Ajax the Great
Ajax or Aias is a Greek mythological hero, the son of King Telamon and Periboea, the half-brother of Teucer. He plays an important role, is portrayed as a towering figure and a warrior of great courage in Homer's Iliad and in the Epic Cycle, a series of epic poems about the Trojan War, he is referred to as "Telamonian Ajax", "Greater Ajax", or "Ajax the Great", which distinguishes him from Ajax, son of Oileus. Ajax is the son of Telamon, the son of Aeacus and grandson of Zeus, his first wife Periboea, he is the cousin of Achilles, is the elder half-brother of Teucer. His given name is derived from the root of αἰάζω "to lament". Many illustrious Athenians, including Cimon, Miltiades and the historian Thucydides, traced their descent from Ajax. On an Etruscan tomb dedicated to Racvi Satlnei in Bologna there is an inscription that says, aivastelmunsl which means " of Telamonian Ajax". In Homer's Iliad he is described as of great stature, colossal frame and strongest of all the Achaeans. Known as the "bulwark of the Achaeans", he was trained by the centaur Chiron, at the same time as Achilles.
He was described as fearless and powerful but with a high level of combat intelligence. Ajax commands his army wielding a huge shield made of seven cow-hides with a layer of bronze. Most notably, Ajax is not wounded in any of the battles described in the Iliad, he is the only principal character on either side who does not receive substantial assistance from any of the gods who take part in the battles, although, in book 13, Poseidon strikes Ajax with his staff, renewing his strength. Unlike Diomedes and Achilles, Ajax appears as a defensive warrior, instrumental in the defence of the Greek camp and ships and that of Patroclus' body; when the Trojans are on the offensive, he is seen covering the retreat of the Achaeans. While one of the deadliest heroes in the whole poem, Ajax has no aristeia depicting him on the offensive. In the Iliad, Ajax is notable for his abundant strength and courage, seen in two fights with Hector. In Book 7, Ajax is chosen by lot to meet Hector in a duel. Ajax at first gets the better of the encounter, wounding Hector with his spear and knocking him down with a large stone, but Hector fights on until the heralds, acting at the direction of Zeus, call a draw, with the two combatants exchanging gifts, Ajax giving Hector a purple sash and Hector giving Ajax his sharp sword.
The second fight between Ajax and Hector occurs when the latter breaks into the Mycenaean camp, fights with the Greeks among the ships. In Book 14, Ajax throws a giant rock at Hector which kills him. In Book 15, Hector is restored to his strength by returns to attack the ships. Ajax, wielding an enormous spear as a weapon and leaping from ship to ship, holds off the Trojan armies single-handedly. In Book 16, Hector and Ajax duel once again. Hector disarms Ajax and Ajax is forced to retreat, seeing that Zeus is favoring Hector. Hector and the Trojans succeed in burning one Greek ship, the culmination of an assault that finishes the war. Ajax is responsible for the death including Phorcys. Ajax fought in tandem with his brother Teucer, known for his skill with the bow. Ajax would wield his magnificent shield. Achilles was absent during these encounters because of his feud with Agamemnon. In Book 9, Agamemnon and the other Mycenaean chiefs send Ajax and Phoenix to the tent of Achilles in an attempt to reconcile with the great warrior and induce him to return to the fight.
Although Ajax speaks earnestly and is well received, he does not succeed in convincing Achilles. When Patroclus is killed, Hector tries to steal his body. Ajax, assisted by Menelaus, succeeds in fighting off the Trojans and taking the body back with his chariot. Ajax's prayer to Zeus to remove the fog that has descended on the battle to allow them to fight or die in the light of day has become proverbial. According to Hyginus, in total, Ajax killed 28 people at Troy; as the Iliad comes to a close and the majority of other Greek warriors are alive and well. When Achilles dies, killed by Paris and Odysseus are the heroes who fight against the Trojans to get the body and bury it with his companion, Patroclus. Ajax, with his great shield and spear, manages to recover the body and carry it to the ships, while Odysseus fights off the Trojans. After the burial, each claims Achilles' magical armor, forged on Mount Olympus by the smith-god Hephaestus, for himself as recognition for his heroic efforts. A competition is held to determine.
