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Tag Archives: Crete and Rhodes

Companions of the King 1500 B.C. – 1000 B.C.

Mycenae

Across the plains of Peloponnesus, flashed the swift chariots of knights and warrior-princes. They wore armour of gleaming bronze and bright proud plumes bobbed above their helmets. They were the new men of a new country and they called themselves the Achaeans. Their kings called themselves the Sons of Pelops, the mighty chief and hero who had given his name to the Peloponnesus. Pelops, the Achaeans said, was the son of a god. Probably, however, he was the grandson of an European invader, for many of the Achaeans’ ancestors were barbarian invaders from the north. But they may have seemed like gods to the Shore People when they first hacked their way into the country. Their ragged beards and horned helmets were frightening to look at and they fought like demons, they took the land they wanted, built fortresses and settles down to stay. When Minoan sailor-merchants began to stop at their towns, the warriors went into business, growing olives and squeezing them in presses to make oil. Olive oil was the butter, cooking grease, lamp fuel and hair tonic of the ancient world and the Achaeans began to grow rich. For a hundred years, from 1500 to 1400 B. C., the Achaean kings built a stronghold at Mycenae, not for from the Isthmus, the strip of land that connected the Peloponnesus to the mainland. The new castle, towering above the plain, had room inside to shelter all the people of Mycenae. Its huge walls looked like cliffs and people said that the stones had been put there by the Cyclops, the one-eyed giants whose parents were the gods of the earth and sky. When the king’s trumpets sounded the warning that an enemy was near, farmers ran from their fields and potters and armourers left their shops at the …

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