Jerusalem is a city in the Middle East, located on a plateau in the Judaean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions—Judaism and Islam. Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority claim Jerusalem as their capital, as Israel maintains its primary governmental institutions there and the State of Palestine foresees it as its seat of power. During its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times and recaptured 44 times, attacked 52 times; the part of Jerusalem called the City of David shows first signs of settlement in the 4th millennium BCE, in the shape of encampments of nomadic shepherds. Jerusalem was named as "Urusalim" on ancient Egyptian tablets meaning "City of Shalem" after a Canaanite deity, during the Canaanite period. During the Israelite period, significant construction activity in Jerusalem began in the 9th century BCE, in the 8th century the city developed into the religious and administrative center of the Kingdom of Judah.
In 1538, the city walls were rebuilt for a last time around Jerusalem under Suleiman the Magnificent. Today those walls define the Old City, traditionally divided into four quarters—known since the early 19th century as the Armenian, Christian and Muslim Quarters; the Old City became a World Heritage Site in 1981, is on the List of World Heritage in Danger. Since 1860 Jerusalem has grown far beyond the Old City's boundaries. In 2015, Jerusalem had a population of some 850,000 residents, comprising 200,000 secular Jewish Israelis, 350,000 Haredi Jews and 300,000 Palestinians. In 2011, the population numbered 801,000, of which Jews comprised 497,000, Muslims 281,000, Christians 14,000 and 9,000 were not classified by religion. According to the Bible, King David conquered the city from the Jebusites and established it as the capital of the united kingdom of Israel, his son, King Solomon, commissioned the building of the First Temple. Modern scholars argue that Jews branched out of the Canaanite peoples and culture through the development of a distinct monolatrous — and monotheistic — religion centered on El/Yahweh, one of the Ancient Canaanite deities.
These foundational events, straddling the dawn of the 1st millennium BCE, assumed central symbolic importance for the Jewish people. The sobriquet of holy city was attached to Jerusalem in post-exilic times; the holiness of Jerusalem in Christianity, conserved in the Septuagint which Christians adopted as their own authority, was reinforced by the New Testament account of Jesus's crucifixion there. In Sunni Islam, Jerusalem is the third-holiest city, after Medina. In Islamic tradition, in 610 CE it became the first qibla, the focal point for Muslim prayer, Muhammad made his Night Journey there ten years ascending to heaven where he speaks to God, according to the Quran; as a result, despite having an area of only 0.9 square kilometres, the Old City is home to many sites of seminal religious importance, among them the Temple Mount with its Western Wall, Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Outside the Old City stands the Garden Tomb. Today, the status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.
During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, West Jerusalem was among the areas captured and annexed by Israel while East Jerusalem, including the Old City, was captured and annexed by Jordan. Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War and subsequently annexed it into Jerusalem, together with additional surrounding territory. One of Israel's Basic Laws, the 1980 Jerusalem Law, refers to Jerusalem as the country's undivided capital. All branches of the Israeli government are located in Jerusalem, including the Knesset, the residences of the Prime Minister and President, the Supreme Court. While the international community rejected the annexation as illegal and treats East Jerusalem as Palestinian territory occupied by Israel, Israel has a stronger claim to sovereignty over West Jerusalem. A city called Rušalim in the execration texts of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt is but not universally, identified as Jerusalem. Jerusalem is called Urušalim in the Amarna letters of Abdi-Heba.
