Uploaded by Mr. D

02 CLAS 239 Bronze Age (1)

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?
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
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
Palace at Knossos, west wing; view of the upper Throne Room, 1700-1400
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;
Late Minoan
painted pot,
about 1500
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,
• 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
• And if so, what difference does it make?
Map showing principal sites listed in the Iliad
and Odyssey
• 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)
• 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
script recording
a treaty with
Dated c. 1280
Excavations at Troy (Turkish name of site is
• 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
excavator of
and Troy
wife of
discovered at
(Turkish name
of site of Troy).
Location of Mycenae
Boar’s tusk helmet, described in Homer’s Iliad. L. actual helmet found at. R. Boar’s
tusk helmets on fresco from Orkhomenos.