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Bronze Age Greece: Mycenaeans & the Origins of Western Civilization
May 3, 2019 @ 7:30 pm - May 4, 2019 @ 4:00 pm$25 – $80.
May 3, 7:30-9:30pm, and May 4, 10am-4pm
Humanities West brings together a panel of noted scholars to present talks uncovering the Mycenaean story, from ancient tales to the latest archaeological finds, in an effort to deepen our understanding of the roots of Western Civilization.
When the Bronze Age collapsed, all signs of state-level society disappeared from Greece, and Mycenaeans disappeared from history. Yet, their oral tales remained, composed half a millennium later by Homer into the Iliad and the Odyssey. Most scholars came to assume the Homeric tales and even the society they described largely were fiction. Then a few 19th-century amateur archaeologists took those tales seriously and brought these brilliant predecessors of the ancient Greeks back from obscurity.
The program opens with an illustrated talk exploring the great tales of the Iliad and Odyssey, along with other Mycenaean-derived myths that provided a look into this ancient society long before 19-century archaeologist would prove its existence. The Friday program includes a special lecture-performance-demonstration of Mycenaean literature, music, and performance culture.
On Saturday, presentations delve further into Bronze Age Myth discussing how the Mycenaean legends and stories have become accepted as reality, as science rises to claim authority away from literature through the archaeological findings. Finds from new excavations, including the discovery of the grave of the so-called “Griffin Warrior,” shed light on early Mycenaean culture and suggest that the myths and legends of the Homeric poems were already in circulation at the dawn of the Mycenaean civilization.
The program explores what life was like at a Mycenaean palatial center, highlighting the everyday experiences of a bustling world with monumental architecture, large-scale craft production, and religious ritual, and provides a growing picture of a trans-Mycenaean society in the north Aegean.
Presented by Humanities West.