The island of Delos, near Mykonos, near the centre of the Cyclades archipelago, is one of the most important mythological and archaeological sites in Greece. Delos had a position as a sanctuary for a millennium before Olympian Greek mythology made it the birthplace of Apollo. Established as a center, Delos had an importance that its natural resources could never have offered. Investigation of ancient stone huts found on the island indicate that it has been inhabited since the 3rd millennium BCE, thucydides identifies the original inhabitants as piratical Carians who were eventually expelled by King Minos of Crete. By the time of the Odyssey the island was famous as the birthplace of the twin gods Apollo. Indeed, between 900 BCE and 100 CE, sacred Delos was a cult centre, where Dionysus is in evidence as well as the Titaness Leto. Eventually acquiring Panhellenic religious significance, Delos was initially a religious pilgrimage for the Ionians, a number of purifications were executed by the city-state of Athens in an attempt to render the island fit for the proper worship of the gods.
The first took place in the 6th century BC, directed by the tyrant Pisistratus who ordered that all graves within sight of the temple be dug up and the bodies moved to another nearby island. In the 5th century, during the 6th year of the Peloponnesian war and under instruction from the Delphic Oracle, immediately after this purification, the first quinquennial festival of the Delian games were celebrated there. The island had no capacity for food, fiber, or timber. Limited water was exploited with a cistern and aqueduct system, wells. Strabo states that in 166 BCE the Romans converted Delos into a free port, Roman traders came to purchase tens of thousands of slaves captured by the Cilician pirates or captured in the wars following the disintegration of the Seleucid Empire. It became the center of the trade, with the largest slave market in the larger region being maintained here. The island was attacked in 88 BCE by the troops of Mithridates VI of Pontus, an enemy of Rome. Another devastating attack was by pirates in 69 BCE, before the end of the 1st century BCE, trade routes had changed, Delos was replaced by Puteoli as the chief focus of Italian trade with the East, and as a cult-centre too it entered a sharp decline.
Due to the history, Delos - unlike other Greek islands - did not have an indigenous. As a result, in times it became uninhabited. Since 1872 the École française dAthènes has been excavating the island, in 1990, UNESCO inscribed Delos on the World Heritage List, citing it as the exceptionally extensive and rich archaeological site which conveys the image of a great cosmopolitan Mediterranean port
Second Persian invasion of Greece
The second Persian invasion of Greece occurred during the Greco-Persian Wars, as King Xerxes I of Persia sought to conquer all of Greece. The invasion was a direct, if delayed, response to the defeat of the first Persian invasion of Greece at the Battle of Marathon, after Dariuss death, his son Xerxes spent several years planning for the second invasion, mustering an enormous army and navy. The Athenians and Spartans led the Greek resistance, about a tenth of the Greek city-states joined the Allied effort, most remained neutral or submitted to Xerxes. The invasion began in spring 480 BC, when the Persian army crossed the Hellespont and marched through Thrace and Macedon to Thessaly. At the famous Battle of Thermopylae, the Allied army held back the Persian army for seven days, before they were outflanked by a mountain path and the Allied rearguard was trapped and annihilated. The Allied fleet had withstood two days of Persian attacks at the Battle of Artemisium, but when news reached them of the disaster at Thermopylae, after Thermopylae, all of Boeotia and Attica fell to the Persian army, which captured and burnt Athens.
However, a larger Allied army fortified the narrow Isthmus of Corinth, both sides thus sought a naval victory that might decisively alter the course of the war. The following spring, the Allies assembled the largest ever hoplite army, at the ensuing Battle of Plataea, the Greek infantry again proved its superiority, inflicting a severe defeat on the Persians and killing Mardonius in the process. On the same day, across the Aegean Sea an Allied navy destroyed the remnants of the Persian navy at the Battle of Mycale, with this double defeat, the invasion was ended, and Persian power in the Aegean severely dented. The Greeks would now move to the offensive, eventually expelling the Persians from Europe, the main source for the Great Greco-Persian Wars is the Greek historian Herodotus. Herodotus, who has called the Father of History, was born in 484 BC in Halicarnassus. He wrote his Enquiries around 440–430 BC, trying to trace the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars, Herodotuss approach was entirely novel, and at least in Western society, he does seem to have invented history as we know it.
