Mycenae

Mycenae

Mycenae was a fortified late Bronze Age city located between two hills on the Argolid plain of the Peloponnese, Greece. The acropolis today dates from between the 14th and 13th century BCE when the Mycenaean civilization was at its peak of power, influence and artistic expression. Mycenae, along with nearby Tiryns, is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

In Mythology

In Greek mythology, the city was founded by Perseus, who gave the site its name either after his sword scabbard (mykes) fell to the ground and was regarded as a good omen or as he found a water spring near a mushroom (mykes). Perseus was the first king of the Perseid dynasty which ended with Eurytheus (instigator of Hercules' famous twelve labours). The succeeding dynasty was the Atreids, whose first king, Atreus, is traditionally believed to have reigned around 1250 BCE. Atreus' son Agamemnon is believed to have been not only king of Mycenae but of all of the Achaean Greeks and leader of their expedition to Troy to recapture Helen. In Homer's account of the Trojan War in the Iliad, Mycenae (or Mykene) is described as a 'well-founded citadel', as 'wide-wayed' and as 'golden Mycenae', the latter supported by the recovery of over 15 kilograms of gold objects recovered from the shaft graves in the acropolis.

Historical Overview

Situated on a rocky hill (40-50 m high) commanding the surrounding plain as far as the sea 15 km away, the site of Mycenae covered 30,000 square metres and has always been known throughout history, although the surprising lack of literary references to the site suggest it may have been at least partially covered. First excavations were begun by the Archaeological Society of Athens in 1841 CE and then famously continued by Heinrich Schliemann in 1876 CE who discovered the magnificent treasures of Grave Circle A. The archaeological excavations have shown that the city has a much older history than the Greek literary tradition described.

Atreus' son Agamemnon is believed to have been not only king of Mycenae but of all of the Achaean Greeks and leader of their expedition to Troy.

Inhabited since Neolithic times, it is not until c. 2100 BCE that the first walls, pottery finds (including imports from the Cycladic islands) and pit and shaft graves with higher quality grave goods appear. These, taken collectively, suggest a greater importance and prosperity in the settlement.

From c. 1600 BCE there is evidence of an elite presence on the acropolis: high-quality pottery, wall paintings, shaft graves and an increase in the surrounding settlement with the construction of large tholos tombs. From the 14th century BCE the first large-scale palace complex is built (on three artificial terraces), as is the celebrated tholos tomb, the Treasury of Atreus, a monumental circular building with corbelled roof reaching a height of 13.5 m and 14.6 m in diameter and approached by a long walled and unroofed corridor 36 m long and 6m wide. Fortification walls, of large, roughly worked stone blocks, surrounding the acropolis (of which the north wall is still visible today), flood management structures such as dams, roads, Linear B tablets and an increase in pottery imports (fitting well with theories of contemporary Mycenaean expansion in the Aegean) illustrate the culture was at its zenith.

Architecture

The large palace structure built around a central hall or Megaron is typical of Mycenaean palaces. Other features included a secondary hall, many private rooms and a workshop complex. Decorated stonework and frescoes and a monumental entrance, the Lion Gate (a 3 m x 3 m square doorway with an 18-ton lintel topped by two 3 m high heraldic lions and a column altar), added to the overall splendour of the complex. The relationship between the palace and the surrounding settlement and between Mycenae and other towns in the Peloponnese is much discussed by scholars. Concrete archaeological evidence is lacking but it seems likely that the palace was a centre of political, religious and commercial power. Certainly, high-value grave goods, administrative tablets, pottery imports and the presence of precious materials deposits such as bronze, gold and ivory would suggest that the palace was, at the very least, the hub of a thriving trade network.

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The first palace was destroyed in the late 13th century, probably by an earthquake and then (rather poorly) repaired. A monumental staircase, the North Gate, and a ramp were added to the acropolis and the walls were extended to include the Perseia spring within the fortifications. The spring was named after the city's mythological founder and was reached by an impressive corbelled tunnel (or syrinx) with 86 steps leading down 18m to the water source. It is argued by some scholars that these architectural additions are evidence for a preoccupation with security and possible invasion. This second palace was itself destroyed, this time with signs of fire. Some rebuilding did occur and pottery finds suggest a degree of prosperity returned briefly before another fire ended occupation of the site until a brief revival in Hellenistic times. With the decline of Mycenae, Argos became the dominant power in the region. Reasons for the demise of Mycenae and the Mycenaean civilization are much debated with suggestions including natural disaster, over-population, internal social and political unrest or invasion from foreign tribes.

