Bibliotheca historica, is a work of universal history by Diodorus Siculus. It consisted of forty books; the first six books are geographical in theme, describe the history and culture of Egypt, of Mesopotamia, India and Arabia, of North Africa, of Greece and Europe. In the next section, he recounts the history of the world starting with the Trojan War, down to the death of Alexander the Great; the last section concern the historical events from the successors of Alexander down to either 60 BC or the beginning of Caesar's Gallic War in 59 BC. He selected the name "Bibliotheca" in acknowledgement that he was assembling a composite work from many sources. Of the authors he drew from, some who have been identified include: Hecataeus of Abdera, Ctesias of Cnidus, Theopompus, Hieronymus of Cardia, Duris of Samos, Philistus, Timaeus and Posidonius. Diodorus' immense work has not survived intact; the rest exists only in fragments preserved in Photius and the excerpts of Constantine Porphyrogenitus. The earliest date Diodorus mentions is his visit to Egypt in the 180th Olympiad.
This visit was marked by his witnessing an angry mob demand the death of a Roman citizen who had accidentally killed a cat, an animal sacred to the ancient Egyptians. The latest event Diodorus mentions is Octavian's vengeance on the city of Tauromenium, whose refusal to help him led to Octavian's naval defeat nearby in 36 BC. Diodorus shows no knowledge that Egypt became a Roman province—which transpired in 30 BC—so he published his completed work before that event. Diodorus asserts that he devoted thirty years to the composition of his history, that he undertook a number of dangerous journeys through Europe and Asia in prosecution of his historical researches. Modern critics have called this claim into question, noting several surprising mistakes that an eye-witness would not be expected to have made. In the Bibliotheca historica, Diodorus sets out to write a universal history, covering the entire world and all periods of time; each book opens with a table of its contents and a preface discussing the relevance of history, issues in the writing of history or the significance of the events discussed in that book.
These are now agreed to be Diodorus' own work. The degree to which the text that follows is derived from earlier historical works is debated; the first five books describe the history and culture of different regions, without attempting to determine the relative chronology of events. Diodorus expresses serious doubts that such chronology is possible for barbarian lands and the distant past; the resulting books have affinities with the genre of geography. Books six to ten, which covered the transition from mythical times to the archaic period, are entirely lost. By book ten he had taken up an annalistic structure, narrating all the events throughout the world in each year before moving on to the next one. Books eleven to twenty, which are intact and cover events between 480 BC and 302 BC, maintain this annalistic structure. Books twenty-one to forty, which brought the work down to Diodorus' own lifetime, terminating around 60 BC, are lost. Book one opens with a prologue on the work as a whole, arguing for the importance of history and universal history in particular.
The rest of the book is divided into two halves. In the first half he covers the development of civilisation in Egypt. A long discussion of the theories offered by different Greek scholars to explain the annual floods of the River Nile serves to showcase Diodorus' wide-reading. In the second half he presents the history of the country, its customs and religion, in a respectful tone, his main sources are believed to be Hecataeus of Agatharchides of Cnidus. This book has only a short prologue outlining its contents; the majority of the book is devoted to the history of the Assyrians, focussed on the mythical conquests of Ninus and Semiramis, the fall of the dynasty under the effeminate Sardanapallus, the origins of the Medes who overthrew them. This section is explicitly derived from the account of Ctesias of Cnidus; the rest of the book is devoted to describing the various other peoples of Asia. He first describes India, drawing on Megasthenes the Scythians of the Eurasian steppe, including the Amazons and the Hyperboreans) and Arabia Felix.
