The Lioness Gate

The Lioness Gate

Date ca. 1250 BCE

Movement Aegean | Mycenaean

Location Mycenae, Greece

 

During an addition to the citadel’s existing defenses, builders created The Lioness Gate as one of the main entrances to the complex. To relieve the lintel of excess pressure (itself weighing 25 tons), they employed a corbel arch just above it, effectively creating a relieving triangle that distributed weight upon the gate’s posts; to fill the space, they inserted a limestone slab, upon which they sculpted a pair of lionesses in a heraldic pose. Given the nomadic nature of the Mycenaean people, it comes as no surprise to see Minoan influences in the column and Near Eastern characteristics in the lionesses.