After the Persian Wars (490-479 BC), Ancient Athens developed as the leading city-state in Greece. Ancient History Encyclopedia. The Empire became Christianized, and the use of Latin declined in favour of exclusive use of Greek; in the Roman imperial period, both languages were been used. Some Rights Reserved (2009-2021) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. The empire and its wealth gone, the walls destroyed, only its reputation as a great seat of learning, Greek philosophy and culture prevented the sack of the city and the enslavement of the populace. Athens. Athens is one of the cities with the longest history in the world. R ich in history, titles, legendary figures and fan base, AEK are one of Greece's top four clubs. In 1896 the city hosted the 1896 Summer Olympics. From 1204 until 1458, Athens was ruled by Latins in three separate periods, following the Crusades. By the 7th century BC, social unrest had become widespread, and the Areopagus appointed Draco to draft a strict new code of law (hence the word 'draconian'). Evidence for this has come from pottery finds on and around the Acropolis but particularly from a group of about 20 shallow wells, or pits, on the northwest slope of … Athens began as a small, Mycenaean community and grew to become a city that, at its height, epitomized the best of Greek virtues and enjoyed such prestige that the Spartans refused to sack the city or enslave the citizens, even after Athens' defeat in the Peloponnesian War. After the conquests of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC, the city's population began to decrease as Greeks migrated to the Hellenistic empires in the east. The ruler was selected by all people in Athens. A contest was held among the gods on the Acropolis, with Cecrops and the citizenry looking on, to determine which deity would win the honor. A sacred olive tree said to be the one created by the goddess was still kept on the Acropolis at the time of Pausanias (2nd century AD). Athens was named after the Greek goddess of wisdom, Athena. The might of the Athenian Empire encouraged an arrogance in the policymakers of the day which grew intolerable to her neighbors. During this period, Athens succeeded in bringing the other towns of Attica under its rule. Through protests in Constantinople, the Athenians achieved his recall several times, but Haseki always returned until his final downfall and execution in 1795. Supported by the city's aristocratic families, and his relationship with the Sultan's sister, who was his lover, he extorted large sums from the populace, and seized much property from them. The story goes that when she touched the ground where Athens was to be built with an olive branch, an olive tree grew. He preserved the Solonian Constitution, but made sure that he and his family held all the offices of state. Athens remained a wealthy city with a brilliant cultural life, but ceased to be a leading power.  In 1759 the new pasha, a native Muslim, destroyed one of the pillars of the Temple of Olympian Zeus to provide material for a fifth mosque for the city—an illegal act, as the temple was considered the Sultan's property. The Ancient Greeks lived around 3,500 years ago their legacy shapes the world we live in today. After the Roman–Seleucid War (192–188), that ended with the Peace of Apamea, and the Third Macedonian War (171–168), after which Macedonian territory was divided into four client republics, Macedonia was formally annexed to the Roman Republic after the Fourth Macedonian War (150–148). The Turkish community numbered several families established in the city since the Ottoman conquest; and their relations with their Christian neighbours were friendlier than elsewhere, as they had assimilated themselves to a degree, even to the point of drinking wine. In the 4th century BC it was replaced by a system of terracotta pipes in a stone-built underground channel, sometimes called the Hymettos aqueduct; many sections had round, oval or square access holes on top of about 10 cm × 10 cm (4 in × 4 in). , Athens produced some notable intellectuals during this era, such as Demetrius Chalcondyles (1424–1511), who became a celebrated Renaissance teacher of Greek and of Platonic philosophy in Italy.  English visitors during the 1760s report a population of around 10,000 inhabitants, around four-fifths of which were Christians. According to the Greek mythology, Cecrops, who was half man and half serpent, founded Athens and became the first king. It is also the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, political science, Western literature, historiography, major mathematical principles, and Western theories of tragedy and comedy. This legacy would continue as, later, Plato would found his Academy outside the walls of Athens in 385 BCE and, later, Aristotle's Lyceum would be founded in the city center. The Greeks saw this as a symbol that Athena still had her mark there on the city. Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization. The Ancient Greek Empire spread from Greece through Europe and, in 800 BC, the Greeks started to split their land into city-states, each with its own laws, customs and rulers. The Eleusinian Mysteries become part of the official Athenian religious calendar. It is a tribute to an enduring legacy that the Roman general Sulla, who sacked Athens in 87-86 BCE, slaughtered the citizenry, and burned the port of Piraeus, refused to allow his soldiers to burn the city itself. When the Byzantine Empire was rescued by the resolute leadership of the three Komnenos emperors Alexios, John and Manuel, Attica and the rest of Greece prospered. Here are 12 facts about the Acropolis of Athens. But then the Greek cities (including Athens and Sparta) turned against Thebes, whose dominance was stopped at the Battle of Mantinea (362 BC) with the death of its military-genius leader Epaminondas. The Fighting Bunch: The Battle of Athens and How World War II Veterans... Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. They formed the Delian League, ostensibly to create a cohesive Greek network among city-states to ward off further Persian attacks, and, under the leadership of Pericles, grew so powerful that the Athenian Empire could effectively dictate the laws, customs, and trade of all her neighbors in Attica and the islands of the Aegean. Many of Classical civilization’s intellectual and artistic ideas originated there, and the city is generally considered to be the birthplace of Western civilization. The wealthy aristocrats held control of both the land and the Greek government and, in time, poorer land owners became enslaved (or nearly so) through debt to the more wealthy.  It was located by the temple of Pandrosus, next to the Parthenon. Poseidon struck a rock with his trident and, as water gushed forth, he assured the people that now they would never suffer drought. This posed a new threat to the ancient monuments of Athens, as traffic vibration weakened foundations and air pollution corroded marble. Mark has lived in Greece and Germany and traveled through Egypt. But is the city just resting on its laurels or is there more to Athens? "Athens." Good thing they have 148 theatrical stages to tell it on!  In the next year, Athens was removed from the purview of the Kizlar Agha and transferred to the privy purse of the Sultan. The city covers a total area of 412 square kilometers (159 square miles). Two other major religious sites, the Temple of Hephaestus (which is still largely intact) and the Temple of Olympian Zeus or Olympeion (once the largest temple in mainland Greece but now in ruins) also lay within the city walls. The period from the end of the Persian Wars to the Macedonian conquest marked the zenith of Athens as a center of literature, philosophy, and the arts. Athens was at the centre of an area known as Attica. That time, with the initiative … Occupying a small but fertile strip of land, the city of Athens would soon prosper into one of the greatest cities of the Ancient World. Athens had some of the worst traffic congestion and air pollution in the world at that time. Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world as well, with recorded history going back over 3400 years. In 479 BC, the Athenians and Spartans, with their allies, defeated the Persian army conclusively at the Battle of Plataea. Athens-Clarke County has a rich history that dates back to the very beginnings of the United States. When this failed, they appointed Solon, with a mandate to create a new constitution (in 594 BC). Cite This Work This set a model that would be followed by future conquerors who would defeat Athens but not destroy it. Suburbs such as Nea Ionia and Nea Smyrni began as refugee settlements on the Athens outskirts. Related Content Please support Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation. During Michel Fourmont's visit in the city in the 1720s, he witnessed much construction going on, and by the time the Athenian teacher Ioannis Benizelos wrote an account of the city's affairs in the 1770s, Athens was once again enjoying some prosperity, so that, according to Benizelos, it "could be cited as an example to the other cities of Greece". In 1832, Otto, Prince of Bavaria, was proclaimed King of Greece. As the empire became increasingly anti-pagan, Athens became a provincial town and experienced fluctuating fortunes.  A few years later, another Athenian, Theophano, became empress as the wife of Staurakios (r. We must see Athens as the average man saw it and lived in it from day to day, and THEN perhaps we can partially understand how it was that during the brief but wonderful era of Athenian freedom and prosperity[*], Athens was able to produce so many men of commanding genius as to win for her a place in the history of civilization which she can never lose. Mark, Joshua J.  Its Greek population possessed a considerable degree of self-government, under a council of primates composed of the leading aristocratic families, along with the city's metropolitan bishop. The Athenians, afterward, claimed for themselves a special status in that they spoke Ionian, instead of Doric, Greek and held to customs they felt were superior to their neighbors. The Great Famine (Greece) was heavy in the city. Continuously inhabited for over 7,000 years, Athens is one of the oldest cities in Europe. Interesting Facts About Athens, The Jewel Of Ancient Greece One of the most famous and ancient capital cities of Europe, Athens holds a special place in the history of Western civilization. Iron Age burials, in the Kerameikos and other locations, are often richly provided for and demonstrate that from 900 BC onwards Athens was one of the leading centres of trade and prosperity in the region; as were Lefkandi in Euboea and Knossos in Crete. It exported leather, soap, grain, oil, honey, wax, resin, a little silk, cheese, and valonia, chiefly to Constantinople and France. Athens was a veguería with its own castellan, captain, and veguer. The girls were educated at home. Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. The remains of a Mycenaean palace can still be seen today on the Acropolis. The scope of Greek habitation and rule has varied throughout the ages and as a result, the history of Greece is similarly elastic in what it includes. Throughout the city’s history Athens was involved in numerous wars, including conflicts with the Persians and other Greeks, but it was also a great centre of learning. The history of Aragonese Athens, called Cetines (rarely Athenes) by the conquerors, is obscure. The story of Athena is very similar to the story of the founding of Greece. Athens only became the Greek Capital in 1834. It is located in Central Greece in the southern part of the region of Attica. Politically, Solon divided the Athenians into four classes, based on their wealth and their ability to perform military service. Around the tenth century B.C., the settlers form… As the soil was not conducive to large-scale agricultural programs, Athens turned to trade for its livelihood and, mainly, to sea trade. Among the rolling red clay hills of North Georgia, a city and a university grew into a center of culture and wealth, nurturing individuals and ideas that have commanded national attention. Each phyle was in turn divided into three trittyes and each trittys had one or more demes, which became the basis of local government. ... ITS RELIGIOUS HISTORY INCLUDES A CHURCH AND MOSQUE. Caryatids of the Erechtheionby Dennis Jarvis (CC BY-NC-SA). It was held by the Catalans until 1388. When a small Greek force holding the pass of Thermopylae was defeated, the Persians proceeded to capture an evacuated Athens. Poseidon produced a spring by striking the ground with his trident, symbolizing naval power. The resentment felt by other cities at the hegemony of Athens led to the Peloponnesian War, which began in 431 BC and pitted Athens and its increasingly rebellious overseas empire against a coalition of land-based states led by Sparta. Throughout the city's history Athens was involved in numerous wars, including conflicts with the Persians and other Greeks, but it was also a great center of learning. After Thebes became a possession of the Latin dukes, which were of the Burgundian family called De la Roche, it replaced Athens as the capital and seat of government, although Athens remained the most influential ecclesiastical centre in the duchy and site of a prime fortress. Covering more than 135 kilometers with 61 stations and 4 interchanges, the Athens Metro network serves the Athenian agglomeration and parts of East Attica. Acropolis Museum: Full of facts & history - See 36,779 traveler reviews, 14,509 candid photos, and great deals for Athens, Greece, at Tripadvisor. In the later Roman period, Athens was ruled by the emperors continuing until the 13th century, its citizens identifying themselves as citizens of the Roman Empire ("Rhomaioi"). After the Athenians (with the help of Plataeans) defeated the Persians at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BCE and, again, after driving off a second Persian invasion at Salamis in 480 BCE (and soundly defeating the Persians at Plataea and Mycale in 479 BCE), Athens emerged as the supreme naval power in Greece. Athens’ origins date back to 3,000 B.C. Democracy was used in Athens since it was ruled by people, not king anymore. Athens is named after Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and war, and daughter of Zeus. Pagan temples at the Acropolis date back to the 6th century BCE. However, this medieval prosperity was not to last. Athens was initially the capital of the eponymous Duchy of Athens, a fief of the Latin Empire which replaced the Byzantine Empire, ruling from Constantinople. He assigned Gustav Eduard Schaubert and Stamatios Kleanthis to complete this task. Flickr/Eustaquio Santimano. Sally Ashley-Cound, 30 August, 2013.  During the Orlov Revolt the Athenians, with the exception of the younger ones, remained cautious and passive, even when the Greek chieftain Mitromaras seized Salamis. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. Aeschylus, Euripedes, Aristophanes, and Sophocles made Greek tragedy and Greek comedy famous, and Pindar, another important figure of Greek literature, wrote his Odes. 15 Jan 2021. Athens thus came under Roman rule.  The sack of the city by the Herules in 267 and by the Visigoths under their king Alaric I (r. 395–410) in 396, however, dealt a heavy blow to the city's fabric and fortunes, and Athens was henceforth confined to a small fortified area that embraced a fraction of the ancient city. They build many temples and very important building that all stood on hills. The reforms of Cleisthenes replaced the traditional four phyle ('tribes') with ten new ones, named after legendary heroes and having no class basis; they were in fact electorates. The poorest class, the Thetai, (Ancient Greek Θήται) who formed the majority of the population, received political rights for the first time and were able to vote in the Ecclesia (Assembly). The history of Athens is as impressive as they come, at one time boasting genius thinkers and unrivalled prowess in the arts.  