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Article

John Kinloch Anderson

In the funeral games for *Patroclus the chariot-race is the premier event (Hom.Il. 23. 262–538). The heroes drive two-horse chariots normally used in battle over an improvised cross-country course, round a distant mark and home again. Similar funeral games for other heroes are recorded; and heroes as well as gods were remembered at the Panhellenic festivals. Malicious ghosts (Taraxippoi, ‘horse-frighteners’) sometimes panicked the horses. But, despite the story of the race by which *Pelops won his bride and kingdom (see hippodamia), equestrian events were not the oldest in the historic Olympia festival (see olympian games). *Pausanias (5. 8. 7–8) records the introduction of four-horse chariots in the 25th Olympiad (680 bce); of ridden horses in the 33rd; and of other equestrian events at irregular intervals thereafter. Regular hippodromes were now used. No material remains survive; but literary evidence (e.g. Soph.

Article

horses  

John Kinloch Anderson

The present state of the evidence indicates that the horse was domesticated on the Ukrainian steppe during the neolithic period. It was known in *Mesopotamia during the third millennium bce and early bronze age horse-bones have been found in *Macedonia. Shortly before the middle of the second millennium horse-drawn war-chariots were widely used in the near east, including Eighteenth-Dynasty *Egypt. Chariots are represented in the art of Grave Circle A at *Mycenae, and horse-bones were found in abundance at Troy VI. In the *Cnossus Linear B tablets (see mycenaean language) horses and chariots are associated with armour; the vocabulary (i-qo, horse; po-ro, foal) is *Indo-European. See minoan and mycenaean civilization. Mounted men are rarely shown in Egyptian and Mycenaean art; it is at least clear that bronze age horses were capable of bearing riders, and the reasons why chariotry precedes cavalry are disputed. In the Old Testament, kings continue to ride in chariots long after the appearance of ‘horsemen riding upon horses’, and the art of the Assyrian New Kingdom shows the gradual development of cavalry during the early iron age, with Scythian influence becoming evident in the 7th cent. bce.

Article

Ilion  

Charles Brian Rose

The name of Ilion is generally applied to the site of Troy to designate the settlement in existence there following the end of the Bronze Age. After the destruction of Troy (VIIb2) in the mid-11th century bce, probably by an earthquake, a few of the buildings were repaired but the town was not systematically rebuilt as in earlier periods. Some of the Protogeometric pottery uncovered at the site is paralleled in mainland Greece, especially in and around Euboea, Phocis, and Macedonia, so Ilion was clearly still part of an Aegean trade network at this time.1The fortunes of the city began to rise again during the late 9th and early 8th centuries bce, when there was new construction in the West Sanctuary, a complex on the southwest side of the citadel mound. One of the ruined Late Bronze Age structures in the sanctuary was rebuilt with benches inside and out, as well as a stone base that may have supported a cult image (Figures 1 and 2).

Article

Iolcus  

O. T. P. K. Dickinson

Historical Iolcus (mod. Volos) is situated on the northern shore of the bay of Volos, sheltered by Mt. *Pelion, but there is strong reason to believe that Mycenaean Iolcus centred on the site of Dhimini, which is now inland but may well have been close to a now silted-up inlet of the bay. Dhimini was a substantial site in the late neolithic period, but the high mound of Kastro or Palia, in the west of modern Volos, may have been more important in the earlier stages of the bronze age, and there are Mycenaean tholos tombs to the west (at Kapakli) and north (at Kazanaki) of Volos, the latter intact and having inscribed signs on its lintel. However, there is evidence of a whole Mycenaean township of the 14th and 13th cents. bce on the flat ground to the east and south-east of the Dhimini mound, with which two fine tholos tombs of comparable date can be associated. Several substantial buildings flanking a street have been uncovered; the most significant is a complex of many rooms that has ‘palatial' features, including likely ceremonial rooms, storage rooms, and workshops; among the finds are a stone slab (a weight?) and clay kylix incised with Linear B signs. This complex was destroyed, partly by fire, around 1200 bce, and reoccupation was only partial and short-lived.

