History of Greece

Ancient Greece

In many moments of its history Greece included Epirus, Macedonia and Thrace, part of Asia Minor and Magna Graecia. Archaeological remains show that Greece has had a long prehistory, dating from the Neolithic (4000 BC). With the Bronze Age (2800 BC) important cultures developed. In fact, the Aegean civilization had several phases, two of the most important being the Minoan civilization and the Mycenaean civilization. These cultures disappeared in 1100 BC while the Greek-speaking Achaeans migrated in the Peloponnese during the 14 th and 13 th century. B.C. The Aeolians and the Ionians apparently preceded the Dorians, who migrated into Greece before 1000 BC The Ionians, moving back, perhaps as refugees or as conquerors, settled in the Ionian islands and the coasts of Asia Minor, which became part of the greek world. After the Doric invasion, the peoples of Greece, under the influence of geographical division and in relation to the great variety of tribes, developed the city-state, small settlements that grew into minor kingdoms.

Homeric Greece (named after the great epic poet Homer) was based on agriculture in areas relatively unproductive, but it was already open to the sea. Although the Greeks did not rival as sailors with the Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans, the sea offered them an opportunity for expansion and trade. In '8 th, 7 th and 6 th century BC the Greeks founded important colonies, many of which became autonomous city-state, starting from the Black Sea and the Bosphorus (Byzantium, where it was founded) up in Sicily, southern Italy (Magna Graecia), Mediterranean France, the northern coasts of Africa and Spain. These colonies had a great influence on the history of the Greek mainland, where the city-states were fighting for liberation. Because of their independence, the cities developed separately.

However, there was a general pattern of development, with the necessary changes. Monarchies transferred to aristocracies, which were in turn replaced by tyrants, who usually gained power espousing the cause of the underprivileged and by using force. Although the tyrants usually tried to establish dynasties, their families have always had short-lived. Pisistratus, Hipparchus and Hippias in Athens, Gelo, Dionysius the Elder, and Dionysius the Younger in Sicily were typical tyrants. Greek tyranny on the continent will soon have given way to democracies, oligarchies or limited by the low of citizenship and of slavery. It was in Greece that the idea of political democracy was light.

The conflicts of the city-state had a sense of unity, all their citizens considered themselves Hellenes, and religious unity gave rise to alloys known as Amphictyon, in particular Amphictyon the great center of Delphi (the Amphictyons was a confederation of neighboring cities, linked by a common worship at the shrine itself for which you collected the money for religious ceremonies. later in the assemblies of Amphictyon is discussed, as well as of religion, including economic affairs, trade and political interests in common. Finally, the original sacred significance disappeared entirely and Amphictyon turned into a political-military alliances). The celebration of contests such as the Olympic Games also fostered unity.

However, the Ionian cities of Asia Minor received little help from Greece when they revolted (499 BC) against Persia, which also threatened the Greek mainland, while mainland cities were poorly united in the Persian Wars that continued until 449 BC Successes in these wars, however, was the powerful impulse of Greek civilization. Athens, in particular, with the support of the Delian League as the basis of the empire, grew dramatically, and the time of Pericles (495-429 BC) developed a culture that would have left their mark in the Western and Eastern civilizations. Drama, poetry, sculpture, architecture and philosophy flourished, along with a vigorous intellectual life.

The leader of the Greeks and 4 th 5 th century BC included Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Phidias, Myron, Polyclitus, Heraclitus, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and Hippocrates. Even if Athens succumbed in the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC) and Sparta triumphed briefly before continued fighting gave the hegemony over Greece to Corinth and Thebes, the civilization that had created continued to live. When Philip II of Macedon attacked the warring city-states and conquered Greece by defeating the Athenians and Thebans in the battle of Chaeronea (338 BC), his son, Alexander the Great, would soon spread Greek civilization in the Western world, Asia and India. After Alexander's death, his empire was torn by his generals in the ongoing conflict in the period 323-276 BC.

Some Greek cities formed the League Aetolians to oppose Macedonian rule, but some members of the Achaean League took sides with the Macedonians. The Greek city-states continued their rivalries, and Macedonia under the Antigonidi became completely Hellenized. The continuing war in Greece made ​​it increasingly weak, while Rome grew stronger. In 146 BC, after the Fourth Macedonian War, the remains of the Greek states fell definitively into the hands of Rome. Under Roman rule, cities have long maintained a certain independence and fervent intellectual life, but had little political or economic importance.

The Hellenism, however, had triumphed, and Greek intellectual supremacy continued for many centuries. The Byzantine Empire was full of Greek origin, and Hellenistic civilization, centered at Alexandria, Pergamum, Dura, and other cities, spread Greek influence and preserved the heritage greek in later centuries. The Greeks were the first to write narrative secular history, and the works of Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon and Polybius were the sources of events and contemporary ideas, as well as the classics of world literature.


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