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The Greek Middle Ages c. 1125 c.

700 BC

The Dorian and Ionic migrations After the collapse of the Mycenaean age there was a dark age meaning, firstly that the lack of communication with the east makes it impossible to create a precise chronology of events; secondly, it was a period of cultural impoverishment. Writing disappeared. However, iron was introduced, probably at first for farm implements, such as the plough. The iron was initially soft and bronze weapons may have been better in quality. The quality of pottery work improves technically. The colonization during the Greek Dark Ages (1200 900 BC) is called the Dorian and Ionian migration. The Dorians came from the north; there were migrations within the Peloponnese and throughout the Aegean region, including coastal areas. The Dorian invasion caused displaced Greeks to settle in Asia Minor and on the islands. The coast south of the Troad, originally uninhabited, was occupied by refugees from central and northern Greece as was the island of Lesbos. In these regions the dialect spoken is Aeolic. Ionia was occupied by refugees from central Greece and the Peloponnnes. They also occupied the islands of the Cyclades. According to Herodotus, the founders of Miletos set out from Athens but took with them no women, and made wives of the Karian women whose parents they had killed. Cities also formed associations for example, the six Dorian cities of south-west Asia Minor; twelve Ionic cities of west Asia; these associations could come together for joint action at times. The Dorians also occupied a number of islands in the Aegean Melos, Thera, Rhodes, Kos; they founded Knidos and Halikarnassos. They also took over Knoss and other coastal cities of Crete. They ruled in these lands as aristocrats over the local peasantry, whom they called Mntes, which seems to be derived from the name of Minos. In the eastern part of the island native Cretans (Eteopcretans, or true Cretans) preserved some measure of independence, keeping their religion and traditions. At Praisos the legend that Minos died in the expedition against Sicily was preserved and the classical Greek alphabet was used for inscriptions in a non-Greek language. It is probable that the population of Greece declined, though the idea that some parts of the land became inhabited is probably exaggerated. For example, recently, archaeology has revealed that there was a major settlement at Lefkandi on the west coast of Euboea during the Dark Age, flourishing from c. 1,100 BC to c.750 BC, and reaching its height of prosperity in the C9th BC. There is a C8th BC tomb of a hero who is buried with his consort and horses that indicates great wealth and prestige. The region of Thessaly, Boeotia and Euboea has been shown by archaeology to have possessed a common culture of which the Lefkandi settlement is its centre. It is

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possible that there existed greater cohesion among city-states in other regions of Greece. The City States Generally, the regions of Greece were not unified the exceptions being Attica under Athens and Laconia under Sparta. Each region was divided into city-states or poleis. For example, there were twelve city-states in Achaia, and up to thirty in Phokis. In Boiotia there were fourteen cities each with a population of around 10,000 inhabitants. They formed themselves into a loose federation, but this did not prevent them from occasionally fighting wars among themselves. Greece at that time was more forested than now, and the plains were fertile. Subsequently, inhabitants were forced to farm marginal land owing to pressure of population expansion, and it is because of this that Greece has the reputation for being thin soiled; but the plains themselves did not deserve this description. Thus every plain contained at least one city that was a wall fortification in a good defensive spot close to water; citadels were often cited on mountain spurs. The Greek city state (polis) was a community made of adult male citizens, women and children linked to these who were citizens without political rights, and non-citizens such as slaves and resident foreigners. All of these occupied a region with a defined or undefined constitution. The city would have a market place (agora) and a place of assembly, which was often also the agora. The citizens were bound together by a sense of community and as a whole of autonomy. There would be frequent wars arising over border disputes or cattle raids. The importance of chariots and horses was that these could convey armed men quickly to border lands in order to meet a raid. Because of the strength of the citadels it was very difficult for one city to conduct a successful siege against another the time and expense involved being prohibitive, so even small and relatively weak city states could survive. Distances between cities were also not easily covered. Kingship disappeared in most cities by 700 BC. The Mycenaean kingships were sustained by trade; without this, kings lacked the means to maintain retainers. In most cities the government took the form of a Council of the aristoi, which would appoint executive officers, originally for life but later for shorter period, usually of one year. In the citadels, where there used to be a palace, there was instead usually a temple dedicated to the citys patron deity. The best people or aristoi were those who owned the richer and more fertile land in the plains closer to city walls. Less well-off people farmed more remote and more marginal land and because they would not always be able to return to the city every night, they became know as perioikoi or dwellers round about. Because the aristoi were much better situated the gap between rich and poor in these communities widened. The landed aristocracy had more power and prestige within the city-state than the trader; Syracuse, for example, was founded by farmers from an inland village near Corinth and the expedition was headed by a member of the ruling family of Corinth.

