Dark Age, Colonizing Period, Archaic Age

The Dark Age is aptly named--relatively little is known now (and was known by Classical Greeks themselves) about this time. The period spans the fall of Mycenaean civilization (1150 or 1100 BCE) until the Colonizing Period (ca. 800). The Dark Age was, however, a decisive period in Greek history, for it saw the emergence of that distinctively Greek institution, the polis. In addition, Greece moved out of the Bronze Age, as the use of iron became common.

The Dark Age finally gave way to a period of relative prosperity. As Greek cities slowly developed, increased populations placed burdens on communities that led to the establishment of new cities, in Italy, France, Africa, and the Black Sea. Thus the era from about 800-600 BCE is called the Colonizing Period. Significant changes in political institutions occurred as well. Kingship was largely eliminated in Greece, with oligarchies ruling most cities by the middle of the Colonizing Period. This period also saw the emergence of tyrannies (extra-constitutional rulers). Though these regimes could--especially in succeeding generations--degenerate into oppressive governments, many encouraged important social and cultural developments. During the Colonizing Period, writing re-emerged, and we can see the dawn of Greek sculpture and temple architecture. Tyrannies continued in many cities into the Archaic Age--into the Classical Age on Sicily. Two unusual cities in this regard were Athens and Sparta. Sparta avoided tyranny altogether and indeed became an opponent of tyrannies in other cities. Athens delayed the emergence of a tyranny until very late, well into the Archaic Age.

There is no sharp dividing line between the Colonizing Period and Archaic Greece (ca 650-480). In some ways, these periods measure different things: political issues associated with colonization versus artistic trends emerging in pre-Classical Greece. During the course of the 7th century, colonization continued, as did the development of the hoplite (citizen) army. By the end of the Archaic Age, the confidence engendered by Greek victories over the Persians spurred the artistic, literary, and philosophical creations that represent much of Greece's legacy to the Western world.

I. General Timeline and Divisions:

II. Greek Tradition: The Fall of Mycenae and the Dawn of the Dark Age

According to the tradition of the Classical Greeks, the period of the Trojan War and the return or dispersion of the heroes marked a dividing line between the heroic past and a material and spiritual decline which extended until the Archaic Age. The legends highlight three central features of this five century period. The return of the Heraklidai and the Dorian invasion represent the legendary explanations of the fall of the Mycenaean culture, which led to the Ionian migration.

1) The return of the Heraklidai (the descendants of Heracles): After Hyllos, Heracles's son was slain in a battle with Peloponnesians under Atreus (son of Pelops and whose son, Agamemnon, led the Greek expedition against Troy), the Heraklidai were forbidden (by Apollo's oracle at Delphi) from returning for 100 years. Since the Heraklidai would become the leaders of Dorian groups, their return is linked to the second feature.
2) The Dorian invasion: According to tradition, the Dorians lived north and west of the mainland Mycenaean centers. They pushed from the northwest, across the Gulf of Corinth, into the Peloponnese, overrunning and destroying the Mycenaean citadels, and then across the Aegean to Rhodes and Kos.
3) The Ionian migration to Asia Minor: Attica served as a base for the displaced Ionians (that is, the pre-Doric Greeks), many of whom then made their way across the Aegean in a migratory process that lasted generations.

Parts of this tradition can be questioned. There is little evidence of a Dorian invasion as an explanation of the collapse of Mycenaean centers. After the original destruction at Mycenae outside the acropolis (ca. 1250), fortifications developed at various sites. But evidence for a single direction for attack at this time is questionable. For much of the later destruction (in the late 13th and early 12th centuries), there is little indication of invaders. Some suggest the collapse may be attributed to raids or uprisings of oppressed populations.

Doric speakers ultimately did enter Greece, but their presence may be attributed to migrations--after Mycenaean centers were destroyed. (This was a period of large scale migrations, not only in Greece but extending from Mesopotamia to Sicily.) Finley suggests that the Dorians may have used the routes described in Greek tradition, but not in archaeologically detectable waves. Dorians may have penetrated south seasonally, after any resistance from the Mycenaeans had disappeared. It is important to note that the Dorians were themselves Greeks. Hopper describes them as "retarded relations" who spoke a different dialect. But since the Dorians were farmers, not traders, there are few clues to their culture.

The source of the destruction of the Mycenaean centers remains unclear. This situation has generated enormous speculation about the Mycenaeans' collapse. One of the most unusual accounts has been developed by Nixon. Nixon describes the Dorians as at least fringe Mycenaeans, living in pastoral villages in norther Greece, hardier and more warlike than their southern cousins. Rivalry with the more sophisticated Mycenaean Greeks would have predated the Trojan War. After that conflict, the Dorians would have attacked the Mycenaeans at their weakest point, the newly acquired territory on Asia Minor. After initial successes here, the Dorians swept on to overrun the Hittite empire and continued on to Egypt where, as an element of the "Peoples of the Sea," they were repulsed by the Egyptians. As a result, they returned by sea to Greece, attacking first at Pylos. Further attacks would have been staged from Pylos as well as from the traditional Dorian homeland in northern Greece. Such speculation is consistent with some facts, e.g., Pylos appears to have been the first Mycenaean center to fall, but there remains little evidence to support such extensive activities by Dorian Greeks.

Whatever the cause, most Mycenaean centers never recovered from the 13th and 12th century destruction. Mycenae did--to some extent--as is evidenced by granary and close style pottery that was developed at the site. The final destruction of Mycenae, ca. 1150, began a significant decline in material culture that continued through the 11th century. Population was reduced, perhaps due to epidemics or attacks. Pottery continued in the Mycenaean tradition, in what is called Sub-Mycenaean Style. Chamber tombs were no longer constructed; unlined graves in subsoil were common. The Dark Age had begun.

III. Features of the Dark Age

Migrations continued through the Dark Age. The Dorians eventually appeared on Crete and then to the southern coast of Asia Minor. The Ionian migrations to central Asia Minor proceeded as something of a chain reaction to the Dorian presence in Greece. The Ionian migrants were, however, a mixed lot. Not all assembled in Attica, and there is evidence of violence between early settlements. These conflicts may have been early evidence of Greek hubris (arrogant aggressiveness) as larger communities sought to subordinate smaller ones.

Given the destruction of Mycenaean palace citadels, the art of writing was lost. It had, after all, been used primarily for keeping palace records, which were no longer necessary. Pottery styles also changed markedly, with the emergence of the Geometric style. Yet memories of the earlier, heroic age persisted, in the form of oral poems, recited by bards, accompanied by a lyre.

Perhaps the greatest contribution of the Dark Age was the emergence of the Greek polis. Finley notes that one result of the Dark Age destructions was that communities turned in on themselves. Populations were smaller and poorer, local pottery styles dominated. The top of society was cut off: the wealthy were cut down or left; others continued on to develop a new civilization along different lines. Never again would Greece see cultures based on the hierarchical palace organizations. Nixon describes this as an important step on the path to democracy. In Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations, the culture was ruled by kings under divine protection. The resulting concentration of wealth and power may have had its weaknesses, resulting in dissensions that may have contributed to the Mycenaean collapse. The resulting depopulation would have led to increased importance for common people, and faith in the divine support of rulers would have decreased. In such a setting, the germ of the idea of democracy might emerge.

