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Study Abroad - Greece

Xavier University's Greece Summer Study Abroad Information.



Mycenaeans were the earliest Greeks and the city of Mycenae was the most powerful kingdom of that time (1600-1100 BC). The inhabitants of c. 1200 were the Greek heroes of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, and the "king" of this city was (according to myth) none other than the leader of Greek forces against Troy, Agamemnon. That is not to say that whoever lived at Mycenaean ruled the other Mycenaean kingdoms, which are found throughout Greece at this time, as the map below shows. 

Whoever ruled at Mycenaean was simply the richest and had the strongest citadel. Notice that there was even a Mycenae city on the Acropolis of Athens - the Mycenaeans tended to build strong citadels on easy to defend mountains. The Mycenaean citadel at Athens was not as impressive as the one at Mycenae, but when devastation hit the Mycenaean world c. 1150 Athen later boasted that it alone never fell to marauding invaders (other Greek tribes).

These links to the Khan Academy provide easy to follow information on the elements of Mycenae that you will see in person. 


This Khan Academy Essay (Website Link) on Mycenae, provides information on the different parts of the city and structures you will see.

The Kahn Academy video above "The 'Palace' and Grave Circle A" (4:12) covers important monuments and introduce the "Father of Archaeology", Heinrich Schliemann, whose mansion in Athens (just up from the Catholic Church) is now the Numismatics Museum.

The Kahn Academy video above takes a close look at the famous Lion Gate (6:38) that we will stop in front of for a group picture of Greece 2023. It connects the Mycenaeans who erected this remarkable sculpture to later Greeks architecture and, more important, to the pre-Greek Minoans that dominated the eastern Mediterranean 2000 - 1400 BC and are responsible for teaching the earliest Greeks important cultural elements that carry on to Classical Greece and beyond.

The Kahn Academy video below focuses on the "Mask of Agamemnon" (3:52) that Schliemann found when he excavated Grave Circle A - unfortunately, Grave Circle A predates the time of the Trojan War by 400 year. From the sounds we can tell the video was made at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, which we will visit after we see Mycenae. There are replicas of many artifacts in Athens at the museum in Mycenae, which we will also visit - keep a look out for this mask and for other Mycenaean objects in both museums!

The Kahn Academy video above looks at "The Treasury of Atreus" (4:08), so called because the no one knew that it was a new type of burial (tholos tomb) that became popular c. 1300 BC and they thought it had to be where Agamemnon's father, Atreus, kept his dough. The video is especially good at capturing the engineering skill of corbel vaulting that enclosed the largest domed space until the Romans built the Pantheon a thousand years later.