Height: 7.100 cm
Diameter: 8.400 cm
Weight: 1108.000 g
GR 1900.7-27.1 (Jewellery 820)
Room 12b: Greece: Mycenaeans
Mycenaean Greek, around 1500 BC
A drinking cup of gold
This small stemmed goblet of sheet gold is of unknown provenance but is contemporary with the Shaft Graves at Mycenae. These graves were discovered by Heinrich Schliemann in 1876. Schliemann went to Mycenae in search of the burial place of the legendary king Agamemnon and his followers, killed, according to the stories, on their victorious return from Troy. The graves he found, which belonged to the earliest phase of Mycenaean culture (1600-1450 BC), were fabulously wealthy and were rich in vessels of gold and silver.
This goblet may also have been buried in a rich tomb somewhere in the Mycenaean world. Like the Shaft Grave vessels it shows influences in style and manufacture both from Minoan Crete and from Mycenaean Greece. It may have been made by a Cretan craftsman working on the Greek mainland for a rich patron. At this time the wealth of Mycenaean Greece was increasing, and Mycenae itself was earning its Homeric description as 'rich in gold'.
R. Higgins, The Greek Bronze Age (London, The British Museum Press, 1977)
R.A. Higgins, Minoan and Mycenean art, new revised edition (London, Thames & Hudson, 1997)
S. Hood, The arts in prehistoric Greece (Penguin, 1978)