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Συνοίκησις in Mycenaean Times? The Political and Cultural Geography of Attica in the Second Millennium BCE

Citation with persistent identifier:

Papadimitriou, Nikolas. “Συνοίκησις in Mycenaean Times? The Political and Cultural Geography of Attica in the Second Millennium BCE.” CHS Research Bulletin 5, no. 2 (2017). http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hlnc.essay:PapadimitriouN.Synoikisis_in_Mycenaean_Times.2017

1§1 As a rule, myths are first manifested in poetry or visual arts. The same is true for most of Theseus’ myths, including those which were invented at the time of Peisistratus and Cleisthenes to forge the image of a ‘national hero’ for Attica (e.g.  the journey from Troizen to Athens)[1]. Theseus’ myths enjoyed great popularity in Athenian iconography throughout the sixth and fifth centuries BCE, moving gradually from ‘informal’ media (i.e. vase-paintings depicting the fights against the Minotaur and the Centaurs from ca. 570 BCE, and the ‘Attic deeds’ from ca. 520 BCE) to public representations (sculptural and perhaps painted compositions from ca. 480 to ca. 420 BCE)[2]. Lyric and tragic poets of the fifth century BCE helped further to integrate Theseus in the civic traditions of Athenian society[3]. Such popularity ensured that his adventures were sufficiently commemorated among the Athenian public.

1§2 Yet, Theseus’ most complex and ideologically charged achievement, the συνοίκησις or consolidation of Attica into a single political entity, does not seem to have appeared as a notion until the late fifth century BCE; and, unlike other deeds, it did not make its debut in art or poetry, but in historical literature[4]. The famous passage of Thucydides (2.15.1-2) provides the first explicit reference to an early Attic state created by Theseus – and may have been the basic source for later authors, as little variation is observed henceforth[5].

1§3 Thucydides, however, did not date the synoecism; it was the Atthidographers who placed the reign of Theseus (and thus the unification of Attica) a generation before the Trojan war – in modern terms, the thirteenth century BCE or the Mycenaean era[6]. Combining this tradition with the presence of Mycenaean remains on the Acropolis, and the Homeric ‘Catalogue of Ships’, which lists only Athens among Attic sites (Iliad, 2.541-546)[7], some scholars have seen favorably the idea of a synoecism taking place in Mycenaean times[8] – although others place this development later in Attic history[9].

1§4 Rather than trying to affirm or refute the idea of a Mycenaean συνοίκησις, the present paper will examine whether a basic prerequisite of the story, i.e. the establishment of a Mycenaean state[10] in thirteenth century BCE Attica, was historically feasible – and, if yes, in what form[11].

The nature of Mycenaean states

2§1 Mycenaean states flourished between ca. 1350 and 1200 BCE (Late Helladic [=LH] IIIA2-B in pottery terms) (Fig. 1). They were centralized in character, with bureaucratic administration and a clear hierarchy of sites[12]. At the top lay administrative centers with multifunctional complexes (“palaces”), which featured storage areas, workshops, archives, and halls with painted decoration. “Palaces” received local produce and imported raw materials (e.g. metals and ivory), which they processed and/or redistributed to the various provinces, using clay tablets and sealings to keep track of transactions[13]. Fortifications were common and often protected secondary centers, too (e.g. Midea in the Argolid)[14]. Economic hierarchy among the sites of a Mycenaean state can be traced, among others, through the unequal distribution of wealth between center and periphery[15].

 Ceramic Phase  Approximate Dates 
 Middle Helladic I-III  2000/1900 – 1600 BCE
 Late Helladic I  1600 – 1530/20 BCE
 Late Helladic IIA  1530/20 – 1470/60 BCE
 Late Helladic IIB  1470/60 – 1390 BCE
 Late Helladic IIIA1  1390 – 1370/60 BCE
 Late Helladic IIIA2  1370/60 – 1340/30 BCE
 Late Helladic IIIB  1340/30 – 1185/80 BCE
 Late Helladic IIIC early  1185/80 – 1150/40 BCE
 Late Helladic IIIC middle  1150/40 – 1100/1090 BCE
 Late Helladic IIIC late  1100/1090 – 1065 BCE

Figure 1. Chronological table for the 2nd millennium BC (after Privitera 2013: 26 tab. II).