The name "Jerusalem" is variously etymologized to mean "foundation of the god Shalem". Shalim or Shalem was the name of the god of dusk in the Canaanite religion, whose name is based on the same root S-L-M from which the Hebrew word for "peace" is derived; the name thus offered itself to etymologizations such as "The City of Peace", "Abode of Peace", "dwelling of peace", alternately "Vision of Peace" in some Christian authors. The ending -ayim indicates the dual, thus leading to the suggestion that the name Yerushalayim refers to the fact that the city sat on two hills; the form Yerushalem or Yerushalayim first appears in the Book of Joshua. According to a Midrash, the name is a combination of "Yireh" and "Shalem" the two names were un
The West Bank is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan to the east and by the Green Line separating it and Israel on the south and north. The West Bank contains a significant section of the western Dead Sea shore; the West Bank was the name given to the territory, captured by Jordan in the aftermath of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, subsequently annexed in 1950 until 1967 when it was occupied by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War. The Oslo Accords, signed between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel, created administrative districts with varying levels of Palestinian autonomy within each area. Area C, in which Israel maintained complete civil and security control, accounts for over 60% of the territory of the West Bank; the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, has a land area of 5,640 km2 plus a water area of 220 km2, consisting of the northwest quarter of the Dead Sea. As of July 2017 it has an estimated population of 2,747,943 Palestinians, 391,000 Israeli settlers, another 201,200 Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem.
The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this. The International Court of Justice advisory ruling concluded that events that came after the 1967 occupation of the West Bank by Israel, including the Jerusalem Law, Israel's peace treaty with Jordan and the Oslo Accords, did not change the status of the West Bank as occupied territory with Israel as the occupying power; the name West Bank is a translation of the Arabic term ad-Diffah I-Garbiyyah, given to the territory west of the Jordan River that fell, in 1948, under occupation and administration by Jordan, which subsequently annexed it in 1950. This annexation was considered illegal and was recognized only by Britain and Pakistan; the term was chosen to differentiate the west bank of the River Jordan from the "east bank" of this river. The neo-Latin name Cisjordan or Cis-Jordan is the usual name for the territory in the Romance languages and Hungarian.
The name West Bank, has become the standard usage for this geopolitical entity in English and some of the other Germanic languages since its creation following the Jordanian army's conquest. In English, the name Cisjordan is used to designate the entire region between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean in the historical context of the British Mandate and earlier times; the analogous Transjordan has been used to designate the region now comprising the state of Jordan, which lies to the east of the Jordan River. From 1517 through 1917, the area now known as the West Bank was under Ottoman rule as part of the provinces of Syria. At the 1920 San Remo conference, the victorious Allied powers allocated the area to the British Mandate of Palestine; the San Remo Resolution adopted on 25 April 1920 incorporated the Balfour Declaration of 1917. It and Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations were the basic documents upon which the British Mandate for Palestine was constructed. Faced with the determination of Emir Abdullah to unify Arab lands under the Hashemite banner, the British proclaimed Abdullah ruler of the three districts, known collectively as Transjordan.
Confident that his plans for the unity of the Arab nation would come to fruition, the emir established the first centralized governmental system in what is now modern Jordan on 11 April 1921. The West Bank area was conquered by Jordan during the 1948 war with the new state of Israel. In 1947, it was subsequently designated as part of a proposed Arab state by the United Nations partition plan for Palestine; the resolution recommended partition of the British Mandate into a Jewish State, an Arab State, an internationally administered enclave of Jerusalem. The resolution designated the territory described as "the hill country of Samaria and Judea" as part of the proposed Arab state, but following the 1948 Arab–Israeli War this area was captured by Transjordan. 1949 Armistice Agreements defined the interim boundary between Jordan. Following the December 1948 Jericho Conference, Transjordan annexed the area west of the Jordan River in 1950, naming it "West Bank" or "Cisjordan", designated the area east of the river as "East Bank" or "Transjordan".
