The Mycenaean Age: A Study of the Monuments and Culture of Pre-Homeric Greece

By Chrestos Tsountas; J. Irving Manatt | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XIV THE PROBLEM OF THE MYCENAEAN RACE

WE have seen that Mycenaean art was no exotic, transplanted full grown into Greece, but rather a native growth -- influenced though it was by the earlier civilizations of the Cyclades and the East. This indigenous art, distinct and homogeneous in character, no matter whence came its germs and rudiments, must have been wrought out by a strong and gifted race. That it was of Hellenic stock we have assumed to be self-evident. But, as this premise is still in controversy,1 we have to inquire whether (aside from art) there are other considerations which make against the Hellenic origin of the Mycenaean peoples, and compel us to regard them as immigrants from the Islands or the Orient.

The Race Problem

Architectural evidence
The gable roof In the first place, recalling the results of our discussion of domestic and sepulchral architecture, we observe that neither in the Aegean nor in Syria do we find the gable-roof which prevails at Mycenae. Nor would the people of these warm and dry climates have occasion to winter their herds in their own huts -- an ancestral custom to which we have traced the origin of the avenues to the beehive tombs.

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1
The Mycenaean estate has been claimed already for Carian, Phoenician, Hittite, Goth and Byzantine; and since this chapter was in type the British Association has heard Prof. Ridgeway stoutly reasserting the prior title of the Pelasgian. (See London Times, September 22, 1896. Cf. J. H. S., xvi. 77-119.)

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