to Nauplia. MYTJENiE. 31. Route. 335
The carriage-road now ascends to the *Acropolis, which was
surrounded by a massive wall, still tolerably well-preserved in itB
whole circuit. The gap above a precipitous part of the hill on the
S. side was perhaps never protected by a wall. The blocks of stone
are not, like those of Tiryns (p. 340), all undressed, but in many
cases hewn into polygonal shapes or (at the gates) even squared.
From the N.W. angle of the citadel a passage (33 ft. broad and
49 ft. long) between walls leads to the principal entrance, the famous
*Gate of the Lions. The walls of this passage are built of squared
stones, which are so placed that the vertical joints of each course are
in a line with each other, a peculiarity not found in the other build¬
ings, where on the contrary the vertical joints are each capped by a
stone in the course above. The S. wall, commanding the exposed
(shieldless) side of assailants, is strengthened by a tower-like erection.
The doorway, 101/2 ft. high, IOV4 ft. wide below and 9l/2 ft. above,
is formed of two slightly sloping doorposts supporting a huge lintel
(16'/2 ft- long, 8ft. broad, and over 3 ft. thick in the middle). In the
jambs and in the lintel and sill there are holes which were used in
closing and lasteningthe doors. Thetriangular opening left in the wall
immediately above the lintel to reduce the superincumbent weight,
is concealed by an ornamental slab of brownish limestone (10 ft.
high, 12 ft. broad at the base, and 2 ft. thick), bearing the famous
relief. This represents two lions, of a somewhat heraldic appearance,
reared on their hind legs with their fore-paws resting on the broad
pedestal of a smooth cylindrical column, the curious capital of
which has an important bearing on the question of the origin of Greek
architecture. The lions were represented as looking towards those
approaching the gate, but their heads, which were made of separate
pieces (perhaps of metal), are now wanting. Similar lions have
been discovered in Asia Minor, a fact that seems to corroborate the
legend of the origin of the Pelopidae (p. 333). Comp. p. lxvii..
On passing through the doorway we cross a space about 11 ft.
square behind it, which was closed by a second door, now in ruins.
A retaining-wall, on the left, here divides the upper part of the Acro¬
polis from the terrace on the right, which was not included in the
citadel until the construction of the lion-gate. Beneath a thick layer
of rubbish on this terrace Schliemann discovered in 1876-77 the re¬
markable Royal Tombs, which had been united in a kind of heroon
on the erection of the new wall. The circular space (over 80 ft. in
diameter) in which these were found, was enclosed by a double circle
of upright stone slabs, covered with horizontal slabs, of which six
still retain their original position. The walls of smaller stones filling
up the spaces between these were removed in the course of the ex¬
cavations. Entrance was obtained by an opening on the N. side, formed
by obliquely placed slabs. The graves, of which five were opened by
Schliemann and a sixth by the Archaeological Society (p. 14), were
hewn perpendicularly ift.the rock^'shaft-tombs') and contained