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Ancient Greece during the Mycenaean's Time.

Updated on May 2, 2016

Abstract

Ancient Greece had many prominent ages. I have chosen to research the Bronze Age, especially the later part of this era. The Mycenaean’s were the prominent civilization of the time. They seemed to outlast both the Cyclades and the Minoans. The Mycenaean’s influence was a far-reaching one. While little is known about their religious beliefs and practices it is known that they placed importance on communal feasts, animal sacrifices and offerings of foodstuff. They believed in the importance of a proper burial. The ritual itself was very important to them as shown thru their prominent gravesites and the precious adornments they would have upon them. So while the particulars of their religion may not be exactly known it is shown that they displayed religious rituals during their burial ceremonies.

During this era, as with many of the time, culture and tradition were passed orally. The stories of the deities were passed from generation to generation thru story telling. The stories would eventually be written down which helped to preserve these amazing works of art and literature.

As with other ancient societies the Mycenaean’s were no different in that they too had social class division. The classes could be derived from what goods were found buried in their graves. The class division showed that there was a strong ruling class and a lower class of more common people. This is a common occurrence in most cultures, both past and present. The economy of the time was a bipartite system of working. The system was comprised of two groups of people. One of the groups worked in the palace for the rulers while the other group was workers that were self-employed. Interestingly those who worked in the palace were still allowed to own their own businesses if they wanted. In this economy the scribes allotted work and distributed rations.

The interrelationship between architecture and society has long been recognized between archaeologist and social theorists. The architecture of the Mycenaean’s is revealing. Their architecture was complex and often displayed very unique developments along with common features. The complexes were built around a central hall or large rectangle. The palace complex was fortified with a wall of large blocks that are believed to have been placed there by the Cyclopes given their enormous size. These tall walls worked to keep the interior structure safe. They Mycenaean’s also incorporated other architectural structures into their designs such as bridges made from roughly-hewn blocks and damns that helped to manage floods. It seems that floods were a major part of the Ancient Greek culture. They showed their knowledge and strength in the grand palaces that they built and fortified.

The Mycenaean’s of the late Bronze Age were considered a warrior culture. They had a military and it was always prepared to go to battle. They were ready to defend their city or to protect their treasures and wealth within their walls.

In my research of this society it became apparent that women had no autonomy. Women seem to be thought of as child bearers and caregivers but not much else. Some of the women in these epic stories show that they had no autonomy against their men. Case in point is Helen in The Iliad. She forsakes her husband Menelaus because another man, Paris, told her to. Then towards the end of the story she makes it clear that she is just waiting until Menelaus comes to take her back. She never appeared took actions towards her own ideas and desires. This is the example that many women displayed in the late Bronze Age. Maybe they had become so use to following the demands of the Gods and Goddess’s that they no longer revolt against anyone not even human men.

All of this combines to give us a very clear picture of what the late Bronze Age was like. It also showed us what Mycenaean society consisted of. They were a strong resilient people who looked to their God’s and Goddess’s for protection and in return they honored them.

Prospectus

I chose to research Zeus during the late Bronze Age. Zeus, King of the Gods, was more fair and just than most of the other Gods and Goddesses. Zeus’s temperament was described as a “carefree god who loved to laugh out loud”. He is revered as fair, just, prudent, wise and merciful. But he is also considered to be unpredictable when it comes to decisions, leaving others unable to guess what his decision will be. Zeus is considered to be the mediator of the other immortals when they are at odds with each other. Despite his fair and just behavior he is also quick to temper when he feels wronged. His temper and rage could have very destructive consequences. While he could exact discipline when he felt it was owed he was still fair to those he ruled over. Zeus gained the name “the lord of justice” from Hesiod. This is probably because he was very reluctant to join a side in regards to the Trojan War. Even though he preferred the Trojans, he did his best to remain neutral. This was probably because his wife Hera openly and loudly preferred the Greeks. She could be insufferable to anyone who opposed her directly. Ares was another God who was prone to changing his loyalties during a war. His reason for this was because it brought him joy to see others fighting. The Goddess Aphrodite and the God Eris both showed how unfair they could be on several occasions. The most notable would be when Aphrodite promised Paris he could have Helen for his bride if he chose her against Athena and Hera. Aphrodite did this even though Helen was already the wife of Menelaus. In my research I have learned that all of the Gods and Goddess could be kind or unkind. I fell that Zeus was more consistent in his demeanor during this era than some of the other deities.

