Approximate geographical location
1200 BC C.-146 a. C.
The phrase Ancient Greece or Ancient Greece refers to the period in the history of Greece that spans from the Dark Ages of Greece , beginning in 1200 BC. C. and the Doric invasion , until the year 146 a. C. and the Roman conquest of Greece after the battle of Corinth . It is generally regarded as the seminal culture that served as the basis for Western civilization . The culture of Greece had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire , which spread it through many of its territories inEurope . The civilization of the ancient Greeks has been enormously influential on language , politics , educational systems , philosophy , science and the arts , giving rise to the Renaissance current of the 15th and 16th centuries in Western Europe , and also re-emerging during movements neoclassic centuries eighteenth and nineteenth in Europe and America .
Greek civilization was basically maritime , commercial and expansive. A historical reality in which the geographical component played a crucial role insofar as the physical characteristics of the southern Balkan peninsula , with its rugged relief, complicated agricultural activity and internal communications, while its long coastal length favored its overseas expansion. A phenomenon on which the demographic pressure originated by the successive waves of peoples (among them the Achaeans , the Ionians and the Dorians ) that invaded and occupied Hellas throughout the third and last centuries would also have a substantial influence.ii milenio a. C.
Chronology of Ancient Greece
Some historians consider that the first ancient Olympic Games in 776 BC. C. mark the beginning of the period known as Ancient Greece. Between the end of the Mycenaean period and the first Olympians, there is a time called the Dark Ages of Greece, of which there is no writing and few archaeological relics remain. Today, this period is included in the Ancient Greek phrase .
Traditionally it was considered that the time of Ancient Greece ended with the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC. C. , beginning the Hellenistic period . [ 1 ] However, the Ancient Greek period is extended many times to include the time up to the Roman conquest of 146 BC. Some authors treat the chronology of Ancient Greece as a continuum until the arrival of Christianity in the fourth century; but this opinion is unconventional.
The history of Ancient Greece is usually divided into several periods as pottery and political, social and cultural events: [ 2 ]
- The Dark Ages ( 1100 BC - 750 BC ) shows geometric designs on pottery.
- The Archaic Epoch ( 750 BC - 500 BC ) follows, while artists created sculptures in stretched postures with the dreamlike " archaic smile ." It is usually considered that the Archaic Epoch ends with the overthrow of the last tyrant of Athens in 510 BC. C.
- The classical period ( 500 BC - 323 BC ) offers a different style, which was later considered exemplary (that is, "classical"); the Parthenon was built during this time.
- The Hellenistic period ( 323 BC - 146 BC ) is when the culture and power of Greece expanded into the Near East and the Middle East . This period begins with the death of Alexander the Great and ends with the Roman conquest after the Battle of Corinth (146 BC) .
- The Roman Greece , between the Roman conquest and the restoration of the city of Byzantium and its appointment by the Emperor Constantine I , as the capital of the Roman Empire (the New Rome ) renamed Constantinople in the year 329 .
- The Late Antiquity until the beginning of the sixth century , with the decline of the polytheistic Roman against the advancing Christianity . The end of this period is usually symbolized by the closure of the Academy of Athens by Justinian I under the edict of the year 529 , which also prohibited paganism , Judaism and any non-Christian religion.
The city-states: the polis
The first Greeks were organized into family clans. Over time, the clans allied and formed communities, although they were separated from each other due to the mountainous terrain of the region. This favored them to become independent territories with their own government and army. In ancient Greek these populations were called polis . Despite sharing essentially the same geographic space, language, and culture, the political organization of the polis was highly diverse, including a wide range of systems of government, ranging from tyranny to democracy.
We can see these differences by comparing Sparta and Athens , two of the most important cities in Ancient Greece. Sparta was ruled by kings; its inhabitants were educated for war, so they had to be strong and skillful in handling weapons; Women were taught to fight just like men, they had rights and freedom to choose their husbands. For their part, in Athens the rulers were elected by the vote of the citizens; men were not educated for war; women did not go to school, they could only go out accompanied by their relatives and they had no political rights. Although the city-states were independent and continually clashed, they also united when attacked by common enemies, such as thePersian empire .
After the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations , in the dark centuries (between the 13th and 12th BC) the fragmentation existing in Hellas will constitute the framework in which small political nuclei organized in cities, the polis , will develop .
Throughout the archaic period (8th to 5th centuries BC) and the classical period (5th century BC), the polis were the true political unit, with their institutions, customs and laws, and were constituted as the element identifier of that era. In the archaic period, the protagonism of two cities, Sparta and Athens , with extreme models of political organization between the aristocratic regime and democracy, was outlined . The activity of the polis towards overseas was an important element of their own existence and gave rise to hegemonic struggles between them and the development of a process of colonial expansion throughout the Mediterranean basin . The decline of the polisit favored its absorption by the kingdom of Macedonia in the middle of the 4th century BC. C. and the beginning of a period with new connotations, the Hellenistic , by which the unification of Greece would give way with Alexander the Great to the construction of an Empire, subjecting the Achaemenid and Egyptian Empire . In the opinion of some specialists, in this phase the history of Greece became part of the history of the East and the synthesis between Hellenism and Orientalism would be consummated. Greek civilization developed in the extreme northeast of the Mediterranean Sea , in the territories now occupied by Greece , Asia Minor ( Turkey), and on several islands such as Crete , Cyprus , Rhodes , and Sicily ( Italy ).
Most of the historians and political writers whose works have survived - primarily Herodotus , Thucydides , Xenophon , Demosthenes , Plato, and Aristotle - were either Athenians or Pro-Athenians. That is why we know much more about the history and politics of Athens than we do about any other Greek city. Furthermore, these writers focus on political, military, and diplomatic history, giving relatively little importance to economic or social history. [ 3 ]
The concept of Ancient Greece comprises, from a geographical perspective, a set of diverse territories united by the same historical process based on the strong ties that their peoples maintained and the common aspects they shared. Its inhabitants referred to this group as Hellas , [ 4 ] and it was the Romans who later assigned the name of Greece . [ 5 ]
Hellas was based on three major regions, two of them continental and a third insular . The continental regions included the Balkan Peninsula and the coastal lands of Asia Minor (present-day Turkey ); the insular, for its part, included the group of islands in the Aegean Sea ( Crete , the Dodecanese archipelago, the Cyclades archipelago and the lands near the Asian coast). [ 4 ]
European mainland Greece
The northern part of the Balkan Peninsula, characterized by alternating tabular relief and steppe plain , was the area of greatest contact with the rest of Eastern Europe. There the ancient Thessaly , Macedonia , Aetolia , Acarnania and Epirus settled . The central area, difficult to communicate with the previous one through narrow gorges and an equally irregular terrain of massifs and plains , saw the ancient regions of Dorida , Phocis , Boeotia prosper.and Attica . The southern zone , abundant in massifs and graves and communicated with the previous one through the Corinth isthmus , included in turn the regions of Achaia , Arcadia , Argolid , Laconia and Messenia . [ 4 ]
The geomorphological characteristics of these areas favored the diversification of natural resources and political fractioning, determining the reduced size and diffuse borders of the polis , as well as the peculiarities of their economies and reciprocal links. [ 6 ] The Attica region had silver mines ; Laconia , Boeotia, and Euboea possessed iron ; the latter, in the same way, had copper , but it was necessary to obtain tin - for the alloy of bronze- from abroad. The Macedonian region, for its part, was rich in gold . [ 6 ] The abundance of clay in the peninsula favored the development of ceramic centers and the manufacture of objects of great added human value, key in its foreign trade; the same happened with stone and marble , abundant in these rocky areas. [ 6 ]
