Poliochni | The “Parliament House”| The Megaron



Poliochni is an archaeological site on the east coast of Lemnos, near the village Kaminia, built at the dawn of the Neolithic Age in the Aegean, the 4th or 5th millennium BC. It is located directly across from Troy, but Troy would be built one thousand years later, when Poliochni then has evolved into an urban village with 1,500 inhabitants, with rectangular stone houses, a protective wall, squares, wells, roads, public buildings and probably a parliament house called Vouleftirion.

The “Parliament House”

Immediately after the main entrance, on the west side of the wall that surrounds the city, a large meeting room was found with stone benches all along and the stand where people spoke in the center, which is probably the strongest indication that there was a democratic organisation of the society at the time.
Professor Santo Tine who is the director of the excavations in Poliochni writes:
“It was named Vouleftirio (Parliament House) immediately based on the buildings of the classical era, which also had levels in which, in contrast to the theatres and auditoriums, a limited number of persons could be seated: the representatives of the community of citizens.”
The Parliament House of Poliochni, except the fact that it precedes the ones of the classical era by almost 2000 years, it also represents the oldest record, in Europe and the world, of a structure suitable to accommodate people who had been called to discuss the problems of the whole and to determine their common cultural and religious rules. In this way it can be considered the forerunner of the Parliament House of our time.

The Megaron

The megaron 605 was constructed around 2000 BC. It overlooks the main square and was home of the richest and most powerful, in relation to all other ordinary citizens who continued to reside in homes with very simple and limited structure.
The parliament house had lost its original function so much that the east benches had disappeared with the construction of a wall. These are all signs that make it clear that in Poliochni, the democratic power was replaced by an authoritarian one.
Among other items in Poliochni a treaure of gold jewellery was found, which is an exquisite sample of sophisticated goldsmithing and accumulation of power and wealth on the island. The treasure, loos much like the famous “Treasure of Priam” which was found by Schliemann in Troy and seems to be made by the same workshop. Today the treasure of Poliochni is located in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.The end of the city, after successive seismic disasters, will come 400 years before the destruction of Priam’s Troy, around 1600 BC


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