Subsequently, the Athenians (led by Themistocles), with their allies, engaged the much larger Persian navy at sea in the Battle of Salamis and routed the Persians, a great turning point in the war. Acropolis: amazing history facts - See 35,451 traveler reviews, 33,704 candid photos, and great deals for Athens, Greece, at Tripadvisor. After World War II the city began to grow again as people migrated from the villages and islands to find work. They proved to be much less adept rulers and in 514 BC, Hipparchus was assassinated in a private dispute over a young man (see Harmodius and Aristogeiton). After 1379, when Thebes was lost, Athens became the capital of the duchy again. Due to its poor handling of the war, the democracy in Athens was briefly overthrown by a coup in 411 BC; however, it was quickly restored. This system remained remarkably stable and, with a few brief interruptions, it remained in place for 170 years, until Philip II of Macedon defeated Athens and Thebes at the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC. The 5th century BC is known as the Classical Century or the Golden Age of Pericles, the man who dominated on the political scene of Athens … The origins of Athens date back to 3000BC, making it one of the oldest cities in the world. Greece welcomed 17,920,000 tourists into the country in 2013, many of whom visited Athens for its ancient history and magnificent buildings. Even so, under Pericles, Athens entered its golden age and great thinkers, writers, and artists flourished in the city. Athenian democracy was a direct democracy made up of three important institutions. According to Thucydides, the Athenian citizens at the beginning of the Peloponnesian War (5th century BC) numbered 40,000, making with their families a total of 140,000 people in all. Records show the city’s origins go back to around 3,400 years ago, also making it one of the oldest cities in the world. 120,000 people lived in the state of Athens in the 5th century BC. After the Achaean League was itself defeated and dissolved by the Romans in the Achaean War in 146, during which the Battle of Corinth resulted in the looting and destruction of the city by Lucius Mummius Achaicus and Greece divided into the Roman provinces of Macedonia and Achaea. The Dionysia becomes a major Athenian festival in honour of, Pisistratus lands his Argive mercenary force at, The first fortifications are constructed at, Statue group of Harmodius and Aristogiton in, Construction of the Long Walls fortifications joining, Period of full and direct citizen democracy in, A force of Athenian peltasts defeat Spartan hoplites on Sphaktria in the, The oligarchy of the 400 take over the democracy in, Athenian leader Iphikrates employs peltasts to defeat Spartan hoplites at Lechaion near, The Rise of Athens: The Story of the World's Greatest Civilization. Homer's Iliad and Odyssey portray the Mycenaeans as great warriors and seafaring people, and there is no doubt they traded widely throughout the Aegean and the Mediterranean region. 1.27.2]. Athens did not have a king, it was ruled by the people as a democracy. Socrates, the 'father of philosophy', taught in the marketplace. Later, when Athens sent their fleet to help defend its ally Corcyra (Corfu) against a Corinthian invasion during the Battle of Sybota in 433 BCE, their action was interpreted by Sparta as aggression instead of assistance, as Corinth was an ally of Sparta. They are based in Athens, but their roots are traced back to Greeks living in Constantinople (as Istanbul is called in Greek), before the two countries, Greece and Turkey, exchanged large … The Ottoman forces remained in possession until March 1833, when they withdrew. Fascinating Facts About Athens 1. Greece welcomed 17,920,000 tourists into the country in 2013, many of whom visited Athens for its ancient history and magnificent buildings.  Taxation was also light, with only the kharaj tax payable to the Ottoman government, as well as the salt tax and a water-tax for the olive yards and gardens. The 5th century BC is known as the Classical Century or the Golden Age of Pericles, the man who dominated on the political scene of Athens at that time. A radical politician with an aristocratic background named Cleisthenes then took charge, and it was he who established democracy in Athens. This period is the peak in the history of Athens. Mark, Joshua J. The first history of Athens was recorded around 3,400 years ago making it Europe's oldest capital and one of the... 2. Archaeological evidence tells us that the medieval town experienced a period of rapid and sustained growth, starting in the 11th century and continuing until the end of the 12th century. The first settlers in Athens were from various ethnic groups that were organized in several kingdoms. For anyone heading to Athens, the Acropolis is a definite must-see. 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