Classical Greece was a period of around 200 years in Greek culture. This Classical period saw the annexation of much of modern-day Greece by the Persian Empire and its subsequent independence. Classical Greece had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and on the foundations of Western civilization. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, scientific thought, theatre and philosophy derives from this period of Greek history. In the context of the art and culture of Ancient Greece, the Classical period corresponds to most of the 5th and 4th centuries BC; the Classical period in this sense follows the Greek Dark Ages and Archaic period and is in turn succeeded by the Hellenistic period. This century is studied from the Athenian outlook because Athens has left us more narratives and other written works than the other ancient Greek states. From the perspective of Athenian culture in Classical Greece, the period referred to as the 5th century BC extends into the 4th century BC. In this context, one might consider that the first significant event of this century occurs in 508 BC, with the fall of the last Athenian tyrant and Cleisthenes' reforms.
However, a broader view of the whole Greek world might place its beginning at the Ionian Revolt of 500 BC, the event that provoked the Persian invasion of 492 BC. The Persians were defeated in 490 BC. A second Persian attempt, in 481–479 BC, failed as well, despite having overrun much of modern-day Greece at a crucial point during the war following the Battle of Thermopylae and the Battle of Artemisium; the Delian League formed, under Athenian hegemony and as Athens' instrument. Athens' excesses caused several revolts among the allied cities, all of which were put down by force, but Athenian dynamism awoke Sparta and brought about the Peloponnesian War in 431 BC. After both forces were spent, a brief peace came about. Athens was definitively defeated in 404 BC, internal Athenian agitations mark the end of the 5th century BC in Greece. Since its beginning, Sparta had been ruled by a diarchy; this meant. The two kingships were both hereditary, vested in the Eurypontid dynasty. According to legend, the respective hereditary lines of these two dynasties sprang from Eurysthenes and Procles, twin descendants of Hercules.
They were said to have conquered Sparta two generations after the Trojan War. In 510 BC, Spartan troops helped the Athenians overthrow their king, the tyrant Hippias, son of Peisistratos. Cleomenes I, king of Sparta, put in place a pro-Spartan oligarchy headed by Isagoras, but his rival Cleisthenes, with the support of the middle class and aided by democrats, took over. Cleomenes intervened in 508 and 506 BC, but could not stop Cleisthenes, now supported by the Athenians. Through Cleisthenes' reforms, the people endowed their city with isonomic institutions — equal rights for all citizens —and established ostracism; the isonomic and isegoric democracy was first organized into about 130 demes, which became the basic civic element. The 10,000 citizens exercised their power as members of the assembly, headed by a council of 500 citizens chosen at random; the city's administrative geography was reworked, in order to create mixed political groups: not federated by local interests linked to the sea, to the city, or to farming, whose decisions would depend on their geographical position.
The territory of the city was divided into thirty trittyes as follows: ten trittyes in the coastal region ten trittyes in the ἄστυ, the urban centre ten trittyes in the rural interior. A tribe consisted of three trittyes, selected at one from each of the three groups; each tribe therefore always acted in the interest of all three sectors. It was this corpus of reforms that allowed the emergence of a wider democracy in the 460s and 450s BC. In Ionia, the Greek cities, which included great centres such as Miletus and Halicarnassus, were unable to maintain their independence and came under the rule of the Persian Empire in the mid-6th century BC. In 499 BC that region's Greeks rose in the Ionian Revolt, Athens and some other Greek cities sent aid, but were forced to back down after defeat in 494 BC at the Battle of Lade. Asia Minor returned to Persian control. In 492 BC, the Persian general Mardonius led a campaign through Macedonia, he was victorious and again subjugated the former and conquered the latter, but he was wounded and forced to retreat back into Asia Minor.