Some subsequent ancient historians, despite following in his footsteps, criticised Herodotus, Thucydides chose to begin his history where Herodotus left off, and therefore evidently felt that Herodotuss history was accurate enough not to need re-writing or correcting. A negative view of Herodotus was passed on to Renaissance Europe, since the 19th century his reputation has been dramatically rehabilitated by archaeological finds that have repeatedly confirmed his version of events. The prevailing modern view is that Herodotus generally did a job in his Historia. Nevertheless, there are some historians who believe Herodotus made up much of his story. This account is consistent with Herodotuss. The Greco-Persian wars are described in detail by a number of other ancient historians including Plutarch, Ctesias
Theseus was a founder-hero, like Perseus, Cadmus, or Heracles, all of whom battled and overcame foes that were identified with an archaic religious and social order. As Heracles was the Dorian hero, Theseus was a hero, considered by Athenians as their own great reformer, his name comes from the same root as θεσμός. The myths surrounding Theseus—his journeys and family—have provided material for fiction throughout the ages, Theseus was responsible for the synoikismos —the political unification of Attica under Athens, represented emblematically in his journey of labours, subduing ogres and monstrous beasts. Because he was the king, Theseus built and occupied a palace on the fortress of the Acropolis that may have been similar to the palace that was excavated in Mycenae. Pausanias reports that after the synoikismos, Theseus established a cult of Aphrodite Pandemos, Plutarchs vita of Theseus makes use of varying accounts of the death of the Minotaur, Theseus escape, and the love of Ariadne for Theseus.
Plutarchs sources, not all of whose texts have survived independently, included Pherecydes, Philochorus, one of the primordial kings of Athens, was childless. Desiring an heir, he asked the oracle at Delphi for advice and her cryptic words were Do not loosen the bulging mouth of the wineskin until you have reached the height of Athens, lest you die of grief. Aegeus did not understand the prophecy and was disappointed and he asked the advice of his host Pittheus, king of Troezen. Pittheus understood the prophecy, got Aegeus drunk, and gave Aegeus his daughter Aethra, but following the instructions of Athena in a dream, Aethra left the sleeping Aegeus and waded across to the island of Sphairia that lay close to Troezens shore. There she poured a libation to Sphairos and Poseidon, and was possessed by the sea god in the night. The mix gave Theseus a combination of divine as well as mortal characteristics in his nature, such double paternity, with one immortal, after Aethra became pregnant, Aegeus decided to return to Athens.
In Athens, Aegeus was joined by Medea, who had left Corinth after slaughtering the children she had borne and consort together represented the old order in Athens. Thus Theseus was raised in his mothers land, when Theseus grew up and became a brave young man, he moved the rock and recovered his fathers tokens. His mother told him the truth about his fathers identity, young and ambitious, Theseus decided to go alone by the land route and defeated a great many bandits along the way. At the Isthmian entrance to the Underworld was a robber named Sinis and he would capture travelers, tie them between two pine trees that were bent down to the ground, and let the trees go, tearing his victims apart. Theseus killed him by his own method and he became intimate with Siniss daughter, fathering the child Melanippus. In another deed north of the Isthmus, at a place called Crommyon, he killed an enormous pig, some versions name the sow herself as Phaea. The Bibliotheca described the Crommyonian Sow as an offspring of Typhon, near Megara, an elderly robber named Sciron forced travellers along the narrow cliff-face pathway to wash his feet
Ancient Olympic Games
The Olympic Games were a series of athletic competitions among representatives of city-states and one of the Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece. They were held in honor of Zeus, and the Greeks gave them a mythological origin, the first Olympics is traditionally dated to 776 BC. The games were held four years, or olympiad, which became a unit of time in historical chronologies. During the celebration of the games, an Olympic Truce was enacted so that athletes could travel from their cities to the games in safety, the prizes for the victors were olive leaf wreaths or crowns. The games became a tool used by city-states to assert dominance over their rivals. Politicians would announce political alliances at the games, and in times of war, the games were used to help spread Hellenistic culture throughout the Mediterranean. The Olympics featured religious celebrations, the statue of Zeus at Olympia was counted as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Sculptors and poets would congregate each olympiad to display their works of art to would-be patrons, the ancient Olympics had fewer events than the modern games, and only freeborn Greek men were allowed to participate, although there were victorious women chariot owners.
The games were held at Olympia rather than moving between different locations as is the practice with the modern Olympic Games. Victors at the Olympics were honored, and their feats chronicled for future generations, to the Greeks, it was important to root the Olympic Games in mythology. During the time of the ancient games their origins were attributed to the gods and these origin traditions have become nearly impossible to untangle, yet a chronology and patterns have arisen that help people understand the story behind the games. The earliest myths regarding the origin of the games are recounted by the Greek historian, according to the story, the dactyl Heracles and four of his brothers, Epimedes and Idas, raced at Olympia to entertain the newborn Zeus. He crowned the victor with an olive wreath, which explains the four year interval. The other Olympian gods would engage in wrestling and running contests, another myth of the origin of the games is the story of Pelops, a local Olympian hero.
