Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


22 March 2012

Kein König im Palast. Heterodoxe Überlegungen zur politischen und sozialen Ordnung in der mykenischen Zeit (No King in the Palace. Heterodox Observations on the Political and Social Order in the Mycenaean Era)

Tassilo Schmitt Historische Zeitschrift 288.2 (2009): 281-346.


This article contributes to the question how sound the wide-spread scientific opinion is founded that the Mycenaean ‘palace states’ were ruled by kings. The starting point is a surprising observation made some years ago that conclusive proof for monarchic representation is missing. Methodically, from this does not follow a necessity to find an explanation why Mycenaean kings do not seem to need forms of representation, but to reassess if there was any king at all. Archaeological evidence as well as Mycenaean texts and research on linguistic development and usage indicate that the person called /wanax/ is not a king – as it is generally assumed – but a divine ruler. The so-called palace itself turns out to be rather a place of religious and social interaction than of political power. Above all, the palace seems in no way to be involved in military affairs which were fundamental for the political life and the self-concept of Mycenaean élites.


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