Classical Greece was a period of around 200 years in Greek culture. This Classical period saw the annexation of much of modern-day Greece by the Persian Empire and its subsequent independence. Classical Greece had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and on the foundations of Western civilization. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, scientific thought, theatre and philosophy derives from this period of Greek history. In the context of the art and culture of Ancient Greece, the Classical period corresponds to most of the 5th and 4th centuries BC; the Classical period in this sense follows the Greek Dark Ages and Archaic period and is in turn succeeded by the Hellenistic period. This century is studied from the Athenian outlook because Athens has left us more narratives and other written works than the other ancient Greek states. From the perspective of Athenian culture in Classical Greece, the period referred to as the 5th century BC extends into the 4th century BC. In this context, one might consider that the first significant event of this century occurs in 508 BC, with the fall of the last Athenian tyrant and Cleisthenes' reforms.
However, a broader view of the whole Greek world might place its beginning at the Ionian Revolt of 500 BC, the event that provoked the Persian invasion of 492 BC. The Persians were defeated in 490 BC. A second Persian attempt, in 481–479 BC, failed as well, despite having overrun much of modern-day Greece at a crucial point during the war following the Battle of Thermopylae and the Battle of Artemisium; the Delian League formed, under Athenian hegemony and as Athens' instrument. Athens' excesses caused several revolts among the allied cities, all of which were put down by force, but Athenian dynamism awoke Sparta and brought about the Peloponnesian War in 431 BC. After both forces were spent, a brief peace came about. Athens was definitively defeated in 404 BC, internal Athenian agitations mark the end of the 5th century BC in Greece. Since its beginning, Sparta had been ruled by a diarchy; this meant. The two kingships were both hereditary, vested in the Eurypontid dynasty. According to legend, the respective hereditary lines of these two dynasties sprang from Eurysthenes and Procles, twin descendants of Hercules.
They were said to have conquered Sparta two generations after the Trojan War. In 510 BC, Spartan troops helped the Athenians overthrow their king, the tyrant Hippias, son of Peisistratos. Cleomenes I, king of Sparta, put in place a pro-Spartan oligarchy headed by Isagoras, but his rival Cleisthenes, with the support of the middle class and aided by democrats, took over. Cleomenes intervened in 508 and 506 BC, but could not stop Cleisthenes, now supported by the Athenians. Through Cleisthenes' reforms, the people endowed their city with isonomic institutions — equal rights for all citizens —and established ostracism; the isonomic and isegoric democracy was first organized into about 130 demes, which became the basic civic element. The 10,000 citizens exercised their power as members of the assembly, headed by a council of 500 citizens chosen at random; the city's administrative geography was reworked, in order to create mixed political groups: not federated by local interests linked to the sea, to the city, or to farming, whose decisions would depend on their geographical position.
The territory of the city was divided into thirty trittyes as follows: ten trittyes in the coastal region ten trittyes in the ἄστυ, the urban centre ten trittyes in the rural interior. A tribe consisted of three trittyes, selected at one from each of the three groups; each tribe therefore always acted in the interest of all three sectors. It was this corpus of reforms that allowed the emergence of a wider democracy in the 460s and 450s BC. In Ionia, the Greek cities, which included great centres such as Miletus and Halicarnassus, were unable to maintain their independence and came under the rule of the Persian Empire in the mid-6th century BC. In 499 BC that region's Greeks rose in the Ionian Revolt, Athens and some other Greek cities sent aid, but were forced to back down after defeat in 494 BC at the Battle of Lade. Asia Minor returned to Persian control. In 492 BC, the Persian general Mardonius led a campaign through Macedonia, he was victorious and again subjugated the former and conquered the latter, but he was wounded and forced to retreat back into Asia Minor.