Artefacts

Celebrated artefacts from Mycenae include five magnificent beaten gold burial masks (one being incorrectly attributed to Agamemnon by Schliemann), gold diadems, carved rings, cups and a lion head rhyton. A magnificent bronze and gold rhyton in the form of a bull's head, large bronze swords and daggers with richly inlaid scenes on their blades, ivory sculpture and fragments of fresco also give testimony to the quality of craftsmanship and wealth of 'golden Mycenae'.


Mycenae

Capture the drama of Greece as the sunrises in Mycenae. This visitor destination, is a must-see for people who are interested about history, archeology and beautiful ruins. Never could a visitor forget the expression on their face at first site of the Mediterranean as well as the Adriatic Sea. What makes Mycenae special to Greece? This place happens to be where King Agamemnon ruled the people of Troy using a Trojan Horse.

One could just enjoy the breathtaking view just about anywhere since they have to trust the taste of the kings who ruled before – they have this wonderful and perfect preference to spots where they can have a majestic view of their territory. Did you know that when the sun casts a shadow during the day the colors of the countryside turns into this beautiful olive green and orange all due to the fact that the fertile soil has allowed several vegetables, herbs and spices to grow abundantly in Mycenae?

During summer, Mycenae is so fragrant that some visitors may become dizzy with all the beautiful smells they are experiencing. It is when the oranges are in full bloom. That happens to be such a wonderful sight to see in Mycenae. Most locals often give some tips to the visiting visitors that they should pack on some light clothes. Mycenae is indeed a place of the sun so people there are all bronzed up and ready to go.

Speaking of hotels, there are several cozy places for one to rest and they are priced very reasonably. The food is of course very mouthwatering. The only downside is having a peaceful night would be a little difficult since the whole of Mycenae is bursting with visitors who seem to not stop talking, dancing and laughing all through the night.


Greece’s first golden age

Legends alleged that there had been a chain of sophisticated and allied city-states across Greece, at a higher level of civilisation than that of the succeeding ‘Iron Age’, when society was rural and largely localised with little outside trading contacts.

This was confirmed by later 19th century archaeology. The triumphant discovery of a major fortified citadel and palace at Mycenae by German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, the recent discoverer of ancient Troy, in 1876 confirmed that the legends of Mycenae’s warlord Agamemnon as the ‘High King’ of Greece was based on reality.

Heinrich Schliemann and Wilhelm Dörpfeld next to the iconic Lion Gate at the entrance to Mycenae, in 1875.

Doubt remains, however, over whether this warlord had indeed led a coalition of his vassals to attack Troy around 1250-1200 BC.

Archaeological dating was however in its infancy at the time, and Schliemann muddled up the dates of the artefacts which he discovered.

The sophisticated gold jewellery which he dug up at the royal ‘shaft–grave’ (‘tholos’) burials outside the citadel walls were around three centuries too early for the Trojan War and a burial-mask which he found was not ‘the face of Agamemnon’ (featured image) as he claimed.

These graves appear to come from an early period of Mycenae’s use as a royal centre, before the citadel’s palace with its complex bureaucratic storage-system was built.

Reconstruction of the political landscape in c. 1400–1250 BC mainland southern Greece. The red markers highlight Mycenaean palatial centres (Credit: Alexikoua / CC).


The Mycenaean Society

Mycenae lost its glory to an unknown event that could be the Trojan War or the Dorian invasion. (Image: Anton_Ivanov/Shutterstock)

The Mycenaean society reached glory after the Minoans lost their civilization to either a volcano or an earthquake or an unknown reason. Mycenae included many communities on the mainland and the Aegean islands from about 1650 to 1300 B.C. Despite their similarities, they had some significant differences with the Minoans.

Minoan Vs. Mycenaean Societies

To get a better idea of societies at the time, one can compare the Minoan and Mycenaean societies. Minoans flourished for about 2000 years, from 3000 B.C. to 1100 B.C. They had multi-story houses, clay pipes leading out of the houses, paintings on the walls of houses displaying important or everyday events, and anti-earthquake reinforcements in the houses. They also had rituals that involved sacrificing children and perhaps even eating them. Their nation was slowly losing power, but when the big earthquake occurred followed by the volcano eruption 25–50 years later, their rule was over. The Minoans faced these catastrophes between 1650 and 1500. Next, the Mycenaean society took over.