Article

ivory  

John Boardman and Michael Vickers

Ivory (ἐλέφας, ebur), a material derived from the tusk of the Asiatic or African *elephant or the tooth of the hippopotamus. Capable of being carved in the round, or in relief, used as inlay, as a veneer, turned on a lathe, or even moulded, ivory was a multi-purpose commodity that was imported into the Mediterranean from North Africa and the Levant. The Old Persian for the Nile delta meant ‘The Tusks’. There were flourishing schools of ivory-working in bronze age Crete (see minoan civilization), but many ‘Minoan’ statuettes in museums outside Greece are suspected forgeries. Rich finds of ivory inlays at *Nimrud, Arslan Tash, and other near-eastern sites have echoes in ivory objects found at *Ephesus, *Samos, *Delphi, and in *Laconia. At all periods, *furniture was decorated with ivory plaques. Ivory was used for the flesh parts of cult statues (e.g. Phidias' chryselephantine *Athena Parthenos and his *Zeus at *Olympia), and for temple doors.

Article

Robin Osborne

Traces of regular division of settlement space have been found even in Dark-Age Zagora on *Andros. Some early Greek colonies (see colonization, greek), notably *Megara Hyblaea, show a degree of planning in the organization of urban space in strips along major arterial streets, and in the reservation of an area for a communal *agora. Many Archaic foundations show a grid of rectangular blocks divided by large streets, although in some colonies (e.g. *Selinus, *Himera) the imposition of a regular street plan was subsequent to the initial settlement. In Greece proper, an Archaic (6th cent.) grid is now attested at *Halieis.The more or less ordered subdivisions of urban space in colonial foundations probably had a social and political correlate in the approximately equal status of colonial settlers. This is explicit in inscriptions about the setting up of colonies in the Classical period, where equal division is extended to the countryside also (e.g. Syll.

Article

Irene Lemos

Lefkandi is located on the west coast of Euboea between Chalcis and Eretria. Its ancient name is unknown. The settlement is situated on Xeropolis, a peninsula between two harbours, while Early Iron Age cemeteries—dated from the late 11th to the end of the 9th centuries bce—have been discovered on a hill in close proximity. Xeropolis was occupied since the Early Bronze Age and was a major Middle Bronze Age site. It is, however, during the Post-Palatial period (12th century bce) and the Early Iron Age that the site evinced its most well known period before its final abandonment around 700bce.Xeropolis was remarkably thriving in the middle of the 12th century bce. Compared with other contemporary sites, it was enormous (some 10 hectares or more). The character of the settlement was “proto-urban” and benefited by its maritime activities and close contacts with other sites within and outside the Aegean.

Article

O. T. P. K. Dickinson

Lerna: the ‘House of the Tiles’, Greek site south of *Argos (1), a fine example of the early Helladic II ‘corridor house’ type, now widely identified (J. W. Shaw, AJArch. 1987, 59 ff.). It is large (25×12 m.: 82×39 ft.), two-storeyed, regularly planned with central, axially arranged rooms between corridors, and roofed with clay and schist tiles. Among the finds were groups of clay sealings for jars, boxes, and baskets, suggesting that it had held considerable stores. Such buildings probably had important functions, but their nature is still disputed (Cullen, 111 ff.).

