Mycenae tour: in the bath with ClytemnestraGreece,
An offbeat self-guided audio walking tour in Mycenae with credible & original stories written by top local professionals. Take your tour now & enjoy it instantly on your smartphone device.
“Mycenae: in the bath with Clytemnestra” is the companion you need to explore the expansive ruins of Mycenae, as you delve into the bloody story of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, the mythical royal couple made famous by Homer. A journey to Mycenae in pursuit of myths. Each accursed family is unhappy in its own way, but none can compare to the tragedies that befell Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. They had everything: an impressive palace with majestic views, wealth, children, divine relatives, slaves, immortal glory. And they lost it all one night in the bathtub.
The greatest city of the Mycenaean civilization is infused with an unparalleled mythological tradition, full of atrocities that seem to have no equal in the history of humankind. As you walk the alleys of Mycenae, and take in the magnificent view from the top of the hill, you can almost feel the presence of the mighty king, and hear the sinister whispers of his duplicitous spouse, as she prepared to bring down her sword on his defenceless head.
The tour begins outside the acropolis, where the visitor can best appreciate the magnificent Cyclopean Walls. The size of the boulders and the perfection of the construction can not help but impress anyone who sees them. The Lions’ Gate is unforgettable, with the two lions that guard the city and intimidate all intruders. But Mycenae was above all else a place where people lived; the Granary by the Gate reminds us of their dietary requirements. The Grave Circle A was long considered to be the burial ground of King Agamemnon and amazed the archaeologists with the famous gold masks and other precious objects they unearthed. The Great Ramp was the main thoroughfare that everybody followed on their way to the palace.
The Megaron, with its impressive hearth, was the heart of the acropolis, where Agamemnon would hold council and welcome his guests. The Secret Cistern remains as impressive and dark today as it was back in the day, nested in the foot of the hill where the signal announcing Agamemnon’s return first appeared. As you leave the acropolis, you come across the last tholos tomb ever built, traditionally attributed to Clytemnestra herself, as well as the undistinguished ruins of the House of the Oil Merchant, that may not seem like much but once contained a thriving industry that supplied the palace with luxurious furniture. And since you are here, don’t neglect to walk the short distance to the Treasury of Atreus, perhaps the single most impressive architectural monument of the Mycenaean civilization.
1. The Lions’ GateMany elements in the story of Mycenae seem to have a double aspect: lions are both guards and delicacies; children are both a source of pride for their parents and ingredients for meals served to the gods.
2. Disaster comes down from the hillLike the spring water that comes down from the surrounding hills and collects in the secret cistern thus did the misfortunes of the Atreides come together in the marriage of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra.
3. Blood and oilDid the labourers in these buildings hear the desperate cries of Agamemnon? Did they see Clytemnestra coming out of the palace covered in the black bloody drops that covered her clothes like dew?
The sleepless guards
The Lions’ GateThe opposing felines above the main gateway were built in 1250 BCE. They are carved on a thin slab of limestone set in the relieving triangle above the lintel. The heads of the lions were probably made from steatite and became part of someone’s “collection” in the late Roman period. The column between them supports the roof of a building and may represent the palace of Mycenae (the four discs represent the end of rafters). The relieving triangle is a typical feature of Mycenaean architecture aimed at reducing the weight over the lintel. The entranceway is composed of four massive blocks of conglomerate stone that weigh almost 20 tonnes each. The grooves on the threshold allow the drainage of water from the gate’s interior. Pivot holes indicate the presence of a double-leafed gate.
Warning beacons of Mycenae
Disaster comes down from the hillThe hill to the left of Mycenae (805 meters) is crowned with a small church dedicated to Prophet Elijah (as is typical of many Greek mountain tops). At the time of the Mycenaean rulers though there was a signal station up there, part of a network of look-out structures along the neighbouring ridges from where sentries could inform the citadel about anyone approaching Mycenae. A range of beacons transmitted important news across Greece day or night with the use of pre-arranged signals (flags of different colours, smoke, fire). Clytemnestra learned about the fall of Troy soon after the city’s terrible destruction via a string of fire beacons, the last of which was lit on top of this hill.
Remember the baths
Blood and oilThe feast to celebrate the return of the victorious army was only a few hours away, so Agamemnon decided to cleanse himself from the dirt of his long journey. He turned towards the bath accompanied by his wife and Cassandra, and enjoyed his last precious moments of peace and security. Suddenly, as he was exiting the bath, Clytemnestra threw at him a heavy robe in which the mighty king got entangled in as if he had been caught in a fishing net; that was the opportunity Clytemnestra had been waiting for. She lifted her sword and struck him three times in the head. As his lifeless body collapsed on the floor, the murderess turned and drove her sword through Cassandra, who expired next to her new master.
The team behind the stories at Clio Muse consists of a dedicated long-haired art conservator, an inquisitive bespectacled historian, a passionate feminist curator, and a gifted graphic designer with a permanent tan.
|Starting point||Myceane, entrance to the acropolis|
|Finishing point||Treasury of Atreus, EO Mikinon Fichtion, Argos Mykines 212 00|
|Opening hours||Winter (1 Nov. to 31 Mar.): Mon.- Sun. 08:00 - 15:00, April: Mon.- Sun. 08:00 - 19:00, May - 11 September: 08:00 - 20:00, 12-30 September: 08:00 - 19:00, October: 08:00 - 18:00, Good Friday: 12.00 - 17.00, Holy Saturday: 08.00 - 15.00|
|Additional admission||General admission: €12|
Why take a self-guided tour?
This is a self-guided tour based on the award-winning storytelling concept developed by Clio Muse and the fascinating narratives prepared by our handpicked destination experts.
You can enjoy each multilingual tour by using your smartphone or tablet at your own pace even if you are offline. The interactive map on your screen will guide you step-by-step as you explore all points of interest along your route. Each stop comes with a selection of our signature stories allowing you to tailor the tour experience to your personal interests and schedule.
After downloading Clio Muse app, you can access this tour and activate it any moment you wish and also repeat it any time. To best enjoy our multimedia self-guided tour (comprising maps, video, audio and text) we recommend the use of headphones.
By clicking "Add to cart", you are purchasing this tour in English. This tour is also available in the following languages: Ελληνικά.