Not much is known about the daily life of Mycenaeans, but archeological evidence suggests wars and shelters were common back then. (Image: Georgios Tsichlis/Shutterstock)

Mycenae featured an impressive fortress surrounded by cultivable lands that produced corn – the Argive plain. Society was divided into those living inside and outside the fortress. One big difference with the Minoans was that Mycenae was absolutely Greek, while Minoans might not have been.

This is a transcript from the video series The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World. Watch it now, on Wondrium.

The Greek Mycenaean

The Minoans had a writing system called Linear A, while Mycenaean writing was Linear B. the writing is evident from inscribed clay tablets. Some signs in Linear B represent vowels, whereas others represent vowels with consonants. Linear B was deciphered in 1952 by an architect called Michael Ventris. He used code-breaking techniques that had been developed in the Second World War to decode the writings.

However, this is not the only thing that the tablets show.

Mycenaean Administration and Hierarchy

One tablet reads, “Kokalos repaid the following quantity of olive oil to Eumedes: 648 liters,” indicating the high degree of administrative centralization and the centralized economy. Interestingly, the bureaucracy was developed thousands of years ago to govern sophisticated societies.

As mentioned before, the fortress divided the society. The elite was living inside the fortress – the royal family, members of the priesthood, and their servants and slaves. The rest of the people were either damos or doeroi who were taken into the castle in times of war and big threats.

The damos means ‘common people’ in Mycenaean. Common people were free citizens who owned land and had civil rights, such as complaints against the superiors. The historian Rodney Castleden describes the damos as “a force to be reckoned with.”

The doeroi, on the other hand, were the slaves that could be bought and sold, both men and women. The Mycenaeans also look a bit paranoid.

The Fortress, Shaft Graves, and the Gold

The fortress has very thick walls, suggesting the Mycenaeans were afraid of something that could attack and end their reign. They might have been a little paranoid, but it does not mean there was no danger around. Wars were not so uncommon.

The grave gifts normally included a sword and golden cup, even though swords were relatively new at the time. (Image: Olemac/Shutterstock)

Another indicator of wars back then is the shaft graves: the deep narrow shafts dug into natural rock, sometimes up to 12 feet deep, to protect royal burials from robbers. The graves include gifts such as bronze swords, often with relief decoration on the blade, and gold cups decorated with repoussé images. Repoussé images were scenes of hunting or similar events beaten into the surface. Sometimes there was a golden mask on the face of the corpse, and the body was wrapped in a thin gold foil.

Swords were newly being built back then. Sadly, even the 90 buried swords in one grave could not protect Mycenae.

The Fall of Mycenae

Between 1300–1100 B.C., almost every Mycenaean site was robbed and burned down, until in 1150 Mycenae was crushed. The reason is unknown – maybe the northern Dorian Invasion, maybe the Trojan War. If the Trojan War really happened, it was over access to the Black Sea region. Thus, the third possibility is that Mycenae had sent many fighters to the Trojan War, and the civil raiders destroyed the civilization.

Whatever the reason for the fall of Mycenae, it brought along decades of civilization blackout.

Common Questions about the Mycenaean Society

The Mycenaean society represents the first advanced Greek civilization in mainland Greece. They had their own palatial states, urban organization, works of art, and writing system. There was a big fortress as well in the town, which sheltered normal people sometimes.

The Mycenaean society lived in Mycenae, an important prehistoric city-state in Greece. Between 1600 B.C. and 1100 B.C., this city was a center of power. They had a centralized economy and bureaucracy to govern their prosperous society. Some say they were the first Greeks.

Apart from being a major power between 1600 B.C. and 1100 B.C., the Mycenaean society was perhaps the first to speak and write Greek. Thus, they are sometimes called the first Greeks.

The Mycenaean society was a rich one, with a strongly-built fortress to protect its elite and shelter its normal people in times of danger. The amount of gold and metal swords found in their graves is one witness of their prosperity.


Myth and History

The study of the Aegean Bronze Age owes a great deal to Homer. Schliemann went looking for Troy because of him, excavated Mycenae because of him, and thought that his discoveries vindicated the Blind Bard of Chios, revealing the truth behind the hexameter. He found, indeed, exactly what he’d been looking for – or at least he thought he did. Of course, we know now that the face he called Agamemnon’s (not the nice mask, but this less-than-regal fellow) belonged rather to an early Mycenaean dynast some 300 years his senior. He made an even more disastrous mistake at Troy, where, having decided that the Homeric stratum must be the lowest, he tore through parts of the Late Bronze Age sixth city and called the Early Bronze Age second city Homer’s Troy. To the extent that he was right about anything, it was largely by accident.

