The Fourth Crusade was a Latin Christian armed expedition called by Pope Innocent III. The stated intent of the expedition was to recapture the Muslim-controlled city of Jerusalem, by first conquering the powerful Egyptian Ayyubid Sultanate, the strongest Muslim state of the time. However, a sequence of economic and political events culminated in the Crusader army sacking the city of Constantinople, the capital of the Greek Christian-controlled Byzantine Empire. In late 1202, financial issues led to the Crusader army sacking Zara, brought under Venetian control. In January 1203, en-route to Jerusalem, the Crusader leadership entered into an agreement with the Byzantine prince Alexios Angelos to divert the Crusade to Constantinople and restore his deposed father as Emperor; the intent of the Crusaders was to continue to Jerusalem with promised Byzantine financial and military aid. On 23 June 1203, the bulk of the Crusaders reached Constantinople, while smaller contingents continued to Acre. After the siege of Zara the pope excommunicated the crusader army.
In August, following clashes outside Constantinople, Alexios was crowned co-Emperor. However, in January 1204, he was deposed by a popular uprising; the Crusaders were no longer able to receive their promised payments from Alexios. Following the murder of Alexios on 8 February, the Crusaders decided on the outright conquest of the city. In April 1204, they plundered the city's enormous wealth. Only a handful of the Crusaders continued to the Holy Land thereafter; the conquest of Constantinople was followed by the fragmentation of the Empire into three rump states centred in Nicaea and Epirus. The Crusaders founded several Crusader states in former Byzantine territory hinged upon the Latin Empire of Constantinople; the presence of the Latin Crusader states immediately led to war with the Byzantine successor states and the Bulgarian Empire. The Nicaean Empire recovered Constantinople and restored the Byzantine Empire in 1261; the Crusade is considered to be one of the most prominent acts that solidified the schism between the Greek and Latin Christian churches, dealt an irrevocable blow to the weakened Byzantine Empire, paving the way for Muslim conquests in Anatolia and Balkan Europe in the coming centuries.
Ayyubid Sultan Saladin had conquered most of the Frankish, Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, including the ancient city itself, in 1187. The Kingdom had been established 88 years before, after the capture and sack of Jerusalem in the First Crusade, a Byzantine holding prior to the Muslim conquests of the 7th century; the city was sacred to Christians and Jews, returning it to Christian hands had been a primary purpose of the First Crusade. Saladin led a Muslim dynasty, his incorporation of Jerusalem into his domains shocked and dismayed the Catholic countries of Western Europe. Legend has it that Pope Urban III died of the shock, but the timing of his death makes that impossible; the crusader states had been reduced to three cities along the sea coast: Tyre and Antioch. The Third Crusade reclaimed an extensive amount of territory for the Kingdom of Jerusalem, including the key towns of Acre and Jaffa, but had failed to retake Jerusalem; the crusade had been marked by a significant escalation in long standing tensions between the feudal states of western Europe and the Byzantine Empire, centred in Constantinople.
The experiences of the first two crusades had thrown into stark relief the vast cultural differences between the two Christian civilisations. The Latins viewed the Byzantine preference for diplomacy and trade over war as duplicitous and degenerate, their policy of tolerance and assimilation towards Muslims as a corrupt betrayal of the faith. For their part, the educated and wealthy Byzantines maintained a strong sense of cultural and social superiority over the Latins. Constantinople had been in existence for 874 years at the time of the Fourth Crusade and was the largest and most sophisticated city in Christendom. Alone amongst major medieval urban centres, it had retained the civic structures, public baths, forums and aqueducts of classical Rome in working form. At its height, the city held an estimated population of about half a million people behind thirteen miles of triple walls, its planned location made Constantinople not only the capital of the surviving eastern part of the Roman Empire but a commercial centre that dominated trade routes from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea, China and Persia.
