Greece Before History by Curtis Runnels Priscilla Murray

Greece Before History by Curtis Runnels Priscilla Murray

Author:Curtis Runnels,Priscilla Murray
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9780804764506
Publisher: Stanford University Press
Published: 2013-05-30T16:00:00+00:00

4.33 Mycenaean soldiers in full uniform from a painted vase of the last phase of Mycenaean power.

The commercial interest in perfume trade and an apparently keen interest in fine luxury goods such as ivory boxes and glass-paste jewelry did not prevent them from maintaining military appearances. Gold finger rings depict warriors in combat, and the kings were buried in shaft graves magnificently stuffed with bronze weapons decorated with gold, silver, and rock crystal, which even included full sets of body armor, chariots, and horses sacrificed to serve their masters on the battlefields of the afterlife (see Figures 4.36 and 4.37).

All this swagger was not for show alone. The weapons and military gear from many Mycenaean burials are grimly functional (see Figure 4.38). Short swords shaped like a butcher’s cleavers, deadly spear points, and tough boar’s-tusk helmets were clearly made to be used, and we can safely assume that even the most perfumed of Mycenaean kings was dangerous when roused. The legends of the Seven Against Thebes and the Trojan War, which we believe were inspired at least partly by real Bronze Age events, are evidence of the martial spirit of the Mycenaeans. And the blackened ruins of the last Minoan palaces are evidence of Mycenaean military efficiency.


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