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A Visit to Miletus

by November 5, 2021

by Lydia Serrant, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom
Miletus, once one of the greatest cities the world had ever seen, now lies as a ruin on the East Coast of Turkey.
The scale of the remains of Miletus is impressive. and sits as a testament to the power and glory of the ancient Greeks who built this wondrous city.
The Amphitheater is the main attraction of the site, bringing in thousands of visitors per year. It houses around 5300 spectators at a time, and was once the home of legendary Greek plays and concerts.
Behind the Amphitheater is where the city lies. The foundations of the Baths of Faustina, the Mausoleum of Heron III, the storehouse, and the agora can all still be seen among other impressive buildings that are still being excavated.
Runied remains of the Baths of Faustina, Miletus
Runied remains of the Baths of Faustina, Miletus
Home to the famous mathematician Thales of Miletus, the city still shines as a jewel of Western Anatolia.
A Brief History of Miletus
The area which Miletus now stands has been inhabited by humans since the Neolithic period. The first settlements in the province are now inaccessible due to a rise in sea level, and the Meander River, next to which the city stands.
The Amphitheater at Miletus
The Amphitheater at Miletus
The region came under Minoan rule sometime before 1400 BC. These Cretan migrants pushed out the native population who were known only as the Leleges, a pre-literate people of which not much is known. All that is known about the mysterious Leleges people is handed to us via Greek sources that cannot be verified.
It is believed that the Minoans gave Miletus its name. The first written reference to Miletus is a Hittite source who referred to the city as Millawanda or Milawata. After the fall of the Hittite Empire, the Ionian Greeks resettled Miletus in 1000 BC, allegedly by a founder named Neleus of Peloponnesus.
By the Byzantine period, Miletus was raised to an archbishopric, and the Castle Palaton was built on a hillside close to the city.
During the reign of Justinian I (527-565 AD), Miletus was treated to a full-scale renovation. The baths were restored, drainage to the harbor was installed, and old Hellenistic buildings were used in the new construction, making Miletus a puzzle of a site with buildings built from stones across a variety of different periods.
When the Ottomans arrived in the 15th Century, they used Miletus’ harbor to trade with Venice. Venice was one of Turkey’s most important trade partners, and many Ottoman traders settled there permanently, leading to the construction of the Ilyas Bey complex in 1403. The Ilyas Bey Mosque, known as Europe Nostra still stands and has been officially recognized as an important cultural site with special protection.
The Europe Nostra
The Europe Nostra
Miletus was finally abandoned at the end of the 15th Century when the harbor began to silt up and trading overseas was no longer possible. Now, only the ghostly remains of a once-great city still stand, which sits silently with open arms to welcome visitors from all over the world.
The Importance of Miletus
In its prime, Miletus was one of the most important centers of the Greek-speaking world. At the time, Greece was divided into city-states rather than the nation of Greece as we know it today.
Although the Greeks that resided in Miletus were of Ionian descent, Homer refers to the Greeks of Miletus as Carians, described by Herodotus as a population that retained its original Minoan identity, and were akin to the ancient Lydians who had settled the area hundreds of years before.
The Storage Building and South Agora in Miletus
The Storage Building and South Agora in Miletus
In 499 BC, Miletus instigated the Ionian Revolt, and played a key defensive role in the Greco-Persian Wars. Despite being attacked by the Persians in 494 BC, the city survived the ransacking, and achieved a place and status within the Athenian Delian League for its contributions to the Greek victory over the Persians.
It was at this point where Miletus really became Greek, as we understand the ancient Greeks today. It retained a special status within the Greek-speaking world that continued into the Roman period.
Miletus had an impressive harbor that made it a commercial center of trade and a great maritime power, placing the city second only to Ephesus as the most important and influential city in Asia Minor.
Famous Milesians
The Milesian school attracted great thinkers from all over the world. Thales of Miletus is perhaps the most notable figure, considered as one of the legendary Seven Wise Men. Thales is responsible for the acknowledgment of water as a basic element for life, and the famous saying ‘Know Thyself’.
He was most known at the time for his deep knowledge of cosmology, and he advised Milesian seafarers how to navigate the sea using the stars – knowledge that is still used to this day.
He is also said to have been the first to measure the Pyramids at Giza, and predict eclipses – however, these last two references most likely illustrate Thales’ reputation as a wise man rather than historical fact.
As well as the aforementioned Thales of Miletus, Anaximander, and Anaximenes, the grandfathers of natural philosophy and science were said to have attended the School of Miletus.
Sacred Miletus
To contemporary citizens during the height of its power, Miletus was perhaps best known as a center of worship.
The starting point of the Sacred Way, Miletus was home to the Sacred Gate. Sacred Gates were common across ancient Greece, all named after the famous Sacred Gate that lead from Athens to Eleusis.
Miletus’ Sacred Gate opened the way to the Sacred Road that ran southwards to Panormos Harbor (Now modern-day Akkoy) and turned southeast towards the city of Didyma and the Didymaion, known also as the Temple of Apollo.
The starting point of The Sacred Way that connected Miletus to the nearby town of Didyma.
The starting point of The Sacred Way that connected Miletus to the nearby town of Didyma. The road once stood between the pillars of the now absent Sacred Gate.
The road was lined with statues of the Branchids (priests and priestesses associated with the temple). Lions and sphinxes that also once adorned the sacred way were excavated and on display at the Miletus Museum.
The road was approximately 16.6kn long, and 5 – 7 m wide. The Sacred Way was built for the worshippers of the cult of Artemis and Apollo, who would walk the Sacred Way in honor of the gods and goddesses, and partake in annual celebrations and festivals.
Remnants of the statues that once lined the Sacred Road from Miletus to Didyma.
Remnants of the statues that once lined the Sacred Road from Miletus to Didyma. They now sit in the Museum at Miletus
Host only to a smattering tourists and a handful of tea and trinket sellers, Miletus is among many of the lost gems of the Aegean. This underrated site has many stories to tell, and archaeologists continue to uncover its secrets.

