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Citadel of Tiryns

Page history last edited by Michael 13 years ago




The citadel of Tiryns was a citadel built in the thirteen hundreds B.C.E. The citadel was located on the Peloponnesus of Greece close to the cities of Argos and Mycenae. The citadel was a total of four acres and was on relatively flat land with no natural defenses whatsoever. Later in the thirteenth century, the area of the citadel doubled. Since the citadel lacked natural defenses, the people of Tiryns made it up with military strategy and strategic architecture.


Surrounding the citadel was a wall called the outer wall. The outer wall was twenty four to fifty seven feet thick all around and an approximate twenty feet high. This massive wall was used for defense. Another wall was built that was not as thick or high, but still strong and used for defense. (Map of the Peloponnesus, Greece, where the citadel of Tiryns is located; http://www.arch.mcgill.ca/prof/sijpkes/abc-structures-2005/Lectures-2005/lecture-4/mycenaean_greece-map.jpg)

This wall was called the inner wall. Once past the outer and inner walls, one would find an entrance gate with two towers. Once past the gate, one would find a narrow Gauntlet Wall. The Gauntlet Wall was twenty two feet high and nine and a half feet wide. When enemies would try to get through this Gauntlet Wall, the soldiers of Tiryns would shoot them with arrows through holes in the Gauntlet Wall. Once past the Gauntlet Wall, soldiers had to scale another wall that was built so that when a soldier climbed it, they had to leave their right side exposed. This gave the people of Tiryns an opening to attack. The multiple walls that the people of Tiryns built were dry stack walls. This meant that they didn’t use any mortar mud or other adhesive substance to glue the rocks together; they simply pieced the walls together with random shaped rocks. These rocks were made of sun dried brick and weighed several tons. (Bird’s eye view of the citadel’s blueprints;http://www.planetware.com/i/map/GR/mycenaean-citadel-map.jpg) Structures made with rocks that weigh several tons are called cyclopean because it is though that only a Cyclops could lift such heavy rocks. Most of the walls built at the citadel of Tiryns were cyclopean walls.

Once one gets past the citadel’s defenses, one encounters the palace. The citadel of Tiryns’ “Palace Section” was made using a Minoan style of architecture. The halls, rooms, and corridors were very open so that the wind could blow through the palace. The “Palace Section” was three stories high and the columns were made of wood. Like other Minoan style structures, the citadels of Tiryns’ columns were thicker at the top than at the bottom. Also like the Minoans, the halls of the “Palace Section” were lined with alabaster mosaics and the inner rooms had painted frescoes. Along the floors of the corridors, there were paintings of dolphins and octopuses. In the middle of the citadel was a large audience hall called the Megaron, and, located in the center of the megaron, was the king’s throne. In here the king held audiences, parties, and special ceremonies.



The significance of the Citadel of Tiryns is that is one of three of the only remaining fortified cities of the second millennium that has remained intact. The other two are Mycenae and Argos. (Actual picture of the Citadel; http://www.odysseyadventures.ca/articles/mycenae/tiryns_aerial.jpg) Also, this citadel was significant because it was a great example of how the people of Tiryns lived, thought, planned, built, and fought. Their Cyclopean walls showed how long they spent defending themselves and the fact that the Citadel still stands is proof that they defended themselves well.



Works Cited

Lawrence, A. W. “Tiryns.” Greek Architecture. By A. W. Lawrence. 5th ed. N.p.: Yale University Press, 1996. 45-48.

Stokstad, Marilyn. “Aegan Art.” Art History Revised Edition Volume One. 1999. By Marilyn Stokstad. Ed. Marilyn Stokstad. Revised Edition ed. Vol. One. New  York: Prentice Hall Inc., 1999. 146-147.












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Comments (3)

Cris Salazar said

at 11:19 am on Dec 2, 2008

Is Micheal doing all the work?

Cris Salazar said

at 11:06 am on Dec 4, 2008


gmgilmore said

at 3:33 pm on Dec 4, 2008


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