In addition, a fleet of around 1,200 ships that accompanied Mardonius on the expedition was wrecked by a storm off the coast of Mount Athos. The generals Artaphernes and Datis led a successful naval expedition against the Aegean islands. In 490 BC, Darius the Great, having suppressed the Ionian cities, sent a Persian fleet to punish the Greeks, they landed in Attica intending to take Athens, but were defeated at the Battle of Marathon by a Greek army of 9,000 Athenian hoplites and 1,000 Plataeans led by the Athenian general Miltiades. The Persian fleet continued to Athens but, seeing it garrisoned, decided not to attempt an assault. In 480 BC, Darius' successor Xerxes I sent a much more powerful force of 300,000 by land, with 1,207 ships in supp
Venetian rule in the Ionian Islands
The Ionian Islands were an overseas possession of the Republic of Venice from the mid-14th century until the late 18th century. The conquest of the islands took place gradually; the first to be acquired was Cythera and the neighboring islet of Anticythera, indirectly in 1238 and directly after 1363. In 1386, Corfu voluntarily became part of Venice's colonies. Following a century, Venice captured Zante in 1485, Cephalonia in 1500 and Ithaca in 1503; the conquest was completed in 1718 with the capture of Lefkada. Each of the islands remained part of the Venetian Stato da Màr until Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the Republic of Venice in 1797, annexing Corfu; the Ionian Islands are situated off the west coast of Greece. Cythera, the southernmost, is just off the southern tip of the Peloponnese and Corfu, the northernmost, is located at the entrance of the Adriatic Sea. In modern Greek, the period of Venetian rule over Greek territory is known as Venetokratia or Enetokratia and means "rule of the Venetians".
It is believed that the Venetian period on the Ionian Islands was agreeable compared with the coinciding Tourkokratia — Turkish rule over the remainder of present-day Greece. The governor of the Ionian Islands during the Venetian period was the Provveditore generale da Mar, who resided on Corfu. Additionally, each island's authorities were divided into the domestic authorities; the economy of the islands was based on exporting local goods raisins, olive oil and wine, whereas Venetian lira, the currency of Venice, was the currency of the islands. Some features of the culture of Venice were incorporated in the culture of the Ionian Islands, thus influencing to this day local music and language; the Italian language, for instance, introduced on the islands as the official language and was adopted by the upper class, is still popular today throughout the islands. Venice was founded in 421 after the destruction of nearby communities by the Huns and the Lombards. In the shifting Italian borders of the following centuries, Venice benefited from remaining under the control of the Roman Empire - as the furtherest Northwestern outpost of the now Constantinople centered power.
During Justinian I's reconquest of Italy from the Visigoths, Venice was an important stronghold for the Empire's Exarchate of Ravenna. The political centre of the exarchate, the most senior military officials of the Empire, were situated in Ravenna; the subordinate military officials who were their representatives in the Venetian lagoons were called tribunes, only in about AD 697 were the lagoons made a separate military command under a dux. Notwithstanding the election of the first Doge, vassalic evidence such as honours and orders received by the doge from the Emperor implies that Venice was considered part of the Byzantine Empire after the capture of Ravenna by the Lombards. Despite the Pax Nicephori, which recognised Venice as Byzantine territory, the influence of the Eastern Roman Emperor faded away. By 814 Venice functioned as a independent republic. So, Venice became a partner of the Empire and trading privileges were granted to it by the Emperors via treaties, such as the Byzantine–Venetian Treaty of 1082.
The Fourth Crusade was intended to invade Muslim-controlled areas. As Venice was one of the participants in the Crusade its relations with the Byzantine Empire were strained during this period. Moreover, by styling themselves "Lord of one-quarter and one-eighth of the whole Empire of Romania" after the Crusade, the Doges of Venice contributed to the deterioration of the relations between the two states. Efforts to improve relations, for example through the Nicaean–Venetian Treaty of 1219, proved unsuccessful. A period of friendly relations only followed the Sicilian Vespers in 1282, when Venice, foreseeing the fall of Charles, the French King of Sicily, began forming closer relations with Byzantium. Venice had been bound by an alliance with Charles against Byzantium in 1281; the Islands were referred both individually and collectively, by various names. After Venice captured Cephalonia on 24 December 1500, the administration of the defense of all the islands was delegated to an official seated in Corfu.
