It is the period of Greek history that stretches from the 20th century BC to the 2nd century BC, when the region of Ancient Greece was conquered by Rome. Ancient Greece history
The location of Ancient Greece
Located in southern Europe, in a territory with little fertile soil and predominantly mountainous, the history of Ancient Greece took place in the Balkan Peninsula, extending to the Aegean Islands (Insular Greece) and the coast of Asia Minor (Asiatic Greece). ).
From the 8th century BC, the Greeks expanded this territory even further, founding colonies in the Mediterranean and southern Italy.
Demystifying what many imagine, the territory that this period took place was not limited to just one country, as it was free of borders. Ancient Greece history
The people of that period participated in the Greek World , because they enjoyed the same customs, spoke the same language and organized themselves politically and socially in a similar way.
The Religion of Ancient Greece: Greek Mythology
Ancient Greece was polytheistic , that is, Greek society idealized its own gods who possessed human or animal physical and behavioral attributes.
Each polis (city) had its protective god and Mount Olympus was considered by the Greeks to be the home of all their gods.
Therefore, the place starred in many of the Greek mythological stories, even serving as a court, where the deities decided the course of life for mortals and even other gods.
There was a great intellectual and physical proximity between the gods and the society of Ancient Greece, so the stories were passed from generation to generation and had a great influence on social transformations and decisions. Ancient Greece history
They were used, for example, to justify wars, deaths and even the birth of Greek heroes.
Among the most famous gods, the following stand out: Zeus , considered the greatest god within the Greek mythological hierarchy, Aphrodite , the goddess of love, beauty and sex and Athena , protector of the city of Athens and the goddess of wisdom.
Society and Politics
While Sparta lived in a diarchy, that is, it had two kings who held the power of the entire city, Athens lived for many centuries under direct democracy, with assemblies where the Athenians considered citizens voted and discussed the laws.
Slavery and the division of society into different social classes were also a hallmark of Ancient Greece. Athens, for example, allowed slavery when someone was in debt to the government. Sparta already left its slaves under the power of kings. Ancient Greece history
Greek society has undergone major transformations throughout its history. During their first colonies, there was a collectivist feeling and behavior among the peoples, who shared food, clothing and housing equally among themselves.
The Greek economy was based on agriculture, with the planting of cereals (wheat and barley), olive trees, fig trees and vines, in addition to the raising of cattle, sheep and goats and their strong handicrafts.
But on account of its infertile soil and proximity to the sea, the most important activities were fishing and maritime trade, which were fostered in commercial exchanges with the currency known as Drachma .
Greek culture is one of its most important aspects due to the great development and contribution in the plastic arts, philosophy, sport, theater, democracy and mythology.
In philosophy, for example, there is progress in questions and thoughts about human existence, built by philosophers such as Socrates and Plato .
In sports, the creation of the Olympic Games was one of the greatest Greek milestones. They offered contests to the gods and cheered the winners as great heroes.
In turn, the theater represented the tragedies, comedies and legends of Greek mythology for the people. Their songs cheered the festivals of the nobility and were played with instruments such as the flute and the harp.
The Origin of Ancient Greece
The formation of Ancient Greece depended on the fusion of at least four peoples who lived in its territory throughout history. They called themselves Hellenes and called the region they lived in Hellas , not Greece, which was the name given by the Romans centuries later. Ancient Greece history
Over the years, the mountain formation was fundamental for their internal isolation and the formation of independent city-states from each other, dividing the Hellenes into distinct groups.
The history of Ancient Greece is divided into 5 main periods: Pre-Homeric, Homeric, Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic. Each period was marked by major social, political and economic transformations that were decisive for the formation, division and development of Greek territory.
Summary of the History of Ancient Greece in Periods
Pre-Homeric Period – 20th century – 12th century BC
The Island of Crete , best known for the Legend of the Minotaur and for its supremacy in the region, formed a government that dominated the Mediterranean, consolidating a strong and large maritime trade with neighboring regions.
Around the 15th century BC, the Archaeians, Indo-Europeans, also called Mycenaeans, were the first people to arrive in the territory of Ancient Greece, coming from Mycenae: one of the most important cities, with strong cultural, economic and social aspects.
They concentrated on the Peloponnese Peninsula and conquered the island of Crete. Thus, they established a strong exchange between the Island and Greece, forming a society called Creto-Mycenae .
After the Archaeians, other peoples also arrived in Greece, such as:
- Ionians, who later founded the city of Athens
- Dorians, who later founded the city of Sparta
The Dorians were known for their violence and skill in building weapons made of iron. Therefore, when they arrived in Greek territory, they caused a great dispersion of other peoples to the interior of the Aegean Islands and the coast of Asia Minor, generating one of the most important events of the time, called: First Diaspora .