The colonization of Asia Minor responded to the migratory impulses of the European Greeks during the archaic period and was limited to the occupation of the coastal strip , distinguishing in it three large regions: Eólida , Ionia and Dorida . The Aeolid was bordered to the north by the shores of the Black Sea and to the south by the mouth of the River Hermo . Further south Ionia settled. Dórida was located in the southernmost part of the coastline and occupied the coastal strip of a massif that was difficult to access, with a steep coastline and poor soil. [ 4 ]
Except for the Dorida, whose geographical characteristics had a negative effect on the development of agriculture and, in contrast, its proximity and access to other lands of the East favored the commercial development of its peoples, the Greek colonies of Asiatic Greece had orographic , river and climatic conditions favorable to the work of the land. These areas, rich in rivers and valleys, were prosperous producers of cereals , olive trees , vines and vegetables . On the other hand, some of the regions had a large quantity of pines and cedar , fundamental for theshipbuilding . [ 4 ]
The Aegean islands represented the contact points of the Greek world and acted as facilitators of communications and trade. Euboea , separated by a narrow channel from the eastern coasts of Boeotia and Attica (the Strait of Eurippus ), is made up of undulating hills with fertile soil, suitable for agricultural crops, livestock activities and the extraction and work of copper. Among the Cyclades islands, for their part, there are some with volcanic characteristics and others with fertile soil suitable for growing citrus and vine. Some of them, like Paros , based their economy on the production of marble; Sifnos, for its part, was an important silver production center in archaic times. Samos and Icaria stand out from the Dodecanese archipelago , a group of islands in the south-west of Anatolia , which, alternating mountainous terrain with plains, led to the production of cereals in the latter, as well as olive trees and vines on the slopes. The island of Rhodes , of the same archipelago, was an obligatory stop on the trade routes with Egypt and the Middle East, becoming an important commercial center. In any case, the Dodecanese lands are even more fertile than those of the Cyclades, largely due to the humid climate and abundant rainfall. To the north, among the eastern Aegean islands, Chios and Lesbos stand out for their agricultural fertility . [ 4 ]
The island of Crete , the southern limit of the Aegean Sea, is characterized by its rugged orography , in certain areas similar to that of southern European Greece. To the north, the extensive plains made possible the development of Mediterranean agriculture; Its bays were ideal places for navigation and commercial development, as well as for fishing, another of the primary activities of their subsistence. The mountainous terrain further south, and the forests that grew in it, favored the production of wood, while its low mountains were the ideal terrain for the exercise of extensive livestock.and hunting (the latter was decisive in the economy of the Neolithic civilizations). Altogether, the extension of the island, its variety of resources (mining, agricultural, livestock and fishing) and its strategic commercial location, made it possible for a civilization of its own, the Minoan , to develop there . [ 4 ]
Prehistoric civilization and the Bronze Age
The first findings of human life in Greek territory confirm the existence of autochthonous populations in the Paleolithic , around 7000 BC. C. [ 7 ] Around 6000 a. C. - at the dawn of the Neolithic -, the native peoples developed agriculture and with this they became progressively sedentary , extended the practice of pottery and created basic political institutions. [ 7 ] Later they began to use bronze , but the refinement of its use occurred after contact with immigrant populations.
The tribes that would become the Greeks are believed to have migrated south to the Balkans in several waves beginning in the mid- Bronze Age (around 2000 BC). [ 8 ] Other sources indicate a migratory process as early as the fifth millennium BC. C., from Mesopotamia and Syria . According to these, the first immigrants found native inhabitants who left the newcomers with a large number of traditions; while these brought to the area the culture of pottery , agriculture and a first deity of fertility (who would later be Demeter ). [ 9]
This last version, if accurate, would deny the existence of a Neolithic period in the autochthonous peoples prior to foreign immigration, placing them in a cultural period closer to the Mesolithic .
The proto-Greek language would date to the period immediately prior to these migrations, either at the end of the III millennium BC. C. or, at the latest, to the XVIl century a. The civilization of the Proto-Greeks of the Bronze Age is generally known as Helladic and preceded what is known as Ancient Greece .
The Helladic period, according to some historians, [ 10 ] can be analytically divided into four well-defined stages:
- Ancient Helladic (2600 BC-2000 BC) . Formed by ceramic populations of agrarian culture (possibly related to Carians and Etruscans ) that dominated the Aegean territory; of non- Indo-European languages .
- Middle Helladic (2000 BC-1600 BC) . Made up of equally agrarian populations with polishing and chromatic enrichment of the ceramic. They began to use the horse and to perform corpse burial practices (without offerings).
- Recent Helladic or Ancient Mycenaean (1600 BC-1400 BC) . Period of successive immigration of cattle - raising peoples ( Achaeans , Ionians ), who knew metals, introduced the war chariot and amber . They built the monumental fortresses of Mycenae , Tirinto and Pilos , and formed cities around them. They traded with Troy , Sicily, and the Italian peninsula . They expanded their dominions and founded colonies in Miletus , Rhodes , Pamphylia , Lycia, and Cyprus..
- Recent Mycenaean (1400 BC-1150 BC) . The so-called Mycenaean civilization - in consideration of the privileged and dominant position of Mycenae, land of the Achaeans - reached its apogee at this time, which occupies an important place in the famous epic poems of Homer , the Iliad and the Odyssey . This culture collapsed dramatically around 1150 BC. C. but the cause of the collapse is unknown and there are several theses about it. One of them attributes the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization to the invasion of Dorians , Boeotians and Thessalians . [ 10 ]According to this thesis, after setting fire to and destroying the Mycenaean fortresses, the invading tribes looted and occupied their lands. A second thesis also supports an invasion, but of the peoples of the sea ; a third attributes it to a natural disaster, and a fourth to internal conflicts. This process coincides with the end of the Bronze Age and the subsequent entry of Greek culture into a period of archaeological and documentary "darkness".
During the period when mainland Greece was still resplendent under impressive Mycenaean culture, the island of Crete saw the flourishing of the Cretan Minoan civilization with its capital at Knossos ( 1600 - 1250 BC ). [ 11 ] This civilization owes its name to the semi-legendary King Minos . The Cretans traded throughout the Mediterranean and exported ceramics, textiles, bronze objects and goldsmiths .
It is probable, for its part, that the Mycenaean culture was influenced by the Minoan, particularly in the period of the latter's greatest splendor. [ 7 ] The sense of power of the kings of Crete was such that Cretan cities, palaces and temples were not even surrounded by walls. [ 11 ] Excavations have found marvelous evidence of the rise and technological advancement enjoyed by the Minoans at the time: luxurious toilets, ventilation facilities, hygienic shafts, filters, elaborate paintings and coats of arms.
At that time it was common for the children of foreign princes to be sent to fight a bull in the form of sacrifice, and in this sense pictorial representations of young men of both sexes dancing around a bull or fighting with it are interpreted. [ 11 ] For its part, this practice has its clear mythological point of contact with the legend of the Minotaur , "bull of Minos ", who periodically received the tribute of several young Athenians for sacrifice.
The Minoan civilization perished shortly before the Mycenaean; some versions indicate that they were invaded by the latter, while others are inclined to affirm that the disappearance of the kingdom of Crete was due to a natural catastrophe. [ 11 ]
From 1100 to the 8th century BC. It is known as the Dark Ages - following the collapse of the Bronze Age. No primary text has survived from this stage , and only scant archaeological evidence remains. Some secondary and tertiary texts contain brief chronologies and lists of the kings of this period, including History of Herodotus , Description of Greece of Pausanias , Historical Library of Diodorus Siculus and Chronicon of Jerome .