Ajax argues that because of his strength and the fighting he has done for the Greeks, including saving the ships from Hector, driving him off with a massive rock, he deserves the armor. However, Odysseus proves to be more eloquent, with the aid of Athena, the council gives him the armor. Ajax, "Unconquered", furious, becomes crazed and slaughters the Achaians' herds of captured livestock, believing them to be his enemies through a trick of Athena. Unable to deal with this dual dishonor, he falls upon his own sword, "conque
Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years and its earliest human presence starting somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennium BC. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state that emerged in conjunction with the seagoing development of the port of Piraeus, a distinct city prior to its 5th century BC incorporation with Athens. A center for the arts and philosophy, home of Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum, it is referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy because of its cultural and political impact on the European continent, in particular the Romans. In modern times, Athens is a large cosmopolitan metropolis and central to economic, industrial, maritime and cultural life in Greece. In 2012, Athens was ranked the world's 39th richest city by purchasing power and the 67th most expensive in a UBS study. Athens is a global one of the biggest economic centres in southeastern Europe.
It has a large financial sector, its port Piraeus is both the largest passenger port in Europe, the second largest in the world. While at the same time being the sixth busiest passenger port in Europe; the Municipality of Athens had a population of 664,046 within its administrative limits, a land area of 38.96 km2. The urban area of Athens extends beyond its administrative municipal city limits, with a population of 3,090,508 over an area of 412 km2. According to Eurostat in 2011, the functional urban area of Athens was the 9th most populous FUA in the European Union, with a population of 3.8 million people. Athens is the southernmost capital on the European mainland; the heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon, considered a key landmark of early Western civilization. The city retains Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a smaller number of Ottoman monuments. Athens is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Acropolis of Athens and the medieval Daphni Monastery.
Landmarks of the modern era, dating back to the establishment of Athens as the capital of the independent Greek state in 1834, include the Hellenic Parliament and the so-called "architectural trilogy of Athens", consisting of the National Library of Greece, the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and the Academy of Athens. Athens is home to several museums and cultural institutions, such as the National Archeological Museum, featuring the world's largest collection of ancient Greek antiquities, the Acropolis Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art, the Benaki Museum and the Byzantine and Christian Museum. Athens was the host city of the first modern-day Olympic Games in 1896, 108 years it welcomed home the 2004 Summer Olympics, making it one of only a handful of cities to have hosted the Olympics more than once. In Ancient Greek, the name of the city was Ἀθῆναι a plural. In earlier Greek, such as Homeric Greek, the name had been current in the singular form though, as Ἀθήνη, it was rendered in the plural on, like those of Θῆβαι and Μυκῆναι.
The root of the word is not of Greek or Indo-European origin, is a remnant of the Pre-Greek substrate of Attica. In antiquity, it was debated whether Athens took its name from its patron goddess Athena or Athena took her name from the city. Modern scholars now agree that the goddess takes her name from the city, because the ending -ene is common in names of locations, but rare for personal names. During the medieval period, the name of the city was rendered once again in the singular as Ἀθήνα. However, after the establishment of the modern Greek state, due to the conservatism of the written language, Ἀθῆναι became again the official name of the city and remained so until the abandonment of Katharevousa in the 1970s, when Ἀθήνα, Athína, became the official name. According to the ancient Athenian founding myth, the goddess of wisdom, competed against Poseidon, the god of the seas, for patronage of the yet-unnamed city. According to the account given by Pseudo-Apollodorus, Poseidon struck the ground with his trident and a salt water spring welled up.
In an alternative version of the myth from Vergil's Georgics, Poseidon instead gave the Athenians the first horse. In both versions, Athena offered the Athenians the first domesticated olive tree. Cecrops declared Athena the patron goddess of Athens. Different etymologies, now rejected, were proposed during the 19th century. Christian Lobeck proposed as the root of the name the word ἄθος or ἄνθος meaning "flower", to denote Athens as the "flowering city". Ludwig von Döderlein proposed the stem of the verb θάω, stem θη- to denote Athens as having fertile soil. In classical literature, the city was sometimes referred to as the City of the Violet Crown, first documented in Pindar's ἰοστέφανοι Ἀθᾶναι, or as τὸ κλεινὸν ἄστυ. In medieval texts, variant names include Setines and Astines, all derivations involving false splitting of p
Pylos also known under its Italian name Navarino, is a town and a former municipality in Messenia, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Pylos-Nestoras, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit, it was the capital of the former Pylia Province. It is the main harbour on the Bay of Navarino. Nearby villages include Gialova, Elaiofyto and Palaionero; the town of Pylos has 2,767 inhabitants, the municipal unit of Pylos 5,287. The municipal unit has an area of 143.911 km2. Pylos has a long history, it was a significant kingdom in Mycenaean Greece, with remains of the so-called "Palace of Nestor" excavated nearby, named after Nestor, the king of Pylos in Homer's Iliad. In Classical times, the site was uninhabited, but became the site of the Battle of Pylos in 425 BC, during the Peloponnesian War. Pylos is scarcely mentioned thereafter until the 13th century, when it became part of the Frankish Principality of Achaea. Known by its French name of Port-de-Jonc or its Italian name Navarino, in the 1280s the Franks built the Old Navarino castle on the site.