This official was being referred to as "the General Provveditore of the Three Islands" and resided at the fortress of Angelokastro from 1387 to the end of the 16th century. The Three Islands refer to Corfu and Cephalonia; the Venetian equivalent for "Ionian Islands" is Ixołe Jonie, the Italian being Isole Ionie and the Greek Ιόνια Νησιά in Modern Greek and Ἰόνιοι Νῆσοι in Katharevousa. Below are the seven principal islands from north to south, including their Greek and Italian names in parentheses: Corfu Paxos Lefkada Cephalonia Ithaca Zante, see the long account here Cythera Cythera and Lefkada were additionally called Çuha Adası or Çuka Adası and Ayamavra by the Ottomans. During the Roman Empire, the Ionian Islands were variously part of the provinces of Achaea and Epirus vetus; these would form, with the exception of Cythera, the Byzantine theme of Cephallenia in the late 8th century. From the late 11th century, the Ionian Islands became a battleground in the Byzantine–Norman Wars; the island of Corfu was held by the Normans in 1081–1085 and 1147–1149, while
Achaea (Roman province)
Achaea or Achaia, was a province of the Roman Empire, consisting of the Peloponnese, Boeotia, the Cyclades and parts of Phthiotis, Aetolia-Acarnania and Phocis. In the north, it bordered on the provinces of Macedonia; the region was annexed by the Roman Republic in 146 BC following the sack of Corinth by the Roman general Lucius Mummius, awarded the cognomen "Achaicus". It became part of the Roman province of Macedonia. Achaea was a senatorial province, thus free from military men and legions, one of the most prestigious and sought-after provinces for senators to govern. Athens was the primary center of education for the imperial elite, rivaled only by Alexandria, one of the most important cities in the Empire. Achaea was among the most prosperous and peaceful parts of the Roman world until Late Antiquity, when it first suffered from barbarian invasions; the province remained prosperous and urbanized however, as attested in the 6th-century Synecdemus. The Slavic invasions of the 7th century led to widespread destruction, with much of the population fleeing to fortified cities, the Aegean islands and Italy, while some Slavic tribes settled the interior.
The territories of Achaea remaining in Byzantine hands were grouped into the theme of Hellas. In 150-148 BC the Romans fought the Fourth Macedonian War, after which they annexed Macedon the largest and most powerful state in mainland Greece. In 146 BC the Achaean League rebelled against the Romans; this was a hopeless war. Polybius, an ancient Greek scholar, blamed the demagogues of the cities of the Achaean League for stirring nationalism, the idea that the league could stand up to Roman power, fostering a rash decision and inciting a suicidal war; the League was defeated and its main city, Corinth was destroyed. The Romans decided to annex the whole of mainland Greece and Achaea became part of the Roman Province of Macedonia; some cities, such as Athens and Sparta retained their self-governing status within their own territories. The First Mithridatic War was fought in Attica and Boeotia, two regions which were to become part of the province of Achaea. In 89 BC, Mithridates VI Eupator, king of Pontus, seized the Roman Province of Asia.
Mithridates sent Archelaus to Greece, where he established Aristion as a tyrant in Athens. The Roman consul Lucius Cornelius Sulla marched on Athens, he marched through Boeotia on his way to Attica. Sulla besieged Athens and Piraeus in 87-86 BC and sacked Athens and destroyed Piraeus, he defeated Archelaus at the Battle of Chaeronea and the Battle of Orchomenus, both fought in Boeotia in 86 BC. Roman rule was preserved; the commerce of Achaea was no longer a rival to that of Rome. After the defeat of Antony and Cleopatra, about 31 BC, the Emperor Augustus separated Macedonia from Achaea, though it remained a Senatorial province, as under the Republic. In AD 15, Emperor Tiberius, responding to complaints of mismanagement by the Senatorial proconsul made Achaea and Macedonia Imperial provinces, they were restored to the Senate as part of Emperor Claudius' reforms in AD 44. Over time, Greece would rebuild, culminating during the reign of the Hellenophile Emperor Hadrian. Along with the Greek scholar Herodes Atticus, Hadrian undertook an extensive rebuilding program.
