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Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Artwork of the day

The Lion Gate, Mycenae (Greece), c  1250 BC

The entrance to the prehistoric citadel of Mycenae -the seat of the legendary king Agamemnon- the Lion Gate is one of the most famous remnants of the Mycenaean civilisation that flourished between c 1600 to 1100 BC. Situated in the district of Argolid, the Acropolis of Mycenae was constructed on a hill of 278 meters. Placed in an area that is naturally protected by the barrows of Profitis Ilias and Sara and the ravines of Kokoretsa and Chavos, it can be only accessed from the west. The walls surrounding the city are often called cyclopic because of the large blocks of stone that constitute them. The two lions of the gate face each other and seem to be standing on the basis of a column. They were probably placed there to serve as the guardians of the citadel following a Near Eastern tradition of similar representations. The Mycenaean civilization already from antiquity was connected to Homer's world as described in the Iliad and the Odyssey. 19th century amateur archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann who discovered Troy and other homeric sites, was convinced that Homer's protagonists were historical figures, a view that still prevails in non scholarly circles today. 

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