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The Mycenaeans

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The Mycenaeans
By Louise Schofield. The J. Paul Getty Museum: 2007. Pg. 208. 60 color and 60 b&w illustrations.) ISBN 13: 978-0-89236-867-9.

Reviewed by Simone Bonim - April 23, 2007

For thousands of years the Mycenaeans were lost to history, until Heinrich Schliemann excavated the Acropolis of Mycenae in 1876. Since that time, archaeologists and historians have done much to reacquaint us with this once vibrant and complex civilization. In The Mycenaeans, Louise Schofield chronicles the state of our current understanding of Mycenaean culture and history and offers the reader a detailed overview of their civilization. Schofield is a former curator at the British Museum where she specialized in the Greek Bronze Age.

The Mycenaeans were the ancestors of the ancient Greeks, and it is imperative that we gain an understanding of the Mycenaean civilization in order to better understand the development of Greek civilization. Building upon recent archaeological finds, material remains, and other available evidence, Schofield paints a detailed and eminently readable account of the Mycenaeans. At the same time she tries to separate the known facts, from the mythology that has for so long clouded judgement about the Mycenaeans and the Mycenae civilization. For example, was the Mycenaean King Agamemnon that Homer wrote about, a real Mycenaean king? And, if Agamemnon was real, was Homer's story of the Trojan War then based in fact?

In this book Schofield also examines Schliemann's re-discovery of the Mycenaeans, and she traces their history from their rise, to their fall. In the process she imparts fascinating tidbits of information about Mycenaean, including their religious beliefs, material culture, diet, the geography of the land they inhabited, and their architecture. Written for the general reader with an interest in early, Classic Greek history, this book is well illustrated and written in a flowing narrative style. Scholars in the related fields of art history, Aegean studies, and mythology will also find this book time well spent.

Related Reviews:

Life, Myth, and Art in Ancient Greece, by Emma J. Stafford.
An illustrated, general guidebook to the world of the ancient Greeks - for readers of all ages.

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece, By Sean Sheehan.
There are over 250 entries in this one volume encyclopedia, which cover a range of topics associated with Ancient Greece, including Greek mythology, art, culture, history, and everyday life in Ancient Greece.

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