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When people think of ancient Greece, images of philosophers such as Plato or Socrates often come to mind, as do great warriors like Pericles and Alexander the Great. But hundreds of years before Athens became a city, a Greek culture flourished and spread its tentacles throughout the Western Mediterranean region via trade and warfare. Scholars have termed this preclassical Greek culture the Mycenaean culture. It existed from about 2000 to 1200 BCE, when Greece, along with much of the Eastern Mediterranean, was thrust into a centuries-long dark age.
Before the Mycenaean culture collapsed, it was a vital part of the late Bronze Age Mediterranean system and stood on equal footing with some of the great powers of the region, such as the Egyptians and Hittites. Despite being ethnic Greeks and speaking a language that was the direct predecessor of classical Greek, the Mycenaeans had more in common with their neighbors from the island of Crete, who are known today as the Minoans.
Due to their cultural affinities with the Minoans and the fact that they conquered Crete yet still carried on many Minoan traditions, the Mycenaeans are viewed by some scholars as the later torchbearers of a greater Aegean civilization. This is similar to the way the Romans carried on Hellenic civilization after the Greeks. Given that the Mycenaeans played such a vital role in history in the late Bronze Age, it would be natural to assume there are countless studies and accurate chronologies on the subject, but the opposite is true. Although the Mycenaeans were literate, the corpus of written texts from the period is minimal, so modern scholars are left to use a variety of methods in order to reconstruct a proper history of Mycenaean culture.
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Interesting brief history
This is a good history for those who are looking for a brief history or a review. Not bad.
- R. Williams
To Many Assumptions and Conjecture
What would have made The Mycenaeans: The History and Culture of Ancient Greece's First Advanced Civilization better?
Very few direct statements were made. Lots of "it could be", "it may be", "it is likely"...etc.
I thought I would be reading a book providing real information. Not a conjecture.
What could Charles River Editors have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
Have more facts
What three words best describe Gabrielle Byrne’s voice?
Gabrielle did a good job with the reading.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
My reaction is, "I don't know any more about The Mycenaeans now that I have read this book."