As a result, it was both a rival and a tempting target for the aggressive new states of the west, notably the Republic of Venice. One of the leaders of the Third Crusade, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa plotted with the Serbs, Byzantine traitors, the Muslim Seljuks against the Eastern Empire and at one point sought Papal support for a crusade against the Orthodox Byzantines. Crusaders seized the breakaway Byzantine province of Cyprus. Barbarossa died on crusade, his army disintegrated, leaving the English and French, who had come by sea, to fight Saladin. In 1195 Henry VI, son and heir of Barbarossa, sought to efface this humiliation by declaring a new crusade, in the summer of 1197 a large number of German knights and nobles, headed by two archbishops, nine bishops, five dukes, sailed for Palestine. There they captured Sidon and Beirut, but at the news of Henry's death in Messina along the way, many of the nobles and clerics returned to Europe. Deserted by much of their leade
The Franks were a collection of Germanic peoples, whose name was first mentioned in 3rd century Roman sources, associated with tribes on the Lower and Middle Rhine, on the edge of the Roman Empire. The term was associated with Romanized Germanic dynasties within the collapsing Roman Empire, who commanded the whole region between the rivers Loire and Rhine, they imposed power over many other post-Roman kingdoms and Germanic peoples, still they were given recognition by the Catholic Church as successors to the old rulers of the Western Roman Empire. Although the Frankish name does not appear until the 3rd century, at least some of the original Frankish tribes had long been known to the Romans under their own names, both as allies providing soldiers and as enemies; the new name first appears when their allies were losing control of the Rhine region. The Franks were first reported as working together to raid Roman territory, but from the beginning these raids were associated with attacks upon them from outside their frontier area, by the Saxons, for example, with the desire of frontier tribes to move into Roman territory with which they had had centuries of close contact.
Frankish peoples inside Rome's frontier on the Rhine river were the Salian Franks who from their first appearance were permitted to live in Roman territory, the Ripuarian or Rhineland Franks who, after many attempts conquered the Roman frontier city of Cologne and took control of the left bank of the Rhine. In a period of factional conflict in the 450s and 460s, Childeric I, a Frank, was one of several military leaders commanding Roman forces with various ethnic affiliations in Roman Gaul. Childeric and his son Clovis I faced competition from the Roman Aegidius as competitor for the "kingship" of the Franks associated with the Roman Loire forces; this new type of kingship inspired by Alaric I, represents the start of the Merovingian dynasty, which succeeded in conquering most of Gaul in the 6th century, as well as establishing its leadership over all the Frankish kingdoms on the Rhine frontier. It was on the basis of this Merovingian empire that the resurgent Carolingians came to be seen as the new Emperors of Western Europe in 800.
In the Middle Ages, the term Frank came to be used as a synonym for Western European, as the Carolingian Franks were rulers of most of Western Europe, established a political order, the basis of the European ancien regime that only ended with the French revolution. Western Europeans shared their allegiance to the Roman Catholic church and worked as allies in the Crusades beyond Europe in the Levant, where they still referred to themselves and the Principalities they established as Frankish; this has had a lasting impact on names for Western Europeans in many languages. From the beginning the Frankish kingdoms were politically and divided between an eastern Frankish and Germanic part, the western part that the Merovingians had founded on Roman soil; the eastern Frankish kingdom came to be seen as the new "Holy Roman Empire", was from early times called "Germany". Within "Frankish" Western Europe itself, it was the original Merovingian or "Salian" Western Frankish kingdom, founded in Roman Gaul and speaking Romance languages, which has continued until today to be referred to as "France" - a name derived directly from the Franks.
The name Franci was not a tribal name, but within a few centuries it had eclipsed the names of the original peoples who constituted it. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the English adjective "frank" meaning "free". There have been proposals that Frank comes from the Germanic word for "javelin". Words in other Germanic languages meaning "fierce", "bold" or "insolent", may be significant. Eumenius addressed the Franks in the matter of the execution of Frankish prisoners in the circus at Trier by Constantine I in 306 and certain other measures: Latin: Ubi nunc est illa ferocia? Ubi semper infida mobilitas?. Latin: Feroces was used to describe the Franks. Contemporary definitions of Frankish ethnicity vary both by point of view. A formulary written by Marculf about 700 AD described a continuation of national identities within a mixed population when it stated that "all the peoples who dwell, Romans and those of other nations, live... according to their law and their custom."
