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3. History of Cilivization (3.5-3.6)
Written by Messiah   
Thursday, 06 July 2006

3.5    The Greeks and the Athenian Empire

In around 3000 BC the so called Greek Bronze Age began and including the Troy and the Mycenaean civilizations it continued until the historical fall of Troy in 1183 BC. In 900 BC mark the beginning of the polis (city-state) which was followed by raise of the aristocracies between 800-700 BC. Olympic Games were established in 776 BC. Western coast of Turkey was colonized earlier and in 750 BC even Southern Italy and Sicily also was colonized. This was during the same time as new alphabet was introduced to general writing, which boosted lyrics and philosophic writing. In 650 BC colonization of Black sea begins. Around 5th century BC an association of city-states called “The Delian League” was formed with Athens as the leading city, which also by some also is referred to as the Athenian Empire. Athens is believed to have up to 300.000 citizens during its era ruled using a sort of representative democracy in government. It was actually the Athenians who invented the word “Democracy” in order to define their revolutionary kind of government. Parallel to the Leagues constant battle against pirates and the Persians, there also was an internal battle with those who didn’t like the Athenians to be in control of the League.

In 490 BC king of Persia decided to expand his Persian Empire by attacking Athens. The Persians landed at Marathon. Pheidippides was a messenger who ran all the way to Athens. Pheidippides died from exhaustion shortly after gasping out his news about the invasion. Soldiers from Athens marched to Marathon and forced the Persians to retreat. Today, runners call long races marathons in honor of Pheidippides’ run.

In 460 BC, Egypt had revolted against Persian occupation and requested aid from Athens. After decade of battles with the Persians a formal peace treaty, known as the Peace of Callias, was formalized in 450 BC. During these times the Athenians had moved the Leagues common owned treasury to Athens for better protection and soon after they built the Acropolis and the Parthenon, as well as many other non-defense related expenditures. This was the zenith of the Athenian Empire. As the Battle with the Persians ended, the Leagues internal battles raised.

After the Peloponnesian War (431-404BC), between Athens and Sparta, Athens lost, and the Athenian Empire was splittred.

3.5.1    Death of Socrates

Athenian democracy became corrupt and the trail and death of the great philosopher Socrates in year 399 BC along with the expulsion of Protagoras and other incidents of the enforcement is even today, in our times of democracy, seen a warning that unconstrained majorities can act as tyrants. Socrates was sentenced to death by poisoning for misleading the youth and denying the gods. One of Socrates most famous pupils, Plato, left Greece for over a decade due to the death of his Mentor. When he returned he founded the Academy, a school that would be active for over 900 years. Plato described his idea of an ideal society in his most famous book, the Republic. In 377 BC a second Athenian Empire was founded, but never regain same status our power, enemies were now far stronger and more varied.

3.6    Odrysian Empire

The history regarding the Odrysian (Thracian) Empire is today of increasing interest. Previously it was seen as a community of evil barbarians by nature, but history changes as the thousands of untouched Thracian tombs just have begun to be inspected. Thracian tribes ranged from Romania to Northern Greece, including Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia and Ukraine united by king Teres and became the Odrysian Empire in the end of 5th century BC. Roads were built and trade was developed and a 100 year rich state with a powerful army of ~150,000 men was created. Its capital was Odrysia (as named by the Greeks) which today is the Turkish city Edirne. Internal problems in mid 4th century BC caused the Empire to separate into three kingdoms who all, towards the end of the century, was conquered by Filip II and his Macedonian armies.



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