Mycenae a city-kingdom of ancient Greece. It was built on a steep hill six miles (10 km) northeast of Argos on the road from the Gulf of Argolis to the Gulf of Corinth. Mycenae was the wealthiest and most powerful city of the Mycenaean Greek civilization, which arose sometime between 2000 B.C. and 1700 B.C. and survived until about 1100 B.C. According to legend, Mycenae was the kingdom ruled by Agamemnon, leader of the Greeks in their war against Troy.
According to legend, Mycenae was founded by the hero Perseus about 1350 B.C. Archeologists have shown that the site was occupied at least as early as the mid-2000's B.C. Taken over by the Achaeans who migrated into Greece, the community grew into an important kingdom. The city was rebuilt in a lavish manner about 1400 B.C., with a walled acropolis, or citadel, containing the fortress-palace, temples, tombs, and storehouses. About 1200 B.C. Mycenae was ravaged due to civil strife or foreign invasion. It fell to Dorian invaders about a century later. The city was destroyed in a war with Argos about 470 B.C.
In 1876, Heinrich Schliemann, discoverer of Troy, began excavations at Mycenae. He uncovered evidence that the Bronze Age Greek civilization pictured by Homer, long thought to be legend, had in truth existed. Excavations were continued in the 20th century by the British archeologist A. J. B. Wace and, after World War II, by Greek archeologist.