Home » Corfu Greece Travel Blog: An Insider’s View » Travelling in Greece » Is Mythology The Distorted History Of The Greek Dark Ages?

Is Mythology The Distorted History Of The Greek Dark Ages?

Posted in: Travelling in Greece 0

Last updated on April 29th, 2021 at 06:12 pm

Greek mythology is one of the richest in the world.

But why;
Most cultures don’t need such complex stories to explain the origin of the world, they use only the essentials.

But the Greeks overdid it.
Maybe not without a reason though and mythology was not just about myths.


As we know, most of the mythological elements come from 3 epic poems. The Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer and the Theogony of Hesiod.

In fact, most mythological monsters are mentioned in the Odyssey.

Homer and Hesiod were not historians but poets.
They wrote their poems based on old stories that were passed down orally from generation to generation. Every time with some degree of alteration since the imagination of the ancients raged.

After the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization, around 1100BCE followed what is referred to as the dark ages of Greek civilization.

In fact, historical development and life did not stop, they just stopped recording the events for some reason.

It was the period that did not leave us written documents about historical events.

But these continued to happen and their memory was preserved by oral speech.

The poets collected them and wrote their epics.

Are epics History?

Homer wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey around 760 BC while the Theogony of Hesiod was written about 50 years later, in 700 BC.

Epic poems that in our opinion include myths but also historical events slightly distorted and very embellished with fictional stories that made them more attractive to the audience of that time.

So in mythology and because of the absence of other more reliable sources, we have to look for historical truths and facts during the Greek Dark ages.

Certainly, there are historical truths in the epics. There is no other way to explain the volume of information and the countless people, historical and imaginary, who participate.

The Trojan War and the city of Troy as real facts and location are disputed by many.

On the other hand, there is no evidence for the non-existence of Troy.

On the contrary, there are dozens of indications that there was a war and the city of Troy existed.

The Iliad describes so many events and there are so many faces that it is not possible to be all figments of the imagination.

We do not know if the leader of the Achaeans Agamemnon was a historical or imaginary person, but it is indisputable that Mycenae and their culture really existed.

The same happens with the Myrmidons of Achilles, there was historically a Greek tribe of warriors in Phthia, today’s Fthiotida.

Also, all these Greek leaders who took part in the campaign against Troy could not be imaginary.

There is no smoke without fire.

Here and now, using simple logic, we can distinguish the imaginary from the real.

We can, with almost certainty, classify the sacrifice of Iphigenia, the abduction of the Beautiful Helen, if she ever exists, and other stories, in the realm of fantasy.

But we will keep things that seem logical.

History through myths

If the Trojan War took place, it was not due to an unfaithful woman, but for economic reasons.

In the Black Sea, the Ancient Greeks had since established colonies and commercial activities with the peoples of the region, through their ships.

If there was a city where is believed to be Troy, it would certainly be in control of the Bosphorus Strait and most likely impose tariffs on merchant ships.

That was probably the reason for the war. The Greeks wanted to gain control of the straits.

A very logical explanation showing us that although man progressed after 32 centuries, in fact, he remained the same.

Through the Odyssey, we met many mythological monsters, witches, sirens, cyclops.

Flying Pegasus
Flying Pegasus

But also People like the Phaeacians, which really existed and it is known that their island is today identified as the island of Corfu.

It is said that the island of Calypso was the largest island of the Diapontian islands north of Corfu, today’s Othonoi.

In fact, there is a cave on the island called the cave of Calypso.

Ithaca is also described in the Odyssey. According to Homer’s descriptions regarding the topology of the islands, it is not today’s Ithaca.

It is probably the western part of Kefalonia which at that time had not yet joined Kefalonia and was an independent island.

But also the stories of Hesiod that describe the origin of the Greeks may also contain some historical truths.

And why believe Bible tales that have no historical basis and question our own history?

As funny as a war between the Titans and the gods seems, it is ten times more ridiculous for a (non-existent) god to give his ten commandments to Abraham on a mountain.

A war between the Titans and the gods may have actually taken place between two groups of people or aliens? and passed into the realm of myth.

The son of Deucalion and Pyrrha, Hellene, settled in Phthia (Fthiotida) where according to Hesiod the first nucleus of the Greeks emerged.

From there comes the mythical Achilles, his possible descendant, and leader of the historic Myrmidons.

The Pelasgians and the Minoan civilization

In mythology, we find elements for both the Pelasgians in the islands and the Minoans in Crete.

Peoples that have been proven to exist.

One may not be able to prove the existence of king Minos, of course, the Minotaur is out of the question, but the labyrinth used to prison the minotaur, exist. Discovered by Arthur Evans after excavations in Knossos.

The Pelasgians flourished in the Cyclades and Crete 5000 years ago. Before the Achaean civilization in the Peloponnese and Mycenae.