In addition, a fleet of around 1,200 ships that accompanied Mardonius on the expedition was wrecked by a storm off the coast of Mount Athos. The generals Artaphernes and Datis led a successful naval expedition against the Aegean islands. In 490 BC, Darius the Great, having suppressed the Ionian cities, sent a Persian fleet to punish the Greeks, they landed in Attica intending to take Athens, but were defeated at the Battle of Marathon by a Greek army of 9,000 Athenian hoplites and 1,000 Plataeans led by the Athenian general Miltiades. The Persian fleet continued to Athens but, seeing it garrisoned, decided not to attempt an assault. In 480 BC, Darius' successor Xerxes I sent a much more powerful force of 300,000 by land, with 1,207 ships in supp
An aulos or tibia was an ancient Greek wind instrument, depicted in art and attested by archaeology. An aulete was the musician; the ancient Roman equivalent was the tibicen, from the Latin tibia, "pipe, aulos." The neologism aulode is sometimes used by analogy with rhapsode and citharode to refer to an aulos player, who may be called an aulist. There were several kinds of aulos, double; the most common variety was a reed instrument. Archeological finds, surviving iconography and other evidence indicate that it was double-reeded, like the modern oboe, but with a larger mouthpiece, like the surviving Armenian duduk. A single pipe without a reed was called the monaulos. A single pipe held horizontally, as the modern flute, was the plagiaulos. A pipe with a bag to allow for continuous sound, a bagpipe, was the askaulos. Though aulos is erroneously translated as "flute", it was a double-reeded instrument, its sound — described as "penetrating and exciting" — was more akin to that of the bagpipes, with a chanter and drone.
Like the Great Highland Bagpipe, the aulos has been used for martial music, but it is more depicted in other social settings. It was the standard accompaniment of the passionate elegiac poetry, it accompanied physical activities such as wrestling matches, the broad jump, the discus throw and to mark the rowing cadence on triremes, as well as sacrifices and dramas. Plato associates it with the ecstatic cults of Dionysus and the Korybantes, banning it from his Republic but reintroducing it in "Laws", it appears that some variants of the instrument were loud and therefore hard to blow. A leather strap, called a phorbeiá in Greek or capistrum in Latin, was worn horizontally around the head with a hole for the mouth by the auletai to help support the lips and avoid excessive strain on the cheeks due to continuous blowing. Sometimes a second strap was used over the top of the head to prevent the phorbeiá from slipping down. Aulos players are sometimes depicted with puffed cheeks; the playing technique certainly made use of circular breathing much like the Sardinian launeddas and Armenian duduk, this would give the aulos a continuous sound.
Although aristocrats with sufficient leisure sometimes practiced aulos-playing as they did the lyre, after the fifth century the aulos became chiefly associated with professional musicians slaves. Such musicians could achieve fame; the Romano-Greek writer Lucian discusses aulos playing in his dialogue Harmonides, in which Alexander the Great's aulete Timotheus discusses fame with his pupil Harmonides. Timotheus advises him to impress the experts within his profession rather than seek popular approval in big public venues. If leading musicians admire him, popular approval will follow. However, Lucian reports. In myth, Marsyas the satyr was supposed to have invented the aulos, or else picked it up after Athena had thrown it away because it caused her cheeks to puff out and ruined her beauty. In any case, he challenged Apollo to a musical contest, where the winner would be able to "do whatever he wanted" to the loser—Marsyas's expectation, typical of a satyr, was that this would be sexual in nature.
But Apollo and his lyre beat his aulos. And since the pure lord of Delphi's mind worked in different ways from Marsyas's, he celebrated his victory by stringing his opponent up from a tree and flaying him alive. King Midas was cursed with donkey's ears for judging Apollo as the lesser player. Marsyas's blood and the tears of the Muses formed the river Marsyas in Asia Minor; this tale was a warning against committing the sin of "hubris", or overweening pride, in that Marsyas thought he might win against a god. Strange and brutal as it is, this myth reflects a great many cultural tensions that the Greeks expressed in the opposition they drew between the lyre and aulos: freedom vs. servility and tyranny, leisured amateurs vs. professionals, moderation vs. excess, etc. Some of this is a result of 19th century AD "classical interpretation", i.e. Apollo versus Dionysus, or "Reason" opposed to "Madness". In the temple to Apollo at Delphi, there was a shrine to Dionysus, his Maenads are shown on drinking cups playing the aulos, but Dionysus is sometimes shown holding a kithara or lyre.