He finishes the book with an account of the traveller Iambulus' journey to a group of islands in the Indian Ocean, which appears to be based on a Hellenistic utopian novel. In this book, Diodorus describes the geography of North Africa including Ethiopia, the gold mines of Egypt, the Persian Gulf and Libya, where he sites mythical figures including the Gorgons, Amazons and Atlas. Based on the writings on Agatharchides, Diodorus describes gold mining in Egypt, with horrible working conditions: And those who have been condemned in this way—and they are a great multitude and are all bound in chains—work at their task unceasingly both by day and throughout the entire night... For no leniency or respite of any kind is given to any man, sick, or maimed, or aged, or in the case of a woman for her weakness, but all without exception are compelled by bl
Maroneia is a village and a former municipality in the Rhodope regional unit, East Macedonia and Thrace, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Maroneia-Sapes, of which it is a municipal unit; the municipal unit has an area of 287.155 km2. Population 6,350; the seat of the municipality was in Xylagani. In legend, it was said to have been founded by Maron, a son of Dionysus, or a companion of Osiris. According to Pseudo-Scymnus it was founded by Chios in the fourth year of the fifty-ninth Olympiad. According to Pliny, its ancient name was Ortagurea, it was located on the hill of Agios Charalampos, archaeological findings date it as a much older and as a pure Thracian city. Herodotus says it belonged to the Cicones.` Maroneia was close to the Ismaros mentioned by Homer in the Odyssey. Some scholars identify Maroneia with his Ismaros. Homer has Odysseus sparing Maron, whom he identifies as a priest of Apollo. Maron presents Odysseus with a gift of wine, as well as with silver.
In the era of Ancient Greece and Rome, Maroneia was famous for its wine production. The wine was esteemed everywhere; that the people of Maroneia venerated Dionysus, we learn not just from its famous Dionysian Sanctuary, the foundations of which can still be seen today, but from the city's coins. In 200 BCE it was taken by Philip V of Macedon; the Roman Republic subsequently granted Maroneia to Attalus, King of Pergamon, but immediately revoked their gift and declared it a free city. Maroneia was most important of all ancient Greek colonies of Western Thrace; the city owed its prosperity to the extensive and rich territory and to the port which favored the development of intense commercial activity. Furthermore, Romans had granted many privileges to the city, such as the proclamation its freedom and the increase of its territory, where a dense network of rural settlements was developed. In December 1877 Captain Petko Voyvoda overthrew the Ottoman rule and established a free administration in the town.
It is the seat of a Roman Catholic titular bishopric called Maronea. Metrocles, Cynic philosopher Hipparchia, Cynic philosopher and sister of Metrocles Sotades, poet Petko Kiryakov, Bulgarian politician and leader of the national revolution Archbishop Michael of America This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed.. "Maroneia". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray. Durando, Greece, a guide to the archaeological sites, 2004. Herbermann, Charles, ed.. "Maronia". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. Psoma, Chryssa Karadima and Domna Terzopoulou, The Coins from Maroneia and the Classical City at Molyvoti: a contribution to the history of Aegean Thrace
Ancient Greece was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Three centuries after the Late Bronze Age collapse of Mycenaean Greece, Greek urban poleis began to form in the 8th century BC, ushering in the Archaic period and colonization of the Mediterranean Basin; this was followed by the period of Classical Greece, an era that began with the Greco-Persian Wars, lasting from the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Due to the conquests by Alexander the Great of Macedon, Hellenistic civilization flourished from Central Asia to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea; the Hellenistic period came to an end with the conquests and annexations of the eastern Mediterranean world by the Roman Republic, which established the Roman province of Macedonia in Roman Greece, the province of Achaea during the Roman Empire. Classical Greek culture philosophy, had a powerful influence on ancient Rome, which carried a version of it to many parts of the Mediterranean Basin and Europe.
For this reason, Classical Greece is considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of modern Western culture and is considered the cradle of Western civilization. Classical Greek culture gave great importance to knowledge. Science and religion were not separate and getting closer to the truth meant getting closer to the gods. In this context, they understood the importance of mathematics as an instrument for obtaining more reliable knowledge. Greek culture, in a few centuries and with a limited population, managed to explore and make progress in many fields of science, mathematics and knowledge in general. Classical antiquity in the Mediterranean region is considered to have begun in the 8th century BC and ended in the 6th century AD. Classical antiquity in Greece was preceded by the Greek Dark Ages, archaeologically characterised by the protogeometric and geometric styles of designs on pottery. Following the Dark Ages was the Archaic Period, beginning around the 8th century BC.
