Dead Greeks

by wjw on October 24, 2022

Today was a visit to the National Archaeological Museum, which I’ve visited on every trip to Greece. And here’s the golden death mask of a Mycenaean king, which Heinrich Schliemann decided belonged to Agamemnon. (Turns out Agamemnon lived four hundred years after this guy kicked the bucket)

Contemporary critics of Schliemann thought the mask looked too Teutonic, and accused Schliemann of forging the mask and making it look like himself. Let’s just agree to call them idiots.

Be that as it may, there are whole rooms full of Mycenaean gold. They seem to have been rolling in the stuff. And there are dead Greeks everywhere you look, since a great many, perhaps the majority, of Greek statues were funeral monuments.

I didn’t have as much time in the museum as I liked— you could easily spend a whole day in here— but I made a special trip to see the Antikythera Mechanism, which is available as lumps of corroded bronze gears, and also as beautiful, shining bronze reconstructions. I could have played with them for hours.

But if I did that, I’d do it under the eyes of the dead, which might compromise the experience.

Previous post:

Next post:

Contact Us | Terms of User | Trademarks | Privacy Statement

Copyright © 2010 WJW. All Rights Reserved.