It is the period in which Greek and Roman society flourished and wielded great influence throughout Europe, North Africa and Southwestern Asia. Conventionally, it is taken to begin with the earliest-recorded Epic Greek poetry of Homer, and continues through the emergence of Christianity and it ends with the dissolution of classical culture at the close of Late Antiquity, blending into the Early Middle Ages. Such a wide sampling of history and territory covers many disparate cultures, Classical antiquity may refer to an idealised vision among people of what was, in Edgar Allan Poes words, the glory that was Greece, and the grandeur that was Rome. The culture of the ancient Greeks, together with influences from the ancient Near East, was the basis of art, society. The earliest period of classical antiquity takes place before the background of gradual re-appearance of historical sources following the Bronze Age collapse, the 8th and 7th centuries BC are still largely proto-historical, with the earliest Greek alphabetic inscriptions appearing in the first half of the 8th century.
Homer is usually assumed to have lived in the 8th or 7th century BC, in the same period falls the traditional date for the establishment of the Ancient Olympic Games, in 776 BC. The Phoenicians originally expanded from Canaan ports, by the 8th century dominating trade in the Mediterranean, carthage was founded in 814 BC, and the Carthaginians by 700 BC had firmly established strongholds in Sicily and Sardinia, which created conflicts of interest with Etruria. The Etruscans had established control in the region by the late 7th century BC, forming the aristocratic. According to legend, Rome was founded on April 21,753 BC by twin descendants of the Trojan prince Aeneas and Remus. As the city was bereft of women, legend says that the Latins invited the Sabines to a festival and stole their unmarried maidens, leading to the integration of the Latins and the Sabines. Archaeological evidence indeed shows first traces of settlement at the Roman Forum in the mid-8th century BC, the seventh and final king of Rome was Tarquinius Superbus.
As the son of Tarquinius Priscus and the son-in-law of Servius Tullius, Superbus was of Etruscan birth and it was during his reign that the Etruscans reached their apex of power. Superbus removed and destroyed all the Sabine shrines and altars from the Tarpeian Rock, the people came to object to his rule when he failed to recognize the rape of Lucretia, a patrician Roman, at the hands of his own son. Lucretias kinsman, Lucius Junius Brutus, summoned the Senate and had Superbus, after Superbus expulsion, the Senate voted to never again allow the rule of a king and reformed Rome into a republican government in 509 BC. In fact the Latin word Rex meaning King became a dirty and hated throughout the Republic. In 510, Spartan troops helped the Athenians overthrow the tyrant Hippias, cleomenes I, king of Sparta, put in place a pro-Spartan oligarchy conducted by Isagoras. Greece entered the 4th century under Spartan hegemony, but by 395 BC the Spartan rulers removed Lysander from office, and Sparta lost her naval supremacy.
Athens, Argos and Corinth, the two of which were formerly Spartan allies, challenged Spartan dominance in the Corinthian War, which ended inconclusively in 387 BC
The Greeks or Hellenes are an ethnic group native to Greece, southern Albania, Sicily, Egypt and, to a lesser extent, other countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. They form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world, many of these regions coincided to a large extent with the borders of the Byzantine Empire of the late 11th century and the Eastern Mediterranean areas of ancient Greek colonization. The cultural centers of the Greeks have included Athens, Alexandria, most ethnic Greeks live nowadays within the borders of the modern Greek state and Cyprus. The Greek genocide and population exchange between Greece and Turkey nearly ended the three millennia-old Greek presence in Asia Minor, other longstanding Greek populations can be found from southern Italy to the Caucasus and southern Russia and Ukraine and in the Greek diaspora communities in a number of other countries. Today, most Greeks are officially registered as members of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Greeks speak the Greek language, which forms its own unique branch within the Indo-European family of languages, the Hellenic.
