The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, Hellenistic period, it is succeeded by medieval Greek. Koine is regarded as a separate historical stage of its own, although in its earliest form it resembled Attic Greek and in its latest form it approaches Medieval Greek. Prior to the Koine period, Greek of the classic and earlier periods included several regional dialects. Ancient Greek was the language of Homer and of fifth-century Athenian historians and philosophers, it has contributed many words to English vocabulary and has been a standard subject of study in educational institutions of the Western world since the Renaissance. This article contains information about the Epic and Classical periods of the language. Ancient Greek was a pluricentric language, divided into many dialects; the main dialect groups are Attic and Ionic, Aeolic and Doric, many of them with several subdivisions.
Some dialects are found in standardized literary forms used in literature, while others are attested only in inscriptions. There are several historical forms. Homeric Greek is a literary form of Archaic Greek used in the epic poems, the "Iliad" and "Odyssey", in poems by other authors. Homeric Greek had significant differences in grammar and pronunciation from Classical Attic and other Classical-era dialects; the origins, early form and development of the Hellenic language family are not well understood because of a lack of contemporaneous evidence. Several theories exist about what Hellenic dialect groups may have existed between the divergence of early Greek-like speech from the common Proto-Indo-European language and the Classical period, they differ in some of the detail. The only attested dialect from this period is Mycenaean Greek, but its relationship to the historical dialects and the historical circumstances of the times imply that the overall groups existed in some form. Scholars assume that major Ancient Greek period dialect groups developed not than 1120 BCE, at the time of the Dorian invasion—and that their first appearances as precise alphabetic writing began in the 8th century BCE.
The invasion would not be "Dorian" unless the invaders had some cultural relationship to the historical Dorians. The invasion is known to have displaced population to the Attic-Ionic regions, who regarded themselves as descendants of the population displaced by or contending with the Dorians; the Greeks of this period believed there were three major divisions of all Greek people—Dorians and Ionians, each with their own defining and distinctive dialects. Allowing for their oversight of Arcadian, an obscure mountain dialect, Cypriot, far from the center of Greek scholarship, this division of people and language is quite similar to the results of modern archaeological-linguistic investigation. One standard formulation for the dialects is: West vs. non-west Greek is the strongest marked and earliest division, with non-west in subsets of Ionic-Attic and Aeolic vs. Arcadocypriot, or Aeolic and Arcado-Cypriot vs. Ionic-Attic. Non-west is called East Greek. Arcadocypriot descended more from the Mycenaean Greek of the Bronze Age.
Boeotian had come under a strong Northwest Greek influence, can in some respects be considered a transitional dialect. Thessalian had come under Northwest Greek influence, though to a lesser degree. Pamphylian Greek, spoken in a small area on the southwestern coast of Anatolia and little preserved in inscriptions, may be either a fifth major dialect group, or it is Mycenaean Greek overlaid by Doric, with a non-Greek native influence. Most of the dialect sub-groups listed above had further subdivisions equivalent to a city-state and its surrounding territory, or to an island. Doric notably had several intermediate divisions as well, into Island Doric, Southern Peloponnesus Doric, Northern Peloponnesus Doric; the Lesbian dialect was Aeolic Greek. All the groups were represented by colonies beyond Greece proper as well, these colonies developed local characteristics under the influence of settlers or neighbors speaking different Greek dialects; the dialects outside the Ionic group are known from inscriptions, notable exceptions being: fragments of the works of the poet Sappho from the island of Lesbos, in Aeolian, the poems of the Boeotian poet Pindar and other lyric poets in Doric.