2§2 Athens has been considered as the possible center of a Mycenaean state primarily because of the Cyclopean fortification wall and the underground fountain discovered on the Acropolis[16] – i.e. features which are also known from Mycenae and Tiryns[17]. Yet, unlike the latter sites, Athens has not preserved actual traces of a “palace”: what remain are a few architectural members of uncertain date[18] and some terrace walls, which are thought to have supported the ground for a conjectural megaron[19]. The functions of this megaron, however, remain a mystery: no tablets, sealings, imported raw materials, or fresco pieces have ever been found on the Acropolis. The supposed prosperity of Athens is suggested only by a relative abundance in metals (copper items from the “Acropolis hoard”, and quantities of lead from various parts of the hill[20]), and a “warrior tomb” from the South Slope[21], which date to the same time as the fortification. But what is actually this time?

2§3 Most of the aforementioned remains, including the terrace walls of the hypothetical megaron, seem to date to a very late stage of the thirteenth century BCE, perhaps ca. 1230/1220 BCE (LH IIIB2)[22]. This was a period of crisis for Mycenaean Greece, during which palatial sites were under severe stress (having their defenses strengthened), and some had already suffered disturbances[23]. Why is there such discrepancy in chronology between the Acropolis and other citadels, and – to judge from what is missing from Athens – in the style of economy and administration? To answer this question, we need to go back in time, and examine Attica in the wider geo-political environment of the second millennium BCE Aegean world.

The natural geography of Attica

3§1 Mycenaean polities developed around alluvial plains, in close proximity to the sea and associated maritime routes[24]. Attica was perfectly fit for that (Fig. 2). It was naturally divided into four alluvial plains (Eleusis, Athens, Mesogeia, Marathon), which were sufficiently fertilized by small rivers, and had good natural harbors that provided access to the Saronic or the Euboean Gulf.

Figure 2. The natural geography of Attica and the various sub-regions as defined in this study.

Figure 2. The natural geography of Attica and the various sub-regions as defined in this study.

3§2 The region had another major asset: mineral resources. The Laurion area held extensive deposits of silver and lead, and smaller quantities of copper, which were exploited already in the late fourth millennium BCE[25], and from 1700 BCE they became the main source of metals for the entire Aegean[26].

3§3 Thus, in theory, environmental conditions favored the development of a Mycenaean state in Attica. The question is whether this happened or not – and why.

Attica in the early second millennium BCE

4§1 During the Middle and the beginning of the Late Bronze Age (ca. 2000-1500 BCE), the various sub-regions of Attica followed distinct trajectories, each focusing on a few major sites (Fig. 3)[27]. Settlements varied in character and people used diverse grave forms (tumuli at Marathon, built tombs at Eleusis, cist-graves at Athens etc.), suggesting an overall lack of cultural homogeneity[28]. Material wealth was minimal and contacts were limited to neighboring areas (e.g. Boeotia, Keos, Aegina) – with the exception of Thorikos. The main site of the Laurion area profited from metal trade with the Cyclades and Crete at the time of Minoan expansion in the Aegean (seventeenth – sixteenth centuries BCE), and by ca. 1600 BCE two tholoi and a tumulus were built here, which contained luxuries and imports from overseas, comparable to those known from contemporary “princely” tombs in the Argolid and Messenia[29].

Figure 3. Attica in the first half of the 2nd millennium BC (source: Papadimitriou 2010, fig. 1)

Figure 3. Attica in the first half of the 2nd millennium BC (source: Papadimitriou 2010, fig. 1)

4§2 The settlement of Thorikos declined after the collapse of Minoan palatial economy ca. 1500 BCE (LH IIA in pottery terms), which disrupted Aegean trade and put an end to what is often referred to as “Minoan thalassocracy”. However, Laurion metals continued to circulate widely: according to chemical analyses, many bronze and silver artefacts of the fifteenth – thirteenth centuries BCE from all over the Aegean were made of Laurion ores[30]; and large amounts of lead (almost certainly of Laurion provenance) have been found in Mycenaean palaces and other sites[31]. The obvious question – and one of historical significance – is who had access to (or control of) the mines after 1500 BCE, especially in the crucial period of the Mycenaean palaces (1350-1200 BCE). Is it possible that Athens played a major role in the exploitation of Laurion – as one would expect had the site become the center of an “Attic state”?

