Mycenae: Fortress steeped in ancient horrors

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It seemed appropriate that just as we approached the grim 3000-year-old fortress of Mycenae, dark clouds should suddenly gather overhead and send down a few warning drops of rain.

Even though this was the setting for one of the greatest love affairs in history - the romance between Helen and Paris that launched the Greek invasion of Troy and inspired Homer's epic poems - it is a dark place with an even darker history.

Legend has it that Mycenae was founded by the hero Perseus and that he hired the Cyclops, the awful one-eyed giants, to build it.

Other legends tell of successive blood feuds, wars and assassinations, with grandsons killing grandfathers, nephews killing uncles, fathers sacrificing daughters, wives killing husbands and sons killing mothers, until the ruling dynasty wiped itself out....

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