The Bronze Age in Greece Satellite image of Europe and Asia • What and where is Greece? • Where do the Greeks and Greek language come from? Timeline • • • • • • • • • • • Early Bronze Age: 3000-2100 BCE Middle Bronze Age: 2100-1600 BCE Late Bronze Age: 1600-1200 BCE Dark Age: 1200-800 BCE Archaic Period: 800-500 BCE Classical Period: 500-323 BCE Hellenistic Period: 323-30 BCE Roman Period: 30 BCE-476 CE Byzantine Period: 324-1453 CE Ottoman Rule: 1453-1821 CE Modern Greece: 1821-present Greek language and its speakers • Indo-European group of languages • 2100-1900 BCE influx through South Balkans of Indo-European speakers into Greece • What effects did this have on local population and languages? • First evidence of Greek language in Linear B tablets in late Bronze Age Mycenaean palaces (on Crete: e.g. Knossos and on mainland: e.g. Pylos, Tiryns) One model for dispersion of Indo-European language groups A typical clay tablet in Linear B Linear B tablet from c. 15001200 BCE Words from Modern Greek related to words on Linear B tablet Words in dialect of 5th c. BCE Athens related to words on Linear B tablet Bronze Age • What does the term ”Bronze Age” refer to? • What is the Bronze Age contrasted with? • Where does bronze come from? • What are the implications of bronze metallurgy for culture and social structure? Bronze Age trade networks Tin routes in the Bronze Age Minoan Civilization • Based on Crete, from ca. 2000 BCE until ca. 1500 BCE (Middle Bronze Age). • Unique art and architecture • Palaces with complex structure, luxurious frescoes, staircases, colonnades, light wells, and storage facilities (wine, oil, grain, precious metals and ceramics) • “Redistributive” economy • Fortifications? (there are, however, weapons - swords, daggers and arrow-heads, armor and helmets ) • Bull-leaping, double-axes, mountain-top shrines • Linear A writing: for what language? • High degree of craftsmanship (metal, ceramic, ivory, stone, faience) • Trade links with mainland, Mediterranean cultures, Egypt, Near East Plan of Minoan, later Mycenaean palace at Knossos Palace at Knossos, west wing; view of the upper Throne Room, 1700-1400 BCE. Queen’s megaron at Knossos. Built around 1900 BC; destroyed by an earthquake ca. 1700 BC, and immediately rebuilt; captured by Mycenaeans around 1450 BC; survived undamaged; final destruction by fire around 1200 BC. Crete, Second Palace Period, ca. 1400 B.C.. A restored wallpainting from Knossos which shows youths and maidens engaged in a highly ritualized somersaulting over the backs of bulls. Huge galloping bull over whose back male acrobat describes somersault, girl assistant standing with arms outstretched to receive him; second girl acrobat before bull seizing horns in first stage of performing same feat. Original Christine Downing Minoan goddess with snakes, ca 1500 BCE; polychrome faience, restored. Late Minoan painted pot, about 1500 B.C.E. Mycenaean Civilization • Late bronze age (1600-1200 BCE) and extended its influence throughout the Peloponnese (Pylos, Mycenae, Tiryns), in mainland Greece Athens, Thebes), on Crete, and on the Cycladic islands. • Influenced by the Minoans in art, architecture, writing (and also myth and religion?) • Palaces with huge fortification walls, elaborate tombs • Trade with Western Europe, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Levant, Anatolia, Cyprus • Comes to mysterious end around 1200 BCE (possibly a “perfect storm” of eathquakes, volcano eruption,in-fighting and invasion?). “Lion Gate” at entrance to Mycenae Grave circle at Mycenae Gold artefacts from shaft graves at Mycenae Funeral mask known as “Agamemnon Mask”. Gold, found in Tomb V in Mycenae by Heinrich Schliemann (1876), 16th century BCE (but some archaeologists question its authenticity) Troy and the Trojan War Trojan War • Where is mythic Troy? • Was there a historical Troy? • Did a Trojan War really take place? • Who were the Trojans? • If so, was there really an Agamemnon and an Achilles and a Helen of Troy? • And if so, what difference does it make? Map showing principal sites listed in the Iliad and Odyssey Chronology • Mycenaean period (aka Bronze Age): 1600-1100 BCE: the time of the Mycenaean palaces and, conventionally, the time of the Trojan war (ca 1200 BCE) • Dark Age (1100-800 BCE): destruction of palaces, time of collapse, then slow growth • Archaic period (750-480 BCE): conventionally, the period when Homeric poems flourish (8th-7th century BCE) Troy • Occupied from ca. 3000 BCE • Trade • What language did they speak? • Luvian seal found: Anatolian Indo-European language • Mentioned in Hittite documents (also an Anatolian Indo-European language) as Wilusa: cf. Greek name (W)Ilion=Troy • Hittite documents also refer to problems with the Ahhiyawa: cf. Greek Akhaioi = Achaeans, one of the names used in the Iliad to refer to the Greeks) • Reference in documents to ruler of Troy as Alaksandu: cf. Greek Alexandros, alternate name of Paris, son of Priam, King of Troy in Homer. One of three gods guaranteeing the terms of the treaty on the side of Alaksandu is the "Storm god of the Army", Apaliunas (DA-ap-pa-li-u-na-aš ). Could be Apollo? • Fragment of song in Luvian: “when they came from steep Wilusa” – cf. Homeric description of Troy as “steep”: see • Layout of city and environment: citadel, city, plain, walls all part of description of Troy in Iliad. Hittite tablet in cuneiform script recording a treaty with Wilusa (=Ilion=Troy). Dated c. 1280 BCE Excavations at Troy (Turkish name of site is Hisarlık) • Heinrich Schliemann, 1870s and 1880s: belief in historicity of Iliad and Odyssey, excavation to prove truth of this. • Successive excavators W. Dörpfeld, Carl Blegen, U. of Cincinnati, 1930s • Manfred Korfmann, University of Tübingen, began in 1990s and ongoing Heinrich Schliemann, 1822-1890, German excavator of Mycenae and Troy Sophia Schliemann, wife of Heinrich Schliemann, wearing treasures discovered at Hisarlık (Turkish name of site of Troy). Location of Mycenae Bronze Age Mycenae Boar’s tusk helmet, described in Homer’s Iliad. L. actual helmet found at. R. Boar’s tusk helmets on fresco from Orkhomenos.