Cultures > Greece
Greece was a civilization based around the Aegean Sea and the larger Mediterranean Sea. Referring to Greece as a unified civilization is very interesting because of the various regional and competing city-states that comprised it. Unlike other forms of government in the ancient era, the city-states of Greece were largely autonomous for most of their history and often at war with each other.
However, when the threat of external invasion from the Achaemenid Persian Empire, they quickly unified and mobilized into an effective force that pushed the Persians out of Greece for good.
Known as the father of western civilization, Greece was renowned for its cultural influence and its poets, philosophers, mathematicians, historians, artists and many others are well known to this current day. In fact, if it were not for the Muslims, most of these works would have been lost to the ravages of time and war.
See Mycenaean Greece.
Homeric Greece, also known as the Greek Dark Ages
Rise of the City-States
Alexander the Great
See Roman Empire.During the second and third centuries, Greece was divided into provinces including Achaea, Macedonia, Epirus vetus and Thracia. During the reign of Diocletian in the late 3rd century, the western Balkans were organized as a Roman diocese, and was ruled by Galerius. Under Constantine I Greece was part of the dioceses of Macedonia and Thrace. The eastern and southern Aegean islands formed the province of Insulae in the Diocese of Asia. Greece faced invasions from the Heruli, Goths, and Vandals during the reign of Theodosius I. Stilicho, who acted as regent for Arcadius, evacuated Thessaly when the Visigoths invaded in the late 4th century. Arcadius' Chamberlain Eutropius allowed Alaric to enter Greece, and he looted Corinth, and the Peloponnese. Stilicho eventually drove him out around 397 and Alaric was made magister militum in Illyricum. Eventually, Alaric and the Goths migrated to Italy, sacked Rome in 410, and built the Visigothic Empire in Iberia and southern France, which lasted until 711 with the advent of the Arabs. Greece remained part of the relatively unified eastern half of the empire. Contrary to outdated visions of late antiquity, the Greek peninsula was most likely one of the most prosperous regions of the Roman and later the Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire. Older scenarios of poverty, depopulation, barbarian destruction and civil decay have been revised in light of recent archaeological discoveries. In fact the polis, as an institution, appears to have remained prosperous until at least the sixth century. Contemporary texts such as Hierocles' Synecdemus affirm that in late Antiquity, Greece was highly urbanised and contained approximately 80 cities. This view of extreme prosperity is widely accepted today, and it is assumed between the 4th and 7th centuries AD, Greece may have been one of the most economically active regions in the eastern Mediterranean. Following the loss of Alexandria and Antioch to the Arabs, Thessaloniki became the Byzantine Empire's second largest city, called the "co-regent" (symbasileuousa), second only to Constantinople. The Greek peninsula remained one of the strongest centers of Christianity in the late Roman and early Byzantine periods. After the area's recovery from the Slavic invasions, its wealth was restored. Events such as the Seljuk invasion of Asia Minor and the Latin occupation of Constantinople gradually focused Byzantine imperial interest to the Greek peninsula during the late Byzantine period. The Peloponnese in particular continued to prosper economically and intellectually even during its Latin domination, the Byzantine recovery, and until its final fall to the Ottoman Empire.