Article

Ester Salgarella

Linear A is a Bronze Age (c. 1800–1450 bce) script attested primarily on Crete but also sporadically in the Aegean islands, mainland Greece, and Asia Minor. Typologically it is classified as a logo-syllabary since it consists of signs representing both syllables (syllabograms) and real-world referents (logograms/ideograms). To date, the script, which was used to write the still poorly understood Minoan language, remains undeciphered. Linear A seems to have been used for both administrative and cultic purposes: incised clay documents (tablets, roundels, and sealings) were used in palace administration to record economic transactions, while inscribed carved-stone and metal objects and painted clay vessels have been found in non-administrative contexts, mostly cultic or utilitarian. There is no evidence of Linear A’s use in monumental inscriptions, diplomatic correspondence, historiography, or other forms of literature. Still, Linear A is likely to have been used for writing on perishable material (papyrus or parchment) as well, although no examples have survived. Although the script remains undeciphered, some information—place names, personal names, names for commodities, and terms for various sorts of transaction—can still be gleaned from the available texts. Nevertheless, the nature of our evidence (short formulaic inscriptions with limited syntax), the relatively small number of inscriptions that have survived, and their often poor state of preservation significantly hamper our understanding of the language.

Article

Dimitri Nakassis

Linear B is a script used to write the Greek language during the palatial period of Mycenaean civilization, c. 1400–1200 bce. It employed 87 syllabic and 143 logographic signs written from left to right. The vast majority of Linear B texts take the form of clay tablets, labels, and sealings that were used by palatial administrators to record diverse transactions. The other major document type is the inscribed stirrup jar, a coarse transport vessel with short texts painted before firing. Major deposits of Linear B texts are located at palatial sites on the Greek mainland and Crete, especially at Pylos and Cnossus. The texts are entirely administrative in nature and are therefore silent on historical events, but they shed light on many aspects of the Late Bronze Age world, especially economy, society, religion, and of course language and writing itself.Linear B is a Late Bronze Age script that was used to write documents in the Greek .

Article

James Whitley

The Laconian shrine of Helen and Menelaus at ancient Therapne from c.700bce occupied a commanding position facing Mt. Taygetus on a spur high above the Eurotas, 2.5 kilometres (1.5 miles) south-east of the Spartan Acropolis. Epigraphy confirms that the principal figure venerated in the earliest phase was Helen (Hdt. 6.61.3), though both Menelaus and the Dioscuri (Pind. Nem. 10.56) are attested.1 Only later writers (Polyb. 5.18.3; 5.18.10; 5.21.1; Livy 34.28.7) refer to the Menelaion. Whether Helen and Menelaus were worshipped here ‘as gods’ (Isoc. 10.63) or at their place of burial as heroes (Paus. 3.19.9) is disputed; if as heroes, this would be the earliest attested example of a cult to named heroes from the Epic (Trojan War) cycle. Archaeological investigation began with Ludwig Ross in 1833. Greek and British archaeologists,2 most recently H. W. and R. Catling,3 have uncovered a rich series of principally Archaic votive deposits (local Laconian painted pottery, bronzes, and lead and terracotta figurines).

Article

O. T. P. K. Dickinson, Arthur Maurice Woodward, Robert J. Hopper, and Antony Spawforth

The SW region of the Peloponnese (see Peloponnesus), bounded on the north by *Elis—along the lower course of the river Neda—and *Arcadia, and on the east by *Laconia, where the frontier follows at first the main ridge of Taygetus, but further south runs to the west of it (here lay the ager Dentheliatis, long disputed between *Messene and *Sparta), and terminates at the river Choerius a few miles south of the head of the Messenian Gulf. Western Messenia, dominated by Mt. Aegaleos, is hilly but well watered, with settlements concentrated on the coast. In Classical times the central and eastern region watered by the (partly navigable) river Pamisus was more populous; this area was well known for stockraising (Strabo 8. 5. 6, 366), and the lower plain, Macaria, was famous for its fertility.Survey work (see archaeology, classical) has provided a wealth of information on prehistoric Messenia, demonstrating that for much of the bronze age eastern Messenia was less significant than the western region, where the majority of important sites have been found. Neolithic finds remain scanty, but major early Helladic II buildings have been identified at Akovitika (near mod. Kalamata) and Voïdhokoilia (near Osmanaga lagoon). The later prehistoric sequence is best known from Nichoria, close to Rizomylo at the NW edge of the Messenian Gulf, which was occupied for the middle and most of the late Helladic periods, and again for much of the Dark Age. Middle Helladic Messenia has a markedly local character, without much evidence for contacts with the Aegean civilizations, but several of its more substantial settlements seem to have become the centres of small early Mycenaean principalities, to judge from the distribution of tholos-tombs, a type probably first developed in this province (early examples at .