Attica in the later second millennium BCE

5§1 Athens enjoyed a period or relative prosperity in the fifteenth and early fourteenth centuries BCE, with several tombs containing weapons, jewelry and occasional imports from Crete and the Levant[32]. But other Attic sites showed signs of affluence, too: a tholos tomb was built at Marathon, a monumental chamber tomb at Spata was furnished with very rich offerings, and Eleusis evolved into a sizeable settlement with a building of possible public ritual use (Megaron B)[33]. In general, during this period “Mycenaean culture” started spreading in Attica, and the larger sites in each sub-region began accumulating wealth and adopting more complex modes of symbolic expression.

5§2 This dynamic start, however, did not translate into more complex forms of political organization in the “palatial phase” of Mycenaean civilization (late 14th-13th c. BCE/LH IIIA2-B). In fact, Athens may have suffered a kind of recession, to judge at least from the scarcity of graves after ca. 1300 BCE, the extreme rarity of precious artefacts[34], and the character of pottery, which suggests relative isolation from other Attic regions[35]. Other parts of Attica were also poor; the number of Mycenaean tombs increased at Mesogeia and the lower Athenian plain (Fig. 4), but their contents were very modest: no imports from overseas, very few weapons, little gold jewelry, unusually small number of sealstones[36]. Particularly striking is the almost complete absence of artefacts made of locally available metals, i.e. silver and lead (Fig. 5), which makes it improbable that Athens (or another Attic site) controlled the Laurion mines at this time.

Figure 4. The distribution of collective tombs in 14th-13th c. BC Attica.

Figure 4. The distribution of collective tombs in 14th-13th c. BC Attica.

Figure 5. Silver and lead finds in late 14th-13th c. BC Attica (source: Papadimitriou and Cosmopoulos forthcoming)

Figure 5. Silver and lead finds in late 14th-13th c. BC Attica, with quantities where known (source: Papadimitriou and Cosmopoulos forthcoming)

5§3 Only two sites deviate from this picture: Menidi, where a tholos was erected ca. 1350 BC, and Spata, where the monumental chamber tomb built in the previous period remained in use. These tombs have yielded a variety of luxuries (ivories, stone vessels, weapons, glass jewelry, Canaanite jars etc.), suggesting participation in high-level exchange networks[37]. How can we explain such wealth?

5§4 Although no associated settlements have been located so far, the geographical position of Menidi and Spata may be suggestive of their role in the circulation of metals. As we have seen, considerable quantities of Laurion lead have been found in administrative centers of this period (Pylos, Mycenae, Tiryns, Thebes, Gla, Dimini)[38]. Transportation of metals was likely made both by sea (for coastal sites) and through overland routes (for inland Boeotian centers). Fachard and Knodell have shown that Menidi lay along one of the main natural routes from Attica to Boeotia[39]. Spata, on the other hand, lay along the south-eastern extension of this route, leading from the Athenian basin to the eastern part of Mesogeia, and from there to Laurion[40] (Fig. 6). Given that the few silver and lead artefacts of this period in Attica come mostly from this area (Fig. 5), it is not improbable that the Spata and Menidi tombs represent local elites, who profited from their role as intermediaries in metal trade with Boeotia.

Figure 6. Suggested route leading from the Laurion area to Boeotia (based on Fachard and Knodell forthcoming; Papadimitriou and Cosmopoulos forthcoming).

Figure 6. Suggested route leading from the Laurion area to Boeotia (based on Fachard and Knodell forthcoming; Papadimitriou and Cosmopoulos forthcoming).

5§5 This “commercial” model might explain why the Mesogeia plain was the most densely occupied part of Attica in this period (Fig. 4) and the only one with a settlement pattern that resembled the hierarchical structure of other Mycenaean regions: two major sites, Spata and Brauron, functioned as the main foci of habitation (as evident in their extensive necropolises[41]), and numerous lesser installations (represented by smaller cemeteries[42]) dotted the rest of the plain. By contrast, the neighboring Marathon plain, which lay outside the suggested “corridor of metal circulation”, retained a more nucleated settlement pattern, as well as cultural traditions that seem “outdated” in the Mycenaean era (i.e. the use of tumuli until the end of the Bronze Age[43]).

