JULY 15, 1953
CORINTH, Greece—In Mycenae you climb up a little way from the road until you come to the driveway which was evidently used by the king's carriages in olden days and then you come to the main gate. The stones of the walls are even bigger than those in Tiryn and the entrance has two heavy stone slabs on the sides and one across the top over which there is inset a conical shaped stone with two lions rampant carved on it.
Once through the gate you come to what I suppose were tombs, on the right.
While we climbed clear up to the top, this was another place where we felt the need of more guidance than the guide book provided.
A man who spoke a little English met us on the way down and he explained that around the tombs there was an elaborate gallery where offerings were made to the gods.
Epidaurus, where we were on Sunday, commemorates Asklipios and it was a great healing center, a sort of Mayo Clinic of its day. There was a big building for teaching, evidently, and some buildings for treatment as well as the long row of buildings where the patients stayed who came to be treated. The legend, of course, is that Asklipios', mother was seduced by Apollo and she abandoned her baby on a hill where he was nursed by a goat. The natives, seeing this, decided it was a miracle and Asklipios grew up with the tradition of healing.
Argos, another fortified castle, lay across the plains from Mycenae and apparently fighting went on continually between the two. Those were the days when the peasants in the valley were often harried by the enemy lords and needed the protection of their own lord to be able to live in peace.
Each new family evidently built a little bit more on to Mycenae but in the end the lord there was conquered by the one in Argos.
On the way down from the main excavations at Mycenae, we stopped at Agamemnon's tomb. The guide book mentioned a number of these conical tombs but this is the grandest of them all. It certainly is an impressive sight on the inside with great big stones going up to a point above you, gradually narrowing down as they reach the top. We were told that the stone over the entrance weighed 120 tons. How the ancients, with more or less primitive tools, maneuvered these big stones into place is simply beyond understanding.
We had one last picnic lunch and I for one am rather sad that this is our last day of what might be called complete freedom as tourists, though I know I am going to enjoy very much my first visit to Yugoslavia. I will have to try, however, to cover more country in my two weeks there than I have covered in my one week here.
We are spending this last night with Professor and Mrs. Dinsmoor at the American research residence in Corinth and we are hoping to take a little climb up to Acro Corinth on the top of the nearest mountain in the late afternoon.
At eight a.m. tomorrow, July 16th, we must start for Athens for at one thirty we take off by plane for Belgrade.