The story of Pelops begins with Oenomaus, the king of Pisa, according to an oracle, the king would be killed by her husband. Now, the kings chariot horses were a present from the god Poseidon and were therefore supernaturally fast, Pelops was a very handsome young man and the kings daughter fell in love with him. Before the race, she persuaded her fathers charioteer Myrtilus to replace the bronze axle pins of the chariot with wax ones. Naturally, during the race the wax melted and the fell from his chariot and was killed
Xerxes I, called Xerxes the Great, was the fourth king of kings of the Achaemenid dynasty of Persia. He ruled from 486 BC until his assassination in 465 BC at the hands of Artabanus, Xerxes I is most likely the Persian king identified as Ahasuerus in the biblical Book of Esther. He is notable in Western history for his invasion of Greece in 480 BC. Like his predecessor Darius I, he ruled the empire at its territorial apex and his forces temporarily overran mainland Greece north of the Isthmus of Corinth until the losses at Salamis and Plataea a year reversed these gains and ended the second invasion decisively. Xerxes was born to Darius I and Atossa and Atossa were both Achaemenids as they were both descendants of Achaemenes. While Darius was preparing for war against Greece, a revolt spurred in Egypt in 486 BC due to heavy taxes. Under Persian law, the king was required to choose a successor before setting out on dangerous expeditions, when Darius decided to leave, Darius prepared his tomb at Naqsh-e Rustam and appointed Xerxes, his eldest son by Atossa, as his successor.
However, Darius could not lead the campaign due to his failing health, Xerxes was crowned and succeeded his father in October–December 486 BC when he was about 36 years old. Almost immediately, Xerxes crushed revolts in Egypt and Babylon that had broken out the year before, and appointed his brother Achaemenes as satrap over Egypt. In 484 BC, he outraged the Babylonians by violently confiscating and melting down the statue of Bel. This comes from the Daiva Inscriptions of Xerxes, lines 6-13, although Herodotus report in the Histories has created debate concerning Xerxess religious beliefs, modern scholars consider him a Zoroastrian. According to the Greek historian Herodotus, Xerxess first attempt to bridge the Hellespont ended in failure when a storm destroyed the flax, in retaliation, Xerxes ordered the Hellespont whipped three hundred times, and had fetters thrown into the water. Xerxess second attempt to bridge the Hellespont was successful, many smaller Greek states, took the side of the Persians, especially Thessaly and Argos.
Xerxes was victorious during the initial battles, Xerxes set out in the spring of 480 BC from Sardis with a fleet and army which Herodotus estimated was roughly one million strong along with 10,000 elite warriors named the Persian Immortals. More recent estimates place the Persian force at around 60,000 combatants, at the Battle of Thermopylae, a small force of Greek warriors led by King Leonidas of Sparta resisted the much larger Persian forces, but were ultimately defeated. According to Herodotus, the Persians broke the Spartan phalanx after a Greek man called Ephialtes betrayed his country by telling the Persians of another pass around the mountains. At Artemisium, large storms had destroyed ships from the Greek side and so the battle stopped prematurely as the Greeks received news of the defeat at Thermopylae, most of the Athenians had abandoned the city and fled to the island of Salamis before Xerxes arrived. A small group attempted to defend the Athenian Acropolis, but they were defeated, Xerxes burnt the city, leaving an archaeologically attested destruction layer, known as the Perserschutt
Sparta was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece. In antiquity the city-state was known as Lacedaemon, while the name Sparta referred to its settlement on the banks of the Eurotas River in Laconia. Around 650 BC, it rose to become the dominant military land-power in ancient Greece, given its military pre-eminence, Sparta was recognized as the overall leader of the combined Greek forces during the Greco-Persian Wars. Between 431 and 404 BC, Sparta was the enemy of Athens during the Peloponnesian War, from which it emerged victorious. Spartas defeat by Thebes in the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC ended Spartas prominent role in Greece, however, it maintained its political independence until the Roman conquest of Greece in 146 BC. It underwent a period of decline, especially in the Middle Ages. Modern Sparta is the capital of the Greek regional unit of Laconia, Sparta was unique in ancient Greece for its social system and constitution, which completely focused on military training and excellence.