Pylos came under the control of the Republic of Venice from 1417 until 1500, when it was conquered by the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans used Pylos and its bay as a naval base, built the New Navarino fortress there; the area remained under Ottoman control, with the exception of a brief period of renewed Venetian rule in 1685–1715 and a Russian occupation in 1770–71, until the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence in 1821. Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt recovered it for the Ottomans in 1825, but the defeat of the Turco-Egyptian fleet in the 1827 Battle of Navarino forced Ibrahim to withdraw from the Peloponnese and confirmed Greek independence. Pylos retained its ancient name down to Byzantine times, but appears after the Frankish conquest in the early 13th century under two names: a French one, Port-de-Jonc or Port-de-Junch, with some variants and derivatives: in Italian Porto-Junco, Zunchio or Zonchio, in medieval Catalan Port Jonc, in Latin Iuncum, Zonglon/Zonglos in Greek, etc, it takes that name from the marshes surrounding the place.
A Greek one, Avarinos shortened to Varinos or lengthened to Anavarinos by epenthesis, which became Navarino in Italian and Navarin in French. Its etymology is not certain. A traditional etymology, proposed by the early 15th-century traveller Nompar de Caumont and repeated as late as the works of Karl Hopf, ascribed the name to the Navarrese Company, but this an error as the name was in use long before the Navarrese presence in Greece. In 1830 Fallmereyer proposed that it could originate from a body of Avars who settled there, a view adopted by a few scholars like William Miller; the name of Avarinos/Navarino, although in use before the Frankish period, came into widespread use, eclipsed the French name of Port-de-Jonc and its derivations, only in the 15th century, i.e. after the collapse of the Frankish Principality of Achaea. In the late 14th or early 15th centuries, when it was held by the Navarrese Company, it was known as Château Navarres, called Spanochori by the local Greeks. Under Ottoman rule, the Turkish name was Anavarin.
After the construction of the new Ottoman fortress in 1571/2, it became known as Neokastro among the local Greeks, while the old Frankish castle became known as Palaiokastro. The soil about Navarino is of a red colour, is remarkable for the production of an abundance of squills, which are used in medicine; the rocks, which show themselves in every direction through a scanty but rich soil, are limestone, present a general appearance of unproductiveness round the castle of Navarino. The remains of Navarino, consist of a fort, covering the summit of a hill sloping to the south, but falling in abrupt precipices to the north and east; the town was built on the southern declivity, was surrounded by a wall, allowing for the natural irregularities of the soil, represented a triangle, with the castle at the summit—a form observable in many of the ancient cities of Greece. The Gialova wetland is a regional blessing of nature, it is one of 10 major lagoons in Greece. And has been classified as one of the important bird areas in Europe.
It has been listed as a 1500-acre archaeological site, lying between Gialova and the bay of Voidokilia. Its alternative name of Vivari is Latin, meaning'fishponds'. With a depth, at its deepest point, of no more than four meters, it is the southernmost stopover of birds migrating from the Balkans to Africa, giving shelter to no fewer than 225 bird species, among them heron, lesser kestrel, Audouin's gull, flamingo and imperial eagle, it is Gialova, which plays host to a rare species, nearing extinction throughout Europe, the African chameleon. The observation post of the Greek Ornithological Society allows visitors to find out more and to watch the shallow brackish waters of the lake. Pylos has evidence of continuous human presence dating back to the Neolithic. In Mycenaean times, it was an important centre referred to as Nestor's kingdom of "sandy Pylos" and descri
Troy was a city in the far northwest of the region known in late Classical antiquity as Asia Minor, now known as Anatolia in modern Turkey, just south of the southwest mouth of the Dardanelles strait and northwest of Mount Ida. The present-day location is known as Hisarlik, it was the setting of the Trojan War described in the Greek Epic Cycle, in particular in the Iliad, one of the two epic poems attributed to Homer. Metrical evidence from the Iliad and the Odyssey suggests that the name Ἴλιον began with a digamma: Ϝίλιον. A new capital called, it flourished until the establishment of Constantinople, became a bishopric and declined in the Byzantine era, but is now a Latin Catholic titular see. In 1865, English archaeologist Frank Calvert excavated trial trenches in a field he had bought from a local farmer at Hisarlik, in 1868, Heinrich Schliemann, a wealthy German businessman and archaeologist began excavating in the area after a chance meeting with Calvert in Çanakkale; these excavations revealed several cities built in succession.