They are part of a group of ethnicities, described by Anthony D. Smith as an archetypal diaspora people. Both migrations occur at incisive periods, the Mycenaean at the transition to the Late Bronze Age, the Mycenaeans quickly penetrated the Aegean Sea and, by the 15th century BC, had reached Rhodes, Crete and the shores of Asia Minor. Around 1200 BC, the Dorians, another Greek-speaking people, followed from Epirus, the Dorian invasion was followed by a poorly attested period of migrations, appropriately called the Greek Dark Ages, but by 800 BC the landscape of Archaic and Classical Greece was discernible. The Greeks of classical antiquity idealized their Mycenaean ancestors and the Mycenaean period as an era of heroes, closeness of the gods. The Homeric Epics were especially and generally accepted as part of the Greek past, as part of the Mycenaean heritage that survived, the names of the gods and goddesses of Mycenaean Greece became major figures of the Olympian Pantheon of antiquity. The ethnogenesis of the Greek nation is linked to the development of Pan-Hellenism in the 8th century BC, the works of Homer and Hesiod were written in the 8th century BC, becoming the basis of the national religion, ethos and mythology.
The Oracle of Apollo at Delphi was established in this period, the classical period of Greek civilization covers a time spanning from the early 5th century BC to the death of Alexander the Great, in 323 BC. It is so named because it set the standards by which Greek civilization would be judged in eras, the Peloponnesian War, the large scale civil war between the two most powerful Greek city-states Athens and Sparta and their allies, left both greatly weakened. Many Greeks settled in Hellenistic cities like Alexandria and Seleucia, two thousand years later, there are still communities in Pakistan and Afghanistan, like the Kalash, who claim to be descended from Greek settlers. The Hellenistic civilization was the period of Greek civilization, the beginnings of which are usually placed at Alexanders death. This Hellenistic age, so called because it saw the partial Hellenization of many non-Greek cultures and this age saw the Greeks move towards larger cities and a reduction in the importance of the city-state.
These larger cities were parts of the still larger Kingdoms of the Diadochi, however, remained aware of their past, chiefly through the study of the works of Homer and the classical authors. An important factor in maintaining Greek identity was contact with barbarian peoples and this led to a strong desire among Greeks to organize the transmission of the Hellenic paideia to the next generation
Iran, known as Persia, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a sovereign state in Western Asia. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2, it is the second-largest country in the Middle East, with 82.8 million inhabitants, Iran is the worlds 17th-most-populous country. It is the country with both a Caspian Sea and an Indian Ocean coastline. The countrys central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, Tehran is the countrys capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center. Iran is the site of to one of the worlds oldest civilizations, the area was first unified by the Iranian Medes in 625 BC, who became the dominant cultural and political power in the region. The empire collapsed in 330 BC following the conquests of Alexander the Great, under the Sassanid Dynasty, Iran again became one of the leading powers in the world for the next four centuries. Beginning in 633 AD, Arabs conquered Iran and largely displaced the indigenous faiths of Manichaeism and Zoroastrianism by Islam, Iran became a major contributor to the Islamic Golden Age that followed, producing many influential scientists, scholars and thinkers.
During the 18th century, Iran reached its greatest territorial extent since the Sassanid Empire, through the late 18th and 19th centuries, a series of conflicts with Russia led to significant territorial losses and the erosion of sovereignty. Popular unrest culminated in the Persian Constitutional Revolution of 1906, which established a monarchy and the countrys first legislative body. Following a coup instigated by the U. K. Growing dissent against foreign influence and political repression led to the 1979 Revolution, Irans rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 21 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the third-largest number in Asia and 11th-largest in the world. Iran is a member of the UN, ECO, NAM, OIC. Its political system is based on the 1979 Constitution which combines elements of a democracy with a theocracy governed by Islamic jurists under the concept of a Supreme Leadership. A multicultural country comprising numerous ethnic and linguistic groups, most inhabitants are Shia Muslims, the largest ethnic groups in Iran are the Persians, Azeris and Lurs.
Historically, Iran has been referred to as Persia by the West, due mainly to the writings of Greek historians who called Iran Persis, meaning land of the Persians. As the most extensive interactions the Ancient Greeks had with any outsider was with the Persians, Persis was originally referred to a region settled by Persians in the west shore of Lake Urmia, in the 9th century BC. The settlement was shifted to the end of the Zagros Mountains. In 1935, Reza Shah requested the international community to refer to the country by its native name, opposition to the name change led to the reversal of the decision, and Professor Ehsan Yarshater, editor of Encyclopædia Iranica, propagated a move to use Persia and Iran interchangeably
Historians have puzzled over the broader meanings of alliance in such early times. Twelve members would meet at times in the same sanctuary to keep religious festivals. An early amphictyony centered on Kalaureia, a close to the coast of Troezen in the Peloponnesus sacred to Poseidon, was noted by Strabo. Archaeology of the suggested to Thomas Kelly that the sacred league was founded in the second quarter of the 7th century BC. 680-650, before that there were virtually no remains at the site. The island was known at one time as Eirene, clearly in reference to the amphictyony, the least obscure and longest-lasting amphictyony was the Delphic or Great Amphictyonic League that was organized to support the greater temples of Apollo and Demeter. The League council had religious authority and the power to pronounce punishments against offenders, punishments could range from fines to expulsion and to conduct sacred wars. The Amphictyonic League set the rules of battle so as to protect sanctuaries, all members were obliged to pledge themselves by an oath as reported by Aeschines.
