Archaic Greece

Getty Kouros

Have a wonderful Spring Break!!
Getty Kouros, c. 530 BCE, or modern forgery.
Marble, 81 1/8" x 21 1/2".











Mycenaean Civilization
ca. 1600 - 1200 BCE

Warrior Vase
  • Mycenaeans take over Crete ca. 1450 BCE
    • Descended from earliest Greek clans in the North
    • Minoans called Mycenaean language “bar-bar”
  • Referred to as “the Age of Heroes,” when Greek myths believed to have happened
  • Introduce patriarchy to Aegean
    • From their rule on, women had few rights and were considered inferior to men
Warrior Vase, krater from Mycenae,
ca. 1200 BCE. 1' 4" high.











Achilles tends Patroclus' Wounds

"The stories of Troy and the heroes who fought against it offered the Dorians and Arcadians and Ionians a mythical shared past. In the Illiad, each city sends ships instantly in response to Agamemnon's call, a unity of action that the Greeks never actually managed to achieve. But the story expresses the beginnings of a growing identification between Greek cities that separated them from other peoples. [Furthermore,] in the Illiad, for the first time, we come across a word for those who live outside the triple circle of Greeks: Homer calls them barbaro-phonoi, 'strange speakers.' It was a simple division of all peoples into two, those who spoke a dialect of Greek and those who didn't." - Susan Wise Bauer, The History of the Ancient World
Achilles tending Patroclus wounded by an arrow, tondo of an Attic red-figure kylix, from Vulci, ca. 500 BCE.











Bronze Age Greece











Lions Gate, Mycenae
Citadel of Mycenae
Lion Gate, Mycenae, ca. 1300 - 1250 BCE. Limestone relief, panel 9' 6" high.











Grave Circel A

Grave Circle A, just right of Lions Gate entrance, ca. 1676 - 1600 BCE.
Schliemann discovered and excavated the royal tomb at Mycenae in 1876.











Mask of Agamemnon

Funerary mask, known as "Mask of Agamemnon," from Grave 5 of Grave Circle A, Mycenae,
ca. 1600 - 1500 BCE. Beaten gold, approx. 12" high.










Ivory comb recently discovered in ancient, "Griffin Warrior's" tomb, Mycenaean Palace of Nestor, Greece, ca. 1500 BCE.











Trojan War
1194 - 1184 BCE
Mykonos Vase
  • Around 1250 BC, King Agamemnon of Mycenae rallied the lesser kings of the neighboring lands to attack the city of Troy in Asia Minor, beginning the Trojan War.
  • Helen married King Menelaus, brother of Agamemnon,
  • Aphrodite and Athena got into argument over whom was more beautiful. They asked the handsome Prince of Troy to decide. To win Paris’s vote, Aphrodite secretly promised him Helen of Troy's love
  • Agamemnon came to his brother's aid, organized an army of kings of the Aegean.
  • The iron gates of Troy kept Agamemnon’s Greeks out of the city for 10 years.
Mykonos Vase, amphora, ca. 670 BCE.
  • Odysseus, king of Ithaca, proposed building horse sculpture, where soldiers could hide, and offering it to Trojans as gift of defeat.
  • The Trojans celebrated their defeat of the Greeks, passing out from drunken revelry. Soldiers inside the horse snuck out, and opened the gates. The Greeks slayed the Trojans, pillaged the city, and burned it to the ground.











Rhyton in the shape of a lion's head, from a shaft grave at Mycenae. c. 1550 BC. Gold, height 8".


More artificats from Mycenae











Treasury of Atreus

Tholos, the so-called "Treasury of Atreus," Mycenae, ca. 1300 - 1250 BCE.


"Cyclopean Masonry"












Interior of Tholos, "Treasury of Atreus," Mycenae, c. 1300 - 1250 BCE. Limestone vault, heigh approx. 43'.