The lack of primary documents is explained by the virtual disappearance of the Mycenaean writing system ( Linear B ). In the Mycenaean culture, this system was restricted to small circles, particularly the palace scribes , who were in charge of recording accounts of movement and distribution of goods; With the Mycenaean economy sunk, people were no longer needed to carry out this task. [ 12 ] Traditions and legends survived, from the Bronze Age to the Archaic Epoch, thanks exclusively to oral transmission. [ 12 ]
At the time there was an abrupt demographic decline and a massive series of migrations that determined the establishment of spontaneous and poorly organized populations in different parts of mainland Greece, the Cyclades islands and western Asia Minor . These migrations had an ethnic character ; thus, for example, the Dorians occupied most of the Peloponnese , Central Greece, and Crete , while the Ionians colonized most of the Cyclades. [ 13 ] This was reflected in the language, which also resulted in a multitude ofdialects . [ 13 ]
The economy, flourishing in the Mycenaean period, was reduced to agriculture , supported by slaves, day laborers (thêtes) and sharecroppers (hektemoroi) . [ 10 ] Poverty and a shortage of livestock, which were purchased by a few landowners, became widespread. [ 10 ] There is no record of politically organized states at this time, much less of the structured Mycenaean-type norms, which regulated the economy and ensured a relative distribution of wealth, allowing the daily life of farmers, shepherds and potters tolerable. [ 14 ]
In this context, land laborers engaged in subsistence agriculture, organized in small communities that rarely exceeded twenty people. [ 14 ] The need for new pastures for animals in turn led to an increase in nomadism . [ 14 ] In the religious sphere, the Mycenaean cults continued. [ 10 ]
In the field of art and ceramics, there was an impoverishment of Mycenaean forms; subsequently generating two archaeological periods: the protogeometric ( 1050 - 950 a. C. ) and the geometric ( 950 - 700 a. C. ), which would slowly evolve the quality and artisanal technique until concluding, already at the dawn of the Archaic Period , in a new and fully developed ornamental world. [ 10 ] The evolution mentioned during these periods is almost exclusively limited to ceramics; there is no evidence that monuments were erected during the Dark Ages - common practice during the Mycenaean era - and anthropomorphic representations were usually engraved on amphoras . [ 14 ] In the field of architecture, stone construction was abandoned. [ 7 ]
Athens was the exception to the rule of the collapse of civilization. Its acropolis , a civilized center in the late Bronze Age, was undamaged, and it passed through the "Dark Ages" in the context of relative prosperity. [ 15 ] However, its social and political institutions did not succeed in this period and, at the dawn of the "archaic era", Athens had lost the sociopolitical cultural heritage accumulated in the Mycenaean period, being forced to rebuild its institutions without much more than monogamy as inherited institutional sustenance. [ 15 ]
In the VIII century a. C. , Greece began to emerge from the Dark Ages that followed the fall of the Mycenaean civilization. The people lacked literacy and the Mycenaean writing system, Linear B , had been forgotten . But the Greeks adopted the Phoenician alphabet and modified it to create the Greek alphabet . [ 16 ] [ 17 ] From the ninth century. C. [ 18 ] ―according to some authors, specifically in the VIII a. C.― [ 19 ] writings began to appear.
Greece was divided into many small autonomous communities. This pattern was largely imposed by Greek geography, where each island, valley, and plain is isolated from the others by the sea or the mountain ranges. [ 20 ] As a direct product of previous migrations, these communities showed an ethnic character: during the 7th century BC. C. emerged Argos , inhabited by Dorians , as one of the main cities of the Peloponnese . [ 21 ] This city gradually ceded influence to its rival Sparta , also Doric. [ 21 ] For its part, Athensit became the main residence of the Ionians in the Balkans . [ 22 ]
The first half of the 7th century BC. C. saw the Lelantina War (around 710 -to the 650 a. C. ), a protracted conflict that is distinguished as the earliest documented war in the period of ancient Greece. In it the then important city-states Chalcis and Eretria faced each other on the fertile lelantine plain of Euboea . Both cities appear to have suffered declines as a result of this long war, although Chalcis was the nominal victor.
In the first half of the 7th century a mercantile class emerged and, in the course of the 6th century BC. C. , coins began to be used (probably by imitation of the Lydians ), although centuries would be necessary for the development of a full monetary economy. [ 17 ] Tension appears to have been brewing in many city-states. The aristocratic regimes that generally ruled the so-called polis felt threatened by the new wealth of merchants, who in turn desired political power.
From 650 a. C., the aristocracies had to fight to avoid being overthrown and replaced by populist tyrants . The word derives from the non- pejorative Greek word τύραννος tyrannos , meaning 'illegitimate sovereign', which could be applied to both good and bad leaders. [ 23 ] [ 24 ]
A growing population and lack of land led to internal conflicts between the poor and the rich in many city-states. In Sparta , the messianic wars resulted in the conquest of Messinia and the enslavement of the Messenians, beginning in the second half of the 8th century BC. C., constituting an unprecedented act in Ancient Greece. This practice produced a social revolution. [ 25 ]
The subjugated population, since then known as Helots , toiled and worked for Sparta, while all the male citizens became soldiers of a permanently militarized state. Even the elites were forced to live and train as soldiers; this equality between the poor and the rich served to defuse social conflicts. The preceding reforms, attributed to the enigmatic Lycurgus of Sparta, were probably completed before 650 BC. C.
Athens, for its part, suffered from a lack of land and an agrarian crisis in the late 7th century, which also resulted in civil strife. The archon (magistrate) Dracon enacted severe reforms in 621 BC. C. (hence the modern word "draconian"), but these could not silence the conflict. In the end the moderate reforms of Solon ( 594 BC ) gave Athens some stability, improving the lives of the poor even as they consolidated the aristocracy in power.
For the VI century a. C. several cities had become dominant in Greek civilization: Athens, Sparta, Corinth and Thebes . Each had brought the rural areas and smaller towns around them under their control. Furthermore, Athens and Corinth had become great maritime and mercantile powers.
Rapid population increases in the 8th and 7th centuries triggered an emigration phenomenon that affected many Greeks, establishing these colonies in Magna Grecia ( Mezzogiorno ), Asia Minor, and further afield (see below ). Emigration finally ceased in the 6th century. By then the Greek world had spread its culture and language to an extent that far exceeded the limits of present-day Greece. The Greek colonies were not politically controlled by the cities that had founded them, although they often maintained religious and commercial ties between them.
During this period great economic developments occurred in Greece and also in its overseas colonies, which experienced growth in trade and manufacturing. The standard of living of the population also improved considerably. A study by Ian Morris estimates that the typical Greek house increased in cost five to ten times between 800 and 300 BC. C. [ 26 ]
In the second half of the 6th century, Athens fell under the tyranny of Pisistratus , and then of his heirs Hippias and Hipparchus . However, in 510 BC. C. , at the request of the aristocrat Clístenes de Atenas , the Spartan king Cleómenes I helped the Athenians to overthrow the tyranny. Soon after, however, Sparta and Athens began hostile relations, and Cleomenes I installed Isagoras as a pro-Spartan archon.
With the aim of preventing Athens from becoming a "straw government" under the Spartan reign, Cleisthenes proposed to his fellow Athenians that Athens undergo a political revolution, that all citizens share power regardless of their status , that Athens become a " democracy ." The Athenians embraced this idea so eagerly that after overthrowing Isagoras and implementing Cleisthenes' reforms, they could easily repel a three-front invasion that the Spartans led to reinstate Isagoras. [ 27 ] The advent of democracy solved many of Athens' problems, ushering in a "golden age" for the Athenians.
Siglo V a. C.
Athens and Sparta would soon have to ally in the face of the greatest threat that Ancient Greece would face until the Roman conquest. After crushing the Ionian revolt (a rebellion of the Greek cities of Ionia ), Darius I of Persia, king of the kings of the Achaemenid Dynasty , decided to subjugate Greece. His invasion in 490 BC. C. was suffocated by the heroic Athenian victory in the Battle of Marathon under Milcíades the Younger . Xerxes I of Persia, heir to Darius I, attempted his own invasion ten years later.
But despite the overwhelming number of soldiers in his army, Xerxes I was defeated after the famous rearguard battle of Thermopylae and the victories of the Greek allies at the battles of Salamis , Mycala, and Plataea . The Medical Wars continued until 449 BC. C., led by the Athenians and their Confederation of Delos , during which Macedonia , Thrace , the Aegean Islands and Ionia were liberated from the influence of Persia.
The then dominant position of the maritime Athenian empire threatened Sparta and the Peloponnesian League , made up of cities in mainland Greece. Inevitably, it ignited the Peloponnesian War (431 BC-404 BC). Although the vast majority of the war was a stalemate, Athens suffered several setbacks during the conflict. A great plague in 430 BC. C., followed by a disastrous military campaign called the expedition to Sicily , severely weakened Athens. [ 28 ]Sparta sparked a rebellion among the Athenian allies, further weakening the Athenian ability to wage war. The decisive moment came in 405 BC. When Sparta cut grain supplies from the Hellespont to Athens. Forced to attack, the paralyzed Athenian army was decisively defeated by the Spartans under the command of Lysander at Egospotamos . In 404 a. Athens demanded peace and Sparta made a predictably severe agreement: Athens lost its walls (including the Long Walls ), its navy and all its overseas possessions.
