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Article

Gla  

Michael F. Lane

Gla (Mod. Gr. Γλας, ancient name unknown) is a Late Helladic fortress and likely administrative centre built on a rocky outcropping (once an island) in the north-east quarter of former Lake Copais in northern Boeotia.Gla—also occasionally “Glas” in archaeological literature—is a fortified site built on an outcropping in the north-east quarter of former Lake Copais, about 1.5 km south-east of the modern village of Kastro, formerly Topolia, Boeotia. While Kastro/Topolia has been identified with the site of Greco-Roman Copae, the ancient name of Gla is unknown, though it has been the subject of much inconclusive speculation. The modern name is derived from Arvanitic goulas (γουλάς), also the name of a locale near Evangelistria above Haliartus on the south side of the Copaic Basin (cf. Albanian kullë from Turkish kulle “tower,” particularly “watchtower”). This appellation is reported to refer particularly to the extant ruins on Gla’s summit. The site has also been called Palaiokastro (“Oldcastle”) in modern times. The nearest village’s Slavic place name Topolia (“Poplar Place”) was officially abolished in the mid-.

Article

Tiryns  

Joseph Maran

The strongly fortified acropolis of Mycenaean Tiryns is situated about 1.5 kilometres from the present coast of the Bay of Nauplion (but only about five hundred metres in the Early Bronze Age and one kilometre in the Late Bronze Age), where it perches on a narrow, rocky outcrop that reaches a height of up to twenty-eight metres above sea level (Fig. 1). The hill slopes from south to north, a topographic feature used during the Mycenaean period to create a division into an upper citadel, a middle citadel, and a lower citadel by demarcating the limits of the different parts of the hill with strong, supporting walls. The acropolis was surrounded by an extensive settlement, the lower town, whose size during the different phases of occupation is still difficult to determine.Because of its impressive appearance, the identification of the site as ancient Tiryns was never disputed, which is why the site very early on attracted the attention of travellers and archaeologists. The remains of the last Mycenaean palace on the upper citadel were largely uncovered in 1884 and 1885 by Heinrich Schliemann and Wilhelm Dörpfeld.

Article

Louise Hitchcock

The term “Sea People” is a modern designation for some nine tribes known from Egyptian, Hittite, Ugaritic, and biblical texts. Their origins are uncertain, but they are associated with maritime activity that contributed to the destruction of many city-states in the Mediterranean during the era known as the Late Bronze–Iron Age transition. An outcome of this activity was the collapse or destruction of many Bronze Age sites and an emergence of new cultures.One of the great remaining mysteries in Mediterranean archaeology is understanding the identities of the Sea People and their role in contributing to the end of the Bronze Age (c.1200bce). This era of collapse was followed by a new Age of Iron that saw the emergence of the classical Greeks, biblical Israelites, and Romans. The term Sea People is misleading as it is a modern category first used in the 19th century to refer to a collection of different tribal groups wreaking havoc around the Mediterranean. Their tribal names include Denyen, Ekwesh, Lukka, Peleset, Shekelesh or Tjeker, Shardanu, Teresh, Meshwesh, and Weshesh. The origins of some of these groups are associated with particular places in the minds of many (for example, many of the authors in the bibliography and even myself), whereas the origins of others are completely uncertain or continue to be debated. Their names also have variant spellings, based on their being attested in different languages including, chiefly, Egyptian, but also .

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

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

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

Guy D. Middleton

Around 1200 bce, the Mycenaean palace centres of mainland Greece and Crete were destroyed along with, presumably, the states they governed; key aspects of palatial culture that had developed over the preceding two centuries, such as writing and administration, were lost or rejected. Although there was rebuilding at some sites, such as Tiryns, the style was different from the preceding age, which suggests an ideological shift and likely a weakening of central authority. Elsewhere, in Messenia, there was no rebuilding at Pylos palace, and the landscape appears depopulated. Many explanations for the collapse have been proposed, from migration and climate change to plague and shifts in trade; the continued disagreement over what happened and why demonstrates the difficulty of arriving at an unambiguous conclusion from the available evidence. Mycenaean culture continued for more than a century after the collapse, but the features associated with palaces and kings disappeared.The collapse.

Article

Shelley Wachsmann

During the Bronze Age, ships and seafaring capabilities transformed the Mediterranean and Red Seas from insurmountable barriers to highways over which cultures communicated for a variety of reasons. Watercraft were essential to the development of maritime cultures in the Bronze Age. Our knowledge of these vessels derives primarily from contemporaneous iconography, but also from remains of the actual vessels and from texts. Each culture developed ships and boats that best suited their individual needs based on the availability of materials and local traditions.Ships and boats played a pivotal role in the Bronze Age Mediterranean, both on inland waterways and at sea. Virtually everything made or used by humans travelled in some way by watercraft, which allowed cultures to interact over vast distances through exploration, trade, warfare, piracy, and migration. Acquiring copper and tin was of primary importance, and in the late 2nd millennium bce the shape of some ingots, termed “oxhide ingots,” was particularly suited for ship transportation. Militarily, ships could be used as mobile fighting platforms during battles, but more commonly they served for coastal raiding and as naval transports for men and supplies. It is impossible to understand the Mediterranean Bronze Age world without taking into consideration the influence of .