Homeric Routes – Mycenaean Civilization

OVERVIEW

This will be an epic journey along the routes immortalized by the famous epic poet Homer, as we uncover the real lives of the heroes of the Trojan War and the mysteries of the Mycenaean Civilization. We will delve into the legacy of the legendary blind poet and discover the Mycenaean culture, society, and landscapes by exploring the remains of the majestic palaces from where the kings ruled in war and peace. The lives of the Mycenaeans will be revealed through their art, the daily artifacts, and the acclaimed clay tablets where scribes kept detailed accounts for the disbursement of goods in the Linear B script. We will travel from Athens to Sparta, home to king Menelaus, as we visit “rich in gold” Mycenae, Nafplio, and Kalamata (once ruled by wise Nestor).

OVERVIEW

This will be an epic journey along the routes immortalized by the famous epic poet Homer, as we uncover the real lives of the heroes of the Trojan War and the mysteries of the Mycenaean Civilization. We will delve into the legacy of the legendary blind poet and discover the Mycenaean culture, society, and landscapes by exploring the remains of the majestic palaces from where the kings ruled in war and peace. The lives of the Mycenaeans will be revealed through their art, the daily artifacts, and the acclaimed clay tablets where scribes kept detailed accounts for the disbursement of goods in the Linear B script. We will travel from Athens to Sparta, home to king Menelaus, as we visit “rich in gold” Mycenae, Nafplio, and Kalamata (once ruled by wise Nestor).

THE SYLLABUS

The World of Homer

Homer is the legendary blind poet who wrote the two classic epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey. Almost nothing about his life is known with certainty, but there is no doubt as to his powerful influence on ancient Greek literature, society, and culture. This module introduces students to the world of Homer and the world which inspired him and forms the backdrop of his epic narratives. The bard describes legendary realms and kings but his poems are infused with details about the material culture and social milieu of his own times. We will identify the principal events and characters of Homer’s epic poems, discuss the primary theoretical difficulties in reading and interpreting Homer’s work, and explore his influence on major works of classical Greek and Roman literature.

War and Peace: the Mycenaean Civilization

The acropolis of Mycenae impresses the visitor with the massive Cyclopean walls that protect the royal residence and the tombs of its legendary kings. It seems clear that this was a society where war played a most crucial role, requiring constant vigilance and strong defensive measures. But the Mycenaeans also created elegant works of art, erected monumental tombs, and adorned their palaces with exquisite frescoes. This module is a comprehensive introduction to the Mycenaean civilization. Who were the Mycenaeans? How did they live their lives? What forces shaped the rise and fall of their civilization? And how did the classical Greeks come to regard their ancestors as mythical men and women who married, fought, and travelled with the gods?

People and Places: the Mycenaean Landscapes

The focus of this module is Mycenaean topography. Even though many millennia have passed since Agamemnon and Odysseus roamed the Greek countryside and the Aegean Sea, the landscape preserves vivid memories of the Mycenaeans’ presence. Their walls and palaces dominate the hilltops of southern Greece, their roads and bridges still survive on mountainsides still as arid and craggy as they were when Atreus made the sun set in the east. From the acropolis at Mycenae the view encompasses olive groves and the distant sea, much like it did at the time of Agamemnon’s murder in the bath. By homing in on Mycenaean settlements and evidence from Linear B scripts, students will discover Mycenaean everyday culture and familiarize themselves with the concepts of natural heritage and cultural landscapes.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

• Marvel at the foremost masterpieces of the Mycenaean Civilization: Mycenae, Tiryns and Midea; the wealthiest and most powerful cities of a people that ruled over the eastern Mediterranean world between 1600 and 1200 BCE

• Immerse yourself in places firmly linked to the Homeric epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, which have profoundly influenced the European art and literature for more than three millennia

• Discover the famous Lion Gate, the monumental Grave Circles A and B, the imposing Treasury of Atreus at Mycenae, as well as the acropolis and the palace. Last, but not least, get to know the Cyclopean walls of Tiryns, 20 metres thick in parts and whose largest block is estimated to weigh more than 15 tons; an exceptional example of ingenious human engineering

• Get lost in the breathtaking scenery of the tallest mountain in the Peloponnese; the imposing Taygetus

• Visit fascinating archaeological museums, such as the exquisite National Archaeological Museum in Athens and the Archaeological Museum of Mycenae, guided by highly-qualified, licensed archaeologists

• Indulge in the Homeric heritage through intriguing, on-site seminars and workshops by enthusiastic lecturers

PERKS & OPTIONS

What is included in our programs?

  • 3 US credits provided by the Hellenic American University
  • Accommodation in hand-picked and well-located superior class hotels
  • Breakfast and lunch
  • Professionals e.g. licensed guides, lecturers, and tour managers
  • Entrance fees to museums and archaeological sites
  • All land and sea transportation included in the itinerary of the specific program
  • Information material
  • Local taxes
  • Travel insurance
  • Transport to and from the airport in Greece

Optional

  • Airfares to and from Greece
  • Any custom request

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