Listed 5 sub titles with search on: Ancient literary sources
for destination: "MYCENAE
Ancient literary sources (5)
General description, fortified by Perseus, origin of name, walls and gates built by Cyclopes, Electryon king of, Eurystheus king of, throne of, seized by Sthenelus, Herakles brings the Nemean lion to, Copreus is purified at, underground treasures of Atreus and his children at, Menelaus comes to Agamemnon at, Mycenaean troops in Trojan war, Agamemnon and Cassandra murdered at, Clytaemnestra and Aegisthus murdered at, graves of Atreus, Agamemnon, Clytaemnestra and others at, Orestes returns to, suzerain of Corinth and of Sicyon, destroyed by Argives, Orestes migrates to Arcadia from, its inhabitants disperse to various places, its fall and desolation, Menelaus comes to port in, eighty Mycenaeans sent to Thermopylae to meet Xerxes.
- Mycenae: Perseus Encyclopedia
Ascending (from Nemea) to Tretus, and again going along the road to
Argos, you see on the left the ruins of Mycenae. The Greeks are aware that the
founder of Mycenae was Perseus, so I will narrate the cause of its foundation
and the reason why the Argives afterwards laid Mycenae waste...(2.15.3)
...the sons of Abas, the son of Lynceus, divided the kingdom (of Argos) between
themselves; Acrisius remained where he was at Argos, and Proetus took over the
Heraeum, Mideia, Tiryns, and the Argive coast region. Traces of the residence
of Proetus in Tiryns remain to the present day. Afterwards Acrisius, learning
that Perseus himself was not only alive but accomplishing great achievements,
retired to Larisa on the Peneus. And Perseus, wishing at all costs to see the
father of his mother and to greet him with fair words and deeds, visited him at
Larisa. Being in the prime of life and proud of his inventing the quoit, he gave
displays before all, and Acrisius, as luck would have it, stepped unnoticed into
the path of the quoit.
So the prediction of the god to Acrisius found its fulfillment, nor
was his fate prevented by his precautions against his daughter and grandson. Perseus,
ashamed because of the gossip about the homicide, on his return to Argos induced
Megapenthes, the son of Proetus, to make an exchange of kingdoms; taking over
himself that of Megapenthes, he founded Mycenae. For on its site the cap (myces)
fell from his scabbard, and he regarded this as a sign to found a city. I have
also heard the following account. He was thirsty, and the thought occurred to
him to pick up a mushroom (myces) from the ground. Drinking with joy water that
flowed from it, he gave to the place the name of Mycenae.
Homer in the Odyssey mentions a woman Mycene in the following verse:
Tyro and Alcmene and the
fair-crowned lady Mycene. Hom. Od., unknown line
She is said to have been the daughter of Inachus and the wife of Arestor
in the poem which the Greeks call the Great Eoeae. So they say that this lady
has given her name to the city. But the account which is attributed to Acusilaus,
that Myceneus was the son of Sparton, and Sparton of Phoroneus, I cannot accept,
because the Lacedaemonians themselves do not accept it either. For the Lacedaemonians
have at Amyclae a portrait statue of a woman named Sparte, but they would be amazed
at the mere mention of a Sparton, son of Phoroneus.
It was jealousy which caused the Argives to destroy Mycenae. For at the
time of the Persian invasion the Argives made no move, but the Mycenaeans sent
eighty men to Thermopylae who shared in the achievement of the Lacedaemonians.
This eagerness for distinction brought ruin upon them by exasperating the Argives.
There still remain, however, parts of the city wall, including the gate, upon
which stand lions. These, too, are said to be the work of the Cyclopes, who made
for Proetus the wall at Tiryns. (2.15.2-5)
In the ruins of Mycenae is a fountain called Persea; there are also
underground chambers of Atreus and his children, in which were stored their treasures.