The Early Influence of the Greeks on the Romans

by October 22, 2021

by Kevin Blood
The worlds of ancient Greece and Rome were, of course, deeply intertwined over the centuries. This history stretches back further than some may realise, though, to a series of city states in the south of Italy.
From the 8th century BCE, the Greeks established colonies along the coasts of Sicily and southern Italy (with the exception of the west of Sicily), from the Bay of Naples to the Bay of Tarentum, stretching to the southern coasts of Gaul. Further Greek expansion to the west and north was inhibited by the Etruscans and the Carthaginians.  The 6th and 5th centuries were the summit of flourishing for these Greek colonies. It was through their influence on the Etruscans, with whom they had extensive trade relationships, that these Greek colonies came to indirectly influence Roman culture. This is evidenced by the amount of Greek pottery in Etruscan tombs and the presence of Greek mythic and legendary themes found on Roman and Etruscan art works. Through the Etruscans the Romans received Greek architecture, social practices, religious cults and the art of writing.
The influence of Greek culture on the Romans strengthened with the Roman conquest of Magna Graeca in the third century. This is apparent in areas of science, philosophy, literature, education and legal and political institutions. Magna Graeca encompassed, amongst others, the city-states of Cyme (Cumae) and Posidonia. These were two centers of Greek culture that had a significant and enduring impact on Rome in the regal period as well as the early and middle republic.
The Sibyl and Cumae
Founded by Greeks from Chalcis before 750 on the northern Campanian plain, Cumae was a colony responsible for spreading Greek culture through the foundation of other settlements, such as Neapolis (Naples). In control of a significant portion of the Campanian coastline during the seventh and sixth centuries, the Greeks counted the settlements of Baiae and the port city if Puteoli among their possessions.
It was in the early religion of the Romans that Cumae would play an important role.  In the late fifth century it was home to the Cumaean Sibyl. At this time the Romans placed great stock in the oracular powers of the sibyl and she was regularly consulted on important matters of state.
In Book VI of The Aeneid by the Roman poet Virgil, the Trojan hero Aeneas visits the sybil. It must have been a daunting experience to travel through the 137 metres long, 5 metres high stone tunnels, hewn out of the living rock, to seek and audience with the priestess. Virgil sets the scene:
This rocky citadel had been colonized by Chalcidians from Euboea, and one side of it had been hollowed out to form a vast cavern into which led a hundred broad shafts, a hundred mouths, from which streamed as many voices giving responses to the Sibyl.’ 
Some scholars believe the priestess was under the influence of powerful intoxicants, perhaps coming from the thermal vents over which she sat. Her prophecies, written in Greek, were gathered by the Romans and compiled in the form of the Sibylline Books, or Books of Fate.  These books were given into the safekeeping of one of the colleges of Roman priests (a collection of ten men whose duty to was to carry out the sacred rights). In times of crisis it was they who would consult these scared tomes. Quite often when the books were consulted and interpreted by the priests, they suggested that some new Greek god or Greek ritual be brought in to the traditional framework of the Roman religion. Through this practice the Roman religion was changed over the centuries; this predisposed the religion to greater receptivity to the cults of the east.
Aeneas and the Cumaean Sibyl by François Perrier
Aeneas and the Cumaean Sibyl by François Perrier
Posidonia/Paestum