The founding myth claimed that it had founded in the most distant past by an eponymous founder Amphictyon, brother of Hellen. Representatives of the members met in Thermopylae in spring and in Delphi in autumn. The League doctrine required that no member would be wiped out in war. It did not prevent members from fighting about the dominance over the temples, the oldest religious Amphictyonic League was known as Anthelian, because it was centered on the cult of the chthonic goddess Demeter at Anthela. The twelve delegates were entitled Pylagorai, perhaps a reference to the local Gates of Hades, the immediate dwellers-round were some small states and Achaea-Phthiotis that probably paved the way for the entry of the body of the rest Boeotian tribes which were living around Thessaly. As a result of the war the Anthelan body was known thenceforth as the Delphic Amphictyony and became the official overseer, a strange and revealing anti-Thessalian feeling appeared and a wall was built across the narrow defile at Thermopylae to keep the Thessalians out.
This was a made to be sung at a Boeotian festival at midsummer at the hottest time of the dogstar Sirios. The name Hellenes, may be related to the members of the league, in Greek mythology Amphictyon was brother of Hellen, and Graecus was son of his sister Pandora. According to the Parian Chronicle, the previously-named Graeces were renamed Hellenes, originally a religious organization, the Amphictyonic League became politically important in the 6th century BC, when larger city-states began to use it to apply pressure to the lesser ones. The Oracle managed to become independent from the city of Krissa, the people of Krissa imposed a tax on those who were passing through their area to go to Delphi, causing strong complaints and reducing the resources of the Oracle
The Lernaean Hydra or Hydra of Lerna, more often known simply as the Hydra, was a serpentine water monster in Greek and Roman mythology. Its lair was the lake of Lerna in the Argolid, which was the site of the myth of the Danaids, Lerna was reputed to be an entrance to the Underworld and archaeology has established it as a sacred site older than Mycenaean Argos. In the canonical Hydra myth, the monster is killed by Heracles, more known as Hercules, using sword and fire. According to Hesiod, the Hydra was the offspring of Typhon and it possessed many heads, the exact number of which varies according to the source. Later versions of the Hydra story add a feature to the monster, for every head chopped off. The Hydra had poisonous breath and blood so virulent that even its scent was deadly, the oldest extant Hydra narrative appears in Hesiods Theogony, while the oldest images of the monster are found on a pair of bronze fibulae dating to ca.700 BCE. In both these sources, the motifs of the Hydra myth are already present, a multi-headed serpent that is slain by Heracles.
While the fibulae portray a six-headed Hydra, its number of heads was first fixed in writing by Alcaeus, writing a century later, increased the number to fifty, while Euripides and others did not bother to give an exact figure. Heraclitus the paradoxographer rationalized the myth by suggesting that the Hydra would have been a single-headed snake accompanied by its offspring, like the initial number of heads, the monsters capacity to regenerate lost heads varies with time and author. The first mention of this ability of the Hydra occurs with Euripides, palaephatus and Diodorus Siculus concur with Euripides, while Servius has the Hydra grow back three heads each time, the Suda does not give a number. Depictions of the dating to ca.500 BCE show it with a double tail as well as multiple heads, suggesting the same regenerative ability at work. The Hydra had many parallels in ancient Near Eastern religions, the constellation is sometimes associated in Babylonian contexts with Marduks dragon, the Mushhushshu.