Writing in 2009, Professor Christopher Wickham pointed out that "the word'Frankish' ceased to have an exclusive ethnic connotation. North of the River Loire everyone seems to have been considered a Frank by the mid-7th century at the latest. Apart from the more respected History of the Franks by Gregory of Tours, two more colourful early sources that describe the origin of the Franks are a 7th-century work known as the Chronicle of Fredegar and the anonymous Liber Historiae Francorum, written a century later; the author of the Chronicle of Fredegar claimed that the Franks came from Troy and quoted the works of Vergil and Hieronymous, the Franks are mentioned in those works, by Hieronymous. The chronicle describes Priam as a Frankish king whose people migrated to Macedonia after the fall of Troy. In Macedonia, the Franks divided; the Eur
Kalamata is the second most populous city of the Peloponnese peninsula, after Patras, in southern Greece and the largest city of the homonymous administrative region. The capital and chief port of the Messenia regional unit, it lies along the Nedon River at the head of the Messenian Gulf; the 2011 census recorded 69,849 inhabitants for the wider Kalamata Municipality, of which 62,409 in the municipal unit of Kalamata proper. Kalamata is renowned as the land of Kalamata olives; the modern name Kalamáta is a corruption of the older name Καλάμαι, Kalámai, "reeds". The phonetic similarity of Kalamáta with the phrase "kalá mátia" has led to various folk etymologies; the municipality Kalamata was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 4 former municipalities, that became municipal units: Arfara Aris Kalamata ThouriaThe municipality has an area of 440.313 km2, the municipal unit 253.279 km2. The municipal unit of Kalamata is subdivided into the following communities: Municipal communities Kalamata Verga Local communities Alagonia Antikalamos Artemisia Asprochoma Elaiochori Karveli Ladas Laiika Mikri Mantineia Nedousa Piges Sperchogeia The province of Kalamata was one of the provinces of the Messenia Prefecture.
Its territory corresponded with that of the current municipalities West Mani. It was abolished in 2006; the history of Kalamata begins with Homer, who mentions Firai, an ancient city built more or less where the Kalamata Castle stands today. It was believed that during ancient times the area that the city presently occupies was covered by the sea, but the proto-Greek and archaic period remains that were unearthed at Akovitika region prove the opposite. Pharai was rather unimportant in antiquity, the site continued in obscurity until middle Byzantine times. Kalamata is first mentioned in the 10th-century Life of St. Nikon the Metanoeite, experienced a period of prosperity in the 11th–12th centuries, as attested by the five surviving churches built in this period, including the Church of the Holy Apostles, as well as the comments of the Arab geographer al-Idrisi, who calls it a "large and populous" town. Following the Fourth Crusade, Kalamata was conquered by Frankish feudal lords William of Champlitte and Geoffrey of Villehardouin in 1205, when its Byzantine fortress was in so bad a state that it could not be defended against them.
Thus the town became part of the Principality of Achaea, after Champlitte granted its possession to Geoffrey of Villehardouin, the town was the center of the Villehardouins' patrimony in the Principality. Prince William II of Villehardouin was died there. After William II's death in 1278, Kalamata remained in the hands of his widow, Anna Komnene Doukaina, but when she remarried to Nicholas II of Saint Omer, King Charles of Anjou was loath to see this important castle in the hands of a vassal, in 1282 Anna exchanged it with lands elsewhere in Messenia. In 1292 or 1293, two local Melingoi Slavic captains managed to capture the fortress of Kalamata by a ruse and, aided by 600 of their fellow villagers, took over the entire lower town as well in the name of the Byzantine emperor, Andronikos II Palaiologos. Constable John Chauderon in vain tried to secure their surrender, was sent to Constantinople, where Andronikos agreed to hand the town over, but immediately ordered his governor in Mystras not to do so.
In the event, the town was recovered by the Franks through the intercession of a local Greek, a certain Sgouromalles. In 1298, the town formed the dowry of Princess Matilda of Hainaut upon her marriage to Guy II de la Roche. Matilda retained Kalamata as her fief until 1322, when she was dispossessed and the territory reverted to the princely domain. In 1358, Prince Robert gifted the châtellenie of Kalamata to his wife, Marie de Bourbon, who kept it until her death in 1377; the town remained one of the largest in the Morea—a 1391 document places it, with 300 hearths, on par with Glarentza—but it declined in importance throughout the 14th and 15th centuries in favour of other nearby sites like Androusa. Kalamata remained in Frankish hands until near the end of the Principality of Achaea, coming under the control of the Byzantine Despotate of the Morea only in 1428. Kalamata was occupied by the Ottomans like the rest of Greece. In 1659, during the long war between Ottomans and Venetians over Crete, the Venetian commander Francesco Morosini, came into contact with the rebellious Maniots, for a joint campaign in the Morea, in the course of which he took Kalamata.
