The Common Institutions
"Our being of the same stock and the same speech, our common shrines of the gods and rituals, our similar customs" Herodotus writes (VIII 144). The mountainous Greek terrain allowed little communication among the different city-states that developed and encouraged their "isolation" and "self-governing". The Greek city-states, polis, often competed with each other for power and the concept of common identity, the concept of belonging in the same "Hellas" was an abstraction detected only in their common language, religion and institutions (religious/athletic) of pan-hellenic character.
Self-sufficiency, autarkia, of the city-state in food-supply, money, weapons and law, encouraged its individuality but in front of a common enemy, their shared identity was recognized and declared when compared to the "barbaric" danger. Even the word barbaric itself, identifies this difference of the cultures primarily in linguistic and then in cultural terms. The feeling of cultural superiority that became evident after the outcome of the Persian wars was justified by the unbelievable victory, against all odds. The Greek sofrosini, was an element, which united all city-states and minimized their differences in order to protect their common heritage, religion and consciousness.
More The Classical years
The Persian Wars
The Peloponnesian Wars (5th c.) A Destructive Brotherly Blood-Shedding
The classical period is bounded by the two confrontations of Greece and Persia, one in 481-480 B.C., with the invasion of Persia and the other in 333-323 B.C., with the expedition of Alexander the Great and the conquering of the Persian Empire.
The Birth of Democracy
In 431 B.C. Corcyra (Corfu), a colony of Corinth, rebelled against its metropolis. Athens, wanting to use the fleet of Corcyra, placed the island under its aegis and admitted it to the Delian League.
Early in the 6th century B.C., the Areopagos -faced with a serious social and economic crisis and extensive popular unrest, in the aftermath of the imposition of the harsh Draconian laws- decided to hand over all political power to a single individual, Solon.
Colonization of Greek city-states
The Greek terrain, consisting of fertile portions of land divided by ranges of mountains allowed no territorial unity and - as a result - political unity was difficult to be achieved.
All The Classical years...
The two centuries between 750-550 B.C. were marked by expansion and colonization of the Greek city-states, which in turn were made wealthy and powerful. On the other hand, the fragmentation of Greece was further encouraged, as the colonies remained independent from their metropolis, although they shared the same political and religious image.