After the conquests of Alexander the Great in the late 4th century BCE, a new international dialect known as Koine or Common Greek developed based on Attic Greek, but with influence from other dialects. This dialect replaced most of the older dialects, although Doric dialect has survived in the Tsakonian language, spoken in the region of modern Sparta. Doric has passed down its aorist terminations into most verbs of Demotic Greek. By about the 6th century CE, the Koine had metamorphosized into Medieval Greek. Ancient Macedonian was an Indo-European language at least related to Greek, but its exact relationship is unclear because of insufficient data: a dialect of Greek; the Macedonian dialect (or l
Corinth is an ancient city and former municipality in Corinthia, located in south-central Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality of Corinth, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit, it is the capital of Corinthia. It was founded as Nea Korinthos or New Corinth in 1858 after an earthquake destroyed the existing settlement of Corinth, which had developed in and around the site of ancient Corinth. Located about 78 kilometres west of Athens, Corinth is surrounded by the coastal townlets of Lechaio, Isthmia and the inland townlets of Examilia and the archaeological site and village of ancient Corinth. Natural features around the city include the narrow coastal plain of Vocha, the Corinthian Gulf, the Isthmus of Corinth cut by its canal, the Saronic Gulf, the Oneia Mountains, the monolithic rock of Acrocorinth, where the medieval acropolis was built. Corinth derives its name from a city-state of antiquity; the site was occupied from before 3000 BC. But historical sources about the city concerns the early 8th century BC, when Corinth began to develop as a commercial center.
Between the 8th and 7th centuries, the Bacchiad family ruled Corinth. Cypselus overthrew the Bacchiad family, between 657 and 550 BC, he and his son Periander ruled Corinth as the Tyrants. In about 550 BC, an oligarchical government seized power; this government allied with Sparta within the Peloponnesian League, Corinth participated in the Persian Wars and Peloponnesian War as an ally of Sparta. After Sparta's victory in the Peloponnesian war, the two allies fell out with one another, Corinth pursued an independent policy in the various wars of the early 4th century BC. After the Macedonian conquest of Greece, the Acrocorinth was the seat of a Macedonian garrison until 243 BC, when the city was liberated and joined the Achaean League. Nearly a century in 146 BC, Corinth was captured and destroyed by Roman armies; as a Roman colony in 44 BC, Corinth flourished and became the administrative capital of the Roman province of Achaea. In 1858, the old city, now known as Ancient Corinth, located 3 kilometres south-west of the modern city, was destroyed by a magnitude 6.5 earthquake.
New Corinth was built to the north-east of it, on the coast of the Gulf of Corinth. In 1928 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake devastated the new city, rebuilt on the same site. In 1933 there was a great fire, the new city was rebuilt again; the Municipality of Corinth had a population of 58,192 according to the 2011 census, the second most populous municipality in the Peloponnese Region after Kalamata. The municipal unit of Corinth had 38,132 inhabitants, of which Corinth itself had 30,176 inhabitants, placing it in third place behind Kalamata and Tripoli among the cities of the Peloponnese Region; the municipal unit of Corinth includes apart from Corinth proper the town of Archaia Korinthos, the town of Examilia, the smaller settlements of Xylokeriza and Solomos. The municipal unit has an area of 102.187 km2. Corinth is a major industrial hub at a national level; the Corinth Refinery is one of the largest oil refining industrial complexes in Europe. Copper cables, petroleum products, medical equipment, gypsum, ceramic tiles, mineral water and beverages, meat products, gums are produced nearby.
As of 2005, a period of deindustrialization has commenced as a large pipework complex, a textile factory and a meat packing facility diminished their operations. Corinth is a major road hub; the A7 toll motorway for Tripoli and Kalamata, branches off the A8/European route E94 toll motorway from Athens at Corinth. Corinth is the main entry point to the Peloponnesian peninsula, the southernmost area of continental Greece. KTEL Korinthias provides intercity bus service in the peninsula and to Athens via the Isthmos station southeast of the city center. Local bus service is available; the city has been connected to the Proastiakos, the Athens suburban rail network, since 2005, when the new Corinth railway station was completed. The port of Corinth, located north of the city centre and close to the northwest entrance of the Corinth Canal, at 37 56.0’ N / 22 56.0’ E, serves the local needs of industry and agriculture. It is a cargo exporting facility, it is an artificial harbour (depth 9 metres, protected by a concrete mole.