"Greek" History

Ancient Aegean

Helladic -
ca. 3000 BCE - 1050 BCE
Bronze Age
mainland, including Mycenaean culture
Cycladic -
ca. 3000 - 2000 BCE
Cycladic and adjacent islands except Crete
Minoan -
ca. 2000 - 1200 BCE
Dark Age
1150 - 750 BCE
Hellenic -
ca. 1050 - 400 BCE
Iron Age
quintessential Greece
Hellenistic -
323 - 30 BCE
Greek culture at its farthest reaching influence
Ancient Aegean











Ancient Greece in Context
3000 - 1450 BCE
Minoan Civilization

Phoenician Alphabet

2000 BCE
Stonehenge built
1345 BCE
Akhenaten institutes monotheistic religion in Egypt
1450 BCE
Mycenaeans conquer Crete
1400 BCE
Linear B in general use in the Aegean
1250 BCE
Trojan War
Dark Age 1150 - 600 BCE
1100 BCE
Dorian Invasion
1000 - 800 BCE
Rise of Greek city-states
800 BCE
Adoption of Phoenician alphabet
Geometric Style after 900 to 700 BCE
776 BCE
First Olympic games
Archaic Period 600 - 480 BCE
750 - 700 BCE
Homer writes the Iliad and the Odyssey
Orientalizing Style 700 to 600 BCE
563 BCE
Siddhartha (founder of Buddhism) born in Nepal
510 - 508 BCE
Athens establishes first democracy
Classic Period ca. 480 to 323 BCE
499 - 490 BCE
Persians invade Greece, Athenians defeat Persians at the Battle of Marathon
431 - 404 BCE
Peloponnesian Wars/ Sparta conquers Athens
363 BCE
Alexander the Great comes to power and begins to spread Greek ways across the East
Hellenistic Period 323 to 30 BCE











Three Groups Simultaneously Settle Ancient Greece
Hero and Centaur
Around 1200 BCE the "Sea Peoples" invaded the Greek archipelago from the south while, simultaneously, the Dorians came down from the north into mainland Greece. While the Sea Peoples made definite incursions into Attica (the mainland region surrounding Athens) the Dorians by-passed the city, allowing the Mycenaean culture to survive.
Dorians =
invaded Mycenae from the north, inhabited South, including Cyclades
Aeolians =
iconquered northern mainland
Ionians =
colonized Africa, Euboea, Aegean Islands, and the coast of Asia Minor
Hero and centaur (Herakles and Nessos?), from Olympia, ca. 750 - 730 BCE. Bronze, 4.5" high.











Athens emerges as one of the first "polis" and a center for pottery
protogeometric skyphos
Protogeometric skyphos, from Athens, ca. 900 BCE.











Dipylon Vase

Geometric Style krater known as a "Dipylon Vase," from the Dipylon Cemetery,
ca. 740 BCE. Ceramic, Height 42 5/8".









Characteristics of the Geometric Style
  • Use of linear motifs such as spirals, diamonds, cross hatching and checkering
  • Bodies expressed in profile view and great abstraction
  • Clear Egyptian influence











Blinding of Polyphemus and Gorgons
Orientalizing Style
About 725 BCE, Orientalizing style merges numerous eastern motifs with Aegean tendencies
Whereas Geometric Style betrays a lack of concept for "the body," Orientalizing Style indicates newly emerging sense
  • Solidity of the body
  • Unity, body is an undivided whole rather than an aggregate of parts
  • Decoration subordinate to narrative and representation
    • Cyclops portrayed with illusionist devices
    • Right leg and arm hidden
    • Right hand peeps out from chest
  • Use of line-drawing for faces allows for more definition and detail
The Blinding of Polyphemus and Gorgons, ca. 675 - 650 BCE. Height 56".











Geometric Style
Orientalizing Style

Geometric amphora

black-figure olpe in Orientalizing Style

Geometric Amphora, 8th century BCE.

Pitcher (Olpe) from Corinth, c. 600 BCE.
Ceramic with black-figure decoration, height 11 1/2".