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Archaeological Site of Tiryns


ImageTiryns was a hill fort with occupation ranging back seven thousand years, from before the beginning of the Bronze Age. It reached its height between 1400 and 1200 BC, when it was one of the most important centers of the Mycenaean world, and in particular in Argolis. Its most notable features were its palace, its cyclopean tunnels and especially its walls, which gave the city its Homeric epithet of "mighty walled Tiryns". In ancient times, the city was linked to the myths surrounding Heracles, with some sources citing it as his birthplace.[1]
The famous megaron of the palace of Tiryns has a large reception hall, the main room of which had a throne placed against the right wall and a central hearth bordered by four Minoan-style wooden columns that served as supports for the roof. Two of the three walls of the megaron were incorporated into an archaic temple of Hera.
The site went into decline at the end of the Mycenaean period, and was completely deserted by the time Pausanias visited in the 2nd century AD.
Tiryns is first referenced by Homer[2] who praised its massive walls. Ancient tradition held that the walls[3] were built by the Cyclopes because only giants of superhuman strength could have lifted the enormous stones. After viewing the walls of the ruined citadel in the 2nd century AD, the geographer Pausanias wrote that two mules pulling together could not move even the smaller stones.[4]
Tradition also associates the walls with Proetus, the brother of Acrisius, king of Argos. According to the legend Proetus, pursued by his brother, fled to Lycia. With the help of the Lycians, he managed to return to Argolis. There, Proetus occupied Tiryns and fortified it with the assistance of the Cyclopes.
Thus Greek legend links the three Argolis centers with three mythical heroes: Acrisius, founder of the Doric colony of Argos; his brother Proetus, founder of Tiryns; and his grandson Perseus, the founder of Mycenae. But this tradition was born at the beginning of the historical period, when Argos was fighting to become the hegemonic power in the area and needed a glorious past to compete with the other two cities.



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