A new pier finished in the late 1980s doubled the capacity of the port. The reinforced mole protects anchored vessels from strong northern winds. Within the port operates a customs office facility and a Hellenic Coast Guard post. Sea traffic is limited to trade in the export of local produce citrus fruits, marble and some domestic imports; the port operates as a contingency facility for general cargo ships, bulk carriers and ROROs, in case of strikes at Piraeus port. There was a ferry link to Catania and Genoa in Italy; the Corinth Canal, carrying ship traffic between the western Mediterranean Sea and the Aegean Sea, is about 4 kilometres east of the city, cutting through the Isthmus of Corinth that connects the Peloponnesian peninsula to the Greek mainland, thus making the former an island. The builders dug the canal through the Isthmus at sea level, it is 6.4 kilometres in length and only 21.3 metres (70
Clay is a finely-grained natural rock or soil material that combines one or more clay minerals with possible traces of quartz, metal oxides and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure. Clays are plastic due to particle size and geometry as well as water content, become hard and non–plastic upon drying or firing. Depending on the soil's content in which it is found, clay can appear in various colours from white to dull grey or brown to deep orange-red. Although many occurring deposits include both silts and clay, clays are distinguished from other fine-grained soils by differences in size and mineralogy. Silts, which are fine-grained soils that do not include clay minerals, tend to have larger particle sizes than clays. There is, some overlap in particle size and other physical properties; the distinction between silt and clay varies by discipline. Geologists and soil scientists consider the separation to occur at a particle size of 2 µm, sedimentologists use 4–5 μm, colloid chemists use 1 μm.
Geotechnical engineers distinguish between silts and clays based on the plasticity properties of the soil, as measured by the soils' Atterberg limits. ISO 14688 grades clay particles as being smaller than 2 silt particles as being larger. Mixtures of sand and less than 40% clay are called loam. Loam is used as a building material. Clay minerals form over long periods of time as a result of the gradual chemical weathering of rocks silicate-bearing, by low concentrations of carbonic acid and other diluted solvents; these solvents acidic, migrate through the weathering rock after leaching through upper weathered layers. In addition to the weathering process, some clay minerals are formed through hydrothermal activity. There are two types of clay deposits: secondary. Primary clays remain at the site of formation. Secondary clays are clays that have been transported from their original location by water erosion and deposited in a new sedimentary deposit. Clay deposits are associated with low energy depositional environments such as large lakes and marine basins.
Depending on the academic source, there are three or four main groups of clays: kaolinite, montmorillonite-smectite and chlorite. Chlorites are not always considered to be a clay, sometimes being classified as a separate group within the phyllosilicates. There are 30 different types of "pure" clays in these categories, but most "natural" clay deposits are mixtures of these different types, along with other weathered minerals. Varve is clay with visible annual layers, which are formed by seasonal deposition of those layers and are marked by differences in erosion and organic content; this type of deposit is common in former glacial lakes. When fine sediments are delivered into the calm waters of these glacial lake basins away from the shoreline, they settle to the lake bed; the resulting seasonal layering is preserved in an distribution of clay sediment banding. Quick clay is a unique type of marine clay indigenous to the glaciated terrains of Norway, Northern Ireland, Sweden, it is a sensitive clay, prone to liquefaction, involved in several deadly landslides.
Powder X-ray diffraction can be used to identify clays. The physical and reactive chemical properties can be used to help elucidate the composition of clays. Clays exhibit plasticity. However, when dry, clay becomes firm and when fired in a kiln, permanent physical and chemical changes occur; these changes convert the clay into a ceramic material. Because of these properties, clay is used for making pottery, both utilitarian and decorative, construction products, such as bricks and floor tiles. Different types of clay, when used with different minerals and firing conditions, are used to produce earthenware and porcelain. Prehistoric humans discovered the useful properties of clay; some of the earliest pottery shards recovered are from Japan. They are associated with the Jōmon culture and deposits they were recovered from have been dated to around 14,000 BC. Clay tablets were the first known writing medium. Scribes wrote by inscribing them with cuneiform script using a blunt reed called a stylus. Purpose-made clay balls were used as sling ammunition.
