|Greek influence in the mid 6th century BC.
Ancient Greece (Greek: Ἑλλάς, romanized: Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of antiquity (c. AD 600). Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Roughly three centuries after the Late Bronze Age collapse of Mycenaean Greece, Greek urban poleis began to form in the 8th century BC, ushering in the Archaic period and colonization of the Mediterranean Basin. This was followed by the period of Classical Greece, an era that began with the Greco-Persian Wars, lasting from the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Due to the conquests by Alexander the Great of Macedon, Hellenistic civilization flourished from Central Asia to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea. The Hellenistic period came to an end with the conquests and annexations of the eastern Mediterranean world by the Roman Republic, which established the Roman province of Macedonia in Roman Greece, and later the province of Achaea during the Roman Empire.
Classical Greek culture, especially philosophy, had a powerful influence on ancient Rome, which carried a version of it to many parts of the Mediterranean Basin and Europe. For this reason, Classical Greece is generally considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of modern Western culture and is considered the cradle of Western civilization.
Classical Greek culture gave great importance to knowledge. Science and religion were not separate and getting closer to the truth meant getting closer to the gods. In this context, they understood the importance of mathematics as an instrument for obtaining more reliable ("divine") knowledge. Greek culture, in a few centuries and with a limited population, managed to explore and make progress in many fields of science, mathematics, philosophy and knowledge in general.
Since the time of Homer, the Greeks have called themselves Hellenes (Έλληνες), though they have been known by a number of different names throughout history. The soldiers that fell at Thermopylae did so as the last protectors of Hellas. Homer, Herodotus and the later Greek authors locate the first usages of the word "Hellenes" as an ethnic name-umbrella under which the Achaians and the rest of the Greek allies sailed for the city state of Troy under Agamemnon's leadership, although up to that point "Hellas" (Greek: Eλλάς) and "Hellenes" was the name of the tribe (also called "Myrmidones") settled in Thessalic Phthia having Achilles as their leader.Alexander the Great is the first leader who officially uses the terms Hellas and Panhellenic League (league of all Greek tribes except for the Lacedaemonians) when he began his military campaign against the Persian rulers of the Greek city-states of Asia Minor (Ionia) to revenge their ancestors.
Did you know...
- ... that the Greeks did not have a term for "religion"?
Photo credit: Morn
The theater at Epidaurus.The prosperity brought by the Asklepieion enabled Epidauros to construct civic monuments too: the huge theater that delighted Pausanias for its symmetry and beauty, which is used once again for dramatic performances, the ceremonial Hestiatoreion (banqueting hall), baths and a palaestra.
Pericles (also spelled Perikles) (c. 495 – c. 429 BC, Greek: Περικλῆς, meaning 'surrounded by glory') was a prominent and influential statesman, orator, and general of Athens during the city's Golden Age–specifically, the time between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars. He was descended, through his mother, from the powerful and historically influential Alcmaeonid family.Pericles had such a profound influence on Athenian society that Thucydides, his contemporary historian, acclaimed him as "the first citizen of Athens." Pericles turned the Delian League into an Athenian empire and led his countrymen during the first two years of the Peloponnesian War. The period during which he led Athens, roughly from 461 to 429 BC, is sometimes known as the "Age of Pericles," though the period thus denoted can include times as early as the Persian Wars, or as late as the next century.