Of course, it would be some time before that idea could actually flower. Though kings gradually disappeared, often by peaceful means, by 800 BCE, most poleis were ruled by aristocrats. Power remained in the hands of a small group of landed wealthy families. Ordinary people were usually poor and lived on less fertile land farther from the town. Tensions between nobles and the people continued for long periods. Recall, for example, Hesiod's talk of the drudgery and uncertainty of the small farmer's life.

IV. Colonizing Period
With the shortage of good land, overpopulation, and the resulting social unrest, many aristocrats looked to emigration as a solution. Thus began efforts at colonization. It is important to note, however, that Greek colonization was radically different from the modern European version. When citizens emigrated, they did not establish communities subordinate to the home polis. Though cultural ties would continue, the "mother" city was not owed allegiance or taxes. The new city represented an independent polis. The Colonizing Period did, however, re-emphasize language as the basis for determining who were Greeks. Hellas was simply where Hellenes, those who spoke Greek, lived--and by the end of the Colonizing Period, Hellenes would live from the Black Sea coast to Spain.

With the start of the colonizing period significant cultural developments occurred, highlighting the emergence of Greece from the Dark Age. Two specific developments deserve special note:

1) The traditional date for the start of the Panhellenic Games at Olympia is 776. Though these originally attracted contestants largely from the Peloponnese, their role in bringing together Greeks from various cities is indisputable. (The period was not entirely peaceful, however. The Lelantine War in Eubeoa, for example, saw many cities aligned on each side.)
2) The epic poems of Homer are generally presumed to have been written, based on the long oral tradition, during the 8th century. These works would provide a common cultural heritage, based again on language, which provided Greeks with a common vision of themselves and their gods. We see in this tradition a vision of human character that in many ways persists to this day in the Greek world:
Arete (virtue, excellence): Hospitality, Loyalty, Fidelity; also: Prudence, Patience, Lack of Arrogance (absence of these qualities as Hubris: arrogance, overweening pride)
Dike (right action, appropriate thing to do): Sense of Justice; Belief in Just Outcomes in Nature (Note: Fate, Moira, provides support for the sense of justice, though sometimes tension emerges here; fates are sometimes conditional: if Achilles fights, he will die.)
Heroic Qualities (which assume arete and dike): Authentic Emotion, Initiative, Leadership, Physical Prowess.

Colonization extended from the 8th into the 6th century. Economic factors certainly provided a prime motivation, but the search for adventure and the desire to escape the oppression of aristocrats also provided encouragement. When good sites in the Aegean and Asia Minor were taken, colonizers searched further away. Greek emigrants looked west, to Italy and Sicily, while the Phoenicians appear to have staked out harborages along the southwest coast of the Mediterranean, e.g., at Carthage. These cities were not just outposts of Greek civilization, they were major elements in it. Eventually, Greek cities were founded further west, e.g., Massalia (Marseilles) and Nice and even into Spain. The Hellespont (Black Sea approaches) were settled after the west. Macedonia, Thrace, and the Black Sea area was settled late--not earlier than the end of the 7th century.

During the 7th century, Apollo's temple at Delphi emerged as an oracular site. This oracle played a major role in colonization. As a meeting place of Greeks from many parts of the world, it became a clearinghouse of information, and the priests were able to give informed suggestions about suitable sites. (Apollo "spoke" through a woman priestess (pythia), and the utterances were transcribed (that is, translated) by the chief priest.) In the process, Apollo gained in stature. He was transformed from the alien and remorseless god of the Iliad to an exponent of reason, moderation, and self knowledge.

Contacts with the eastern Mediterranean (e.g., Phoenicia) developed through Crete, Cyprus, Corinth, and perhaps Sparta. This would lead, in the 7th century, to new, orientalized styles in pottery, with their more rounded and natural depictions of human beings and animals. Corinth would be a leader in developing this style. Athens, though producing excellent geometric pottery, would not be a factor in the production of orientalized pottery. Hopper describes Athens as remaining something of a "backwater" in the 7th century. Intellectual contact with the east would bring the Greeks in contact with great bodies of information, such as astronomical observations. This would provide stimulus for a shift from myth to philosophical and physical explanations of the universe--a shift that would first occur in Ionia in the Archaic Age.

By the beginning of the 8th century, writing had become a personal skill. The Greek alphabet was based on Semitic Phoenician writing, but with important adaptions. In Phoenician, vowels were generally understood. The Greeks, however, needed to express long and short vowels. The Greek achievement then was in developing an easily mastered system of writing with vowel signs. Thus this alphabet filled the need for a form of writing that could be used in many ways, and this made the emergence of Greek literature possible:

Archilochos (mid 7th century, Paros, in the Cyclades) wrote personal poetry, using allegory and fable, and developed a reputation second only to Homer. He exhibited an indifference to aristocratic convention and the uninhibited expression of emotion. He portrayed the roving life, the dangers of sea travel, and the hazards of the fighter's life.

Sappho (end 7th century) was a female poet from Lesbos, off the Ionian coast, whose work was marked by simplicity and sensitivity. In contrast to much male literature that focused on war or domination, her sensuous language explored the subject of human love and expressed appreciation of nature.

Coinage emerged in the Greek world around 650. By 600, many cities on Asia Minor were issuing coins. The earliest Peloponnesian coins were probably minted on Aegina between 600 and 550. It is uncertain when Athens first produced coins, but it is likely to have been about the same time as Aegina.

V. Tyrannies: Colonizing Period through Archaic Age

By 800, most poleis were ruled by aristocrats. They encouraged colonization as (1) an answer to land shortages, (2) a way to reduce political unrest. Colonization dealt with the first matter but exacerbated the second. Trade had become increasingly important, but the wealth of the ruling aristocrats was based on land. A new class of middle class merchants and traders emerged. As their wealth and importance increased, they raised demands for a share of political power. Such social pressures often hastened the emergence of tyrants. Most tyrannies were relatively short-lived; others were more enduring. Tyranny was generally not exercised through any official position. Some were tyrants in the modern sense; others were enlightened rulers. Tyrannies did tend to become authoritarian, especially in later generations. This is one reason few lasted beyond the second generation.