So a modern interpretation can be a little more complicated than just simple duality. This opposition is an Athenian one, it might be surmised that things were different at Thebes, a center of aulos-playing. At Sparta – which had no Bacchic or Korybantic cults to serve as contrast – the aulos was associated with Apollo, accompanied the hoplites into battle; the battle scene on the Chigi vase shows an aulos player setting a lyrical rhythm for the hoplite phalanx to advance to. This accompaniment reduced the possibility of an opening in the formation of the blockage. In this particular scene, the phalanx approaching from the left is unprepared and momentarily outnumbered four to five. More soldiers can be seen running up to assist them from behind. Though the front four are lacking a fifth soldier, they have the advantage because the aulete is there to bring the formation back together. An amphora from ca. 540-530 B. C. depicts H
The Greeks or Hellenes are an ethnic group native to Greece, southern Albania, Turkey, Egypt and, to a lesser extent, other countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. They form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world. Greek colonies and communities have been established on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea, but the Greek people have always been centered on the Aegean and Ionian seas, where the Greek language has been spoken since the Bronze Age; until the early 20th century, Greeks were distributed between the Greek peninsula, the western coast of Asia Minor, the Black Sea coast, Cappadocia in central Anatolia, the Balkans and Constantinople. Many of these regions coincided to a large extent with the borders of the Byzantine Empire of the late 11th century and the Eastern Mediterranean areas of ancient Greek colonization; the cultural centers of the Greeks have included Athens, Alexandria and Constantinople at various periods. Most ethnic Greeks live nowadays within the borders of Cyprus.
The Greek genocide and population exchange between Greece and Turkey nearly ended the three millennia-old Greek presence in Asia Minor. Other longstanding Greek populations can be found from southern Italy to the Caucasus and southern Russia and Ukraine and in the Greek diaspora communities in a number of other countries. Today, most Greeks are registered as members of the Greek Orthodox Church. Greeks have influenced and contributed to culture, exploration, philosophy, architecture, mathematics and technology, business and sports, both and contemporarily; the Greeks speak the Greek language, which forms its own unique branch within the Indo-European family of languages, the Hellenic. They are part of a group of classical ethnicities, described by Anthony D. Smith as an "archetypal diaspora people"; the Proto-Greeks arrived at the area now called Greece, in the southern tip of the Balkan peninsula, at the end of the 3rd millennium BC. The sequence of migrations into the Greek mainland during the 2nd millennium BC has to be reconstructed on the basis of the ancient Greek dialects, as they presented themselves centuries and are therefore subject to some uncertainties.
There were at least two migrations, the first being the Ionians and Aeolians, which resulted in Mycenaean Greece by the 16th century BC, the second, the Dorian invasion, around the 11th century BC, displacing the Arcadocypriot dialects, which descended from the Mycenaean period. Both migrations occur at incisive periods, the Mycenaean at the transition to the Late Bronze Age and the Doric at the Bronze Age collapse. An alternative hypothesis has been put forth by linguist Vladimir Georgiev, who places Proto-Greek speakers in northwestern Greece by the Early Helladic period, i.e. towards the end of the European Neolithic. Linguists Russell Gray and Quentin Atkinson in a 2003 paper using computational methods on Swadesh lists have arrived at a somewhat earlier estimate, around 5000 BC for Greco-Armenian split and the emergence of Greek as a separate linguistic lineage around 4000 BC. In c. 1600 BC, the Mycenaean Greeks borrowed from the Minoan civilization its syllabic writing system and developed their own syllabic script known as Linear B, providing the first and oldest written evidence of Greek.
