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Kingship in the Mycenaean World and Its Reflections in the Oral Tradition

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By Ione Mylonas Shear

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During the last few decades, there has been great interest in the problems of defining the extent and nature of kingship in the Mycenaean world. Questions concerning the degree of economic and religious power held by the king have been given special emphasis. This book surveys the conclusions drawn by individual scholars studying the Linear B tablets, contrasts their theories with our knowledge of the Mycenaean kingdoms as derived from the archaeological record, and finally compares this evidence with possible reflections in the oral tradition, specifically in the Iliad and Odyssey. This approach leads to the suggestion that the king in the Mycenaean period had only limited power over the society and its economy. Although the king appears to have controlled a large segment of the economy, it is argued here that other individuals and family groups within the kingdom also had a certain degree of economic independence.

Contents: Introduction; 1. The Archaeological Evidence; 2. The Evidence of the Linear B Tablets; 3. The Ugarit Parallel; 4. The Evidence of the Oral Tradition; 5. The End of the Tradition; 6. Summary.

Hardback: 260 pp., 8 b/w figs.
(Prehistory Monographs 13, INSTAP Academic Press, 2004)

ISBN 1-931534-12-8
ISBN-13: 978-1-931534-12-3