Comments on the visit of Pausanias to Mycenae

2016.06.16 | By Gregory Nagy

View of Mycenae. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

The focus here is on Pausanias 2.15.2–2.18.3. In this text the author, who lived in the second century CE, is telling about his travels through a region of the Peloponnese known as the Argolid, and a special point of interest for students of the ancient world today is what he says he saw when he visited Mycenae. I first show the overall text in the original Greek of Pausanias, quoting it in footnote 1.[1] Then I give a translation of the text, based on the rendering of W. H. S. Jones (1918), which I have extensively revised in the version I give here. In the footnotes following footnote 1, I offer comments. Following the comments in the footnotes is a general statement about the significance of the information provided by Pausanias.

Here, then, is the translation for Pausanias 2.15.2–2.18.3:

{2.15.2} From Kleonai to Argos are two roads; one is direct and only for men who are physically fit, the other goes along the pass called Trētos, is narrow like the other, being surrounded by mountains, but is nevertheless more suitable for vehicles. In these mountains is still shown the cave of the famous lion, and the place [khōrion] called Neméā is distant some fifteen stadium-lengths. In Neméā is a temple [nāos] of Nemean [Nemeios] Zeus, which is worth seeing [théā], but I found that the roof had caved in and that there was no longer any statue [agalma] [of Zeus] left. Around the temple is a grove of cypress trees, and here it is, they say, that Opheltes was placed by his nurse in the grass and killed by the serpent [drakōn].

{2.15.3} The Argives offer-sacrifices [thuein] to Zeus the Nemean [Nemeios] in Nemeā, and elect a priest of Nemean Zeus; moreover they offer a prize for a race in armor at the winter celebration of the Nemean games. In this place is the tomb of Opheltes; around it is a fence of stones, and within the enclosure are altars. There is also a mound of earth which is the tomb of Lycurgus [Lykourgos] the father of Opheltes. The spring [pēgē] they call Adrasteia for some reason [aitiā] or other, perhaps because Adrastos found it. The land was named, they say, after Nemeā, who was another daughter of Asopos. Above Nemeā is Mount Apesas, where they say that Perseus first made-sacrifice [thuein] to Zeus of Apesas.

{2.15.4} Going upland to [the pass called] Trētos and then down again along the road to Argos, you see on the left the ruins [ereipia] of Mycenae. The Greeks are generally aware that the founder [oikistēs] of Mycenae was Perseus, but I will also write down the cause [aitiā] of its foundation [oikismos] and the pretext [prophasis] that theArgives gave when they at a later point destroyed Mycenae. In the region now called Argolis, some things most ancient are not memorialized [mnēmoneuein] while other things are, and here is one such thing: they say that Inakhos was once their king and that he named the river Inakhos after himself and that he sacrificed to Hērā.

{2.15.5} There is also another tale [logos] told [legesthai] that goes like this . . . that Phoroneus was the first to be born in this land, and that Inakhos, the father of Phoroneus, was not a man but the river. This river, with the rivers Kephisos and Asterion, arbitrated [dikazein] concerning possession of the land between Poseidon and Hērā. They decided [krinein] that the land belonged to Hērā, and so Poseidon made their waters disappear. For this reason neither Inakhos nor either of the other rivers I have mentioned provides any water except whenver the god [= Zeus] makes rain. In summer their streams are dry except for those at Lerna. Phoroneus, the son of Inakhos, was the first to gather together humans [anthrōpoi] into a commonality [koinon], who up to that time had been scattered and living-in-settlements [oikeîn] all by themselves. The place into which they were first gathered was named the City [Astu] of Phoroneus.

{2.16.1} Argos, the maternal grandson of Phoroneus became king [basileus] after Phoroneus and gave his own name to the land. Argos fathered Peirasos and Phorbas, Phorbas fathered Triopas, and Triopas fathered Iasos and Agenor. Io, the daughter of Iasos, went to Egypt, whether the circumstances be as Herodotus writes or as the Greeks say. After Iasos, Krotopos the son of Agenor came to power [arkhē] and fathered Sthenelas, but Danaos sailed from Egypt against Gelanor the son of Sthenelasand put a stop to the succession of the descendants of Agenor to kingship. What followed is known to all alike the crime that the daughters of Danaos committed against their male cousins, and how, after the death of Danaos, Lynkeus succeeded him.

{2.16.2} Then there was Abas the son of Lynkeus, and his own sons Akrisios and Proitos divided the kingship [basileiā] between themselves. Akrisios remained where he was at Argos, and Proitos took over the Hēraion, Mideiā, Tiryns, and the Argive coastal region. Traces [sēmeia] of the residence [oikēsis] of Proitos in Tiryns remain to the present day.[2] Afterwards Akrisios, learning that Perseus himself was not only alive but accomplishing [apodeiknusthai] great deeds, withdrew to Larisa, by [the river] Pēneios. And Perseus, wishing at all costs to see the father of his mother and to greet him with fair words and deeds, visited him at Larisa. Being in the prime of life and proud of being the inventor of the discus, he showed off [apodeiknusthai] [his skill in throwing the discus] in front of everybody, and Akrisios, through the agency of some superhuman force [daimōn], stepped unnoticed into the path of the discus.

{2.16.3} So the prediction of the god to Akrisios found its fulfillment [telos], nor was the-thing-that-had-been-prophesied [tò khreōn] prevented by his precautions against his daughter and the son of his daughter. Perseus felt shame because of what-was-said [phēmē] about the homicide, and so, on his return to Argos, he induced Megapenthes, the son of Proitos, to make an exchange of kingdoms; taking over for himself the rule [arkhē] of the kindom of Megapenthes, he founded [ktizein] Mycenae. For on its site the pommel [myces = mukēs] fell out of his sword, and he regarded this as a sign [sēmeion] to establish the foundation [oikismos] of a citadel [polis]. I have also heard the following account. He was thirsty, and the thought occurred to him to pick up a mushroom [myces = mukēs] from the ground.*[3] Water flowed from that spot, and, taking delight in drinking from it, he gave to the place the name of Mycenae.

