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Colonizations by the inhabitants
Cerynea of Achaia receives settlers from Mycenae
After Helice you will turn from the sea to the right and you will come to the town of Ceryneia. It is built on a mountain above the high road, and its name was given to it either by a native potentate or by the river Cerynites, which, flowing from Arcadia and Mount Ceryneia, passes through this part of Achaia. To this part came as settlers Mycenaeans from Argolis because of a catastrophe. Though the Argives could not take the wall of Mycenae by storm, built as it was like the wall of Tiryns by the Cyclopes, as they are called, yet the Mycenaeans were forced to leave their city through lack of provisions. Some of them departed for Cleonae, but more than half of the population took refuge with Alexander in Macedonia, to whom Mardonius, the son of Gobryas, entrusted the message to be given to the Athenians. The rest of the population came to Ceryneia, and the addition of the Mycenaeans made Ceryneia more powerful, through the increase of the population, and more renowned for the future. (Paus. 7.25.5-6)
- Pausanias, Description of Greece
Destruction and end of the town
By the Argives, 468 BC.
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 (Paus. 2,16,5).
- Perseus: Pausanias, Description of Greece, Corinth
The destruction of Tiryns and Mykenai
These ancients, a poor remnant of the "Perseid" and "Pelopid" ages, might have "medized" with a better grace than the Dorian Argives. Their hostility to Argos would seal them to the side of Sparta and of Hellas, of which they might fairly consider themselves the oldest representatives. "Tiryns" here appears for the first time in the war; "Mykenai" had sent 80 men to Thermopylai, (Hdt 7. 202), unless, indeed, those and these alike are "‘exiles"? It is hard to see how with Argos neutral, or malevolent, Tiryns and Mykenai could have afforded to send their fighting men to Plataia; The ruin of Mykenai was still to come or was unknown to Hdt. when he first drafted this passage;
. . . my attention, treats these Mykenaians and Tirynthians as "of course exiles" in view of Mahaffy's theory that the destruction (final?) of Mykenai and Tiryns by Argos "happened in the eighth or early seventh century B.C." But the names occur upon the Plataian (and Olympian) monuments, and it is not likely that those lists included "cityless men." This observation cuts out my own suggestion up above, that these men were exiles from the still existing Mykenai and Tiryns. Mahaffy's prochronism for the destruction of the two cities appears to be partly mixed up with the view that Perseids and Pelopids "possessed neither the art of writing nor the art of coining," plus the complementary view that Mykenaians and Tirynthians of the sixth and fifth centuries would have possessed both. Perhaps they did, even though no specimens have come down to us.
As to the Perseids and Pelopids, we now know that they could write, and it is hardly safe to assume that they had no coinage or currency. On the whole I should adhere to the dates given in note ad l.c. for the destruction of Tiryns and Mykenai. Meyer, G. d. Alt. iii. (1901) p. 516, well remarks that a "Tirynthian" is victor at Olympia Ol. 78 = 468 B.C. (Olymp. List in Oxyrhynchos Papyri, ii. p. 89): kurz nachher muss die Zerstorung fallen.
(Perseus Project: Reginald Walter Macan, Herodotus: The Seventh, Eighth, & Ninth Books with Introduction and Commentary)
Argives desolated Mycenae
The following year Theageneides was archon in Athens, and in Rome the consuls
elected were Lucius Aemilius Mamercus and Lucius Julius Iulus, and the Seventy-eighth
Olympiad was celebrated, that in which Parmenides of Posidonia won the "stadion."
In this year a war broke out between the Argives and Mycenaeans for the following
reasons.The Mycenaeans, because of the ancient prestige of their country, would
not be subservient to the Argives as the other cities of Argolis were, but they
maintained an independent position and would take no orders from the Argives;
and they kept disputing with them also over the shrine of Hera and claiming that
they had the right to administer the Nemean Games by themselves. Furthermore,
when the Argives voted not to join with the Lacedaemonians in the battle at Thermopylae
unless they were given a share in the supreme command, the Mycenaeans were the
only people of Argolis who fought at the side of the Lacedaemonians. In a word,
the Argives were suspicious of the Mycenaeans, fearing lest, if they got any stronger,
they might, on the strength of the ancient prestige of Mycenae, dispute the right
of Argos to the leadership. Such, then, were the reasons for the bad blood between
them; and from of old the Argives had ever been eager to exalt their city, and
now they thought they had a favourable opportunity, seeing that the Lacedaemonians
had been weakened and were unable to come to the aid of the Mycenaeans. Therefore
the Argives, gathering a strong army from both Argos and the cities of their allies,
marched against the Mycenaeans, and after defeating them in battle and shutting
them within their walls, they laid siege to the city. The Mycenaeans for a time
resisted the besiegers with vigour, but afterwards, since they were being worsted
in the fighting and the Lacedaemonians could bring them no aid because of their
own wars and the disaster that had overtaken them in the earthquakes, and since
there were no other allies, they were taken by storm through lack of support from
outside. The Argives sold the Mycenaeans into slavery, dedicated a tenth part
of them to the god, and razed Mycenae. So this city, which in ancient times had
enjoyed such felicity, possessing great men and having to its credit memorable
achievements, met with such an end, and has remained uninhabited down to our own
This extract is from: Diodorus Siculus, Library (ed. C. H. Oldfather, 1989). Cited Sept. 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.
- Perseus: Diodorus Siculus, Library (ed. C. H. Oldfather, 1989).
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The collapse of Mycenaen civilization
Aspects of Mycenaean Trade
Participation in the fights of the Greeks
Battle of Thermopylae
The Hellenes who awaited the Persians in Thermopylae were these: three hundred Spartan armed men; one thousand from Tegea and Mantinea, half from each place; one hundred and twenty from Orchomenus in Arcadia and one thousand from the rest of Arcadia; that many Arcadians, four hundred from Corinth, two hundred from Phlius, and eighty Mycenaeans. These were the Peloponnesians present; from Boeotia there were seven hundred Thespians and four hundred Thebans.
- Perseus: Herodotus, The Histories (ed. A. D. Godley, 1920)
Battle of Plataea
. . . after them two hundred men of Lepreum, then four hundred from Mycenae and Tiryns, and next to them one thousand from Phlius.
- Perseus: Pausanias, Description of Greece, Elis
- Perseus: Herodotus, The Histories (ed. A. D. Godley, 1920)