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Ancient Greece-Hellas

Ancient Greece, known as Hellas (Greek: Ἑλλάς), is the collective name for the territories of city-states inhabited primarily by ancient Greek tribes: Aeolians, Achaeans, Ionians, and Dorians. The ethnic map of Greece remained homogeneous and virtually unchanged throughout the entire classical era.

Map of alliances between Greek city-states in 362 BC

The territories encompassed by the concept of "Ancient Greece" include the dispersion of ancient Greeks during the period of Greek colonization, which began around the transition of the 3rd to 2nd millennium BCE (the emergence of the first state formations on the island of Crete) and ended in the 2nd to 1st centuries BCE when Greek and Hellenistic states of the Eastern Mediterranean were conquered by the Roman Empire and incorporated into the Roman Mediterranean domain.

The geographical boundaries in ancient Greek history were not constant; they changed in different historical periods, narrowing or expanding with the course of historical development. The territory of Ancient Greece encompassed the southern Balkan Peninsula with adjacent islands of the Aegean Sea, the coast of Thrace, the western coast of Asia Minor, and part of the island of Cyprus during the Greek colonization of the 8th to 6th centuries BCE. To the east, it included the region of the Black Sea straits, the coastlines of the Black Sea (Pontus Euxinus) and the Sea of Azov; to the south, the coast of North Africa (Cyrenaica, modern-day Libya); to the west, Southern Italy, eastern Sicily, the southern part of Gaul (modern-day France), and the northeastern coast of Spain. These lands, for the most part, coincide with the territory of modern Greece.

The period of the highest economic and political flourishing of the city-state system occurred in the 6th to 5th centuries BCE and is referred to as the Classical period in the history of Ancient Greece.

The self-designation of the ancient and modern Greeks, "Hellenes," became the name of the country - Hellas. The ethnonym "Greeks" (Greek: Γραικοί, Latin: Graeci) derives from the Latin language and originally, apparently, referred to one of the tribes in Northern Greece, as reflected in the names of the cities Grey (Γραία) near the ancient city of Tanagra in Boeotia and on Euboea. It was adopted by the Romans, probably from colonists from the Euboean Grey in Cumae. Professor of linguistics and Indology Georgios Hadzidakis claimed that "Greeks" referred to an ancient tribe that partially migrated from the city of Tanagra to Southern Italy (in Cumae). The Romans transferred the name "Greeks" to the entire Hellenic people.


In historical science, the following stages of Ancient Greek history are distinguished:

I. Minoan-Mycenaean Period.

II. Homeric Period.

III. Archaic Period.

IV. Classical Period.

V. Hellenistic Period.

Roman Greece

After the defeat inflicted by the Romans on Macedonia in the Battle of Cynoscephalae (197 BCE), the Romans constantly interfered in the internal affairs of the Greeks, supporting oligarchic factions against democracy. In the summer of 196 BCE, the Roman commander Titus Quinctius Flamininus proclaimed "freedom" for the Greeks at the Isthmian Games, which briefly made Rome popular in Greece. From that time on, Greece remained constantly under Roman influence. Macedonia lost its political significance and in 148 BCE, after suppressing the uprising of Andriscus, it was transformed together with Illyria and Epirus into a Roman province. The Aetolian League was dissolved by the Romans. In 146 BCE, the Achaean League was also crushed. Thus, all of Greece came under Roman rule.

Greece was transformed into the Roman province of Achaea (except for Athens, which was nominally considered a free city). From the 4th century CE, Greece formed the core of the Eastern Roman Empire.

Related topics

Antiquity, Macedonian Wars