He was soon after forced to return to Crete
Sparta was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece. In antiquity the city-state was known as Lacedaemon, while the name Sparta referred to its main settlement on the banks of the Eurotas River in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. Around 650 BC, it rose to become the dominant military land-power in ancient Greece. Given its military pre-eminence, Sparta was recognized as the leading force of the unified Greek military during the Greco-Persian Wars. Between 431 and 404 BC, Sparta was the principal enemy of Athens during the Peloponnesian War, from which it emerged victorious, though at a great cost of lives lost. Sparta's defeat by Thebes in the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC ended Sparta's prominent role in Greece. However, it maintained its political independence until the Roman conquest of Greece in 146 BC, it underwent a long period of decline in the Middle Ages, when many Spartans moved to live in Mystras. Modern Sparta is the capital of the Greek regional unit of Laconia and a center for the processing of goods such as citrus and olives.
Sparta was unique in ancient Greece for its social system and constitution, which configured their entire society to maximize military proficiency at all costs, focused on military training and excellence. Its inhabitants were classified as Spartiates, mothakes and helots. Spartiates underwent the rigorous agoge training and education regimen, Spartan phalanges were considered to be among the best in battle. Spartan women enjoyed more rights and equality to men than elsewhere in the classical antiquity. Sparta was the subject of fascination in its own day, as well as in Western culture following the revival of classical learning; this love or admiration of Sparta is known as Laconophilia. At its peak around 500 BC the size of the city would have been some 20,000–35,000 citizens, plus numerous helots and perioikoi; the total of 40,000–50,000 made Sparta one of the largest Greek cities. The French classicist François Ollier in his 1933 book Le mirage spartiate warned that a major scholarly problem regarding Sparta is that all the surviving accounts were written by non-Spartans who presented an excessively idealized image of Sparta.
The earliest attested term referring to Lacedaemon is the Mycenaean Greek, ra-ke-da-mi-ni-jo, "Lacedaimonian", written in Linear B syllabic script, being the equivalent of the written in the Greek alphabet, latter Greek, Λακεδαιμόνιος, Lakedaimonios. The ancient Greeks used one of three words to refer to the home location of the Spartans; the first refers to the main cluster of settlements in the valley of the Eurotas River: Sparta. The second word was Lacedaemon. Herodotus seems to denote by it the Mycenaean Greek citadel at Therapne, in contrast to the lower town of Sparta, it could be used synonymously with Sparta, but it was not. It denoted the terrain. In Homer it is combined with epithets of the countryside: wide, lovely and most hollow and broken; the hollow suggests the Eurotas Valley. Sparta on the other hand is the country of a people epithet; the name of the population was used for the state of Lacedaemon: the Lacedaemonians. This epithet utilized the plural of the adjective Lacedaemonius.
If the ancients wished to refer to the country more directly, instead of Lacedaemon, they could use a back-formation from the adjective: Lacedaemonian country. As most words for "country" were feminine, the adjective was in the feminine: Lacedaemonia; the adjective came to be used alone. "Lacedaemonia" was not in general use during the classical period and before. It does occur in Greek as an equivalent of Laconia and Messenia during the Roman and early Byzantine periods in ethnographers and lexica glossing place names. For example, Hesychius of Alexandria's Lexicon defines Agiadae as a "place in Lacedaemonia" named after Agis; the actual transition may be captured by Isidore of Seville's Etymologiae, an etymological dictionary. He relied on Orosius' Historiarum Adversum Paganos and Eusebius of Caesarea's Chronicon as did Orosius; the latter defines Sparta to be Lacedaemonia Civitas but Isidore defines Lacedaemonia as founded by Lacedaemon, son of Semele, relying on Eusebius. There is a rare use the earliest of Lacedaemonia, in Diodorus Siculus, but with Χὠρα suppressed.
