This paper began as a lecture to an extramural weekend course on the Greek Dark Age, organized in Oxford by the Department of External Studies in December 1983. It was intended to suggest that the world of the Homeric poems, insofar as it had any relationship with reality, was more likely to reflect the conditions of the Dark Age than those of Mycenaean Greece, and it was born of increasing frustration at the dominance of what I will call the ‘Mycenaean’ interpretation of Homer, particularly at the popular level. The recent BBC series In Search of the Trojan War has done nothing to lessen this dominance – indeed, it barely suggested that such an interpretation had been seriously challenged – and the theme of the lecture has therefore lost none of its relevance. In presenting a considerably revised version here, I have not attempted to offer an exhaustively argued and documented discussion, which would require a book, and must refer the reader to more extensive treatments of the topic for fuller details. Rather, I have decided to leave it as a rather provocative exposition of a case which deserves to be made. I have made some attempt to step outside the framework in which the discussion has often been conducted, which to my mind unduly favours the ‘Mycenaean’ interpretation, but readily acknowledge that many of my arguments have been presented in similar form by others, and that some have been admitted to have force by those who in general support the ‘Mycenaean’ interpretation. Given the quantity of writing on the topic, it is only too likely that I have neglected some discussions, and I have given references mainly to Homeric sources and to recent archaeological finds of relevance. Finally, I should make it clear that it is not my primary purpose to discuss the historicity of the Trojan War or of the Greek heroic legends generally, though this has often been made to depend on the supposedly Mycenaean content of the Homeric poems, at least in part.