to Nauplia. MYCEN.E. 31. Route. 333
A *Visit to Mycen.e and back takes 3ife hrs. on foot (by
carriage from Nauplia, p. 337, &ife hrs. incl. halt); the carriage-road
runs as far as the Gate of the Lions. Proceeding to the N. we first
reach (ll/t M.) the little Albanian village of Charvati, where the
custodian (tp6Xa|) of Mycenae resides, near the small museum. He
accompanies visitors to the ruins (fee 1-2 dr.). Travellers may
obtain fair accommodation and food at the Xenodochion Horaea
Ele'ne. Mule to Tiryns (p. 339) via the Heraeon (p. 345), 7 dr.
Mycenae lies at the entrance to a glen between the two sum¬
mits of Hagios Elias (2460 ft.) on the N. and Szdra (1970 ft.) on
the S. Travellers do not catch sight of the ruins rising in the angle
of the mountain until they are rather near (comp. Homer, (Jio^q
"Apyso?, 'in the innermost corner of Argos'). The rubbish-heaps
that disfigure the S.W. side of the walls were thrown up during
the excavations by Dr. Heinrich Schliemann, whose rich discoveries
(p. 79) again attracted attention to this remote corner.
Perseus is the legendary founder of Mycenae and is said to have
raised its massive walls with the help of Cyclopes from Lycia. His great-
great-grandson was Sthenelos, whose son Eurystheus obtained the lordship
instead of Hercules, in consequence of his birth, through Hera's influ¬
ence, having taken place before that of the hero. The princes of the
house of Pelops, who afterwards ruled here, traced their descent from the
famous Phrygian king Tantalos. They are said to have inherited the
town and its domains after the death of Eurystheus; but it is perhaps
more probable that the foreign immigrants made themselves masters of
the place by force. Mycenae was the scene of the terrible legend of the
quarrels of Atreus and Thyestes, the sons of Pelops; and Agamemnon, the
son of Atreus, had his seat here, described by Homer as 'well-built'
(1uxt((ji£vov irroXUftpov, II. n. 59) and 'abounding in gold' (noXu'^pujot,
II. vn. 180; Od. in. 305). Agamemnon appears not only as prince of the
district round Mycenae but also as the chief and leader of all the Greeks
of the mainland and islands, at whose head he sailed against Troy.
After his return he was murdered by Mgisthos, the lover of his wife
Klytaemnestra; but although Orestes, Agamemnon's only son, avenged his
father's death when he had grown up, the legend does not represent him
as having regained the throne. The Pelopidae were probably conquered
by the immigrating Herakleidse. The might of Mycenae had dwindled long
before the dawn of history. Among those who fell at Thermopylse, how¬
ever, 80 Mycenseans are mentioned ; and at the battle of Plataea the united
contingent from Mycenae and Tiryns included about 200 Mycenaeans (comp.
p. 340). Both these cities suffered tbe same fate, in being destroyed by the
Argives in B.C. 4(58. Since that time the ruins of the town have remained
in their lonely situation very much as we now find them, as is indicated
by a comparison with the description of Pausanias (p. cxxiv), although
we learn from inscriptions that Mycenae was inhabited, albeit scantily, in
the 2nd cent. B.C.
The ancient city included not only the Acropolis, the seat of
the ruling family, but also an extensive Lower City, spreading
over the entire hill to the S.W., which is crossed by a sharp ridge
of rock. This lower city was probably not fortified until the 6th cent.
B.C. Of the remains here the most important are the subterranean
domed sepulchral chambers, which in the time of Pausanias, when
their real character had been forgotten, passed for treasuries. The
connection of the two largest with Agamemnon and Klytaemnestra is