He beautified many of the Greek cities. Copper and silver mines were exploited in Achaea, though production was not as great as the mines of other Roman-controlled areas, such as Noricum and the provinces of Hispania. Marble from Greek quarries was a valuable commodity. Educated Greek slaves were much in demand in Rome in the role of doctors and teachers, educated men were a significant export. Achaea produced household luxuries, such as furniture, pottery and linens. Greek olives and olive oil were exported to the rest of the Empire. Publius Memmius Regulus Lucius Junius Gallio Annaeanus Gaius Calpurnius Piso Aegeates Titus Avidius Quietus Gaius Avidius Nigrinus Armenius Brocchus L. Munatius Gallus M. Mettius Rufus Lucius Herennius Saturninus Lucius Julius Marinus Caecilius Simplex C. Caristanius Julianus C. Minicius Fundanus Cassius Longinus Gaius Avidius Nigrinus Titus Calestrius Tiro Orbius Speratus Cassius Maximus Calpurnius Longus C. Valerius Severus Clodius Granianus T. Prifernius Paetus Rosianus Geminus Lucius Antonius Albus C.
Julius Severus Gaius Julius Scapula Julius Candidus Q. Licinius Modestinus Sex. Attius Labeo Sextus Quintilius Condianus Sextus Quintilius Valerius Maxmus L. Albinus Saturninus Gaius Sabucius Maior Caecilianus Lucius Calpurnius Proculus Gaius Caesonius Macer Rufinianus Pupienus Maximus Gaius Asinius Quadratus Protimus Claudius Demetrius Marcus Aemilius Saturninus Marcus Aurelius Amarantus Lucius Julius Julianus Aurelius Proculus Quintus Flavius Balbus Lucius Lucius Priscillianus Gnaeus Claudius Leonticus Rutilius Pudens Crispinus Marcus Ulpius (end of the 2nd/beginning of the 3rd ce
Cleopatra VII Philopator was the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, nominally survived as pharaoh by her son Caesarion. As a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, she was a descendant of its founder Ptolemy I Soter, a Macedonian Greek general and companion of Alexander the Great. After the death of Cleopatra, Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire, marking the end of the Hellenistic period that had lasted since the reign of Alexander. While her native language was Koine Greek, she was the first Ptolemaic ruler to learn the Egyptian language. In 58 BC, Cleopatra accompanied her father Ptolemy XII during his exile to Rome, after a revolt in Egypt allowed his eldest daughter Berenice IV to claim the throne; the latter was killed in 55 BC. When Ptolemy XII died in 51 BC, he was succeeded by Cleopatra and her younger brother Ptolemy XIII as joint rulers, but a falling-out between them led to open civil war. After losing the 48 BC Battle of Pharsalus in Greece against his rival Julius Caesar in Caesar's Civil War, the Roman statesman Pompey fled to Egypt, a Roman client state.
Ptolemy XIII had Pompey killed. Caesar, a consul of the Roman Republic, attempted to reconcile Ptolemy XIII with Cleopatra. Ptolemy XIII's chief adviser Potheinos viewed Caesar's terms as favoring Cleopatra, so his forces, which fell under the control of Cleopatra's younger sister, Arsinoe IV, besieged Caesar and Cleopatra at the palace; the siege was lifted by reinforcements in early 47 BC and Ptolemy XIII died shortly thereafter in the Battle of the Nile. Arsinoe IV was exiled to Ephesus, Caesar, now an elected dictator, declared Cleopatra and her younger brother Ptolemy XIV as joint rulers of Egypt. However, Caesar maintained a private affair with Cleopatra that produced Caesarion. Cleopatra traveled to Rome as a client queen in 44 BC, staying at Caesar's villa; when Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, Cleopatra attempted to have Caesarion named as his heir, but this fell instead to Caesar's grandnephew Octavian. Cleopatra had Ptolemy XIV killed and elevated Caesarion as co-ruler. In the Liberators' civil war of 43–42 BC, Cleopatra sided with the Roman Second Triumvirate formed by Octavian, Mark Antony, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus.