The key feature of tyrannies was the break with tradition. The nobility was reduced from "the best" to "the few," based largely on wealth. Wealth generally became associated with tyrants--the introduction of coinage often facilitated the accumulation of wealth. But the trading class was not necessarily the key to the tyrant's power. According to Hopper, the issue was the individual's voice in government. This might be linked to the emergence of the hoplite, the citizen soldier. The term comes from hoplon, the large shield of bronze-faced leather carried by soldiers. Hoplite equipment included the shield plus a crested helmet, a 2 piece breast plate, thigh pieces, greaves and ankle guards. The weapon was generally an iron sword. Greek soldiers provided their own equipment and thus must have been individuals of some means. But this would have included that growing middle class that emerged as cities became more prosperous. Hoplite formations, which probably emerged in the second half of the 7th century, involved soldiers advancing in line, shoulder to shoulder. Each man's unshielded right side would have been protected by the shield of his comrade to the right. Each soldier would then have been dependent on the others thus giving rise to the characteristic Greek account of courage as keeping one's place in battle. The formation may have originally been devised by Argos, though the Spartans probably developed it further. It emerged over a long period and perhaps in a number of places (e.g., Corinth). Since tyrants were often associated with military exploits, the development of the hoplite army may have been a factor in their rise.

But factors differed in different locations. The two general explanations were (1) the hoplites, peasant farmers, demanding a voice and (2) pre-Dorian elements, in cities with Dorian rulers, being championed by some tyrants. Generally associated with tyrants was ostentatious splendor--this was more possible in the 7th century, with the general increase in prosperity. Tyrants may have been concerned less with disputes between the people and the aristocracy than with rivalries among powerful elements or families -with resulting appeals to the general population.

Tyrannies flourished from 680 to 550--straddling the Colonizing and Archaic periods, an era that saw the promulgation of the Greek alphabet, written law codes, athletic and musical contests, coinage. In many cases, tyrants actively promoted these developments.

VI. Examples of Specific Tyrants

A. Pheidon was king and tyrant at Argos, in the northeast Peloponnese, during the first third of the 7th century. He overcame the aristocracy in control at Argos, perhaps through the organization of the hoplite army (ca. 675). This led to the diminished power of the nobles. Pheidon was a constitutional king, but before him, the office held little power in Argos. Pheidon was involved in a number of military excursions. This was a period of expansion of Argive power. He won the plain of Thyrea over the Spartans in the battle of Hysiae, in 669, which brought much territory under Argive control and was a major reason for Sparta's reorganization along military lines. Pheidon intervened at Olympia in 668. He expelled the Eleans in favor of the Pisatans. At his height, Pheidon and Argos controlled much of the Peloponnese. Pheidon is also credited with establishing a system of measures.

B. The tyranny at Corinth extended from the mid 7th into the 6th century. In general it continued previous policies. The tyranny may simply have represented a shift of power to rival aristocratic groups. There seems to have been little social upheaval during the period; there was no pre-Dorian explanation. Sealey suggests some hoplite influence; Andrewes claims that Cypselus may originally have arisen as a liberator of the people. The first tyrant, Cypselus, was seen as a liberator, overthrowing the old, harsh, oppressive, and unpopular Bacchiadae aristocracy, around 750. The Bacchiadae had expanded western trade, founded colonies, and increased prosperity. But by 750, the position of Corinth had been weakened, due partly to the rise of Argos. The Bacchiadae rule became harsh and oppressive. Cypselus's mother was a member of the ruling Bacchiadae, but since his father was not, he was not eligible for high office. His popularity with the people led to his election as polemarch, a civil and military office. From there, he overthrew the Bacchiadae and made himself king (in the mid 7th century). He was a welcome change. (On some accounts, Pheidon of Argos was killed while fighting in Corinth during the internal strife there--this may have marked the beginning of Argos's decline.) Cypselus adopted peaceful policies abroad, continued colonization, and expanded trade. He ruled for 30 years, a reign that was remembered as mild. His son, Periander inherited the tyranny. His long rule (about 40 years) was a brilliant period for Corinth. Though Periander earned some reputation as a bad tyrant, this may be due to excesses toward the end of his reign. Periander was more warlike than his father. He allied himself with Thrasyboulos (Miletus) and with Athens (given their common enemy, Aegina). He continued colonization, and further increased Corinth's influence in trade and pottery. He undertook a massive building program, encouraged the arts, provided jobs, and increased the city's glory while exacting only modest taxes. He was considered one of the seven wise men of Greece. The city became active in the western as well as the eastern Mediterranean. On the negative side, Periander suppressed outstanding persons, prevented assemblies, and kept the city divided; he exacted severe revenge on the Corcyrans. Ultimately, Periander overstrained Corinth and set the stage for the downfall of the tyranny shortly after his death. Tyrants had ruled Corinth from about 658 to 585.

C. Thrasyboulos was tyrant at Miletus, on the coast of Asia Minor, from the late 7th century into the 6th. He was allied with Periander at Corinth. Under his rule, Miletus successfully resisted Lydian attacks. A twelve year war ended by treaty in 602.

D. Theagenes ruled Megara, a city on the Isthmus of Corinth, in the second half of the 7th century. He had a reputation for siding with the poor against the rich. He constructed a water supply and fountain for the city in the 630s.

E. The tyranny at Sikyon extended from the mid 7th to the mid 6th century. Sikyon was a leading city on the gulf of Corinth. Ostrogoras established a tyranny in the mid 7th century. Accounts of how this was accomplished are unclear; his military exploits may have led to his popularity. Ostrogoras is judged well (like Cypselus); subjects were treated with moderation, and he had a relatively quiet reign. The dynasty lasted about 100 years. Ostrogoras was succeeded by Myron I, Myron II, and Cleisthenes. Cleisthenes may have gained power in something of a second revolution, perhaps replacing one tyrant with another. With the decline of the Corinthian tyranny and the emergence of Cleisthenes in the 590s, Sikyon power increased. Cleisthenes pursued a more active foreign policy; internally, he emphasized the racial divisions in Sikyon. Sikyon engaged in a war with Dorian Argos, and Sikyon tribes were renamed to assert the dominance of non-Dorian elements in the city. The city was rebuked by the Delphic oracle, and participated in the First Sacred War over Delphi, allied with Athens and Thessaly against Krisa. Krisa was taken and destroyed, probably in the 590s. Delphi was reorganized in 590; Cleisthenes was given 1/3 of the spoils and set up a festival at Sikyon (the Pythia). Delphi was then friendly to Sikyon, and the Sikyon treasury was built there. The tyranny lasted for a while after Cleisthenes's death but was put down by Sparta in the 550s. Before the end of the century, the original tribe names were restored.

F. Polycrates was tyrant at Samos, an island off the Asia Minor coast, in the second half of the 6th century. Around 535, Polycrates seized the citadel with hoplite supporters. He shared power with two brothers for awhile, but then killed one and exiled the other--who would later return with Persian help. Samos then saw a rapid growth in power. Polycrates led successful foreign expeditions and developed a strong navy; he undertook a building program and developed a magnificent court. Ultimately, he controlled a number of islands and mainland cities. He took a position as a leader of resistance to Persia. This led him into conflict with Miletus (then a Persian dependent) over mainland territory. In 525, however, he went over to Persian king Chambyses, perhaps out of fear of internal threats or concern over Persian might. He sent a contingent to aid the Persian invasion of Egypt. Rebels from this force returned and were defeated by Polycrates. The rebels sought aid from Sparta, but the Spartan siege of Samos failed. In 522, Polycrates was killed by Oriotes, the Persian governor of Lydia. Polycrates's deputy, Maeandrius remained in control. Though he wanted to establish a constitutional government, he feared his resignation would lead to attacks on him. Thus, he retained power. Polycrates's brother then gained Persian help, and the island fell to the Persians in 517.