The Mycenaeans penetrated the Aegean Sea and, by the 15th century BC, had reached Rhodes, Crete and the shores of Asia Minor. Around 1200 BC, the Dorians, another Greek-speaking people, followed from Epirus. Traditionally, historians have believed that the Dorian invasion caused the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization, but it is the main attack was made by seafaring raiders who sailed into the eastern Mediterranean around 1180 BC; the Dorian invasion was followed by a poorly attested period of migrations, appropriately called the Greek Dark Ages, but by 800 BC the landscape of Archaic and Classical Greece was discernible. The Greeks of classical antiquity idealized their Mycenaean ancestors and the Mycenaean period as a glorious era of heroes, closeness of the gods and material wealth; the Homeric Epics were and accepted as part of the Greek past and it was not until the time of Euhemerism that scholars began to question Homer's historicity. As part of the Mycenaean heritage that survived, the names of the gods and goddesses of Mycenaean Greece became major figures of the Olympian Pantheon of antiquity.
The ethnogenesis of the Greek nation is linked to the development of Pan-Hellenism in the 8th century BC. According to some scholars, the foundational event was the Olympic Games in 776 BC, when the idea of a common Hellenism among the Greek tribes was first translated into a shared cultural experience and Hellenism was a matter of common culture; the works of Homer and Hesiod were written in the 8th century BC, becoming the basis of the national religion, ethos and mythology. The Oracle of Apollo at Delphi was established in this period; the classical period of Greek civilization covers a time spanning from the early 5th century BC to the death of Alexander the Great, in 323 BC. It is so named because it set the standards by which Greek civilization would be judged in eras; the Classical period is described as the "Golden Age" of Greek civilization, and
Naucratis or Naukratis was a city of Ancient Egypt, on the Canopic branch of the Nile river, 45 mi southeast of the open sea and Alexandria. It was the first and, for much of its early history, the only permanent Greek colony in Egypt; the modern villages of Kom Gi’eif, el-Nibeira and el-Niqrash cover the archaeological site, which has become a find of the highest significance and the source of not only many beautiful objects of art now gracing the museums of the world but an important source of some of the earliest Greek writing in existence, from the inscriptions on its pottery. The sister port of Naucratis was the harbour town of Thonis/Heracleion, undiscovered until 2000. Archaeological evidence suggests that the history of the ancient Greeks in Egypt dates back at least to Mycenaean times and more even further back into the proto-Greek Minoan age; this history is one of commerce as no permanent Greek settlements have been found of these cultures to date. After the collapse of Mycenaean Greek civilization and the ensuing Greek dark ages a "renaissance" of Greek culture flourished in the 7th century BC and with it came renewed contact with the East and its two great river civilizations of Mesopotamia and the Nile.
The first report of Greeks in 7th century BC Egypt is a story in the Histories of Herodotus of Ionian and Carian pirates forced by storm to land on or near the Nile Delta. It relates the plight of the Saite Pharaoh Psammetichus I of the Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt overthrown and in desperation, seeking the advice of the Oracle of Leto at Buto who cryptically advises him to enlist the aid of "brazen men" who would "come from the sea." Inspired upon seeing the bronze armor of the shipwrecked pirates, he offers them rewards in return for their aid in his campaign of return to power. Upon the success of this endeavor he makes good on his word and bestows on the mercenaries two parcels of land on either side of the Pelusian branch of the Nile. At present these sites remain uncertain but this may be a reference to the city of Daphnae. In 570 BC the Pharaoh Apries led the descendants of this mercenary army made up of 30,000 Carians and Ionians against a former general turned rebel by the name of Amasis.
Although fighting valiantly they suffered Amasis II became Pharaoh. Amasis shut down the "camps" and moved the Greek soldiers to Memphis where they were employed "to guard him against the native Egyptians."Herodotus: "Amasis was partial to the Greeks, among other favors which he granted them, gave to such as liked to settle in Egypt the city of Naucratis for their residence." Notice that he says "gave the city" which seems to indicate the existence of a "city" there. This older city, settlement more was no doubt small and inhabited by a mix of native Egyptians and even Phoenicians, thus it seems the city was turned over to the Greeks, "chartered", in the years following 570 BC. The earlier date of c. 625 BC put forward by archaeologists may be the actual establishment of a settlement at the site. Amasis indeed converted Naucratis into commercial link with the west; this was done most as a means to contain the Greeks and concentrate their activities in one place under his control. It became not the colony of any particular city-state but an emporion similar to Al Mina, the largest market port of north Syria.
