WhereMinoan Civilization lived in apparent matrilineal, theocratic harmony, the Myceneans were a different political complex altogether. The Myceneans had a theocracy consisting of a king, warrior / religious aristocracy, and subjects.

Similar to Ancient Egypt, the king was seen by his subjects as an all powerful individual, so much so that he was given the name wanax (a title which was also given to the divine, however, there are no indications that the divine status was inferred to the king). Below the wanax were a number of officials with specific titles, who ruled over aspects of religion and military life. These officials and the king held an extensive division of labor over their subjects. Political and economic power was retained through the palace of the king, and scribes kept detailed records of the king ‘s possessions, taxes, and other inventories written in Linear B.

With the fall of Minoan Crete, the Myceneans were allowed avenues of trade unopened to them before. Quickly, Mycenean trade expanded to Cyprus, Egypt, and well into Asia Minor. Traded goods included perfumed oils, olive oil, wine, art, ivory, plaques, pottery, bronze objects, gold, copper, tin, spices, elephant tusks, and dye. In addition to the renewal of trade, the Myceneans (after taking Crete) expanded to form cities in Athens, Thebes, Tiryns, and Pylos. In many of the cities, fine citadels were created along with heavily fortified city walls, such as those found at Pylos and Tiryns.

The fall of the Mycenean Civilization took place within 1300 and 1000 BC, and rather than have attributed its downfall to an outside influence, Mycenea fell by its own hands. It is surmised (though disputed), that the fall of the Myceneans took place as a result of internecine wars between its own kingdoms, historically known as the Trojan Wars. The pattern of rivalry between kingdoms is evidenced in such great works as Homer’s The Illiad, and continued to be a pattern repeated throughout the history of Ancient Greece. Eventually, with the fall of the Mycenean, Ancient Greece went through what is commonly known as the Greek Dark Ages.

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