Eurystheus sent Heracles to slay the Hydra, which Hera had raised just to slay Heracles, upon reaching the swamp near Lake Lerna, where the Hydra dwelt, Heracles covered his mouth and nose with a cloth to protect himself from the poisonous fumes. He shot flaming arrows into the Hydras lair, the spring of Amymone and he confronted the Hydra, wielding either a harvesting sickle, a sword, or his famed club. The chthonic creatures reaction to this decapitation was botanical, two back, an expression of the hopelessness of such a struggle for any but the hero. The weakness of the Hydra was that it was only if it retained at least one head. The details of the struggle are explicit in the Bibliotheca, realizing that he could not defeat the Hydra in this way and his nephew came upon the idea of using a firebrand to scorch the neck stumps after each decapitation. Heracles cut off each head and Iolaus cauterized the open stumps, seeing that Heracles was winning the struggle, Hera sent a giant crab to distract him
Malians (Greek tribe)
The Malians were a Greek tribe that resided at the mouth of the river Spercheios in Greece. The Malian Gulf is named after them, in the western valley of the Spercheios, their land was adjacent to the Aenianes. In the town of Anthele, the Malians had an important temple of Demeter, in 426 BCE, the Malians asked Sparta for help in their war against the Oetaeans. The Spartans founded the town Heraclea Trachis in place of Trachis, in the following decades, the Malians were under the hegemony of Sparta until they revolted against Sparta in the Corinthian War. In this war, they lost their land south of the Spercheios, Herakleia Trachis was given to the Oitaians, the Malians betrayed Sparta in the battle of Thermopylae, helping the Persians surround the greek army. Together with the Oitaians and the Ainians, the Malians became members of the Corinthian League and, in 235 BCE, in 189 BCE they were joined to Achaea Phthiotis and since that time the Malians were regarded as Thessalians
Battle of Thermopylae
It took place simultaneously with the naval battle at Artemisium, in August or September 480 BC, at the narrow coastal pass of Thermopylae. The Persian invasion was a response to the defeat of the first Persian invasion of Greece. Xerxes had amassed an army and navy, and set out to conquer all of Greece. A Greek force of approximately 7,000 men marched north to block the pass in the middle of 480 BC. The Persian army, alleged by the ancient sources to have numbered one million. The vastly outnumbered Greeks held off the Persians for seven days before the rear-guard was annihilated in one of historys most famous last stands, during two full days of battle, the small force led by Leonidas blocked the only road by which the massive Persian army could pass. After the second day, a resident named Ephialtes betrayed the Greeks by revealing that a small path led behind the Greek lines. Leonidas, aware that his force was being outflanked, dismissed the bulk of the Greek army and remained to guard their retreat with 300 Spartans,700 Thespians,400 Thebans, fighting to the death.
At Artemisium, the Greek navy, under the command of the Athenian politician Themistocles, since the Greek strategy required both Thermopylae and Artemisium to be held, and given their losses, it was decided to withdraw to Salamis. The Persians overran Boeotia and captured the evacuated Athens, the Greek fleet—seeking a decisive victory over the Persian armada—attacked and defeated the invaders at the Battle of Salamis in late 480 BC. Fearful of being trapped in Europe, Xerxes withdrew with much of his army to Asia, the following year saw a Greek army decisively defeat the Persians at the Battle of Plataea, thereby ending the Persian invasion. Both ancient and modern writers have used the Battle of Thermopylae as an example of the power of an army defending its native soil. The primary source for the Greco-Persian Wars is the Greek historian Herodotus and this account is fairly consistent with Herodotus. Archaeological evidence, such as the Serpent Column, some of Herodotus specific claims. For example, the military strategist Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart defers to Grundy, Grundy explored Plataea and wrote a treatise on that battle.
On the Battle of Thermopylae itself, two sources and Simonides accounts, survive. In fact, Herodotus account of the battle, in Book VII of his Histories, is such an important source that Paul Cartledge wrote, we write a history of Thermopylae with. The Greek city-states of Athens and Eretria had encouraged the unsuccessful Ionian Revolt against the Persian Empire of Darius I in 499–494 BC, the Persian Empire was still relatively young and prone to revolts amongst its subject peoples
Thessaly is a traditional geographic and modern administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, Thessaly became part of the modern Greek state in 1881, after four and a half centuries of Ottoman rule. Since 1987 it has formed one of the countrys 13 regions and is further sub-divided into 5 regional units and 25 municipalities, the capital of the region is Larissa. Thessaly lies in central Greece and borders the regions of Macedonia on the north, Epirus on the west, Central Greece on the south, the Thessaly region includes the Sporades islands. In Homers epic, the Odyssey, the hero Odysseus visited the kingdom of Aeolus, the Plain of Thessaly, which lies between Mount Oeta/Othrys and Mount Olympus, was the site of the battle between the Titans and the Olympians. According to legend and the Argonauts launched their search for the Golden Fleece from the Magnesia Peninsula, Thessaly was home to extensive Neolithic and Chalcolithic cultures around 6000–2500 BC.