According to Herodotus the walled shrine known as the Hellenion was a co-operative enterprise financed by nine eastern Greek cities: Four Ionian: Chios, Klazomenai and Phocaea Four Dorian: Rhodes, Halicarnassus and Phaselis One Aeolian: Mytilene Miletus and Aegina had their own separate sanctuaries. Thus the natives of at least twelve Greek city-states worked in a collaboration, not only rare but proved to be lasting. Naucratis became an important center of Greek culture under the Roman Empire, producing several celebrated orators of the Second Sophistic in the second and early third centuries AD; the third century writer Athenaeus came from Naucratis. The site was discovered by Flinders Petrie who dug there in 1884-5, he was followed by Ernest Arthur Gardner, David George Hogarth, in 1899 and 1903. The archaeological focus fell into two areas of southern quarters. Found farthest south was a large Egyptian storehouse or treasury and just north of that a Greek mudbrick Temple of Aphrodite 14m.
X 8m. Directly east of this temple was unearthed a small factory for faience scarab seals. In the northern section were found several temple ruins including what may be Herodotus' Hellenion discovered by Hogarth in 1899 "None of the votive pottery found here need have arrived earlier than the reign of Amasis, so it may well be that the Hellenion was founded as the result of his reorganization of the status of Naucratis, while the independent sanctuaries... are of the earlier years of the town."More American archaeologists W. Coulson and A. Leonard founded "The Naucratis Project" in 1977 carrying out surveys in 1977–1978 and further surveys and excavations to the south of the site from 1980 to 1982 Unfortunately they found the original northern sanctuary section submerged under a lake formed by the
Marcus Aurelius, called the Philosopher, was a Roman emperor from 161 to 180. He ruled the Roman Empire with his adoptive brother Lucius Verus until Lucius' death in 169, he was the last of the rulers traditionally known as the Five Good Emperors. He is seen as the last emperor of the Pax Romana, an age of relative peace and stability for the Empire, his personal philosophical writings, now known as Meditations, are a significant source of the modern understanding of ancient Stoic philosophy. They have been praised by fellow writers and monarchs – as well as by poets and politicians – centuries after his death. Marcus was born into a Roman patrician family, his father was a praetor, after whose death in 124 Marcus was raised by his paternal grandfather, his mother was a wealthy heiress. He was educated at home, as children from Roman aristocratic families were, credited his maternal grandmother's step-father Lucius Catilius Severus – who helped Marcus' grandfather to raise him – for his education.
His tutors included the artist Diognetus, who may have sparked his interest in philosophy, Tuticius Proclus. Marcus was betrothed to the daughter of Lucius Aelius, his relative Emperor Hadrian's first adopted son and heir. Aelius died in 138 and Hadrian chose as his new heir Antoninus Pius, the husband of Marcus' aunt, on the condition that Antoninus adopt Marcus and the son of Aelius, Lucius Commodus. Antoninus became emperor that year upon Hadrian's death, Marcus and Lucius became joint heirs to the throne. While imperial heir, Marcus studied Latin, his tutors included Herodes Atticus and Marcus Cornelius Fronto. He kept in close correspondence with Fronto for many years afterwards. Marcus was introduced to Stoicism by Quintus Junius Rusticus and by other philosophers such as Apollonius of Chalcedon, he was made the symbolic head of the Roman equites. He was appointed consul with Antoninus in 140 and 145, with his adoptive brother Lucius in 161. On 7 March 161, Antoninus died and the two succeeded to the imperial throne.