{2.16.4} Homer in the Odyssey [2.120] mentions a woman [gunē] named Mycene [Mukēnē] in the following verse:

Τυρώ τ’ Ἀλκμήνη τε ἐϋστέφανός τε Μυκήνη

Tyro and Alkmēnē and the fair-garlanded lady Mycene [Mukēnē], the-one-with-the-beautiful-garlands [eu-stephanos].

She is said to have been the daughter of Inakhos and the wife of Arestōr in the {Hesiodic] poetry [epē] that the Greeks call the Great Ēhoiai. So they say that the name of the citadel [polis] originated from her [= Mycene = Mukēnē]. But the tradition that is attributed to Acusilaus (Akousilaos), that Myceneus [Mukēneus] was the son of Sparton [Spartōn], and Sparton of Phoroneus, I cannot accept [apo-dekhesthai], because the Lacedaemonians themselves do not accept it either. I say this because, although the Lacedaemonians have at Amyklai an image [eikōn] of a woman [gunē] named Spartē, even they would be amazed at the mere mention of a Spartōn, son of Phoroneus.

{2.16.5} It was envy that caused the Argives to destroy Mycenae. For at the time of the Persian invasion the Argives made-no-move [hēsukhazein], but the Mycenaeans sent eighty men to Thermopylae who shared in the achievement [ergon] of the Lacedaemonians. This act-of-eagerness-for-distinction [philo-tīmēma] brought ruin upon them by aggravated the Argives. There still remain, however, parts of the fortification-wall, including the gate [pulē], above which stand lions.*[4] These [walls], too, are said to be the work of the Cyclopes, who made for Proitos the walls at Tiryns.*[5]

{2.16.6} Inside the ruins [ereipia] of Mycenae is a spring [krēnē] called Perseiā;*[6] there are also underground chambers [hupo-gaia oikodomēmata] of Atreus and his children, in which were stored the treasuries [thēsauroi] of their possessions.*[7] The tomb [taphos] of Atreus is there, along with the tombs of those who returned with Agamemnon from Troy and were murdered by Aigisthos after he had given them a banquet. As for the tomb [mnēma] of Cassandra [Kassandrā], there is a rival claim that is made to it by the Lacedaemonians who dwell [oikeîn] in the vicinity of Amyklai. There is [at Mycenae] another tomb [mnēma] [besides the tombs in the Treasury of Atreus] that specificially belongs to Agamemnon, and there is also another one belonging to Eurymedon his charioteer, while still another one is shared by Teledāmos and Pelops, twin sons, they say, of Cassandra,

{2.16.7} whom while they were still infants Aigisthos killed after he killed their parents. Electra has her tomb, for Orestes married her off to Pylades. Hellanicus adds that the children of Pylades by Electra were Medon and Strophios. Clytemnestra and Aigisthos were buried at some little distance from the wall.*[8] They were thought unworthy of a place within it [= the wall], where lay Agamemnon himself and those who were murdered with him.

{2.17.1} Fifteen stadium-lengths distant from Mycenae is on the left the Hēraion. Beside the road flows the brook called Water of Freedom [Eleutherion]. The priestesses use it in purifications and for such sacrifices [thusai] as are mystical [apo-rrhētoi]. The sanctuary itself is on a lower part of Euboea. Euboea is the name they give to the hill here, saying that Asterion the river had three daughters, Euboea, Prosymna, and Akraia, and that they were nurses [trophoi] of Hērā.

{2.17.2} The hill opposite the Hēraion they name after Akraia, the environs of the sanctuary they name after Euboea, and the land beneath the Hēraion after Prosymna. This Asterion flows above the Hēraion, and falling into a cleft disappears. On its banks grows a plant, which also is called asterion. They offer the plant itself to Hēra, and from its leaves weave her garlands [stephanoi].

{2.17.3} It is said that the architect of the temple was Eupolemos, an Argive. The sculptures carved above the pillars refer either to the birth of Zeus and the battle between the gods and the giants, or to the Trojan war and the capture of Ilion. Before the entrance stand statues of women who have been priestesses [hiereiai] of Hērā and of various heroes, including Orestes. They say that Orestes is the one with the inscription, which claims that it represents the Emperor Augustus. In the front part of the temple are on the one side ancient statues [agalmata] of the Graces [Kharites], and on the right a couch [klinē] of Hērā and a votive offering, the shield which Menelaos once took from Euphorbos at Troy.[9]

{2.17.4} The statue [agalma] of Hērā is seated on a throne; it [= the statue] is huge, made of gold and ivory, and is a work of Polycleitus. She is wearing a garland [stephanos] with Graces [Kharites] and Seasons [Hōrai] worked upon it, and in one hand she carries a pomegranate and in the other a scepter. About the pomegranate I must say nothing, for its story [logos] is somewhat mystical [apo-rrhētos].*[10] The presence of a cuckoo seated on the scepter they explain by telling how, when Zeus lusted for Hērā as virgin [parthenos], he changed himself into this bird, and she caught it to be her pet. This story [logos] and similar things said about the gods I write down without accepting [apodekhesthai] them, but I write them down nevertheless.

{2.17.5} By the side of Hērā stands what is said to be a statue [agalma] of Hēbē fashioned by Naukydes; it, too, is of ivory and gold. By its side is an old statue [agalma] of Hērā on a pillar. The oldest statue is made of wild-pear wood, and was dedicated in Tiryns by Peirasos, son of Argos, and when the Argives destroyed Tiryns*[11] they carried it away to the Hēraion. I myself saw it, a small, seated statue [agalma].

