On the Trail in Greece: Mycenaean Civilization at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens

By Catherine Tsounis

The Mycenaean exhibition at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens contains the richest and most important finds of its kind. Guide Antony Fragopoulos from a 2016 tour of classical Greece with his driver George and Matina Choutala with his driver Kosta from a 2015 Macedonian tour sponsored by Dolphin Hellas, Athens was the motivation to visit the museum. Descriptions of the exhibit reveal that “treasures are rich in gold. Its influence extended from Asia Minor, the Middle East and Egypt to the western Mediterranean and northwestern Europe. The Minoan civilization of Crete, which was at its peak in the 16e century BC deeply, influenced the development of Mycenaean culture. Together they constitute the first two great European civilizations … a ruling class of warriors with the king at the top have preserved records written on clay tablets in linear script, the earliest Greek script.

“The collapse occurred at the end of the 13e century BC, shortly after the Trojan War. The possible causes are social upheavals, weakening of economies due to the migrations of the “peoples of the sea” in the Mediterranean which destroyed the centers of Asia and the Middle East, and serious earthquakes by excavations. archaeological.1

After seeing Mycenae with the Cyclopedian Wall, Tombs and Beehive Tombs of the Treasury of Atreus, a visit to the National Archaeological Museum improves understanding of Argolida (land of the Mycenaeans). The ritual vessels at Grave Circle A have bull heads. It is the influence of the Cretan workshops. The bull symbolizes vital power and fertility. The frescoes are similar in Knossos, Crete. The women’s gold of Grave Circle A shows tiaras, gold floral ornaments, pendants and precious items.

A unique plaster female head, probably a goddess, from the Acropolis of Mycenae is one of the few examples of monumental Mycenaean plaster art. The oval face, large expressive eyes, and long nose are facial features seen in today’s Greek woman. Take a good look at the modern woman of Mycenae. A person is transported to the women of 15e century Mycenae.

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The most famous artifact in Grave Circle A is the death mask. Some call it the “Mask of Agamemnon”. At c is the largest known Mycenaean ring. A procession of lion-headed demons holding libation jugs, heading towards an enthroned goddess is depicted. The ring is from 15e century. The ruins of Mycenae and the Golden Treasure of Schliemann are more impressive than the ruins of the marble columns a thousand years later.

Mycenaean excursion led by guide Antony Fragopoulos from my 2016 tour of classical Greece sponsored by Dolphin Hellas, Athens was impressive. Classic places don’t change. Guides, bus drivers and tour participants project a new attitude. The intense enthusiasm of the Florence Italy group with the lively and bilingual English / Italian guide Antony awakens a new way of looking at Mycenae, by visiting the Museum of Athens. “The National Archaeological Museum of Athens is the best in Greece,” said my 2015 guide Matina. She was right.

The references

1 https://goo.gl/photos/2jDNZpqVZN1MATW39 – album with descriptions and photos of the museum


Photo 1 – Gold from the women of Grave Circle A.

Photo 2- Grave Circle A has bull heads.

Photo 3 – Gold from the women of Grave Circle A.

Photo 4 – Death masks.

Photo 5 – Head of a woman in plaster, probably a Goddess.

Photo 6 – Head of a woman in plaster, probably a Goddess.

Photo 7 – Frescoes.

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