The Archaic Period saw early developments in Greek culture and society which formed the basis for the Classical Period. After the Archaic Period, the Classical Period in Greece is conventionally considered to have lasted from the Persian invasion of Greece in 480 until the death of Alexander the Great in 323; the period is characterized by a style, considered by observers to be exemplary, i.e. "classical", as shown in the Parthenon, for instance. Politically, the Classical Period was dominated by Athens and the Delian League during the 5th century, but displaced by Spartan hegemony during the early 4th century BC, before power shifted to Thebes and the Boeotian League and to the League of Corinth led by Macedon; this period saw the Greco-Persian Wars and the Rise of Macedon. Following the Classical period was the Hellenistic period, during which Greek culture and power expanded into the Near and Middle East; this period ends with the Roman conquest. Roman Greece is considered to be the period between Roman victory over the Corinthians at the Battle of Corinth in 146 BC and the establishment of Byzantium by Constantine as the capital of the Roman Empire in AD 330.
Late Antiquity refers to the period of Christianization during the 4th to early 6th centuries AD, sometimes taken to be complete with the closure of the Academy of Athens by Justinian I in 529. The historical period of ancient Greece is unique in world history as the first period attested directly in proper historiography, while earlier ancient history or proto-history is known by much more circumstantial evidence, such as annals or king lists, pragmatic epigraphy. Herodotus is known as the "father of history": his Histories are eponymous of the entire field. Written between the 450s and 420s BC, Herodotus' work reaches about a century into the past, discussing 6th century historical figures such as Darius I of Persia, Cambyses II and Psamtik III, alluding to some 8th century ones such as Candaules. Herodotus was succeeded by authors such as Thucydides, Demosthenes and Aristotle. Most of these authors were either Athenian or pro-Athenian, why far more is known about the history and politics of Athens than those of many other cities.
Their scope is further limited by a focus on political and diplomatic history, ignoring economic and social history. In the 8th century BC, Greece began to emerge from the Dark Ages which followed the fall of the Mycenaean civilization. Literacy had been lost and Mycenaean script forgotten, but the Greeks adopted the Phoenician alphabet, modifying it to create the Greek alphabet. Objects with Phoenician writing on them may have been available in Greece from the 9th century BC, but the earliest evidence of Greek writing comes from graffiti on Greek pottery from the mid-8th century. Greece was divided into many small self-governing communities, a pattern dictated by Greek geography: every island and plain is cut off from its neighbors by the sea or mountain ranges; the Lelantine War is the earliest documented war of the ancient Greek period. It was fought between the important poleis of Chalcis and Eretria over the fertile Lelantine plain of Euboea. Both cities seem to have suffered a decline as result of the long war, though Chalcis was the nominal victor.
A mercantile class arose in the first half of the 7th century BC, shown by the introduction of coinage in about 680 BC. This
Demosthenes was a Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens. His orations constitute a significant expression of contemporary Athenian intellectual prowess and provide an insight into the politics and culture of ancient Greece during the 4th century BC. Demosthenes learned rhetoric by studying the speeches of previous great orators, he delivered his first judicial speeches at the age of 20, in which he argued to gain from his guardians what was left of his inheritance. For a time, Demosthenes made his living as a professional speech-writer and a lawyer, writing speeches for use in private legal suits. Demosthenes grew interested in politics during his time as a logographer, in 354 BC he gave his first public political speeches, he went on to devote his most productive years to opposing Macedon's expansion. He idealized his city and strove throughout his life to restore Athens' supremacy and motivate his compatriots against Philip II of Macedon, he sought to preserve his city's freedom and to establish an alliance against Macedon, in an unsuccessful attempt to impede Philip's plans to expand his influence southward by conquering all the other Greek states.
