Mycenaean Greece

Mycenaean Greece (c. 1600 BC – c. 1100 BC) is a cultural period of Ancient Greece taking its name from the archaeological site of Mycenae in northeastern Argolis, in the Peloponnese of southern Greece.

Athens, Pylos, Thebes, and Tiryns are also important Mycenaean sites. The last phase of the Bronze Age in Ancient Greece, it is the historical setting of much ancient Greek literature and myth, including the epics of Homer.

The Mycenaean civilization flourished during the period roughly between 1600 BC, when Helladic culture in mainland Greece was transformed under influences from Minoan Crete, and 1100 BC, when it perished with the collapse of Bronze-Age civilization in the eastern Mediterranean. The collapse is commonly attributed to the Dorian invasion, although other theories describing natural disasters and climate change have been advanced as well. The major Mycenaean cities were Mycenae and Tiryns in Argolis, Pylos in Messenia, Athens in Attica, Thebes and Orchomenus in Boeotia, and Iolkos in Thessaly. In Crete, the Mycenaeans occupied Knossos. In addition there were some sites of importance for cults, such as Lerna, typically in the form of house sanctuaries, for the Mycenaeans did not build free-standing temples of the familiar kind. Mycenaean settlement sites also appeared in Epirus, Macedon, on islands in the Aegean, on the coast of Asia Minor, and then in Cyprus. Mycenaean artifacts with Linear B inscriptions have been also found as far away as Germany and Mycenaean swords as far away as Georgia in the Caucasus.