G. The Sicilian tyrannies occurred later than most--and lasted longer. The Deinomenid tyranny began in Gela. Cleandrus became tyrant in 505. He was an important and wealthy man and led the opposition to the ruling oligarchs. In 498 he was murdered, and Hippocrates took over. He engaged in military exploits in Sicily but died in 491. Though there was some resistance in the city to continued tyranny, the army was loyal to Gelon, who seized power and undertook a quiet rule from 491-485--when he intervened in Syracuse. The gomoroi (oligarchs) had lost control in Syracuse about 490. A democracy was established, but it remained disorganized. The Gomoroi, who had retreated to the interior of Sicily, appealed to Gelon in 485. He overpowered the democrats, gained control of Syracuse, and made the city his base. Gelon increased his power, developed a large army and navy, and gained control of half of Sicily. This led him into direct conflict with Carthage which, under Hamilcar, invaded Sicily but was completely defeated by Gelon in 480. This marked the end of Carthaginian intervention in Sicily for 70 years. Gelon died in 478; his reign was viewed as a period of prosperity and happiness. Gelon's brother Hieron succeeded. He is less favorably remembered. His great achievement was the defeat of the Etruscans at Cumae (north of the bay of Naples) in 478. But Hieron was less popular, and underlying unrest developed at Syracuse. He died in 467 and was succeeded by Thrasyboulus, who reigned less than one year before the tyranny was overthrown. The major cause of early Sicilian tyrannies was economic growth and the resulting dissatisfaction with old fashioned oligarchies. But the tyrants were not really champions of democracy; the Deinomenids began as supporters of the old against the new. Still, the tyranny was a new arrangement even though it had support from the upper classes. The fall of Thrasyboulus signaled a general movement against tyrannies in the west. Democracies were now common, but they never really settled in Sicily. To thwart the Athenian invasion of 414, an oligarchy was established, but democracy was restored after the victory over Athens. A new crisis emerged from an invasion by Carthage which began in 410. Hannibal made successful expeditions in Sicily in 409 and then returned to Carthage. Greek activity in western Sicily led to the return of Carthaginian forces in 406. The Carthaginians conducted a successful siege on Acragas, which led to trouble in Syracuse over the conduct of the war. Dionysius distinguished himself in battle, came forward as a democrat, criticized the generals, demanded democratically elected generals, and became one himself. He was eventually made sole general with full executive power and secured a bodyguard. Thus emerged a new tyranny in Syracuse. When Carthage took Gela (which was difficult for the Greeks to defend) in 405, there was a reaction against Dionysius, but the army stood by him, and the trouble was suppressed. Plague then hit the Carthaginian army, and peace was made; Dionysius was recognized as the ruler of Syracuse. He then rebuilt its strength, encouraging advances in naval construction and the development of the catapult. He subdued a revolt and extended Syracusean control. Dionysius then began a war with Carthage and recovered Greek Sicily. A Carthaginian invasion drove Dionysius back to Syracuse, but a plague again hit Carthaginian forces, and Dionysius was able to lead a successful attack. Eventually peace was concluded with some Greek gains; Dionysius remained secure in Syracuse. He would hold power for 38 years. When he died in 367, his son succeeded and ruled for ten more years.

VII. Archaic Age: Transition to Classical Greece

The challenges to aristocracy that emerged in the 7th and 6th centuries were not only in political terms but also in terms of social values. New moral and political concepts emerged. In poetry and philosophy, we can discern the transition from myth to logos. Poetry saw a break from the heroic outlook and epic style to more personal and shorter works, such as those by Archilochus of Paros ca. 650. Ionian natural philosophy assumed regularities in nature, and thus emerged the possibility of generalized explanations subject to rational discussion and debate. Such investigations began with the cosmos but would soon be applied to moral and political issues. Art in general meshed with daily living. Objects were functional, whether found in temples, public buildings, or households. Greek architecture and sculpture was dedicated to public art, not palaces or private residences.

The term 'Archaic Age' itself denotes largely an artistic period, one which saw architectural orders develop fixed patterns, pottery reach new heights in figural decoration, and large-scale sculpture develop from stiff figures based on Egyptian models to more lifelike depictions that would set the stage for naturalistic work of the Classical Age.

1) The two architectural orders that would be used throughout the Greek period developed their settled forms during the Archaic Age. The Doric order, with its massive, baseless columns, simple capitals, and alternating metopes and triglyphs, imparted a sense of strength and simplicity. The more delicate Ionic style, with its thinner, graceful columns, decorative bases and volutes, and continuous frieze, presented a less serious vision. (The Corinthian style, which would be favored by the Romans, was a more ornate version of the Ionian style and would not develop until the end of the 5th century.) The origins of the orders were associated with the racial divisions in the Greek world; the Ionic order originating in Ionian Asia Minor, and the Doric order on the Peloponnese. But this did not prevent cities from using whichever order would provide the appropriate effect--the Parthenon at Ionian Athens is a Doric temple. Further, Athens's use of both orders in the Propylaea signified its bridging of the two groups.
2) Black figure ware pottery (with oxide paint applied to figures before firing, thus turning them black) developed in the first half of the century, red figure ware (with the background painted, to turn black on firing, thus leaving the figure unpainted) in the second. (Red figure ware did not completely supplant black figure ware; trophies and ritual vessels, for instance, continued to be produced in black figure ware style through the 4th century.) The figural representations on pottery also evolved during the period, with early black figureware painters using etching techniques to produce detailed silhouettes, and red-figureware artists applying paints of various colors and eventually imparting a sense of fullness and motion to the figures.
3) Sculpted kouroi (male nude figures) and korai (clothed female figures) saw significant development from early, highly stylized, sparcely delineated Daedalic sculpture. The typical pose for kouroi was rigid, with the left leg forward, arms stiffly at the side, and the ubiquitous Archaic smile. Early examples emphasized symmetry. The trend, however, was toward more naturalistic depictions- which originally seemed out of place given the stiffness of the pose. The Kritias Boy, created near 480, with its right knee bent, its weight on its back leg, and a slight turn to the head, breaks out of the traditional pose and comes to life.

VIII. Abnormal States: Athens and Sparta

The general lines of political development described so far did not apply to the two most important cities of Classical Greece, Athens and Sparta. Given earlier adjustments in government and social institutions, Sparta avoided tyranny and was an opponent of those that arose. Athens delayed social tensions until the end of the 7th century and delayed tyranny until the middle of the 6th century.

A. Sparta

1. Early History

Spartan territory (Laconia) and Messenia (the neighboring territory to the west) were a more fertile than much of Greece. These areas would be able to produce adequate food for their populations, but they suffered the same disasters as other areas in the 12th century. In the succeeding centuries Protogeometric and Geometric pottery would be evident, but the area was considered to be "long backward." Herodotus remarked that before Lycourgos the Spartans were the worst governed people.