5§6 In western Attica, Eleusis saw the construction of some large buildings on top of the hill, and an extension to Megaron B[44]. Yet, the most significant find of the period is a large Cretan transport jar with a painted Linear B inscription, which includes the sign wa (abbreviation for wa-na-ka-te-ro = of wanax). The jar – the only inscribed item from Mycenaean Attica so far – has close parallels at Thebes, Orchomenos, Mycenae and Tiryns, and is thought to be an accidental leftover from a larger consignment destined for a palatial center[45]. Given that Attica lay out of the Crete-Argolid route, and that Eleusis was the closest Saronic harbor to Boeotia, one can plausibly argue that the destination was a Boeotian center – which suggests that Eleusis had developed relations with its powerful northern neighbors. Interestingly, Eleusis exhibits also an insistence on traditional built graves, with only a handful of typical chamber tombs being dug here[46].

5§7 It seems, thus, that, for all its natural advantages, Attica did not achieve the level of economic, political or cultural integration attested in other parts of Mainland Greece during the fourteenth and thirteenth centuries BCE. Perhaps the region was too important (because of its mineral wealth) or too open-ended (because of all-around access to sea) to evolve into a centralized polity. The Laurion metals are likely to have attracted the interest of major Mycenaean powers, and although we do not know if a single external center obtained full control of the mines, it is likely that such interference functioned as an impediment to local exploitation and the development of more complex forms of economy and administration.

The end of the Bronze Age

6§1 What, then, of the Mycenaean Acropolis? As we saw, the hill was fortified ca. 1230/1220 BCE (LH IIIB2) in a major building project, which required command of extensive human resources –  implying centralization of power at a time of stress – and possibly the skills of experienced architects[47]. Evidence of a palace and its administrative functions is still missing, yet the abundance of metals on and around the Acropolis indicates that the Athenians had finally obtained access to the Laurion mines[48] – perhaps due to the late thirteenth century BCE crisis, which made exploitation by distant Mycenaean centers difficult. Access to Laurion, however, was not exclusive to Athens. The cemetery of Perati, which was established on the east coast of Attica (close to Brauron) at approximately the same time (late thirteenth century BCE), has also yielded considerable quantities of lead items[49]. This, together with the dozens of Aegean, Levantine, Cypriot, Anatolian, and Egyptian imports found in the ca. 200 chamber tombs of the site –  imports which have no parallels in Athens or any other Attic site of the period[50] – suggest that mining was a major source of wealth for Perati, too.

6§2 Back to the Athenian plain, two further developments marked the late thirteenth century BCE. One was the apparent decline of Menidi[51]. The other was the establishment of an industrial installation for the production of ceramics and the processing of flux at Alimos, ca. ten km south of the Acropolis[52]. Although the site had its own settlement and large architectural complexes, the excavator believes that it was annexed to Athens. If she is right (and this remains to be proven), then one can plausibly argue that the Acropolis was something more than the “strong house” of a local king in this period. The absence of bureaucratic administration and other refinements of earlier Mycenaean palaces does not allow us to classify this as a “state”, yet the combined evidence from Athens and Alimos suggests a level of economic and perhaps political centralization not attested before.

6§3 The extent of this tentative “Athenian polity”, however, need not have been great. Athens has not produced signs of population increase in this period (almost no new tombs are constructed and very few are used as a whole[53]), and most sites in the Athenian basin continued to be inhabited[54]. Eleusis and Marathon, although in decline, were still active[55], and Thorikos showed renewed signs of activity[56]. None of these sites has produced any kind of evidence suggesting Athenian presence or involvement. As for the Mesogeia plain, most sites remained in use[57], and Perati evolved into a major hub of commerce, which was far more prosperous than, and showed no signs of dependency on, Athens. It is, therefore, unlikely that the Athenian polity of the late thirteenth/early twelfth centuries BCE extended beyond a part of the Athenian basin.

Conclusions and some speculation: a συνοίκησις without Athens and Theseus?

