National Archaeological Museum / Archaeological Site of Tiryns:

Murals from both the later and earlier palace of Tiryns. Female figures in procession bringing offerings to a deity, women on charriots observing a hunt, while the hounds have already overpowered the boars and an attendant on foot.

The presence of women in religious processions as well as hunts is a sign of their elevated status in the Mycenaean world.

Cyclopean Tiryns

The archaeological site of Tiryns is one of two great cities of the Mycenaean civilization, the other being Mycenae. They dominated the Mediterranean from the 15th to 12th century BC, playing a vital role in the development of classical Greek culture, architecture and urban design. These two cities are forever linked to the Homeric epics, the Iliad and The Odyssey which have influenced European art and literature for more than three millennia.

Tiryns had been inhabited as a hill fort since the Neolithic period. The oldest structure on the upper citadel is from the early Bronze age (c. 3000 BC). A new fortified palace complex was constructed in the 14th century BC and the defenses were extended in the early 13th century BC along with the Lower Citadel fortifications.

Tiryns reached its height between 1400 and 1200 BC.  Its most notable features were its palace, its cyclopean tunnels and especially its walls, which gave the city its Homeric epithet of “mighty walled Tiryns”. Tradition also associates the walls with Proetus, the sibling of Acrisius, king of Argos. According to the legend Proetus, pursued by his brother, fled to Lycia. With the help of the Lycians, he managed to return to Argolis. There, Proetus occupied Tiryns and fortified it with the assistance of the cyclops, because only giants of superhuman strength could have lifted the enormous stones. The city was also linked to the myths surrounding Heracles, as this is where he recieved his 12 labors with some sources citing it as his birthplace.

Tiryns went into decline at the end of the Mycenaean period (c. 1100 BC) and in 468 BC, Argos completely destroyed both Mycenae and Tiryns. When Pausanias the geographer visited in the 2nd century AD, the city was deserted. He made the remark that that two mules pulling together could not move even the smaller stones of the walls of Tiryns.

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Did an Earthquake Destroy Ancient Greece?

The grand Mycenaens, the first Greeks, inspired the legends of the Trojan Wars, “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey.” Their culture abruptly declined around 1200 B.C., marking the start of a Dark Ages in Greece.

The disappearance of the Mycenaens is a Mediterranean mystery. Leading explanations include warfare with invaders or uprising by lower classes. Some scientists also think one of the country’s frequent earthquakes could have contributed to the culture’s collapse. At the ruins of Tiryns, a fortified palace, geologists hope to find evidence to confirm whether an earthquake was a likely culprit.

Tiryns was one of the great Mycenaean cities. Atop a limestone hill, the city-state’s king built a palace with walls so thick they were called Cyclopean, because only the one-eyed monster could have carried the massive limestone blocks. Read more.

National Archaeological Museum / Archaeological Site of Tiryns:

Gold signet ring. The largest extant Mycenaean ring. It depicts a procession of lion-headed daemons. holding libation jugs and moving towards an enthroned goddess. The goddess wears a long chiton and raises a ritual vessel. Behind the throne there is the eagle-symbol of dominion. The sun’s wheel and crescent moon appear in the sky (15th century B.C)

The Archaeology News Network: Museum finds original drawings by Schliemann

A Japanese museum said it has confirmed 28 original drawings from German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann’s report on ancient Greek ruins that could shed light on the excavation of a fabled palace.

Schliemann (1822-1890), who won fame for his discovery of the legendary city of Troy in Greek mythology, is also known for his unearthing of the remains of a Greek palace named Tiryns. The Tenri University Sankokan Museum said Nov. 26 the original drawings contain notes handwritten by Schliemann. A report on the discovery of Tiryns featured drawings and other materials and was released in 1885. However, journals and other information describing the excavation of the ancient palace do not exist. Museum officials said the drawings they possess are precious primary historical materials that can explain what happened during the excavation process. “The drawings depict the remains and relics with extreme accuracy in terms of scale and other aspects. Their quality reaches the most advanced level in the 19th century, a developing era for archaeology,” said Yoshiyuki Suto, a professor of Greek archaeology at Nagoya University Graduate School. “Because they include detailed instructions for publishing the report, we can learn what processes the drawings underwent until the release of the report,” he added.