Lycourgos arose at a time of political and social stress, in the 9th or early in the 8th century. He is credited with introducing the gerousia (council of elders) as a check against the kings. This was the era of Sparta's earliest expansion, from northern Laconia. In the first half of the 8th century Sparta settled southern Laconia and gained access to the sea--though the city would remain primarily a land-based power. Hostilities with Argos also began at this time.

In general, Sparta's response to overcrowding was conquest; it established only one colony. In the 8th century, southern Messenia was settled with Dorian communities subordinate to Sparta. This was followed by aggression into northern Messenia, which led to a long war (the First Messenian War) during the 730s. Sparta gained control over Messenia and enserfed the inhabitants, but the hold was tenuous, and the Messenians would engaged in numerous uprisings in the next century.

2. Developments in the 7th century

The Messenians revolted in the first half of the 7th century--the Second Messenian War. The Argives and others joined the struggle against Sparta, which suffered a major defeat at Hysiae, around 669, to Argive forces under the tyrant Pheidon. Though Messenia was not liberated by these actions, Spartan power was seriously threatened. Until this time, Sparta had remained in the mainstream of the Greek cultural tradition, with poetry, music, and crafts being developed. The defeat at Hysiae, however, brought on a morale and policy crisis, which led to the almost single-minded Spartan focus on military training and preparedness.

The army was reorganized, placing greater emphasis on efficiency and training:
1) Elder tribesmen determined at the birth of each child whether it should be raised or exposed.
2) Boys were in the care of the mother until the age of 7, when they were formed into herds that lived and exercised together. At 12 new groupings were made and a period of more severe education began, with the focus on physical training, games, music, and poetry. Serious military training occurred between 18 and 20. At 20, the age of maturity, each male citizen sought admission to a mess (Phiditia), where he would live and train through his adult years.
3) Girls also received a public education, but they were free from public discipline at maturity.
Spartan education instilled the virtues of self-control, modesty, and strict obedience. Memory, not literacy, was emphasized.

The defeat at Hysiae also brought on a political crisis. Hostility grew between the aristocracy (which continued to hold political authority) and the hoplite assembly. In an effort to save the kingship, a concession was made to the people: the position of ephor was established--Hopper claims by Theompopos. The ephors would serve as a balance between the citizens on the one hand and the kings and aristocracy.

The internal stresses at Sparta did not disappear immediately, and the consolidation of the new military system took time. Spartan military power remained relatively weak through the 7th century.

3. Spartan Organization

The Spartan social organization must be considered on two levels: (1) the political institutions of Spartan citizens and (2) the social divisions within Laconia and Messenia, the territories that Spartans exerted direct control over.

In terms of the broader social divisions, three primary groups can be perceived:
1) Helots: the serfs or slaves, people subjugated by Sparta: these people came largely from areas outside Laconia--primarily Messenia. They worked the land for Spartan citizens, who could then devote themselves to military training and action. Spartans annually declared war on the helots, as a means of justifying the killing of any helots.
2) Periokoi: people who lived around Sparta but were not Spartan citizens, including craftsmen, merchants, and traders. With Spartans dedicated to the state and military service and the helots tied to the land, the periokoi had a monopolistic position with respect to economic development and gain. There was then little unrest among the periokoi.
3) Spartiates: Spartan citizens: Full citizens were homoioi (equals). This was based on successful completion of training (agoge), election to a mess (phiditia), good conduct as a soldier, and payment of dues. Citizenship was a form of club membership. The citizen messes were based on cultivation of the land by helots; each adult male would receive an allotment of land that was tilled by helots. To subjugate the helots, Spartiates needed to be warriors, and to maintain the system of military training and messes, helots needed to be forced to work the land. (Those Spartans who never achieved the status of an equal or who fell from it were hypomeiones--inferiors. Non-Spartans who were newly enfranchised as Spartan citizens were neodamodeis.)

The classical Spartan government was composed of four institutions:
1) Kingship: Sparta had a long history of dual kings who divided power. By the end of the archaic period, this position was, in terms of political authority, largely honorary. The kings did, however, serve as generals and led the army into battle. In practice, one king would wage a campaign while the other remained at Sparta. The dual kingship persisted into the second half of the 3rd century.
2) Gerousia: the Council of Elders. This was composed of the 2 kings plus another 28 members, 60 years or older, chosen by acclamation from the aristocratic element of the body of full citizens. Members of the Council served for life. The gerousia served largely advisory and judicial functions; for example, it heard capital cases.
3) Ephors: Overseers. Five annual magistrates who were elected from the body of citizens. In the Classical period these would be the preeminent authority; they supervised the kings and the general working of the system. The position was instituted in response to the tensions between hoplites and aristocrats following the defeat at Hysiae. As a result, the kings and ephors exchanged monthly oaths: the kings swore that they would rule according to established laws, and the ephors swore on behalf of the city to preserve the kingship undiminished--as long as the kings kept their oath.
4) The Assembly of Full Citizens (Assembly of Homoioi): According to tradition, the assembly could initiate nothing; its role was to accept or reject what the gerousia brought to it. Some commentators, e.g., Sealey, contend that the Assembly's role extended further, to active policy debates. Even the limited role implied by the traditional picture implied that each full citizen retained a say on public matters.

4. Sparta in the 6th Century

During the first half of the 6th century Sparta reaped benefits from its reorganization. It effectively put down a further revolt by the Messenians and consolidated its hold on the area. Sparta then looked north, to Tegea in Arcadia. The Tegean War occurred between 585 and 565. Though the Tegeans were too formidable for Sparta to conquer, they were not strong enough to refuse relations. Thus Sparta achieved mastery over Tegea (in Arcadia) but based on a new policy. Sparta did not seek to enserf the Tegeans (as it had the Messenians.) Rather, it established an agreement with the Tegeans, promising non-aggression and alliance in return for Tegean non-intervention if the Messenian helots revolted. The Delphic oracle is claimed to have played a role in this arrangement. It had asserted that when Sparta found the bones of Orestes, it would gain the advantage against Tegea--but also that it would become the protector of Tegea. Dorian Sparta's adoption the cult of Orestes, a hero to the pre-Dorians, helped yield other allies for Sparta. In relations with other cities, Sparta would pursue the policy of alliance rather than enserfment, and this would usher in the period of Spartan leadership and responsibility in the Greek world. It would also provide a contrast to Athens's treatment of members of its Delian League.

Sparta also enjoyed success against Argos. In the Battle of Champions (around 544), over the disputed territory of Thyreatis, 300 men were chosen to fight for each side. This, however, did not result in a clear decision, so the armies fought an additional battle, which Sparta won. Spartan warriors had come to the fore, and period of Spartan military influence and reputation had begun. The ensuing period saw some decline of Argos, though the city remained independent. (In the 5th century, Argos would form an alliance with Athens, an event that is alluded to in Sophocles's Oresteia.) With additional alliances, including one with Elis, Sparta was emerging as a leader of the Greeks.