7§1 The preceding analysis suggests that Attica was not politically united at any stage of the Late Bronze Age. Athens may have gained impetus from the systemic crisis that befell Mycenaean states at the end of the thirteenth century BCE (and the ensuing opening of access to the Laurion mines), and attempted to build a larger polity, based on increased metal acquisition, intensification of production and perhaps exportation of commodities[58]. But this polity was geographically limited and differed from proper Mycenaean states in that it lacked written administration, extensive links with overseas, and the symbolic language of power known from earlier palatial centers (frescoes, cult areas, tholos tombs, etc.). And as the unstable conditions of the late thirteenth/early twelfth centuries BCE no longer favored economies of scale, the Athenian experiment died out soon: both the Acropolis and the Alimos industry were abandoned shortly after 1150/1140 BCE (LH IIIC earlymiddle), and Athens, though not deserted, remained sparsely occupied for several decades, perhaps more than 60 years[59].

7§2 How does this fit in a wider perspective? We know that the collapse of Mycenaean palatial economy ca 1200 BCE decentralized power in mainland Greece and re-arranged exchange networks, allowing new areas to rise in importance before the final disintegration of the Mycenaean world [60]. For example, a series of coastal settlements, including the famous Lefkandi, developed along the Euboean Gulf and thrived through the twelfth century BCE (Perati was probably part of this maritime network)[61]. On the other hand, the previously active Saronic Gulf seems to have suffered[62], and even the major site of Kanakia, at Salamis, which had started expanding in the thirteenth century BCE (and, like Athens, featured a substantial central installation without signs of material wealth or bureaucratic administration), was abandoned before 1150 BCE[63]. It is, thus, possible that the re-orientation of exchange networks affected negatively sites that had tried to reproduce the ambitious economic and political models of earlier times (e.g. Athens and Kanakia), not allowing them to sustain growth; by contrast, sites that focused on sea trade along new routes of communication (e.g. Lefkandi and Perati) survived longer.

7§3 In view of the above, it is unclear why or how a synoecism tradition may have arisen in thirteenth-/twelfth-century BCE Athens. Even if the myth referred primarily to a political (rather than a physical) process[64], it is improbable that this would not have left any trace in the archaeological record of the period.

7§4 Should we then abandon the idea of a Mycenaean synoecism altogether? Or is it possible that the story had an alternative (but still Bronze Age) origin? To answer this question, we need to examine briefly the history of the myth.

7§5 Most of our knowledge about the synoecism derives from Atthidographic accounts (fourth – third centuries BCE) and Plutarch (first century CE); their versions are detailed in both content and the sequence of events[65]. However, when the story was first told by Thucydides (2.15), in the late fifth century BCE, it was chronologically vague and generic in form (Theseus demolishing local institutions to impose a centralized type of government at an unspecified time). What is more, it lacked an obvious pedigree. Only indirect allusions to a possible unification (not by Theseus) can be traced in earlier texts[66]; and some scholars believe that the Synoikia festival and the enigmatic Theseid epic celebrated something of the kind since the end of the sixth century BCE – but this is far from safe[67]. Anderson has argued that the synoecism emerged in Athenian public discourse at the end of the sixth century BCE as an aitiological myth for Cleisthenes’ reforms[68]. But if so, one would expect that tragic poets (who otherwise featured Theseus in their plays, and were the first to emphasize his role as a king[69]) would have treated this supposedly major event – especially if it was so closely related to the establishment of democracy[70]. Even Hellanicus (the first Atthis author, who was almost contemporary to Thudydides), does not seem to have included a synoecism story in his work[71]. It is, thus, unlikely that the synoecism was deeply rooted in pre-fifth century BCE Athenian traditions.

7§6 The Thesean link to the myth is also questionable. Theseus acquired a central role in Athenian storytelling during the sixth century BCE, perhaps ca. 520 BCE, with the invention of the “Attic deeds”; before that, his association with Attica was limited to the “Cretan adventure” and a link to Aphidna[72]. It was in later times (fourth century BCE) that he was credited by Philochorus and other Atthidographers with all sorts of things, from the establishment of the Panathenaea to the invention of democracy. Such anachronisms resulted from a blending of elements from different eras. For, the main purpose of Atthidographers was to construct a continuous narrative that could support the idea of autochthony and fit the (few) existing links of Athenian history with epic tradition and its panhellenic reference point, i.e. the Trojan War[73] (the “Big Bang” of Greek notions of historical thinking, according to Nagy[74]) – not to establish precise dates for the various events and monuments. In that direction, it may be instructive that the Athenians never associated the main Mycenaean feature of their city, i.e. the Cyclopean fortification of the Acropolis, with Theseus or any Erechtheid; this was unanimously attributed to the Pelasgians[75], and thus thought to be earlier than the autochthonous kings. Myth, history and invention were (con)fused in Athenian storytelling, and Theseus (the only hero with Attic connections who had a claim beyond Attica[76]) was clearly a late addition. Historically speaking, it is very unlikely that, had a Bronze Age synoecism tradition ever existed, it could have involved Theseus.