The immediate area around the town of Sparta, the plateau east of the Taygetos mountains, was referred as Laconice. This term was sometimes used to refer to all the regions under direct Spartan control, including Messenia. Lakedaimona was until 2006 the name of a province in the modern Greek prefecture of Laconia. Sparta is located in the south-eastern Peloponnese. Ancient Sparta was built on the banks of the Eurotas River, the main river of Laconia, which provided it with a source of fresh water; the valley of the Eurotas is a natural fo
Piraeus is a port city in the region of Attica, Greece. Piraeus is located within the Athens urban area, 12 kilometres southwest from its city centre, lies along the east coast of the Saronic Gulf. According to the 2011 census, Piraeus had a population of 163,688 people within its administrative limits, making it the fourth largest municipality in Greece and the second largest within the urban area of the Greek capital, following the municipality of Athens; the municipality of Piraeus and several other suburban municipalities within the regional unit of Piraeus form the greater Piraeus area, with a total population of 448,997. Piraeus has a long recorded history, dating to ancient Greece; the city was developed in the early 5th century BC, when it was selected to serve as the port city of classical Athens and was transformed into a prototype harbour, concentrating all the import and transit trade of Athens. During the Golden Age of Athens the Long Walls were constructed to fortify its port, it became the chief harbour of ancient Greece, but declined after the 4th century AD, growing once more in the 19th century, after Athens' declaration as the capital of Greece.
In the modern era, Piraeus is a large city, bustling with activity and an integral part of Athens, acting as home to the country's biggest harbour and bearing all the characteristics of a huge marine and commercial-industrial centre. The port of Piraeus is the chief port in Greece, the largest passenger port in Europe and the second largest in the world, servicing about 20 million passengers annually. With a throughput of 1.4 million TEUs, Piraeus is placed among the top ten ports in container traffic in Europe and the top container port in the Eastern Mediterranean. The city hosted events in both the 1896 and 2004 Summer Olympics held in Athens; the University of Piraeus is one of the largest universities in Greece. Piraeus, which means'the place over the passage', has been inhabited since the 26th century BC. In prehistoric times, Piraeus was a rocky island consisting of the steep hill of Munichia, modern-day Kastella, was connected to the mainland by a low-lying stretch of land, flooded with sea water most of the year, used as a salt field whenever it dried up.
It was called the Halipedon, meaning the'salt field', its muddy soil made it a tricky passage. Through the centuries, the area was silted and flooding ceased, thus by early classical times the land passage was made safe. In ancient Greece, Piraeus assumed its importance with its three deep water harbours, the main port of Cantharus and the two smaller of Zea and Munichia, replaced the older and shallow Phaleron harbour, which fell into disuse. In the late 6th century BC, the area caught attention due to its advantages. In 511 BC, the hill of Munichia was fortified by Hippias and four years Piraeus became a deme of Athens by Cleisthenes. According to the ancient Greek historian Thucydides, in 493 BC, Themistocles initiated the fortification works in Piraeus and advised the Athenians to take advantage of its natural harbours' strategic potential instead of using the sandy bay of Phaleron. In 483 BC, a new silver vein was discovered in Laurion mines, utilized to fund the construction of 200 triremes, the Athenian fleet, transferred to Piraeus and was built in its shipyards.
The Athenian fleet played a crucial role in the battle of Salamis against the Persians in 480 BC. From on Piraeus was permanently used as the navy base. After the second Persian invasion of Greece, Themistocles fortified the three harbours of Piraeus and created the neosoikoi; the city's fortification was farther reinforced by the construction of the Long Walls under Cimon and Pericles, with which secure port's route to Athens main city. Meanwhile, Piraeus was rebuilt to the famous grid plan of architect Hippodamus of Miletus, known as the Hippodamian plan, the main agora of the city was named after him in honour; as a result, Piraeus flourished and became a port of high security and great commercial activity, a city bustling with life. During the Peloponnesian War, Piraeus suffered its first setback. In the second year of the war, the first cases of the Athens plague were recorded in Piraeus. In 429 the Spartans ravaged Salamis as part of an abortive attack on the Piraeus, when the Athenians responded by sending a fleet to investigate, the Spartan alliance forces fled.
