A civilization in Civilization Revolution 2
|Begin the game with||Courthouse|
The period following the catastrophic collapse of the Mycenaean civilization in Greece (about 1200 BC) was marked by a series of migrations by barbarian peoples from the north, leading to the formation of a number of city-states - prominent among these, Sparta and Athens - and a phase of Greek colonization along the shores of the Mediterranean.
For several centuries, Greek history was a provincial tale of neighbors squabbling over scarce resources. But it was also the dawn of philosophy and science, the era when the bard Homer composed his great epic poems the Iliad and the Odyssey. There seems to be no good reason why the Hellenes, clustered in isolated city-states in a relatively poor and backward land, should have struck out into intellectual regions that were only dimly perceived, if at all, by the splendid civilizations of the Yangtze, the Tigris and Euphrates, and the Nile valleys - but they did.
The Persian Wars (492-449 BC) were sparked by a revolt of Greek colonies in Asia Minor against the Persian Empire, and it brought the Greeks onto the stage of world history. Athens and Eretria sent a small fleet in support of the revolt, which the Persian emperors took as a pretext for launching an invasion of the Greek mainland.
The war should have been a walkover. The Persian Empire had a huge advantage in numbers, and the Greek defenders were divided between city-states with different political and military agendas. In the event, however, the Greeks were able to put aside their differences and defeat their opponents time after time on land and at sea. The astonishing Greek triumph ensured the survival of Greek culture and political structures.
Following the victory over Persia, Greece was largely divided between two powers - Sparta, with matchless armies, and Athens, whose navy dominated the seas. Perhaps inevitably the two forces clashed. The Peloponnesian Wars (431-404 BC) ravaged the entire Greek world; it ended with the collapse of Athens after that city-state had squandered an entire army in a foolish adventure in far-off Sicily.
By this time, a new power was growing in the north of Greece. In 353 BC, Philip I was in undisputed control of a much-enlarged Macedonia. A brilliant military leader, Philip I conquered the divided and weakened Greek city-states, defeating the once invincible Spartan armies with shocking ease.
Upon Philip's death, his son Alexander took his place as leader of the new empire. From a very early age the young man displayed great courage and valor, and an extraordinary ability to lead men into battle.
Using his father's soldiers to good effect, Alexander invaded the Persian Empire and began one of the greatest campaigns in history. Ten years and thousands of miles later, Alexander had destroyed the Persian Empire and carved out a kingdom stretching from Macedonia to the borders of India. By the time of his death at the age of 33, Alexander had initiated a new age by spreading Hellenism in a vast colonizing wave throughout the Middle East and created, at least economically and culturally (if not politically), a single civilization stretching from Gibraltar to the Punjab, open to trade and intellectual intercourse.
However, the Greek empire did not survive Alexander's death. By 350 BC, Rome was encroaching on the westernmost Greek settlements, beginning a 200-year conquest of the Hellenic world that Alexander had created. With the defeat of Cleopatra and Marc Anthony, Octavian's forces occupied Egypt and the last kingdom of Alexander's successors fell to Rome.
For two millennia, Greece was part of the Roman, then Byzantine, and finally the Ottoman empires. Following an uprising supported by Britain, Russia, and France, Greece regained its independence in 1832. Greece fought on the Allied side in both world wars, and was occupied by the Germans during World War II. Greece today is a modern democracy and part of the European Union, and tens of thousands of tourists visit the country every year to see its rugged beauty and great monuments from the past.
Athens, Greece was the world's first democracy.
Many of history's most cherished works of literature come from Greece. The Odyssey, The Iliad, and Oedipus Rex were all penned by Greek writers.
While planning his invasion of Laconia, Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, sent the Spartans a message: "If I enter Laconia, I will level Sparta to the ground." Renowned for their terseness, the Spartans replied with a single word: "If."