Posidonia was another Greek cultural and commercial center in southern Italy that had a deep cultural impact on the early Romans. It was also friendly to the Romans: its residents were willing to contribute to Rome’s protection in the form of a naval alliance.
It was the Greek city of Sybaris on the eastern coast of the toe of Italy that set out to establish a trading settlement on the western side of the peninsula, in about the middle of the 7th century. The Sybarian’s founded the settlement so as to benefit from the cross-country trade from the Ionian to the Tyrrhenian Sea, while at the same time partaking in a rich trade with Latium and Etruria further north.  They named the settlement Posidonia. Archaeologists have dated its foundation from a wholly Greek necropolis found there.
The fertile soil, the secure anchorage in the river Sele and its ideal geographical location, as well as the decline of Etruscan power in the 6th century, and the destruction of Sybaris in 510, saw Posidonia becoming the major centre for commerce in the area.  Its prestige and wealth were boosted by the influx of refugees arriving from Sybaris, who brought with them a spirit of entrepreneurship and initiative. Scholars believe that this influx of Sybarian refugees were responsible for the dedication of the underground sanctuary at Posidonia to Is, the mythical founder of Sybaris.
Between 560 and 440 Posidionia was at its zenith, its power and prestige embodied in the building of three great temples: 550 the Temple of Ceres, the so-called Basilica in 500, and the temple of Poseidon or Neptune in 450. At its most powerful it is believed Posidionia had near 20,000 inhabitants. The material remains, beautifully preserved, of the Temple of Neptune, and the tomb frescoes and terracotta statues provide evidence for the richness and magnificence of the city. 
Temple of Neptune at Paestum
Temple of Neptune at Paestum
The Lucanians (from the southwest of Italy), around 410, took control of Posidonia, renaming it Paistom. Despite remaining under Lucanian control until 273, the city held on to its Greek culture and appearance –  Greek potters and artists were dominant there, and the coinage remained Greek. The richness of tomb evidence from this period suggests that Paistom did not suffer a decline under the Lacanians. It seems the Italic Lacanians adopted and imitated, as the Etruscans and Romans before them did, the Greek style of vases in both shape and decoration.
The name of the city was changed, it became the city of Paestum, after the Romans established a colony at Posidonia in 273, it remains Paestum to the present day. Rome and Paestum kept close ties.  The residents of the city became naval allies of Rome (socii navales). They showed great loyalty to Rome and never failed to support the Romans in times of conflict, supplying the Romans with ships and sailors. Rome was able to defeat the Carthaginians during the Hannibalic War in the third century due to the loyalty and service of cities like Paestum.
The Romans improved the amenities of the city, adding a forum, amphitheatre and gymnasium. The Romans, however, contributed to the eventual decline of the city when they built the Via Appia, a road that linked Rome with the Adriatic; Paestum was bypassed and cut off from the valuable trade from the east.
Although the Romans would eventually conquer the Greek city-states and subjugate them under Roman rule, Greek culture played an integral part in the culture, art, religion and politics of the Roman state; Greek influence was responsible for much of the later sophistication of Roman culture. Greek influences may have dismayed some advocates of traditional Roman values, but for many, if not more, they were a well-spring of valuable ideas to be tapped for the betterment of Rome.
Sources
Bradley, P. (2003) Ancient Rome; Using Evidence, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, pp.29-34.
Connolly, P. (1981 2006) Greece and Rome at War, New Edition, London, Green Hill Books, pp. 87-130.

