There were many interesting and important civilizations in the Mediterranean region in ancient times, but the Mycenaeans were especially fortunate in one way.
Their legends and deeds became the subjects of the finest works of literature to be handed down from antiquity -- Homer's Iliad and Odyssey and the dramas of the great Greek playwrights.
In addition, archaeologists have unearthed the remains of the great fortified cities of the Mycenaeans.
Together, these sources, both literary and archaeological, have allowed us to get an unusually intimate look at this impressive culture.
What we see is an age of powerful military dynasties that ruled large areas of land, conducted trade, and established industries. Their influence reached as far as Egypt and Sicily.
And although their civilization, like so many others, eventually crumbled, their legends lived on to form the cornerstone of the literature of the Western world.