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

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

CHAPTER XIII THE PROBLEM OF MYCENAEAN CHRONOLOGY

WHETHER or not the authors of this distinct and stately civilization included among their achievements a knowledge of, letter, their monuments thus far address us only in the universal language of form and action. Of their speech we have yet to read the first syllable. The vase-handles of Mycenae may have some message for us, if no more than a pair of heroic names; and the nine consecutive characters from the cave of Cretan Zeus must have still more to say when we find the key. We may hope, at least, if this ancient culture ever recovers its voice, to find it not, altogether unfamiliar: we need not be startled if we catch, the first lisping accent of what has grown full and strong in the Achaean epic.

An age without a recorded date or name

But for the present we have to do with a dumb age with a race whose artistic expression amazes us all the more in the dead silence of their history. So far as we yet know from their monuments, they have recorded not one fixed point in their career, they have never even written down. their name as a people.

Now, a dateless era and a nameless race -- particularly in the immediate background of the stage on which we see the forces of the world's golden age deploying -- are facts to be accepted only in the last resort. The student of human culture cannot look upon the massive wall, the

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