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

By Chrestos Tsountas; J. Irving Manatt | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

I AM very glad to comply with the request of my friend, Professor Manatt, by writing an introduction to the present volume. The work of Chrestos Tsountas on "Mycenae and the Mycenaean Civilization" is recognized on all hands as one of the best and most instructive in recent archæological literature; and in this new form, greatly enriched and amply illustrated, it must win many new friends. To a work so excellent -- happily summing up as it does all that the latest excavations and researches have taught us of life and art in the early bloom of pre-Homeric Greece -- it affords me peculiar pleasure to be able to make some slight contribution.

Until recently the Homeric poems were our sole source of light upon the civilization of the prehistoric or Heroic Age of Greece. But the pictures which the poet gives us of the Palaces and the life of that age appeared too fanciful to pass for transcripts of reality. For example who could have believed that the Palaces were actually (as Homer alleges) adorned with friezes of blue glass (kyanos)? But the excavations at Tiryns, Mycenae, Orchomenos, and elsewhere -- in which Tsountas, as well as Schliemann, has borne a prominent part -- have changed our point of view. We now know that in essentials Homer's pictures answer to reality. Accordingly, in an investigation of the culture of the Heroic Age, we may and must base our researches upon the results of those excavations and upon the Homeric

-xxi-

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