Article

Sandra Blakely

The story of metallurgy in ancient Greece spans five millennia and a geographic range reaching from the Greek colonies in the west to Anatolia and the Levant. An interdisciplinary effort, its study engages archaeological fieldwork, historical texts, and scientific analyses, and has moved from social evolutionary models through Marxist, processual, and post-processual frameworks. Metallurgical innovation and invention are productive loci for the investigation of historical change and emerging complexity. Three case studies—the transition from native ores to smelting, the emergence of bronze, and the spread of iron technology—foreground the entanglement of metallurgy with ecological strategies, maritime and overland mobility, the status of the crafter, and elite and non-elite control of production. Deterministic paradigms and models based on revolutionary innovations are yielding to more nuanced frameworks of gradual change, tempered by insights from ethnoarchaeology and from new excavations which shed fresh light on the cultural meanings of metallurgy among both metalworkers and patrons.

Article

John Bennet

Minoan civilization, the bronze age civilization of *Crete (c.3500–1100 bce). See also religion, minoan and mycenaean. The term ‘Minoan’ (after the legendary *Minos) was coined by Sir Arthur Evans to distinguish the prehistoric culture of Crete revealed in his excavations beginning in 1900 at the site of *Cnossus (Κνωσσός) from the *Mycenaean civilization revealed by Schliemann on the Greek mainland. Evans, using the pottery styles found at Cnossus divided the civilization into three phases, early, middle, and late Minoan (EM, MM, LM), a scheme subsequently refined to produce complex subdivisions (e.g. EM IIA, LM IIIA1), although a simpler tripartite division into pre-Palatial, Palatial (subdivided into proto- and neo-Palatial), and post-Palatial better reflects cultural developments. The absolute chronology of prehistoric Crete, established through connections with the ‘historical’ chronology of Egypt, has been refined using radiocarbon dating techniques together with tree-ring calibration. Chief among the refinements are the dates for the earliest permanent settlers on the island (c.

Article

Minyans  

Andrew Robert Burn and Antony Spawforth

Minyans (Μινύαι), the descendants of *Minyas, an Ur-Greek population-group believed in Classical times to have inhabited Aegean lands in the heroic age (see dryops; pelasgians), with centres at *Orchomenus (1) and *Iolcus. Western Peloponnesian communities of so-called Minyans existed in the lifetime of Herodotus (4. 148). In myth they appear outside the mainland mainly linked to the itinerary of the Minyan *Argonauts (Teos, Lemnos, Cyrene, etc.

Article

Mycenae  

Kim Shelton

Mycenae is a fortified palatial citadel located in the NE Peloponnese of mainland Greece that was occupied primarily during the Late Bronze Age. Its name is used for the Mycenaean culture of the mainland and for the relevant period, also known as Late Helladic. Mycenae was the largest, wealthiest, and probably most important palatial center on the mainland controlling a region surrounding it full of exploited natural and agricultural resources. Excavated almost continuously since the late 19th century, it is known for monumental architecture, the Cyclopean walls, the Lion Gate, and the beehive Tholos tombs, for the production of high-quality materials such as decorative ivories and painted pottery, and as the home of the legendary king Agamemnon.Mycenae occupies a limestone hill, flanked by ravines and low mountains to north and south, situated at the north-east edge of the Peloponnesian plain of Argos. It is uniquely situated to dominate all the area it oversees and exploit upland pastures, lowland fields, and routes to and from the shore approximately eight miles to the south. Mycenae is most commonly recognized as the home of legendary king .