Between 560 and 556, Chilon, an ephor, formulated the Spartan policy against tyrannies. Spartans viewed these as unstable, but they may also have been moved by the defeat at the hands of Phaedon at Hysiae. Sparta became--often indirectly- involved in putting down tyrannies and replacing them with more acceptable oligarchies. (Sparta would be involved in the removal of Athens's tyrant in 521.)

By 510, Sparta had gained the "good will" of Megara and Corinth; there may have been actual alliances with these cities. The combined alliances Sparta developed led to what we now call the Peloponnesian League. The agreements were originally bilateral, between Sparta and each state, but they eventually became multilateral. The league would develop a congress, with representatives from several member states. Such an arrangement was a new experience for the Greeks. By the end of the 6th century, Sparta was clearly the strongest power in Greece, and had opened relations with eastern powers, such as Lydia and Egypt.

B. Athens

1. Early History

In the Dark Age Athens was involved in the problems--and the recovery--of the Greek mainland. Though Athenians claim to have been the only city to continue uninterrupted through the Dark Ages, the magnitude of its contribution to the recovery is unclear. For a time in the Dark Age, Attica was a land of many independent towns and villages. The real centers of power were strong households. Unification occurred over a period--to the first half of the 7th century--and in stages--first the central plain, then the western plain, then the eastern district. Thus unification occurred relatively late; regional loyalties persisted and may help explain Athenian political history through the end of the 6th century.

During the Dark Age, Athens was a leading center for Geometric pottery. Around 800 750, pottery exports were at their peak; Athens was however doing little oriental importing. Curious developments occurred during the next half century: the Attic population rose, country centers increased, but there was no official Attic colonization. Attic exports declined; pottery probably influenced this: Athens was not a leader in orientalized pottery, which was becoming popular at this time. Politically, Attica saw the gradual attrition of the kingship: ultimately it was reduced to a one year office open to all nobility.

The traditional story of the elimination of kingship traces the event back to the end of the Mycenaean Age. When Athens was threatened, King Kodrus saved the city by throwing himself over the acropolis walls. Since no one could live up to Kodrus, the kingship was eliminated, and the archonship was established as a ten year office open to all aristocrats. A further part of this legend claims the Kodrus's sons led the Ionian migrations to Asia Minor.

2. Developments in the Seventh Century

Hopper claims that Athenian political institutions were confused and untidy through the 7th century. Citizenship itself was based on hazy tribal membership, with four traditional tribes that dated back perhaps to a nomadic past. This led to diverse classes and social positions.

By the second half of the 7th century, the king was replaced by (1) a board of annual magistrates, the 9 archons, who served one year, (2) a council, often called the Council (Boule) of Areopagus, since it sometimes met on that hill, which was composed of all who had held an archonship, plus (3) a public assembly of some kind. The Council emerged as the strongest unit. Since it allowed long time service, personal qualities could be influential, and there remained important connections to the archons. But many residents of Athens were excluded from the Boule and the Ekklesia (Assembly) as well as the executive offices (Archonships). Officials were drawn entirely from the aristocracy. One's status depended on connections with powerful families. Public power remained weak--and based on a hereditary organization (phiatry). Still there was no confrontation between the aristocracy and the middle class (despite the development of the hoplite army), no economic pressure for colonization, and no real threat of tyranny for a long time. There were many disputes among clans, and it was such disputes that probably led to Kylon's attempt to institute a tyranny in the 630s.

Kylon's attempt failed but led to internal strife: Kylon and his supporters seized the acropolis but eventually surrendered to the archons on the condition that their lives would be spared. But they were killed as they left the acropolis. The resulting protests exacerbated social pressures that had begun to appear. With the aristocrats controlling the government and courts, other citizens were often at the whim of untrustworthy judges. The introduction of money reinforced the position of aristocrats, encouraging debt and servitude among the masses.

The feuding sparked by the murder of Kylon and the social tensions led to Dracon's reforms. Dracon was an archon in 621. He developed a law code with severe penalties and a severe formulation of the law on debt. The code helped to dispossess citizens owning and renting land, on behalf of the aristocrats. The formulation of a code eliminated some of the arbitrariness of earlier rulings; people at least knew where they stood, but the severity of the code led to economic distress for many--just the sort of problems other cities had faced earlier and that had led to tyrannies. In Athens, however, these difficulties set the stage for Solon's reforms.

Dracon's code engendered an economic and social crisis. The people still had no say in government, which remained organized on a property basis. Since most common citizens did not own land and could only control the use of land, they were unable to use the sale of land to pay off debts. Enslavement in two senses became common: serfdom and the sale of those with debts overseas. People eventually rose against the nobles, beginning a long period of civil strife.

Though there were strong divisions between the rich and the poor and indebted, there also appears to have been a middle group which may have helped to encourage reform. Further, Sealey suggests that the strife might have been exacerbated by rivalries between powerful clans, with some exploiting the grievances of the poor. This may have generated a more dangerous and unstable situation and might explain the emergence of Solon's reforms, in which leaders of a number of clans might have sought a settlement by giving up something but avoiding tyranny.

3. Solon's Reforms: End of the Seventh Century

Solon was chosen to generate reforms, perhaps in the first decade of the 6th century. He is credited with:
1) Abolishing debts (public and private): He prohibited loans involving pledging the person of the borrower and established an amnesty for all who had lost citizenship earlier--including the return of those sold abroad.
2) Developing a new law code: He codified customary law, repealing much of Dracon's code. Citizen rights and duties were defined within the framework of four income classes; the functions of magistrates and government bodies were defined. (Sealey argues that he also abolished duties levied on land at excessive rates and gave much attention to sacred law. It is unclear whether Solon also established standard measures, weights, and coins.)

The four income classes created still left the highest positions in government to the wealthy, but the poor were given a role in the assembly and courts. Though they gained only a minimal role in choosing magistrates, this still amounted to a significant increase in power. Sealey contends that Solon's income divisions were not wholly innovative but rather the result of a long period of development during the unification of Attica, in which wealth became a qualification for public office.

Solon also began a deliberate policy of industrial expansion: fathers were required to teach sons trades; foreign artists were given citizenship. Solon's measures amounted to significant steps in increasing the authority of the state. (He is often credited with establishing a Council of 400--100 from each tribe, but it is not clear such a council existed. Sealey contends that the idea of such a council may have been invented later and attributed to Solon as a precedent for Cleisthenes's Council of 500.) After his reforms were instituted, Solon left Athens, presumably for 10 years. He sought to give his reforms a chance to work--and had no desire to become a tyrant. Herodotus describes Solon's travels, e.g., to Lydia, where he gives Croessus characteristic advice: do not judge a person's happiness until he has died.

4. Peisistratos's Tyranny: From Mid Fifth Century

Solon's reforms were "good and just"--as far as he could go, but he had insufficient support to carry out a thoroughgoing reform of the social structure. The old order remained, with a disgruntled upper class and the dissatisfied poor. Very roughly, the three key factions were divided in terms of the Plain (nobility), the Shore (merchants and fishermen), and the Hill (underprivileged and poverty stricken). Attica remained an area of local dynasties with would-be tyrants; economic and political strife continued, ultimately yielding pressures toward tyranny.

