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Lion Gate at Mycenae

a Pleiades place resource

Creators: Jake Lipscomb
Contributors: Jeffrey Becker, Jennifer Garza, Jonathan Mak, Adria Hardy, Adam Rabinowitz
Copyright © The Contributors. Sharing and remixing permitted under terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (cc-by).
Last modified Aug 28, 2020 07:32 PM History
The Lion Gate is the main gate in the Cyclopean walls of the citadel of Mycenae. It takes its name from the sculptural decoration placed in the relieving triangle over the monolithic lintel, which depicts two animals (lions or griffins) in heraldic position on either side of a Minoan-style pillar.

37.730833, 22.756167

gate (of a city), city gate


The Lion Gate served as the main entrance to the citadel of Mycenae. It seems to have been constructed during the mid-13th century by masons and sculptors who were familiar with both Mycenaean and Minoan styles, and who appear also to have had some knowledge of Hittite stonework. The gate is constructed in the Cyclopean masonry style of the city walls, with a monolithic stone lintel topped with a relieving triangle, into which was set a thinner slab of stone with relief decoration. The relief depicts two lions (or, as some scholars have argued, griffins, as the loss of the figures' heads renders their identification ambiguous) posed heraldically on either side of a Minoan-style pillar. The Gate was excavated by Kyriakos Pittakis and the Archaeological Society at Athens in 1841, and had already become an iconic ruin before Heinrich Schliemann identified and popularized Mycenaean culture.

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Jake Lipscomb, Jeffrey Becker, Jennifer Garza, Jonathan Mak, Adria Hardy, and Adam Rabinowitz, 'Lion Gate at Mycenae: a Pleiades place resource', Pleiades: A Gazetteer of Past Places, 2020 <> [accessed: 29 May 2023]

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