IV century a. C.
Then Greece began the 4th century BC. Under Spartan hegemony , but it was clear from the beginning that it was weak. A demographic crisis deprived Sparta of part of its population, and by 395 BC. C. Athens , Argos , Thebes and Corinth felt they could challenge the Spartan dominance, resulting in the Corinthian War (395-387 BC.). Another deadlocked war that ended up restoring the status quo .
Spartan hegemony lasted a further 16 years until, in trying to impose their will on the Thebans, the Spartans suffered a decisive defeat at Leuctra (371 BC). The brilliant Theban general Epaminondas then led Theban troops into the Peloponnese, where other city-states deserted the Spartan cause. Therefore the Thebans were able to march to Messinia and liberate the population. Deprived of her lands and her serfs, Sparta declined and became a second-class power. The new Theban hegemony was short-lived; at the battle of Mantineain 362 a. C., Tebas lost its key leader, Epaminondas, and many troops, although it was victorious in the battle. In fact, all the city-states lost enough men, so that none could reestablish their dominion.
The weak situation of central Greece coincided with the rise of Macedonia , led by Philip II . In twenty years, Philip had unified his kingdom, expanding it north and west at the expense of Illyrian tribes and conquering Thessaly and Thrace . His successes were in part due to his many military innovations . Filipo used to intervene in the affairs of the southern city-states, culminating in his invasion of 338 BC. By decisively defeating the allied army of Thebes and Athens at the Battle of Queronea , he became the de facto hegemonfrom all over Greece. He forced most city-states to join the Corinthian League , allying himself with them and preventing them from fighting each other. Then Philip went to war against the Achaemenid Dynasty (Persians), but was killed by Pausanias of Orestis at the beginning of the conflict.
Alexander the Great , heir to Philip, continued the war. Alexander defeated Darius III of Persia and completely dismantled the Achaemenid dynasty , annexing it to Macedonia and earning the epithet "the Great." On the death of Alexander in 323 BC. C., the power and influence of Greece were at their peak. However, there had been a fundamental shift away from the strong independence and classical culture of the polis, and towards the developing Hellenistic culture .
The Hellenistic period lasted from 323 BC. C., when the wars of Alexander the Great ended , until the conquest of Greece by the Roman Republic in 146 BC. Although the establishment of Roman rule did not break the long continuity in Hellenistic society and culture - which would remain in the same basic form until the advent of Christianity - it did mark the end of Greek political independence.
During the Hellenistic period the importance of "Greece itself" (that is, the territory of present-day Greece) declined sharply in the Greek-speaking world. The great centers of Hellenistic culture were Alexandria and Antioch , the capitals of Ptolemaic Egypt and Seleucid Syria respectively. [ 29 ]
Alexander's conquests had several consequences for the Greek city-states. They greatly expanded the borders of the Greeks and ended in a continual migration, especially of the young and the ambitious, to the new Greek empires to the east. [ 30 ] Many Greeks migrated to Alexandria , Antioch, and the many other new Hellenistic cities that were founded in Alexander's wake, as far away as present-day Afghanistan and Pakistan , where the Greco - Bactrian and Indo- Greek kingdoms survived.until the end of the 1st century BC. C, thus culminating a historical era where the cultures of Europe, Africa and Asia merged, trade routes and cultural exchange had an unprecedented extension.
After Alexander's death and after various conflicts, his empire was divided among his generals, resulting in the Ptolemaic Kingdom (based on Egypt ), the Seleucid Empire (based on the Levant ), Mesopotamia and Persia , and the Antigonid Dynasty (based on in Macedonia ). In the intervening period, the polis of Greece were able to regain some of their freedom, although they were nominally accountable to the Macedonian Kingdom. The city-states fell into two leagues: the Achaean League (including Thebes, Corinth, and Argos) and the Aetolian League.(including Sparta and Athens). For most of the period up to the Roman conquest, these leagues were often at war with each other, while allying themselves with different parties in conflicts between the diádocos (former generals of Alexander, heirs to his kingdom).
The Antigonid kingdom of Macedonia was involved in a war with the Roman Republic in the late 3rd century BC. Although the first Macedonian war was unfinished, the Romans continued to wage war with Macedonia in the so-called Macedonian wars . Coincidentally with the development of the Second Punic War between Rome and Carthage , during the First Macedonian War the Antigonian kingdom, under Philip V , allied itself with Carthage. This alliance did not have major consequences and, even in this struggle between great powers such as Macedonia, Rome and Carthage, some Greek sectors sided with Rome. [ 31 ]
Towards the year 168 a. After the third Macedonian war ended and Perseus - heir to Philip V - defeated , Macedonia was annexed by Rome and divided into four independent republics that were not allowed to trade or marry between their inhabitants. [ 32 ] In 150 BC. C., Andrisco claiming to be the son of Perseus of Macedonia, made several offensives against Rome, until his defeat and the definitive conversion of Macedonia into a Roman province . [ 32 ]
The Aetolian League had become suspicious of Roman involvement in Greece, and had sided with the Seleucids in the Roman-Syrian War . When the Romans were victorious, this league also annexed the republic. Although the Aquean League lasted longer than the Aetolian and Macedonian League, it was also defeated and incorporated by the Romans in 146 BC. C. ―and the rich city of Corinth destroyed after a futile attempt of resistance―, ending Rome with the independence of all Greece. The Roman republic had successfully developed its strategy of dividing and pitting its adversaries against each other, which would later become known as divide et impera , a phrase that would go down in history in different contexts. [ 33 ]
With the locution Roman Greece , the period of the History of Greece that followed the Roman victory over the Corinthians after the Battle of Corinth, in 146 BC, is called. C. , until the reestablishment of the city of Byzantium and its appointment, by Emperor Constantine I , as capital of the Roman Empire ( New Rome ) renamed Constantinople in 330 .
The political colonization of Greece by Rome had its counterpart in a kind of reverse cultural colonization. The Roman culture was, in fact, a Greco-Roman culture . Greek, as a language, became the lingua franca in the East and in Italy. In the houses of the Roman nobles, on the other hand, this language became the usual one and the noble children used to be educated by Greek tutors. [ 34 ]
The internal life of Greece during Roman rule was not culturally affected. On the other hand, there were important modifications in the organization of the social structure. The disappearance of the so-called "middle class" was followed by the fading of the classic difference between patricians and plebeians , forming, instead, a new layer composed of patricians and wealthy plebeians: the official nobility , closed to the social movement and aspiring to occupation. of the best public positions, [ 35 ] as well as a new proto-capitalist financial sector, benefited from the fall of the rich commercial cities of Carthage and Corinth. [ 35 ]
Although Greece remained part of the relatively unified eastern half of the Roman Empire, during Constantine's reign the center of the East shifted to Constantinople and Anatolia . Athens, Sparta and the other Greek cities lost their importance and many of their statues and other artistic manifestations were brought to Constantinople.
During the Archaic Epoch, Greece's population grew outside the capacity of its limited arable land (by one estimate, the population multiplied more than tenfold between 800 and 400 BC , from 800,000 to a total population estimated between 10 and 13 million). [ 36 ] Around 750 a. The Greeks began 250 years of expansion, colonizing in all directions. To the east, they first colonized the Aegean coast of Asia Minor ; then Cyprus and the coasts of Thrace , the Sea of Marmara and the southern coast of the Black Sea. In the end the Greek colonization went so far that it reached, to the northeast, parts of Ukraine and Russia ( Taganrog ). To the west they colonized the coasts of Iliria , Sicily, and southern Italy; then southern France , Corsica, and even northeastern Spain. Greek colonies were also established in Egypt and Libya . Today's Syracuse , Napoli , Marseille, and Istanbul began as the Greek colonies Syracusae (Συρακούσαι) , Neapolis (Νεάπολις) , Massalia (Μασσαλία) andByzantion (Βυζάντιον) . These colonies played a role in spreading Greek influence throughout Europe, and also helped establish long-distance trade networks between Greek city-states, stimulating the economy in Ancient Greece .
