According to Homer, Agamemnon was king of Mycenae. His bother was Menelaus, whose wife Helen eloped with Paris back to Troy, giving cause for Agamemnon to gather a Greek army and go to war with the Trojans. The siege of Troy lasted 10 years.
From 1600 to 1200 BC Mycenae was the dominant military force in Southern Greece, usurping the declining Minoan civilisation in Crete. However, the impression is of an ancient settlement established in Neolithic times, thriving and declining over millennia – artisanship rather than military might. There is a new museum which has taken the bold step of displaying only ceramic finds from the site, there are many magnificent pieces dating back as far as 5000 years ago.
The lions’ Gate is one of the best known images of ancient Greece and there are many tombs, a palace and fortifications to see, this is one of the major world ancient sites.
Tip: Mycenae is firmly on the tour map and by 10am the site will be inundated with coach tours. It’s quite a compact site and a concrete path has been laid in recent years but it’s steep in places and the heat can be exhausting in the middle of the day – have plenty of water to drink. See our Travel Advice page