Mycenaean settlements have discovered, for example at the sites of Iolcos, Dimini. In Archaic and Classical times, the lowlands of Thessaly became the home of baronial families, in the summer of 480 BC, the Persians invaded Thessaly. The Greek army that guarded the Vale of Tempe evacuated the road before the enemy arrived, not much later, Thessaly surrendered to the Persians. The Thessalian family of Aleuadae joined the Persians subsequently, in the 4th century BC, after the Greco-Persian Wars had long ended, Jason of Pherae transformed the region into a significant military power, recalling the glory of Early Archaic times. Shortly after, Philip II of Macedon was appointed Archon of Thessaly, the Avars had arrived in Europe in the late 550s. They asserted their authority over many Slavs, who were divided into numerous petty tribes, many Slavs were galvanized into an effective infantry force, by the Avars. In the 7th century the Avar-Slav alliance began to raid the Byzantine Empire, laying siege to Thessalonica, relations between the Slavs and Greeks were probably peaceful apart from the initial settlement and intermittent uprisings.
Being agriculturalists, the Slavs probably traded with the Greeks inside towns and it is likely that the re-Hellenization had already begun by way of this contact. This process would be completed by a newly reinvigorated Byzantine Empire, with the abatement of Arab-Byzantine Wars, the Byzantine Empire began to consolidate its power in those areas of mainland Greece occupied by Proto-Slavic tribes. Following the campaigns of the Byzantine general Staurakios in 782–783, the Byzantine Empire recovered Thessaly, apart from military expeditions against Slavs, the re-Hellenization process begun under Nicephorus I involved transfer of peoples. Many Slavs were moved to other parts of the such as Anatolia. In return, many Greeks from Sicily and Asia Minor were brought to the interior of Greece, to increase the number of defenders at the Emperors disposal, even non-Greeks such as Armenians were transferred to the Balkans
Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic, historically known as Hellas, is a country in southeastern Europe, with a population of approximately 11 million as of 2015. Athens is the capital and largest city, followed by Thessaloniki. Greece is strategically located at the crossroads of Europe, situated on the southern tip of the Balkan peninsula, it shares land borders with Albania to the northwest, the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, and Turkey to the northeast. Greece consists of nine regions, Central Greece, the Peloponnese, Epirus, the Aegean Islands, Crete. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of the mainland, the Ionian Sea to the west, the Cretan Sea and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Basin and the 11th longest coastline in the world at 13,676 km in length, featuring a vast number of islands, eighty percent of Greece is mountainous, with Mount Olympus being the highest peak at 2,918 metres. From the eighth century BC, the Greeks were organised into various independent city-states, known as polis, which spanned the entire Mediterranean region and the Black Sea.
Greece was annexed by Rome in the second century BC, becoming a part of the Roman Empire and its successor. The Greek Orthodox Church shaped modern Greek identity and transmitted Greek traditions to the wider Orthodox World, falling under Ottoman dominion in the mid-15th century, the modern nation state of Greece emerged in 1830 following a war of independence. Greeces rich historical legacy is reflected by its 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, among the most in Europe, Greece is a democratic and developed country with an advanced high-income economy, a high quality of life, and a very high standard of living. A founding member of the United Nations, Greece was the member to join the European Communities and has been part of the Eurozone since 2001. Greeces unique cultural heritage, large industry, prominent shipping sector. It is the largest economy in the Balkans, where it is an important regional investor, the names for the nation of Greece and the Greek people differ from the names used in other languages and cultures.