There is the grave of Atreus, along with the graves of such as returned with Agamemnon
from Troy, and were murdered by Aegisthus after he had given them a banquet. As
for the tomb of Cassandra, it is claimed by the Lacedaemonians who dwell around
Amyclae. Agamemnon has his tomb, and so has Eurymedon the charioteer, while another
is shared by Teledamus and Pelops, twin sons, they say, of Cassandra, whom while
yet babies Aegisthus slew after their parents. Electra has her tomb, for Orestes
married her to Pylades. Hellanicus adds that the children of Pylades by Electra
were Medon and Strophius. Clytemnestra and Aegisthus were buried at some little
distance from the wall. They were thought unworthy of a place within it, where
lay Agamemnon himself and those who were murdered with him. (2.15.2-75)
Fifteen stades distant from Mycenae is on the left the Heraeum. Beside the road
flows the brook called Water of Freedom...(2.17.1)
- Pausanias, Description of Greece
Now Mycenae is no longer in existence, but it was founded by Perseus, and Perseus
was succeeded by Sthenelus, and Sthenelus by Eurystheus; and the same men ruled
over Argos also. Now Eurystheus
made an expedition to Marathon
against Iolaus and the sons of Heracles, with the aid of the Athenians,
as the story goes, and fell in the battle, and his body was buried at Gargettus,
except his head, which was cut off by Iolaus, and was buried separately at Tricorynthus
near the spring Marcaria below the wagon road. And the place is called "Eurystheus'
Head." Then Mycenae fell to the Pelopidae who had set out from Pisatis,
and then to the Heracleidae, who also held Argos.
But after the naval battle at Salamis
the Argives, along with the
Cleonaeans and Tegeatans,
came over and utterly destroyed Mycenae, and divided the country among themselves.
Because of the nearness of the two cities to one another the writers of tragedy
speak of them synonymously as though they were one city; and Euripides, even in
the same drama, calls the same city, at one time Mycenae, at another Argos,
as, for example, in his Iphigeneia and his Orestes. (Strabo 8.6.18)
What enabled Agamemnon to raise the armament was more, in my opinion, his superiority
in strength, than the oaths of Tyndareus, which bound the Suitors to follow him.
Indeed, the account given by those Peloponnesians who have been the recipients
of the most credible tradition is this. First of all Pelops, arriving among a
needy population from Asia with vast wealth, acquired such power that, stranger
though he was, the country was called after him; and this power fortune saw fit
materially to increase in the hands of his descendants. Eurystheus had been killed
in Attica by the Heraclids. Atreus was his mother's brother; and to the hands
of his relation, who had left his father on account of the death of Chrysippus,
Eurystheus, when he set out on his expedition, had committed Mycenae and the government.
As time went on and Eurystheus did not return, Atreus complied with the wishes
of the Mycenaeans, who were influenced by fear of the Heraclids,-besides, his
power seemed considerable, and he had not neglected to court the favour of the
populace,-and assumed the sceptre of Mycenae and the rest of the dominions of
Eurystheus. And so the power of the descendants of Pelops came to be greater than
that of the descendants of Perseus. To all this Agamemnon succeeded. He had also
a navy far stronger than his contemporaries, so that, in my opinion, fear was
quite as strong an element as love in the formation of the confederate expedition.
The strength of his navy is shown by the fact that his own was the largest contingent,
and that of the Arcadians was furnished by him; this at least is what Homer says,
if his testimony is deemed sufficient. . .Now Mycenae may have been a small place,
and many of the towns of that age may appear comparatively insignificant, but
no exact observer would therefore feel justified in rejecting the estimate given
by the poets and by tradition of the magnitude of the armament.
This extract is from: Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. Richard Crawley. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton. 1910.
Cited Sept. 2002 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.
- Perseus: Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War (ed. Richard Crawley, 1910)
Pictura, (Zographia, Graphike), Painting
- A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890) (eds. William Smith, LLD, William Wayte, G. E. Marindin)