But my aim here is not to attack Schliemann he was a product of his time, and any other Victorian explorer or treasure hunter (as he should properly be termed) would have done much the same. It is easy, now, to deride his (disastrous) excavation techniques, and no modern archaeologist would dream of digging the way he did. Paradoxically, however, there are a great many people who are all too happy to follow in his intellectual footsteps and read later myth into the Bronze Age.

Now, there is a large caveat here. There are elements of the Bronze Age studded sporadically throughout the Homeric poems, and historical linguistics reveal that some formulae antedate the Linear B records, placing them in the early Mycenaean period at the latest. There is an unbroken tradition that contains both Homer and the Late Bronze Age, though this is only one element in the complex mélange of Homeric poetry. It is, moreover, exceedingly difficult to isolate formulae requiring vocalic r for scansion and therefore demonstrably ancient are very much the exception. For historical data, there is no reliable method of discerning what in Homer belongs to the Bronze Age and what to poetic fiction.

Indeed, when evidence from the Late Bronze Age arises that corroborates (or at least could be taken to corroborate) elements of Homer, it is very often not an element we would have thought ancient. Take, for example, the character Paris. He has a second name, Alexandros, which is transparently Greek. Aha, the old scholars said: Paris is a true Anatolian name, Alexandros a product of the Greek tradition. And yet it is Alaksandu we find at Wilusa in the Hittite records, not Paris. The name Alexandros, that transparently Greek and obviously late element, is indeed among the most ancient.

Of course, Alaksandu is not Alexandros, even if they have the same name the former was the king of Wilusa, the latter only ever a prince. The former walked in the world of flesh and blood, the latter that perilous realm where abandoned children never die, but grow to judge goddesses and take their rightful place as princes. Knowing that his name is a historical datum tells us only that, nothing more. The point here is that, while archaeological discoveries can reveal elements of remembered truth in Homer, Homer cannot in and of himself reveal elements of Bronze Age truth.

After Homer, searching for connections becomes ever more vain. When Herodotus and Thucydides talk about the Trojan War, they make it abundantly clear that they knew nothing at all about the Bronze Age. Nor should we expect them to. Between the collapse of the Mycenaean palaces and the emergence of written Greek history is a gap of some 800 years. Without written records or scientific archaeology, we would know nothing about AD 1200 either. There are, of course, odd tidbits that may have been passed down through the oral tradition and entered myth. But these must be even rarer than they are in Homer, where already they are treacherous enough. There is no reason to think we can spot them.

The genesis of all this is the Theseus myth, which has frustrated me for a long time. It is often taken for granted that this contains some memory of the Mycenaean conquest of Knossos. This is, certainly, superficially tempting you needn’t even squint to see it, if all you know is that a) Athens was a Mycenaean centre and b) Knossos came under Mycenaean control. As soon as you know any more than that, however, the situation becomes much more problematic.

Knossos was destroyed at the end of LM IB, and when it was rebuilt in LM II, there is great evidence for Mycenaeanisation, none more significant than the appearance of Linear B. This was one of the most significant points of Mycenaean history without it, it is likely that there would be no Linear B nor mainland palaces. It was, perhaps, to celebrate this conquest that the first Mycenaean hexameter epic was composed (as Martin West suggested). That some memory of it should live on in myth should not at all surprise.

But the rub is that early Mycenaean Athens was not even the most important centre in Attica, let alone mainland Greece. Insofar as anything about this period can be stated with certainty, it was not an Athenian leader at the head of that expedition. Which Peloponnesian centre was most involved is now impossible to tell Mycenae, Pylos, and Laconia all have strong claims, if it was not a group effort. That a tradition should a) arise linking it to a minor site in Attica when there was still living memory of the event and b) this should be allowed to flourish, despite knowledge of the truth, is inexplicable. The myth emerged either at a later time, when memories were truly muddled, or has no organic connection to the conquest. Theseus is, after all, no conqueror he returns home to reign in Athens, and Knossos never again enters the picture.

The situation, however, becomes even more complicated when we come to rationalizing mythographers and those who work in their tradition, as Plutarch does in his Life of Theseus. Here, the picture of a “Minoan” general Taurus killed in a naval battle begins to look much more like history – but that is not because Plutarch had access to some historical knowledge from 1500 years before he was born, but because he was trying to make it look like history. We are, at this stage, not closer to the truth but further from it.