7§7 But if Athens and Theseus were not originally connected with a Bronze Age tradition of synoecism, where could a story of that kind derive from?

7§8 On archaeological grounds, the only part of Attica which may have experienced something resembling a synoecism in Mycenaean times, even if locally, was the east coast. Here, the site of Perati was established as a new settlement in the late thirteenth century BCE, and thrived for more than a century (until ca. 1060 BCE). Based on mining from Laurion and trading by sea, Perati became one of the few successful experiments of the “post-palatial” period, gradually attracting increasing numbers of inhabitants from neighboring areas, while other sites at the Mesogeia plain were abandoned or reduced in size[77]. In archaeology we describe this process as “settlement nucleation”; but in local traditions, it may have been remembered with other names, e.g. συνοίκησις. Perati guaranteed prosperity to the people of Mesogeia at a period of uncertainty, and it is not implausible that its inhabitants retained some sort of recollection of the successful nucleation. The vast cemetery of the site, where repetitive rituals were evidently performed, provided one of these social contexts that are necessary for the public formulation and collective embodiment of such memories, and their inter-generational transmission as established tradition[78].

7§9 How such a tradition (if it ever existed) may have survived after the abandonment of Perati is hard to say, given the overall dearth of archaeological evidence from Attica (outside Athens) until the Early Geometric period[79]. But if it did make it until the late sixth or fifth century BCE, it would provide a useful narrative resource to those interested in advertising the political unity of Attica. For example, a powerful family like the Philaids, who played a major role in making Theseus a star of Athenian propaganda, and, according to some sources, had hereditary relations with East Attica[80], could have been the agents of such a connection. The family of the Athenian general at Marathon (where the ‘spirit’ of Theseus is said to have appeared before the battle) and Cimon (who brought the “bones of Theseus” from Skyros back to Athens) had the necessary political and artistic links to elevate a local narrative into a pan-Attic Thesean “tradition”, when conditions required – perhaps between the 470s, when Cimon was trying to link himself with Theseus[81], and the 430s, when tragic poets had finally transformed the image of Theseus from that of a heroic wanderer to an enlightened monarch[82]. And it would take another affiliate of the Philaids, Thucydides[83], to turn the narrative into historical paradigm at a time of crisis and threat for the Athenian state, i.e. the late fifth century BCE.

7§10 Of course, such a suggestion is extremely hard to prove. But, as a working hypothesis, it accords more fittingly with Bronze Age archaeological evidence than the “Athenian case,” and may also help to explain why a συνοίκησις, especially by Theseus, was not mentioned in Athenian texts, or alluded to in artistic representations, before the fifth century BCE. The importance accorded to East Attica in another late tradition of political organization, i.e. the Kekropian δωδεκάπολις[84], may imply that faint memories of a thriving past and a local nucleation process had actually made it until Classical times.


8§1 Beyond συνοίκησις, this paper has tried to demonstrate that the concept of “Attica” in the Bronze Age was quite different from, and more fluid than, the one of the fifth century BCE. The sense of internal coherence, attested in Classical times, is clearly absent in the second millennium BCE. For that reason, this study has adopted a sub-regional approach, identifying and exploring processes that might have been missed if we aimed at an Athenocentric ‘pan-Attic’ picture.

8§2 Geographical features change slowly, yet how they affect the sense of natural and social space depends on economic and political conditions, the uses of land, modes of resource exploitation, and ultimately the configurations of power – which vary from one era to another. To understand the Bronze Age past of the region abridged in historical times under the term “Attica”, we need to free our methodologies from later concepts and examine thoroughly the specificities of the geographical entities that made up this region, and their wider historical context. I hope that this work points to that direction.


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[1] For summaries, see Walker 1995, chapter 2; Mills 1997:1-42.

[2] Connor 1970; Shapiro 1989:143-149; Servadei 2005; LIMC VII.1:922-951 (J. Neils).