Annotated Bibliography

"Zeus • Facts and Information on Greek God of the Sky Zeus." Greek Gods & Goddesses. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2016. <http://greekgodsandgoddesses.net/gods/zeus/>.

This website is dedicated to Greek Gods and Goddess’s. This particular page of it is dedicated to Zeus. It is filled with lots of great resources about Zeus. I like how they have a sculpture of Zeus with his bolt. The layout of the website was easy for me to navigate and use.

This resource really helped me to get an accurate picture of how Zeus was in this era. It had a lot of great information about him and many of the other deities that I needed to research. When I can research more than one deity on one site it is very useful. This resource was a primary source for my research. The site looks valid and specializes in the Greek deities.

"Greek Mythology." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2016. <http://www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/greek-mythology>.

This website is part of the history channel. This particular page was dedicated to Greek Mythology. It talks about the sources for Greek mythology and the Olympians themselves. The page broke down Greek Mythology and culture into very understandable terms for me. It talked about how unlike other cultures the Greek culture maintained it tradition by orally passing stories from generation to generation. It also provides a quick breakdown of the main Olympians. The resource also provided valuable information about how Greek mythology does not just show case stories about the gods and goddesses but also the human heroes like Achilles. It also talked about the large impact that Greek culture has had throughout the past and present on many areas such as literature and art. The page has links to other ancient Greek pages.

This page did not offer as much in terms of graphic images but it did have some videos and a few were pertinent to my research. This page had a great break down and video about the Olympians that I found very useful. This source helped me understand why so many deities were the main character and had no introduction. Given the time these stories were told the characters did not need an introduction since those listening already knew them well. This resource was a secondary source for me and I considered it valid since it was on the history.com website.

“Instead, the earliest Greek myths were part of an oral tradition that began in the Bronze Age, and their plots and themes unfolded gradually in the written literature of the archaic and classical periods”.

"History of Greece: Bronze Age." History of Greece: Bronze Age. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2016. <http://ancient-greece.org/history/bronze-age.html>.

This website was dedicated to Ancient Greece and had many links to explore. This website provided the framework about many ages including the Bronze Age. This site had a timeline as well as many images that helped me with my research. It gave me a resource to see how life was during this era for the people. It went into detail about the rise and fall of the Mycenaean’s. It broke down and detailed the three civilizations of the Bronze Age. All of this helped to give me a good reference for the people.

This page had a lot of concise and pertinent information in terms of my research. The only downfall I had was it was hard to tell if the images were or were not pertinent to my research. I liked exploring the many images on the site even if they were not pertinent it helped give me a sense of ancient Greece. This resource was a secondary source for my research. It is a valid source since it came from the site dedicated to ancient Greece.

“ Either by fortune or force, the Mycenaeans outlasted both the people of Cyclades and the Minoans, and by the end of the 10th c”.

"Mycenaean Civilization." Ancient History Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2016. <http://www.ancient.eu/Mycenaean_Civilization/>.

This website is an encyclopedia page from the ancient history site. This site defines Mycenaean civilization. They were the prominent civilization that flourished in the late Bronze Age. This site contained many images that really helped me with my understanding of the culture. By seeing pieces of their culture like pottery, weaponry and jewelry it helped me to get a more complete idea about them as a society.

This website contained pertinent information about the Mycenaean civilization. This resource gave me an in depth view of the civilization which helped me to better understand the cultures and traditions of the time. By understand the civilization it better helps me understand the deities that they worship and why. This was a primary source for my research. Its authority is valid since it was from the ancient history encyclopedia site.

“It is clear that burial was an important ritual as evidenced by the presence of monumental tholos tombs, prominent grave sites and the quantity of precious objects which were buried with the dead - golden masks, diadems, jewellery and ceremonial swords and daggers”.

"MYCENAEAN AGE (600 - 1100 BC)." Ancient Greece. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2016. <http://www.ancientgreece.com/s/Mycenaean/>.

This website contained a complete breakdown of the culture for the Mycenaean Age. It showed how daily life was for the people of this society. This resource really helped to give me an accurate idea of what life was like. The site had several links to many time periods in ancient Greek history.