Its inhabitants were classified as Spartiates, perioikoi, Spartiates underwent the rigorous agoge training and education regimen, and Spartan phalanges were widely considered to be among the best in battle. Spartan women enjoyed more rights and equality to men than elsewhere in the classical world. Sparta was the subject of fascination in its own day, as well as in the West following the revival of classical learning and this love or admiration of Sparta is known as Laconism or Laconophilia. At its peak around 500 BC the size of the city would have been some 20,000 –35,000 free residents, plus numerous helots, olliers theory of the Spartan mirage has been widely accepted by scholars. The ancient Greeks used one of three words to refer to the location of the Spartans. The first refers primarily to the cluster of settlements in the valley of the Eurotas River. The second word was Lacedaemon, this was used sometimes as an adjective and is the name commonly used in the works of Homer. Herodotus seems to denote by it the Mycenaean Greek citadel at Therapne and it could be used synonymously with Sparta, but typically it was not.
It denoted the terrain on which Sparta was situated, in Homer it is typically combined with epithets of the countryside, lovely and most often hollow and broken. The hollow suggests the Eurotas Valley, Sparta on the other hand is the country of lovely women, a people epithet. The name of the population was used for the state of Lacedaemon
Aristides was an ancient Athenian statesman. Nicknamed the Just, he flourished in the quarter of Athens Classical period and is remembered for his generalship in the Persian War. The ancient historian Herodotus cited him as the best and most honourable man in Athens, Aristides was the son of Lysimachus, and a member of a family of moderate fortune. Of his early life, it is told that he became a follower of the statesman Cleisthenes. Pursuing a conservative policy to maintain Athens as a land power, the conflict between the two leaders ended in the ostracism of Aristides at a date variously given between 485 and 482. It is said that, on occasion, an illiterate voter who did not recognise Aristides approached the statesman. The latter asked if Aristides had wronged him, no, was the reply, and I do not even know him, but it irritates me to hear him everywhere called the Just. Aristides wrote his own name on the ballot, early in 480, Aristides profited by the decree recalling exiles to help in the defence of Athens against Persian invaders, and was elected strategos for the year 480–479.
His assessment was universally accepted as equitable, and continued as the basis of taxation for the part of the league’s duration. He continued to hold a predominant position in Athens, at first he seems to have remained on good terms with Themistocles, whom he is said to have helped in outwitting the Spartans over the rebuilding of the walls of Athens. He is said by authorities to have died at Athens. The date of his death is given by Nepos as 468, at any rate, he lived to witness the ostracism of Themistocles, towards whom he always displayed generosity, Herodotus is practically the only trustworthy authority on Aristides life. Aristides is praised by Socrates in Platos dialogues Gorgias and Meno as an instance of good leadership. This article incorporates text from a now in the public domain, Hugh
Byzantium was an ancient Greek colony that became Constantinople, and still Istanbul. Byzantium was colonised by the Greeks from Megara in c. 657 BC, the etymology of Byzantion is unknown. It has been suggested that the name is of Thraco-Illyrian origin and it may be derived from a Thracian or Illyrian personal name, Byzas. Ancient Greek legend refers to a king Byzas, the leader of the Megarian colonists, the form Byzantium is a Latinisation of the original name. Much later, the name Byzantium became common in the West to refer to the Eastern Roman Empire and this usage was introduced only in 1555 by the historian Hieronymus Wolf, a century after the empire had ceased to exist. During the time of the empire, the term Byzantium was restricted to just the city, the European side featured only two fishing settlements and Semistra. The origins of Byzantium are shrouded in legend, the traditional legend has it that Byzas from Megara founded Byzantium in 667 BC when he sailed northeast across the Aegean Sea.
The tradition tells that Byzas, son of King Nisos, planned to found a colony of the Dorian Greek city of Megara, Byzas consulted the oracle of Apollo at Delphi, which instructed Byzas to settle opposite the Land of the Blind. Leading a group of Megarian colonists, Byzas found a location where the Golden Horn and he adjudged the Chalcedonians blind not to have recognized the advantages the land on the European side of the Bosphorus had over the Asiatic side. In 667 BC he founded Byzantium at their location, thus fulfilling the oracles requirement and it was mainly a trading city due to its location at the Black Seas only entrance. Byzantium conquered Chalcedon, across the Bosporus on the Asiatic side, Byzantium was besieged by Greek forces during the Peloponnesian War. As part of Spartas strategy for cutting off supplies to Athens. The Athenian military took the city in 408 BC, after siding with Pescennius Niger against the victorious Septimius Severus, the city was besieged by Roman forces and suffered extensive damage in 196 AD.