The Decline of the Eastern Empire

by September 10, 2021

by Andrew Rattray
It’s hard to pin the ultimate ending of the Roman Empire to a single cause. Of course there is no single date we can point to but rather a gradual collapse over hundreds of years. In the 3rd century the Empire was split into East and West, and by the 6th century the Western portion of the Empire was reduced to a collection of ‘barbarian’ rump states leaving the Eastern Empire to endure alone, eventually coming to be known as the Byzantine Empire, though it’s inhabitants no doubt continued to consider themselves Romans for some time. The rising influence and power of Germanic tribes such as the Visigoths and Ostrogoths, the slave shortage that came after the expansion of the empire slowed in the second century CE (thus damaging the Roman economy), the excess and opulence of the Emperors and the corruption such behaviour encouraged at the highest levels of government, and many more factors all played their part in the decline of the Western Empire, but what of the East? 
Well, there are two factors that had an enormous impact upon the Eastern Empire that are often overlooked and which I believe we should be paying much closer attention to, after all, as George Santayana wrote, ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’
You see, the Roman Empire rose to prominence during a period of warm, wet, temperate weather in Europe which was vital for the necessary agrarian production which allowed the empire to grow to encompass an immense, urbanized population, but so too did the climate play a factor in Rome’s ending. Investigations into the Earth’s ice sheets, known as ice-core research where scientists drill deep into the Earth’s ice caps to investigate climate in ages past, have revealed a large amount of volcanic activity in the 530s and 540s CE. This activity is thought to have triggered what is known as the ‘Late Antique Little Ice Age’ which brought cold temperatures that endured for well over one hundred years. The particulates fired into the atmosphere by these eruptions caused more reflection of the sun’s light and ultimately cooled the climate across the world. This in turn led to years of poor harvests which catalysed a famine across the Eastern Empire just at the time Rome’s enemies were growing bolder. 
Ultimately this sudden shift in climate may not impact us in the same way it did the Eastern Empire in the 6th and 7th centuries, and indeed under the guidance of Emperor Justinian I the Eastern Roman Empire, now Byzantine Empire in the historical record, did have success in reconquering some of the lost lands of the Western Empire, for a while. We have more secure food chains, more robust technology, but will that be enough to weather the changes that we face? Will we be able to overcome the challenges on our own horizon?
Another factor in the decline and ultimate fall of the Empire is the rising influence of pestilence and plague that coincided with the Late Antique Little Ice Age. The highly industrialised and urbanized society of the Empire allowed it to develop a powerful economy needed to fuel its war machine and diplomatic influence, however the high density also created perfect conditions for bacteria and disease to develop and spread. The interconnectedness of the empire too was both a boon and a curse as while it cultivated trade and mobility it also allowed infection to spread more quickly between cities and regions than they may have otherwise. 
In fact, the Empire was rocked by outbreaks of brutal disease and infection in the centuries immediately after the onset of the climatic changes brought on by the Late Antique Little Ice Age in the form of the Antonine Plague, the Plague of Cyprian, and finally an outbreak of Bubonic Plague under the emperor Justinian. While it recovered between each successive outbreak the body-blows took their toll and in the aftermath of each epidemic the Empire found itself a little more wounded, a little more beaten down, than it had been before. 
As Heraclitus of Ephesus was known for espousing, the only constant in life is change. The world today is vastly different to the 6th century, but we must not be complacent or over-enamoured with our own ideas of power in the face of Western hegemony. We are on the cusp of a new age of change, spurred by climate change and humanity’s growing technological developments. Can we learn from our past to take steps to ensure the security and prosperity of not just Western nations, but humanity all across the globe? Can we adapt to the new normal and still maintain the geopolitical status quo? Consider the balance of power of our modern world, how long do you think it will last? Forever?

Ten Caesars

by August 17, 2021

by Sean Kelly, Managing Editor, Classical Wisdom
You know the names…
…but do you know the men behind them?
There are few, if any, names more consequential in the ancient world than Caesar.
Centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire, the name Caesar still means one thing: leader.
As late as the twentieth century, the German head was called the Kaiser, and the Russian title was the Czar… both variations on Caesar.
The name casts a long shadow….as do the men who held it. But who were they? And what can their stories tell us about today?
Augustus Caesar Coin
Coin depicting Augustus Caesar
Barry Strauss, Professor of History and Classics at Cornell University, gives us the untold histories of these ten men and leaders.
Author of eight books on ancient history, including The Death of Caesar, The Battle of Salamis, and The Trojan War: A New History, Barry is the Series Editor of Princeton’s Turning Points in Ancient History.
In his most recent book, Ten Caesars: Roman Emperors from Augustus to Constantine, Barry Strauss takes us on a tour of the most powerful men in Ancient Rome.
From the first Roman Emperor, who “found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble”…. through to Marcus Aurelius, emperor, philosopher, and author of the still popular Meditations…. to Constantine, the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity….
Learn the stories of their lives, the secrets of their leadership, and how their collective legacies shaped our modern world.
The tales of the Caesars is, quite literally, the story of the Rise and Fall of one of the mightiest empires the earth has ever seen.
If you want to learn even MORE about the history of the Caesars, Barry Strauss’ next book The War That Made the Roman Empire: Antony, Cleopatra, and Octavian at Actium will be available next March!
Barry Strauss will also be speaking LIVE at our Symposium this weekend! 
As part of our theme End of Empires and Fall of Nations, he will be discussing Julius Caesar in his talk How Caesar Ruined a Republic and Started an Empire.
Best of all, it’s at a price of YOUR choice. Get your tickets now HERE.