In 404 BC, the Spartan fleet under Lysander blockaded Piraeus and subsequently Athens surrendered to the Spartans, putting an end to the Delian League and the war itself. Piraeus would follow the fate of Athens and was to bear the brunt of the Spartans' rage, as the city's walls and the Long Walls were torn down; as a result, the tattered and unfortified port city was not able to compete with prosperous Rhodes, which controlled commerce. In 403 BC, Munichia was seized by Thrasybulus and the exiles from Phyle, in the battle of Munichia, where the Phyleans defeated the Thirty Tyrants of Athens, but in the following battle of Piraeus the exiles were defeated by Spartan forces. After the reinstatement of democracy, Conon rebuilt the walls in 393 BC, founded the temple of Aphrodite Euploia and the sanctuary of Zeus Sotiros and Athena, built the famous Skeuotheke of Philon, the ruins of which have been discovered at Zea harbour; the reconstruction of Piraeus went on
Homer is the legendary author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, two epic poems that are the central works of ancient Greek literature. The Iliad is set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek kingdoms, it focuses on a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles lasting a few weeks during the last year of the war. The Odyssey focuses on the ten-year journey home of Odysseus, king of Ithaca, after the fall of Troy. Many accounts of Homer's life circulated in classical antiquity, the most widespread being that he was a blind bard from Ionia, a region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey. Modern scholars consider these accounts legendary; the Homeric Question – concerning by whom, when and under what circumstances the Iliad and Odyssey were composed – continues to be debated. Broadly speaking, modern scholarly opinion falls into two groups. One holds that most of the Odyssey are the works of a single poet of genius; the other considers the Homeric poems to be the result of a process of working and reworking by many contributors, that "Homer" is best seen as a label for an entire tradition.
It is accepted that the poems were composed at some point around the late eighth or early seventh century BC. The poems are in Homeric Greek known as Epic Greek, a literary language which shows a mixture of features of the Ionic and Aeolic dialects from different centuries. Most researchers believe that the poems were transmitted orally. From antiquity until the present day, the influence of the Homeric epics on Western civilization has been great, inspiring many of its most famous works of literature, music and film; the Homeric epics were the greatest influence on education. Today only the Iliad and Odyssey are associated with the name'Homer'. In antiquity, a large number of other works were sometimes attributed to him, including the Homeric Hymns, the Contest of Homer and Hesiod, the Little Iliad, the Nostoi, the Thebaid, the Cypria, the Epigoni, the comic mini-epic Batrachomyomachia, the Margites, the Capture of Oechalia, the Phocais; these claims are not considered authentic today and were by no means universally accepted in the ancient world.
As with the multitude of legends surrounding Homer's life, they indicate little more than the centrality of Homer to ancient Greek culture. Many traditions circulated in the ancient world concerning Homer. Modern scholarly consensus is; some claims were repeated often. They include that Homer was blind, that he was born in Chios, that he was the son of the river Meles and the nymph Critheïs, that he was a wandering bard, that he composed a varying list of other works, that he died either in Ios or after failing to solve a riddle set by fishermen, various explanations for the name "Homer"; the two best known ancient biographies of Homer are the Life of Homer by the Pseudo-Herodotus and the Contest of Homer and Hesiod. The study of Homer is one of the oldest topics in scholarship, dating back to antiquity. Nonetheless, the aims of Homeric studies have changed over the course of the millennia; the earliest preserved comments on Homer concern his treatment of the gods, which hostile critics such as the poet Xenophanes of Colophon denounced as immoral.
The allegorist Theagenes of Rhegium is said to have defended Homer by arguing that the Homeric poems are allegories. The Iliad and the Odyssey were used as school texts in ancient Greek and Hellenistic cultures, they were the first literary works taught to all students. The Iliad its first few books, was far more intently studied than the Odyssey during the Hellenistic and Roman periods; as a result of the poems' prominence in classical Greek education, extensive commentaries on them developed to explain parts of the poems that were culturally or linguistically difficult. During the Hellenistic and Roman Periods, many interpreters the Stoics, who believed that Homeric poems conveyed Stoic doctrines, regarded them as allegories, containing hidden wisdom; because of the Homeric poems' extensive use in education, many authors believed that Homer's original purpose had been to educate. Homer's wisdom became so praised that he began to acquire the image of a prototypical philosopher. Byzantine scholars such as Eustathius of Thessalonica and John Tzetzes produced commentaries and scholia to Homer in the twelfth century.
