Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. It is one of six civilizations to arise independently, Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh Narmer. In the aftermath of Alexander the Greats death, one of his generals, Ptolemy Soter and this Greek Ptolemaic Kingdom ruled Egypt until 30 BC, under Cleopatra, it fell to the Roman Empire and became a Roman province. The success of ancient Egyptian civilization came partly from its ability to adapt to the conditions of the Nile River valley for agriculture, the predictable flooding and controlled irrigation of the fertile valley produced surplus crops, which supported a more dense population, and social development and culture. Its art and architecture were widely copied, and its antiquities carried off to far corners of the world and its monumental ruins have inspired the imaginations of travelers and writers for centuries.
The Nile has been the lifeline of its region for much of human history, nomadic modern human hunter-gatherers began living in the Nile valley through the end of the Middle Pleistocene some 120,000 years ago. By the late Paleolithic period, the climate of Northern Africa became increasingly hot and dry. In Predynastic and Early Dynastic times, the Egyptian climate was less arid than it is today. Large regions of Egypt were covered in treed savanna and traversed by herds of grazing ungulates and fauna were far more prolific in all environs and the Nile region supported large populations of waterfowl. Hunting would have been common for Egyptians, and this is the period when many animals were first domesticated. The largest of these cultures in upper Egypt was the Badari, which probably originated in the Western Desert, it was known for its high quality ceramics, stone tools. The Badari was followed by the Amratian and Gerzeh cultures, which brought a number of technological improvements, as early as the Naqada I Period, predynastic Egyptians imported obsidian from Ethiopia, used to shape blades and other objects from flakes.
In Naqada II times, early evidence exists of contact with the Near East, particularly Canaan, establishing a power center at Hierakonpolis, and at Abydos, Naqada III leaders expanded their control of Egypt northwards along the Nile. They traded with Nubia to the south, the oases of the desert to the west. Royal Nubian burials at Qustul produced artifacts bearing the oldest-known examples of Egyptian dynastic symbols, such as the crown of Egypt. They developed a ceramic glaze known as faience, which was used well into the Roman Period to decorate cups and figurines. During the last predynastic phase, the Naqada culture began using written symbols that eventually were developed into a system of hieroglyphs for writing the ancient Egyptian language. The Early Dynastic Period was approximately contemporary to the early Sumerian-Akkadian civilisation of Mesopotamia, the third-century BC Egyptian priest Manetho grouped the long line of pharaohs from Menes to his own time into 30 dynasties, a system still used today
The reef knot, or square knot, is an ancient and simple binding knot used to secure a rope or line around an object. It is sometimes referred to as a Hercules knot. The knot is formed by tying an overhand knot and a right-handed overhand knot. A common mnemonic for this procedure is right over left, left over right, makes a knot both tidy and tight. Two consecutive overhands of the same handedness will make a granny knot, the working ends of the reef knot must emerge both at the top or both at the bottom, otherwise a thief knot results. The reef knot is at least 4,000 years old, the name reef knot dates from at least 1794 and originates from its common use to reef sails, that is to tie part of the sail down to decrease its effective surface area in strong winds. To release the knot a sailor could collapse it with a pull of one hand and it is specifically this behavior which makes the knot unsafe for connecting two ropes together. The name square knot is found in Danas 1841 maritime compendium A Seamans Friend, the name square knot is often used for the unslipped version of reef knot.
Reef knot itself is understood as the single slipped version, not really a double slipped reef knot. The reef knot is used to tie the two ends of a line together such that they will secure something, for example a bundle of objects. In addition to being used by sailors for reefing and furling sails, the knot lies flat when made with cloth and has been used for tying bandages for millennia. As a binding knot it was known to the ancient Greeks as the Hercules knot and is used extensively in medicine. In his Natural History, Pliny relates the belief that wounds heal more quickly when bound with a Hercules knot and it has been used since ancient times to tie belts and sashes. A modern use in this manner includes tying the obi of a martial arts keikogi, with both ends tucked it becomes a good way to tie shoelaces, whilst the non-slipped version is useful for shoelaces that are excessively short. It is appropriate for tying plastic garbage or trash bags, as the forms a handle when tied in two twisted edges of the bag.
