Centre for Continuing Education

Ancient Greece Course II: The Mycenaeans

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The Mycenaean civilisation flourished on mainland Greece and the Aegean islands from 1600 to 1180 BC. Mycenaean culture was dominated by a society centred on fortified palace compounds such as Mycenae and Tiryns. Rulers were buried in enormous tholos tombs with superb burial goods such as the famous Mask of Agamemnon. A warrior society, the Mycenaeans would expand their influence around the Aegean by conquest and trade before their society suddenly collapsed around 1180 BC.


At the completion of this history course participants will have:

  1. Discussed the origins of the Mycenaeans
  2. Studied the development of Mycenaean culture and the extension of trade
  3. Reviewed the evidence for the collapse of Mycenaean civilisation


Mainland Greece and the origins of Mycenaean civilisation

The Mycenaeans were Greek speaking migrants from central Asia with a dynamic warrior culture. This lecture examines the Geography and geology of the Greek mainland. We explore the evidence for the arrival of the Indo-Europeans and the early evidence for the Mycenaean culture.

The citadel of Mycenae

One of the main centres of the new culture was Mycenae. We explore the archaeological evidence from the heavily fortified citadel of Mycenae which gave its name to the Late Bronze Age civilisation. We look at the history of excavations and how our perceptions of these warrior people has changed since the work of Heinrich Schliemann in the 19th Century.

Life and death in the Mycenaean Age

The Mycenaean fortresses and surrounding towns have preserved rich evidence for daily life. We explore the archaeological evidence for daily life in the Mycenaean period with emphasis on the remains from domestic settings. We also examine the tholos tombs of the Mycenaean rulers and the objects associated with burial.

Trade: The Mediterranean World

The Mycenaeans supplanted the Minoans as traders in the eastern Mediterranean and had broad contacts with the wider world. Mycenaean ships sailed around much of the east and a number of shipwrecks reveal evidence for trading links with Egypt and the Near East.

The end of Mycenaean Civilisation

The Mycenaean civilisation came to a sudden end around 1200 BC. The palaces were destroyed and urban life came to an end. We explore the physical evidence for this rapid decline and ask: why did the Mycenaean civilisation come to such a sudden end?

Intended Audience

This history course is suitable for personal interest adult learners, university students and active retirees who have an interest in history, ancient Greek history or the Mycenaean civilisation.

Delivery Style

This history course in Sydney will be delivered as a face-to-face, interactive lecture where questions and open discussions will be encouraged.

Recommended Reading

Louise Schofield, The Mycenaeans, London, 2007


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Statement of completion