Marcus' reign was marked by military conflict. In the East, the Roman Empire fought with a revitalized Parthian Empire and the rebel Kingdom of Armenia. Marcus defeated the Marcomanni and Sarmatians in the Marcomannic Wars; however and other Germanic peoples began to represent a troubling reality for the Empire. Marcus modified the silver purity of the denarius. Persecution of Christians is believed to have increased during his reign; the Antonine Plague that broke out in 165 or 166 devastated the population of the Roman Empire. It caused the deaths of a quarter of those it affected. Marcus never adopted an heir unlike some of his predecessors. Marcus became the first emperor to die with a living, adult son since Titus succeeded his father Vespasian a century earlier, but Commodus is considered a disappointment as emperor and his succession has long been the subject of debate among both contemporary and modern historians; the Column and Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius still stand in Rome, where they were erected in celebration of Marcus' military victories.
The major sources depicting the life and rule of Marcus are patchy and unreliable. The most important group of sources, the biographies contained in the Historia Augusta, claim to be written by a group of authors at the turn of the 4th century AD, but were in fact written by a single author from about 395 AD; the biographies and the biographies of subordinate emperors and usurpers are unreliable, but the earlier biographies, derived from now-lost earlier sources, are much more accurate. For Marcus' life and rule, the biographies of Hadrian, Antoninus and Lucius are reliable, but those of Aelius Verus and Avidius Cassius are not. A body of correspondence between Marcus' tutor Fronto and various Antonine officials survives in a series of patchy manuscripts, covering the period from c. 138 to 166. Marcus' own Meditations offer a window on his inner life, but are undateable and make few specific references to worldly affairs; the main narrative source for the period is Cassius Dio, a Greek senator from Bithynian Nicaea who wrote a history of Rome from its founding to 229 in eighty books.
Dio is vital for the military history of the period, but his senatorial prejudices and strong opposition to imperial expansion obscure his perspective. Some other literary sources provide specific details: the writings of the physician Galen on the habits of the Antonine elite, the orations of Aelius Aristides on the temper of the times, the constitutions preserved in the Digest and Codex Justinianus on Marcus' legal work. Inscriptions and coin finds supplement the literary sources. Marcus was born in Rome on 26 April 121, his name at birth was Marcus Annius Verus, but some sources assign this name to him upon his father's death and unofficial adoption by his grandfather, upon his coming of age, or at the time of his marriage. He may have been known as Marcus Annius Catilius Severus, at birth or at some point in his youth, or Marcus Catilius Severus Annius Verus. Upon his adoption by Antoninus as heir to the throne, he was known as Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus Caesar and, upon his ascension, he was Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus until his death.
In the context of ancient Greek art and culture, Hellenistic Greece corresponds to the period between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the annexation of the classical Greek Achaean League heartlands by the Roman Republic. This culminated at the Battle of Corinth in 146 BC, a crushing Roman victory in the Peloponnese that led to the destruction of Corinth and ushered in the period of Roman Greece. Hellenistic Greece's definitive end was with the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, when the future emperor Augustus defeated Greek Ptolemaic queen Cleopatra VII and Mark Antony, the next year taking over Alexandria, the last great center of Hellenistic Greece; the Hellenistic period began with the wars of the Diadochi, armed contests among the former generals of Alexander the Great to carve up his empire in Europe and North Africa. The wars lasted until 275 BC, witnessing the fall of both the Argead and Antipatrid dynasties of Macedonia in favor of the Antigonid dynasty; the era was marked by successive wars between the Kingdom of Macedonia and its allies against the Aetolian League, Achaean League, the city-state of Sparta.
During the reign of Philip V of Macedon, the Macedonians not only lost the Cretan War to an alliance led by Rhodes, but their erstwhile alliance with Hannibal of Carthage entangled them in the First and Second Macedonian War with ancient Rome. The perceived weakness of Macedonia in the aftermath of these conflicts encouraged Antiochus III the Great of the Seleucid Empire to invade mainland Greece, yet his defeat by the Romans at Thermopylae in 191 BC and Magnesia in 190 BC secured Rome's position as the leading military power in the region. Within two decades after conquering Macedonia in 168 BC and Epirus in 167 BC, the Romans would control the whole of Greece. During the Hellenistic period the importance of Greece proper within the Greek-speaking world declined sharply; the great centers of Hellenistic culture were Alexandria and Antioch, capitals of Ptolemaic Egypt and Seleucid Syria respectively. Cities such as Pergamon, Ephesus and Seleucia were important, increasing urbanization of the Eastern Mediterranean was characteristic of the time.