Clays sintered in fire were the first form of ceramic. Bricks, cooking pots, art objects, smoking pipes, musical instruments such as the ocarina can all be shaped from clay before being fired. Clay is used in many industrial processes, such as paper making, cement production, chemical filtering; until the late 20th century, bentonite clay was used as a mold binder in the manufacture of sand castings. Clay, being impermeable to water, is used where natural seals are needed, such as in the cores of dams, or as a barrier in landfills against toxic seepage. Studies in the early 21st century have investigated clay's absorption capacities in various applications, such as the removal of heavy metals from waste water and air purification. Traditional uses of clay as medicine goes back to prehistoric times. An example is Armenian bole, used to soothe an upset stomach; some animals such as parrots and pigs ingest clay for similar reasons. Kaolin clay and attapulgite have been used as anti-diarrheal medicines.
Clay as the defining ingredient of loam is one of the oldest building materials on Earth, among other
Jean-Baptiste Regnault was a French painter. Regnault was born in Paris, began life at sea in a merchant vessel. At the age of fifteen his talent attracted attention, he was sent to Italy by M. de Monval under the care of Bardin. After his return to Paris, Regnault, in 1776, won the Grand Prix for his painting Alexandre and Diogène, in 1783 he was elected Academician, his diploma picture, the Education of Achilles by Chiron, is now in the Louvre, as the Christ taken down from the Cross executed for the royal chapel at Fontainebleau, two minor works – the Origin of Painting and Pygmalion praying Venus to give Life to his Statue. Besides various small pictures and allegorical subjects, Regnault was the author of many large historical paintings. Besides Merry-Joseph Blondel, Pierre-Narcisse Guérin, Robert Lefèvre, Henriette Lorimier, Jean-Baptiste Regnault's students include: Godefroy Engelmann, Louis Hersent, Charles Paul Landon, Hippolyte Lecomte, Jacques Réattu, Jean-Hilaire Belloc. Jean-Baptiste Regnault was married first to Sophie Meyer Sophie Félicité Beaucourt.
He died in Paris. He is buried in Père-Lachaise Cemetery. Alexandre et Diogène, ou Diogéne Visité par Alexandre L'Éducation d'Achille, Musée du Louvre. Déscente de Croix, Musée du Louvre. Oreste et Iphigénie en Tauride. Le Déluge,? Musée du Louvre. Socrate arrachant Alcibiade des bras Musée du Louvre. La Liberté ou la Kunsthalle Hamburg. Les Trois Grâces, Musée du Louvre. Desaix recevant la mort à la bataille de Marengo, Musée du château, Versailles. Portrait de Napoléon au camp de Boulogne. La Marche triomphale de Napoléon Ier vers le temple de l'immortalité. Mariage du prince Jérôme et de la princesse de Wurtemberg. "The Judgement of Paris", Detroit Institute of Art, donation from Cristina and Henry Ford II. La Toilette de Vénus, National Gallery of Victoria. L'Amour et l'Hymen buvant dans la coupe de l'Amitié, Musée Bossuet, gift of Professeur Changeux. Jupiter et Io, Musée des Beaux-Arts Cupidon et Psyché. Pygmalion et sa statue, L'origine de la peinture, This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed..
"Regnault, Jean Baptiste". Encyclopædia Britannica. 23. Cambridge University Press. P. 46. Jean-Baptiste Regnault in Artcyclopedia
Sicyon or Sikyon was an ancient Greek city state situated in the northern Peloponnesus between Corinth and Achaea on the territory of the present-day regional unit of Corinthia. An ancient monarchy at the times of the Trojan War, the city was ruled by a number of tyrants during the Archaic and Classical period and became a democracy in the 3rd century BC. Sicyon was celebrated for its contributions to ancient Greek art, producing many famous painters and sculptors. In Hellenistic times it was the home of Aratus of Sicyon, the leader of the Achaean League. Sicyon was built on a low triangular plateau about 3 kilometres from the Corinthian Gulf. Between the city and its port lay a fertile plain with olive groves and orchards. In Mycenean times Sicyon had been ruled by a line of twenty-six mythical kings and seven priests of Apollo; the king-list given by Pausanias comprises twenty-four kings, beginning with the autochthonous Aegialeus. The penultimate king of the list, compels the submission of Sicyon to Mycenae.
