Tiryns

  • Created by: Ruthfeath
  • Created on: 21-05-18 15:42
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  • Tiryns
    • Physical Setting
      • Close to Bay of Argos
      • Built on low rocky hill rising out of flat lowland
        • Hill sloped from south to north
          • Used to divide it into Upper, Lower & Middle citadel
            • Upper Citadel
              • Palace
            • Lower Citadel
              • Buildings probably used by palace officials
      • Controlled Bay of Argos & southern part of plain
      • City was perhaps a harbour for Mycenae
        • Strong evidence for long-distance trade
      • Existence of Mycenae & Tiryns at opposite ends of the same plain suggests there may have been some rivalry between the two powers
        • Castleden - 2 towns probably ruled by separate kings, but ultimately power was in hands of High King at Mycenae
      • Site already important in pre-palatial period
      • Acropolis constructed in 3 phases
        • 1. 1500-1400BC
        • 2. 1400-1300BC
        • 3. 1300-1200BC
      • Large settlement outside walls
        • 2 tholoi & series of chamber tombs have been discovered cut into hills to the east
    • Pre-Palatial
      • Substantial remains - already quite large
      • Most important structure - monumental circular building on Upper Citadel
        • Diameter of 28m
        • In same location as later Great & Little Megaron
        • House? Sanctuary? Granary?
        • On highest point of hill - good view of sea & surrounding land
        • Destroyed along with settlement around the hill towards the end of the period
    • Early Palatial
      • Remains of building complex from porch of Great Megaron
        • Seems to have extended over two terraces linked by a staircase
      • 14thC - area redesigned, new focus on megaron buildings
        • Entire upper terrace destroyed & levelled to create space for Great Megaron
          • Designed similarly to later Great Megaron - main room with central hearth & throne, plastered & painted walls
      • Upper Citadel encircled with citadel wall at same time as megaron
      • Large building complexes in southern & western parts of Lower Town
        • One included mosaic of dark & light pebbles
      • Fragments of wall paintings from below floor of later palace indicate an earlier palace was on the same site
        • Bull Leaping Fresco
    • Palatial
      • Circuit walls
        • Larger than at Mycenae
        • Very thick
        • Southern end - thick enough to contain casemates
        • Built after those at Mycenae
        • Would have taken 5 years to build inner & outer skin of walls before rubble filling added
      • 13thC
      • Entrance
        • Long & intentionally tiring ramp beneath east wall
          • Attackers would have to file up with unshielded & unprotected right sides exposed to defenders on wall above
        • Carefully built with massive blocks of stone to intimidate attackers by giving an impression of enormous power
      • In last 50 years of this period massive building programme took place
        • Palace built with Great Megaron at centre
        • Entrance ramp led to Outer Gate - doorless opening through 8m thick wall into passage that led to Middle Gate which originally had double doors
          • Further along this passage was the Inner Gate - opened into a 25m long Outer Court
        • Along Eastern side of Outer Court were 7 storerooms & a service passage built into wall
        • To the south of the larger Inner Court was a group of 5 storerooms built into the walls
        • Towers built at SE & SW corners of fortress to watch for dangers in Bay of Argos
        • From Inner Court visitors passed through propylon with 2 columns on each side
          • After propylon was another courtyard with an altar & a sacrificial pit, possibly dedicated to Zeus Herkeios
            • On north side of this court was a megaron
        • Megaron
          • Throne against wall to the right of entrance
          • Carved stone base for throne found in main room
          • Large round hearth at centre surrounded by 4 wooden Minoan columns
          • More rooms to east of megaron - Little megaron, 2 small courts
            • Suite has appearance of palace
        • Little Megaron
          • Eastern wing of palace
          • Miniature version of Great Megaron - porch, main room, hearth & throne
            • Half its size
        • Strong transverse wall added to north of palace to give it greater protection
          • Created extra court from which a staircase descended through west wall to make a service access
            • Seen as weak point for defence - extra loop of massively thick circuit wall built to enclose & protect it
      • Walls & floor of palace buildings adorned with frescoes - almost all found in pieces after destruction of palace
      • Other features built in this period
        • Circuit walls of Lower Citadel
        • Fortified west staircase
        • All passages & chambers within circuit walls
        • 2 stairs leading to underground cisterns
        • East & south galleries in Upper Citadel
      • Settlement in Lower Citadel redesigned by creating new terraces & constructing large building complexes on top of them
        • Used for administrative activities, storage, craft work linked to palace
      • Much longer loop of circuit wall built around northern end of hill created outer bailey designed as refuge for anyone who lived in town outside walls & their animals
        • 1200BC - in NW of outer bailey 2 secret passages led down beneath the wall so those trapped in the fortress could reach spring water fed cisterns at the foot of the hill during a siege
          • Late expansion & reinforcement of defence shows fear of attack at end of 13thC
      • Towards end of period a stream flowing  towards Tiryns from hills to east was diverted, probably because it caused flooding in the town
        • 100m long dam built across stream in hills, diverting flow of stream from west to SW
          • At this time the postern gate was closed & replaced by much wider North Gate
      • With destructions of 1200BC, Tiryns was possibly only site to retain some palatial character
        • After 1200BC, megaron was rebuilt on smaller scale & town was perhaps larger than before

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