Current dating at the time of this publication places the construction of the cyclopean walls and lion gate at Mycenae in either the twelfth or thirteenth centuries. These dates often change; long ago I began viewing “secure” dates with suspicion. When Mary Renault wrote The King Must Die, then-current dating placed the Thera eruption in the fourteen hundreds quite confidently, but with better technology, that date has moved backwards to the sixteen hundreds, about 300 years before Theseus. At any rate, I decided to include both the walls and gate, as they are familiar to modern readers.
An intriguing theory is the possibility of a link between the lion gate at Mycenae and the “Lady of the Beasts” on Crete. A seal ring found at Knossos shows two lionesses in an identical pose as at the lion gate, with their front paws on a central pillar. The seal also contains a goddess, standing atop the pillar holding out a spear, and a youth, saluting her. Current dating shows the seal ring to be about the same age as the lion gate.