{2.17.6} Of the votive offerings [anathēmata] the following are noteworthy. There is an altar [bōmos] upon which is worked in relief the fabled marriage of Hēbē and Hēraklēs. This is of silver, but the peacock dedicated by the Emperor Hadrian is of gold and gleaming stones. He dedicated it because they hold the bird to be sacred to Hērā. There are deposited here a golden garland [stephanos] and a purple robe [peplos], offerings of Nero.

{2.17.7} Above this temple are the foundations of the earlier temple and such parts of it as were spared by the flames. It had burned down because sleep overpowered Khryseis, the priestess of Hērā, when the lamp before the garlands set fire to them. Khryseis went to Tegea and supplicated Athena Alea. Although so great a disaster had befallen them the Argives did not take down the statue of Khryseis; it is still in position in front of the burned temple.

{2.18.1} By the side of the road from Mycenae to Argos there is on the left hand a hero-shrine [hērōion] of Perseus.*[12] He gets honors [tīmai], as I discovered, from the local-population-nearby [proskhōrioi] here as well [as inside the walls of Mycenae], but the greatest honors are paid to him in Seriphus and among the Athenians, who have a precinct [temenos] sacred to Perseus and an altar [bōmos] of Dictys and Klymene, who are called the saviors [sōtēres] of Perseus. Advancing a little way in the Argive territory from this hero-shrine [hērōion] one sees on the right the tomb [taphos] of Thyestes. On it is a ram [krios] made of stone, because Thyestes obtained a golden lamb [arēn] after seducing his brother’s wife. Atreus was not restrained by prudence [logismos] from retaliating, but contrived the slaughter of the children of Thyestes and the banquet that is sung about in songs.

{2.18.2} But as to what followed, I cannot say for certain whether Aigisthos began the injustice [adikiā] or whether Agamemnon was first to commit injustice in killing Tantalos, the son of Thyestes. It is said that Tantalos had lived-with [sun-oikeîn] Clytaemnestra, having received her from Tyndareus when she was still a virgin.*[13] I myself do not wish to condemn them of having been wicked by nature [phusis]; but if the pollution [miasma] of Pelops and the avenging spirit of Myrtilos dogged their steps so long, it was after all only consistent that the Pythian priestess said to the Spartan Glaukos, the son of Epikydes, who consulted her about breaking his oath, that the punishment [dikē] for this also comes upon the descendants.

Terracotta neck amphora, attributed to the Prometheus Painter (ca. 570–560 BCE; Attic Greek).
Photo via The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

{2.18.3} A short distance beyond the Rams [krioi]—this is the name they give to the tomb of Thyestes—there is on the left a place [khōrion] called Mysia and a sanctuary [hieron] of Demeter Mysia, so named after a man Mysios who, say the Argives, was another one of those who acted as host [xenos] to Demeter. In any case, this sanctuary has no roof, but, inside it, there is another shrine [nāos], built of baked brick, and in it are wooden statues [xoana] of the Maiden [Korē], Pluto [Ploutōn], and Demeter. Farther on is the river called Inakhos, and on the other side of it an altar [bomos] of Hēlios [the Sun]. After this you will come to a gate [pulē] named after the sanctuary [hieron] that is near it. This sanctuary belongs to Eileithuia.

What Pausanias says here at 2.18.3 about a tomb containing the body of Thyestes and located in a place called Krioi, meaning ‘Rams’, is relevant to what I observed in my posting for Classical Inquiries 2015.07.22 §31:

When I last considered the practices of cremation in a Mycenaean context, those practices were barely attested archaeologically.[14] But now, with the discovery of nine cremations at the site of Chánia , some three kilometers southwest of the acropolis of Mycenae, the picture has changed.[15] I note with special interest the splendor of the tumulus that contained these cremations, dated to the 12th century BCE.[16] The archeologist of record, Heleni Palaiologou, describes as “monumental” the stone tumulus with its circular “cyclopean” enclosure, and she notes that the ritual moment of the actual cremation, which required vast pilings of firewood, must have been “spectacular.”[17] This splendid tumulus, situated on a plain contiguous with Argos, was most visible to all: “it served as a landmark for the control of the commercial route to Argos and the cultivated area simultaneously.”[18] By this time, in the 12th century BCE, the glory days of Mycenae and of its Achaean realm were becoming evanescent, but the vitality of Mycenaean culture was still a forceful presence, acknowledged and respected by the local population.

In the paragraph I just quoted, which came at the end of my essay of 2015.07.22, I added a final footnote that now becomes the end-point here as well, almost a year later:

Palaiologou 2014 describes in lively detail the continuity of the culture in the environs of Mycenae during the 13th and the 12th centuries BCE. I note also the illuminating comments of Palaiologou on the afterlife of Mycenaean traditions in the environs of Mycenae during the first millennium BCE, especially with reference to the sanctuary of Hērā and the hero-cult of Agamemnon.

The background for this posting of 2016.06.16 was an event in my life that I will always treasure. It was my visit, 2016.06.12, to the archaeological site that I have just described. On this visit, I was accompanied by participants in a travel-study program sponsored by Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies together with the Harvard Alumni Association. My fellow visitors and I were hosted at the site by the excavator herself, Heleni Palaiologou, who has argued convincingly that this tumulus that once graced this site was identical with the ‘tomb of Thyestes’ seen by Pausanias.[19]

This posting is dedicated to my fellow travelers Marina Cheilitsi, Stephen Holmgren, Samantha Hurtado, Eda Kaceli, Frederick Kochak, Simon & Teresa & Austin & Audrey Lee, David Long, Safdar Mandviwala, Janet Ozsolak, Forrest Schaaf, Yang Sciscent, Rebecca Shustef & Aleksandr Teytelman.