The reef knot figures prominently in Scouting worldwide and it is included in the international membership badge and many scouting awards. In the Boy Scouts of America demonstrating the proper tying of the knot is a requirement for all boys joining the program. In Pioneering, it is used as a binding knot to finish off specialized lashing and whipping knots
The history of pre-Celtic Europe remains very uncertain. According to one theory, the root of the Celtic languages, the Proto-Celtic language, arose in the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture of Central Europe. Thus this area is called the Celtic homeland. The earliest undisputed examples of a Celtic language are the Lepontic inscriptions beginning in the 6th century BC. Continental Celtic languages are attested almost exclusively through inscriptions and place-names, Insular Celtic languages are attested beginning around the 4th century in Ogham inscriptions, although it was clearly being spoken much earlier. Celtic literary tradition begins with Old Irish texts around the 8th century, coherent texts of Early Irish literature, such as the Táin Bó Cúailnge, survive in 12th century recensions. Between the 5th and 8th centuries, the Celtic-speaking communities in these Atlantic regions emerged as a cohesive cultural entity. They had a linguistic and artistic heritage that distinguished them from the culture of the surrounding polities.
By the 6th century, the Continental Celtic languages were no longer in wide use, Insular Celtic culture diversified into that of the Gaels and the Celtic Britons of the medieval and modern periods. A modern Celtic identity was constructed as part of the Romanticist Celtic Revival in Great Britain, today, Scottish Gaelic and Breton are still spoken in parts of their historical territories, and Cornish and Manx are undergoing a revival. The first recorded use of the name of Celts – as Κελτοί – to refer to a group was by Hecataeus of Miletus, the Greek geographer, in 517 BC. In the fifth century BC Herodotus referred to Keltoi living around the head of the Danube, the etymology of the term Keltoi is unclear. Possible roots include Indo-European *kʲel ‘to hide’, IE *kʲel ‘to heat’ or *kel ‘to impel’, several authors have supposed it to be Celtic in origin, while others view it as a name coined by Greeks. Linguist Patrizia De Bernardo Stempel falls in the group. Yet he reports Celtic peoples in Iberia, and uses the ethnic names Celtiberi and Celtici for peoples there, as distinct from Lusitani, pliny the Elder cited the use of Celtici in Lusitania as a tribal surname, which epigraphic findings have confirmed.
Latin Gallus might stem from a Celtic ethnic or tribal name originally and its root may be the Proto-Celtic *galno, meaning “power, strength”, hence Old Irish gal “boldness, ferocity” and Welsh gallu “to be able, power”. The tribal names of Gallaeci and the Greek Γαλάται most probably have the same origin, the suffix -atai might be an Ancient Greek inflection. Proto-Germanic *walha is derived ultimately from the name of the Volcae and this means that English Gaul, despite its superficial similarity, is not actually derived from Latin Gallia, though it does refer to the same ancient region
Diodotus I Soter was Seleucid satrap of Bactria, rebelled against Seleucid rule soon after the death of Antiochus II in c.255 or 246 BC, and wrested independence for his territory. This event is recorded by Trogus, Prol,4,5, where he is called Theodotus, Strabo xi.515. The name apparently is related to the title Soter he uses for himself and his power seems to have extended over the neighbouring provinces. Diodotus was a contemporary, a neighbour, and probably an ally of Andragoras, the satrap of Parthia and their cities were Bactra, and Darapsa, and several others. Among these was Eucratidia, which was named after its ruler. The newly declared King married a daughter, born c.266 BC, of Antiochus II Theos, the Greco-Bactrians became cut from direct contacts with the Greek world. Overland trade continued at a rate, while sea trade between Greek Egypt and Bactria developed. When Seleucus II in 239 BC attempted to subjugate the rebels in the east, it appears he, of Diodotus I we possess gold and bronze coins, some of which are struck in the name of Antiochos.
Diodotus Soter appears on coins struck in his memory by the Graeco-Bactrian kings Agathocles, cf. AV Sallet, Die Nachfolger Alexanders d. Gr. in Baktrien und Indien, Percy Gardner, Catal. of the Coins of the Greek and Scythian Kings of Bactria and India
Rome is a special comune and the capital of Italy. Rome serves as the capital of the Lazio region, with 2,873,598 residents in 1,285 km2, it is the countrys largest and most populated comune and fourth-most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the center of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4.3 million residents, the city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio, along the shores of the Tiber. Romes history spans more than 2,500 years, while Roman mythology dates the founding of Rome at only around 753 BC, the site has been inhabited for much longer, making it one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe. The citys early population originated from a mix of Latins, Etruscans and it was first called The Eternal City by the Roman poet Tibullus in the 1st century BC, and the expression was taken up by Ovid and Livy. Rome is called the Caput Mundi, due to that, Rome became first one of the major centres of the Italian Renaissance, and the birthplace of both the Baroque style and Neoclassicism.