Schliemann was at first skeptical about the identification of Hisarlik with Troy, but was persuaded by Calvert and took over Calvert's excavations on the eastern half of the Hisarlik site, on Calvert's property. Troy VII has been identified with the city called Wilusa by the Hittites and is identified with Homeric Troy. Today, the hill at Hisarlik has given its name to a small village near the ruins, which supports the tourist trade visiting the Troia archaeological site, it lies within the province of Çanakkale, some 30 km south-west of the provincial capital called Çanakkale. The nearest village is Tevfikiye; the map here shows the adapted Scamander estuary with Ilium a little way inland across the Homeric plain. Due to Troy's location near the Aegean Sea, the Sea of Marmara, the Black Sea, it was a central hub for the military and trade. Troy was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1998. Ancient Greek historians variously placed the Trojan War in the 12th, 13th, or 14th centuries BC: Eratosthenes to 1184 BC, Herodotus to 1250 BC, Duris of Samos to 1334 BC.
Modern archaeologists associate Homeric Troy with archaeological Troy VII. In the Iliad, the Achaeans set up their camp near the mouth of the River Scamander, where they beached their ships; the city of Troy itself stood on a hill, across the plain of Scamander, where the battles of the Trojan War took place. The site of the ancient city is some 5 km from the coast today, but 3,000 years ago the mouths of Scamander were much closer to the city, discharging into a large bay that formed a natural harbor, which has since been filled with alluvial material. Recent geological findings have permitted the identification of the ancient Trojan coastline, the results confirm the accuracy of the Homeric geography of Troy. In November 2001, the geologist John C. Kraft from the University of Delaware and the classicist John V. Luce from Trinity College, presented the results of investigations, begun in 1977, into the geology of the region, they compared the present geology with the landscapes and coastal features described in the Iliad and other classical sources, notably Strabo's Geographia, concluded that there is a regular consistency between the location of Schliemann's Troy and other locations such as the Greek camp, the geological evidence, descriptions of the topography and accounts of the battle in the Iliad.
Besides the Iliad, there are references to Troy in the other major work attributed to Homer, the Odyssey, as well as in other ancient Greek literature. The Homeric legend of Troy was elaborated by the Roman poet Virgil in his Aeneid; the Greeks and Romans took for a fact the historicity of the Trojan War and the identity of Homeric Troy with the site in Anatolia. Alexander the Great, for example, visited the site in 334 BC and there made sacrifices at tombs associated with the Homeric heroes Achilles and Patroclus. After the 1995 find of a Luwian biconvex seal at Troy VII, there has been a heated discussion over the language, spoken in Homeric Troy. Frank Starke of the University of Tübingen demonstrated that the name of Priam, king of Troy at the time of the Trojan War, is connected to the Luwian compound Priimuua, which means "exceptionally courageous". "The certainty is growing that Wilusa/Troy belonged to the greater Luwian-speaking community," although it is not clear whether Luwian was the official language or in daily colloquial use.
With the rise of critical history and the Trojan War were, for a long time, consigned to the realms of legend. However, the true location of ancient Troy had from classical times remained the subject of interest and speculation; the Troad peninsula was anticipated to be the location. Early modern travellers in the 16th and 17th centuries, including Pierre Belon and Pietro Della Valle, had identified Troy with Alexandria Troas, a ruined town 20 km south of the accepted location. In the late 18th century, Jean Baptiste LeChevalier had identified a location near the village of Pınarbaşı, Ezine as the site of Troy, a mound 5 km south of the accepted location. LeChavalier's location, published in his Voyage de la Troade, was the most accepted theory for a century. In 1822, the Scottis
For the ancient Greek poet, see Automedon. For the incident involving the WWII merchant ship Automedon, see the article: SS Automedon and the article: German auxiliary cruiser Atlantis. In Greek mythology, son of Diores, was Achilles' charioteer. In Homer's Iliad, Automedon rides into battle once Patroclus dons Achilles's armor, commanding Achilles' horses Balius and Xanthos. After Patroclus dies, Automedon is driven to the rear of the battle, where he tries to console the bereaved horses. Zeus intervenes, Automedon resumes driving the chariot, but cannot aid the Achaeans until Alcimedon agrees to be his driver, he repels an attempt on his life by Hector, Aeneas and Aretos, killing Aretos and taking his armor in the process. He appears in the Aeneid at line 477 of Book II, when the Greek forces break into the palace of Priam. Homer. Iliad, XVI, 145.