Feeling a Sense of Doom? Time to turn to the Ancients

by August 11, 2021

by Sean Kelly, Managing Editor, Classical Wisdom
It’s easy these days to feel overwhelmed by a sense of catastrophe. Whether it’s the on-going pandemic, worries about floods, wildfires and other natural disasters, or just the normal concerns of our daily lives… the world seems filled with doom. 

It is in these trying times that we should turn to the ancients. 

This is because such concerns are nothing new: People, centuries and millennia ago, confronted catastrophes that resonate with us still today. The Iliad starts with a plague. So does Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, another of the most celebrated works of ancient literature… and of course Thucydides’ description of the plague of Athens during the Peloponnesian War, with its subsequent moral decay, carries a heavy, but important message to those willing to learn it. 

Likewise there were natural disasters from Pompeii to the Theran Eruption and the famous flood of ancient myths; pivotal moments in our collective history.  

The ancients confronted disasters like these and emerged the other side with wisdom to share with us all.

But where can we find this knowledge? How can we glean these essential lessons in a time when it’s so necessary? 

Fortunately for us, one of the most celebrated historians active today is on the case. 

Niall Ferguson, ‘the most brilliant British historian of his generation’, takes us on a journey through these disasters and what we can learn from them in his most recent book Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe.
Niall Ferguson applies the thoroughness and attention to detail he’s known for in a book that will have a resonance with anyone who has looked at the problems assailing the world and wondered to themselves “How am I meant to deal with this?”

Recently published, Doom has been described as, “Insightful, productively provocative and downright brilliant.” by none other than the New York Times Book Review
When disaster hits, we should be better prepared than the Romans when Vesuvius erupted… but are we? And if we aren’t, what do we need to learn? 
Make sure to read Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe for this important lesson. 
Get your own copy HERE
Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe by Niall Ferguson
But wait! There’s more… 
You can see Niall Ferguson LIVE this August at Classical Wisdom’s Symposium 2021: The End of Empires and the Fall of Nations. 
A senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, an award-making filmmaker,  as well as a New York Times best selling author of numerous books, including The Square and the Tower and The Ascent of Money, Niall’s speech on The Politics of Catastrophe in the Ancient and Modern Worlds is not to be missed. 
This is an opportunity of a lifetime to hear one of the world’s most celebrated intellectuals discuss the greatest issues facing our world today…
Not only that, but Niall will be joining our keynote panel discussion on Saturday night with famed philosopher Angie Hobbs and Harvard Professor of classics, James Hankins. They will address whether States and Empires Die Differently. And what can their deaths teach us today?
Reserve your tickets HERE!
(Please note – if you can’t afford the tickets, feel free to email us at [email protected] and we will help you out. We think this topic is too important to preclude anyone.)