Jordan ruled over the West Bank from 1948 until 1967. Jordan's annexation was never formally recognized by the international community, with the exception of the United Kingdom. A two-state option, dividing Palestine, as opposed to a binary solution arose during the period of the British mandate in the area; the United Nations Partition Plan had envisaged two states, one Jewish and the other Arab/Palestinian, but in the wake of the war only one emerged at the time. King Abdullah of Jordan had been crowned King of Jerusalem by the Coptic Bishop on 15 November 1948. Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and East Jerusalem were granted Jordanian citizenship and half of the Jordanian Parliament seats. In June 1967, the West Bank and East Jerusalem were captured by Israel as a result of the Six-Day War. With the exception of East Jerusalem and the former Israeli-Jordanian no man's land, the West Bank was not annexed by Israel but came under Israeli military control until 1982. Although th
Amman is the capital and most populous city of Jordan, the country's economic and cultural centre. Situated in north-central Jordan, Amman is the administrative centre of the Amman Governorate; the city has a land area of 1,680 square kilometres. Today, Amman is considered to be among the most modernized Arab cities, it is a major tourist destination in the region among Arab and European tourists. The earliest evidence of settlement in Amman is in a Neolithic site known as'Ain Ghazal, where some of the oldest human statues found dating to 7250 BC were uncovered. During the Iron Age, the city was known as Ammon, home to the Kingdom of the Ammonites, it was named Philadelphia during its Greek and Roman periods, was called Amman during the Islamic period. Abandoned for much of the medieval and post-medieval period, modern Amman dates to the late 19th century when Circassian immigrants were settled there by the Ottoman Empire in 1867; the first municipal council was established in 1909. Amman witnessed rapid growth after its designation as Jordan's capital in 1921, after several successive waves of refugees: Palestinians in 1948 and 1967.
It was built on seven hills but now spans over 19 hills combining 27 districts, which are administered by the Greater Amman Municipality headed by its mayor Yousef Shawarbeh. Areas of Amman have gained their names from either the hills or the valleys they occupy, such as Jabal Lweibdeh and Wadi Abdoun. East Amman is predominantly filled with historic sites that host cultural activities, while West Amman is more modern and serves as the economic center of the city. Two million visitors arrived in Amman in 2014, which made it the 93rd most visited city in the world and the 5th most visited Arab city. Amman has a fast growing economy, it is ranked Beta− on the global city index. Moreover, it was named one of the Middle East and North Africa's best cities according to economic, labor and socio-cultural factors; the city is among the most popular locations in the Arab world for multinational corporations to set up their regional offices, alongside Doha and only behind Dubai. It is expected that in the next 10 years these three cities will capture the largest share of multinational corporation activity in the region.
Amman derives its name from the 13th century BC when the Ammonites named it "Rabbath Ammon", with the term Rabbath meaning the "Capital" or the "King's Quarters". Over time, the term "Rabbath" was no longer used and the city became known as "Ammon"; the influence of new civilizations that conquered the city changed its name to "Amman". In the Hebrew Bible, it is referred to as "Rabbat ʿAmmon". However, Ptolemy II Philadelphus, the Macedonian ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom who reigned from 283 to 246 BC, renamed the city to "Philadelphia" after occupying it; the name was given as an adulation to Philadelphus. The neolithic site of'Ain Ghazal was found in the outskirts of Amman. At its height, around 7000 BC, it was inhabited by ca. 3000 people. At that time the site was a typical aceramic Neolithic village, its houses were rectangular mud-bricked buildings that included a main square living room, whose walls were made up of lime plaster. The site was discovered in 1974. By 1982, when the excavations started, around 600 meters of road ran through the site.
Despite the damage brought by urban expansion, the remains of'Ain Ghazal provided a wealth of information.'Ain Ghazal is well known for a set of small human statues found in 1983, when local archaeologists stumbled upon the edge of a large pit 2.5 meters containing them. These statues are human figures made with white plaster, with painted clothes, in some cases ornamental tattoos. Thirty-two figures were found in two caches, fifteen of them full figures, fifteen busts, two fragmentary heads. Three of the busts were two-headed, the significance of, not clear. In the 13th century BC Amman was the capital of the Ammonites, became known as "Rabbath Ammon". Ammon provided several natural resources to the region, including sandstone and limestone, along with a productive agricultural sector that made Ammon a vital location along the King's Highway, the ancient trade route connecting Egypt with Mesopotamia and Anatolia; as with the Edomites and Moabites, trade along this route gave the Ammonites considerable revenue.