Article

Jeremy Rutter

Mycenaean civilization takes its name from the hilltop citadel of Mycenae in the Argolid, celebrated in Homer’s epics as “rich in gold” and the capital of Agamemnon. In 1876, Heinrich Schliemann, fresh from his excavations at Troy, which in his view had established the historical reality of the Greeks’ legendary siege and sack of that city, unearthed five astonishingly rich tombs at Mycenae and claimed them to contain the burials of Agamemnon and his followers, thus inaugurating the study of Greece’s Late Bronze Age (LBA) past. One and a half centuries of subsequent fieldwork have exposed the remains of hundreds of settlements and thousands of tombs characterized by the distinctive material culture termed Mycenaean that flourished for over six centuries (c. 1700–1050 bce). This lengthy duration of the mainland Greek LBA (better known as the Late Helladic [LH] or Mycenaean era) is conventionally subdivided into three major stages of development: pre-palatial or early Mycenaean (LH I–IIB; c.

Article

Jack L. Davis and Sharon R. Stocker

Mycenaean Pylos is identified with the prehistoric site of Epano Englianos, north-east of the Bay of Navarino. First excavated by Carl Blegen and Konstantinos Kourouniotis in 1939, continuation of explorations in the 1950s and 1960s by Blegen and Marion Rawson uncovered the complete remains of a Mycenaean palatial complex of the 13th century bce. Recent fieldwork has shed additional light on the earlier history of the settlement and its development as a Bronze Age state, as well as its mortuary landscape, including tholos tombs, chamber tombs, and the grave of the “Griffin Warrior.” The settlement at Epano Englianos is the most important Mycenaean site in the western Peloponnese and served as an important and early conduit for the introduction of goods and concepts to the Greek mainland from Minoan Crete. The palatial complex was destroyed by fire c. 1180 bce. Causes for the destruction remain undetermined. It was later remembered in the poems of Homer as the seat of King Nestor.

Article

Gail L. Hoffman

Orientalizing has two primary uses in studies about ancient Mediterranean society: as an art historical or archaeological phase designation (the Orientalizing period) and as a general label of cultural interactions (similar to Hellenizing or Romanizing). Both uses have received strong criticism and calls for abandonment of the term. The Orientalizing period (the later 8th and 7th centuries bce) marks a time when borrowed eastern imagery, artistic technologies, and cultural practices were being appropriated, adapted, and incorporated into local cultures in the Aegean, central, and western Mediterranean. Sustained analysis of this material culture has provided greater understanding of the dynamics of these interactions and, more importantly, has led to exploration of the uses these borrowings and adaptations served within local communities. Many recent art and archaeology survey books (possibly reacting to critique of the term) no longer include an Orientalizing period, subsuming it into the Greek Archaic period. Orientalizing (a term similar to Hellenizing and Romanizing) sometimes describes a broader and more sustained interaction. Problems in implied agency and assumptions embedded in this term as revealed in critiques of orientalism have led to challenges about its efficacy.

Article

palaces  

Kim Shelton

The term palace may be defined as a grand residence or home for a head of state, royal, or high-ranking dignitary. Usually applied to the large houses of the European aristocracy, “palace” is equivalent to palazzo in Italian and palais in Old French, both of which derive from the Latin palātium, residence of the emperor. The designation developed from the location of imperial residences in Rome on the Palatine Hill. In the later Roman Empire, imperial residences were increasingly constructed outside of Rome as well. The term palace is used also by scholars to label the royal residences of the rulers of Macedonia and of the Hellenistic kingdoms; in Greek, these residences were called anaktora, as were the monumental central structures of Minoan Crete and the Mycenaean Greek mainland during the Bronze Age.Beginning with the House of Augustus (Suet. Aug. 72.1) (41/40–36bce), one of many wealthy houses on the .