The Top 8 Greatest Inventions of the Mycenaeans

by August 3, 2021

By Ed Whelan, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom
This month’s Classical Wisdom Litterae Issue is dedicated to the Mycenaeans! Get a subscription and learn more about these fascinating Bronze Age people HERE.
Who were they?
The Mycenaeans are often regarded as the first Greeks. They were the descendants of the first Neolithic farmers who settled in what is now Greece, and they were influenced by the Minoans. They developed cities and kingdoms, and in the late Bronze Age, these developed into a spectacular and sophisticated culture and civilization (1700-1100 BC). Their states were based on vast palaces and ruled by kings known as wanax. The Mycenaeans controlled the Peloponnese in Greece and eventually occupied Crete and the many Aegean Islands. Their influence was felt as far away as Cyprus and Asia Minor. The Iliad and the Odyssey, two of the most celebrated works on ancient literature, depict the Mycenaeans and their wars. Yet in about 1100 BC the Mycenaean culture had collapsed, for reasons that remain unclear. It was possibly due to natural disasters, foreign invasion, or civil wars. Here are some of their greatest achievements…
1. Mycenaean Architecture
The Mycenaeans were great builders and they engaged in some of the largest construction projects in Europe before the Roman Empire. These Bronze Age Greeks profoundly influenced the development of Archaic and Classical Greek architecture. The Mycenaean megaron, or palace complex, were monumental royal residencies that were enclosed by massive walls. These massive structures had porches, a vestibule, halls and arched corbel galleries. These were all elements that were extensively used by later Greeks. The Mycenaean Palace greatly influenced the evolution of the Classical temples and public buildings, which have significantly influenced the development of Western architecture.
'The Mask of Agamemnon'
‘The Mask of Agamemnon’
2. Mycenaean Engineering
The Mycenaeans were also great builders. Archaeologists have found that they were among the first to build stone bridges in Europe. They were also the first European civilizations that developed flood defences and even terraced agriculture. Sadly, however, much of their engineering knowledge was lost during the so-called Greek Dark Ages.
3. Mycenaeans factories
The Mycenaeans were also the first European Bronze Society who developed large scale manufacturing. These were much more advanced than other Bronze Age European cultures. They had large scale enterprises that made textiles, pottery and metalwork that were exported all over the Mediterranean World.
4. Mycenaean Writing
The Mycenaeans developed the first form of written Greek. This script is known as Linear B, and it was influenced by the mysterious Minoan script known as Linear A. Archaeologists have found many clay tablets with Linear B. The script was mainly used for record-keeping and administrative purposes. However, the Archaic Greeks alphabet was not based on Linear B, but was based on the phonetic Phoenician alphabet. Yet phrases and words from Linear B do appear in the works of Hesiod and Homer.
Linear- B script on a baked clay tablet
Linear- B script on a baked clay tablet
5. Mycenaean Cultural Achievements
The Mycenaeans had many cultural achievements. Their religion played a crucial role in the development of later Greek mythology and beliefs. They worshipped the first known representations of Zeus and Poseidon. The origin of many Archaic and Classical Greeks religious practices originated in the Late Bronze Age culture. Mycenaean stories played a key role in the evolution of Greek mythology. The Iliad and the Odyssey are both probably based on Mycenaean stories that may have been once recited in the great palaces to entertain the wanax and his court.
6. Mycenaean Military armor
The Mycenaeans were a society of warriors, which is very well shown in the Homeric epics. The Mycenaeans developed a new type of helmet made out of boars’ tusks. They used their considerable metalworking skills to develop new types of armor which were very advanced for the time. The best-known, example of this is the Dendra Panolopy (1450 BC) which is a full-body suit of armor.
Mycenaean soldiers from a fresco c 1300 BC

Mycenaean soldiers from a fresco c 1300 BC
7. Mycenaean Military Revolution
Homer describes the Mycenaean armies fighting outside the walls of Troy. The aristocratic elite fought in chariots but the Mycenaean army was composed of heavy infantry, typically armored. They used long spears and round shields. The Mycenaean military equipment and tactics were very effective and probably influenced the development of the hoplite style warfare, which was used by the Spartans and Athenians to defeat the Persians in the 5th century BC.
8. Advanced shipbuilding.
The Mycenaeans were not only great warriors they were also great mariners. We can get a glimpse of this in the adventures of Odysseus. It appears that the Mycenaeans developed trade networks over the Mediterranean. They develop new galleys that were probably based on Minoan models. The Mycenaean ships had seats with rowers and sails AND were steered by triangle rudders. Their ships, which were very large for the time, decisively influenced Archaic age vessels.
Conclusions
The Mycenaeans had many remarkable achievements in architecture, engineering, military tactics and shipping. These Bronze Age Greeks also helped to shape the evolution of later Greek culture, which has profoundly influenced the modern world. Sadly, some of their achievements have been lost to us. Yet nevertheless, it can still be confidently said that Mycenaean Greece was one of the cradles of civilization.
References
Kelder, Jorrit (2005). “Greece During the Late Bronze Age”. Journal of the Ancient Near East Society: Ex Oriente Lux. 39: 131–179.
Chadwick, J., 1976. The Mycenaean World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
The Rise and Fall of the Mycenaeans, Classical Wisdom Litterae
If you want to learn more about the Mycenaeans, check out our latest, new-look edition of our magazine, Classical Wisdom Litterae. Get a subscription and learn more about these fascinating Bronze Age people HERE.