GMP     Nagy, G. 1990. Greek Mythology and Poetics. Ithaca, NY.

HTL      Nagy, G. 2004. Homer’s Text and Language. Urbana and Chicago.

Nagy, G. 1990. Greek Mythology and Poetics. Ithaca, NY. Revised paperback edition 1992.

Nagy, G. 2004. Homer’s Text and Language. Urbana and Chicago, IL.

Nagy, G. 2015.07.22. “East of the Achaeans: Making up for a missed opportunity while reading Hittite texts.” Classical Inquiries

Palaiologou, H. 2013. “Late Helladic IIIC cremation burials at Chania of Mycenae.” Cremation burials in the region between the middle Danube and the Aegean, 1300–750 BC (ed. M. Lochner and F. Ruppenstein) 249–279.

Palaiologou, H. 2014. “The Plain of Mycenae during the 13th Century BC and Later.” Physis: Environnement naturel et la relation homme-milieu dans le monde égéen protohistorique. Actes de la 14e rencontre égéenne internationale, Paris, Institut National de l’Institut de l’Art, 11–14 décembre 2012 (ed. G. Touchais, R. Laffineur, and F. Rougemont) 517–519. Leuven-Liège.

Palaiologou, H. 2015. “The Mycenaean Building at Chania of Mycenae.” Mycenaeans up to date: The archaeology of the northeastern Peloponnese—current concepts and new directions. Skrifter utgivna av Svenska Institutet i Athen 4:56 (ed. A. L. Schallin and I. Tournavitou) 53–78. Stockholm.


