It has been a while since I written a post in relation to my story and we are drawing close to the end of the characters’ journey. In a post back in August I believe, they left Epidauros and were heading to Delphi but are side-tracked by a wilful and impetuous princess who insists they visit the city of Mykenae.
Mykenae was established around as early as 3,000 BCE with ‘neighbouring’ cities Tiryns and Argos [this is in the Peloponnese; the region known as Argolis]. It wasn’t until Heinrich Schliemann when the full extent of the power of Mykenae and its extraordinary history was revealed. Schliemann was a German ‘archaelogist’ [he never really studied it as a science but was an extremely wealthy entrepreneur who believed in Homer’s legendary tale of the Iliad]. Using Homer’s work he discovered the site of Troy [Ilium] in Turkey, though destroyed many layers of ancient history along the way, he then desired to locate King Agamemon’s palace. This is where he found a gold death mask and claimed ‘he has stared into the face of Agamemnon’.
It did not end well for the King of Achaeans [as the Greeks were called in Homer’s story]. When he returned home, feeling pretty good about destroying Troy, King Priam and taking Cassandra as his concubine and gathering all the riches, he did not think he would be in any danger. His wife, Klytaemnestra who also happened to be Helen’s sister, had her lover kill Agamemnon while he was bathing. She was still pretty angry about Agamemnon sacrificing their daughter, Iphigenia, to the goddess Artemis to make sure the Achaeans win the war. And like a Greek tragedy, Klytaemnestra meet her demise at the hands of her son and remaining daughter.
The site of Mykenae is vast and when you stand on threshold of the magnificent Lion Gate, you wonder how they constructed and moved such large blocks of stone. I was awed by the sight and stood in reverence as my mind tried to absorb what I was seeing. Then the stories and myths came flooding and one can understand why the ancient people believed in the stories; really only a cyclops could move such huge stones! And the construction was so precise, and they stand to this day as solid as the day they were built.
The palace of Mykenae was spectacular, as were most palaces of the day with colourful wall friezes some with hunts and others depicting images of the gods in reference to the many legends; a megaron with a central hearth; floors tiled with unique designs; separate chambers for the king and queen; underwater cisterns; the plan of the place was ingenious. There is speculation these buildings were influenced by the palaces on Krete, the Minoan civilisation, and you can see this in the artwork with the style of women’s fashion.
The museum on site is worth a visit and has many relics which leave you speechless. There is a model of the palace as it once stood on the akropolis which gives you a good idea of how big it was with the long causeway.
Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did writing it!