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I´m interested in Mycenae but have no background in archaeology, so my question is: Did the ancient writer like Thucydides, Herodot etc. write about the Minoic and/or Mycenaean time as well? If not, are there other ancient written pieces about that time? (besides the Linear-B pieces)

I also think that Homer did write about his past, but I´m not sure how much of it is considered to be a "historical core" and how much is literature. Any notes on that would be helpful too.

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I think Mycenae for the most part predated e.g. Thucydides and Herodot, but there are references (also) in Egyptian sources. –  Drux Feb 6 '13 at 15:43
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Most of the information we have for Mycenea is from primary sources (Linear B tablets) and archaeology (several Mycenaean and Minoan palaces have been discovered). –  Yannis Rizos Feb 6 '13 at 17:10
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Add to that the Hittites and their mention of the Ahhiyawa (Achaeans). See e.g. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achaeans_%28Homer%29#Hittite_documents –  astabada Feb 6 '13 at 17:26
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up vote 9 down vote accepted

No surviving ancient histories describe Hellenic civilization preceding the Greek Dark Ages except for anecdotes relating to Homeric characters— and scholars are not even sure whether the Achæans can be identified as the Mycenaeans or not.

What we know of Mycenaean civilization is almost entirely from the archeological record, and if Homeric stories are accepted, from oral tradition.

  1. The only writing that has survived from the Mycenaean era itself are inscriptions which have mostly turned out to be inventories and receipts written in Linear B. No histories, biographies, poetry, or other literature are known to us from that era. We do not even know what name they took for themselves.
  2. Trade and possibly diplomatic and military ties linked the Myceneans with the Egyptians as well as the Hittites, as evidenced by the presence of pottery and depictions in artwork. But neither the Egyptians nor the Hittites say much about the Mycenaeans in any kind of detail.
  3. While the Greek Dark Ages, like any other "Dark Ages," were not comprehensively dark, and while the story of the Dorian invasion is disputed, it remains that Mycenaean culture was largely destroyed and displaced by what followed. It is possible that Hesiod and the others identified with the stories of the Achaeans but had no knowledge of the broader Mycenaean culture, or if they knew of it, did not identify with it.
  4. Hittite sources talk about the western nation of Ahhiyawa (=Achaea). The Tawagalawa Letter, written by an Hittite King ca. 1250 BC, addresses the king of Ahhiyawa as a peer, and mentions former hostilities around the city of Wilusa (=Ilion=Troy).
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