Thirty years ago it would have been impossible to
write with any considerable knowledge of prehistoric art in Greece.
The Iliad and Odyssey, to be sure, tell of numerous artistic objects,
but no definite pictures of these were called up by the poet's words.
Of actual remains only a few were known. Some implements of stone, the
mighty walls of Tiryns, Mycenae, and many another ancient citadel,
four "treasuries," as they were often called, at Mycenae and one at
the Boeotian Orchomenus – these made up pretty nearly the total of the
visible relics of that early time. To-day [the author writes at 1900] the case is far different.
Thanks to the faith, the liberality, and the energy of Heinrich
Schliemann, an immense impetus has been given to the study of
prehistoric Greek archaeology. His excavations at Troy, Mycenae,
Tiryns, and elsewhere aroused the world. He labored, and other men,
better trained than he, have entered into his labors. The material for
study is constantly accumulating, and constant progress is being made
in classifying and interpreting this material. A civilization
antedating the Homeric poems stands now dimly revealed to us. Mycenae,
the city "rich in gold," the residence of Agamemnon, whence he ruled
over "many islands and all Argos,"
is seen to have had no merely legendary preeminence.