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Homeric King Nestor’s Palace & Kingdom

King Nestor was the Greek prudent well-advised King of Greek Armies during the Trojan war as mentioned by Homer in the Iliad.

 

Mycenaean palace of Nestor or King Nestor’s Palace ruins, were brought to light by C.W.Blegen in May 1952 at Ano Englianos, 9 km from Pylos.
The palace (1300-1200 BC) comprises of four separate buildings, two of residential and ceremonial use, one workshop and a wine store. The ruins are very similar to those in Mycenae, Tiryns and Crete and there are several beehive tombs. The site was first excavated in 1939, which unearthed thousands of Linear B tablets.
A protective wall hasn’t been built because the stiff cliffs of the hill themselves have been discouraging the intruders over the years.

 

Architecture. Wood was the main material used in large amounts for the construction of the Palace. Even the walls made of stones were built using scaffolding systems. Also the columns, the frames of the doors and the roof were made of wood and exactly that characteristic explains why the Palace was so easily destroyed by the catastrophic fire of 1200 B.C. All of the external walls of the Palace were built with carved rectangular flint stones. The internal walls were mainly built with uncut stones of diverse sizes. The internal walls had a varnishing of wall plaster and the official rooms were decorated with frescos.

 

The administrative system was very hierarchical with a centralized government. Authority was exercised over a huge area, dividing it into two provinces (“Hither” and “Further” Provinces). Hither province lied west of mountain Aigaleo (Kyparissia valley up to C.Akritas) with 9 districts and Further province lied East of mount Aigaleo with 7 or 8 districts.  Pylos was the capital of the Hither province (and of the kingdom), and Leuktron the capital of Further province (Nichoria or Ellinica)

 

Each district had its own governor followed by various junior officials, all responsible for the administration of the everyday operations. The palace seemed to have quite a tight control over the economic activities that took place in its domain, playing mainly the role of redistributors of agricultural products. It was also heavily concerned with the defense of the kingdom’s territory and this is reflected in the development of coast-guard units and fleet.

 

The economy. The Pylian kingdom was heavily centralized.
The palace storage areas clearly indicate that the palace played an active economic role, mainly that of a redistributors of agricultural products as the tablets showing large amounts of agricultural products entering into and exiting from from the palace.

 

The main elements of the Pylian economy was first of all, agriculture. There were two principal food-grains; wheat and barley. These cereals were also used as the basis of the rations’ system. Except these basic food grains the palace was also responsible for the more “industrial” products such as textiles, perfumed oil, and of course metals.
The textile industry of Pylos was very centralized, at Pylos and Leuktron with the great majority of the workgroups.
Another industry was that of the perfumed oil. Four perfumers are named in the tablets.
Metals industry, had a very tight control of it by the palace. When bronze was issued to 400 smiths of the Pylian kingdom, a very careful record of the quantity was kept at the palace archives.

 

Weapons, chariots and military organization. The Pylian archives, mention swords (xiphos), spears and javelins, corselets (torake with 12 accessories each), helmets.
Also wheels in pairs which certainly suggests a two-wheeled chariot..

 

The army divided into teams of 30 men each.(As rowers to Pleuron). Each ship had 30 rowers and the Pylian Kingdom had enough men to man 20 ships. Men were assigned to guard the coast. The Pylian coast is divided into 10 sectors. In each sector there was the  name of the official responsible. The total number of men comes to 800. ‘Followers’ that accompanied them, were some kind of liaison officers, responsible for communicating with the palace and the commanders of the various regiments of the Pylian army, ready to defend the

 

 

 

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