|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). This era was immediately followed by the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine period. 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 age of Classical Greece, from the Greco-Persian Wars to the 5th to 4th centuries BC. The conquests of Alexander the Great of Macedon spread Hellenistic civilization from the western Mediterranean to Central Asia. The Hellenistic period ended with the conquest of the eastern Mediterranean world by the Roman Republic, and the annexation of 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 throughout the Mediterranean and much of Europe. For this reason, Classical Greece is generally considered the cradle of Western civilization, the seminal culture from which the modern West derives many of its founding archetypes and ideas in politics, philosophy, science, and art. (Full article...)
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.
The city of Sparta lay at the southern end of the central Laconian plain, on the right bank of the Eurotas River. It was a strategic site, guarded on three sides by mountains and controlling the routes by which invading armies could penetrate Laconia and the southern Peloponnesus via the Langhda Pass over Mt Taygetus. At the same time, its distance from the sea—Sparta was 27 miles from its seaport, Gythium—made it difficult to blockade.
Did you know...
- ...that Thebes, Greece played an important role in the fabric of Greek myth, being the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus, and others?
- ...that the art of ancient Greece has exercised an enormous influence on the culture of many countries from ancient times until the present, particularly in the areas of sculpture and architecture?