They lived in the Late Bronze Age and had their own writing system, Linear A, until the 16th century BC when their civilization collapsed, possibly due to an eruption of the Thera(Santorini) volcano.

Linear A found in several archaeological finds but could not be deciphered.

Its oldest specimens date back to 3000 BC.

The Mycenaeans took over Crete after the Minoans collapse

After the Minoans collapse, the Achaeans of Mycenae possibly took over the islands and Crete. They transformed Linear A to Linear B in order to make it suit better to their language.

That is the reason, we believe, that Linear B deciphered while Linear A didn’t. Linear A was used for a different language, unknown until today, while Linear B was a syllabary system adapted to suit the Greek language.

For this reason, probably the Minoans were non-Greek-speaking people.

But if not, what they were, where they came from?

Origin of the Minoans

There were many speculations about the Minoan’s origin. Some spoke about north African origin, some others that they were settlers from Anatolia or the Middle East.

Until DNA studies revealed the historical truth and put an end to these speculations.

A team of researchers in the United States and Greece has used mitochondrial DNA analysis of Minoan skeletal remains to determine the likely ancestors of these ancient people.

Results published May 14th, 2013 in Nature Communications suggest that the Minoan civilization arose from the population already living in Bronze Age Crete.

The findings indicate that these people probably were descendants of the first humans to reach Crete about 9,000 years ago and that they have the greatest genetic similarity with modern European populations.

They were local Cretan people without genetic relations with Africans or middle Easterns other than cultural influences!

Linear B – The first Greek script

Clay tablets with Linear B texts found almost all over Greece with the oldest dating back to 1650 BC.

Linear B is the evolution of A and used both by the inhabitants of the Aegean islands and Crete and by the Mycenaeans from 1650BCE onwards.

This writing deciphered by the young architect Michael Ventris with the help of the philologist John Chadwick in 1952.


Linear B used linear characters, something that distinguishes it from hieroglyphics. Every character depicted as a syllable, therefore it was a syllabic script.

It includes 89 letters, which represent syllables, and around 260 logograms, ie small linear icons that each give a whole word. There are also symbols for numbers.

It turned out that this writing rendered the Greek language. The decryption revealed Greek words and names of an archaic Greek dialect.

Linear B was therefore a Greek script used to write an archaic Greek dialect.

And more than 5000 samples of Linear B inscriptions have been found. The clay tablets of Linear B are the first written monuments of the Greek language.

At 1200BCE the Mycenean civilization collapsed. And by 1100BCE the script of Linear B gradually diminished until it was fully abandoned during the dark ages.

The pre-classic Greek civilization(Archaic) emerged again in 800BCE, with another writing system, the Greek alphabet. The names of several deities and the language remained unchanged.

This is extraordinary, names such as Zeus, Poseidon, Hermes, Hera, Ares, Dionysos, Artemis, and others, found written with the Greek alphabet in 800BCE. As they were in the oldest of Linear B texts, unchanged in time.

Without a doubt, there is cultural continuity between Mycenaean times and classical times despite the 3 centuries of illiteracy and stagnation.

Discover more about Greece

2021 Visitor’s Guide to the Acropolis of Athens


No visit to Greece is complete without a trip to the Acropolis of Athens. Read our guide for insider tips and handy information to get the most out of your trip and see ancient history come alive.… Read More

The Best Free Things to Do in Athens


Athens is a vibrant and dynamic city where you can find and enjoy free tourist spots in this Greek capital.… Read More

10 Things to Know Before Traveling To Greece


Greece is amongst the best places to visit if you seek life-changing experiences. With unique culture, traditions, and customs.… Read More

5 Books to Read During Quarantine to Feel Like Traveling in Greek Islands


A trip to Greece will remain in the heart forever, and today dreamers have a lot of books to read to feel like they are on the Greek islands.… Read More

Beautiful Greek Mythology Names for Babies


One of the richest sources of unusual and one-of-a-kind names is Greek mythology. Here are a few unique names to choose from for your baby. … Read More

Who are The Hellenes? Origin of the Greeks


Hellas is the land of Hellenes, i.s the land of the Greeks. But why we call Greece Hellas and who are the Hellenes?… Read More

Helpful Tips for Traveling the Greek Islands


Whether it is for a honeymoon or a summer vacation, Greece makes a fantastic tourist spot with tons of islands and scenic beauty. The country is full of historical sights, iconic culture, and amazing food.… Read More

7 Condiments That Bring Greece Taste Even In Your Home


Delicious food with amazing ingredients. Here, we’re going to share with you seven condiments Mediterraneans use to spruce up their meals.… Read More

What’s The Best Greek Islands to Visit for Family holidays?


