Mycenae: city of gold and blood


City of Agamemnon and the players of the Trojan War, of fabulous wealth and of the classical world's most dysfunctional family!

The thrills continue. Mycenae isn't just part of Western history; it's part of the Western literary canon, enshrined in Homeric verse. And I'm here!

King Agamemnon himself actually paced these ruined streets, gazed on the double lions at the entrance, rested his head with Klytemnestra within these very walls. His city, the richest in the Peloponnese, must have been marvellous in its heyday: richly-daubed walls, finely carved sculptures and architecture, gold arriving by the bucketload to pay for it all. And Agamemnon in charge.

But let's face it: you wouldn't want to BE Agamemnon. Your own father slaughtered your male cousins; your uncle had a child with his surviving daughter to restock; that child grew up to murder your Dad and then start an affair with your own wife for good measure! And as if that weren't enough, when you arrive back from Troy (where you've been helping your cuckolded brother get his wife back from Paris) your wife and her toyboy (who's got his own problems, having a Mum and a sister who are THE SAME PERSON, ditto father and grandfather) BUMP YOU OFF without even letting your head hit the pillow. Your own kids will avenge you – committing both matricide and step-patricide – but that's small comfort at this stage.

The only moral it's possible to draw here is that killing your brother's kids can lead to a fair bit of family friction, but that'd be stating the bleedin' obvious.

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