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
The Peloponnese or Peloponnesus is a peninsula and geographic region in southern Greece. It is connected to the central part of the country by the Isthmus of Corinth land bridge which separates the Gulf of Corinth from the Saronic Gulf. During the late Middle Ages and the Ottoman era, the peninsula was known as the Morea, a name still in colloquial use in its demotic form; the peninsula is divided among three administrative regions: most belongs to the Peloponnese region, with smaller parts belonging to the West Greece and Attica regions. In 2016, Lonely Planet voted the Peloponnese the top spot of their Best in Europe list; the Peloponnese is a peninsula that covers an area of some 21,549.6 square kilometres and constitutes the southernmost part of mainland Greece. While technically it may be considered an island since the construction of the Corinth Canal in 1893, like other peninsulas that have been separated from their mainland by man-made bodies of waters, it is if referred to as an "island".
It has two land connections with the rest of Greece, a natural one at the Isthmus of Corinth, an artificial one by the Rio–Antirrio bridge. The peninsula has a mountainous interior and indented coasts; the Peloponnese possesses four south-pointing peninsulas, the Messenian, the Mani, the Cape Malea, the Argolid in the far northeast of the Peloponnese. Mount Taygetus in the south is the highest mountain in the Peloponnese, at 2,407 metres. Οther important mountains include Cyllene in the northeast, Aroania in the north and Panachaikon in the northwest, Mainalon in the center, Parnon in the southeast. The entire peninsula has been the site of many earthquakes in the past; the longest river is the Alfeios in the west, followed by the Evrotas in the south, the Pineios in the west. Extensive lowlands are found only in the west, with the exception of the Evrotas valley in the south and in the Argolid in the northeast; the Peloponnese is home to numerous spectacular beaches. Two groups of islands lie off the Peloponnesian coast: the Argo-Saronic Islands to the east, the Ionian to the west.
The island of Kythira, off the Epidaurus Limera peninsula to the south of the Peloponnese, is considered to be part of the Ionian Islands. The island of Elafonisos used to be part of the peninsula but was separated following the major quake of 365 AD. Since antiquity, continuing to the present day, the Peloponnese has been divided into seven major regions: Achaea, Argolis, Laconia and Elis; each of these regions is headed by a city. The largest city is Patras in Achaia, followed by Kalamata in Messenia; the peninsula has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Its modern name derives from ancient Greek mythology the legend of the hero Pelops, said to have conquered the entire region; the name Peloponnesos means "Island of Pelops". The Mycenaean civilization, mainland Greece's first major civilization, dominated the Peloponnese in the Bronze Age from its stronghold at Mycenae in the north-east of the peninsula; the Mycenean civilization collapsed at the end of the 2nd millennium BC. Archeological research has found that many of its palaces show signs of destruction.
The subsequent period, known as the Greek Dark Ages, is marked by an absence of written records. In 776 BC, the first Olympic Games were held at Olympia, in the western Peloponnese and this date is sometimes used to denote the beginning of the classical period of Greek antiquity. During classical antiquity, the Peloponnese was at the heart of the affairs of ancient Greece, possessed some of its most powerful city-states, was the location of some of its bloodiest battles; the major cities of Sparta, Corinth and Megalopolis were all located on the Peloponnese, it was the homeland of the Peloponnesian League. Soldiers from the peninsula fought in the Persian Wars, it was the scene of the Peloponnesian War of 431–404 BC; the entire Peloponnese with the notable exception of Sparta joined Alexander's expedition against the Persian Empire. Along with the rest of Greece, the Peloponnese fell to the expanding Roman Republic in 146 BC, when the Romans razed the city of Corinth and massacred its inhabitants.
The Romans created the province of Achaea comprising central Greece. During the Roman period, the peninsula remained prosperous but became a provincial backwater cut off from the affairs of the wider Roman world. After the partition of the Empire in 395, the Peloponnese became a part of the East Roman or Byzantine Empire; the devastation of Alaric's raid in 396–397 led to the construction of the Hexamilion wall across the Isthmus of Corinth. Through most of late antiquity, the peninsula retained its urbanized character: in the 6th century, Hierocles counted 26 cities in his Synecdemus. By the latter part of that century, building activity seems to have stopped everywhere except Constantinople, Thessalonica and Athens; this has traditionally been attributed to calamities such as plague and Slavic invasions. However, more recent analysis suggests that urban decline was linked with the collapse of long-distance and regional commercial networks that underpinned and supported late antique urba