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In an echo of what archeology tells us about the rapid collapse of the sophisticated Mycenaean city states after 1200 BC, the Greek myths tell of instability and usurpation greeting the Achaean heroes on their return from the 10 year war. The High King of Achaea himself, Agamemnon of Mycenae, was murdered by his wife Clytemnestra to aid her lover Aegisthus to the throne.

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The British Museum: The Mycenaean period of the later Greek Bronze Age was viewed by the Greeks as the 'age of heroes' and perhaps provides the historical background to many of the stories told in later Greek mythology, including Homer's epics. Objects and artworks from this time are found throughout mainland Greece and the Greek islands. Distinctive Mycenaean pottery was distributed widely across the eastern Mediterranean.

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Lion Gate & Circle A, Mykenae, Late Bronze Age (1600 - 1100 BCE), Mykenaean ---- Circle A cemetery - shaft grave era - found by Schliemann. 5 graves. He was looking for the burial of King Agamemnon.

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In 1900, Sir Arthur Evans, at Knossus, on the island of Crete, found 3,000 clay tablets with writing he was never able to decipher. He labelled the writing Linear B, to differentiate from others previously found. In 1952, Michael Ventris, an amateur cryptologist, declare Linear B to be Archaic Greek, indicating the Greek language had a 3,300 year history.

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Head of a girl, from the Palace of Knossos, Minoan, 1700-1400 BC (plaster). Minoan / Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, Crete, Greece / The Bridgeman Art Library

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