After Philip's death, Demosthenes played a leading part in his city's uprising against the new king of Macedonia, Alexander the Great. However, his efforts failed and the revolt was met with a harsh Macedonian reaction. To prevent a similar revolt against his own rule, Alexander's successor in this region, sent his men to track Demosthenes down. Demosthenes took his own life, in order to avoid being arrested by Archias of Thurii, Antipater's confidant; the Alexandrian Canon compiled by Aristophanes of Byzantium and Aristarchus of Samothrace recognised Demosthenes as one of the ten greatest Attic orators and logographers. Longinus likened Demosthenes to a blazing thunderbolt, argued that he "perfected to the utmost the tone of lofty speech, living passions, readiness, speed". Quintilian extolled him as lex orandi, Cicero said about him that inter omnis unus excellat, he acclaimed him as "the perfect orator" who lacked nothing. Demosthenes was born in 384 BC, during the last year of the 98th Olympiad or the first year of the 99th Olympiad.
His father—also named Demosthenes—who belonged to the local tribe and lived in the deme of Paeania in the Athenian countryside, was a wealthy sword-maker. Aeschines, Demosthenes' greatest political rival, maintained that his mother Kleoboule was a Scythian by blood—an allegation disputed by some modern scholars. Demosthenes was orphaned at the age of seven. Although his father provided well for him, his legal guardians, Aphobus and Therippides, mishandled his inheritance. Demosthenes started to learn rhetoric because he wished to take his guardians to court and because he was of "delicate physique" and couldn't receive gymnastic education, customary. In Parallel Lives Plutarch states that Demosthenes built an underground study where he practiced speaking and shaving one half of his head so that he could not go out in public. Plutarch states that he had “an inarticulate and stammering pronunciation” that he got rid of by speaking with pebbles in his mouth and by repeating verses when running or out of breath.
He practiced speaking in front of a large mirror. As soon as Demosthenes came of age in 366 BC, he demanded they render an account of their management. According to Demosthenes, the account revealed the misappropriation of his property. Although his father left an estate of nearly fourteen talents, Demosthenes asserted his guardians had left nothing "except the house, fourteen slaves and thirty silver minae". At the age of 20 Demosthenes sued his trustees in order to recover his patrimony and delivered five orations: three Against Aphobus during 363 and 362 BC and two Against Onetor during 362 and 361 BC; the courts fixed Demosthenes' damages at ten talents. When all the trials came to an end, he only succeeded in retrieving a portion of his inheritance. According to Pseudo-Plutarch, Demosthenes was married once; the only information about his wife, whose name is unknown, is that she was the daughter of Heliodorus, a prominent citizen. Demosthenes had a daughter, "the only one who called him father", according to Aeschines in a trenchant remark.
His daughter died unmarried a few days before Philip II's death. In his speeches, Aeschines uses pederastic relations of Demosthenes as a means to attack him. In the case of Aristion, a youth from Plataea who lived for a long time in Demosthenes' house, Aeschines mocks the "scandalous" and "improper" relation. In another speech, Aeschines brings up the pederastic relation of his opponent with a boy called Cnosion; the slander that Demosthenes' wife slept with the boy suggests that the relationship was contemporary with his marriage. Aeschines claims that Demosthenes made money out of young rich men, such as Aristarchus, the son of Moschus, whom he deceived with the pretence that he could make him a great orator. While still under Demosthenes' tutelage, Aristarchus killed and mutilated a certain Nicodemus of Aphidna. Aeschines accused Demosthenes of complicity in the murder, pointing out that Nicodemus had once pressed a lawsuit accusing Demosthenes of desertion, he accused Demosthenes of having been such a bad erastes to Aristarchus so as not to deserve the name.
His crime, according to Aeschines, was to have betrayed his eromenos by pillaging his estate pretending to b
Realpolitik is politics or diplomacy based on considerations of given circumstances and factors, rather than explicit ideological notions or moral and ethical premises. In this respect, it shares aspects of its philosophical approach with those of realism and pragmatism, it is simply referred to as "pragmatism" in politics, e.g. "pursuing pragmatic policies". The term Realpolitik is sometimes used pejoratively to imply politics that are perceived as coercive, amoral, or Machiavellian; the term Realpolitik was coined by Ludwig von Rochau, a German writer and politician in the 19th century. His 1853 book Grundsätze der Realpolitik angewendet auf die staatlichen Zustände Deutschlands describes the meaning of the term: The study of the forces that shape and alter the state is the basis of all political insight and leads to the understanding that the law of power governs the world of states just as the law of gravity governs the physical world; the older political science was aware of this truth but drew a wrong and detrimental conclusion—the right of the more powerful.
