Mycenae and Agamemnon

We can assume that life for the men of Mycenae would have had a heavy focus on fighting, with men of higher status being shown as brave fighters. This is also shown through the architecture of the city, particularly the Cyclopean walls. These huge walls show a need for a defensive attitude, Which demonstrates the Mycenaean military attitude. On this dagger there is a depiction of a lion hunt, which shows that the Mycenaean hunted for sport. This further reflects the aggressive principles Of the city.

Double axe and bull motifs show a Minoan influence in Mycenaean culture. Within the graves in Grave Circle A there were many objects that had been made in Mycenae but in Minoan style. This reflects an appreciation for Minoan design and an obvious link through trade and travel between Minoan Crete and Mycenae. Later the former would be conquered by the latter. In Mycenae there would have been trading of goods from Minoan Crete and an admiration of the quenches, since they were implemented in wares produced within Mycenae.

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The graves themselves also shed light upon burial practices and status in Mycenae. The graves themselves are Shasta graves, 4 meters deep with the dead placed in a cist at the bottom along with many decadent grave goods. The Grave would sometimes be marked with a stone Stele at ground level. These Stella would be used to depict things like chariot scenes, showing the heroic nature of the deceased buried below. The grave goods showed the status of the deceased, with gold and weapons showing a higher status.

This shows that burial was not only a valued practice, but also reflected status and worth, depending on vat you were buried With. The so-called “Nester’s Cup” was a particularly important discovery for Schlemiels. His team recovered the vessel from Shaft Grave IV and Schlemiels identified it as the “Cup Of Nester” as written about in the Iliad. However the cup differs from Homers description in number of handles, the design of the birds, and size. It also is from the wrong time to have been used in the Trojan War according to some critics.

However, this didn’t discourage Schlemiels from his firm belief in the Homeric tales. This is one of the many discoveries Schlemiels made that he believed contributed to proving that the tales detail historical events. CONTROVERSIES Within a shaft grave V Schlemiels discovered a skeleton with a gold mask covering his face- a face which he believed was that of the legendary Agamemnon. However, in recent years critics have developed more and more arguments to the effect that the mask may be a hoax.

William Calder gives the following reasons for his skeptical nature towards Clansman’s find: The features of the mask are inconsistent with the other masks found; Schlemiels ad considered making fakes of the gold he found at Troy to give forgeries to give to the government; contemporaries of Schlemiels allege that he planted artifacts to later “discover” them; the excavations at both Mycenae and Troy had been closed just a few days after the discovery of the gold, suggesting that he was expecting to find these treasures and nothing else: excavations were closed for 2 days shortly before Schlemiels found the mask, what could Schlemiels have been doing; Sophia allegedly has a relative in Athens that was a goldsmith; No other Mycenaean grave has anywhere near what was discovered in shaft grave V; Schlemiels had claimed he had excavated other finds elsewhere, when it was later revealed that he had bought them. David Trail suggests that perhaps the Agamemnon mask wasn’t manufactured, but found from a later tomb. Both of his appeals for a scientific examination of the mask have been denied by the Greek authorities.

In response to Calder and Trail many argue that their claims are unfounded and lack any scholarly backing, and have their own arguments in response. They insist that Schlemiels was carefully monitored y Greek authorities throughout his excavation, which both Calder and Tribal admit to in their own publishing. Kenneth Lapin explains that the days where Calder alleged Schlemiels had time to get a mask made, were before any masks had been found yet. Although he does admit it is possible the mask may have been “enhanced” after it was discovered, Both sides of the debate present both personal opinions and insinuations mixed in with actual fact.


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