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Helladic culture:see Mycenaean civilizationMycenaean civilization
, an ancient Aegean civilization known from the excavations at Mycenae and other sites. They were first undertaken by Heinrich Schliemann and others after 1876, and they helped to revise the early history of Greece. Divided into Early Helladic (c.
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a Bronze Age archaeological culture (third and second millennia B.C.) that flourished in central Greece and the Peloponnesus. Along with the Minoan and Cycladic cultures, it forms part of the Aegean civilization. The Helladic culture is subdivided into the early (3000 to 2000 B.C.), middle (2000 to 1580 B.C), and late (1580 to 1200 B.C.) periods, that is, into Early Helladic, Middle Helladic (Minyan period), and Late Helladic (Mycenaean period); each of the periods is further subdivided into three subperiods (I, II, and III).
The Early Helladic is characterized by primarily unfortified towns, with narrow streets and one- or two-story mud-brick dwellings on stone foundations. Only a few bronze objects have been found, namely, knives, axes, and daggers. Characteristic finds include stamps with geometric designs. The pottery, in red and black tones, is of high quality and characterized by different shapes (including amphorae and pithoi); later the pottery was burnished. At the end of Early Helladic II, some settlements were destroyed by fire, linked with the arrival of a new people, the Minyans.
The Middle Helladic is known chiefly by its fortified hilltop settlements, with a free-form layout. The rectangular dwellings consisted of two or three rooms, with burials beneath the floors and along the walls. Burial grounds have also been found, with barrows, cists, and burials in pits and pithoi. Some weapons and tools were made of bronze; stone was used to make perforated axes, maces, and arrowheads. Some of the pottery was wheel-made (cups, goblets); geometric designs appeared during Middle Helladic II. At the end of the Middle Helladic (c. 1600 B.C.), a new people appeared in Greece, with an army equipped with battle chariots. They created the first Mycenaean state, although on the whole the Mycenaean culture developed from the Middle Helladic culture.
REFERENCESBlavatskaia, T. V. Grecheskoe obshchestvo vtorogo tysiacheletiia do novoi ery i ego kul’tura. Moscow, 1976.
Mongait, A. L. Arkheologiia Zapadnoi Evropy: Bronzovyi i zheleznyi veka. Moscow, 1974.
Caskey, J. L. Greece, Crete, and the Aegean Islands in the Early Bronze Age. Cambridge, 1965.
V. S. TITOV