After their meeting at Tarsos in 41 BC, Cleopatra had an affair with Antony that would produce three children: Alexander Helios, Cleopatra Selene II, Ptolemy Philadelphus. Antony used his authority as a triumvir to carry out the execution of Arsinoe IV at Cleopatra's request, he became reliant on Cleopatra for both funding and military aid during his invasions of the Parthian Empire and Kingdom of Armenia. In the Donations of Alexandria, Cleopatra's children with Antony were declared rulers over various erstwhile territories under Antony's authority; this event, along with his marriage to Cleopatra and divorce of Octavian's sister Octavia Minor, led to the Final War of the Roman Republic. After engaging in a war of propaganda, Octavian forced Antony's allies in the Roman Senate to flee Rome in 32 BC and declared war on Cleopatra; the naval fleet of Antony and Cleopatra was defeated at the 31 BC Battle of Actium by Octavian's general Agrippa. Octavian's forces defeated those of Antony, leading to his suicide.
When Cleopatra learned that Octavian planned to bring her to Rome for his triumphal procession, she committed suicide by poisoning, with the popular belief being that she was bitten by an asp. Cleopatra's legacy survives in numerous works of both ancient and modern. Roman historiography and Latin poetry produced a polemic and negative view of the queen that pervaded Medieval and Renaissance literature. In the visual arts, ancient depictions of Cleopatra include Roman and Ptolemaic coinage, busts, cameo glass, cameo carvings, paintings, she was the subject of many works in Renaissance and Baroque art, which included sculptures, poetry, theatrical dramas such as William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, operas such as George Frideric Handel's Giulio Cesare in Egitto. In modern times Cleopatra has appeared in both the applied and fine arts, burlesque satire, Hollywood films such as Cleopatra, brand images for commercial products, becoming a pop culture icon of Egyptomania since the Victorian era.
The Latinized form Cleopatra comes from the Ancient Greek Kleopátrā, meaning "glory of her father", from κλέος and πᾰτήρ. The masculine form would have been written either as Pátroklos. Cleopatra was the name of Alexander the Great's sister, as well as Cleopatra Alcyone, wife of Meleager in Greek mythology. Through the marriage of Ptolemy V Epiphanes and Cleopatra I Syra, the name entered the Ptolemaic dynasty. Cleopatra's adopted title Theā́ Philopátōra means "goddess who loves her father." Ptolemaic pharaohs were crowned by the Egyptian High Priest of Ptah at Memphis, but resided in the multicultural and Greek city of Alexandria, established by Alexander the Great of Macedon. They spoke Greek and governed Egypt as Hellenistic Greek monarchs, refusing to learn the native Egyptian language. In contrast, Cleopatra could speak multiple languages by adulthood and was the first Ptolemaic ruler to learn the Egyptian language, she spoke Ethiopian, Hebrew, the Syrian language, Median and Latin
Geography of Greece
Greece is a country in Southern Europe, bordered to the north by Albania, North Macedonia and Bulgaria. The country consists of a mountainous, peninsular mainland jutting out into the Mediterranean Sea at the southernmost tip of the Balkans, two smaller peninsulas projecting from it: the Chalkidiki and the Peloponnese, joined to the mainland by the Isthmus of Corinth. Greece has many islands, of various sizes, the largest being Crete, Lesvos, Chios and Corfu. According to the CIA World Factbook, Greece has 13,676 kilometres of coastline, the largest in the Mediterranean Basin. Greece's latitude ranges from 35°N to 42°N and its longitude from 19°E to 28°E; as a result of this and its physical geography, the country has considerable climatic variation. Greece's climate is divided into three main classes: A Mediterranean climate features mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. Temperatures reach extremes, although snowfalls do occur even in Athens, Cyclades or Crete during the winter. An alpine climate is found in Western Greece.
A temperate climate is found in Central and Eastern Macedonia and parts of Thrace, including Komotini and northern Evros. This climate is characterized by hot, dry summers. Greece's largest island, Crete straddles two climatic zones, due to its geographical position and large size: the Mediterranean and the North African falling within the former; as such, the climate in Crete is temperate. The atmosphere can be quite humid, depending on the proximity to the sea, while winter is mild. Snowfall is common on the mountains between November and May, but rare in low-lying areas near the coast. During the summer, average temperatures may reach the low 30s °C, with maxima touching the mid 40s; the south coast of the island, including the Mesara Plain and Asterousia Mountains, falls in the North African climatic zone, thus reaches higher temperatures throughout the year. In southern Crete, date palms bear fruit and swallows remain all year round, without migrating to Africa. Greece is located in Southern Europe, bordering the Ionian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, between Albania and Turkey.