Ammonites worshiped. Excavations by archaeologists near Amman Civil Airport uncovered a temple, which included an altar containing many human bone fragments; the bones showed evidence of burning, which led to the assumption that the altar functioned as a pyre. Today, several Ammonite ruins across Amman exist, such as Qasr Al-Abd, Rujm Al-Malfouf and some parts of the Amman Citadel; the ruins of Rujm Al-Malfouf consist of a stone watchtower used to ensure protection of their capital and several store rooms to the east. The city was conquered by the Assyrian Empire, followed by the Persian Empire. Conquest of the Middle East and Central Asia by Alexander the Great consolidated the influence of Hellenistic culture; the Greeks founded new cities in the area of modern-day Jordan, including Umm Qays and Amman. Ptolemy II Philadelphus, the Macedonian ruler of Egypt, who occupied and rebuilt the city, na
Córdoba spelled Cordova in English, is a city in Andalusia, southern Spain, the capital of the province of Córdoba. It was a Roman settlement, taken over by the Visigoths, followed by the Umayyad Caliphate in the eighth century, it became the capital of a Muslim emirate, the Caliphate of Córdoba, which encompassed most of the Iberian Peninsula. During this period, it became a centre of education and learning, by the 10th century had grown to be the largest city in Europe, it was recaptured by Christian forces during the so-called Reconquista. Today, Córdoba is still home to many notable pieces of Moorish architecture such as the Mezquita, named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, is in use as a Cathedral; the UNESCO status has since been expanded to encompass the whole historic centre of Córdoba. Much of this architecture, such as the Alcázar and the Roman bridge has been reworked or reconstructed by the city's successive inhabitants. Córdoba has the highest summer temperatures in Spain and Europe, with average high temperatures around 37 °C in July and August.
The first traces of human presence in the area are remains of a Neanderthal Man, dating to c. 42,000 to 35,000 BC. Pre-urban settlements around the mouth of the Guadalquivir river are known to have existed from the 8th century BC; the population learned copper and silver metallurgy. The first historical mention of a settlement dates to the Carthaginian expansion across the Guadalquivir, when general Hamilcar Barca renamed it Kartuba, from Kart-Juba, meaning "the City of Juba", a Numidian commander who had died in a battle nearby. Córdoba was named as Corduba. In 169 Roman consul M. Claudius Marcellus, grandson of Marcus Claudius Marcellus, who had governed both Further and Hither Spain, founded a Latin colony alongside the pre-existing Iberian settlement. Between 143 and 141 BC. A Roman forum is known to have existed in the city in 113 BC; the famous Cordoba Treasure, with mixed local and Roman artistic traditions, was buried in the city at this time. It became a colonia with the title Patricia, between 46 and 45 BC.
It was sacked by Caesar in 45 due to its Pompeian allegiance, settled with veterans by Augustus. It had a colonial and provincial forum and many temples, it was the chief center of Roman intellectual life in Hispania Ulterior. Its republican poets were succeeded by Lucan. At the time of Julius Caesar, Córdoba was the capital of the Roman province of Hispania Baetica; the great Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger, his father, the orator Seneca the Elder, his nephew, the poet Lucan came from Roman Cordoba. In the late Roman period, its bishop Hosius was the dominant figure of the western Church throughout the earlier 4th cent, it occupied an important place in the Provincia Hispaniae of the Byzantine Empire and under the Visigoths, who conquered it in the late 6th century. Córdoba was captured in 711 by the Umayyad army. Unlike other Iberian towns, no capitulation was signed and the position was taken by storm. Córdoba was in turn governed by direct Umayyad rule; the new Umayyad commanders established themselves within the city and in 716 it became a provincial capital, subordinate to the Caliphate of Damascus.
Different areas were allocated for services in the Saint Vincent Church shared by Christians and Muslims, until construction of the Córdoba Mosque started on the same spot under Abd-ar-Rahman I. Abd al-Rahman allowed the Christians to rebuild their ruined churches and purchased the Christian half of the church of St Vincent. In May 766 Córdoba was chosen as the capital of the independent Umayyad emirate caliphate, of al-Andalus. By 800 the megacity of Cordoba supported over 200,000 residents, 0.1 per cent of the global population. During the apogee of the caliphate, Córdoba had a population of about 400,000 inhabitants, with estimates ranging from 100,000 to an unlikely 1,000,000. In the 10th and 11th centuries Córdoba was one of the most advanced cities in the world, a great cultural, political and economic centre; the Great Mosque of Córdoba dates back to this time. After a change of rulers the situation changed quickly; the vizier al-Mansur–the unofficial ruler of al-Andalus from 976 to 1002—burned most of the books on philosophy to please the Moorish clergy.