Pausanias shares his source with Castor of Rhodes, who used the king-list in compiling tables of history. After the Dorian invasion the city remained subject to Argos; the community was now divided into the ordinary three Dorian tribes and an privileged tribe of Ionians, besides which a class of serfs lived on and worked the land. For some centuries the suzerainty remained, but after 676 BC Sicyon regained its independence under a line of tyrants called the Orthagorides after the name of the first ruler Orthagoras; the most important however was the founder's grandson Cleisthenes, the uncle of the Athenian legislator Cleisthenes, who ruled from 600 to 560 BC. Besides reforming the city's constitution to the advantage of the Ionians and replacing Dorian cults with the worship of Dionysus, Cleisthenes gained a reputation as the chief instigator and general of the First Sacred War in the interests of the Delphians, his successor Aeschines was expelled by the Spartans in 556 BC and Sicyon became an ally of the Lacedaemonians for more than a century.
During this time, the Sicyonians developed the various industries for which they were known in antiquity. As the abode of the sculptors Dipoenus and Scyllis it gained pre-eminence in woodcarving and bronze work such as is still to be seen in the archaic metal facings found at Olympia, its pottery, which resembled Corinthian ware, was exported with the latter as far as Etruria. In Sicyon the art of painting was supposed to have been invented. After the fall of the tyrants their institutions survived until the end of the 6th century BC, when Dorian supremacy was re-established by the agency of Sparta under the ephor Chilon, the city was enrolled in the Peloponnesian League. Henceforth, its policy was determined either by Sparta or Corinth. During the Persian Wars, the Sicyonians participated with fifteen triremes in the Battle of Salamis and with 3,000 hoplites in the Battle of Plataea. On the Delphic Serpent Column celebrating the victory Sicyon was named in fifth place after Sparta, Athens and Tegea.
In September 479 BC a Sicyonian contingent fought bravely in the Battle of Mycale, where they lost more men than any other city. In the 5th century BC, like Corinth, suffered from the commercial rivalry of Athens in the western seas, was harassed by squadrons of Athenian ships; the Sicyonians fought two battles against the Athenians, first against their admiral Tolmides in 455 BC and in a land battle against Pericles with 1000 hoplites in 453 BC. In the Peloponnesian War Sicyon followed the lead of Corinth; when these two powers quarrelled during the peace of Nicias, it remained loyal to the Spartans. At the reprise of the war, during the Athenian expedition in Sicily, the Sicyonians contributed 200 pressed hoplites under their commander Sargeus to the force that relieved Syracuse. At the beginning of the 4th century, in the Corinthian war, Sicyon sided again with Sparta and became its base of operations against the allied troops round Corinth. In 369 BC Sicyon was captured and garrisoned by the Thebans in their successful attack on the Peloponnesian League.
From 368 to 366 BC Sicyon was ruled by Euphron who first favoured democracy, but made himself tyrant. Euphron was killed in Thebes by a group af Sicyonian aristocrats, but his compatriots buried him in his home town and continued to honour him like the second founder of the city. During the 4th century BC, the city reached its zenith as a centre of art: its school of painting gained fame under Eupompus and attracted the great masters Pamphilus and Apelles as students, while Lysippus and his pupils raised the Sicyonian sculpture to a level hardly surpassed anywhere else in Greece; the tyrant Aristratus, a friend of the Macedonian royal family, had himself portrayed by the painter Melanthius aside the goddess of victory Nike on a chariot. In this period Sicyon was the undipusted center of Greek painting with its school attracting famous artists from all over Greece, including the celebrated Apelles and Pausias. In 323 BC Euphron the Younger, a grandson of the tyrant Euphron, reintroduced a democracy, but was soon conquered by the Macedonians.
