Mask of Agamemnon

In 1876, the golden mask was found at the ancient Greek site of Mycenae by the German archeologist Heinrich Schliemann and it has raised huge conflicts between government and the society of archeologists in Greece and other countries around the world. Wy that mask was so special and to whom it might belonged many centuries ago?

Who Was Agamemnon?

Agamemnon is a hero of the Greek mythology. He was the son of King Atros of Argo and Queen Aerope, the brother of Menelaus. His military expeditions are also described in the Iliad of Homer. Agamemnon gathered Greek army and went for Troy. He was the chief commander of the Greek army in the Trojan War. The Iliad tells the story of a fight between Agamemnon and Achilles during the fifth year of the war. Agamemnon took an attractive slave from Achilles. Achilles withdrew from the battle, taking revenge on Agamemnon, and it almost cost the victory for the Greek forces. Agamemnon leads the army into battle, he fights on the battlefield, and performs many heroic actions.

After the Trojan War, Agamemnon is trying to come back home, but the gods are preparing many obstacles for him. When he finally reaches his home in Mycenae, he finds out that his wife Clytemnestra was unfaithful with the Aegisthus. Clytemnestra asked Agamemnon to go through the purple carpet. Agamemnon initially refused to do so, but eventually crossed the carpet because he heard warnings from Cassandra, his mistress. Clytemnestra and Aegisthus killed Agamemnon, later they also killed Cassandra.

Was The Mask Real?

Schliemann really discovered the artifact in 1876 and he believed that he had found the body of the Mycenaean king Agamemnon, leader of the Achaeans mentioned in the Iliad. It was important and disputable finding that could change some viewpoint of the Greek history.

Was The Mask Real?
Was The Mask Real?

The golden funeral mask was found in the Mycenaean citadel. After the successful searches of the Trojans in 1871–1873. H. Schliemann decided to look for the tomb of Agamemnon. In 1874, he found ancient remains in the citadel. During 1876, Schliemann with his team found the gates of the citadel and five tombs. The tombs were surrounded by a circular wall. At the end of November of 1876, Schliemann discovered five funeral golden masks in the tombs. He thought these were the funeral masks of Agamemnon, Cassandra, Eurimedon, Clytemnestra and Aegisthus. One of these masks was dimensional and decorated by sharper details. This mask was called the Agamemnon Mask. It had more stylistic differences compared to other masks and H. Schliemann was accused of made the false copy by himself.

However, the modern archaeological research denied this theory and showed that the mask dates to about 1600 BC, predating the period of the legendary Trojan War by about 400 years. As a result, it might be that the mask belonged to the ancient King of Mycenae or an important warlord. The Agamemnon mask was made of a solid sheet of gold by pressing it onto a wooden form. The details of the mask were made by a sharp tool. Now, the mask is displayed in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.