The connection between myth and history is intoxicating. To see a boar’s tooth helmet and know that Homer sang of them but never saw one himself is a magnificent thing. But the true wonder here is the helmet itself, not just a poetic artefact but a human one, part of a world that Homer allows us to imagine but archaeology allows us to see. Our judgments must, therefore, follow the latter. We do not sacrifice anything in doing this, but see things as they are. There is no less wonder in the Bronze Age than in Homer.


Ancient World History

The Mycenaean culture was originally based on warfare due to the rugged geography, which made farming difficult and herding a challenge. These warrior-chiefs would eventually become conquerors and administrators, bringing Greek knowledge to the Mediterranean.

The ancient city is built on an acropolis, surrounded by massive "cyclopean" walls, with a palace at the summit of the hill. Known as megarons, Mycenaean palaces were great halls with a portico in front, similar to the long houses of the Helladic period.


These palaces were more functional and austere than those of Knossos or Akrotiri. As with most expansionist civilizations, Mycenae broadened its military reach in search of raw materials and goods to support its population.

The most famous of the Mycenaean raids is the war against Troy in Asia Minor. Mycenaean warriors’ raiding ships traveled to Crete and Egypt as well and were even encouraged to practice piracy. Eventually raiding shifted to trading, with evidence of Mycenae and Crete trading goods as early as 1600 b.c.e.

Mycenae transitioned from a military center to a center for the redistribution of goods over the many roads connecting it to the surrounding coastal towns. During this time the Mycenaeans gradually adopted Minoan technology and artistic skills, while passing on the Linear B script that was used for record keeping and eventually developed into the Greek language.

The development of the Greek alphabet began in Phoenicia, where a consonant-only writing system first appeared. The Mycenaeans took this writing and added vowels to it, creating Linear B writing.

This alphabet had 24 letters, and its name came from combining the names of its first two letters, alpha and beta. Linear B script was used to inscribe the stories passed on by Homer, the trading records of Aegean cultures, and the political and social structures they developed.

The Mycenaeans shared many of the religious beliefs of the Minoans. Mycenae had a polytheistic religion and was actively syncretistic, which means that they added foreign gods to their pantheon of gods. However, many early forms of the Hellenistic Greek pantheon of gods and goddesses are found in the archaeological record.

Like other monarchial societies, Mycenae would bury their kings in lavish tholos tombs, large chambers cut into the side of a hill. Another unique religious practice of the nobility is the burial mask, placed over the face. Goldsmiths would fashion a likeness of the deceased’s face and create a thin mask with the appearance of sleeping eyes on it.

As trading with the rest of the eastern Mediterranean increased, so did trades practiced by Mycenaean citizens. In addition to warriors, craftsmen such as bronze workers, potters, masons, and carpenters began to develop.

Also, bakers, messengers and heralds, and shepherds are found in the artistic record left in frescoes and on pottery. Mycenaean social classes began to develop and take shape as well. At the top of the society were the kings and other war leaders.

Unlike the kings of Minoa, Mycenaean kings accumulated wealth that they did not share with commoners. He was also the warlord of a society that was geared for war and prepared for invasion. There were also lower members of society, consisting of soldiers, peasants, artisans, serfs, and even slaves.

Mycenae became the central power in a loose confederation of city-states throughout the Aegean Sea. Possible other members of the city-states were Tiryns, Pylos, Thebes, and Orchomenos. Mycenae was the strongest. This political system is described in Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad.


The polis emerged from the Dark Ages which followed the fall of the Mycenaean civilization in Greece and by the 8th century BCE a significant process of urbanisation had begun.

In the second millennium BC, Mycenae was one of the major centres of Greek civilization, a military stronghold which dominated much of southern Greece, Crete, the Cyclades and parts of southwest Anatolia….Mycenae.

Type Settlement
History
Founded 1350-1200 BC
Periods Bronze Age
Cultures Mycenaean Greece


Description of Mycenae

The triangle of walls surrounding the acropolis of Mycenae were built between the 14 th and 13 th century BC. The Mycenaens used regular rows of blocks of stone without mortar to build these walls. The final stages of development included the Burial Circle A. This was an artificial circular platform that was reinforced by a high wall made of small stones.

The entrance route to the city is called the Lion’s gate, and the doorway remains intact today. The gate was built in 1250 BC and offered protection against intruders. It was given this name because of the sculptures on the ten foot high triangular block over the entrance. It depicts two lionesses that are facing each other at the sides of a column. When the town was in its golden age the two lionesses had gold heads. The gate is made of three materials, which are rock, gold and clay. There was a second entrance which was through the North Gate. Both gates were placed at the end of long narrow hallways between the main walls and an outer wall. This was for defense reasons.