No other thing can bring a family closer together along with creating blessed memories than spending some good time with them in Greece.… Read More

How to Learn 100 Greek Words You Can Use Instantly


If you intend to travel to Greece, You’ll be most welcomed if you try to communicate with the locals using some basic Greek words.… Read More

Typical Examples of Greek, English, and French Malaka


Here are some very typical examples of behaviors that represent what we call Malaka. Greek, English, and French Malakas in action!.… Read More

8 Famous Movies Filmed in Greece & the islands


A lot of movies are connected to Greece. Here is a list of the most popular and exciting films made in Greece and the Greek Islands.… Read More

7 Best Honeymoon Destinations in Greece & The Islands


A trip to the best honeymoon destinations in Greece can be very enjoyable. Many couples get excited exploring this country while on their honeymoon.… Read More

Is Mythology The Distorted History Of The Greek Dark Ages?


In mythology and because of the absence of other more reliable sources, we have to look for historical truths and facts that are entangled in the myth… Read More

What Are The Best Beaches in Crete island Greece?


Being the largest of the Greek islands, Crete has plenty to offer. Many small islands around and especially some of the best beaches in Greece.… Read More

What Beaches In The Islands Of North & East Aegean?


Medium to small size islands close to the coast of Thessaly at the North Aegean, Alonissos, Skiathos, Skopelos, and Skyros is the most known islands offering beautiful beaches and holiday destinations.… Read More

Best Beaches in the Dodecanese Greece


The beautiful beaches of Dodecanese islands in Southeast Aegean in Greece are here. This island cluster has 12 big and hundreds of smaller islets… Read More

How nice are the Beaches in Cyclades Greece?


Cyclades islands have some of the most famous beaches worldwide and extremely popular among tourists and Greeks. In these islands there are some of the most famous beaches worldwide… Read More

Best Beaches in the Ionian Islands Greece


The beaches in the Ionian islands are among the best in Greece. Laying on the west coast of Greece on some of the most beautiful Greek islands.… Read More

Greek Mythology: Cosmogony and the Greek Gods


Greek mythology, without a doubt, is the richest of all with the most tales and myths by far. There is no natural thing in this world without a deity behind it.… Read More

70+ Best Beaches on Greek Islands: Stunning Gems of Greece


Beaches in Greece are rated among the top beaches in Europe and the world. But let’s start to discover details and tips about them.… Read More

5 Best Places To Visit On Your Trip To Greece


Are you gearing up to visit Greece for your vacation? Would you like to know more details about the best places to visit in Greece? You have landed right.… Read More

Yummy Greek Food: 11 Epic Traditional Greek Recipes


Known for fresh crisp greens, strong natural cheese, and lamb dishes cooked to perfection, Greece has a wonderfully colorful palette that is steeped in history.… Read More

The Ideal Time To Visit Greece And The Greek Islands


Greece and the Greek Islands are a popular holiday destination. Here’s a guide to the best times to visit Greece to help you plan your perfect vacation!… Read More

8 Greek Desserts & Dishes You Have To Taste


One of the things that draw me back to Greece time and again, aside from the sunshine, culture, and friendly people, is the food. The Greeks know how to eat… Read More

Greece Travel on a Student Budget Made True: 6 Tips


There’s no reason you should give up on the idea of traveling Greece as a student. All you need is some guidance and better organization… Read More

Hidden Greece: 12 Beautiful Places You Never Knew Existed


We’ve prepared a list of twelve beautiful places in Greece you probably never knew existed, but surprise! They do exist, and it’s worthy of a visit.… Read More

9 Things To Avoid When Travel to Greece


Greece is a country so rich in so many aspects that you might find it hard to squeeze in all the sights to see and all the souvlakis to try during a short stay in this glorious place… Read More

Is Greece Dog Friendly? Flying There With a Dog


If you’re a dog owner, one of the responsibilities is deciding if your pup will also make the trek or stay home while you globetrot.
One bucket list destination is Greece and its islands… Read More

How Many English Words Derived From Greek? List of 150.000


In a typical 80,000-word English dictionary, about 5% of the words are directly borrowed and another 25% are borrowed indirectly from Greek. So, 30% of English words are…Greek!… Read More

Malaka Meaning: When a Greek Slang is the Worst Insult


Malaka(s) is the most used slang Greek word and the first that every tourist or visitor to Greece learn… Read More

Greece of 1900 – 1930 with More Old Photos


More old photos from Greece of 1903-1930, photos by Fred Boissonnas that show a quiet and different world… Read More

150 Old Photos From Greece [1900] by Fred Boissonnas


The Philhellene Swiss photographer Fred Boissonnas(1858-1946) was the first foreign photographer who traveled so much in the Greek land from 1903 and for nearly three decades following… Read More

Panorama with Photos and Landscapes from Greece of 1900 – 1930


Here are some elder Greek pictures from 1900 to 1930, photos from the period before the first world war… Read More

Leave a Comment