Eustathius's commentary on the Iliad alone is massive, sprawling nearly 4,000 oversized pages in a twenty-first century printed version and his commentary on the Odyssey an additional nearly 2,000. In 1488, the Greek scholar Demetrios Chalkokondyles published the editio princeps of the Homeric poems; the earliest modern Homeric scholars started with the same basic approaches towards the Homeric poems as scholars in antiquity. The allegorical interpretation of the Homeric poems, so prevalent in antiquity returned to become the prevailing view of the Renaissance. Renaissance humanists praised Homer as the archetypically wise poet, whose writings contain hidden wisdom, disguised through allegory. In western Europe during the Renaissance, Virgil was more read than Homer and Homer was seen through a Virgilian lens. In 1664, contradicting the widespread praise of Homer as the epitome of wisdom, François Hédelin, abbé d'Aubignac wrote a s
The Alepotrypa cave is an archaeological site in the Mani region of the Peloponnese peninsula. In addition to being inhabited by early farmers, this site was used for cult purposes. Archaeological evidence has revealed that this is one of the largest Neolithic burial sites found in Europe. Two adult human skeletons were found at the site from a burial dating to the 4th millennium BC, as well as remains from at least 170 separate persons. Archaeologists are uncertain about the significance of a Mycenaen ossuary, dated to the 2nd millennium BC and appears to have been reburied at Alepotrypa. While there is no direct evidence, it is possible that the ossuary may link Alepotrypa to Tainaron, regarded as the entrance to Hades in classical mythology; the Alepotrypa cave, is one of the caves of Diros located in the Mani region of the Peloponnese peninsula. The Mani peninsula is made up of Mesozoic carbonate rocks like limestone, which erode as a result of hydrogeological conditions on the peninsula and form karst caves like Alepotrypa.
Study of the caves stalagmites has provided information about human activities in the cave and climate variations. By studying variations of trace elements, Meighan Boyd was able to find evidence of certain human activities in the cave, such as burning animal dung, she was able to confirm and date several periods of drought. In addition to being one of the earliest known inhabited sites in the southern Laconia region of the Peloponnese, the Alepotrypa cave is one of the largest Neolithic burial sites in Europe. Burials in the cave date from between 6,000 and 3200 BC, archaeologists have found bones belonging to at least 170 different persons. Two adult human skeletons were found at the site, dating to the 4th millennium BC, along with a Mycenaen ossuary that archaeologists believe dates to the 2nd millennium BC; the settlement was abandoned around 3200 BC, after a catastrophic earthquake caused extensive damage that blocked the cave's entrance. Finds from the cave were well-preserved due to the cave's sealed entrance and lack of human activity in the area.
The site was threatened by private construction work between 1958–1970, but the Greek Ministry of Culture cancelled the "touristic exploitation" of the site. Excavations led by Giorgos Papathanassopoulos began in 1970, but were delayed until 1978 due to political complications in Greece; the site was excavated between 1978 and 2005, after which the project was put on hold due to lack of funding. In 2010 the Diros Regional Project was founded to conduct a regional survey as the Alepotrypa excavation team began to prepare their findings for publication. Late Neolithic material has been found in the cave itself, but as of 2013 the survey team has only found material dating to the Final Neolithic in the nearby open-air areas. During the Neolithic era, the cave itself served as a burial site while farmers inhabited a large village outside the cave. Based on evidence found at the site, archaeologists believe that the early farmers who inhabited this area ate barley and wheat, suggest that non-lethal head injuries found on the skulls may indicate violent confrontations.
Primary burial and secondary burial are all represented at the site, it was used for shelter and storage. Evidence of cultic practice has been found, including the head of a stalagmite type marble idol. Other finds from the excavation include Late Neolithic stone and clay vessels and weapons. Painted and incised pottery, shell beads, stone axes, a complete flint arrowhead have been found, along with blades and flakes of Melian obsidian. Silver jewelry found at the site suggests the area was wealthy, as silver was rare in Bronze Age and Neolithic Europe. A rare early copper axe, which scholars believe can be dated to the Final Neolithic period, was found at the Alepotrypa site. Paul Cartledge writes that "there was no transitional Chalcolithic phase in the Peloponnese" and adds that the copper tools found in the Alepotrypa cave "provide a convenient transition" to the Early Helladic era. Mythological tradition says there was an entrance to the underworld domain of the Greek god of death Hades at the nearby site of Tainaron, archaeologists working on the excavation believe it is possible that the cultural memory of the burial site at Alepotrypa had become associated with Tainaron by the classical period.
Archaeologists have speculated that a Mycenaean ossuary dating from 1300 BC may have been carried to the site for reburial during the late Bronze Age. One possible explanation offered by the lead excavator Giorgos Papathanassopoulos is that the persons who inhabited this site took the cultural memory of an underground realm where the dead were buried with them. Anastasia Papathanasiou, co-director of the Diros excavation added that "there's no direct evidence, but we can't rule out that possibility"