The modern era has corrected this unethical fallacy, but while breaking with the alleged right of the more powerful one, the modern era was too much inclined to overlook the real might of the more powerful and the inevitability of its political influence. Historian John Bew suggests that much of what stands for modern Realpolitik today deviates from the original meaning of the term. Realpolitik emerged in mid-19th century Europe from the collision of the Enlightenment with state formation and power politics; the concept, Bew argues, was an early attempt at answering the conundrum of how to achieve liberal enlightened goals in a world that does not follow liberal enlightened rules. Publicist and liberal political reformer Von Rochau coined the term in 1853 and added a second volume in 1869 that further refined his earlier arguments. Rochau, exiled in Paris until the 1848 uprising, returned during the revolution and became a well-known figure in the national liberal party; as the liberal gains of the 1848 revolutions fell victim to coercive governments or were swallowed by powerful social forces such as class and nationalism, Rochau—according to Bew—began to think hard about how the work that had begun with such enthusiasm had failed to yield any lasting results.
He said that the great achievement of the Enlightenment had been to show that might is not right. The mistake liberals made was to assume that the law of the strong had evaporated because it had been shown to be unjust. Rochau wrote that "to bring down the walls of Jericho, the Realpolitiker knows the simple pickaxe is more useful than the mightiest trumpet". Rochau's concept was seized upon by German thinkers in the mid and late 19th century and became associated with Otto von Bismarck's statecraft in unifying Germany in the mid 19th century. By 1890, usage of the word Realpolitik was widespread, yet detached from its original meaning. Whereas Realpolitik refers to political practice, the concept of political realism in international relations refers to a theoretical framework aimed at offering explanations for events in the international relations domain; the theory of political realism proceeds from the assumption that states—as actors in the international arena—pursue their interests by practising Realpolitik.
Conversely, Realpolitik can be described as the exercise of policies that are in line with accepted theories of political realism. In either case, the working hypothesis is that policy is chiefly based on the pursuit and application of power. However, some international relations realists, such as Kenneth Waltz, have viewed state policy in terms of the pursuit of survival or security, rather than the pursuit of power for its own sake. See political realism for branches and antecedents more relevant to contemporary diplomacy and the particular modern, international relations paradigm. Sun Tzu, a Chinese military strategist who wrote The Art of War that foreshadowed elements of Realpolitik developed later. Thucydides, a Greek historian who wrote the History of the Peloponnesian War and is cited as an intellectual forebearer of Realpolitik. Chanakya, an early Indian statesman and writer on the Arthashastra. Ibn Khaldun, an Arab Muslim historiographer and historian and one of the founding fathers of modern historiography author of Muqaddimah a universal history of time.
Han Fei, a Chinese scholar who theorised Legalism and who served in the court of the King of Qin—later unifier of China ending the Warring States period. His theory centres on the Two Handles, he theorised about a neutral, manipulative ruler who would act as head of state while secretly controlling the executive through his ministers—the ones to take real responsibility for any policy. Niccolò Machiavelli, an Italian political philosopher who wrote Il Principe in which he held that the sole aim of a prince was to seek power, regardless of religious or ethical considerations. However, there is scholarly debate about whether his sentiment was genuine, or a satirical criticism of contemporary politics. Cardinal Richelieu, a French statesman who destroyed domestic factionalism and guided France to a position of dominance in foreign affairs. Thomas Hobbes, an English philosopher who wrote Leviathan in which he stated the state of nature was prone to a "war of all against all". Frederick the Great, a Prussian monarch who transformed Prussia into a great European power through warfare and diplomacy.
Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgor
Battle of Chaeronea (338 BC)
The Battle of Chaeronea was fought in 338 BC, near the city of Chaeronea in Boeotia, between the Macedonians led by Philip II of Macedon and an alliance of some of city-states led by Athens and Thebes. The battle was the culmination of Philip's campaign in Greece and resulted in a decisive victory for the Macedonians. Philip had brought peace to a war-torn Greece in 346 BC, by ending the Third Sacred War, concluding his ten-year conflict with Athens for supremacy in the north Aegean, by making a separate peace. Philip's much expanded kingdom, powerful army and plentiful resources now made him the de facto leader of Greece. To many of the fiercely independent city-states, Philip's power after 346 BC was perceived as a threat in Athens, where the politician Demosthenes led efforts to break away from Philip's influence. In 340 BC Demosthenes convinced the Athenian assembly to sanction action against Philip's territories and to ally with Byzantium, which Philip was besieging; these actions amounted to a declaration of war.
In summer 339 BC, Philip therefore led his army towards South Greece, prompting the formation of an alliance of a few southern Greek states opposed to him, led by Athens and Thebes. After several months of stalemate, Philip advanced into Boeotia in an attempt to march on Thebes and Athens. Opposing him, blocking the road near Chaeronea, was the allied army, similar in size and occupying a strong position. Details of the ensuing battle are scarce, but after a long fight the Macedonians crushed both flanks of the allied line, which dissolved into a rout; the battle has been described as one of the most decisive of the ancient world. The forces of Athens and Thebes were destroyed, continued resistance was impossible. Philip was able to impose a settlement upon Greece, which all states accepted, with the exception of Sparta; the League of Corinth, formed as a result, made all participants allies of Macedon and each other, with Philip as the guarantor of the peace. In turn, Philip was voted as strategos for a pan-Hellenic war against the Persian Empire, which he had long planned.
However, before he was able to take charge of the campaign, Philip was assassinated, the kingdom of Macedon and responsibility for the war with Persia passed instead to his son Alexander. In the decade following his accession in 359 BC, the Macedonian king, Philip II, had strengthened and expanded his kingdom into Thrace and Chalkidiki on the northern coast of the Aegean Sea, he was aided in this process by the distraction of Athens and Thebes, the two most powerful city-states in Greece at that point, by events elsewhere. In particular, these events included the Social War between Athens and her erstwhile allies, the Third Sacred War which erupted in central Greece in 356 BC between the Phocians and the other members of the Delphic Amphictyonic League. Much of Philip's expansion during this period was at the nominal expense of the Athenians, who considered the north Aegean coast as their sphere of influence, Philip was at war with Athens from 356–346 BC. Philip was not a belligerent in the Sacred War, but became involved at the request of the Thessalians.
Seeing an opportunity to expand his influence, Philip obliged, in 353 or 352 BC won a decisive victory over the Phocians at the Battle of Crocus Field in Thessaly. In the aftermath, Philip was made archon of Thessaly, which gave him control of the levies and revenues of the Thessalian Confederation, thereby increasing his power. However, Philip did not intervene further in the Sacred War until 346 BC. Early in that year, the Thebans, who had borne the brunt of the Sacred War, together with the Thessalians, asked Philip to assume the "leadership of Greece" and join them in fighting the Phocians. Philip's power was by now so great that the Phocians did not attempt to resist, instead surrendered to him. Philip allowed the Amphictyonic council the formal responsibility of punishing the Phocians, but ensured that the terms were not overly harsh. By 346 BC, the Athenians were war-weary, unable to match Philip's strength, had begun to contemplate the necessity of making peace; when it became apparent that Philip would march south that year, the Athenians planned to help the Phocians keep Philip out of central Greece, by occupying the pass of Thermopylae, where Philip's superior numbers would be of little benefit.