Famous artists, painters and architects made Rome the centre of their activity, in 1871 Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, and in 1946 that of the Italian Republic. Rome has the status of a global city, Rome ranked in 2014 as the 14th-most-visited city in the world, 3rd most visited in the European Union, and the most popular tourist attraction in Italy. Its historic centre is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and museums such as the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum are among the worlds most visited tourist destinations with both locations receiving millions of tourists a year. Rome hosted the 1960 Summer Olympics and is the seat of United Nations Food, however, it is a possibility that the name Romulus was actually derived from Rome itself. As early as the 4th century, there have been alternate theories proposed on the origin of the name Roma. There is archaeological evidence of occupation of the Rome area from approximately 14,000 years ago. Evidence of stone tools and stone weapons attest to about 10,000 years of human presence, several excavations support the view that Rome grew from pastoral settlements on the Palatine Hill built above the area of the future Roman Forum.
Between the end of the age and the beginning of the Iron age. However, none of them had yet an urban quality, there is a wide consensus that the city was gradually born through the aggregation of several villages around the largest one, placed above the Palatine. All these happenings, which according to the excavations took place more or less around the mid of the 8th century BC. Despite recent excavations at the Palatine hill, the view that Rome has been indeed founded with an act of will as the legend suggests in the middle of the 8th century BC remains a fringe hypothesis. Traditional stories handed down by the ancient Romans themselves explain the earliest history of their city in terms of legend and myth
Alexandria is the second largest city and a major economic centre in Egypt, extending about 32 km along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country. Its low elevation on the Nile delta makes it vulnerable to rising sea levels. Alexandria is Egypts largest seaport, serving approximately 80% of Egypts imports and exports and it is an important industrial center because of its natural gas and oil pipelines from Suez. Alexandria is an important tourist destination, Alexandria was founded around a small Ancient Egyptian town c.331 BC by Alexander the Great. Alexandria was the second most powerful city of the ancient world after Rome, Alexandria is believed to have been founded by Alexander the Great in April 331 BC as Ἀλεξάνδρεια. Alexanders chief architect for the project was Dinocrates, Alexandria was intended to supersede Naucratis as a Hellenistic center in Egypt, and to be the link between Greece and the rich Nile valley. The city and its museum attracted many of the greatest scholars, including Greeks, the city was plundered and lost its significance.
Just east of Alexandria, there was in ancient times marshland, as early as the 7th century BC, there existed important port cities of Canopus and Heracleion. The latter was rediscovered under water. An Egyptian city, already existed on the shore and it continued to exist as the Egyptian quarter of the city. A few months after the foundation, Alexander left Egypt and never returned to his city, after Alexanders departure, his viceroy, continued the expansion. Although Cleomenes was mainly in charge of overseeing Alexandrias continuous development, the Heptastadion, inheriting the trade of ruined Tyre and becoming the center of the new commerce between Europe and the Arabian and Indian East, the city grew in less than a generation to be larger than Carthage. In a century, Alexandria had become the largest city in the world and and it became Egypts main Greek city, with Greek people from diverse backgrounds. Alexandria was not only a center of Hellenism, but was home to the largest urban Jewish community in the world.
The Septuagint, a Greek version of the Tanakh, was produced there, in AD115, large parts of Alexandria were destroyed during the Kitos War, which gave Hadrian and his architect, Decriannus, an opportunity to rebuild it. On 21 July 365, Alexandria was devastated by a tsunami, the Islamic prophet, Muhammads first interaction with the people of Egypt occurred in 628, during the Expedition of Zaid ibn Haritha. He sent Hatib bin Abi Baltaeh with a letter to the king of Egypt and Alexandria called Muqawqis In the letter Muhammad said, I invite you to accept Islam, Allah the sublime, shall reward you doubly. But if you refuse to do so, you bear the burden of the transgression of all the Copts
For the wreath used in heraldry, see torse. A wreath is an assortment of flowers, fruits, in English-speaking countries, wreaths are used typically as household ornaments, mainly as an Advent and Christmas decoration. They are used in events in many cultures around the globe. Wreaths have much history and symbolism associated with them and they are usually made from evergreens and symbolize strength, as evergreens last even throughout the harshest winters. Bay laurel may be used, and these wreaths are known as laurel wreath, the word wreath comes from Middle English wrethe and from Old English writha, band. Wreaths were a used in ancient times in southern Europe. The most well-known are pieces of Etruscan civilization jewelry, made of gold or other precious metals, symbols from Greek myths often appear in the designs, embossed in precious metal at the ends of the wreath. Ancient Roman writers referred to Etruscan corona sutilis, which were wreaths with their leaves sewn onto a background and these wreaths resemble a diadem, with thin metal leaves being attached to an ornamental band.