The quests of Alexander had a number of consequences for the Greek city-states. It widened the horizons of the Greeks, making the endless conflicts between the cities which had marked the 5th and 4th centuries BC seem petty and unimportant, it led to a steady emigration of the young and ambitious, to the new Greek empires in the east. Many Greeks migrated to Alexandria and the many other new Hellenistic cities founded in Alexander's wake, as far away as what are now Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom and the Indo-Greek Kingdom survived until the end of the 1st century BC; the defeat of the Greek cities by Philip and Alexander taught the Greeks that their city-states could never again be powers in their own right, that the hegemony of Macedon and its successor states could not be challenged unless the city states united, or at least federated. The Greeks valued their local independence too much to consider actual unification, but they made several attempts to form federations through which they could hope to reassert their independence.
Following Alexander's death a struggle for power broke out among his generals, which resulted in the break-up of his empire and the establishment of a number of new kingdoms. Macedon fell to Cassander, son of Alexander's leading general Antipater, who after several years of warfare made himself master of most of the rest of Greece, he founded a new Macedonian capital at Thessaloniki and was a constructive ruler. Cassander's power was challenged by Antigonus, ruler of Anatolia, who promised the Greek cities that he would restore their freedom if they supported him; this led to successful revolts against Cassander's local rulers. In 307 BC, Antigonus's son Demetrius captured Athens and restored its democratic system, suppressed by Alexander, but in 301 BC a coalition of Cassander and the other Hellenistic kings defeated Antigonus at the Battle of Ipsus, ending his challenge. After Cassander's death in 298 BC, Demetrius seized the Macedonian throne and gained control of most of Greece, he was defeated by a second coalition of Greek rulers in 285 BC, mastery of Greece passed to the king Lysimachus of Thrace.
Lysimachus was in turn defeated and killed in 280 BC. The Macedonian throne passed to Demetrius's son Antigonus II, who defeated an invasion of the Greek lands by the Gauls, who at this time were living in the Balkans; the battle against the Gauls united the Antigonids of Macedon and the Seleucids of Antioch, an alliance, directed against the wealthiest Hellenistic power, the Ptolemies of Egypt. Antigonus II ruled until his death in 239 BC, his family retained the Macedonian throne until it was abolished by the Romans in 146 BC, their control over the Greek city states was intermittent, since other rulers the Ptolemies, subsidised anti-Macedonian parties in Greece to undermine the Antigonids' power. Antigonus placed a garrison at Corinth, the strategic centre of Greece, but Athens, Rhodes and other Greek states retained substantial independence, formed the Aetolian League as a means of defending it. Sparta remained independent, but refused to join any league. In 267 BC, Ptolemy II persuaded the Greek cities to revolt against Antigonus, in what became the Chremonidian War, after the Athenian leader Chremonides.
The cities were defeated and Athens lost her independence and her democratic institutions. The Aetolian League was restricted to the Peloponnese, but on being allowed to gain control of Thebes in 245 BC became a
Mithraism known as the Mithraic mysteries, was a mystery religion centered on the god Mithras, practiced in the Roman Empire from about the 1st to the 4th century CE. The religion was inspired by Iranian worship of the god Mithra, though the Greek Mithras was linked to a new and distinctive imagery, the level of continuity between Persian and Greco-Roman practice is debated; the mysteries were popular among the Roman military. Worshippers of Mithras had a complex system of seven grades of initiation and communal ritual meals. Initiates called themselves syndexioi, those "united by the handshake", they met in underground temples, now called mithraea, which survive in large numbers. The cult appears to have had its centre in Rome, was popular throughout the western half of the empire, as far south as Roman Africa and Numidia, as far north as Roman Britain, to a lesser extent in Roman Syria in the east. Mithraism is viewed as a rival of early Christianity. In the 4th century, Mithraists faced persecution from Roman Christians and the religion was subsequently suppressed and eliminated in the empire by the end of the century.