Ancient Greece consisted of several hundred polis city-states that were almost independent. This situation was different from that of most other societies, which were either peoples of small numbers of people or sovereign kingdoms of vast territories. Certainly the geography of Greece is divided and subdivided by hills, mountains, and rivers — it contributed to the fragmented nature of Ancient Greece. It is probable that a similar political structure existed in the great maritime city-states of Phenicia.. However, to some extent, the situation was unique in Ancient Greece. On the one hand, the ancient Greeks did not doubt that they were "a singular people"; They shared the same religion, the same basic culture and the same language, as well as being very aware of their tribal origins; Herodotushe was able to classify city-states by tribe. On the other hand, although these highest-level relationships existed, it seems that they rarely played a role in Greek politics. The independence of the polis was fiercely defended; the ancient Greeks rarely contemplated the unification of Greece. Even when a group of city-states joined forces to defend Greece during the second Persian invasion, the vast majority of the states remained neutral and after defeating the Persians the "allies" returned to their internal struggles. [ 37 ]
The major peculiarities of the political system in Ancient Greece were:
- Its fragmentary nature, which does not seem particularly to have tribal origins.
- The centralization of power in urban centers within small states.
The oddities of the Greek system are most evident in the colonies that the Greeks established around the Mediterranean Sea . Although each could regard a certain Greek polis as her "mother" (and remain kind or partial to her), she was entirely independent of the city that founded her.
Inevitably, the smaller polis could be dominated by their larger neighbors, but conquests and direct reigns were quite rare. On the contrary, the polis were organized into leagues, whose affiliates were in a constant state of flux. Later, in the classical period, the number of leagues decreased and the leagues grew larger. Each was dominated by a single city (for example Athens, Sparta, or Thebes), and many times a polis was forced to join a league under the threat of war (or under the conditions of a peace treaty). Even after Philip II of MacedonIt "conquered" the centers of Ancient Greece, it did not try to annex the territory or unify it into a new province; he simply forced most of the cops to join his own Corinthian League .
Government and law
It seems that in the beginning many Greek city-states were minor kingdoms; many times there was a municipal official who fulfilled residual and ceremonial functions of the king ( basileo ) , eg the archon basileo in Athens . [ 38 ] However, by the Archaic Epoch and the first historical consciousness, most of these city-states had already become aristocratic oligarchies . It is not known precisely how this change occurred. For example, for 1050 a. In Athens the position of the king had been reduced to that of chief magistrate ( archon ), hereditary and for life. In 753 a. C. had become a decennial elected archon; and finally, in 683 a. C. was a position elected annually. At each stage the aristocracy as a whole gained more power and that of the common individual was reduced.
Over time, the political dominance and wealth of small groups of families tended to provoke social unrest in many polis. In many cities a tyrant [ 39 ] at some point took control and ruled according to his own will; a populist agenda used to help him stay in power.
Athens fell under a tyranny in the second half of the 6th century BC. When this tyranny ended, a radical reform was proposed so that the aristocracy would not regain power: the Athenians founded the world's first democracy . An assembly of citizens for the discussion of municipal politics (the Ekklesía ) had existed since the reforms of Dracon in 621 BC. C., and all the citizens were allowed to attend according to the reforms of Solón (beginning of the 6th century BC); but the poorest citizens could not speak before the assembly or stand as candidates, except in the case of certain public offices whose election was random . [40 ] By establishing democracy, the assembly became the de jure mechanism of government; all citizens then had equal rights ( isopoliteia ) in the assembly. However, the non-citizens - the Metecs (foreigners living in Athens) and the slaves - did not enjoy any political rights at all. In Sparta there was a diarchy (government of two kings), one was in charge of administrative, economic and social affairs, the other was in charge of defense.
After the rise of democracy in Athens, other city-states founded democracies. However, many retained more traditional forms of government. By custom in other affairs, Sparta was a notable exception to the rest of Greece, and throughout the time it was ruled not by one, but by two hereditary monarchs under a form of diarchy . The Spartan monarchy belonged to the Agíadas and the Euripóntidas , descendants of Eurístenes and Procles , respectively. The two founders of their dynasties are believed to be twin sons of Aristodemus , a Heraclid sovereign. However, the power of these kings was limited both by a council of elders (the Gerusia ) and by magistrates (the Ephors ) specifically appointed to watch over the kings.
Wars in Ancient Greece
War in Ancient Greece is the term used to describe the war of the Greek polis (the city-states of Ancient Greece), between the hoplite revolution of the 8th century BC. C. and the beginning of the Macedonian empire in the 4th century BC. C.
Few civilizations were as warlike as the Greek polis, despite the fact that they were little militarized societies until the 4th century BC. C. The temples have representations in their pediments and friezes with gods clothing of hoplita . The ceramic glasses glorifying rows of the phalanx .
The funerary steles represent the deaths of the soldiers of infantry . Plato often uses the model of war to illustrate his theories of virtue and knowledge and frequently draws his examples from Socrates' personal military experience . For Herodotus , Thucydides or Xenophon , it was seemingly inconceivable to relate other things. For Socrates, killing men fighting for Athens was not opposed to the practice of dialectics or abstract reflection. [ 41 ]
The most significant wars were:
- Medical wars (490-479 BC Sparta , Athens, and the Greek city-states joined forces to repel the invasions of Persia ), including
- Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC)
- Corinthian War (395-387 BC)
- War Panhellenic (330-323 a.), Named by historians and ensayistas [ 42 ] [ 43 ] [ 44 ] [ 45 ] [ 46 ] was the counter Greece, led Macedonia and control of Alexander the Great , maintained against his oppressor, the Persian empire , which culminated with the fall of the vast Achaemenid empire in less than 5 years, where after successive victories (epic, according to classical sources), the Hellenes took control of Thrace , Anatolia(Asia Minor), Egypt , South West and Central Asia , falling Babylon itself . The territories of the new Hellenic empire extended from the Balkans , Greece to Egypt, to present-day Afghanistan and India .
- War of the diádocos: (323-287 a. C.), the empire of Great Alexander, after his premature death, was divided in satrapies and began a prolonged war between his successors by the territories that extended by 50 years; which ended up weakening all the city-states and kingdoms, which began to be gradually invaded by Rome, until their final conquest in the second century BC. C., a period that took him to Rome about 150 years.
Only native and free men who owned land could be citizens, and enjoy the full protection of the Law in a city-state (although later Pericles introduced exceptions to the restriction on natives). In most city-states, people of social importance had no special rights. For example, being born into a certain family did not often offer special privileges. Sometimes certain families controlled some public religious functions, but they did not usually achieve any extra power in the government. In Athens , the population was divided into four social classes according to their wealth. People could change classes to earn more money. In sparta, all male citizens were named the same if they finished their education. However, the Spartan kings, who served as military and religious leaders in the city-state, came from two families.
Slaves in Ancient Greece were mostly war captives, or citizens who broke the laws, which today would be the prisoners, only that, unlike the current punitive confinement, they did not perform sacrificial tasks like other cultures, but according to each city- state, slaves lived in freedom. In Sparta they were assigned lands, those who worked and received income, in other polis they had different jobs, received gifts, and could raise a family. They could even gain freedom if a merchant bought and released them. A famous slave was the philosopher Diogenes , arrested for counterfeiting coins. While in the marketplace, he orders a veedor: "sell me that one, he needs a slave to guide him."
The slaves had the right to raise a family and own property, but had no political rights. For 600 a. C. the mercantile slavery had spread in Greece. For the III century a. Slaves made up a third of the entire population in some city-states. [ 47 ] Slaves outside Sparta almost never revolted because they made up too many nationalities and were too dispersed to organize. Or perhaps it was not convenient to lose their comfortable positions managing estates to an uprising.
