History of Athens, Greece Part 1

By | August 23, 2021

The acropolis hill in the alluvial plain of Kephisos between the mountain ranges of the Aegaleos (Greek Aigaleos) in the west and Hymettos in the east has been inhabited continuously since the Neolithic. In Mycenaean times, Athens was the center of Attica with a walled settlement and palace from the late 14th century BC. Because of the intensive building policy of later times, a detailed localization of the palace complex is not possible, but Mycenaean houses are preserved on the castle walls, as well as on the northern slope. For the stratigraphy, access to a spring outside the castle via a staircase in a crevice within the northern castle wall is important. Chamber graves were uncovered in the area of ​​the agora, and Sub-Mycenaean and protogeometric graves in Kerameikos. This means that the central Attic town is continuously settled via theproven through dark centuries. The Mycenaean castle wall was the city wall of Athens until after the Persian Wars, the Nike Temple south of the Propylaea stands on a Mycenaean bastion.

A kingship is attested in Athens for the Mycenaean and post-Mycenaean times. BC succeeded in unifying Attica under his leadership (“Synoikismos” of Theseus). The hereditary royal power was later for the benefit of the nobility in a ten year old, 683/682 in a one-year Archontenamt (Archon converted). In addition to the last nine archons and the popular assembly (Ekklesia), there was also the aristocratic council on the Areopagus in archaic times. The citizenry was subdivided into the (»gentilian«) associations of the four phyls and phratries, which were originally based on tribal and family ties.

The transition from the aristocratic state to democracy took place over a long period of time. After the failed attempt at overthrowing the Cylon (around 632), Drakon eliminated the greatest arbitrariness in jurisprudence by recording current law. Solon divided the citizenry into four property classes and lifted debt bondage in 594. Solon sought to stabilize domestic political conditions by creating a second council of 400 citizens of the top two classes (Bule) and a new people’s court (Helieia). However, he could not prevent Peisistratos from rising to the position of tyrant and finally disempowering the nobility around 540. The under Peisistratos and his sons Hipparchus and Hippias the social leveling of the citizenry, after the overthrow of Hippias (510), facilitated the fundamental reorganization of the Attic state for the Alkmaionid Kleisthenes (508). The four old phyls lost their political functions in favor of ten newly created phyls, each composed of parts of the city, the coast and the inland. Each of these phylums sent 50 representatives to the new Council of Five Hundred. Kleisthenes thus destroyed the old gentilian and local ties and achieved an equal political representation of all parts of Attica. To prevent the return of a tyranny, Kleisthenes also introduced the ostracism, the ostracism.

The threat posed by Sparta initially made Athens seek inspiration from Persia. The support of the rebellious Ionians (Ionian uprising) directed the wrath of the Persian great king on Athens. Miltiades succeeded in beating the Persians in marathon in 490. The resulting increased self-confidence of the hoplite citizens (hoplites) facilitated the reforms of 487, the transformation of the archonate into a Losamt, the disempowerment of the polemarch (archons) in favor of the ten strategists who had already been appointed in 501 and the reform of the ostracism. The dispute with Aegina promoted the expansion of the fleet operated by Themistocles, the Athens then above all the victory of Salamis owed. The two-time conquests of Athens by the Persians (480 and 479, Persian Wars) were quickly followed by the reconstruction of the fortifications. In 477 the 1st Attic Maritime League was founded, which was expanded to an Attic maritime empire through the campaigns of Kimon (colonization in Thrace, conquest of the Thracian Chersonese, subjugation of Thasos and Naxos). The dispute over foreign policy and the tense relationship with Sparta led to the reforms of the Ephialtes in 461. The Areopagus lost the right to oversee civil servants and was restricted to blood jurisdiction. After the murder of Ephialtes and the banishment of Kimons (461), Pericles completed itthrough the introduction of daily allowances for the councilors and the jury as well as through his civil rights law (451), which required the descent from an Athenian father and an Athenian mother, democracy (the term only came up then).

From 460 Athens had been in a two-front war against Sparta and Persia. The intervention in Egypt (supporting an uprising against the Persian occupation) and the subjugation of Aegina (456) mark the height of Attic power. According to internetsailors, The failure of the Egyptian expedition and setbacks in Greece led to peace with Persia (449/448) and Sparta (445) after the victory of the kimon at the Cypriot Salamis. The ensuing period of peace and the contributions of the Attic allies made the cultural flowering of Athens and the splendid building program of Pericles possible. The Peloponnesian War triggered by this 431However, it ended in 404 with the collapse of Athens and the dissolution of the Attic empire. The regime of the “thirty tyrants” promoted by Sparta soon had to give way to a moderate democracy again. In 394, with Persian help, Konon rebuilt the “Long Walls” between Athens and the port of Piraeus. In 378 the 2nd Attic Sea Confederation was founded. The defection of Byzantium, Chios and Rhodes in the alliance war (357-355) and the fight against Philip II of Macedonia, however, weakened the power of Athens. After the Battle of Chaeronea (338) Athens lost its independence, which it could not regain in the Lamian War (323/322). Under the regiment of the peripatetic Demetrios of Phaleron (317–307) Athens received an oligarchic constitution and flourished economically, but returned to democracy after the liberation by Demetrios Poliorketes. After the tyranny of Lachares (around 295), Athens was mostly dependent on Macedonia, from which it did not separate until 229 BC. Finally liberated.

History of Athens, Greece 1