When the Macedonian commander Alexander was murdered in Sicyon in 314 BC, his wife Cratesipolis took control of the city and ruled it for six years, until she was induced by king Ptolemy I to hand it over to the Egyptians. In 303 BC Sicyon was conquered by Demetrius Poliorcetes who razed the ancient city in the plain
Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder was a Roman author and natural philosopher, a naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, friend of emperor Vespasian. Spending most of his spare time studying and investigating natural and geographic phenomena in the field, Pliny wrote the encyclopedic Naturalis Historia, which became an editorial model for encyclopedias, his nephew, Pliny the Younger, wrote of him in a letter to the historian Tacitus: For my part I deem those blessed to whom, by favour of the gods, it has been granted either to do what is worth writing of, or to write what is worth reading. In the latter number will be my uncle, of your compositions. Pliny the Younger refers to Tacitus’s reliance upon his uncle's book, the History of the German Wars. Pliny the Elder died in AD 79 in Stabiae while attempting the rescue of a friend and his family by ship from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which had destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum; the wind caused by the sixth and largest pyroclastic surge of the volcano’s eruption did not allow his ship to leave port, Pliny died during that event.
Pliny's dates are pinned to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 and a statement of his nephew that he died in his 56th year, which would put his birth in AD 23 or 24. Pliny was the son of an equestrian, Gaius Plinius Celer, his wife, Marcella. Neither the younger nor the elder Pliny mention the names, their ultimate source is a fragmentary inscription found in a field in Verona and recorded by the 16th-century Augustinian monk Onofrio Panvinio at Verona. The form is an elegy; the most accepted reconstruction is PLINIVS SECVNDVS AVGV. LERI. PATRI. MATRI. MARCELLAE. TESTAMENTO FIERI IVSSOThe Vs represent Us, it should say "Plinius Secundus augur ordered this to be made as a testament to his father ler and his mother Marcella"The actual words are fragmentary. The reading of the inscription depends on the reconstruction, but in all cases the names come through. Whether he was an augur and whether she was named Grania Marcella are less certain. Jean Hardouin presents a statement from an unknown source that he claims was ancient, that Pliny was from Verona and that his parents were Celer and Marcella.
Hardouin cites the conterraneity of Catullus. How the inscription got to Verona is unknown, but it could have arrived by dispersal of property from Pliny the Younger's Tuscan estate at Colle Plinio, north of Città di Castello, identified for certain by his initials in the roof tiles, he kept statues of his ancestors there. Pliny the Elder was born at Como, not at Verona: it is only as a native of old Gallia Transpadana that he calls Catullus of Verona his conterraneus, or fellow-countryman, not his municeps, or fellow-townsman. A statue of Pliny on the façade of the Duomo of Como celebrates him as a native son, he had a sister, who married into the Caecilii and was the mother of his nephew, Pliny the Younger, whose letters describe his work and study regimen in detail. In one of his letters to Tacitus, Pliny the Younger details how his uncle's breakfasts would be light and simple following the customs of our forefathers; this shows that Pliny the Younger wanted it to be conveyed that Pliny the Elder was a "good Roman", which means that he maintained the customs of the great Roman forefathers.
This statement would have pleased Tacitus. Two inscriptions identifying the hometown of Pliny the Younger as Como take precedence over the Verona theory. One commemorates the younger's career as the imperial magistrate and details his considerable charitable and municipal expenses on behalf of the people of Como. Another identifies his father Lucius' village as Fecchio near Como. Therefore, Plinia was a local girl and Pliny the Elder, her brother, was from Como. Gaius was a member of the Plinia gens: the insubric root Plina still persists, with rhotacism, in the local surname "Prina", he did not take his father's cognomen, but assumed his own, Secundus. As his adopted son took the same cognomen, Pliny founded the Plinii Secundi; the family was prosperous. No earlier instances of the Plinii are known. In 59 BC, only about 82 years before Pliny's birth, Julius Caesar founded Novum Comum as a colonia to secure the region against the Alpine tribes, whom he had been unable to defeat, he imported a population of 4,500 from other provinces to be placed in Comasco and 500 aristocratic Greeks to found Novum Comum itself.
The community was thus multi-ethnic and the Plinies could have come from anywhere. No record of any ethnic distinctions in Pliny's time is apparent; the population prided themselves on being Roman citizens. Pliny the Elder had no children. In his will, he adopted his nephew; the adoption is called a "testamental adoption" by writers on the topic, who assert that it applied to the name change only, but Roman jurisprudence recognizes no such category. Pliny the Younger thus became the adopted son of Pliny the Elder after the latter's death. Fo
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