Byzantium was rebuilt by Septimius Severus, now emperor, and quickly regained its previous prosperity and it was bound to Perinthos during the period of Septimius Severus. The location of Byzantium attracted Roman Emperor Constantine I who, in 330 AD, after his death the city was called Constantinople. This combination of imperialism and location would affect Constantinoples role as the nexus between the continents of Europe and Asia and it was a commercial and diplomatic centre. With its strategic position, Constantinople controlled the trade routes between Asia and Europe, as well as the passage from the Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea. On May 29,1453, the city fell to the Ottoman Turks, and again became the capital of a powerful state, the Turks called the city Istanbul, the name derives from eis-tin-polin
The Greco-Persian Wars were a series of conflicts between the Achaemenid Empire of Persia and Greek city-states that started in 499 BC and lasted until 449 BC. The collision between the political world of the Greeks and the enormous empire of the Persians began when Cyrus the Great conquered the Greek-inhabited region of Ionia in 547 BC. Struggling to rule the cities of Ionia, the Persians appointed tyrants to rule each of them. This would prove to be the source of trouble for the Greeks. This was the beginning of the Ionian Revolt, which would last until 493 BC, Aristagoras secured military support from Athens and Eretria, and in 498 BC these forces helped to capture and burn the Persian regional capital of Sardis. The Persian king Darius the Great vowed to have revenge on Athens, the revolt continued, with the two sides effectively stalemated throughout 497–495 BC. In 494 BC, the Persians regrouped, and attacked the epicentre of the revolt in Miletus, at the Battle of Lade, the Ionians suffered a decisive defeat, and the rebellion collapsed, with the final members being stamped out the following year.
In 490 BC a second force was sent to Greece, this time across the Aegean Sea, under the command of Datis and this expedition subjugated the Cyclades, before besieging and razing Eretria. However, while en route to attack Athens, the Persian force was defeated by the Athenians at the Battle of Marathon. Darius began to plan to completely conquer Greece, but died in 486 BC, in 480 BC, Xerxes personally led the second Persian invasion of Greece with one of the largest ancient armies ever assembled. Victory over the allied Greek states at the famous Battle of Thermopylae allowed the Persians to torch an evacuated Athens, while seeking to destroy the combined Greek fleet, the Persians suffered a severe defeat at the Battle of Salamis. The following year, the confederated Greeks went on the offensive, defeating the Persian army at the Battle of Plataea, the allied Greeks followed up their success by destroying the rest of the Persian fleet at the Battle of Mycale, before expelling Persian garrisons from Sestos and Byzantium.
The Delian League continued to campaign against Persia for the three decades, beginning with the expulsion of the remaining Persian garrisons from Europe. At the Battle of the Eurymedon in 466 BC, the League won a victory that finally secured freedom for the cities of Ionia. However, the Leagues involvement in an Egyptian revolt resulted in a disastrous defeat, a Greek fleet was sent to Cyprus in 451 BC, but achieved little, and when it withdrew the Greco-Persian Wars drew to a quiet end. Some historical sources suggest the end of hostilities was marked by a treaty between Athens and Persia, the Peace of Callias. Almost all the sources for the Greco-Persian Wars are Greek. By some distance, the source for the Greco-Persian Wars is the Greek historian Herodotus
Cyprus, officially the Republic of Cyprus, is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean and the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean. It is located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel and Palestine, north of Egypt, the earliest known human activity on the island dates to around the 10th millennium BC. Archaeological remains from this include the well-preserved Neolithic village of Khirokitia. Cyprus was settled by Mycenaean Greeks in two waves in the 2nd millennium BC, Cyprus was placed under British administration based on Cyprus Convention in 1878 and formally annexed by Britain in 1914. While Turkish Cypriots made up 18% of the population, the partition of Cyprus and creation of a Turkish state in the north became a policy of Turkish Cypriot leaders, following nationalist violence in the 1950s, Cyprus was granted independence in 1960. On 15 July 1974, a coup détat was staged by Greek Cypriot nationalists and elements of the Greek military junta in an attempt at enosis and these events and the resulting political situation are matters of a continuing dispute.
The Cyprus Republic has de jure sovereignty over the island of Cyprus, as well as its territorial sea and exclusive economic area, another nearly 4% of the islands area is covered by the UN buffer zone. The international community considers the part of the island as territory of the Republic of Cyprus occupied by Turkish forces. The occupation is viewed as illegal under law, amounting to illegal occupation of EU territory since Cyprus became a member of the European Union. Cyprus is a major tourist destination in the Mediterranean, on 1 January 2008, the Republic of Cyprus joined the eurozone. The earliest attested reference to Cyprus is the 15th century BC Mycenaean Greek