[1] {2.15.2} ἐκ Κλεωνῶν δέ εἰσιν ἐς Ἄργος ὁδοὶ δύο, ἡ μὲν ἀνδράσιν εὐζώνοις καὶ ἔστιν ἐπίτομος, ἡ δὲ ἐπὶ τοῦ καλουμένου Τρητοῦ, στενὴ μὲν καὶ αὐτὴ περιεχόντων ὀρῶν, ὀχήμασι δέ ἐστιν ὅμως ἐπιτηδειοτέρα. ἐν τούτοις τοῖς ὄρεσι τὸ σπήλαιον ἔτι δείκνυται τοῦ λέοντος, καὶ ἡ Νεμέα τὸ χωρίον ἀπέχει σταδίους πέντε που καὶ δέκα. ἐν δὲ αὐτῇ Νεμείου [τε] Διὸς ναός ἐστι θέας ἄξιος, πλὴν ὅσον κατερρυήκει τε ὁ ὄροφος καὶ ἄγαλμα οὐδὲν ἔτι ἐλείπετο· κυπαρίσσων τε ἄλσος ἐστὶ περὶ τὸν ναόν, καὶ τὸν Ὀφέλτην ἐνταῦθα ὑπὸ τῆς τροφοῦ τεθέντα ἐς τὴν πόαν διαφθαρῆναι λέγουσιν {2.15.3} ὑπὸ τοῦ δράκοντος. θύουσι δὲ Ἀργεῖοι τῷ Διὶ καὶ ἐν τῇ Νεμέᾳ καὶ Νεμείου Διὸς ἱερέα αἱροῦνται, καὶ δὴ καὶ δρόμου προτιθέασιν ἀγῶνα ἀνδράσιν ὡπλισμένοις Νεμείων πανηγύρει τῶν χειμερινῶν. ἐνταῦθα ἔστι μὲν Ὀφέλτου τάφος, περὶ δὲ αὐτὸν θριγκὸς λίθων καὶ ἐντὸς τοῦ περιβόλου βωμοί· ἔστι δὲ χῶμα γῆς Λυκούργου μνῆμα τοῦ Ὀφέλτου πατρός. τὴν δὲ πηγὴν Ἀδράστειαν ὀνομάζουσιν εἴτε ἐπ’ ἄλλῃ τινὶ αἰτίᾳ εἴτε καὶ ἀνευρόντος αὐτὴν Ἀδράστου· τὸ δὲ ὄνομα λέγουσι τῇ χώρᾳ Νεμέαν δοῦναι θυγατέρα Ἀσωποῦ καὶ ταύτην. καὶ ὄρος Ἀπέσας ἐστὶν ὑπὲρ τὴν Νεμέαν, ἔνθα Περσέα πρῶτον Διὶ θῦσαι λέγουσιν Ἀπεσαντίῳ. {2.15.4} ἀνελθοῦσι δὲ ἐς τὸν Τρητὸν καὶ αὖθις τὴν ἐς Ἄργος ἰοῦσίν ἐστι Μυκηνῶν ἐρείπια ἐν ἀριστερᾷ. καὶ ὅτι μὲν Περσεὺς ἐγένετο Μυκηνῶν οἰκιστής, ἴσασιν Ἕλληνες· ἐγὼ δὲ αἰτίαν τε γράψω τοῦ οἰκισμοῦ καὶ δι’ ἥντινα πρόφασιν Ἀργεῖοι Μυκηναίους ὕστερον ἀνέστησαν. ἐν γὰρ τῇ νῦν Ἀργολίδι ὀνομαζομένῃ τὰ μὲν ἔτι παλαιότερα οὐ μνημονεύουσιν, Ἴναχον δὲ βασιλεύοντα τόν τε ποταμὸν ἀφ’ αὑτοῦ λέγουσιν ὀνομάσαι {2.15.5} καὶ θῦσαι τῇ Ἥρᾳ. λέγεται δὲ καὶ ὧδε λόγος· Φορωνέα ἐν τῇ γῇ ταύτῃ γενέσθαι πρῶτον, Ἴναχον δὲ οὐκ ἄνδρα ἀλλὰ τὸν ποταμὸν πατέρα εἶναι Φορωνεῖ· τοῦτον δὲ Ποσειδῶνι καὶ Ἥρᾳ δικάσαι περὶ τῆς χώρας, σὺν δὲ αὐτῷ Κηφισόν τε καὶ Ἀστερίωνα [καὶ τὸν Ἴναχον] ποταμόν· κρινάντων δὲ Ἥρας εἶναι τὴν γῆν, οὕτω σφίσιν ἀφανίσαι τὸ ὕδωρ Ποσειδῶνα. καὶ διὰ τοῦτο οὔτε Ἴναχος ὕδωρ οὔτε ἄλλος παρέχεται τῶν εἰρημένων ποταμῶν ὅτι μὴ ὕσαντος τοῦ θεοῦ· θέρους δὲ αὖά σφισίν ἐστι τὰ ῥεύματα πλὴν τῶν ἐν Λέρνῃ. Φορωνεὺς δὲ ὁ Ἰνάχου τοὺς ἀνθρώπους συνήγαγε πρῶτον ἐς κοινόν, σποράδας τέως καὶ ἐφ’ ἑαυτῶν ἑκάστοτε οἰκοῦντας· καὶ τὸ χωρίον ἐς ὃ πρῶτον ἠθροίσθησαν ἄστυ ὠνομάσθη Φορωνικόν. {2.16.1} Ἄργος δὲ Φορωνέως θυγατριδοῦς βασιλεύσας μετὰ Φορωνέα ὠνόμασεν ἀφ’ αὑτοῦ τὴν χώραν. Ἄργου δὲ Πείρασος γίνεται καὶ Φόρβας, Φόρβαντος δὲ Τριόπας, Τριόπα δὲ Ἴασος καὶ Ἀγήνωρ. Ἰὼ μὲν οὖν Ἰάσου θυγάτηρ, εἴτε ὡς Ἡρόδοτος ἔγραψεν εἴτε καθ’ ὃ λέγουσιν Ἕλληνες, ἐς Αἴγυπτον ἀφικνεῖται Κρότωπος δὲ ὁ Ἀγήνορος ἔσχε μετὰ Ἴασον τὴν ἀρχήν, Κροτώπου δὲ Σθενέλας γίνεται, Δαναὸς δ’ ἀπ’ Αἰγύπτου πλεύσας ἐπὶ Γελάνορα τὸν Σθενέλα τοὺς ἀπογόνους τοὺς Ἀγήνορος βασιλείας ἔπαυσεν. τὰ δὲ ἀπὸ τούτου καὶ οἱ πάντες ὁμοίως ἴσασι, θυγατέρων τῶν Δαναοῦ τὸ ἐς τοὺς ἀνεψιοὺς τόλμημα καὶ ὡς ἀποθανόντος Δαναοῦ {2.16.2} τὴν ἀρχὴν Λυγκεὺς ἔσχεν. οἱ δὲ Ἄβαντος τοῦ Λυγκέως παῖδες τὴν βασιλείαν ἐνείμαντο, καὶ Ἀκρίσιος μὲν αὐτοῦ κατέμεινεν ἐν τῷ Ἄργει, Προῖτος δὲ τὸ Ἡραῖον καὶ Μιδείαν καὶ Τίρυνθα ἔσχε καὶ ὅσα πρὸς θαλάσσῃ τῆς Ἀργείας· σημεῖά τε τῆς ἐν Τίρυνθι οἰκήσεως Προίτου καὶ ἐς τόδε λείπεται. χρόνῳ δὲ ὕστερον Ἀκρίσιος Περσέα αὐτόν τε περιεῖναι πυνθανόμενος καὶ ἔργα ἀποδείκνυσθαι, ἐς Λάρισαν ἀπεχώρησε τὴν ἐπὶ τῷ Πηνειῷ. Περσεὺς δὲ—ἰδεῖν γὰρ πάντως ἤθελε τὸν γονέα τῆς μητρὸς καὶ λόγοις τε χρηστοῖς καὶ ἔργοις δεξιώσασθαι—ἔρχεται παρ’ αὐτὸν ἐς τὴν Λάρισαν· καὶ ὁ μὲν οἷα ἡλικίᾳ τε ἀκμάζων καὶ τοῦ δίσκου χαίρων τῷ εὑρήματι ἐπεδείκνυτο ἐς ἅπαντας, Ἀκρίσιος δὲ λανθάνει κατὰ δαίμονα ὑποπεσὼν τοῦ {2.16.3} δίσκου τῇ ὁρμῇ. καὶ Ἀκρισίῳ μὲν ἡ πρόρρησις τοῦ θεοῦ τέλος ἔσχεν, οὐδὲ ἀπέτρεψέν οἱ τὸ χρεὼν τὰ ἐς τὴν παῖδα καὶ τὸν θυγατριδοῦν παρευρήματα· Περσεὺς δὲ ὡς ἀνέστρεψεν ἐς Ἄργος—ᾐσχύνετο γὰρ τοῦ φόνου τῇ φήμῃ—, Μεγαπένθην τὸν Προίτου πείθει οἱ τὴν ἀρχὴν ἀντιδοῦναι, παραλαβὼν δὲ αὐτὸς τὴν ἐκείνου Μυκήνας κτίζει. τοῦ ξίφους γὰρ ἐνταῦθα ἐξέπεσεν ὁ μύκης αὐτῷ, καὶ τὸ σημεῖον ἐς οἰκισμὸν ἐνόμιζε συμβῆναι πόλεως. ἤκουσα δὲ καὶ ὡς διψῶντι ἐπῆλθεν ἀνελέσθαι οἱ μύκητα ἐκ τῆς γῆς, ῥυέντος δὲ ὕδατος πιὼν καὶ ἡσθεὶς Μυκήνας ἔθετο τὸ ὄνομα τῷ {2.16.4} χωρίῳ. Ὅμηρος δὲ ἐν Ὀδυσσείᾳ γυναικὸς Μυκήνης ἐν ἔπει τῷδε ἐμνήσθη

Τυρώ τ’ Ἀλκμήνη τε ἐυστέφανός τε Μυκήνη.