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Greek colonization of the C8th BC It is important to distinguish a colony (apoikia) from a trading station (emporion). A colony was founded from the beginning as a separate state with a separate government, laws and constitution; a trading post was a commercial venture under the control of the parent city. The Greeks migrated westward. The Phoenicians had already colonized west along the coast of Africa, founding Gaddir where now Cadiz stands and Utica in Tunisia. Political refugees from Utica had also established Carthage (meaning New City). There was a large level of emigration from Achaia to Italy. Italy became known as Great Greece. Megla, Hellas and Sybaris were founded, and the Sybarites went on to found Poseidonia (Paestum) near modern Salerno. In the period after 750 BC the Greeks expanded westward in greater numbers. Chalkis is credited with founding four cities in Sicily and Rhegion (Reggio) at the toe of Italy. They probably did this in collaboration with other Greek cities as the name Naxos of one of the settlements suggests. Around 750 BC the Greek cities Chalkis in Euboia, Kyme and Eretria founded Cumae, where later Neapolis (New City) came to be. From Cumae the Greek alphabet in its Chalkdian form was imported into Italy. One of the purposes of this was to coordinate the import of tin from a tin island in the west. In Sicily the other settlements founded by Chalkis are Leontinoi and Katne (Catania). Sicily and south Italy provided fertile grain growing regions and in this area Calchis in Euboea founded Naxos (734 BC), Leontinie (728 BC) and Catana; Corinth founded Syracuse (734 BC); the Achaeans founded Sybaris (720 BC), Croton (c. 710 BC) and Metapontum (c. 700 BC). The Chlacidice in northern Aegean was colonised by Calchis and Eretria. Miletus founded colonies on the Black Sea coast. At this time Sparta conquered Messenia subduing the population to slavery. However, some Messenians joined the Chalkidians at Reggio. Civil conflict within Sparta led to a group of Spartans treated as second-class citizens by the dominant faction founding a colony at Taranto. Lokris founded western Lokroi near Reggio. Ionians also colonised the area around the mouth of the river Siris. The Cretans with the assistance of Lindos in Rhodes founded Gela around 688 BC. Greek colonies in the west evolved into cities larger and richer than those that spawned them; maintaining contact with mainland Greece, the men of these colonies made significant contributions to Greek art, literature and philosophy. During the 7th century BC Syracuse rose to become the foremost city of Sicily with a territory extending over the south-east corner of the island. The Greeks also expanded into the northern Aegean and East. The Eretrians, having lost Kerkyra to Corinth, founded Methone in the north-west Aegean. The threepronged peninsula below Thrace became known as Chalkidik after Chalkis, which organised the settlements there. However, the Thracians were a strong and war-like people and the Greek settlements were confined to the coastal areas. Greek ships succeeded in navigating the difficult waters of the Dardanelles and penetrated into the

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Marmara. Lesbos founded Sestos on the eastern coast of the narrows facing the Troad. After Megara gained independence from Corinth her access to the West was cut off; subsequently, Megara took a leading role in the colonisation of the north-east, probably as a result of combined ventures that included the Boiotians at least. Megara founded Kachdn (Chalcedon) and Byzantion (Constantinople). The Phrygian kingdom was overthrown in c. 675 BC by barbarian migrants, the Kimmerians, who were in turn forced out of Russia by the Scythians. They also sacked the Ionian town of Magnesia. Gyges, the king of Lydia, attacked Ionia, and was killed in fighting with the Kimmerians around 650 BC. Nonetheless, Gyges allowed the Milesians to found Abydos opposite Sestos, and the Milesians started to move up the Black Sea coast founding Sinope, Trapezous (Trebizond) and on the Dnieper, Olbia. The Scythians remained essentially nomads, but nonetheless traded in corn for export and Dioskourias on the Caucasus was an trading outpost. Miletos is credited with founding seventy colonies around the Euxine (Black Sea). Megara founded several other colonies there, including Herakleia (Eregli). The Greek settlers in the Euxine region were loyal to their Greek heritage. For them Achilles was a form of patron saint and Homer was very popular. They were also attracted to the myth of Jason and the Golden Fleece, which was rationalised by poets, who identified the mythical land Aia with Kolchis, into a story of expansion. They accounted for the Golden Fleece by explaining that it was a reference to a method of panning for alluvial gold by using fleeces. However, the climate of the Black Sea did not favour the Greek outdoor way of life, and whilst the Greek colonies there were loyal to their Greek heritage, they did not contribute in the same way as western colonies to Greek culture. Intellectuals born in these colonies tended to migrate back to mainland Greece. Causes of the colonization In the past scholars were divided in the past over interpretation of the causes of the period of colonization that ensued whether it was land hunger or trade that was the determining factor. However, the theory that it was land hunger that motivated the drive towards colonization is now fashionable. One such theorist is Murray (Early Greece). In fact, the Greeks themselves attributed colonization to this cause for example, Thucydides states explicitly that those who had insufficient land, made expeditions against the islands and subdued them. (1.15.1) Towns which lead the colonial expansion were primarily coastal towns that had less agricultural land or were prevented from expanding inwards for some reason they include Corinth, Megara, Achaea, Chalcis, Eretria, Phocaeca and Miletus. During the C8th BC the economies of Archaic Greece flourished and one consequence was over-population during the second half of the C8th BC. Fertile land was limited in supply and the custom of dividing the land equally between male heirs also caused problems. Syracuse was founded by the aristocrat Archias and men from

