It is now over forty years since John Lazenby and I published The Catalogue of the Ships in Homer’s Iliad (CSHI) and almost forty years after the completion of the Gazetteer of Aegean Civilisation in the Bronze Age vol. I The Mainland and Islands (GAC) by Oliver Dickinson and myself. During the subsequent decades the pace of archaeological exploration in Greece has more than doubled. The former small scale ‘extensive’ reconnaissances by small groups of archaeologists have been largely replaced by ‘intensive’ surveys of selected districts by much more numerous teams, usually accompanied by geologists and other scientists. And the number and scope of ‘rescue’ and other excavations, by the Greek Archaeological Service and by Greek universities and foreign institutes, has been greatly increased. One result of this recent acceleration in discovery is that we now know that many parts of southern Greece (the Peloponnese) and central Greece and Thessaly were quite densely populated in the Late Bronze Age, and by settlements of predominantly Mycenaean character. Also, as had been predicated (e.g. in CSHI, 70), our knowledge of the Early Iron Age (the Protogeometric and Geometric periods) has also increased substantially, so that this is no longer a ‘Dark Age’ (Dickinson 2006, 4-9). A full revision of our Gazetteer (GAC) would now be a huge task, even for a team of scholars. Chapter 1 is a brief summary of the published evidence for the pattern of Mycenaean settlements in Greece.

In Chapter 2 the role of the Mycenaeans in Anatolia is examined and their relations with the Hittites and other peoples in the region. Our knowledge of western Anatolia in the period of the Hittite New Kingdom has now been greatly augmented by the new excavations at Troy by Korfmann and his team and by the new revelations concerning the political geography of Anatolia in the Late Bronze Age (esp. Hawkins 1998 and 2002, Starke 1997). These have now revolutionized our conception of Troy and its history in the period. The new data also necessitate a reconsideration of the Homeric tradition of the Trojan War legend. The tradition, and the question of the origins of the story, are discussed in the last part of the chapter.

From recent studies of the language of Homeric and other early Greek epic poetry (e.g. West 1988, 1996 and 2000) we now have a better idea of its development, some elements of which indicate the existence of previous (i.e. Mycenaean) epic poetry. Full discussion of this linguistic evidence is a matter for the experts. Chapter 3 begins with a discussion of the origins of the Iliad, followed by some notes concerning the weapons and armour featured in the Homeric poems and comparisons with actual Mycenaean types (for other Homeric material objects see especially Wace and Stubbings 1962, 489-503 under Houses and Palaces, Dress).

The subject of Chapter 4 is The Catalogue of the Ships in the Iliad. The place names and political divisions of the Achaean army assembled for the expedition against Troy are examined in the light of the new archaeological data and recent commentaries. This chapter constitutes a partial revision of the previous account by Hope Simpson and Lazenby in 1970 (CSHI), with revised maps and addition photographs of the sites.


The literature on the subjects concerned is enormous. The bibliography listed here is selective; references to periodicals do not normally include the names of the authors or the titles of the articles.


It is not assumed that readers will all possess an adequate knowledge of ancient and/or modern Greek. The Greek words and names of districts, places or persons are given here in transliterated form. Where it is necessary to cite a text in the original Greek, translations are also provided (for which the author is responsible).



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Mycenaean Greece and Homeric Tradition Copyright © by Richard Hope Simpson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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