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The Mycenaean Age.


Mr. Louis Dyer, M. A., of Oxford, England, gave the first of his three lectures on "Recent Discoveries in Crete" at the Fogg Lecture Room last night, taking for his special subject, "The Mycenaean Age." He said in part:

The Mycenaean Age as it now begins to detach itself from the darkness of the "Bronze Age" is the first efflorescence of the Western, as distinguished from the Eastern genius for civilization and the arts. The Mycenaean Age intimately concerns us, if we wish to do full justice to the traditions of culture handed down to us by our forefathers. This age was an early phase of modern civilization and in all respects was far more advanced than the period of the Greek Middle Ages, 1000-700 B. C. which came immediately after it. The Mycenaeans themselves had a long past to build upon and may therefore be called the Ancients of Antiquity, since like our own more modern Ancients of Greece and Rome, they represent the culmination of a long continued upward trend in the affairs of men. Of the Mycenaean art, eminent writers say that through its genius for vivacity in action, it may be called in reality early Greek art; and that the Ionian Greeks and the Athenians are the rightful heirs of the genius exemplified in the works of their Mycenaean forefathers.

Besides the many discoveries in Crete in art and workmanship, Mr. Arthur Evans has brought new light on the origin of our alphabet, thus making it more western and Mycenaean in its source than has been commonly supposed. In religion also, much has been shown from the recent discoveries in Crete.

The sudden collapse of the Mycenaean civilization was roughly coincident with the first appearance of iron in common use on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. Mycenaean Troy was ravaged and burned, so was Mycenae itself, and so was the great Cretan Labyrinth at Knossos. Facts are not lacking even now, and will with time grow abundant, which illustrate the transition from bronze to iron in the Mediterranean basin. The fruitful beginnings of Mycenaean art and civilization in the early Bronze Age of the European Mediterranean basin were not brought there from any northern or northeastern part of the world, but were organized and developed in that very region itself. This culture then and its initial stages, called the "Amorgan period" because this civilization of the Aegaean islands was first distinctly noticed on the small island of Amorgos, is best regarded as a local phase of the common Mediterranean life. Furthermore it is not unimportant to reflect that the stage of culture out of which emerged first the Amorgan and finally the Mycenaean phase of art and industry was practically identical with that reached in America by the Indians whom our forefathers dispossessed nearly three centuries ago.

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