[3] Walker 1995: chapters 3-6; Mills 1997.

[4] Walker 1995:195-202.

[5] Anderson 2003:135.

[6] Harding 2008:13-14 (Theseus’ reign: 1234-1205 BC) and 52-75; the Parian Marble provides an earlier date, 1259/8 BC, Walker 1995:196.

[7] For the problems of the Athenian entry, see Hope Simpson and Lazenby 1970:56-58; Hall 2014:245-247.

[8] E.g. Padgug 1970; Pantelidou 1975; Thomas 1983; van Gelder 1991; Iacovidis 2006.

[9] The literature is vast; for a review, see Guía 2001.

[10] The term “state” is conventionally used in Mycenaean studies to describe the centralized polities/kingdoms of the period, Shelmerdine & Bennet 2008:289-290.

[11] For a similar attempt, see Diamant 1982.

[12] On Mycenaean states, see Shelmerdine 2001:349-372; Shelmerdine & Bennet 2008.

[13] For the functions of Mycenaean palaces, see Darcque 2005.

[14] Iacovidis 1983.

[15] E.g. Sjoberg 2004.

[16] Iacovidis 2006:115-189.

[17] Iacovidis 1983.

[18] Iacovidis 2006:190-196.

[19] Iacovidis 2006:111-114; for the dating of the terraces, see Privitera 2013:49, 62-63.

[20] Broneer 1939:415-416; Spyropoulos 1972, 63-78, 92-97; Mountjoy 1995:50-51.

[21] Mountjoy 1984.

[22] For a recent discussion of the dating, see Privitera 2013:58-72. The figure 1230/1220 BC is conventional, as there are no independent absolute dates for the (brief) LH IIIB2 period.

[23] For an overview, see Shelmerdine 2001:372-376, 381.

[24] Bintliff 1977:9.

[25] Kakavogianni et al. 2006.

[26] Gale & Stos-Gale 1981; Stos-Gale & Macdonald 1990:265-271.

[27] For a detailed discussion, see Papadimitriou 2010.

[28] For summaries of these sites, see Privitera 2013:57-96 (Athens), 100-108 (Eleusis), 152-156 (Marathon); for Marathon, see also Sgouritsa et al. 2016.

[29] For a summary, see Laffineur 2010.

[30] See above, n. 26.

[31] Mossman 1993.

[32] See, for example, Immerwahr 1971:tombs 1, 3, 7, etc.; Pantelidou 1975:tomb 5; Mountjoy 1995:20-34; Privitera 2013:84-91.

[33] Privitera 2013:127-130 (Spata) and 154 (Marathon); Cosmopoulos 2014:vol. I 71-117, 173-180 (Eleusis).

[34] Mountjoy 1995:35-39, 46-49; Privitera 2013:47-48, 57-96; for a different view, see Benvenuti 2014.

[35] Immerwahr 1971:152; Mountjoy 1995:37-39.

[36] Papadimitriou and Cosmopoulos forthcoming.

[37] Privitera 2013:96-99 (Menidi), 127-130 (Spata), with references.

[38] Mossman 1993, for a detailed list; Adrymi-Sismani et al. 2009 for a recent find from Dimini.

[39] Fachard and Knodell forthcoming.

[40] For ancient routes in this area, see Kakavogianni 2009b.

[41] Spata: Stathi and Psalida forthcoming; Brauron: Papadopoulos and Kontorli-Papadopoulou 2014.

[42] For the character and dating of the cemeteries, see Benzi 1975; Cavanagh 1977.

[43] Papadimitriou 2001:100-109.

[44] Cosmopoulos 2014:vol I. 111-117, 150-160, 178-179.

[45] Cosmopoulos 2014:vol. I, 458; Petrakis 2014.

[46] Papadimitriou 2001:65-91.

[47] Hurwit 1999:75.

[48] See Stos-Gale and Gale 1982, for analyses and dating of the objects.

[49] Stos-Gale and Gale 1982.

[50] Iacovidis 1969-70.

[51] Privitera 2013:96-99.

[52] Kaza-Papageorgiou et al. 2011; Privitera 2013:109-110.

[53] Privitera 2013:91-92, table VI.

[54] Polychronakou-Sgouritsa 2017:264-267.