Córdoba had a prosperous economy, with manufactured goods including leather, metal work, glazed tiles and textiles, agricultural produce including a range of fruits, vegetables and spices, materials such as cotton and silk. It was famous as a centre of learning, home to over 80 libraries and institutions of learning, with knowledge of medicine, astronomy, botany far exceeding the rest of Europe at the time. In 1002 Al-Mansur was returning to Córdoba from an expedition in the area of Rioja, his death was the beginning of the end of Córdoba. Abd al-Malik al-Muzaffar, al-Mansur's older son, succeeded to his father’s authority, but he died in 1008 assassinated. Sanchuelo, Abd al-Malik’s younger brother succeeded him. While Sanchuelo was away fighting Alfonso V of Leon, a revolution made Mohammed II al-Mahdi the Caliph. Sanchuelo sued for pardon but he was killed when he returned to Cardova; the slaves revolted against Mahdi, killed him in 1009, replaced him with Hisham II in 1010. Hisham II was forced out of office.
In 1012 the Berbers "sacked Cardova." In 1016 th
Italy the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Austria and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 and has a temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe. Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has been home to a myriad of peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout modern-day Italy, the most famous of which being the Indo-European Italics who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era and Carthaginians founded colonies in insular Italy and Genoa, Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited central and northern Italy respectively; the Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People.
The Roman Republic conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the peninsula, in some cases through the establishment of federations, the Republic expanded and conquered parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became the leading cultural and religious centre of Western civilisation, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's technology, economy and literature flourished. Italy remained the metropole of the Roman Empire; the legacy of the Roman Empire endured its fall and can be observed in the global distribution of culture, governments and the Latin script. During the Early Middle Ages, Italy endured sociopolitical collapse and barbarian invasions, but by the 11th century, numerous rival city-states and maritime republics in the northern and central regions of Italy, rose to great prosperity through shipping and banking, laying the groundwork for modern capitalism.
These independent statelets served as Europe's main trading hubs with Asia and the Near East enjoying a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science and art. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars and polymaths such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Machiavelli. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, John Cabot and Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Italy's commercial and political power waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean. Centuries of infighting between the Italian city-states, such as the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, left the region fragmented, it was subsequently conquered and further divided by European powers such as France and Austria.
By the mid-19th century, rising Italian nationalism and calls for independence from foreign control led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign domination and political division, Italy was entirely unified in 1871, establishing the Kingdom of Italy as a great power. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy industrialised, namely in the north, acquired a colonial empire, while the south remained impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora. Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922. Participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction and the Italian Civil War. Following the liberation of Italy and the rise of the resistance, the country abolished the monarchy, reinstated democracy, enjoyed a prolonged economic boom and, despite periods of sociopolitical turmoil became a developed country.
Today, Italy is considered to be one of the world's most culturally and economically advanced countries, with the sixth-largest worldwide national wealth. Its advanced economy ranks eighth-largest in the world and third in the Eurozone by nominal GDP. Italy owns the third-largest central bank gold reserve, it has a high level of human development, it stands among the top countries for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military and diplomatic affairs. Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the UN, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the WTO, the G7, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area and many more; as a reflection
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
Assisi is a town and comune of Italy in the Province of Perugia in the Umbria region, on the western flank of Monte Subasio. It is regarded as the birthplace of the Latin poet Propertius, born around 50–45 BC, it is the birthplace of St. Francis, who founded the Franciscan religious order in the town in 1208, St. Clare, the founder of the Poor Sisters, which became the Order of Poor Clares after her death; the 19th-century Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows was born in Assisi. Around 1000 BC a wave of immigrants settled in the upper Tiber valley as far as the Adriatic Sea, in the neighborhood of Assisi; these were the Umbrians. From 450 BC these settlements were taken over by the Etruscans; the Romans took control of central Italy after the Battle of Sentinum in 295 BC. They built the flourishing municipium Asisium on a series of terraces on Monte Subasio. Roman remains can still be found in Assisi: city walls, the forum, a theatre, an amphitheatre and the Temple of Minerva. In 1997, the remains of a Roman villa were discovered containing several well-preserved rooms with frescoes and mosaics in a condition found outside sites such as Pompei.