Numerous archaeological finds, including meeting places and artifacts, have contributed to modern knowledge about Mithraism throughout the Roman Empire. The iconic scenes of Mithras show him being born from a rock, slaughtering a bull, sharing a banquet with the god Sol. About 420 sites have yielded materials related to the cult. Among the items found are about 1000 inscriptions, 700 examples of the bull-killing scene, about 400 other monuments, it has been estimated. No written narratives or theology from the religion survive. Interpretation of the physical evidence remains problematic and contested; the term "Mithraism" is a modern convention. Writers of the Roman era referred to it by phrases such as "Mithraic mysteries", "mysteries of Mithras" or "mysteries of the Persians". Modern sources sometimes refer to the Greco-Roman religion as "Roman Mithraism" or "Western Mithraism" to distinguish it from Persian worship of Mithra; the name Mithras is a form of Mithra, the name of an Old Persian god – a relationship understood by Mithraic scholars since the days of Franz Cumont.
An early example of the Greek form of the name is in a 4th-century BCE work by Xenophon, the Cyropaedia, a biography of the Persian king Cyrus the Great. The exact form of a Latin or classical Greek word varies due to the grammatical process of declension. There is archaeological evidence that in Latin worshippers wrote the nominative form of the god's name as "Mithras". However, in Porphyry's Greek text De Abstinentia, there is a reference to the now-lost histories of the Mithraic mysteries by Euboulus and Pallas, the wording of which suggests that these authors treated the name "Mithra" as an indeclinable foreign word. Related deity-names in other languages include Sanskrit Mitra, the name of a god praised in the Rig Veda. In Sanskrit, "mitra" means "friend" or "friendship"; the form mi-it-ra-, found in an inscribed peace treaty between the Hittites and the kingdom of Mitanni, from about 1400 BCE. Iranian "Mithra" and Sanskrit "Mitra" are believed to come from an Indo-Iranian word mitra meaning contract / agreement / covenant.
Modern historians have different conceptions about. John R. Hinnells has written of Mitra / Mithra / Mithras as a single deity worshipped in several different religions. On the other hand, David Ulansey considers the bull-slaying Mithras to be a new god who began to be worshipped in the 1st century BCE, to whom an old name was applied. Mary Boyce, a researcher of ancient Iranian religions, writes that though Roman Empire Mithraism seems to have had less Iranian content than historians used to think, nonetheless "as the name Mithras alone shows, this content was of some importance". Much about the cult of Mithras is only known from sculptures. There have been many attempts to interpret this material. Mithras-worship in the Roman Empire was characterized by images of the god slaughtering a bull. Other images of Mithras are found in the Roman temples, for instance Mithras banqueting with Sol, depictions of the birth of Mithras from a rock, but the image of bull-slaying is always in the central niche.
Textual sources for a reconstruction of the theology behind this iconography are rare. The practice of depicting the god slaying a bull seems to be specific to Roman Mithraism. According to David Ulansey, this is "perhaps the most important example" of evident difference between Iranian and Roman traditions: "... There is no evidence that the Iranian god Mithra had anything to do with killing a bull." In every mithraeum the centrepiece was a representation of Mithras killing a sacred bull, an act called the tauroctony. The image may be a relief, or free-standing, side details may be present or omitted; the centre-piece is Mithras clothed in Anatolian costume and wearing a Phrygian cap. As he does so, he looks over his shoulder towards the figure of Sol. A dog and a snake reach up towards the blood. A scorpion seizes the bull's genitals. A raven is sitting on the bull. Three ears of wheat are seen coming out from the bull's tail, sometimes from the wound; the bull was white. The god is sitting on the bull in an unnatural way with his right leg co