This site helped give me a better understanding of the culture and traditions of the late Bronze Age. I wish that the font on the page had of been spaced more since I had some trouble reading it. I like the breakdown of topics on the page as they help you find what you are looking for. This page encompassed a lot of information that was relevant to my research of the ear. This page was a primary source for my research. I think it had valid authority given the amount of detail the page had.

“the Mycenaeans built grand palaces and fortified citadels, with administrative and political powers firmly under royal authority”.

Olsen, Barbara A. "Women, Children And The Family In Late Aegean Bronze Age: Differences In Minoan And Mycenaean.." World Archaeology 29.3 (1998): 380. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Mar. 2016.

http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?sid=4c61c51e-40b1-46d6-a114-cbc868b41fc9%40sessionmgr120&vid=12&hid=110&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=427205&db=a9h

This journal article talks about women, children and the family during the late Bronze Age. It also points out differences between the Minoan and Mycenaean cultures. It was interesting to see that one major difference between them was their depiction of women. Minoan culture did not idealize women as child nurturers while the Mycenaean’s did. This resource helped me to see that women were still in a sense looked down upon in this time and considered to be keepers of the home and children.

The article was an interesting read. It helped me get more information on the Mycenaean culture, which ultimately helped me form a basis for what the culture was like. For the most part much of the information was not directly useful in my research but still very intriguing to read. This source was a secondary resource for my paper. Its authority is valid since it came from the EBSCO and was originally published in World Archaeology.

"Feminist Ideology in Homer's Iliad and McLaughlin's Helen." Feminist Ideology in Homer's Iliad and McLaughlin's Helen. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2016. <https://www.academia.edu/7775933/Feminist_Ideology_in_Homers_Iliad_and_McLaughlins_Helen>.

This is a paper that details the idea of whether a feminist Helen could have worked in the Iliad. It was a great resource for researching the feminist theory in mythology. It compared Helen from the Iliad and showed how she did not display feminist behaviors. It was helpful to see a comparison of how the women could have acted but did not.

This paper had a lot of very interesting information and ideas. It was interesting to read how in some versions of the story Helen’s servant seemed to be pushing her towards taking action rather than being passive. This was a secondary source for my research. The paper’s authority is valid. It was an academic paper published on academia.

PANTOU, PANAGIOTA A., PAPANTOU@BUFFALO.EDU. "An Architectural Perspective On Social Change And Ideology In Early Mycenaean Greece." American Journal Of Archaeology 118.3 (2014): 369-400. Humanities Source. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.

This academic journal article covered many aspects of the Mycenaean civilizations. It showed the correlation between architecture and society in the Mycenaean culture. It talks about how architecture is a durable form of a culture and it stands to show the social, political, ideological and symbolic expression.

This source was great way for me to see how the architecture played such a major role in this society. This article showed how the architecture not only shaped the environment but also how it shaped the society and culture. This was a primary source for my research. The paper’s authority is valid since it is an academic journal article published in the American Journal of Archaeology.

Conclusion

I had a lot of great results with my web searches that involved Greece in the late Bronze Age. I also found my main source about Zeus when I searched “Fair and just Zeus”. I found Owl Purdue to be a great resource and it helped me tremendously in formulating my citations. I also found great use in the EBSCO link on the school website. I like this feature since it provides approved and useful sources.

Ancient Greece Map

Source

Modern Greece map

Source

POP QUIZ

In Greek Mythology Zeus was the ruler of the gods. He was also a prominent god in Roman Mythology. What did the Romans call him?

See results

More about Ancient Greece.

Ancient Greece: A Journey Back in Time (Lost Treasures of the Ancient World)
Ancient Greece: A Journey Back in Time (Lost Treasures of the Ancient World)

Movie featuring new location footage, stylish period reconstructions, ground-breaking 3D graphics, and animation sequences. With interpretations and analyses by the world's leading authorities including Dr. John Bennet of the Institute of Archaeology, Oxford and Dr. Chris Pelling of University College, Oxford.

 

More about Mycenaeans.

Legacy of Ancient Civilizations - The Mycenaeans
Legacy of Ancient Civilizations - The Mycenaeans

There were many interesting and important civilizations in the Mediterranean region in ancient times, but the Mycenaeans were especially fortunate in one way. Their legends and deeds became the subjects of the finest works of literature to be handed down from antiquity -- Homer's Iliad and Odyssey and the dramas of the great Greek playwrights.

 

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