In 238 AD Assisi was converted to Christianity by bishop Rufino, martyred at Costano. According to tradition, his remains rest in the Cathedral Church of San Rufino in Assisi; the Ostrogoths of king Totila destroyed most of the town in 545. Assisi came under the rule of the Lombards as part of the Lombard and Frankish Duchy of Spoleto; the thriving commune became an independent Ghibelline commune in the 11th century. Struggling with the Guelph Perugia, it was during one of those battles, the battle at Ponte San Giovanni, that Francesco di Bernardone was taken prisoner, setting in motion the events that led him to live as a beggar, renounce the world and establish the Order of Friars Minor; the city, which had remained within the confines of the Roman walls, began to expand outside these walls in the 13th century. In this period the city was under papal jurisdiction; the Rocca Maggiore, the imperial fortress on top of the hill above the city, plundered by the people in 1189, was rebuilt in 1367 on orders of the papal legate, cardinal Gil de Albornoz.
In the beginning Assisi fell under the rule of Perugia and under several despots, such as the soldier of fortune Biordo Michelotti, Gian Galeazzo Visconti and his successor Francesco I Sforza, dukes of Milan, Jacopo Piccinino and Federico II da Montefeltro, lord of Urbino. The city went into a deep decline through the plague of the Black Death in 1348; the city came again under papal jurisdiction under the rule of Pope Pius II. In 1569 construction was started of the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli. During the Renaissance and in centuries, the city continued to develop peacefully, as the 17th-century palazzi of the Bernabei and Giacobetti attest. Now the site of many a pilgrimage, Assisi is linked in legend with St. Francis; the gentle saint founded the Franciscan order and shares honors with St. Catherine of Siena as the patron saint of Italy, he is remembered by many non-Christians, as a lover of nature. Assisi was hit by two devastating earthquakes, that shook Umbria in September 1997.
But the recovery and restoration have been remarkable. Massive damage was caused to many historical sites, but the major attraction, the Basilica di San Francesco, reopened less than 2 years later. UNESCO collectively designated the Franciscan structures of Assisi as a World Heritage Site in 2000; the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi. The Franciscan monastery, il Sacro Convento, the lower and upper church of St Francis were begun after his canonization in 1228, completed in 1253; the lower church has frescoes by the late-medieval artists Giotto. The Basilica was badly damaged by a 5.5 earthquake on 26 September 1997, during which part of the vault collapsed, killing four people inside the church and carrying with it a fresco by Cimabue. The edifice was closed for two years for restoration. Santa Maria Maggiore, the earliest extant church in Assisi; the Cathedral of San Rufino, with a Romanesque façade with three rose windows and a 16th‑century interior. Basilica of Santa Chiara with its massive lateral buttresses, rose window, simple Gothic interior, begun in 1257, contains the tomb of the namesake saint and 13th‑century frescoes and paintings.
Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, which houses the Porziuncola. Chiesa Nuova, built over the presumed parental home of St. Francis Santo Stefano, one of the oldest churches of Assisi. Eremo delle Carceri, a small monastery with church at a canyon above the town, where St. Francis retreated and preached to birds Church of San Pietro, built by the Benedictines in the 10th century and rebuilt in the 13th century, it has a rectangular façade with three. The town is dominated by two medieval castles; the larger, called Rocca Maggiore, is a massive reconstruction by Cardinal