It is a peninsular country, with an archipelago of about 3,000 islands. It has a total area of 131,957 km2, of which land area is 130,647 km2 and internal waters account for 1,310 km2. Land boundaries with Albania, North Macedonia and Turkey measure 1,110 km in total. Of the country's total territory, 83.33% or 110,496 km2 is mainland territory and the rest 16.67% or 21,461 km2 is island territory. Greece's coastline measures 13,676 km. 80% of Greece is mountainous. The Pindus mountain range lies across the center of the country in a northwest-to-southeast direction, with a maximum elevation of 2,637 m. Extensions of the same mountain range stretch across the Peloponnese and underwater across the Aegean, forming many of the Aegean Islands including Crete, joining with the Taurus Mountains of southern Turkey. Central and western Greece contain high and steep peaks intersected by many canyons and other karstic landscapes, including the Meteora and the Vikos Gorges – the latter being the world's deepest canyon in proportion to its width, the third deepest after the Copper Canyon in Mexico and the Grand Canyon in the United States, plunging vertically for more than 1,100 metres.
Mount Olympus is the highest point in Greece, the 7th highest and the 9th most prominent mountain in mainland Europe, rising to 2,917 m above sea level. The Rhodope Mountains form the border between Bulgaria. Greece's lowest point is sea level. Plains are found in central Macedonia and in Thrace; the extreme points of Greece are North: Ormenio village South: Gavdos island East: Strongyli island West: Othonoi island Mainland Greece forms the southernmost part of the Balkan peninsula with two additional smaller peninsulas projecting from it: the Chalkidiki and the Peloponnese. The north of the country includes the regions of Thrace. To the south the mainland narrows and includes the regions of Epirus and Central Greece, where the region of Attica and the capital city Athens are located. Further south, the smaller peninsula of Peloponnese is separated from the rest of the Greek mainland by the Corinthian and Saronic Gulfs, but joined by the Isthmus of Corinth. Mainland Greece covers about 80% of the total territory and is mountainous.
The largest mountain range of Greece is the Pindus range, the southern extension of the Dinaric Alps, which forms the spine of the Greek mainland, separating Epirus from Thessaly and Macedonia. The country's tallest mountain is Mount Olympus, which separates Thessaly from Macedonia, its highest peak rises to 2,918 m above sea level, making it the second highest of the Balkan peninsula after Musala in the Rila Mountain. The number of islands vary between 1,200 and 6,000. A figure cited in travel guides is 1,425 islands, of which 166 are said to be inhabited; the Greek Tourism Organization
History of Greece
The history of Greece encompasses the history of the territory of the modern nation state of Greece as well as that of the Greek people and the areas they inhabited and ruled historically. The scope of Greek habitation and rule has varied throughout the ages and as a result the history of Greece is elastic in what it includes; the history of Greece is divided into the following periods: Neolithic Greece covering a period beginning with the establishment of agricultural societies in 7000 BC and ending in 3200/3100 BC, Helladic chronology covering a period beginning with the transition to a metal-based economy in 3200/3100 BC to the rise and fall of the Mycenaean Greek palaces spanning five centuries, Ancient Greece covering a period from the fall of the Mycenaean civilization in 1100 BC to 146 BC spanning multiple sub-periods including the Greek Dark Ages, Archaic period, the Classical period and the Hellenistic period, Roman Greece covering a period from the Roman conquest of Greece in 146 BC to 324 AD, Byzantine Greece covering a period from the establishment of the capital city of Byzantium, Constantinople, in 324 AD until the fall of Constantinople in 1453 AD, Ottoman Greece covering a period from 1453 up until the Greek Revolution of 1821, Modern Greece covering a period from 1821 to the present.