Mycenae offers the best example of burial architecture from this civilization. The amount of artifacts and the quality of them found at the graves at the site give us a lot of insight into the prosperity of the Mycenaean culture. 2100 BC is when the first walls, pottery and pit and shaft graves began to appear. Around 1600 BC, evidence shows higher quality pottery, wall paintings, and large tholos tombs started to appear. From the 14 th century BC the first large palace complex, the Treasury of Atreus, fortification walls around the acropolis, flood management structures, roads, Linear B tablets and an increase in pottery imports were found. When the Treasury of Atreus was first found it was assumed that it was the tomb of Agamemnon. It is now believed that the tomb’s date is actually earlier which would have been before his reign. It is a circular chamber with a dome that resembles a beehive. It was the world’s largest dome until the building of the pantheon, 1400 years later. It is also the best preserved tomb in Greece.


The Misunderstood Witch

The longtime villainization of the witch conceals a dark truth. Those accused of witchcraft have historically been victims, not villains. In real life, those accused of witchcraft have typically been the most vulnerable members of society.

During the Salem witch trials, the first three women accused of witchcraft were Sarah Good, an unpopular homeless beggar Sarah Osborne, an invalid outcast and Tituba, an indigenous slave. In other words, these were disempowered women who already stood out to the Puritans. Their differences from a traditional female figure in the Puritan society scared men, causing them to be seen as an “other”, which made them easy scapegoats.

In recent years we’ve started to see increasingly empathetic depictions of witches. The depiction of strong women as witches has changed. Society began to recognize women as complex humans who can be powerful and loving, educated and motherly, empathetic and strong. The idea that witches are not dangerous, hateful, and manipulative shifted because society no longer saw women as dangerous, hateful, and manipulative.

Some modern retellings of witch stories revisit iconic characters previously presented as one-dimensional. These movies give characters backstories, motivations, and a character arc.

The stories reveal how much a narrative changes when it’s seen through the witch’s eyes, rather than the community that shuns her. They openly interrogate the culpability of the witch’s society.

In her youth, the witch may have faced the shame of being different. Self-hatred drives her to live up to the world’s expectations of her.

Or, a formative trauma may lead her to resolve to become all-powerful as a means to heal the scars of disempowerment.

2014’s Maleficent shows its title character, who is technically a fairy but fits the witch criteria, as a strong, good young woman. Maleficent simply wants love, and therefore she makes mistakes throughout the film and expresses regret for her mistakes in a deeply human way.

2015’s The Witch reveals how the tendency to misunderstand witches can even extend to a woman’s own confusion about herself. After Thomasin’s family leaves their Puritan colony behind, they endure a series of strange phenomena. They blame Thomasin for these events, conflating her sexuality with wickedness and casting her out.

Eventually, Thomasin dedicates herself to the devil, joining a coven of witches. The film poses an interesting question: Was her family right about her all along, or did their cruel treatment force her to have no other ally but the witches?

As Glinda says, in the Broadway musical Wicked , are people born wicked or do they have wickedness thrust upon them?

These stories present being a witch as an appealing alternative to continuing on as a victimized woman trapped by society. Our most villainous portraits of the witch imply that she’s what’s wrong in a morally pure world, but looked at in another way it is often the opposite.

Society’s dysfunction and hypocrisy provoke the evil within her. Harnessing her full power– even if it causes harm– seems reasonable. Being wicked in a world that treats her wickedly seems logical.


Troy's Destruction

According to Homer, when Troy was destroyed, it was the Mycenaeans who sacked it. Based on the archaeological evidence, about the same time Hisarlik burned and was destroyed, the entire Mycenaean culture was also under attack. Beginning about 1300 BC, the rulers of the capital cities of the Mycenaean cultures lost interest in constructing elaborate tombs and expanding their palaces and began to work in earnest on strengthening the fortification walls and building underground access to water sources. These efforts suggest preparation for warfare. One after another, the palaces burned, first Thebes, then Orchomenos, then Pylos. After Pylos burned, a concerted effort was expended on the fortification walls at Mycenae and Tiryns, but to no avail. By 1200 BC, the approximate time of the destruction of Hisarlik, most of the palaces of the Mycenaeans had been destroyed.

There is no doubt that the Mycenaean culture came to an abrupt and bloody end, but it is unlikely to have been the result of warfare with Hisarlik.