Wreaths appear stamped into Etruscan medallions, the plants shown making the wreaths in Etruscan jewelry include ivy, olive leaves, laurel and vines. Wreaths were worn as crowns by Etruscan rulers, the Etruscan symbolism continued to be used in Ancient Greece and Rome. Roman magistrates wore golden wreaths as crowns, as a testament to their lineage back to Romes early Etruscan rulers. Roman magistrates used several other prominent Etruscan symbols in addition to a golden crown, fasces, a curule chair, a purple toga. In the Greco-Roman world, wreaths were used as an adornment that could represent a person’s occupation, their achievements, the wreath that was commonly used was the laurel wreath. The use of this comes from the Greek myth involving Apollo, Zeus’ son and the god of life and light. When he pursued her she fled and asked the river god Peneus to help her, Peneus turned her into a laurel tree. From that day, Apollo wore a wreath of laurel on his head, Laurel wreaths were used to crown victorious athletes at the original Olympic Games and are still worn in Italy by university students who just graduated.
Other types of plants used to make wreath crowns had symbolic meaning, for example, oak leaves symbolized wisdom, and were associated with Zeus, who according to Greek mythology made his decisions while resting in an oak grove. The Twelve Tables, dating to 450 BC, refer to funeral wreaths as a long-standing tradition, olive wreath was the prize for the winner at the ancient Olympic Games
Apotropaic magic is a type of magic intended to turn away harm or evil influences, as in deflecting misfortune or averting the evil eye. Apotropaic observances may be practiced out of superstition or out of tradition, as in good luck charm, amulets. The Greeks made offerings to the gods, chthonic deities and heroes who grant safety. Apotropaic magical rituals were practiced throughout the ancient Near East and Egypt, fearsome deities were invoked via ritual in order to protect individuals by warding away evil spirits. In ancient Egypt, these rituals were embodied by the deity who personified magic itself. The two gods most frequently invoked in these rituals were the hippopotamusiform fertility goddess, objects were often used in these rituals in order to facilitate communication with the gods. One of the most commonly found magical objects, the ivory apotropaic wand and these wands were used to protect expectant mothers and children from malevolent forces, and were adorned with processions of apotropaic solar deities.
Likewise, protective amulets bearing the likenesses of gods and goddesses like Taweret were commonly worn, water came to be used frequently in ritual as well, wherein libation vessels in the shape of Taweret were used to pour healing water over an individual. The full figure of the Gorgon holds the apex of the oldest remaining Greek temple where she is flanked by two lionesses, the Gorgon head was mounted on the aegis and shield of Athena. Eyes were often painted to ward off the evil eye, an exaggerated apotropaic eye or a pair of eyes were painted on Greek drinking vessels called kylikes from the 6th century BC. The exaggerated eyes may have prevented evil spirits from entering the mouth while drinking, fishing boats in some parts of the Mediterranean region still have stylised eyes painted on the bows. A Turkish budget airline, Fly Havayolu Taşımacılık A. Ş. had adopted the symbol as a motif for the vertical stabilizer of its aeroplanes. The Yiddish expression, Kain ein horeh is apotropaic in nature, people believed that the doorways and windows of buildings were particularly vulnerable to the entry or passage of evil.
On churches and castles, gargoyles or other grotesque faces and figures such as sheela na gigs and hunky punks were carved to frighten away witches, figures may have been carved at fireplaces or chimneys, in some cases, simple geometric or letter carvings were used for these. When a wooden post was used to support a chimney opening, to discourage witchcraft, rowan wood may have been chosen for the post or mantel. Similarly the grotesque faces carved into pumpkin lanterns at Halloween are meant to avert evil, this season was Samhain, as a time between times, it was believed to be a period when souls of the dead and other dangerous spirits walked the earth. Many European peoples had such associations with the following the harvest in the fall. Mirrors and other objects were believed to deflect the evil eye
Mycenae is an archaeological site in Greece, located about 90 kilometres southwest of Athens, in the north-eastern Peloponnese. Argos is 11 kilometres to the south, Corinth,48 kilometres to the north, from the hill on which the palace was located, one can see across the Argolid to the Saronic Gulf. In the second millennium BC, Mycenae was one of the centres of Greek civilization. The period of Greek history from about 1600 BC to about 1100 BC is called Mycenaean in reference to Mycenae, at its peak in 1350 BC, the citadel and lower town had a population of 30,000 and an area of 32 hectares. Although the citadel was built by Greeks, the name Mukanai is thought not to be Greek, legend has it that the name was connected to the Greek word mycēs. Thus, Pausanias ascribes the name to the legendary founder Perseus, the earliest written form of the name is Mykēnē, which is found in Homer. The reconstructed Mycenaean Greek name of the site is Mukānai, which has the form of a plural like Athānai, the change of ā to ē in more recent versions of the name is the result of a well-known sound change in Attic-Ionic.