At its cultural and geographical peak, Greek civilization spread from Greece to Egypt and to the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan. Since Greek minorities have remained in former Greek territories and Greek emigrants have assimilated into differing societies across the globe. Nowadays most Greeks live in the modern states of Cyprus; the Neolithic Revolution reached Europe beginning in 7000–6500 BC when agriculturalists from the Near East entered the Greek peninsula from Anatolia by island-hopping through the Aegean Sea. The earliest Neolithic sites with developed agricultural economies in Europe dated 8500–9000 BPE are found in Greece; the first Greek-speaking tribes, speaking the predecessor of the Mycenaean language, arrived in the Greek mainland sometime in the Neolithic period or the Early Bronze Age. The transition from the Greek Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age occurred when Greece's agricultural population began to import bronze and copper and used basic bronze-working techniques. During the end of the 3rd millennium BC, the indigenous inhabitants of mainland Greece underwent a cultural transformation attributed to climate change, local events and developments, as well as to continuous contacts with various areas such as western Asia Minor, the Cyclades and Dalmatia.
The Cycladic culture is a significant Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age culture, is best known for its schematic flat female idols carved out of the islands' pure white marble centuries before the great Middle Bronze Age culture arose in Crete, to the south. The Minoan civilization in Crete, which lasted from about c. 3000 BC to c. 1400 BC, the Helladic culture on the Greek mainland from circa 3200/3100 BC to 2000/1900 BC. Little specific information is known about the Minoans, including their written system, recorded on the undeciphered Linear A script and Cretan hieroglyphs, they were a mercantile people engaged in extensive overseas trade throughout the Mediterranean region. Minoan civilization was affected by a number of natural cataclysms such as the volcanic eruption at Thera and earthquakes. In 1425 BC, the Minoan palaces were devastated by fire, which allowed the Mycenaean Greeks, influenced by the Minoans' culture, to expand into Crete; the Minoan civilization which preceded the Mycenaean civilization on Crete was revealed to the modern world by Sir Arthur Evans in 1900, when he purchased and began excavating a site at Knossos.
Mycenaean civilization originated and evolved from the society and culture of the Early and Middle Helladic periods in mainland Greece. It emerged in circa 1600 BC, when Helladic culture in mainland Greece was transformed under influences from Minoan Crete and lasted until the collapse of the Mycenaean palaces in c. 1100 BC. Mycenaean Greece is the Late Helladic Bronze Age civilization of Ancient Greece and it is the historical setting of the epics of Homer and most of Greek mythology and religion; the Mycenaean period takes its name from the archaeological site Mycenae in the northeastern Argolid, in the Peloponnesos of southern Greece. Athens, Pylos and Tiryns are important Mycenaean sites. Mycenaean civilization was dominated by a warrior aristocracy. Around 1400 BC, the Mycenaeans extended their control to Crete, center of the Minoan civilization, adopted a form of the Minoan script called Linear A to write their early form of Greek; the Mycenaean-era script is called Linear B, deciphered in 1952 by Michael Ventris.
The Mycenaeans buried their nobles in beehive tombs, large circular burial chambers with a high-vaulted roof and straight entry passage lined with stone. They buried daggers or some other form of military equipment with the deceased; the nobility were buried with gold masks, tiaras and jeweled weapons. Mycenaeans were buried in a sitting position, some of the nobility underwent mummification. Around 1100–1050 BC, the Mycenaean civilization collapsed. Numerous cities were sacked and the region entered what historians se
Macedonia (ancient kingdom)
Macedonia called Macedon, was an ancient kingdom on the periphery of Archaic and Classical Greece, the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. The kingdom was founded and ruled by the royal Argead dynasty, followed by the Antipatrid and Antigonid dynasties. Home to the ancient Macedonians, the earliest kingdom was centered on the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south. Before the 4th century BC, Macedonia was a small kingdom outside of the area dominated by the great city-states of Athens and Thebes, subordinate to Achaemenid Persia. During the reign of the Argead king Philip II, Macedonia subdued mainland Greece and Thrace through conquest and diplomacy. With a reformed army containing phalanxes wielding the sarissa pike, Philip II defeated the old powers of Athens and Thebes in the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC. Philip II's son Alexander the Great, leading a federation of Greek states, accomplished his father's objective of commanding the whole of Greece when he destroyed Thebes after the city revolted.
