Monday, 30 March 2020

Legendary battle

The so called "The Griffin Warrior" is a person buried in the Bronze Age, Mycenaean shaft tomb dating to around 1450 BC, which was discovered near the ancient city of Pylos in Greece. This is what the content of the tomb looked like:



This warrior was buried in his best clothes and with all his best weapons and jewellery and status objects. This burial practice stems from the ancient belief that the things buried with the dead will be transferred with the dead from "this world" to "the other world"...

All the weapons were positioned to the right of the body: a magnificent one meter long sword with a golden hilt, under which lay a similarly designed dagger...



A classic Mycenaean boar tusk helmet was also found. The helmet was made from about 20 or more wild boar tusks which were split lengthwise. This is another boar tusk helmet found earlier in another Mycenaean burial, so you can see what these helmets looked like in real life...



We were able to reconstruct these helmets because we have found many depictions of them being worn by Mycenaean warriors...Like this one from the silver battle krater from shaft grave IV at Mycenae...



Have you ever thought how would you make a helmet like this? Well first you would have to kill at least 10 wild boars...Have you ever seen what a fully grown wild boar looks like? This is the beast you had to kill WITH A SPEAR...10 OF THEM!!!




Do you think that each warrior wearing one of these helmets had to kill the wild boar himself in order to have the helmet made? I think so. Which leads me to believe that these boar helmets were a status symbol which meant: I am a tough mother f*cker...

"Wild boar mating season is November to January... Prior to mating, the males develop their subcutaneous armour (!!!) in preparation for confronting rivals". If you went to kill wild boar during the main hunting season, winter, you were confronting an armoured killing machine...

"The boar's testicles double in size during the mating period, and the glands secrete a foamy yellowish liquid" I would say that if you were a Mycenaean hero, you were definitely going to be hunting boar then. To show you have "bigger balls" than the beast... :)

Griffin Warrior was buried with 50 seal stones, made of semiprecious materials, with Minoan designs (!!!) 




Most of the stones were found on the warrior’s right side, some probably worn as part of bracelets, and others gathered in a bag or pouch that decayed long ago...

The seal stones were originally used by the Minoans for administrative purposes. They were used as personal (family) stamps. 

Why was a Mycenaean Griffin warrior buried with a collection of Minoan seal stones???

I believe that each one of these seals was a war trophy. Each one represented a dead Minoan warrior...Killed personally by this man...

A war trophy brought to Mycenae from Crete during a war that was fought to avenge a defeat of the Mycenaeans by the Minoans depicted on the now famous Combat Agate seal stone from the Griffin warrior tomb...

E what??? 

Ever since I saw the Combat Agate, a magnificent Minoan made (according to all archaeologists) gem, found in a Mycenaean warrior grave, I was troubled by what I was looking at...




Because what I was looking at was a Minoan warrior (judging by the way he is dressed and by his hairstyle), killing a kilt wearing Mycenaean warrior (judging by his helmet), while another kilt wearing Mycenaean warrior lies dead...This made no sense to me at all...Until today...

These kind of gems (according to archaeologists) were worn like bracelets. They were drilled through and a string or a leather strip was pulled through and tied around the wrist. Combat agate was one such gem...



Well, Minoans seemed to have worn them like this. As can be seen on the Combat agate. Here is a detail of the scene depicted on it. The Minoan warrior wears a gem bracelet around the wrist of the hand grabbing the Mycenaean warrior's helmet crest (according to archaeologists)...



By the way, this is a perfect example why having anything that sticks out of your helmet in order to make it look cool, is really really bad idea in combat. The warrior on the left has grabbed the really cool looking crest on the helmet of the warrior on the right and has twisted his neck around. If the guy on the right is not already dead because his neck has snapped, he will be, when the guy on the left stabs him. Which is why any helmet that is not for show has nothing sticking out, as anything sticking out can be used as a leaver to twist your head around or sideways and basically break your neck or put you into disadvantaged position...


Back to the main theme of the article.
It is kind of obvious that if this gem was made by Minoans that it depicted Minoan victory...Which is the main reason why I think that Combat Agate and all the other Minoan gems found in Mycenaean Griffin Warrior grave were war trophies...Taken off dead Minoans...

And Combat agate was a very special gem stone. Because the scene depicted on it is not any random Minoan victory over Mycenaeans. It was a "famous", "legendary" Minoan victory over Mycenaeans. Why? Because this is not the only depiction of this scene found so far...

The combat scene in this gold cushion seal (from Grave III of Grave Circle A in Mycenae) closely resembles the one in the Pylos Combat Agate...Again we have long haired Minoan warrior killing Mycenaean warrior wearing helmet...



This was not just any battle between any two heroes. This was a stuff of legends. A legendary victory for Minoans. And a legendary defeat for Mycenaeans...

The defeat which Mycenaeans could not forget and which they had to, and they did, avenge one day. And I believe that the Griffin Warrior was one of the avengers. Maybe even the leader of the avengers...At least judging by the fact that one of the objects found in the "Griffin warrior tomb" was a staff with a bull's head top...Status symbol definitely. But what kind of status? Priest? King? Priest King?



And taking the Combat agate, which celebrated that legendary defeat of the Mycenaeans, off the dead cold hand of the Minoan warrior who wore it as a symbol of the legendary victory of the Minoans, was the ultimate symbol of revenge...

Now here is something very interesting. In "Mycenæ: a narrative of researches and discoveries at Mycenæ and Tiryns" published in 1880, Schliemann talks about this legendary duel of heroes. Except he doesn't see Minoan and Mycenaean warriors. He sees this:  



Ha!!! 

What are we looking at here? Was there another much older legend talking about Minoan-Mycenaean wars which later became Iliad? Was there another legendary battle between (to us) unknown Minoan hero and unknown Mycenaean hero which later became battle between Achilles and Hector? 

We know that legends, as they are passed from generation to generation, change with times. New elements are added, names, identities, religion, reason for existence and actions of heroes change to reflect the identity, beliefs, hopes and fears of people who retell these legends..

Is this what we have here?

1 comment:

  1. Something interesting: The sword/golden hilt is identical to the sword of the Minoan warrior of the seal. This made me googling for bronze age swords.
    On the seal, There is also a sword lying on the ground, which seems to be a typical 'Mycenean' sword as found several sword with the same design (high "guards?"
    (the pointy tings on the hilt)), one big stone/gap in the middle) when googling. The 'Minoan' sword seems more unique for the period (two gemstones and more wide/horizontal "guards".

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