Peisistratos distinguished himself in the campaign against Megara around 565; he captured its port at Nisaea. He was the leader of a heterogeneous faction from the Hill ("men beyond the hills" according to Sealey). This was an outlying area, generally not powerful in Athenian politics--Peisistratos's struggle may have been a regionalist and geographic one as much as an economic or class struggle. His first attempt at a coup d'état, around 560, failed, and he left Attica. He was later exiled to Macedonia--perhaps after a second attempt. With backing from Thrace, he gained a private army and foreign support. He returned with mercenaries and landed, unopposed, at Marathon. He drew additional support--some from Athens itself, and Peisistratos defeated opposing forces from the city at Pelline. Opposition then ended--aristocrats and the people were weakened and divided. Thus Peisistratos established a tyranny at Athens in 547 or 546.

Though mixed, the Greek evaluation of the tyranny is often positive; Aristotle and Thucydides, for example, looked favorably on it. Peisistratos instituted uniform taxation. His rule was marked by the magnificence associated with many tyrannies: poets were patronized; he built temples (e.g., the temple to Athena on the north side of the acropolis) and organized national festivals(e.g., the Panathenaea festival was enlarged). He sought to democratize the culture; drama became part of festivals, and professional minstrels gave recitations of Homer at the Panathenaea. (He is often credited with introducing deme dicasts, traveling judges who toured Attica to settle disputes, but these may not have been introduced until later, perhaps the mid 5th century.) Though his rule depended on a coalition of powerful families, he brought Attica to a more perfect union.

Peisistratos pursued an expansive foreign policy, campaigning in the Hellespont and establishing a city there. This was a first step in Athens's emergence from its 7th century seclusion, and Peisistratos's goal was to extend Athenian influence. He asserted Athenian claims in the Aegean while maintaining good relations with powers on the mainland--including Sparta, though Sparta would later help to overthrow Peisistratos's sons. He also developed connections with tyrants on Naxos and Samos.

With the stability that the tyranny brought, material culture at Athens prospered. Much Attic sculpture dates from this period; it exhibits a lively and colorful character. Attic pottery was influenced by the Corinthian style (which had overtaken Athens's old geometric style in the 7th century.) Athens's black figure pottery eventually became superior and has been found abroad--though it may not have been carried by Athenian traders. It remains unclear what Athens's trade policy was.

Peisistratos ruled until 528 and was succeeded by two sons. In the 520s, many of the Aegean allies of Athens's tyranny fell. With the failed attempt to overthrow Hippias (Peisistratos's son), his rule grew severe. He sought an alliance with Asia Minor, then under Persian control. Sparta led a failed expedition against him in 512. In 510 a Spartan army under Cleomenes was successful; Hippias was expelled. The fall of the tyranny is often described as "liberation," perhaps due more to Hippias's last years than to a negative judgment about the entire period.

5. Cleisthenes's Democratic Reforms: End of Sixth Century

Athens quickly asserted its independence against Sparta, though a rivalry broke out between Isagoras (perhaps from east Attica) who had Spartan support and Cleisthenes (perhaps from the city). Cleisthenes gained the upper hand early, and Isagoras then appealed to Spartan King Cleomenes, who came to Athens to expel Cleisthenes and his supporters. But Cleomenes tried to dissolve (or at least to modify) the Council of Aereopagus and thus faced significant Athenian opposition. Cleomenes and Isagoras then left the city, but the Spartan king tried military intervention on a number of fronts: (1) with the Peloponnesian League from the west, (2) from the Boeotians in the north, and (3) from the Chalcidians in the northeast. But the Corinthians, important members of the Peloponnesian League, refused to fight and others withdrew as well. The Athenians defeated the Boeotians and Chalcidians, and members of the Peloponnesian League rejected further action. Sparta then ended any designs on Athens. The fiasco associated with this attempt at intervention in Athens led to a Spartan policy of consulting with allies on major campaigns; a true league emerged, though Sparta remained the pre-eminent member.

Cleisthenes then instituted a series of democratic reforms. The exact dates are uncertain. A common date is 507, though 503 may be more accurate. Sealey contends that the first oath of the Council of 500 occurred around 501. Cleisthenes divided the citizen body into 10 artificial "tribes," with no relation to the four traditional tribes. Membership was based on one's home at the time of reform and was hereditary thereafter. Attica was divided into 3 regions (city, coast, interior). Each was divided into 10 parts (trittyes). These trittyes had few functions except as a means of distributing citizens into tribes. Each trittyes consisted of a number of demes, which were villages or parishes with rudimentary organization for conducting local affairs. Enrollment on the list of a deme constituted citizenship.

Each tribe then consisted of one trittyes each from the coast, the city, and the interior. Tribes had their own shrine and priest, were used for military organization (each selected a general), and regulated candidacy for office. Though Cleisthenes's exact motivation for this division remains a subject of debate, the effects may provide some clue. Such a tribal organization would have mingled together Athenians from the various geographic areas. This would have furthered Peisistratos's efforts at forging an Attic union. In addition, power would more likely center on leading citizens of the city as opposed to the outlying areas--the city was probably Cleisthenes's base of support. Since tribal assemblies would generally be held at Athens, city residents could more easily attend and thus more likely be chosen as generals from the tribe. Cleisthenes also introduced the policy of ostracism, where citizens could be forced to leave the city for ten years, but their property would be protected. Though it may seem odd, this practice may have defused political conflicts from elements who could have sought a more violent or destabilizing outlet.

Cleisthenes also reformed governmental institutions.
1) A tenth archon, called Secretary of Thesmothetae, was added; thus one archon could come from each tribe.
2) The Council (Boule) of 500 was established: 50 members were chosen by lot annually from each tribe. Within each tribe, demes provided councilors proportionate to their size. The council prepared business for the public Assembly. Nothing was sent to the assembly if it had not been considered by the Boule. (As government expanded the Council became the only organ that took cognizance of all departments.) But the Council was never a body of experts--given the term of office and the selection procedure. It was too large to be dominated by any political group and not likely to usurp the role of the Assembly as decisionmaker.
3) The Assembly (Ekklesia) consisted of all adult male citizens, at its peak, roughly 40,000. This was the decisionmaking body in Athenian government.
This new system resulted in a more even distribution of the burdens of citizenship. Sealey contends that Cleisthenes's reforms grew out of a regional struggle; Cleisthenes sought to give the advantage to the city, but his reforms had the effect of establishing a democracy.

The democratization of Athens is evident in geographical terms as well. Through the 6th century (the last of the tyrants), rulers lived on the acropolis, which was also a place of worship to the gods. At the time of Cleisthenes's restructuring, the "center of gravity" in Athens moved to the agora, the open area (ringed by shops and civic buildings), which was in essence for the people. The acropolis was used solely to honor the gods; mortals no longer lived there. The administrative heart of the city moved down from the heights.

