This morning in Church it was my turn to read the lesson from the Hebrew scriptures, about Joseph being sold to the Ishmaelites for 20 pieces of Silver (Genesis 37). I also read the assigned part of Psalm 105, where this story also comes up.
He sent a man before them, *
Joseph, who was sold as a slave.
They bruised his feet in fetters; *
his neck they put in an iron collar.
I saw the phrase “iron collar” and my mind immediately went “Anachronism!”. Continue reading →
A team of archaeologists is excavating the remains of a vast ancient Mycenaean citadel, known as Glas or Kastro (castle)….The area is estimated to measure ten times the size of the ancient citadel of Mycenaean Tiryns and seven times that of Mycenae.
From around 1250 BC onwards, post-Mycenaean ‘refugee’ settlements began to appear, establishing a pattern that was to continue throughout the Dark Ages (Whitley 2011: 77-78). The characteristic Dark Age remote, defensible positions, often over 500m above sea level – as in evidence at Karphi (ibid: 78) – exhibited a continuity of older traditions and no obvious change in population levels (ibid.).
This pattern was noted by Robert Drews in The End of the Bronze Age as evidence that the disasters in the Eastern Mediterranean c. 1200 BC were the result of human action, not natural causes. The only reason the survivors would rebuild in such difficult locations is fear of an attack by raiders or invaders. See also my post on From Bronze to Iron.
In classical Greek theater, a tragic trilogy was often followed by a “satyr play” on the same subject for comic relief. Such a play accompanied the Oresteia by Aeschylus, but, alas, it has not survived.
However, when the BBC did a television version of the Oresteia in 1979, called The Serpent Son, they had two modern writers fill this gap. The result was Of Mycenae and Men.
Actually, I would also like to see The Serpent Son. Diana Rigg played Klytemnestra!
The subject of this contribution is the fragment of an ivory rod with six cuneiform signs
that was found in 2002. The rod came to light in a destruction layer dating to LH III B
Final within a workshop for skilled crafting inside Building XI which is situated in the
northernmost part of the Lower Citadel of Tiryns. The inscription is interpreted as the
first example of an Ugaritic text found outside of the Levant. The text is written from
left to right combining Akkadian logographic numerical signs and at least one letter
of the regular Ugaritic alphabet. After discussing different possibilities concerning the
object’s function. an interpretation as a «tally stick» is proposed. i. e. a mnemonic device
to document numbers. quantities or possibly a message, that was used by Levantine or
Cypriote specialists for skilled crafting who were working in Building XI on behalf of
the palace. The find assemblage in Building XI serves as a reminder that it would be
highly misleading to regard oriental objects like the ivory rod with cuneiform signs or
wall brackets appearing in a Mycenaean harbor town such as Tiryns as mere «exotica».
Instead. contextual analysis demonstrates that the Users were well aware of the special
significance attached to such objects in the east and employed them in accordance with
practices of Near Eastern or Cypriote origin, thus signaling their cultural affiliations.
Helen’s Daughter is about the life of Hermione, daughter of Menelaus and Helen of Troy, and granddaughter of Atreus (Hence the Amazon blurb’s reference to “the curse that haunts her family”). The author, Laura Gill, knows the Mycenaean Greek world very well and tells a gripping and realistic story about what Hermione’s life might actually have been like.
The First Heroes: New Tales of the Bronze Age. The stories are a mix of Historical Fiction, SF, Fantasy, and one of Altenate History. Fantasy comes from the myths of the era being incorporated in several of the stories. The Greek world is well represented, but China, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Egypt, Northern Europe and even Peru appear. Continue reading →