The Athenians had used this tactic to prevent Philip attacking Phocis itself after his victory at Crocus Field. The occupation of Thermopylae was not only for the benefit of Phocis. However, by the end of February, the general Phalaikos was restored to power in Phocis, he refused to allow the Athenians access to Thermopylae. Unable to guarantee their own security, the Athenians were forced instead into making peace with Philip, their peace treaty, known as the Peace of Philocrates, made Athens a reluctant ally of Macedon. For the Athenians, the treaty had been expedient. Philip's actions in 346 BC had expanded his influence over all Greece, although he had brought peace, he had come to be seen as the enemy of the traditional liberty of the city-states; the orator and politician Demosthenes had been a principal architect of the Peace of Philocrates, but as soon as it was agree
Greece the Hellenic Republic, self-identified and known as Hellas, is a country located in Southern and Southeast Europe, with a population of 11 million as of 2016. Athens is largest city, followed by Thessaloniki. Greece is located at the crossroads of Europe and Africa. Situated on the southern tip of the Balkan Peninsula, it shares land borders with Albania to the northwest, North Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, Turkey to the northeast; the Aegean Sea lies to the east of the mainland, the Ionian Sea to the west, the Cretan Sea and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Basin and the 11th longest coastline in the world at 13,676 km in length, featuring a large number of islands, of which 227 are inhabited. Eighty percent of Greece is mountainous, with Mount Olympus being the highest peak at 2,918 metres; the country consists of nine geographic regions: Macedonia, Central Greece, the Peloponnese, Epirus, the Aegean Islands, Thrace and the Ionian Islands.
Greece is considered the cradle of Western civilisation, being the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, Western literature, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, Western drama and notably the Olympic Games. From the eighth century BC, the Greeks were organised into various independent city-states, known as poleis, which spanned the entire Mediterranean region and the Black Sea. Philip of Macedon united most of the Greek mainland in the fourth century BC, with his son Alexander the Great conquering much of the ancient world, from the eastern Mediterranean to India. Greece was annexed by Rome in the second century BC, becoming an integral part of the Roman Empire and its successor, the Byzantine Empire, in which Greek language and culture were dominant. Rooted in the first century A. D. the Greek Orthodox Church helped shape modern Greek identity and transmitted Greek traditions to the wider Orthodox World. Falling under Ottoman dominion in the mid-15th century, the modern nation state of Greece emerged in 1830 following a war of independence.
Greece's rich historical legacy is reflected by its 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The sovereign state of Greece is a unitary parliamentary republic and developed country with an advanced high-income economy, a high quality of life, a high standard of living. A founding member of the United Nations, Greece was the tenth member to join the European Communities and has been part of the Eurozone since 2001, it is a member of numerous other international institutions, including the Council of Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. Greece's unique cultural heritage, large tourism industry, prominent shipping sector and geostrategic importance classify it as a middle power, it is the largest economy in the Balkans. The names for the nation of Greece and the Greek people differ from the names used in other languages and cultures.
The Greek name of the country is Hellas or Ellada, its official name is the Hellenic Republic. In English, the country is called Greece, which comes from Latin Graecia and means'the land of the Greeks'; the earliest evidence of the presence of human ancestors in the southern Balkans, dated to 270,000 BC, is to be found in the Petralona cave, in the Greek province of Macedonia. All three stages of the stone age are represented for example in the Franchthi Cave. Neolithic settlements in Greece, dating from the 7th millennium BC, are the oldest in Europe by several centuries, as Greece lies on the route via which farming spread from the Near East to Europe. Greece is home to the first advanced civilizations in Europe and is considered the birthplace of Western civilisation, beginning with the Cycladic civilization on the islands of the Aegean Sea at around 3200 BC, the Minoan civilization in Crete, the Mycenaean civilization on the mainland; these civilizations possessed writing, the Minoans writing in an undeciphered script known as Linear A, the Mycenaeans in Linear B, an early form of Greek.
The Mycenaeans absorbed the Minoans, but collapsed violently around 1200 BC, during a time of regional upheaval known as the Bronze Age collapse. This ushered from which written records are absent. Though the unearthed Linear B texts are too fragmentary for the reconstruction of the political landscape and can't support the existence of a larger state contemporary Hittite and Egyptian records suggest the presence of a single state under a "Great King" based in mainland Greece; the end of the Dark Ages is traditionally dated to the year of the first Olympic Games. The Iliad and the Odyssey, the foundational texts of Western literature, are believed to have been composed by Homer in the 7th or 8th centuries BC. With the end of the Dark Ages, there emerged various kingdoms and city-states across the Greek peninsula, which spread to the shores of the Black Sea, So