ταύτην εἶναι θυγατέρα Ἰνάχου γυναῖκα δὲ Ἀρέστορος τὰ ἔπη λέγει, ἃ δὴ Ἕλληνες καλοῦσιν Ἠοίας μεγάλας· ἀπὸ ταύτης οὖν γεγονέναι καὶ τὸ ὄνομα τῇ πόλει φασίν. ὃν δὲ προσποιοῦσιν Ἀκουσιλάῳ λόγον, Μυκηνέα υἱὸν εἶναι Σπάρτωνος, Σπάρτωνα δὲ Φορωνέως, οὐκ ἂν ἔγωγε ἀποδεξαίμην, διότι μηδὲ αὐτοὶ Λακεδαιμόνιοι. Λακεδαιμονίοις γὰρ Σπάρτης μὲν γυναικὸς εἰκών ἐστιν ἐν Ἀμύκλαις, Σπάρτωνα δὲ Φορωνέως παῖδα θαυμάζοιεν ἂν καὶ ἀρχὴν ἀκούσαντες. [2.16.5] Μυκήνας δὲ Ἀργεῖοι καθεῖλον ὑπὸ ζηλοτυπίας. ἡσυχαζόντων γὰρ τῶν Ἀργείων κατὰ τὴν ἐπιστρατείαν τοῦ Μήδου, Μυκηναῖοι πέμπουσιν ἐς Θερμοπύλας ὀγδοήκοντα ἄνδρας, οἳ Λακεδαιμονίοις μετέσχον τοῦ ἔργου· τοῦτο ἤνεγκεν ὄλεθρόν σφισι τὸ φιλοτίμημα παροξῦναν Ἀργείους. λείπεται δὲ ὅμως ἔτι καὶ ἄλλα τοῦ περιβόλου καὶ ἡ πύλη, λέοντες δὲ ἐφεστήκασιν αὐτῇ· <Κυκλώπων> δὲ καὶ ταῦτα ἔργα εἶναι λέγουσιν, {2.16.6} οἳ Προίτῳ τὸ τεῖχος ἐποίησαν ἐν Τίρυνθι. Μυκηνῶν δὲ ἐν τοῖς ἐρειπίοις κρήνη τέ ἐστι καλουμένη Περσεία καὶ Ἀτρέως καὶ τῶν παίδων ὑπόγαια οἰκοδομήματα, ἔνθα οἱ θησαυροί σφισι τῶν χρημάτων ἦσαν. τάφος δὲ ἔστι μὲν Ἀτρέως, εἰσὶ δὲ καὶ ὅσους σὺν Ἀγαμέμνονι ἐπανήκοντας ἐξ Ἰλίου δειπνίσας κατεφόνευσεν Αἴγισθος. τοῦ μὲν δὴ Κασσάνδρας μνήματος ἀμφισβητοῦσι Λακεδαιμονίων οἱ περὶ Ἀμύκλας οἰκοῦντες· ἕτερον δέ ἐστιν Ἀγαμέμνονος, τὸ δὲ Εὐρυμέδοντος τοῦ ἡνιόχου, καὶ Τελεδάμου τὸ αὐτὸ καὶ Πέλοπος— {2.16.7} τούτους γὰρ τεκεῖν διδύμους Κασσάνδραν φασί, νηπίους δὲ ἔτι ὄντας ἐπικατέσφαξε τοῖς γονεῦσιν Αἴγισθος—<καὶ Ἠλέκτρας>· Πυλάδῃ γὰρ συνῴκησεν Ὀρέστου δόντος. Ἑλλάνικος δὲ καὶ τάδε ἔγραψε, Μέδοντα καὶ Στρόφιον γενέσθαι Πυλάδῃ παῖδας ἐξ Ἠλέκτρας. Κλυταιμνήστρα δὲ ἐτάφη καὶ Αἴγισθος ὀλίγον ἀπωτέρω τοῦ τείχους· ἐντὸς δὲ ἀπηξιώθησαν, ἔνθα Ἀγαμέμνων τε αὐτὸς ἔκειτο καὶ οἱ σὺν ἐκείνῳ φονευθέντες. {2.17.1} Μυκηνῶν δὲ ἐν ἀριστερᾷ πέντε ἀπέχει καὶ δέκα στάδια τὸ Ἡραῖον. ῥεῖ δὲ κατὰ τὴν ὁδὸν ὕδωρ Ἐλευθέριον καλούμενον· χρῶνται δὲ αὐτῷ πρὸς καθάρσια αἱ περὶ τὸ ἱερὸν καὶ τῶν θυσιῶν ἐς τὰς ἀπορρήτους. αὐτὸ δὲ τὸ ἱερόν ἐστιν ἐν χθαμαλωτέρῳ τῆς Εὐβοίας· τὸ γὰρ δὴ ὄρος τοῦτο ὀνομάζουσιν Εὔβοιαν, λέγοντες Ἀστερίωνι γενέσθαι τῷ ποταμῷ θυγατέρας Εὔβοιαν καὶ Πρόσυμναν καὶ Ἀκραίαν, εἶναι δὲ σφᾶς τροφοὺς {2.17.2} τῆς Ἥρας· καὶ ἀπὸ μὲν Ἀκραίας τὸ ὄρος καλοῦσι τὸ ἀπαντικρὺ τοῦ Ἡραίου, ἀπὸ δὲ Εὐβοίας ὅσον περὶ τὸ ἱερόν, Πρόσυμναν δὲ τὴν ὑπὸ τὸ Ἡραῖον χώραν. ὁ δὲ Ἀστερίων οὗτος ῥέων ὑπὲρ τὸ Ἡραῖον ἐς φάραγγα ἐσπίπτων ἀφανίζεται. φύεται δὲ αὐτοῦ πόα πρὸς ταῖς ὄχθαις· ἀστερίωνα ὀνομάζουσι καὶ τὴν πόαν· ταύτην τῇ Ἥρᾳ καὶ αὐτὴν φέρουσι καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν φύλλων αὐτῆς {2.17.3} στεφάνους πλέκουσιν. ἀρχιτέκτονα μὲν δὴ γενέσθαι τοῦ ναοῦ λέγουσιν <Εὐπόλεμον> Ἀργεῖον· ὁπόσα δὲ ὑπὲρ τοὺς κίονάς ἐστιν εἰργασμένα, τὰ μὲν ἐς τὴν Διὸς γένεσιν καὶ θεῶν καὶ γιγάντων μάχην ἔχει, τὰ δὲ ἐς τὸν πρὸς Τροίαν πόλεμον καὶ Ἰλίου τὴν ἅλωσιν. ἀνδριάντες τε ἑστήκασι πρὸ τῆς ἐσόδου καὶ γυναικῶν, αἳ γεγόνασιν ἱέρειαι τῆς Ἥρας, καὶ ἡρώων ἄλλων τε καὶ Ὀρέστου· τὸν γὰρ ἐπίγραμμα ἔχοντα, ὡς εἴη βασιλεὺς Αὔγουστος, Ὀρέστην εἶναι λέγουσιν. ἐν δὲ τῷ προνάῳ τῇ μὲν Χάριτες ἀγάλματά ἐστιν ἀρχαῖα, ἐν δεξιᾷ δὲ κλίνη τῆς Ἥρας καὶ ἀνάθημα ἀσπὶς ἣν Μενέ-{2.17.4}λαός ποτε ἀφείλετο Εὔφορβον ἐν Ἰλίῳ. τὸ δὲ ἄγαλμα τῆς Ἥρας ἐπὶ θρόνου κάθηται μεγέθει μέγα, χρυσοῦ μὲν καὶ ἐλέφαντος, <Πολυκλείτου> δὲ ἔργον· ἔπεστι δέ οἱ στέφανος Χάριτας ἔχων καὶ Ὥρας ἐπειργασμένας, καὶ τῶν χειρῶν τῇ μὲν καρπὸν φέρει ῥοιᾶς, τῇ δὲ σκῆπτρον. τὰ μὲν οὖν ἐς τὴν ῥοιὰν—ἀπορρητότερος γάρ ἐστιν ὁ λόγος—ἀφείσθω μοι· κόκκυγα δὲ ἐπὶ τῷ σκήπτρῳ καθῆσθαί φασι λέγοντες τὸν Δία, ὅτε ἤρα παρθένου τῆς Ἥρας, ἐς τοῦτον τὸν ὄρνιθα ἀλλαγῆναι, τὴν δὲ ἅτε παίγνιον θηρᾶσαι. τοῦτον τὸν λόγον καὶ ὅσα ἐοικότα εἴρηται περὶ θεῶν οὐκ ἀποδε-{2.17.5}χόμενος γράφω, γράφω δὲ οὐδὲν ἧσσον. λέγεται δὲ παρεστηκέναι τῇ Ἥρᾳ τέχνη <Ναυκύδους> ἄγαλμα Ἥβης, ἐλέφαντος καὶ τοῦτο καὶ χρυσοῦ· παρὰ δὲ αὐτήν ἐστιν ἐπὶ κίονος ἄγαλμα Ἥρας ἀρχαῖον. τὸ δὲ ἀρχαιότατον πεποίηται μὲν ἐξ ἀχράδος, ἀνετέθη δὲ ἐς Τίρυνθα ὑπὸ Πειράσου τοῦ Ἄργου, Τίρυνθα δὲ ἀνελόντες Ἀργεῖοι κομίζουσιν ἐς τὸ Ἡραῖον· ὃ δὴ καὶ αὐτὸς {2.17.6} εἶδον, καθήμενον ἄγαλμα οὐ μέγα. ἀναθήματα δὲ τὰ ἄξια λόγου βωμὸς ἔχων ἐπειργασμένον τὸν λεγόμενον Ἥβης καὶ Ἡρακλέους γάμον· οὗτος μὲν ἀργύρου, χρυσοῦ δὲ καὶ λίθων λαμπόντων Ἀδριανὸς βασιλεὺς ταὼν <ἀνέθηκεν·> ἀνέθηκε δέ, ὅτι τὴν ὄρνιθα ἱερὰν τῆς Ἥρας νομίζουσι. κεῖται δὲ καὶ στέφανος χρυσοῦς καὶ {2.17.7} πέπλος πορφύρας, Νέρωνος ταῦτα ἀναθήματα. ἔστι δὲ ὑπὲρ τὸν ναὸν τοῦτον τοῦ προτέρου ναοῦ θεμέλιά τε καὶ εἰ δή τι ἄλλο ὑπελίπετο ἡ φλόξ. κατεκαύθη δὲ τὴν ἱέρειαν τῆς Ἥρας Χρυσηίδα ὕπνου καταλαβόντος, ὅτε ὁ λύχνος πρὸ τῶν στεφανωμάτων ἥπτετο. καὶ Χρυσηὶς μὲν ἀπελθοῦσα ἐς Τεγέαν τὴν Ἀθηνᾶν τὴν Ἀλέαν ἱκέτευεν· Ἀργεῖοι δὲ καίπερ κακοῦ τηλικούτου παρόντος σφίσι τὴν εἰκόνα οὐ καθεῖλον τῆς Χρυσηίδος, ἀνάκειται δὲ καὶ ἐς τόδε τοῦ ναοῦ τοῦ κατακαυθέντος ἔμπροσθεν. {2.18.1} ἐκ Μυκηνῶν δὲ ἐς Ἄργος ἐρχομένοις ἐν ἀριστερᾷ Περσέως παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν ἐστιν ἡρῷον. ἔχει μὲν δὴ καὶ ἐνταῦθα τιμὰς παρὰ τῶν προσχωρίων, μεγίστας δὲ ἔν τε Σερίφῳ καὶ παρ’ Ἀθηναίοις<, οἷς> Περσέως {2.18.1} τέμενος καὶ Δίκτυος καὶ Κλυμένης βωμὸς σωτήρων καλουμένων Περσέως. ἐν δὲ τῇ Ἀργείᾳ προελθοῦσιν ὀλίγον ἀπὸ τοῦ ἡρῴου τούτου Θυέστου τάφος ἐστὶν ἐν δεξιᾷ· λίθου δὲ ἔπεστιν αὐτῷ κριός, ὅτι τὴν ἄρνα ὁ Θυέστης ἔσχε τὴν χρυσῆν, μοιχεύσας τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα. Ἀτρέα δὲ οὐκ ἐπέσχεν ὁ λογισμὸς μετρῆσαι τὴν ἴσην, ἀλλὰ τῶν Θυέστου παίδων σφαγὰς καὶ {2.18.2} τὰ ᾀδόμενα δεῖπνα ἐξειργάσατο. ὕστερον δὲ οὐκ ἔχω σαφὲς εἰπεῖν πότερον ἀδικίας ἦρξεν Αἴγισθος ἢ προϋπῆρξεν Ἀγαμέμνονι φόνος Ταντάλου τοῦ Θυέστου· συνοικεῖν δέ φασιν αὐτὸν Κλυταιμνήστρᾳ παρθένῳ παρὰ Τυνδάρεω λαβόντα. ἐγὼ δὲ καταγνῶναι μὲν οὐκ ἐθέλω φύσει σφᾶς γενέσθαι κακούς· εἰ δὲ ἐπὶ τοσοῦτον αὐτοῖς τὸ μίασμα τὸ Πέλοπος καὶ ὁ Μυρτίλου προστρόπαιος ἠκολούθησε, τούτοις ἦν ἄρα ὁμολογοῦντα, ἡνίκα ἡ Πυθία Γλαύκῳ τῷ Ἐπικύδους Σπαρτιάτῃ, βουλεύσαντι ἐπίορκα ὀμόσαι, καὶ τοῦδε εἶπεν ἐς τοὺς ἀπογόνους κατιέναι τὴν δίκην. {2.18.3} ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν Κριῶν—οὕτω γὰρ τοῦ Θυέστου τὸ μνῆμα ὀνομάζουσι—προελθοῦσιν ὀλίγον ἐστὶν ἐν ἀριστερᾷ χωρίον Μυσία καὶ Δήμητρος Μυσίας ἱερὸν ἀπὸ ἀνδρὸς Μυσίου τὸ ὄνομα, γενομένου καὶ τούτου, καθάπερ λέγουσιν Ἀργεῖοι, ξένου τῇ Δήμητρι. τούτῳ μὲν οὖν οὐκ ἔπεστιν ὄροφος· ἐν δὲ αὐτῷ ναός ἐστιν ἄλλος ὀπτῆς πλίνθου, ξόανα δὲ Κόρης καὶ Πλούτωνος καὶ Δήμητρός ἐστι. προελθοῦσι δὲ ποταμός ἐστιν Ἴναχος, καὶ διαβᾶσιν Ἡλίου βωμός. ἐντεῦθεν δὲ ἐπὶ πύλην ἥξεις καλουμένην ἀπὸ τοῦ πλησίον ἱεροῦ· τὸ δὲ ἱερόν ἐστιν Εἰλειθυίας.

[2] Pausanias here is referring to what we know as the Mycenaean palace of Tiryns near Nafplion.

[3] These alternative “folk etymologies” are both relevant to the myths about Mycenae.

[4] Here we see a most precious reference to the Lion Gate of Mycenae.

[5] Here we see a most precious reference to the very idea of ‘Cyclopean’ walls.

[6] This Spring of Perseus is located near the so-called “Cistern” of Mycenae.

[7] Here we see a most precious reference to the architectural masterpiece that is still known to tour-guides today as ‘The Treasury of Atreus’.

[8] Some of this lore must predate the testimony of Pausanias.

[9] The taking of the hero’s armor is mentioned in Iliad 17.59–60, 84–86.

[10] Pausanias displays here a most noteworthy example of religious reticence.

[11] So the Argives ‘destroyed’ not only Mycenae but also Tiryns.

[12] Here we note an important detail about the hero cult of Perseus.

[13] I note here the Spartan links of Clytemnestra.

[14] Nagy 1990 (GMP) 85–121.

[15] Palaiologou 2013. The local pronunciation is Chánia, not Chaniá (as in the case of the place-name in Crete). On the semantics of Chánia as an elliptical plural (vs. singular cháni in the sense of ‘hostel’), see Palaiologou 2015:73n87 with reference to Nagy 2004 (HTL) 163.

[16] Palaiologou 2013:274.

[17] Palaiologou 2013:251.

[18] Palaiologou 2013:275.

[19] Palaiologou 2014:519.