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the inland town of Tenea near Corinth, who were farmers not traders. Hesiod, a farmer of the village of Ascra in Boeotia, in his Works and Days also illustrates the problem of land hunger. The starting point for this work by Hesiod is his complaint concerning the division of land between himself and his brother, whom he accuses of getting an unfair portion by bribing the aristocratic magistrates. Solons writings also deal with the social problems caused by insufficient arable land. Another motive behind the foundation of a colony would be the easing of political tension within the ruling aristocracy. Each colony would have a foundeer (oikistes) drawn from one of the leading aristocratic families thus removing from the mother city a potential rival eader. The archaeological record supports the theory that there was a substantial increase in population in Greece during the C8th BC. For example, a statistical analysis of datable graves in Attica indicates that the number of graves during the ninth century BC was relatively static, whereas during the period 800 700 BC the number increases six fold. It is likely that the population of Attica increased by four times during the first half of the C8th, and double again in the second half. Whilst this evidence is not conclusive, combined with other sources it strongly suggests that the population of Attica, and the whole of Greece, dramatically increased at this time. Evidence from the founding of Cyrene on the North Afrcian coast by the island of Thera also supports this thesis. The island of Thera colonised the area of Cyrene at some stage as a result of a local famine. Cyrene proceeded to export grain to Greece and the now extinct herb silphion, which was used as a laxative. Cyrene was home to an important tourist trade too, as Greeks passed through it on their way to the oracle of Siva, which was the oracle of Ammon (Amon), who was identified with Zeus. In addition to the oral traditions recorded by Herodotus for this, we have inscriptions from Cyrene, one of which records the decree by the Therans that the death penalty would be meted out to anyone who had been chosen to go to the colony who refused or to anyone who harboured such a renegade. The settlers were chosen by lot from families with two or more sons. A similar motive can be seen in the fate of settlers from Eretria who established a colony at Corcyra. Having been expelled by the Corinthians on their way to Syracuse, these colonists were forcibly prevented from returning to Eretria and subsequently founded Methone in Chalcidice. Thus land-hunger driven by a substantial increase in population was the main cause of the colonial expansion of Greece during the C8th BC. However, trade was also a factor in the drive to expansion. For example, a trading post was founded by the Phoenicians, Cypriots and Euboeans at Al Mina at the mouth of the river Orontes in northern Syria. In the West Chalcis and Eretria combined to found a trading post at Pithecusae on the bay of Naples c. 775 BC, and this was probably in order to act as an entrepot between Greece and Etruria. Etruria had valuable mineral ores of its own and also controlled the important trade in amber from northern Europe and tin from Britain. Subsequently, inhabitants of Pithecusae were

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involved in the foundation of the city of Cumae, probably also with the intention of trading with the Etruscans. The foundation of Zancle (Messina) by Chalcis c. 730 BC can best be explained by the strategic need to control the straits of Messina and trade with the Etruscans; it is poor in agricultural land, and subsequently settlers from Zancle founded Mylae situated 20 miles to the west. Later Zancle and Chalcis combined to found Rhegium on the opposite side of the straits. The Corinthian expulsion of Eretrians from Corcyra in 734 BC also displays a strong motive to control trade. The foundation by Miletus of Olbia c. 645 BC on the northern shore of the Black Sea was probably also motivated by trade. This region became important at this time as a source of grain. The foundation of Messalia (modern Marseilles) by the Phocaeans was also motivated by trade, for whilst it controls the trade route along the river Rhone, it has poor direct access to agricultural land. The Phocaeans also founded Emporion in northeast Spain around the same time with the purpose of trading with northern Spain which had deposits of tin and silver. The Lelantine war During the C8th the Euboean confederation appears to have fragmented. This may be the cause of their colonizing activity. There was a war between Chalcis and Eretria c. 730 BC, which according to Thucydides split the Greek world into two camps. One speculation is that the war between Phrygia and Assyria that raged c. 720 710 BC sparked off conflict within Greece. It is likely that Lefkandi was the site of Eretria, and the conclusion of the war was its demise: Lefkandi was abandoned and the Eretria was defeated. As this began as a border war between Chalkis and Eretria in Sicily it is known as the Lelantine War. The two sides were joined as allies by Samos and Miletos respectively. It was during this war that the Corinthians took Kerkyra (Corcyra, Corfu) from the Eretrians and founded Syracuse in Sicily. It is possible that the war also contributed to the wave of emigration that took place in the late C8th BC, with settlers moving from the mainland, Ionia and the islands. At the outset of the war Corinth established a colony on Corcyra and then at Syracuse (733 BC). The Euboeans subsequently established colonies on the north-west coast of the Aegean. Relations with Egypt The Greeks established trade with the Egyptians under Pharaoh Bokkhoris before 700 BC. Greeks were employed as mercenaries when Psamatik, the founder of Dynasty XXVI, led a revolt against Assyria c. 650 BC. The Greeks sold wine and oil in return for Egyptian corn, and did a two-way trade in scarabs and pottery. Greeks continued to be employed as bodyguards by Egyptian pharaohs but in 570 BC there was a nationalist Egyptian rising against Pharoah Hophra and Amasis came to the thrown. Nonetheless, whilst restricting Greek activity in Egypt, Amasis continued to employ Greeks as soldiers. He created a treaty port at Naukratis in the western delta in order