During Alexander's subsequent campaign of conquest, he overthrew the Achaemenid Empire and conquered territory that stretched as far as the Indus River. For a brief period, his empire was the most powerful in the world – the definitive Hellenistic state, inaugurating the transition to a new period of Ancient Greek civilization. Greek arts and literature flourished in the new conquered lands and advances in philosophy and science spread throughout much of the ancient world. Of particular importance were the contributions of Aristotle, tutor to Alexander, whose writings became a keystone of Western philosophy. After Alexander's death in 323 BC, the ensuing wars of the Diadochi, the partitioning of Alexander's short-lived empire, Macedonia remained a Greek cultural and political center in the Mediterranean region along with Ptolemaic Egypt, the Seleucid Empire, the Kingdom of Pergamon. Important cities such as Pella and Amphipolis were involved in power struggles for control of the territory. New cities were founded, such as Thessalonica by the usurper Cassander.
Macedonia's decline began with the Macedonian Wars and the rise of Rome as the leading Mediterranean power. At the end of the Third Macedonian War in 168 BC, the Macedonian monarchy was abolished and replaced by Roman client states. A short-lived revival of the monarchy during the Fourth Macedonian War in 150–148 BC ended with the establishment of the Roman province of Macedonia; the Macedonian kings, who wielded absolute power and commanded state resources such as gold and silver, facilitated mining operations to mint currency, finance their armies and, by the reign of Philip II, a Macedonian navy. Unlike the other diadochi successor states, the imperial cult fostered by Alexander was never adopted in Macedonia, yet Macedonian rulers assumed roles as high priests of the kingdom and leading patrons of domestic and international cults of the Hellenistic religion; the authority of Macedonian kings was theoretically limited by the institution of the army, while a few municipalities within the Macedonian commonwealth enjoyed a high degree of autonomy and had democratic governments with popular assemblies.
The name Macedonia comes from the ethnonym Μακεδόνες, which itself is derived from the ancient Greek adjective μακεδνός, meaning "tall" descriptive of the people. It has the same root as the adjective μακρός, meaning "long" or "tall" in Ancient Greek; the name is believed to have meant either "highlanders", "the tall ones", or "high grown men". Linguist Robert S. P. Beekes claims that both terms are of Pre-Greek substrate origin and cannot be explained in terms of Indo-European morphology; the Classical Greek historians Herodotus and Thucydides reported the legend that the Macedonian kings of the Argead dynasty were descendants of Temenus, king of Argos, could therefore claim the mythical Heracles as one of their ancestors as well as a direct lineage from Zeus, chief god of the Greek pantheon. Contradictory legends state that either Perdiccas I of Macedon or Caranus of Macedon were the founders of the Argead dynasty, with either five or eight kings before Amyntas I; the assertion that the Argeads descended from Temenus was accepted by the Hellanodikai authorities of the Ancient Olympic Games, permitting Alexander I of Macedon to enter the competitions owing to his perceived Greek heritage.
Little is known about the kingdom before the reign of Alexander I's father Amyntas I of Macedon during the Archaic period. The kingdom of Macedonia was situated along the Haliacmon and Axius rivers in Lower Macedonia, north of Mount Olympus. Historian Robert Malcolm Errington suggests that one of the earliest Argead kings established Aigai as their capital in the mid-7th century BC. Before the 4th century BC, the kingdom covered a region corresponding to the western and central parts of the region of Macedonia in modern Greece, it expanded into the region of Upper Macedonia, inhabited by the Greek Lyncestae and Elimiotae tribes, into regions of Emathia, Bottiaea, Mygdonia and Almopia, which were inhabited by various peoples such as Thracians and Phrygians. Macedonia's non-Greek neighbors included Thracians, inhabiting territories to the northeast, Illyrians to the northwest, Paeonians to the north, while the lands of Thessaly to the south and Epirus to the west were inhabited by Greeks with similar cultures to that of the Macedonians.
A year after Darius I of