Most families had slaves as domestic servants and laborers, and even some poor families might have a few slaves. The owners were not allowed to beat or kill their slaves. The owners often promised their slaves to free them. The freedmen (freed slaves) did not become citizens. Instead, they mingled with the Metec population , which included people from foreign countries or from other city-states who were officially allowed to live in the state.
The city-states legally owned slaves. These public slaves enjoyed greater independence than family-owned slaves, living alone and performing special tasks. In Athens, public slaves were trained to detect counterfeit coins, while temple slaves acted as servants of the deity of the temple .
Sparta had a special type of slave called a helot . Helots were Greek war captives who belonged to the state and were assigned to families in whose homes they were forced to remain. The helots grew food and did household chores so that the women could focus on raising strong children while the men dedicated themselves to training to be hoplites .
The Greeks gave vital importance to the athletic life, they developed a remarkable variety of disciplines, many in force today, such as the javelin, and the discus throw. They had spaces for this purpose and over time festivities were celebrated that brought together both men and women. For these games, the cops brought athletes representing their city. Among many others, ball games had a special adherence in everyday life.
The most popular sources point to the episkyros , who are referred to as the clearest predecessor of soccer . [ 48 ] It was played with a leather ball called folis, painted in bright colors, [ 49 ] where two teams of between 12 and 14 players each faced each other, and according to the rules the use of hands was also allowed. [ 50 ] Although it was a ball game, it was violent, at least in Sparta . [ 51 ]
About the games in teams with ball, there are stories of Homer , relating types of fouls (or tackles), Antiphanes about the ability to deceive and feints in the passes, Galen pointed out about the importance of strategy and the comparison with war, or well Plutarch about Alexander the Great , who received complaints from a teammate because he never passed the ball to him. The stories directly address a language that goes back to football, or rugby, and in such cases, they reveal that the passion for ball sports is not a current thing, but of yesteryear.
There were other sports that the Greeks practiced that were played with ball, there was a similar game called φαινίνδα - faininda , [ 52 ] called "deceitful game", it came from the verb φενακίζω - fenakizo , "(I) deceive, lie". [ 53 ] ) Others were: ἀπόῤῥαξις ( aporrhaxis ) ("bouncing ball game"), οὐρανία ( ourania ), "throwing high balls" [ 54 ] and perhaps the σφαιρομαχία ( sphairomachia ), literally "ball battle" , [ 55 ] from σφαῖρα ( sphaira ) «ball, sphere» [56 ] and μάχη ( mache ), "battle", [ 57 ] although it has been argued that the σφαιρομαχία, is indeed a competition of boxing -spheres were actually a type of guantes.- [ 58 ]
The beginnings of the Panhellenic athletic contests have as a possible origin the commemoration of the battles in honor of their fallen, and they have an appointment in the funeral games , celebrated by Achilles in the Trojan War , related by Homer . In them, mock battles, chariot competitions, wrestling, foot races and others took place. Here is a brief description of the various sports (and artistic) competitions that were held in Ancient Greece.
The Olympic Games ( Greek : Ολυμπιακοί αγώνες; Olympiakoi Agones ) were a series of athletic competitions contested by representatives of various city-states in Ancient Greece. Records indicate that they began in 776 BC. C. in Olympia ( Greece ), and were held to 393 d. C. The Games were normally played every 4 years or an Olympiad , which was a unit of time . During the celebration of the Games a truce or Olympic peace was enacted, to allow athletes to travel safely from their polis or city-states to Olympia . The ancient Olympics were quite different from the modern ones; there were fewer events and only Greek-speaking freemen could compete, plus they were always held in Olympia , rather than moving to different locations each time.
When free Greek boys were twelve years old, they entered the arena, where they were taught to develop muscles and discipline nerves. At sixteen they entered the gym, where the Greeks performed physical exercises and athletics. The gyms had a track and outdoor exercise spots in the woods. At the age of twenty, the Greeks concluded their sports training where they were given weapons and were qualified to participate in the Olympic Games.
The last Olympic Games of Antiquity were held in 393 AD. C, almost twelve centuries after its beginnings. [ 59 ] After the mandatory adoption of Christianity as the official religion throughout the Roman Empire ( Edict of Thessalonica , 380 AD), the Hispano-Roman emperor Theodosius I finally banned all pagan worship and celebration , including the Games. They were reestablished after 1500 years, already in the modern era and with an international character.
The Panateneas (in ancient Greek Παναθήναια / Panatếnaia ) were religious festivals that took place every year in Athens dedicated to Athena , goddess Poliada (protector of the city), and that took place during some days of the month of hecatombeon (first month in the Attic calendar ) equivalent to the end of the current month of July or the beginning of August. They were the oldest and most important religious celebrations in Athens. There were military parades from the Ceramic to the Acropolis passing through the Agora. The Great Panatheneas were remodeled or created in 566 BC. C. , under the Archon Hipoclides or, according to other sources, by Pisistratus . [ 60 ] [ 61 ] This reorganization, inspired by the Pythian Games , including sports competitions besides contests of poetry and music . The competitions were exclusive to the Athenians and others open to all Greeks. The latter included races ( stadium , diaulo , dolico and armed men's races), boxing , wrestling, pankration , pentathlon , javelin throw on horseback and chariot races of many different modalities. The winners of artistic contests (recitation and music) were awarded a gold crown and money. [ 62 ] [ 63 ]
The chronicle of Paros indicates that the Nemean Games were founded in 1251 BC. C . [ 64 ] The Nemean Games were one of the panhellenic sports competitions that were held in Ancient Greece, in a venue located in Argolis called Nemea . Originally, it was about funeral games and the judges were dressed in mourning (black). [ 65 ] Near the place where these games were held was the temple of Zeus Nemeo. Since their birth they took place every two years in the month of July, in the second and fourth years of the Olympiad. The program had athletic competitions (races, pentathlon, pankration, boxing, wrestling), [ 66 ] horse riding and musicals. [ 67 ] The stadium could hold up to 40,000 spectators. There were three categories of competitors: children, youth and adults. According to Eusebio de Cesarea , the competitions began in 573 a. C. , which is the date on which it is considered that they acquired a panhellenic character. Musical competitions were added to gymnastic and equestrian competitions in the Hellenistic period .
The Pythic Games were one of the four Panhellenic Games with those of Olympia , the Nemean Games and the Isthmian Games . They were made in the sanctuary of Delphi , and were consecrated to Apollo; a laurel wreath was given as a prize. According to the Chronicle of Paros , in 590 a. C. [ 68 ] an agon gymnikos khrematites has already taken place , that is, a gymnastic competition with prizes of great value coming from the spoils of war, but from 582 a. C. was an agon stephanites, a competition with a laurel wreath as the sole prize for the winner. [ 69 ] This date marks the official beginning of the Pythian Games era. After the musical competitions, the sports competitions were held: stadium , long race ( dollar , 24 stadiums of 178 meters), double race ( diaulo , two stadiums), pankration , wrestling, boxing, arms race , pentathlon (each athlete was He entered the running, long jump , wrestling, discus and javelin events). A new category was introduced, the "beardless" ( ageneioi ), whose age was between the youth category and the adult category. Women's victories are recorded, but it is not known whether women's participation in these games was habitual or sporadic. Pausanias comments , adding that Hesiod could not take part in the test because he did not know how to accompany with the zither , and that Homer did not participate because he had already gone blind. [ 70 ]
The Isthmian Games were Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece, so called because they were held on the Isthmus of Corinth , in honor of Poseidon . [ 71 ] [ 72 ] The Panhellenic sanctuary of this god in Isthmia was conditioned to host them. The exceptional geographical situation of Corinth"Nestled between two seas", on the narrow isthmus that joins the two parts of mainland Greece, contributed to the success and political importance of the Isthmian Games, with Poseidon and Melicertes as key figures. The Isthmian Games took place every two years in spring and lasted for several days. The program included gymnastics (race, boxing, pankration, pentathlon) and equestrian events. [ 73 ] Furthermore, when in the 4th century BC. C.the theater was built, musical and poetic competitions were added, and there may even have been a painting competition. Women's victories are recorded in both athletic, poetic and musical competitions, but it is unknown whether the participation of women in these games was habitual or sporadic. During the games religious rituals were held that included libations, sacrifices and a procession in honor of Poseidon, Amphitrite, Leucótea and Palemon. [ 74 ]
The hereos games ( Greek τὰ Ἡραῖα "ta Hêraia") of ancient Greece were sports competitions organized in Argos and Olympia in honor of the goddess Hera and reserved for women. They can be considered the ancestor of women's competitive sport and the women's version of the ancient Olympic games . They are mentioned by Pausanias . [ 75 ] Pausanias relates the tradition that in Olympia hereos games had been instituted by Hippodamia as a thanksgiving to Hera for her marriage to Pelops., although it also indicates a historical origin of these games around 580 a. C: the tyrant of Pisa (Greece) , Damofonte, had caused many evils to the inhabitants of Elis so, at his death, to try to repair the evils caused, a group of 16 women was formed (one for each city that had then in Elis). These women established the Hereos games and every five years they wove a peplo for Hera. The games were organized by the so-called "sixteen women" and consisted of girls' races where there were three age categories. They ran with their hair down and the participants wore a tunic that reached a little above the knee and exposed the area from the right shoulder to the chest. 
