cohn17

June 24, 2015

the beehive tombs of mycenae – with the diana lens

Filed under: greece, photography — Tags: , , — cohn17 @ 3:30 pm

recently, we visited mycenae, which, in the second millennium b.c., was one of greece’s major cities. according to myth, mycenae was founded by the hero perseus, who slew the gorgon medusa. mycenae was also where the bloody events of the house of atreus took place: atreus began his reign by trying to kill his brother, thyestes; his son, agamemnon, became king and went to war against troy after his brother’s wife, helen, ran off to troy with paris, and when the winds wouldn’t blow to send his ships to sea, he decided to sacrifice his daughter, iphigenia, to appease the gods; agamemnon’s wife, clytemnestra, killed him as soon as he came back from the war to take her revenge; and then agamemnon’s son, orestes, killed both her and, later, the son of aegistheus, clytemnestra’s co-conspirator.

perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that mycenaean civilization is known for its tombs.  specifically, mycenae is known for its beehive tombs (“tholos”).  these are burial sites that were cut into a hill and built up with circular walls coming to a point, thus giving them the appearance of beehives.  the earthen domes piled above the tombs have worn away, but the brickwork remains.

20150601_mycenae_103 Interior ceiling.
this tholos is “ascribed conventionally” to clytemnestra, according to the accompanying sign, as the archaeologists can’t actually prove who was buried there.  the roof curves up to a point.
20150601_mycenae_105 20150601_mycenae_106
this tholos is called both the treasury of atreus (for its side chamber) and the tomb of agamemnon – its original provenance isn’t clear.

the arching roof motif is repeated, intentionally or not, in other structures as well:

20150601_mycenae_102 20150601_mycenae_107
the lion gate (the main entrance to mycenae) and the stairway down to the main cistern.

as to whether it makes sense to use the diana on shots like these rather than a digital camera, as opposed to just using it for images of creepy old buildings like these, taken just outside the ancient city –

20150601_mycenae_111 20150601_mycenae_112

– is an open question.

next: lesvos or chios, or both.

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