3,500-Year-Old Golden Rings Tell Story Of The War-Riddled Rise Of Greek Civilization

The sigil of one of the rings shows elaborately dressed women resting under a seaside shade. University of Cincinnati

Curiously, at the time, the Minoans were far more refined and advanced in many respects than the nascent Grecian cultures. The Griffin Warrior’s rings of power are in fact engraved with Minoan insignia, indicating its importance at the time.

They are meticulously crafted from multiple sheets of gold, and show a variety of scenes, from women resting under a seaside shrine to various bull-based iconography, the latter of which was a common feature of Minoan art. A mirror found within the grave appears on one of the rings, suggesting a special significance to the Mycenaeans.

Additionally, the grave also features plenty of bull’s horns, both literally and on the rings, suggesting a motif of power-based ritualized slaughter. Amusingly, the tomb contains a fair few combs, which the researchers think represent an important pre-battle ceremony – brushing their hair in order to look positively fabulous/fearsome.

Significantly, far from just stealing Minoan works of art, the mainland Greeks were apparently reveling in their islandic culture.

“This isn't just loot,” Jack Davis, the university's Carl W. Blegen chair in Greek archaeology, added. “It may be loot, but they're specifically selecting loot that transmits messages that are understandable to them.”

This isn’t just a grave, then. It’s a time capsule, an insight into the rise of Ancient Greece and the religious adoption of another long-dead culture. It’s an archaeological game-changer.

One of the six ivory combs found within the grave. University of Cincinnati

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