For most of Greek history, education was private, except in Sparta . During the Hellenistic period , some city-states established public schools. Only wealthy families could hire a teacher. Boys learned to read, write, and quote literature. They also learned to sing and play a musical instrument, and to train as soldiers for military service. They studied not to work, but to become good citizens. The girls also learned to read, write and do elementary arithmetic to run the home. They almost never received any education after childhood.
Children entered school when they were seven years old, or went to barracks if they lived in Sparta. The three types of teachings were: grammatists for arithmetic, kitharistes for music, and paedotribae for sports.
A child from a wealthy family who attended a private school was cared for by a paidagogos , a domestic slave designated for this task who accompanied the boy all day. Classes were held in the teachers' private homes and included arithmetic, reading, writing, singing, and playing musical instruments such as the lyre and the flute . As the young man turned twelve years old, sports such as wrestling, running, discus throwing, and javelin were added to his studies. In Athens, some older youths attended an academy for the finer disciplines such as culture, science, music, and the arts. A boy finished his studies when he turned 18, then began his military training in the army for one or two years.
A minority of children continued their education after childhood, as in the Spartan agoge . A crucial part of a rich boy's upbringing was an apprenticeship with an elder, which could include pederstic love . The boy learned by watching his mentor as he discussed politics in the agora , helping him perform his public duties, exercising with him in the gym, and attending symposiums with him. The richest students continued their education by studying with famous teachers. Some of the largest schools were the Liceo (the so-called peripatetic school founded by Aristotle de Estagira) and the Platonic Academy (founded by Plato of Athens). The educational system of the ancient wealthy Greeks is also called paideia .
At its economic peak in the 5th and 4th centuries BC. C., Ancient Greece had the most advanced economy in the world. Since long before the V century BC. C, currency was used to exchange goods and services.
This is demonstrated by the average daily wage of a Greek worker who was, relative to goods (for example, in terms of wheat), close to 12 kg of wheat per day: more than three times the average daily wage of an Egyptian worker, close to 3.75 kg of wheat per day. [ 78 ] Plato, in The Republic, makes mention of the nonconformity that teachers had regarding their salaries.
The word philosophy was used for the first time by Pythagoras in the 6th century BC. C., who already long before the later philosophers, had a room dedicated to research and knowledge, known today as the Pythagorean brotherhood. There the mathematical foundations that are used today were established, studies on astronomy were carried out, and all whatever science required foundation or openness. Greek philosophy focused on the role of reason and research . It also highlights Socrates , Plato , and Aristotle . In Thrace Democritus stood out, considered "the father of physics."
Greek philosophy has a fundamental influence on modern philosophy and science . Clear and continuous lines of influence are led from Ancient Greece and Hellenistic philosophers , through medieval Muslim philosophers and scientists , through the Renaissance and Enlightenment in Europe, to the secular sciences of our day.
Among others, Homer , who wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey , the poet and fabulist Aesop , the playwrights Sophocles and Aristophanes , whose plays were performed in theaters, have stood out. Herodotus geographer and historian.
Science and Technology
Science In Ancient Greece laid the foundations of modern science.
The mathematics , which is the basis of all scientific knowledge, was cultivated in a special way by the philosophical school that acaudillaba Pythagoras . Standing out both in geometry (remember the famous Pythagorean theorem that allows solving right triangles) and in arithmetic , numbers and lines occupied a very important place in his speculations.
Before the rise of medicine as a science, the Greeks regarded disease as a punishment from the gods. The Greek god of medicine was Asclepius and Apollo, and in their temples sick people offered sacrifices to them, spending the night there hoping that by dawn they would be cured.
Many of the substances that the ancient Egyptians used in their pharmacopoeia were exported to Greece and their influence increased after the establishment of a Greek medical school in Alexandria , a city founded by Alexander the Great in Egypt after liberating them from Persia.
Hippocrates , the "father of Medicine," established his own medical school in Kos and created Hippocratic Medicine. One of the characteristics of Hippocratic medicine is the theory of the four humors, which is related to the theory of the four elements (proposed by Empedocles). Also, Hippocrates and some contemporaries agreed that diseases were found in the blood, so the practice of drawing a little blood from the arms of patients began, but in most cases different herbs were prescribed. In all cases Hippocrates spoke of the benefits of water ( hydrotherapy ) and plants.
Astronomy was studied by the Greeks since ancient times. This is usually divided into two periods: Classical and Hellenistic Greece. It received important influences from other civilizations of Antiquity, and those that exerted the greatest influence were those from India and Babylon. During the Hellenistic times and the Roman Empire, many astronomers worked on the study of classical astronomical traditions, at the Library of Alexandria and at the Museion. The calendars of the ancient Greeks were based on the lunar and solar cycles. The Hellenic calendar incorporated these cycles. A lunisolar calendar based on both cycles is difficult to apply, which is why many astronomers devoted themselves to the development of a calendar based on eclipses.The ancient Greeks were the creators of deductive logic and the axiomatic method , but they considered the experimental verification of conclusions unnecessary and even degrading. They even considered it degrading for the philosopher of the time to suggest that conclusions reached in a logical mental process needed to be confirmed by experimental verification. This way of seeing things would not change substantially until the middle of the seventeenth century, when thanks to figures such as Francis Bacon and René Descartes , the experimental foundations, which are the basis of science, become philosophically respectable.
The period of greatest splendor of Greek art was the so-called Age of Pericles. The Greeks considered the arts an important engine in their lives, especially music, poetry, theater, dance and crafts. Just as temples and philosophers proliferated, theaters, poets and musicians also proliferated. They worshiped an important god, Apollo , patron of Fine Arts , to whom they dedicated a large number of temples, being Delphione of the most important. For the first time in history, music was shaped and theorized. They were the ones who introduced the concepts of polyphony, establishing studies of scales, with choirs of men and women (mixed), using string instruments (zithers, harps, lyres, and bandurrias called panduris ), winds (the aulos, a flute). double), percussion (drums and bronze plates). There were associations of musicians, the skilled musician enjoyed a very good reputation throughout the territory. The artistic works that were most frequently made were sculptures. Among the most prominent classical sculptors are Alcmenes , Mirón and Fidias .
Woman playing the aulos (aerophone instrument), double flute.
The pandura , predecessor of the lute and the guitar. The pandura is a chordophone instrument with innovative neck and frets. The bandurria comes from its name. Bronze Age, 14th century BC. C.
The Greeks saw in their mythology and theology as the basis for development in almost all areas, from war ( Athena and Ares ), to music and sports (consecrated to Apollo ). The Greek mythology consists of stories and poems written format on the origins, the nature of the world and the importance of religious tradition.
It should be noted that in Ancient Greece there was no obligation to profess any religious cult . The most important Greek gods were the twelve Olympians . Abundant writings are found in the Iliad , the Odyssey , and Theogony
- Zeus : the god of the sky and thunder; the highest ranking and most powerful, ruler of Mount Olympus, brother of Poseidon, Hades, and Hera, and father of the remaining Olympian gods.