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to control trade with Greece. The Greeks were inclined to revere the Egyptians and to regard their culture as very old. They imagined that their religion derived from Egypt, and early Greek statues, dating from before 600 BC, show stylistic features, such as the wig-like treatment of the hair, that is reminiscent of Egyptian work. Culture At Athens c. 1000 BC the art changed from the decadent and lax style of the Mycenaeans to a geometric style employing abstract patterns, of which concentric circles became the favourite. The new style spread to the Argolis, to southern Thessaly and to some of the islands. This proto-geometric art then developed into mature Geometric art involving numerous abstract patterns such as cross-hatched triangles and diamonds, squares and oblongs in chequer-board patterns. Around 800 BC animal figures start to appear in the designs, and about 750 BC bands showing human scenes of life and death are depicted. Many show funeral scenes. These vases, which were up to 1.5 metres high, were positioned in the Dipylon cemetery of Athens. However, they were memorials to the dead since the practice of cremation had not yet become fashionable. During the dark age of Greek history elsewhere the phonetic alphabet had been developed. In Cyprus, for example, the 200 signs of the Linear B script were reduced to about 40. The Phoenicians created a script with 22 characters, a mature form of which was in use by 850 BC, when it was employed in the inscription of Mesha, King of Moab who fought Ahab of Israel. The Ionians started to use this script by 700 BC at the latest. The Greeks adapted some of the Phoenican characters to form a set of symbols for pure vowel sounds. It is not thought that Homer or Hesiod could write, though their works were soon transcribe not long after their deaths. A period of proto-history ensues. The literary work that survives from this period is poetry not history, and written accounts of it stem from later periods. Later Greeks probably calculated dates from genealogies. One of the poetic works of this period is a Hymn to Delian Apollo, usually ascribed to Homer. Homer was a native of Ionia. In his work he drew upon an oral tradition relating to the heroic age, but he embellished it with his own genius. His work cemented in the Greek psyche the ideal of manhood, in the character of Achilles, his loyalty and friendship for Patroklos and above all his placing of honour above long life. Odysseus was another kind of hero resourceful, cunning, yet indomitable. It is not known for certain that the author of the lliad was the same as that of the Odyssey but according to tradition they were. Every city in Ionia also claimed him, but it is most likely that he came from Chios. Hesiod was a farmer from Askra on the southern side of Mount Helikn in Boiotia. He lived around 725 700 BC. In his poem Works and Days he begins by upbraiding a lazy brother and proceeds to give a manual of good agricultural practice, which involves a combination of practical knowledge and astrology. His work also indicates

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that by his day land could be bought and sold. His father was a trader from Kyme, who falling on bad times, decided to become a farmer. Hesiod claims that he was inspired by the Muses to write. He employs Homeric hexameters and writes in Ionic, which would not have been his native dialect. Hesiod is also credited with writing the poem Theagony or the Genesis of the Gods which attempts to provide a systematic account of the early history of the world. It is probable that Hesiod was drawing upon existing traditions, and a prose Hittite Theogony has been discovered that bears close resemblance to Heiods. Hesiod, in his Works and Days, also introduces a theory of human history and the myth of five ages, starting with the Golden Age and culminating with his own age, the Iron Age. He ascribes the Heroic age to the period between the Bronze and Iron Ages. According to tradition, the Olympic Games were established in 776 BC. The site of Olympian in Elis was originally sacred to the Great Goddess, who was subsequently identified with Hera. The date of 776 BC was calculated by Hippias of Elis at a later date by working backwards from the records of victors at the games, but one cannot say with certainty that he got the calculation right.

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