An EH–MH settlement was discovered near a well on top of the Kalkani hill southwest of the acropolis. The first burials in pits or cist graves manifest in the MH period on the west slope of the acropolis, during the Bronze Age, the pattern of settlement at Mycenae was a fortified hill surrounded by hamlets and estates, in contrast to the dense urbanity on the coast. Richer grave goods mark the burials as possibly regal, mounds over the top contained broken drinking vessels and bones from a repast, testifying to a more than ordinary farewell. A walled enclosure, Grave Circle A, included six more shaft graves, with nine female, eight male, Grave goods were more costly than in Circle B. The presence of engraved and inlaid swords and daggers, with points and arrowheads, leave little doubt that warrior chieftains. Some art objects obtained from the graves are the Silver Siege Rhyton, the Mask of Agamemnon, the Cup of Nestor, Alan Wace divided the nine tholos tombs of Mycenae into three groups of three, each based on architecture.
His earliest – the Cyclopean Tomb, Epano Phournos, and the Tomb of Aegisthus – are dated to LHIIA, burial in tholoi is seen as replacing burial in shaft graves. The care taken to preserve the shaft graves testifies that they were by part of the royal heritage, being more visible, the tholoi all had been plundered either in antiquity, or in historic times. Within these walls, much of which can still be seen, the final palace, remains of which are currently visible on the acropolis of Mycenae, dates to the start of LHIIIA,2. Earlier palaces must have existed, but they had cleared away or built over. The construction of palaces at that time with an architecture was general throughout southern Greece
Mithridates I of Parthia
Mithridates or Mithradates I, was king of the Parthian Empire from 165 BC to 132 BC, succeeding his brother Phraates I. His father was King Phriapatius of Parthia, who died ca.176 BC), Mithridates I made Parthia into a major political power by expanding the empire to the east and west. During his reign the Parthians took Herat, Babylonia and Persia, because of his many conquests and religious tolerance, he has been compared to other Iranian kings such Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Mithridates first expanded Parthias control eastward by defeating King Eucratides of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom and this gave Parthia control over Bactrias territory west of the Arius river, the regions of Margiana and Aria. The satrapy Turiva and that of Aspionus were taken away from Eucratides by the Parthians and these victories gave Parthia control of the overland trade routes between east and west. After defeating the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom in the east, Mithridates focused on the Seleucid realm and he invaded Media and occupied Ecbatana in 148 or 147 BC, the region had been destabilized by a recent Seleucid suppression of a rebellion there led by Timarchus.
This victory was followed by the Parthian conquest of Babylonia in Mesopotamia, while Mithridates retired to Hyrcania, his forces subdued the kingdoms of Elymais and Characene and occupied Susa. By this time, Parthian authority extended as far east as the Indus River, Ecbatana became the main summertime residence for the Arsacid royalty. It became the site of the coronation ceremony and the representational city of the Arsacids. The Seleucids were unable to retaliate immediately as general Diodotus Tryphon led a rebellion at the capital, however, by 140 BC Demetrius II Nicator was able to launch a counter-invasion against the Parthians in Mesopotamia. Despite early successes, the Seleucids were defeated and Demetrius himself was captured by Parthian forces, there Mithridates treated his captive with great hospitality, he even married his daughter Rhodogune of Parthia to Demetrius. When the two friends were captured, the Parthian king did not punish Kallimander but rewarded him for his fidelity to Demetrius.
