Architecture Around the World

Treasury of Atreus
Mycenae, Greece

Mycenae Acropolis

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Facade of the Treasury of Atreus

Relieving triangle

Limetone rocks used as building material.

Air hole

Where Schliemann lived

Where Schliemann lived

House of Atreus

Agamemnon raised fleet to bring back Helen (of Troy) to his brother. he sacrificed his daughter to obtain a favorable wind. When he returned he was murdered by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover. Both killed by their children Orestes and his sister Elektra.

Treasury of Atreus

The largest of the tholos "beehive" tombs. Perhaps built about 1300 B.C., about the same time as the Lion gate. One of only two double-chambered tombs in Greece.

30-foot long, 118-ton lintel. Tomb is 43 feet high, 47 feet wide.

Bronze nails once held hundreds of bronze rosettes in place in the ceiling.

Air hole.

Unlike Greek contemporaries who would cremate their dead, the Myceneans buried their deceased in tombs. In the treasury of Atreus, a Mycenaean king was buried with his weapons and enough food and drink for his journey through the Underworld.

The dead were buried on the edge of the city in three different sorts of graves: a pit grave, a rock sepulcher, or a circular domed chamber (tholos) with an entrance passage. The skilled craftsmanship of the objects found in these tombs indicates that the princes who were buried in them were astonishingly rich, and for many years the graves were known as "Treasuries". The best examples of Mycenaean graves are at Mycenae, Pylos, Vapheio, Peristeria in the Peloponnese and Orchomenos in Boeotia.

Relieving Triangle

The empty triangle of space is known as the relieving triangle. The purpose of the arrangement is to relieve the lintel from the weight of a heavy wall above it that may bring about a break in the lintel with disastrous results.

Heinrich Schliemann

Born in Mecklenburg, Germany, Schliemann (1822-90) was self-educated and by the age of 47 had become a millionaire expressly to fund his archeological digs. having discovered troy and demonstrated the factual basis of Homer's epics, he came to Mycenae 1874 and commenced digging in grave Circle A. believed a gold death mask was that of Agamemnon.

Photos and their arrangement © 2001 Chuck LaChiusa
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