reached out for help in his temple. The Furies continued to hunt Orestes down but the Goddess Athens intervened. She convinced the Furies to stop avenging murder with murder and instead become the Goddesses of Good Fortune.
Orestes then married Menelaus and Helen’s daughter, Hermione. That is how the kingdom of Mycenae and Sparta united. After some time Heracles’ descendants came and overthrew the king, and so the cycle was complete.
Heinrich Schliemann first excavated the Mycenae Archaeological Site in 1876. The amateur German archaeologist had also discovered the Ruins of Troy. Evidence suggests that within the Mycenae Archaeological Site, people moved in since the 5th Millennium BC, but its true greatness showed up during the Late Bronze Age (1400-1200) when it was strong due to military and economic power.
The famous Lions’ Gate was built shortly after. At the same time, they began constructing new buildings and renovating older ones. Afterward, they constructed a magnificent palace and then the kingdom itself. This also includes the Great Walls, surrounding the Mycenae Archaeological Site. The Treasury of Atreus, otherwise known as The Tomb of King Agamemnon was also built, a grave chamber shaped like a dome. Note worthily, an acropolis crowned the city even before the Mycenaean Civilization. Strategic reasons have always been the most common and beneficial reason to build an acropolis.
In the surrounding area, you can see many buildings from the ancient city: houses, bakeries, workshops, a granary etc. There was also an extensive plumbing system that provided the Mycenaen Kingdom with fresh drinking water.
Even though the archaeological evidence speaks against that, the famous Golden Mask of Agamemnon belonged to the famous King. It is also one of the most famous findings of the ancient world. It is on display in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens City, along with several other objects from the excavations in the Mycenae Archaeological Site.
The people decided to name several of the tombs in the Mycenae Archaeological Site after the Atreus family name. It was their way of showing respect and ensuring the immortality of that family’s name. Greeks believed that the only way to attain immortality was for everyone to remember you. There is Agamemnon’s tomb, the tomb of Clytemnestra, and Aegisthus’ tomb at the so-called Grave Cycle B.
The fire almost annihilated the Mycenae Kingdom in the 12th century. Mycenaean Civilization declined, but the inhabitants remained in the area. Most people believe that the populace abandoned the site during the 3rd century AD.
The Museum of Mycenae Archaeological Site is full of important artifacts (from the 16th to the 11th centuries B.C.) from the Citadel. The surrounding area reflects the history and prosperity of the Mycenaen Kingdom from the earliest times to the Hellenistic period. Separate sections deal with each of the principal excavated areas. One part of the gallery is devoted to a display illustrating aspects of everyday life and craftsmanship in different materials. The finds of gold and other precious items from the two Shaft Graves on the territory of Mycenae Archaeological Site, however, remain in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens City. Among the thousands of objects on display at the Museum of Mycenae Archaeological Site, one of them stands out. The fine ivory lion beside the altar in the Room with the Fresco.
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