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Mycenae was an Indo-European city-state of the Achaeans in ancient Greece's northeastern Peloponnesus. Around 1550 BC, Mycenae came to dominate the rest of Greece; this period is called the Mycenaean civilization, which was dominated by the warrior aristocracy. Around 1400 BC, the Mycenaeans conquered the Minoans, adopting their syllabary (now called Linear A) to write their own language (Greek, the new syllabary known as Linear B).

Lion Gate at Mycenae.

Mycenae thrived in the period that scholars believe corresponds to the events in Homer's Iliad. Some believe that Mycenae was the home of King Agamemnon.

Around 1100 BC, it is thought that the Dorians attacked Greece from the north while the Sea People attacked from the sea. Numerous cities were sacked and the region entered a dark age. During this period the Mycenaeans adopted iron, instead of bronze; adopted cremation; and suffered from decreasing population and literacy rates.

Around 800 BC, the dark age ended with beginning of Greek civilization.

Death and Burial

Mycenae is the home of "beehive tombs," which are large circular burial vaults found in the hills. The Mycenaeans often buried daggers, or some form of military equipment, with the deceased. The nobility was frequently buried with gold, masks, tiaras, armor, and jeweled weaponry.

Mycenaeans were buried in a sitting position and some of the nobility underwent mummification.


The Mycenean religion was very similar to that of the Minoans. The Minoan "Earthshaker", became known as Zeus. The Goddess became known as Athena, Hera, Rhea, Demeter, and Artemis. Minoan symbols are found throughout Mycenea and include the bulls, bullhorns, pillars, doves, and snakes.


Mycenaean strongholds were located on hilltops and protected by towered wallss, as thick as 6m.

Major works of art and architecture: