After making astoundiding studies related to ancient Greece Heinrich Schliemann attempted a dig at Mycenae in August of 1876. The nature of his discoveries at Mycenae were so dramatic that Mycenaean became the name for the whole culture that spread across Greece. Although Schliemann discovered no writing his student Arthur Evans did. On crete he found tablets with two types of cryptic scripts which he named linear a and linear b. Later linear b tablets were found on the mainland associated with the Mycenaean culture. In 1952 Michael Ventris identified a decipherment of Linear B as an old form of Greek and new information became available about the nature of the Mycenaean culture. The texts turned out to be accounting lists rather than poetry or mythology. This writing system was probably confined to a minority of the population who were professional scribes. By correlating the information from clay tablet lists in linear B with archaeological information many facts about the Mycenaean culture are revealed.
One reason that Linear B was able to be deciphered is that the language of the Mycenaeans was an early form of Greek, while the language of the Minoans does not seem to have been Greek. When the Mycenaean culture collapsed around 1000 BCE the ability to write Linear B was lost. Later a new form of writing was then developed was based on the Phoenician alphabet and included the unique feature of vowels. It probably was developed by Greek merchants who needed it to record transactions. But its usefelness quickly spread and the whole population became literate. Many early Greeks may have learned to write so that they could read and cast curses, and send written prayers to divinities. By 800 BCE the myths had been recorded in the new script. The myths were based on the Mycenaean past but they had been preserved by itinerant story tellers who memorized the stories of their predecessors. It was common for them to use contemporary
examples to make their stories more realistic. Thus the myths contain information about ancient Greece during a period of perhaps a thousand years before they were written down. Examples can be found in the works of Homer.
Using Homer it is easy to identify the Myceneans with the Achaeans that that Homer refers to. In Homer, Iliad book 2, line 494 and following there is a catalog of ships and the land that provided them. Mycenae is one of these. And the other places correspond closely to the findings of Mycenaean ruins. Denys Page speaks to this topic.
Until its conquest by the Mycenaeans the Minoan culture was dominant and many aspects of the Minoan culture were probably adopted by the Mycenaeans. This includes many names, crops, crafts, and even religion. The Greek language was in a formative period and when the Mycenaeans conquered the Minoans it was
spread thoughout the Greek area. The Minoans were not interested in military lifestyles while the Mycenaeans were very interested in weapons and hunting. The Minoans focused on the sea while the Mycenaeans possessed a small horse which they rode on land. The Minoans developed a high culture which centered on their palaces while the Mycenaeans seem to have borrowed most of their
culture from Crete. Like the Minoans the Mycenaeans also developed a palace culture.
During ceremonies the dress of Minoans and Mycenaeans is similar but on other occasions it differs. Clay figures are typically female and wear a polos, a tall headdress associated with divinities in Classical Greece. For an example see Three female figures
Frescos such as those found at Pylos (The palace of Nestor at Pylos) show a similarity with the images of the Minoan Culture. But this may be because the artists were Minoan or they were intentionally copying the rich nature of the Minoan culture. Particularly questionable are the clothing styles. The following are images from Mycenaean pottery:
- Chariot krater, first half of 13th century b.c.; Late Helladic IIIB:1
- Warrior Vase
- Female votive figure, Phi B type, about 1450–1350 century B.C.
- Female votive figure, Psi type, about 1350–1200 B.C.
Unlike the Minoans the figure of the woman in the Warrior Vase appears to be wearing a peplos. The word ‘ki-to’ appears on the linear b tablets from the Mycenaean period. This is believed to be the same as the Greek word for chiton. In Homer this word is always a garment for men. Linear b tablets contain a number of other interesting words for clothing:
- ‘sa-pa’ seems to mean rags.
- ‘tu-na-no’ seems to relate to the word tunic.
- ‘pa-ra-ku-ja’ thought to be a type of dress but may also be a Linear a term.
- ‘pe-ko-to’ probably means interlaced and not knitted.
The fact that the word ‘peplos’ is not included suggests that it might be a more recent term perhaps from Indo-European sources. A review of other related words used in Classical Greek times suggests that the word may mean a woven cover. This suggests the following Indo-European derivation — peplos ‘3b. pel-, pelə-, plē-‘, ‘to wrap, cover; cloth; fell, pelt’ and ‘plek̑-‘, ‘to ply, pleach, plait, weave’. Homer uses the word ‘φᾶρος’, shroud, in a way similar to peplos. But the word is not Indo-European. Nor is it found on the Linear b tablets. Both these words seem to relate to woven cloth. The word ‘pe-ko-to’ probably means interlaced and not knitted and so may refer to the garments that the Minoan ladies wore. This word has been identified with the Greek word ‘πλεκτά’in Greek. This might be the name of those garments.
Words related to metal on the Linear b tablets:
- mo-ri-wo-do — μόλυβδο — lead
- ka-ko — χαλκός — copper(cypress=κυπαρίσσι to Cyprus=Κύπρος to copper
- ku-ru-so — χρυσός — gold
- a-ku-ro — άργυρος — silver
Words related to wine on the Linear b tablets:
- wo-no-wa-ti-si — gardens with vines (οίνος — wine)
- me-tu-wo ne-wo meaning “the month of new wine” or “festival of the new wine” ( Anthesterion) from iIndo-European: ‘2. am-, mē- ‘to mow, reap’
- we-je-we — vines
Words related to olives on the Linear b tablets:
- e-ra-wa — olive tree
- e-ra-wo — έλαιο — oil
Words related to employment on the Linear b tablets:
- a-ke-ro — ἀγγέλλω — messenger (related to the word angel)from Indo-European ‘aik-‘, ‘to call to’ and ‘6. el-, elə- : lā-, el-eu-(dh-)’, ‘to go, move, drive’
- a-ke-ti-ri-a — ἄσκήτρια — cloth decorator (female), one who ads decorations to cloth after it is woven. note: ἄσκητόs — curiously wrought, Odyssey 4.134, from Indo-European ‘ost(h)-, ost(h)i, ost(h)r̥(g), oblique ost(h)-(e)n-‘, ‘os, bone’ and ‘derə-, drā-‘, ‘to work’
- a-pi-go-ro — chamberlains, from Indo-European: ‘ambhi, m̥bhi’, ‘around, at both sides’ and ‘3. del-, dol-, delə- ‘to split, divide’ (related to daidalos, adj, ingeniously formed).
- a-pu-ko-wo-ko — bridle maker(plural), from Indo-European: ‘1. am-, mē-‘, ‘to grab, seize” and ‘1. k̑er(s)-‘, ‘bristle, stiff hair’ and ‘2. u̯erg̑-, u̯reg̑-‘, ‘to do, work, be effective’
- da-mo-ko-ro — the overseer of village, related to Indo-European: ‘dā : də-, and dāi- : dəi-, dī̆-‘, ‘to share, divide’ and ‘koro-s, kori̯o-s’, ‘war, army, warrior’
- e-ge-ta — ἑκέτας — attendant
- e-mi-to — ἔμμισθος — person paid for working, rented animal or land (possibly related to emissary) from Indo-European ‘smeit-, smit-‘ ‘to throw’
- e-re-ta — ἐρέτης — rowers, oarsmen, from Indo-European ‘1. erə-, rē-, er(e)-‘, ‘to row; oar’ Homer, Odyssey 1.280
- go-u-ko-ro — cowherds, related to Indo-European: ‘gu̯ou-‘, ‘cow, ox, gaur’ and ‘derə-, drā-‘, ‘to work’
- i-ja-te — healer (ιατρός — healer), from Indo-European: ‘i̯ēk- : i̯ək-‘, ‘to heal’
- i-je-re-ja — priestess (female) (ιέρεια — priestess), related to Indo-European: ‘i̯ē-ro-‘, ‘year, summer’
- ka-ke-we — χαλκεύω — coppersmiths (χαλκεύω)
- ka-na-pe-u — the man who cards the wool (fuller)
- ka-ra-wi-po-ro — doorman Etym. κλείς = key + φέρω = bring
- ke-ra-me-we — workers of ceramics (κεραμικά — ceramics) from Indo-European: ‘3. ker(ə)-‘, ‘to burn’ and ‘ 5. mē-, mō-, mə-‘, ‘to be intent; of strong will’ and ‘2. u̯erg̑-, u̯reg̑- ‘, ‘to do, work, be effective’
- ko-re-te — helmsman, related? to Indo-European ‘kob-‘, ‘to fit, fare well, be happy/successful’ and ‘rēt-, rōt-, rət-‘, ‘pole, rood; stem, stick, trunk’
- ku-wa-no-wo-ko — worker of lapis lazuli and glass (κυανός — blue associated with lapis lazuli) and from Indo-European ‘2. u̯erg̑-, u̯reg̑-‘, ‘to do, work, be effective’
- me-ri-du-ma-te –said to be ‘accountable man of honey’ (honey administrator) (plural) This may be an official whose duty is provide libations
- na-u-do-mo — shipbuilders (plural) Etym. from Indo-European: ‘nāus-‘, ‘boat, ship’ and ‘dem-, demə-‘, ‘to build, timber; house, domicile’
- o-pi-da-mi-jo — accountable man of village (plural)
- o-pi-ka-pe-e-we — accountable man of ships
- o-pi-su-ko — accountable man of figs Etym. σύκο = fig
- pi-ri-je-te — ivory worker Etym ρητό = saw
- po-ti-ro — sailors Etym. from Indo-European ‘pent- ‘to go, walk, pad, tread; way, path’ and ‘2. ku̯el-‘, ‘far away’
- ra-pte — tailors from Indo-European: ‘rep-‘ ‘to grab, rip out, ravish’ and ‘(s)tei-‘, ‘sharp, pointed; spike, style, stylus’
- su-go-ta — porks herders from Indo-European: ‘sū̆-s, suu̯-ós’, ‘pig, sow, swine’ and ‘pā- : pə-, and pā-t- : pə-t- ‘to feed, graze, pasture’
- to-ko-do-mo building workers from Indo-European ‘u̯eik̑-, u̯ik̑-, u̯oik̑o-‘, ‘house, village, settlement’ and ‘dō- : də-, also dō-u- : dəu- : du-‘, ‘to give, donate’ and ‘mō-, mo-lo-‘, ‘to strain, trouble oneself’
- to-ko-so-wo-ko — bowmaker (τόξο — bow) from Indo-European ‘teku̯-‘, ‘to flow, run’ and ‘2. u̯erg̑-, u̯reg̑-‘, ‘to do, work, be effective’
Words related to transportation on the Linear b tablets:
- a-ka-ta-jo — ἀκταιος — coast (related to an old name for Attica)
- a-mo-ta — wheels (άρμα — chariot)from Indo-European ‘1. ar-, thematic (a)re-, heavy-base arə-, rē-, and i-base (a)rī̆-, rēi-‘, ‘to fit, suit’ and ‘2. meu̯-, meu̯ə-‘, ‘to move, push away’
- a-ni-ja — reins (ηνία — reins)
- da-mi-ni-ja — ship name (Lamnia)
- i-go — horses, related to Indo-European: ‘ek̑u̯o-s’, ‘horse’
- ka-tu-ro — cargo (plural), Related to Indo-European ‘kan-tho-‘, ‘curve, angle, corner’
- ke-re-si-jo Etym. Κρήτη = Crete (island)
- ko-ri-to — Κόρινθος — Corinth
- Ku-do-ni-ja — Cydonia — where the quince trees grow on Crete, related to Indo European ‘ku-, kus-‘, ‘to kiss’
- po-ni-ki-ja — purple (color)(plural) (Φοινικικός — Phoenician)note: murex originally came from Phoenecia.
- ri-me-ne port (plural)(λιμάνι — port)
- wo-ka (horse) vehicle, chariot? from Indo-European ‘ek̑u̯o-s’, ‘horse’ and ‘1. ku̯el-, ku̯elə- ‘to turn; wheel; neck?’
Words related to deities on the Linear b tablets:
- da-da-re-jo-de — temple name Etym. From name Δαίδαλος(Daedalus)
- da-pu-ri-to-jo — temple name (λαβύρινθος — labyrinth)
- di-we — (Zeus) God name (dative) related to IE ‘1. dei-, dei̯ə-, dī-, di̯ā-‘,’to shine, glitter; day, sun; god, deity’
- e-ra — Goddess name, (Ήρα — Hera)
- e-re-u-ti-ja — Goddess name (goddess of parturition ) (Εἰλείθυια — Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth and midwifery
- ko-ma-we-te-ja — (rich) hair (κομάω — let the hair grow long)
- pi-pi-tu-na — Pipituna ? Goddess name ? (a bird goddess? from Indo-European: ‘pī̆p(p)-‘, ‘to peep, squeak’
- po-da — libations (genitive) (σπονδές — libations)
- po-re-no-zo-te-ri-ja as “festival for the girding [clothing] of the ‘bearers’ “.
- Po-ti-ni-a — (The Great Lady ) Goddess surname Etym.Indo-European ‘poti-s’, ‘host, husband, lord, master, owner’ and ‘gu̯ē̆nā ‘queen, wife, woman’
- te-me-no — temple from Indo-European ‘1. tem-, tend-‘, ‘to cut’ and ‘eno-, possibly e-no- : ono- : no- : -ne-‘, ‘that’
- te-o-do-ra — Theodora(gift of the gods) from Indo-European ‘dhēs-, dhəs-‘, (used in religious terms)’ and ‘dō- : də-, also dō-u- : dəu- : du-‘, ‘to give, donate’ and ‘4. rei- : rēi-‘, ‘thing, possession’
- te-o-i — θεοί — Gods from Indo-European ‘dhēs-, dhəs-‘, (used in religious terms)’
- te-re-ta — master of ceremonies (τελετάς — all they that belong to Dionysus)
- to-no-e-ke-te-ri-o — throne pulling religious festival from Indo-European: ‘2. dher-, dherə-‘, ‘to hold, support’ and ‘ond-, n̥d-‘, ‘rock, stone’ and ‘selk-‘, ‘to pull, drag; sulcus, furrow’ and ‘ā̆ier-, ā̆ien-‘, ‘day(light), morning’
Words related to women on the Linear b tablets:
- a-ke-ti-ri-a — ἄσκήτρια –practitioner (female)
- do-e-ra — slave (female) (δούλος – slave)
- ku-na-ja — woman (γυναίκα — woman) from Indo-European ‘gu̯ē̆nā, ‘wife, queen, woman’
- me-re-ti-ri-ja said to be ‘mill workers’ (female), but could be wool workers from Indo-European: ‘ ‘7. mel-‘, ‘wool, woolen garment’ and ‘derə-, drā-‘, ‘to work’ and ‘i̯ō[u]s- : i̯ūs-‘,’belt; to gird’
Words related to wool on the Linear b tablets:
- a-ra-ka-te-ja threads (plural female) (ηλακάτη — distaff)
- e-pi-ki-to-ni-ja — mantles Etym. επί =on + χιτώνας = mantle
- ka-na-pe-u — the man who cards the wool
- ki-to — χιτώνας — tunic (chiton)
- ma-ri — wool (μαλλί)
- pa-ra-ku-ja — ( type of dress)
- pa-we-a — παρῴα — hem, boarder from Indo-European ‘pā̆r-‘, ‘to show, be visible’
- pe-ko-to — πλεκτά — knitwear, From Indo-European ‘plek̑-‘, ‘to ply, pleach, plait, weave’
- po-me-ne — shepherd (ποιμένας – shepherd)
- ri-no — λινό — linen from Indo-European: ‘lī̆-no-‘, ‘flax, linen’
- sa-pa sapa ? type dress
- tu-na-no (type dress, tunic? If so this is a word from Aramaic)
The mycenaean economy was focused on wool. Many female slaves were acquired because of their ability to work wool. It is believed that wool products were and import trade item. And it was not
In the The Natural History of Pliny the Elder, he states:
“I have always been of opinion, that letters were of Assyrian origin, but other writers, Gellius,5 for instance, suppose that they were invented in Egypt by Mercury: others, again, will have it that they were discovered by the Syrians; and that Cadmus brought from Phœnicia sixteen letters into Greece. To these, Palamedes, it is said, at the time of the Trojan war, added these four, θ, ξ, φ, and χ. Simonides,6 the lyric poet, afterwards added a like number, ζ, η, ψ, and ω; the sounds denoted by all of which are now received into our alphabet.7 ”
This would seem to be a comment about the Mycenaean period. Yet the oldest Greek inscription is dated to 740 BCE.
Some Linear B Tablets
- PYLOS TABLET PY Fr 1184
- Transcribed text: ko-ra-ro a-pe-do-ke e-ra-wo to-so e-u-me-de-i pa-ro i-pe-se-wa ka-ra-re-we.
- Ventris’ translation: Kokalos repaid the following quantity of olive oil to Eumedes: 648 liters of oil. From Ipsewas, thirty-eight stirrup jars (?).
- ko-ra-ro – proper name Kokalos from Indo-European: koro-s, kori̯o-s ‘war, army, warrior’ and ‘1. reu-, rēu-, rū̆-‘, ‘(onomatopoeic: to roar, rout, round, etc.)’
- a-pe-do-ke – ἀπυδοχά — receiving back from Indo-European ‘apo-, pō̆, ap-u, pu’, ‘off, out of, away from’ and ‘dō- : də-, also dō-u- : dəu- : du-‘, ‘to give, donate’ and ‘1. g̑hē-, g̑hēi-‘, ‘to lack, be empty; leave, go out’
- e-ra-wo — έλαιο — olive oil
- to-so — τόσα — so many from Indo-European ‘2. tu̯ei-, extended tu̯ei-s-‘, ‘to shake, excite, move back and forth, shimmer’
- e-u-me-de-i — proper name (ευμενής – propitious)
- pa-ro — παρά — from Indo-European ‘apo-, pō̆, ap-u, pu’, ‘off, out of, away from’ and ‘2. ar-, or er-‘, ‘to share, distribute’
- i-pe-se-wa — Ἰφισῠφεός — proper name Ipsewas (strong swineherd) from Indo-European: ‘i̯ēgu̯ā’, ‘force, strength’ and ‘sū̆-s, suu̯-ós’, ‘pig, sow, swine’ and ?
- ka-ra-re-we –(amphora type) stirrup jar? (δοχείο)
- PYLOS TABLET PY Ta722
- Transcribed text: ta-ra-nu a-ja-me-no e-re-pa-te-jo a-to-ro-qo i-qo-qe po-ru-po-de-qe…
- Ventris’ translation: One footstool inlaid with a man and a horse and an octopus and a griffin in ivory.
- ta-ra-nu — θρανίο — bench, from Indo-European ‘bhren-‘, ‘to bulge, stick out; edge, brink’
- a-ja-me-no –αἰασμένος — with symbols — from Indo-European 3. u̯ei-, u̯eiə- : u̯ī-‘, ‘to wish, pursue, go for, reach towards; strong, violent’ and ‘3. men-‘, ‘to think; mind, spiritual activity’. The first part of this word ‘αἰασ’ is the same as the name of the ancient Greek hero Ajax. That his name means ‘wished for’ makes sense.
- e-re-pa-te-jo — ελέφαντας — elephant, probably from a non-I.E. language, likely via Phoenician
- a-to-ro-qo — άνθρωπος — man, from Indo-European ‘1. ner(-t)-, aner-, əner-?’, ‘vital force; man’ and ‘4. dher- : dhor- : dher- ‘to jump (at)’ and ?
- i-qo-qe — ίππος — horse, from Indo-European ‘ek̑u̯o-s’, ‘horse’
- po-ru-po-de-qe — πολοί — many, πόδι — foot, — octopus, from Indo-European ‘1. pel-, pelə-, plē-‘, ‘to pour, fill; full, plenary; town?’ and ‘2. pē̆d-, pō̆d-‘, ‘foot’
- PYLOS TABLET Sa 794
- Transcribed text: ka-ko de-de-me-no no-pe-re-e.
- Ventris’ translation: One pair of wheels, bound with bronze, unfit for service.
- ka-ko — χαλκός — copper (cypress to Cyprus to copper).
- de-de-me-no — — corded, from Indo-European ‘dē- : də-, and dēi-, dī-‘, ‘to tie, bind’ and ‘5. men- ‘to stay, remain, stand still’
- no-pe-re-e — (α)ν-όφελος — not work (disadvantage) From Indo-European ‘4. an-, anu, anō, nō’, ‘on, along, over there’ and ‘1. op- ‘to work, perform, operate, bring about’ and ‘2. leu-‘, ‘to free, cut off, separate’
- PYLOS TABLET KN Gg 702
- Transcribed text: pa-si-te-o-i me-ri da-pu-ri-to-jo po-ti-ni-ja-me-ri. .
- Ventris’ translation: To all the gods, one amphora of honey. To the mistress of the Labyrinth (?), one amphora of honey.
- pa-si — πας — everyone and everything, from Indo-European ‘1. k̑eu-, k̑eu̯ə- : k̑ū-, k̑u̯ā-‘, ‘to swell’
- te-o-i — θεοί — Gods from Indo-European ‘dhēs-, dhəs-‘, (used in religious terms)’
- me-ri — μέλι — honey, from Indo-European: ‘meli-t, genitive mel-nés’, ‘honey’
- da-pu-ri-to-jo — λαβύρινθος — temple name.
- da-pu-ri — Λάβρυς — a bouble bladed axe used in Lydia
- to-jo — θείος — divine, from Indo-European ‘dhēs-, dhəs-‘, (used in religious terms)’
- Po-ti-ni-a — πότνια — (The Great Lady ) Goddess surname, from Indo-European ‘poti-s’, ‘host, husband, lord, master, owner’ and ‘gu̯ē̆nā ‘queen, wife, woman’
- me-ri — μέλι — honey, from Indo-European: ‘meli-t, genitive mel-nés’, ‘honey’
- Iklaina Tablet
- te-tu-ko-wo-a –‘fully finished’ — (τεύχω — make, cause) ἐτεύχετον — fashioning — Homer, Iliad. 13.346.
Determining the Indo-European roots of Mycenaean words is hard enough. Finding the roots in the context of an inscription makes the determination a bit more accurate. Only a few of the words fail to have Indo-European roots: ‘e-ra-wo’, ‘ka-ra-re-we’, ‘e-re-pa-te-jo’, ‘da-pu-ri’, ‘ka-ko’. Some of the remailing words have Greek equivalents which are not found in any Greek dictionary. Some of the words are easily transformed into modern Greek.
- Chadwick, John, The Mycenaean World, Cambridge University Press,
1976, ISBN 0521210771, hardcover.
- Harding, A.F., The Mycenaeans and Europe, ISBN: 0123247608 / Hardcover
- Page, Denys L.., History and the Homeric Iliad, Biblo and Tannen,1971.
- Taylour, William, Lord, The Mycenaeans (Revised & enlarged), ISBN:
0500275866 / Paperback / 3/1/1990
- The Greek Age of Bronze —
Rethinking Mycenaean Palaces II
A History of Ancient Greek
The Mycenaean World
Mycenaean Citadels c. 1350-1200 BC (Fortress)
- Mycenae Artifacts
- Mycenaean tomb
- Mycenae: Picture Index
- Category:Archaeological Museum of Mycenae
- National Archeological Museum of Athens
- Period: Mycenaean
The Mycenaean World
Questions and Answers
Question: Aegean culture
Answer: Aegean Culture generally includes Minoan, Cycladian, and Mycenaean cultures. Minoan was named after King Minos of Greek myth, but probably refers to a culture which was before his time. Mycenaean refers to a culture which included the entire mainland of Greece but is was named after the ancient Greek City of Mycenae, which Agamemnon ruled. The Cycladean culture refers to
an early culture located mainly on the Cycladean islands in the Aegean.
Question: What was the role of women in the Mycenaean Age? What is the difference between the role of women in the Mycenaean Age and the Classical Period?
Answer: In Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus Prometheus says (line 461) that he provided Man with, ‘…the combining of letters, creative mother of the Muses’ arts, with which to hold all things in memory’ which suggests the ancient Greeks had a sense of history. Yet it is an early sense which gives us incomplete data. Furthermore the historians did not care much for the role of women in society. So the question that you ask can be answered only with great difficulty and with inaccuracy.
Homer’s work would seem to be a good source for this information but it is based on poetic recollections from over 500 years of time. From the archaeological data it can be concluded that both the period before the Trojan War in Mycenae and the Classical period in Greece were times of prosperity. One challenge is to know the cause of this prosperity. Both times involved international trade using ships on the sea. Both times involved trade in wine. A trade in wool products is suggested for the Mycenaean period. During the classical period silver was discovered near Athens which contributed to its prosperity. In the Odyssey the craft of Penelope with her loom is well known. It seems that the skill of women weaving was so highly valued that even noble women were involved. In the Odyssey women are also involved with grinding grain and serving in the house. But in Classical Greece women were not involved in silver mining.
It would seem that the society was stratified into several levels but how is not clear. The tripling of goddesses suggests that three levels should be evident.
That the lowest level are slaves is easy to conclude. But the division in Sparta is a possibility with a landed, military class; a merchant and craft class; and a field worker class. But a priestly class, a military class, and a worker class is an order that is suggested. The suggestion that the ancient Mycenaean culture was stratified like Sparta is not hard to accept in view of the roles women take in the literature and myth that come down to us. In Classical Athens women were confined to their homes by custom where they performed work at that could be located there. But the stories of myth include women that are suprisingly free and self-actualized as the women of Sparta are described. The women of Athens were pampered as long as they bore children. Other tasks, such as hetarae and flute girl seem pretty humiliating. If the husband of a craftsperson in Athens had a craft in the home then the wife might participate. Unlike the men, the women of Athens were not required to be educated. But many women were educated by the men in their home. Hetaerae had special schools. In addition there were schools for girls for dancing, music, and choral work. During the Mycenaean period there was no educational institution for either sex.
As time went on in Ancient Greece it seems like women were more restricted. But they also had more educational opportunities. The result was that the women of classical times were some of the best educated of all times until recent times. A review of Mycenaean clothing suggests that clothing was more complicated and may have suggested that women were more restricted . But this may be an illusion depending how the clothing was made. The women in classical Greece benefited from the loom and the simplicity of the clothes that resulted.