I returned to Mycenae… In Peloponnesus.
I left early in the morning the beautiful (and always full of lovers…) Nafplio and went to Mycenae crossing Argos’ fields with the orange plantations.
I stood outside the ancient city and gazed at the view for a while.
The sun was warming slowly the dark brown Argolic plain with its soft morning light. A cool breeze was whistling among the leaves of the olive trees: the heat of July had not yet risen.
I did not go to the citadel at this time. I had come to see the cute little museum of Mycenae. It is hidden in the bushes and surrounded by ancient burials.
I wandered for a while at the displays with the impressive ceramics, offerings, gold and gemstones. I stood opposite them and thought where all this are found.
It is hard to imagine the dazzling glow of the greatest once Mediterranean city in this landscape with the dried earth and the ocher stones. The citadel of Mycenae comes out of the stone solitude of the plains like a den. The redoubtable Mycenaean kings lived here, invincible bloody warriors and excellent navigators. Here was the cradle of the Mycenaean civilization, adorned by an architecture that takes the breath away: the Lions Gate with the titanic monoliths , the magnificent palace that once shone from gold and luxury, the vaulted tomb (aka “Treasure of Atreus” ) with vertiginous dimensions and the lintel of 120 tons!
Here were the Golden Mycenae – the ” efktimenon ptoliethron ” of Homer (means well built city). Atreus lived at these palaces, Thyestes ‘s served here his brother’s children cooked as a dinner, the Trojan War started from here, in these royal halls Clytemnestra with Aegisthus butchered Agamemnon and then, in those very palaces, they were both killed by the vengeful hand of Orestes.
Here, Friedrich Schliemann’s excavations in 1874 brought to light the true myth of the Mycenaean Greece, astonishing humanity with the golden masks, weapons, jewelry and tableware (their weight in gold was over 15 kilos! ), all those precious things that accompanied the dead kings of the Atreus dynasty at their funeral beds.
I thought about how the bloody kings of Mycenae lived, in an endless orgy of waste and opulence, how they extracted oil from these same jars, how they celebrated victories raising up the wine mugs – the same that I saw at the displays – wearing gold jewelry with gemstones, how they fought in the battle with carved swords wearing helmets decorated with wild boar’s teeth, how they died wearing the golden death masks with the enigmatic smile on their frozen face…
In the end I thought that Mycenae is definitely the most important archaeological site of the Peloponnesus. It is the place where the reality of history meets the fantasy of the mythology in an indissoluble and charming skein.
Here probably it is the best place in Greece for anybody to reread Homer’s Iliad…
And as I did not had the Iliad with me, I came out of that little museum into the light and descended in the Argolic plain, which was burning under the flaming caress of the summer sun.
All the photos come from the cute museum of Mycenae.
Where am I ?
But at Mycenae, in Peloponnesus, one of the most famous ancient sites in Greece. The quickest way to get here is via Corinth – Tripolis Highway, passing outside of Argos city.
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