Crete and Mycenae

Crete and Mycenae

Crete and Mycenae

Crete and Mycenae

Excerpt

The whole story of the archaeological exploration of Crete amounts to no more than the last sixty years of excavation. The turn of the century saw the beginning of the pioneering work which brought to light the palaces of Knossos and Phaistos with many other of the island's monuments and art- treasures.

The fundamental discoveries and researches in Crete are intimately associated with the name of Sir Arthur Evans, just as those in Mycenaean Greece are with the name of Heinrich Schliemann, the explorer of Mycenae, Tiryns and Orchomenos. Intense archaeological research over more than eighty years has gradually revealed to us the extent of Mycenaean culture, down to the discovery and excavation in most recent years of another important Mycenaean centre at Pylos in the south-western Peloponnese.

Archaeologists of many countries, not least of Greece, have made known the results of their researches in numerous publications, of the greatest archaeological and scholarly value. But for the wider interested public there is no summary which presents the historical and artistic importance of the discoveries in their true proportions. The present book is designed to meet this need. The illustrations have been selected with as much regard for archaeological accuracy as for the effective presentation of the beauty of their subjects, thereby complementing and illuminating Professor Marinatos's text.

Some of the pictures are devoted to the monumental architecture and the magic of the landscape in which it is set, as well as to the frescoes of the palaces and mansions. The frescoes are illustrated in their original form, so far as it is preserved, without the misleading restorations and reconstructions of modern hands. But it is upon the enchanting products of the arts and crafts of Minoan Crete and Mycenaean Greece that the book concentrates. Outstanding among these are the treasures from the shaft graves at Mycenae: the royal gold masks, the jewellery of kings and queens, their weapons and numerous gold vessels which served them at worship or at the table, their gold signet rings, and their gems which tell us so much of their religion.

So as to present this wealth of material, these boundless riches, to the best advantage, all the photographs have been newly taken. For providing the necessary facilities I have to thank most . . .

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