The earliest evidence of the presence of human ancestors in the southern Balkans, dated to 270,000 BC, is to be found in the Petralona cave, all three stages of the stone age are represented in Greece, for example in the Franchthi Cave. Neolithic settlements in Greece, dating from the 7th millennium BC, are the oldest in Europe by several centuries and these civilizations possessed writing, the Minoans writing in an undeciphered script known as Linear A, and the Mycenaeans in Linear B, an early form of Greek. The Mycenaeans gradually absorbed the Minoans, but collapsed violently around 1200 BC and this ushered in a period known as the Greek Dark Ages, from which written records are absent. The end of the Dark Ages is traditionally dated to 776 BC, the Iliad and the Odyssey, the foundational texts of Western literature, are believed to have been composed by Homer in the 7th or 8th centuries BC. With the end of the Dark Ages, there emerged various kingdoms and city-states across the Greek peninsula, in 508 BC, Cleisthenes instituted the worlds first democratic system of government in Athens
Travertine is a form of limestone deposited by mineral springs, especially hot springs. Travertine often has a fibrous or concentric appearance and exists in white, cream-colored and it is formed by a process of rapid precipitation of calcium carbonate, often at the mouth of a hot spring or in a limestone cave. In the latter, it can form stalactites, and it is frequently used in Italy and elsewhere as a building material. Travertine is a sedimentary rock, formed by the precipitation of carbonate minerals from solution in ground and surface waters. Similar deposits formed from water are known as tufa. The word travertine is derived from the Italian travertino, itself a derivation of the Latin tiburtinus ‘of Tibur’ and its namesake is the origin of Tivoli, a district near Rome. Modern travertine is formed from geothermally heated supersaturated alkaline waters, with raised pCO2, on emergence, waters degas CO2 due to the lower atmospheric pCO2, resulting in an increase in pH. Since carbonate solubility decreases with increased pH, precipitation is induced, precipitation may be enhanced by factors leading to a reduction in pCO2, for example increased air-water interactions at waterfalls may be important, as may photosynthesis.
Precipitation may be enhanced by evaporation in some springs, both calcite and aragonite are found in hot spring travertines, aragonite is preferentially precipitated when temperatures are hot, while calcite dominates when temperatures are cooler. When pure and fine, travertine is white, but often it is brown to yellow due to impurities, travertine may precipitate out directly onto rock and other inert materials as in Pamukkale or Yellowstone for example. The latter has a historic value, because it was one of the quarries that Gian Lorenzo Bernini selected material from to build the famous Colonnade of St. Peters Square in Rome in 1656-1667. Michaelangelo chose travertine as the material for the ribs of the dome of St Peters Basilica. Travertine derives its name from the town, known as Tibur in ancient Roman times. The ancient name for the stone was lapis tiburtinus, meaning tibur stone, detailed studies of the Tivoli and Guidonia travertine deposits revealed diurnal and annual rhythmic banding and laminae, which have potential use in geochronology.
Cascades of natural lakes formed behind travertine dams can be seen in Pamukkale, Turkey, in Central Europes last post-glacial palaeoclimatic optimum, huge deposits of tufa formed from karst springs. On a smaller scale, these karst processes are still working, travertine has been an important building material since the Middle Ages. Travertine has formed sixteen huge, natural dams in a valley in Croatia known as Plitvice Lakes National Park, clinging to moss and rocks in the water, the travertine has built up over several millennia to form waterfalls up to 70 m in height. In the U. S. the most well-known place for travertine formation is Yellowstone National Park, Oklahoma has two parks dedicated to this natural wonder
The Balkan Peninsula, or the Balkans, is a peninsula and a cultural area in Eastern and Southeastern Europe with various and disputed borders. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch from the Serbia-Bulgaria border to the Black Sea, the highest point of the Balkans is Mount Musala 2,925 metres in the Rila mountain range. In Turkish, Balkan means a chain of wooded mountains, the name is still preserved in Central Asia with the Balkan Daglary and the Balkan Province of Turkmenistan. A less popular hypothesis regarding its etymology is that it derived from the Persian Balā-Khāna, from Antiquity through the Middle Ages, the Balkan Mountains had been called by the local Thracian name Haemus. According to Greek mythology, the Thracian king Haemus was turned into a mountain by Zeus as a punishment, a reverse name scheme has been suggested. D. Dechev considers that Haemus is derived from a Thracian word *saimon, a third possibility is that Haemus derives from the Greek word haema meaning blood.
