Mycenaean Weapons and Warfare

In our first lesson this week, we looked at Mycenaean weaponry and warfare. The Mycenaean period was the around the time that the Trojan War is thought to have taken place, so warriors such as Achilles, Hector and Agamemnon were all Mycenaean era fighters. Mycenaean weaponry and armour seems to have gradually changed. Near the beginning of the time period, fighters are depicted in murals and other illustrations as wearing enormous, body-sized shields. There seem to be two distinct types: figure of eight shields, and tower shields. Boar tusk helmets were worn, and little armour and apparently no sandals.


The classes drew these items onto body outlines, before willing volunteers having a mock battle with similar items in order to demonstrate what warfare of this nature would be like. The volunteers discovered that the large shield made it difficult to manoeuvre easily, but relatively easy to protect oneself from a spear throw.


We watched a bit of this short clip from the film Troy which demonstrated the way in which these large shields were used in large battles to form a wall.

The classes then looked at the later Mycenaean warrior, and drew outlines for these fighters. These included smaller, round shields, and short swords. After a demonstration of how these items made one-to-one fighting more effective, we watched part of the duel of Hector and Achilles, which demonstrated these weapons in action!


You can read more about the Mycenaeans’ weapons and style of warfare here.

Next term we will be exploring the story of the Iliad and Odyssey, so will find out more about the Mycenaeans through these two enormously influential stories.

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