THE MYCENAEAN CENTER OF IKLAINA: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE FIRST FEDERATION OF THE WESTERN WORLD

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Archeologist Michalis Kosmopoulos talks about the new finds at the site where the oldest Linear B tablet was found in 2011, as well as the importance of the Mycenaean center in terms of state organization that “influenced” even the United States.

It is known as the city where the oldest Linear B tablet was found.

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And as excavations have progressed over the past 11 years in southwestern Messinia, our knowledge of the political organization of Mycenaean Greece is changing, as Cyclopean architecture, wall paintings, urban infrastructure, and residential organization reveal that it was a new palatial center that is now revealing another aspect of its splendor and power.

It turns out that almost 500 years after its destruction, not only did it not fall into oblivion, but its memory outlasted time and was mentioned as one of the nine capitals of the western part of the kingdom of Pylos in Homer’s “Iliad”.

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And its name in the “Catalog of Ships” – Aipy – may not help us locate the great Mycenaean center on the modern map. However, this is the most important archeological site that has been excavated since 2011 at a distance of only 2 km from the village of Iklaina and 14 km south of Pylos, as the professor of archeology at the University of Missouri, Michalis Kosmopoulos, pointed out a few days ago in a speech to the Archeological Society under whose auspices the excavations are being carried out.

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A monumental gateway that led from the neighborhood of houses and workshops to the administrative center of the city is one of the most important and impressive finds recently unearthed by the excavation team led by Professor Kosmopoulos. It consists of two large cubes and a 2-meter opening, although the upper part, which was probably made of bricks, is not preserved. The condition of the find is not good, since it was paved over the centuries and part of it, as well as the paved streets and squares, was destroyed by the sweeping of the plows, since the antiquities were at a very shallow depth (20-30 cm). “This is a focal point of the city, as the gate leads from the residential to the administrative center,” the excavator explained to Greek newspaper “NEA”. “From the gate begins a paved road, 17 m long and as wide as the gate (2 m), of such quality that anything similar to this does not even exist in Mycenae, since the joints are not even visible,” he continues, explaining that the road leads to a construction in a cyclopean manner, that is, with blocks that served as a platform to support a two- or three-story building.

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As impressive as the mansion at the heart of the administrative center – which was also digitally represented in three dimensions – is, it is not the only element that distinguishes Iklaina.

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It’s the city’s water supply and sewage system, as well as more than 1,000 frescoes depicting female figures, sailors and fish, among other things.

“Such infrastructures for the Mycenaean world are extremely rare, we find them only in Mycenae, Tiryns, Thebes, Egliano, where the so-called Palace of Nestor is located, which shows that Iklaina is a great unknown Mycenaean center. In a settlement of lesser importance, you would not find such a thing,” he stresses, recalling the discovery of the oldest Linear B sign six years ago in a deposit, that is, in the garbage, of the prehistoric settlement. It bears a different text on its two sides and is dated to between 1420 and 1370 BC, while the oldest Linear B tablet from Mycenae so far has been dated to 1390/70 to 1330/15 BC.

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THE KINGDOM OF PYLOS

So what role did it play in the Mycenaean world? “It was one of the capitals of the kingdom of Pylos, which was divided into two provinces. The western one had nine capitals and the eastern one seven, which is due to the fact that the kingdom of Pylos was formed gradually and the local rulers of each city fought with their neighbors. The ruler who lived in the so-called Palace of Nestor seems to have prevailed, but he maintained the independence of the cities he conquered, creating an early federation. It is the first appearance of a kind of federal state in the world, and in search of the roots of their own state, the Americans are exclusively funding this particular excavation,” says Professor Kosmopoulos about the city that flourished around 1300 BC, a century before the so-called Palace of Nestor.

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In the heyday of the palace, it seems to have been conquered, destroyed, and relegated to a laboratory center. “This destruction was the salvation for the preservation of the cityscape, because, oxymoronic as it may sound, in cases where there is continuity in an area, the newer buildings destroy the older ones,” explains the archeologist about the city, which occupies almost 180 hectares, but whose population cannot be calculated from the data so far.

This particular Mycenaean center justifies its presence in the “Catalog of Ships” of the “Iliad”, as “euctiton”, i.e. well-built in Greek, more than 400 years after its destruction, and that today allows scholars to locate its ancient name: “Until today, the capital a-pu2 (pronounced Aipy or Aiphy), mentioned in the Linear B tablets of Pylos, could not be located on the map. However, considering that the capitals always appear in the same geographical order in all the tablets, and knowing that Aipy is located south of Nestor’s palace and that, according to the evidence on the tablets, it is not a coastal city, we conclude that the great Mycenaean center of Iklaina is identified with Aipy,” says the archeologist and regular member of the American Academy of Sciences of St. Louis.

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The question that puzzles researchers, however, is how the fame of Aipy got into the Homeric epics, since the destruction of the city took place in 1200 BC and the writing of the rhapsodies is dated to 750-700 BC. “The greatest possibility is in the oral tradition, which means that Iklaina was a very powerful center and its monuments were still visible and impressed the people of the time. Homer’s research has proved that there was interaction between the rhapsodists who recited the epics and their listeners, so important centers with great monuments could have been preserved in the epics and consequently in memory through oral tradition,” concludes Michalis Kosmopoulos.

The post THE MYCENAEAN CENTER OF IKLAINA: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE FIRST FEDERATION OF THE WESTERN WORLD appeared first on Oliveloaded.Ng.

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The post THE MYCENAEAN CENTER OF IKLAINA: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE FIRST FEDERATION OF THE WESTERN WORLD first appeared on JAMB 2023 EXPO.

Source: Oliveloaded.com.ng

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