The second time Demetrius was captured trying to escape, Mithridates humiliated him by giving him a golden set of dice. It was however for reasons that the Parthians treated Demetrius II kindly. He was held captive for ten years while Mithridates was consolidating his conquests, originally, it was thought that Mithridates was killed in battle near Seleucia, fighting the resurgent Seleucid forces under Antiochus VII Sidetes, brother of Demetrius II Nicator. However, recent evidence suggests that Mithridates became increasingly ill after 138 BC, Mithridates Is son, succeeded him on his death as King, and would avenge his father by invading Media and killing Antiochus VII Sidetes. The coins minted during his show the first appearance on Parthian coinage of a Greek-style portrait showing the royal diadem. Mithradates I resumed the striking of coins, which had been suspended ever since Arsaces II of Parthia had been forced to submit to the Seleucid Antiochus III in 206 BC
Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic, historically known as Hellas, is a country in southeastern Europe, with a population of approximately 11 million as of 2015. Athens is the capital and largest city, followed by Thessaloniki. Greece is strategically located at the crossroads of Europe, situated on the southern tip of the Balkan peninsula, it shares land borders with Albania to the northwest, the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, and Turkey to the northeast. Greece consists of nine regions, Central Greece, the Peloponnese, Epirus, the Aegean Islands, Crete. 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 vast number of islands, eighty percent of Greece is mountainous, with Mount Olympus being the highest peak at 2,918 metres. From the eighth century BC, the Greeks were organised into various independent city-states, known as polis, which spanned the entire Mediterranean region and the Black Sea.
Greece was annexed by Rome in the second century BC, becoming a part of the Roman Empire and its successor. The Greek Orthodox Church shaped 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. Greeces rich historical legacy is reflected by its 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, among the most in Europe, Greece is a democratic and developed country with an advanced high-income economy, a high quality of life, and a very high standard of living. A founding member of the United Nations, Greece was the member to join the European Communities and has been part of the Eurozone since 2001. Greeces unique cultural heritage, large industry, prominent shipping sector. It is the largest economy in the Balkans, where it is an important regional investor, the names for the nation of Greece and the Greek people differ from the names used in other languages and cultures.
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, all three stages of the stone age are represented in Greece, for example in the Franchthi Cave. Neolithic settlements in Greece, dating from the 7th millennium BC, are the oldest in Europe by several centuries and these civilizations possessed writing, the Minoans writing in an undeciphered script known as Linear A, and the Mycenaeans in Linear B, an early form of Greek. The Mycenaeans gradually absorbed the Minoans, but collapsed violently around 1200 BC and this ushered in a period known as the Greek Dark Ages, from which written records are absent. The end of the Dark Ages is traditionally dated to 776 BC, 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, in 508 BC, Cleisthenes instituted the worlds first democratic system of government in Athens
It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, several signal events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the period of transition during which the Roman Empires Greek East and Latin West divided. Constantine I reorganised the empire, made Constantinople the new capital, under Theodosius I, Christianity became the Empires official state religion and other religious practices were proscribed. Finally, under the reign of Heraclius, the Empires military, the borders of the Empire evolved significantly over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Maurice, the Empires eastern frontier was expanded, in a matter of years the Empire lost its richest provinces and Syria, to the Arabs. This battle opened the way for the Turks to settle in Anatolia, the Empire recovered again during the Komnenian restoration, such that by the 12th century Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest European city.
Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople in 1261, the Byzantine Empire remained only one of several small states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence. Its remaining territories were annexed by the Ottomans over the 15th century. The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 finally ended the Byzantine Empire, the term comes from Byzantium, the name of the city of Constantinople before it became Constantines capital. This older name of the city would rarely be used from this point onward except in historical or poetic contexts. The publication in 1648 of the Byzantine du Louvre, and in 1680 of Du Canges Historia Byzantina further popularised the use of Byzantine among French authors, however, it was not until the mid-19th century that the term came into general use in the Western world. The Byzantine Empire was known to its inhabitants as the Roman Empire, the Empire of the Romans, the Roman Republic, and as Rhōmais. The inhabitants called themselves Romaioi and Graikoi, and even as late as the 19th century Greeks typically referred to modern Greek as Romaika and Graikika.
The authority of the Byzantine emperor as the legitimate Roman emperor was challenged by the coronation of Charlemagne as Imperator Augustus by Pope Leo III in the year 800. No such distinction existed in the Islamic and Slavic worlds, where the Empire was more seen as the continuation of the Roman Empire. In the Islamic world, the Roman Empire was known primarily as Rûm, the Roman army succeeded in conquering many territories covering the entire Mediterranean region and coastal regions in southwestern Europe and north Africa. These territories were home to different cultural groups, both urban populations and rural populations. The West suffered heavily from the instability of the 3rd century AD