Homeric Period – 12th – 8th century BC
After the First Diaspora, the Creto-Mycenaean civilization was absorbed and Greece underwent a major cultural setback and a restructuring of its social and economic organization. Ancient Greece history
The Homeric period is known for the Gentile social organization, which was based on the genos: individuals with blood ties led by the pater , a patriarch who held political, religious, and military powers.
Each pater and his closest relatives owned the best and largest lands. Thus, society began to divide as follows:
- Eupatrids : owners of large lands
- Georgis : small farmers
- Thetas : those who owned nothing
During this tension, gentile society suffered from its disintegration. It was then that the genos united and formed larger groups called fátrias , in an attempt to monopolize political power and constitute a land-based aristocracy.
Even after this union, the fatrias could not achieve the expected power and united once again, forming an even larger group called tribes. It was from this union that the polis , better known as city-states , emerged .
With the degradation of gentile society, many Greeks moved to extended areas along the Mediterranean, in search of better life opportunities and fertile lands. An important event known as the Second Diaspora , when large colonies were formed in the areas of the Mediterranean, Asia Minor and North Africa. Ancient Greece history
Archaic Period – 8th – 6th century BC
With the end of gentile society and the emergence of city-states, in the Archaic Period there were important events such as the emergence of the phonetic alphabet, economic progress with the division of labor in commerce and the urbanization process.
Athens, known as the birthplace of democracy instituted by Cleisthenes (570 BC – 508 BC), was founded by the Ionians and was located in the Attic Peninsula. Their society was basically constituted by navigators, traders, poets, philosophers and artists.
Education in Athens was aimed at the complete formation of man, that is, his intellectual, physical, artistic side and his critical sense were developed. Ancient Greece history
Sparta, founded by the Dorians and located in the interior of the Peloponnese Peninsula, was known for being a predominantly militaristic, aristocratic and conservative city, with lands and slaves under the power of the State.
His education aimed to form citizen-soldiers with physical perfection, habits of obedience to the created laws and courage, based on a laconic ideal, a form of direct and succinct communication.
The end of the Archaic Period
With great political, social and cultural progress, the end of the Archaic Period was marked by Archaic Colonization .
As a consequence of population growth, great maritime expeditions were organized, taking some Greeks to colonize lands around the world.
These expeditions reached various parts of the west, such as the whole of southern Italy, as well as France and Egypt. New city-states were established in these territories, with Naples ( new polis in Greek) in Italy being one of the best known. Ancient Greece history
Classical Period – VI – IV century BC
Known as the Golden Age of Ancient Greece, this period was marked not only by the rise of theater, music, and philosophy, but also by wars and decisive battles, such as the Medical Wars ( or Greco-Persian Wars).
Athens was the main polis and received taxes from other cities, using it for its own benefit. But even after the Battle of Thermopylae (484 BC), won by the Persians, Athens remained strong. Consequently, other cities were outraged, joining Sparta, thus creating the Peloponnesian League.
It is precisely at this moment that Sparta and Athens, each with its allies, are fighting each other.
Taking advantage of the existing crises in the two main city-states of Greece, Thebes, an ally of the Sparta polis, rebels and expels the Spartan soldiers, imposing its hegemony over the Greek cities.
Sparta was defeated in 371 BC. C. by the tebano army in Batalla de Leuctras. This victory was due to the organization of the phalanges, by the generals Pelopidas and Epaminondas, and to a slave rebellion in Sparta, forcing a large part of the soldiers to suspend their campaign in the defense of the city.
Thus began the predominance of Thebes over the other Greek city-states. Ancient Greece history
Hellenistic Period – 4th – 2nd century BC
With the great hegemony of Thebes, all the Greek city-states were weakened. Led by King Philip II (Philip of Macedonia), the Macedonian people, who were situated in the northern region of Greece, conquered all of Greece at the Battle of Chaeronea in August 338 BC.
After the death of King Philip II, his son Alexander the Great, also called Alexander the Great , succeeded to his father’s throne, consolidating all of Greece and dispatching his Empire to the East.
Phoenicia, Egypt, Palestine and India were the places conquered by Alexander the Great, the historical figure who founded one of the most vast empires of humanity.
After its conquest in the East, there was a fusion of Greek culture with that of other dominated peoples, mainly Egyptians, Mesopotamians and Persians, giving rise to Hellenistic Culture .
The Influence of Ancient Greece Today
- Olympic Games : the meeting of several nations in the period of 4 in 4 years, with competitions in diverse sports games;
- Plastic Arts : Greek painting and sculptures are classified to this day as classical and harmonic, influencing great artists;
- Philosophy : in the teaching of human sciences, authors and philosophers such as Socrates and Plato are cited as important references;
- Mathematics : great mathematicians like Pythagoras and Thales of Miletus have their discoveries used in the teaching of exact sciences;
- Democracy : instituted in Athens, democracy is practiced in several countries, such as Brazil.
- Theater : created to represent emotions and make people happy, theater has gained even more strength in recent centuries, influencing many people, becoming a great means of entertainment in Western society.