- Hera : the consort and sister of Zeus, queen of the gods, the goddess of marriage and fidelity.
- Poseidon : the god of the seas, oceans and earthquakes, brother of Zeus and Hades.
- Ares : the god of war, cruelty and murder.
- Hermes - the messenger god, also of guidance, travelers, shepherds, thieves, consolation, and meetings.
- Hephaestus : the god of fire, the forge, manual labor, craftsmen, and weapons.
- Aphrodite : the goddess of love, beauty and sensuality.
- Athena : the goddess of the arts, wisdom, education and war; the protector of heroes.
- Apollo : the god of dance, arts, music, archery, prudence, male beauty, and prophecy.
- Artemis - the goddess of hunting, animals, chastity, and the Amazons.
- Demeter : the goddess of the earth, flowers and plants, food and agriculture.
- Dionysus : the youngest god of the pantheon, god of wine, nature in the wild and open sexuality.
Other important deities were:
- Hebe : the goddess of youth and the helper of the gods.
- Helios : the god of the sun.
- Selene : the goddess of the moon.
- Hades : the god of the underworld and of the dead over whom he reigned, brother of Poseidon and Zeus.
- Persephone : the goddess of the underworld, daughter of Demeter, wife of Hades.
- Nike : the goddess of victory.
- Heracles - a hero and a demigod of extraordinary strength (Hercules).
- Chaos : the goddess of the formless and the imprecise.
- Hestia : the goddess of the home and family.
Zeus' parents were Cronus and Rhea who were also the parents of Poseidon, Hades and Hera. This cult remains active today as a religious tradition, resurfaced in Greece and other parts of the world a few years ago, Hellenism .
As there were no laws that prohibited the different sexual choices (since in their mythology there was nothing that prohibited it either), the citizens of each polis (city) had the right to choose their sexual path at will, in the polis there were age laws minimum, where it was important that it not occur in kinship relationships, or in an abusive manner.
In Sparta, married women could have male lovers as long as he was more handsome, stronger, and younger than her husband. In Greece there were the hétere (ἑ ταῖραι ), it was the name that courtesans received in Ancient Greece (a combination of a lady-in-waiting and a refined prostitute ). They were independent women of great social prestige. The group consisted mainly of former slaves and foreigners, and they were famous for their training in dance and music, as well as their physical appearance. There is evidence that they paid taxes, received education, and could participate in symposia (συμπόσιον), their opinions and beliefs being highly respected by men.
Demosthenes , in his Against Neera, wrote "We have the heteras to give us pleasure, the maids to take care of our daily bodily needs and the wives to give us legitimate children and be faithful watchmen of our houses."
- Aspasia de Mileto , concubine and companion of Pericles , very influential in politics and education
- Campaspe , concubine of Alexander the Great
- Filenis .
- Friné .
- Lais de Corinth .
- Lais of Hícara .
- Leaena, in Greek , Λέαινα, "lioness", lover of Aristogiton .
- Such .
Another courtesan, Arqueanasa, to whom Plato wrote the following verses: «I possess Arqueanasa Rosin, on whose rugged and senile forehead, bitter love hides. Wretched of you who enjoyed her first youth! Oh, what active ardor you must have suffered! ». [ 86 ]
The prostitution was, from the Archaic Period , a common activity in the daily life of Greek cities most important. Particularly in the port areas, it legally employed a significant number of people, constituting a first-rate economic activity . Exercised mostly by women of all ages, the clientele was generally male. Solon is credited with setting up moderately priced state brothels in Athens .
Concerning sacred temples, a universal aspect of the cult of Aphrodite and her predecessors that many 19th and 20th century mythographers have omitted [ 87 ] is the practice of religious prostitution in certain shrines and temples. The Greek euphemism for these prostitutes is hieroglyph , 'holy handmaid'. This custom was an inherent practice in rituals dedicated to Aphrodite's Middle Eastern ancestors, the Sumerian Inanna and the Akkadian Ishtar , whose temple prostitutes were 'Ishtar women', ishtarium . [ 88 ]This practice has been documented in Babylonia, Syria, in Phoenician cities and in the Tyrian colony of Carthage , and for the Hellenic Aphrodite in Cyprus , the center of her cult, Kythera , Corinth, and Sicily . [ 88 ] Aphrodite is everywhere the patroness of heteras and courtesans.
Pederasty in Ancient Greece
Greek pederasty (from the Greek παιδεραστία ), idealized by the Greeks since archaic times , was a relationship between a young adolescent (εραστες, erastes , "beloved", and ἐρώμενος, erōmenos , 'beloved') and an adult man who he did not belong to his close family ( ἐραστής, erastēs , 'lover'). It emerged as an aristocratic educational and moral training tradition . The Greeks therefore considered it an essential element of their culture since the time of Homer . [ 89 ] It is important to note that the age difference between erōmenos and erastēsIt is parallel to the one that occurred between the marriages in ancient Greece: a man in his thirties and a young girl between fifteen and eighteen years old. [ 90 ] It should also be noted that the eromenon was an adolescent who had entered puberty and not a child , as understood in the current concept of pedophilia .
The term derives from the combination of two Greek words : παιδ- (root of παῖς, παιδός, 'boy / girl') and ἐραστής ( erastēs , 'lover'; cf. eroticism ). In a broader sense, the word refers to erotic love between teenagers and adult men. The Greeks considered normal that a man felt attracted by the beauty of a young person , as Aristotle refiriese, Human feels spontaneous love to what it perceives as beautiful visually " [ 91 ] [ 92 ] . There was only controversy the way in which this wish should be expressed.
Pedophilia was closely related to the athletic and artistic tradition of nudity in gymnastics , men and women performed the athletic cult in a mixed way, as well as performing artistic practices, such as theater, dance and music.
Homosexuality in Ancient Greece
The homosexual relationship occurred between adult men and adolescent boys, known as homo pederasty . Relationships between men of equivalent age were rarer. Relationships between women in society could be reflected in passages from Greek mythology, taking for granted that Aphrodite , when she did not have her beloved Ares , occasionally had relationships with other goddesses, there are examples as old as Sappho of Lesbos . [ 93 ] Regarding homosexuality in the armies of ancient Greece, the Theban sacred troop is mentioned. Homer does not describe a sexual relationship between two men in any of his works, nor does he describe anything about Achilles and Patroclus as loving.
- Portal: Ancient Greece . Content related to Ancient Greece .
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- «σφαῖρα» en Liddell and Scott.
- " battle " between Liddell and Scott.
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- Diógenes Laercio - Life - Illustrious Philosophers: Plato BIOGRAPHY OF PLATO .
- In particular Thomas Bulfinch in his well-known The Age of Fable; or Stories of Gods and Heroes : «Our work is not for the scholar, theologian or philosopher, but for the reader of English literature, of both sexes, who wishes to understand the allusions so frequently made by speakers, lecturers, essayists and poets , and those that occur in polite conversation. " Bulfinch's obituary in the Boston Evening Standard noted that the contents were "stripped of anything offensive."
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- Nick Fisher, Aeschines: Against Timarchos, «Introduction», p. 27; Oxford University Press, 2001.
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- Nick Fisher, Aeschines: Against Timarchos, «Introduction», p. 26; Oxford University Press, 2001.
- Aristotle. Metaphysics . p. 1 (and successive).
- "Homosexual" entry in the Oxford Classical Dictionary , ISBN 0-19-860641-9 (in English).
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- Wikimedia Commons hosts a multimedia category on Ancient Greece .
- Ancient history : Atlas of ancient history , on the website of the University of Zaragoza
- Greek civilization
- Vasili Vasílievich Struve : History of Ancient Greece . Third Millennium Library - Ancient Greece
- Thomas R. Martin : An Overview of Classical Greek History from Mycenae to Alexander (An Overview of the history of Ancient Greece from the Mycenaean period to that of Alexander )
- Thomas R. Martin: Ancient Greece from Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times ( Ancient Greece from prehistoric times to the Hellenistic period ), Yale University Press , 1996. ISBN 0-300-06956-1 . Accompany the online sources of the Perseus Project