The Lion Gate At Mycenae Essay

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The Lion Gate at Mycenae Michelle L. Violet 1st Hour
Over the years the Lion gate has become the trademark of the entire archaeological site of Mycenae. It is said to be the oldest monumental structure in Europe. Still today, Lions are used as statues to show power and give off a sense of intimidation.   The Lion Gate marks the entrance of the fortified citadel of Mycenae.   Located at the corner in the wall, it somewhat forces visitors to approach it by traveling a long walkway in which the city wall is to their left leaving their right side completely open and unprotected.   This was a no accident.   Defending against foreign invasion was critical in this early time period.   Additional fortifications were made on the right side of the gate allowing the defenders to attack more easily on the oppositions unshielded right side.
The massive gate is about 10 feet wide by 10 feet high at the threshold.   It narrows as it rises, measuring 9 feet below the lintel.   The gate itself is made of two great monoliths topped with an enormous lintel on which the lions are perched.   The dimensions of the lintel are 15’×6.6’×2.6’.   The great size of the block used to erect the walls inspired the term “Cyclopean Walls”, implying that the structure had been built by the mythical Greek characters known as Cyclops.
As the focal point for the entire gate, sitting upon the lintel, are the lions.   Made from a slab of limestone, two lionesses stand facing one another.   Their forepaws are up on a platform that most likely represents what appears to be a religious alter and they stand as tall as the central pillar which rises out of the said alter.   This symbolism most likely represents political and religious power.   The lionesses once had heads which had been separately affixed to the stone structure.   The heads were made of metal but were plundered long ago.

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