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Early Modern Athens and Early Travellers to Greece - Essay Example

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Early Modern Athens and Early Travellers to Greece

Since its formation in the Mycenaean Period, there have been several different civilizations that have brought new changes and new eras to the Athenian and Greek society as a whole. Each new era ushered in important societal changes that brought differing levels of modernization to the city as Greece continued to grow in importance throughout Europe and eastern civilizations. Though unified under a single ruler for many centuries, Greece not once in its long history ever unite all of its city-states to form what we now recognize as a nation until modern times (Wilson). In ancient Greece, each city-state was placed under a ruler as a territory who was governed by the emperor or king with no other unity among them. The people could relate to one another through their culture. For example, they all spoke the same language and worshipped the same gods, though they did not recognize themselves as belonging to the same union (Constantine). The ideals of a united Greek society began under the rule of Phillip of Macedon and ended when the empire was pulled apart after the death of his son, Alexander, in 323 B.C.
The Hellenic ideal of a united empire began in 338 B.C. with the Battle of Chaeronea, where Athens fell to the invading Macedonian king, Phillip (Constantine). It was after this battle that the city-states, most notably including Athens, lost their independence, eventually leading toward the unification of the Greek territories. This marked an important milestone in Greek history as Phillip of Macedon defeated the Persians, thus freeing the Greek people from slavery. Phillip ushered in the Classical Age of Greece, a time marked both by war and significant literary and cultural advances to the Greek society. His ideals of a Hellenic Greece were spread by his son, Alexander the Great, who took the throne in 336 B.C. Phillip also brought with him a new ruling class of Greeks, the Macedonians (Martin). The strength of their armies and their immense wealth set the Macedonians apart from the other Greek races. Their superiority in education and military expertise set the stage for the conquests of Alexander the Great.
Alexander and his armies spread the ideals of a united Greek empire as they set out and conquered the Persians, India, and parts of Asia within a seven year period. The young ruler's goal was to spread the Greek empire to the sea, believing that in reaching the ocean he would reach the edge of the world. In each conquered land, Alexander set up new Greek cities, promoting them as centers of culture and civilization. He spread the Greek language into Asia, making it the predominant language of trade at the time. During the rule of Alexander, Athens lost its place as a dominant city in the empire (Martin). Alexander's new cultural cities were designed to enhance the education of the people, particularly in the sciences, as well as to end the Macedonian racial views of the supposed barbarians who occupied the lands to the east. The growing importance of these new cities as cultural centers left Athens obsolete in the new empire. The city still retained its importance as a wealthy learning center. Alexander passed away suddenly in 323 B.C. before his dream was realized. The true beginning of the Hellenic period in Greek history is marked with the ...Show more

Summary

In its recorded history of over three thousand years, Athens has seen many changes. Commonly referred to as the cradle of civilization, Athens has played a pivotal role in the development of the country that we now know as Greece (Martin). The city has long been the hub of Greek influence, spanning from its early days as the leading city of Classical Greece in the fifth century B.C…
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