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Ancient Greece


Gold death-mask of a king found at MycenaeGold death-mask of a king found at Mycenae The story of civilization on the Greek mainland begins with the Mycenaeans, a warlike people who created a powerful and wealthy state in about 1550 BC. The first settlers in Greece lived in simple stone houses and farmed the land. These people, who later came to be called the Mycenaeans, began to trade around the Mediterranean and came into contact with the Minoan civilization on Crete. They borrowed many ideas and skills from the Minoans and began to make superb craftwork of their own.


The Lion Gate at MycenaeThe Lion Gate at MycenaeThe Mycenaeans were very different from the Minoans. The Minoans were a peaceful race, but the Mycenaeans were warriors. Their palaces were surrounded by massive walls for protection from enemies. Their capital was at Mycenae, in southern Greece. From their palace strongholds, the Mycenaeans set off on raids around the Mediterranean. When Mycenaean rulers died, they were buried in large, beehive-shaped tombs, called tholoi.

An artist's idea of the legendary Trojan horseAn artist's idea of the legendary Trojan horse

The Trojan War

The typical Mycenaean helmet, in use from the 17th to the 10th centuries BC, was made from segments of boar's tusk sewn into a leather or cloth backing.

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