Other important features of classical Athenian government (not necessarily instituted by Cleisthenes) included:

1) Prytane: a purely administrative body drawn from the Boule and constantly "on call." Fifty people from a tribe served a the Prytane for 1/10 year. The Prytane itself was divided into three groups; each group was on duty for a third of the day. Service rotated every tenth of a year so that members of each tribe served every year.
2) Strategoi: 10 military generals. These were elected for one year but could be re-elected. Originally, one was chosen from each tribe. Theoretically, strategoi just carried out policy established in the assembly. Yet they could have a significant influence on that policy. This was, for example, the position Pericles occupied during his ascendancy.

6. Athens beyond Attica

Attica was never very fertile; the thin soil could not support a large population. Thus during the 7th and 6th centuries, Athens faced population pressures similar to other cities during the Colonizing Period, and Athens would be involved with colonization as well. But the need to sustain its population would also spur other economic developments, notably Athens' intensive development of an economy based on sea trade. Athens would thus develop a large fleet and seafaring class and extensive connections with cities throughout the Greek world, extending eastward to Asia Minor and ultimately the Black Sea and westward to Sicily and southern Italy. Such activities would also bring Athens into contact with other peoples, such as the Persians.

IX. Asia Minor and Early Greek Relations with Persia

In 612, the Assyrian capitol of Nineveh was sacked by the Medes and Babylonians. The Assyrian empire then collapsed, leaving four powers: the Medes, Lydia, Neo-Babylonia, and Egypt. The Lydians bordered the coastal Greek cities on Asia Minor and sought to subjugate them. Though the Greeks originally refused to cooperate, the Lydians eventually controlled the area. (Smyrna was destroyed, but after a long conflict, Miletus was able to establish a treaty with Lydia. Black Sea colonies were founded by many Asia Minor poleis--perhaps to avoid Lydian power.) The results of the Lydian conquest, however, were not all bad, for some significant material and cultural developments occurred under Lydian rule. This was a period of economic prosperity for the Ionian states, due in part to maritime trade, in part to intercourse with wealthy Lydia. The Greek cities did not suffer from the more stifling aspects of oriental culture. Ionian natural philosophy emerged during this period, and many other philosophers, e.g., Pythagoras and Xenophanes, were rooted in Asia Minor at this time. Through the Archaic Period, Ionian cities would be the most civilized part of the Greek world.

Yet the generally benign Lydian control would, in the second half of the 6th century, give way to more oppressive Persian rule. Cyrus emerged as king of the Persians in 559; he conquered the Medes in 550. The Lydians, under Croessus, attacked but were defeated, and the Persians advanced and captured Sardis, the Lydian capitol. The Persians had invited the Greeks to abandon the Lydian side, but the Greeks, knowing very little of the Persians, refused. With the destruction of the Lydian empire in 544, the Greeks attempted a revolt but were defeated and came under Persian control in 540- though Miletus came to terms with the Persians. Persia then conquered Babylon in 539.

Cyrus died in 530, and his son, Chambyses, succeeded. The Phoenicians voluntarily submitted, thus giving Persia access to their fleet. Chambyses then conquered Egypt. He died in 522. Various rebellions were attempted, but Darius eventually emerged as king and consolidated the empire. Around 514, the Greek islands of Chios, Samos, and Lesbos were added, thus marking the limit of the westward expansion of Persia. Darius sought to consolidate his power in the northern Aegean and opened diplomatic relations with Macedonia.

With Persian control there emerged a deep alienation between ruler and Greek subjects. This had not been the case under Lydian control; Greeks and Lydians had much in common. Now many Greeks (including artists and philosophers) moved west. Thus began the decline of the Asia Minor cities and the rise of the west in terms of cultural importance.

In 499 Aristagoras, a Greek from Miletus, led an attack on Naxos (in the Cyclades). Though the ships involved were from Greek Asia Minor cities, the troops were Persians. Naxos withstood the siege. Aristagoras, fearing reprisals by Persia, organized a revolt of the Ionian cities. He was rejected in efforts to gain Spartan support, but Eretria and Athens did send aid--Athens harbored animosity toward Persia for harboring Hippias after the tyrant was deposed.

In 498 Athenian and Eretrian ships joined the Ionians at Ephesus. The allies marched to and captured part of Sardis, which burned in the confusion, but were unable to capture the citadel. They withdrew to Ephesus, where the Persians defeated them. The Athenians then withdrew from the conflict. The Ionians continued the struggle, but the Persians attacked and defeated cities separately. The final defeat came at Miletus in 494; the city was destroyed thus ending the revolt. In 493, the Persians recovered Chios, Lesbos, Tenedos, and the European areas of the Hellespont. Persia then set its sights on the Greek mainland.

X. Summary

We can see in the 6th century a number of factors that helped determine the form of Classical Greece.
1) The crisis in Athenian affairs was delayed by Solon's reforms but ultimately led to Peisistratos's tyranny, during which Athens began to take its place as a city of influence in the Greek world. The rivalries that followed the fall of the tyranny led to Cleisthenes's reforms and the emergence of Athenian democracy.
2) Corinth, as a major center for trade and exports, was long engaged in competition with Athens. This rivalry would play a role in events leading to the Peloponnesian War.
3) Sparta began to reap the benefits of its 7th century reorganization. It strengthened its hold on Messenia and engaged in successful campaigns to reduce Argos's power. It became master over Tegea (in Arcadia) but based on a new policy--not the enserfment associated with Messenia. Sparta agreed to non aggression and alliance in return for non-intervention if the helots revolted. Such relations with other states enabled Sparta to begin a period of leadership and responsibility in the Greek world.
4) After the Lydian aggression in Asia Minor during the 7th century, the Greek states prospered in the first half of the 6th century. But that changed when the Medes (east of Lydia) fell to the Persians, who ultimately conquered the Lydians. The resulting Persian subjection of the eastern Greeks engendered concerns about Persian power.

In cultural terms, significant events and styles emerged in this century.
1) The early part of the century saw the increased importance of festivals and games as meeting places for all Greeks, thus integrating religious, literary, athletic, and political cultures.
2) The First Sacred War, in which Cleisthenes of Sikyon, with the help of Athens and Thessaly, defeated Krisa for control of Delphi, ultimately contributed to the development of the moral force of Apollo's oracle at Delphi.
3) Great achievements in the arts and architecture occurred: (i) the Doric and Ionic architectural orders evolved, (ii) temples emerged as an innovation of the Archaic period--not as places of worship but as homes for the gods, with a statue and treasury from dedications, (iii) full anatomical sculptural figures (kouroi and koroi) emerged, (iv) black figure ware pottery developed in the first half of the century, red figure ware in the second. The growing importance of human beings in general can be seen in artistic as well as political events. More interest was shown toward human scenes from ordinary life. The focus was shifting from gods and heroes to humanity.
4) Essential features of the Greek outlook evolved: (1) rational (philosophical) investigations of the cosmos and human experience--though myth still remained a binding element, (2) the introduction of more personal styles in literature, (3) the importance of self-reliance and a readiness to change.


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