Greece History – From the Origins to the Persian Wars Part 2

Greece History – From the Origins to the Persian Wars Part 2

At the same time the fall and destruction, about the century. XIII-XII, of the VI city of Troy, of Anatolian civilization with Minoan and Mycenaean influences. and the rise of the seventh city, of a purely Greek type, tells us of the arrival in the Troad of the Aeolian settlers, whose exploits must have constituted the primitive model from which the Iliad then originated ; as the Mycenaean finds in Miletus seem to attest to the presence of Ionian peoples in Asia.

According to, the terms “Ioni”, “Aeolians” and “Dori” have up to now been used anachronistically in this discussion. In fact they arose, as ethnic terms, considerably later, and, having arisen in the Greek colonial areas of Asia Minor, passed later and were adopted in their respective peninsular motherlands. Thus the name of “Dori” was born after the century. XII a. C. in Asia Minor, passing to Crete already at the time of the nineteenth aedo of the Odyssey ; whence it penetrated into Argolis and Laconia, replacing the old name of “Achaeans”, which, originally very extensive, in the classical era was limited to the Doric-speaking people farthest from Asia Minor, the center of diffusion of the new ethnic term (the old ethnic distinction between Dorians and Achaeans, and the dating of the migration of the Doriean people to the 12th century are erroneous).

The domination and the ruin of the monarchies. – Greece, at the end of the second and at the beginning of the first millennium a. C., was divided into a large number of statelets, governed by a monarchy. The monarch, owner of large estates, surrounded by the oldest and most skilled heads of families of his people, deriving his power from a divine descent, recognized as lord by the people at the moment of succession, centered in himself the life of the state: he was the supreme priest, the supreme arbiter in judicial disputes, the leader of his subjects, of whose persons and goods he disposed of for the benefit of the state. On the other hand, he paid little attention to the defense of individual subjects, in peace and in war: since the state, at that time, left to the families the task of enforcing the verdicts of the judicial arbitrators, and had not yet conceived of tactical unity, in defense and support of individuals in war. The subjects themselves gradually sheltered from these deficiencies in the functions of the primitive monarchical state, organizing themselves into free associations of mutual aid, both for peace and for war. These associations called themselves, in their most primitive forms, “eterie”, and then “phratry”; while later, from the union of several phratries, the so-called “rows” or tribes arose, which must have already existed in several parts of Greece, at the time of colonization in the Aegean and the Anatolian coasts. These private associations (v.phratry ; etheria ; file), from which no one wanted to remain out, for their usefulness, they ended up being recognized, even by the state, as an excellent distribution of the population for the administrative cadres of civil status, conscription, taxes, so that their magistrates became magistrates of the state, to complement, and often to replace, the work of kings, in worship, in the administration of justice, in the organization and leadership of the army. In this way the presence and jurisdiction of the kings had to appear more and more as superfluous. And it was also undermined by the claims and power of the nobility, which had been forming, due to the wealth accumulated in some families through agriculture, piracy, trade, the prestige acquired by individuals made useful to the their country, or what s’ they were imposed on the organization of the phratries and tribes, and had formed personal factions. Such nobles on all occasions tried to exploit the weakness of the dynasts by coalescing against them, and aspiring to the prerogatives of their power.

Thus, in much of the Greek world, the monarchy came to decline and then to fall: where it was overthrown by a sudden coup d’état; where it is slowly diminished by subsequent decreases in prerogatives; in some cities, such as Athens, conserving themselves with only religious functions in the middle of the Republican age; in others, such as Sparta, arriving after various vicissitudes at the compromise of two parallel ruling houses. This political phenomenon took place in some areas during the 9th and 8th centuries, in others later, during the 7th. The monarchy remained in force only in some peripheral areas, backward in political evolution, such as Epirus and Macedonia.

The poleis and the amphiones. – The primitive Greek population, devoted to pastoralism and agriculture, lived scattered throughout the countryside, in farmhouses and villages. The political life of the first states of some importance took place in the palace, or in the fortress where the king lived. But, when the latter was overthrown or emptied, power passed to the community of the wealthy residents, headed by the γένη of the nobles; and it was often necessary to establish a seat for the magistrates, for the senate, for the meetings of the popular assembly.

The choice fell for or more on a location that met one or more of the following needs: that it was a meeting place for markets, or a port, or a cultural center, or a refuge in case of danger. Thus arose the Greek polis (see city), to whose conception the examples of the large non-Greek inhabited centers, the Aegean islands and the Anatolian coasts, and the large centers, in which the Greek colonists had to organize themselves, had to contribute to resist to attacks by destitute populations.

Greece Persian Wars 2