[55] Cosmopoulos 2014:vol. I, 458-459; Sgouritsa et al. 2016:312-313.

[56] Laffineur 2010:35; Privitera 2013:139-140.

[57] Priviters 2013:49-52; Papadopoulos and Kontorli-Papadopoulou 2014:162-163.

[58] Many lead objects in Mycenaean palatial sites date to LH IIIB2 (Mossman 1993), allowing for Athenian involvement in metal trade at the end of the thirteenth century BCE. Moreover, unpublished studies from Alimos suggest exportation of ceramics to the NE Peloponnese.

[59] Privitera 2013:47-48; Thomatos 2006:156-157, 202, 253-254.

[60] See Thomatos 2006:258-260.

[61] Kramer-Hajos 2016:chapters 7 (esp. 153-156) and 8.

[62] Polychronakou-Sgouritsa 2017.

[63] Lolos 2007.

[64] Hornblower 1981:259.

[65] Jacoby 1973; Harding 2008.

[66] Alföldy 1969: 6 no.1; Walker 1995:195.

[67] For Synoikia, see Parker 1996:14; 2005:382 (where he lists the synoecism of Theseus as an aitiological myth for the festival), 480-481; for the Theseid, see Mills 1997:19-25; Harding 2008:52-53.

[68] Anderson 2003:142-143.

[69] Mills 1997; earlier fifth century narratives (e.g. by Pherecydes and Bacchylides) presented Theseus mostly as a wandering hero, Walker 1995:53, 83-104.

[70] See. also, Mills 1997:97-100; Hall 2014:248; although both Thucydides (2.15) and Aristotle (Athenian Constitution 41.2) described Theseus as a king.

[71] Walker 1995:199-201.

[72] E.g. Connor 1970; Mills 1995:7-10, 13-18; Anderson 2003:136-138: Servadei 2005.

[73] Jacoby 1973:121-122, 125-128, 218-220; for Athenian links to epic tradition, see Shapiro 1989:148; 2012; Fowler 2013:447-455.

[74] Nagy 2010:chapter 6.

[75] Iacovidis 2006:19-24, 257-272.

[76] Mills 1997:264.

[77] Privitera 2013:50-52.

[78] Connerton 1989.

[79] Although some Submycenaean/late eleventh century BCE graves at Koropi and vases at Marathon, and a few Protogeometric sherds at Thorikos, suggest that East Attica was not depopulated in the earlier part of the “Dark Ages”, see van Gelder 1991:55; Kakavogianni 2009a:399 and 401 fig. 2a; Sgouritsa et al. 2016:fig. 11.

[80] Plutarch, Solon, 10.2; some scholars doubt this link, see Davies 1971:310; for other views, see Shapiro 1989:156-157 and no. 138.

[81] Walker 1995:55-61.

[82] Mills 1997. For the links between the Philaids and Theseus, see also Servadei 2005:210-214.

[83] Plutarch, Cimon 4.1.

[84] Which lists Tetrapolis, Epakria, Aphidna, Thorikos, Brauron, Kytheros and Sphettos in this area; see also Alföldy 1969:22-28; for the construction of the dodecapolis myth by Philochorus, see Moggi 1976:3-4.

About Nikolas Papadimitriou

Nikolas Papadimitriou (PhD Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Birmingham, UK) is a Curator of Antiquities at the Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens, Greece. His research interests include state formation processes in the prehistoric Aegean, death rituals as symbolic forms of communication, the social uses of imagery in Aegean art, Mediterranean interconnections in the 2nd millennium BC, and prehistoric technology. He has taught courses on the Aegean Bronze Age at the Universities of Birmingham, Athens and the Aegean, and published a monograph, several edited volumes and numerous papers on archaeological and museological matters. Currently he is involved in the study of prehistoric material from Marathon and Argos, the technological examination of Cycladic marble figurines (3rd millennium BC), and the publication of the conference “Athens and Attica in prehistory” held in Athens in May 2015. In 2000 he received the Michael Ventris Award for Mycenaean Studies by the Institute of Classical Studies, London, and in 2011 he was a Stanley J. Seeger Research Fellow at the Center of Hellenic Studies, Princeton University. At the CHS, he will examine the cultural and political geography of Attica in the 2nd millennium BC, in view of old and recent finds and in juxtaposition to Classical traditions and myths.

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