The myth relates to a fight between Zeus and the monster/titan Typhon, Zeus injured Typhon with a thunder bolt and Typhons blood fell on the mountains, from which they got their name. The earliest mention of the name appears in an early 14th-century Arab map, the Ottomans first mention it in a document dated from 1565. There has been no other documented usage of the word to refer to the region before that, there is a claim about an earlier Bulgar Turkic origin of the word popular in Bulgaria, however it is only an unscholarly assertion. The word was used by the Ottomans in Rumelia in its meaning of mountain, as in Kod̲j̲a-Balkan, Čatal-Balkan, and Ungurus-Balkani̊. The concept of the Balkans was created by the German geographer August Zeune in 1808, during the 1820s, Balkan became the preferred although not yet exclusive term alongside Haemus among British travelers. Among Russian travelers not so burdened by classical toponymy, Balkan was the preferred term, zeunes goal was to have a geographical parallel term to the Italic and Iberian Peninsula, and seemingly nothing more.
The gradually acquired political connotations are newer and, to a large extent, after the dissolution of Yugoslavia beginning in June 1991, the term Balkans again received a negative meaning, especially in Croatia and Slovenia, even in casual usage. A European Union initiative of 1999 is called the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, and its northern boundary is often given as the Danube and Kupa Rivers. The Balkan Peninsula has an area of about 470,000 km2. It is more or less identical to the known as Southeastern Europe. As of 1920 until World War II, Italy included Istria, the current territory of Italy includes only the small area around Trieste inside the Balkan Peninsula. However, the regions of Trieste and Istria are not usually considered part of the Balkans by Italian geographers, the Western Balkans is a neologism coined to describe the countries of ex-Yugoslavia and Albania
Leonidas I was a warrior king of the Greek city-state of Sparta. He was the husband of Gorgo, the daughter of Cleomenes I of Sparta and the 17th of the Agiad line, Anaxandridas refused, claiming his wife was blameless, whereupon the ephors agreed to allow him to take a second wife without setting aside his first. This second wife, a descendent of Chilon of Sparta, promptly bore a son, one year after Cleomenes birth, Anaxandridas first wife gave birth to a son, Dorieus. Leonidas was the son of Anaxandridas first wife, and either the elder brother or twin of Cleombrotus. Leonidas was thus one of the few Spartan kings to have undergone the notoriously harsh training of Spartan youth. Anaxandridas died in 520 BC, and Cleomenes succeeded to the sometime between and 516 BC. Dorieus was so outraged that the Spartans had preferred his half-brother over himself that he found it impossible to remain in Sparta. He made one attempt to set up a colony in Africa and, when this failed, sought his fortune in Sicily.
Leonidas relationship with his bitterly antagonistic elder brothers is unknown, but he married Cleomenes daughter, Leonidas was heir to the Agiad throne and a full citizen at the time of the Battle of Sepeia against Argos. Likewise, he was a citizen when the Persians sought submission from Sparta. Leonidas was chosen to lead the combined Greek forces determined to resist the Second Persian invasion of Greece in 481 BC, the rejection of Leotychidas and Pausanias was not a reflection on Spartan arms. Spartas military reputation had never stood in higher regard, nor was Sparta less powerful in 478 BC than it had been in 481 BC and this selection of Leonidas to lead the defense of Greece against Xerxes invasion led to Leonidas death in the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC. Upon receiving a request from the confederated Greek forces to aid in defending Greece against the Persian invasion, there are various theories on why Leonidas was accompanied by such a small force of hoplites. After completing their festival Carneia, they left their garrison at Sparta, the rest of the allies planned to do likewise, for the Olympiad coincided with these events.
They accordingly sent their advance guard, not expecting the war at Thermopylae to be decided so quickly, many modern commentators are unsatisfied with this explanation and point to the fact that the Olympic Games were in progress or impute internal dissent and intrigue. Whatever the reason Spartas own contribution was just 300 Spartiates, the force assembled for the defense of the pass of Thermopylae came to something between four and seven thousand Greeks. They faced a Persian army who had invaded from the north of Greece under Xerxes I, Herodotus stated that this army consisted of over two million men, modern scholars consider this to be an exaggeration and give estimates ranging from 70,000 to 300,000. Xerxes waited four days to attack, hoping the Greeks would disperse, finally, on the fifth day the Persians attacked