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The city of Athens ( grc, Ἀθῆναι, ''Athênai'' .tʰɛ̂ː.nai̯
Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Greek language spoken in the modern era, including the official standardized form of the l ...
: Αθήναι ''Athine'' or, more commonly and in singular, Αθήνα ''Athina'' .'θi.na during the
classical periodClassical period may refer to: *Classical Greece, specifically of the 5th and 4th centuries BC *Classical antiquity, in the Greco-Roman world *Classical India, an historic period of India (c. 322 BC - c. 550 CE) *Classical period (music), in music ...
of
ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era wa ...
(480–323 BC) was the major urban centre of the notable ''
polis ''Polis'' (, ; grc-gre, πόλις, ), plural ''poleis'' (, , ), literally means "city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (199 ...

polis
'' (
city-state A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance la ...
) of the same name, located in
Attica Attica ( el, Αττική, Ancient Greek ''Attikḗ'' or , or ), or the Attic peninsula, is a historical region that encompasses the city of Athens, the capital city, capital of Greece and its countryside. It is a peninsula projecting into the ...

Attica
,
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
, leading the
Delian League The Delian League, founded in 478 BC, was an association of Greek city-states, with the number of members numbering between 150 and 330 under the leadership of Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, ...
in the
Peloponnesian War The Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to ...

Peloponnesian War
against
Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek Doric or Dorian ( grc, Δωρισμός, Dōrismós) was an . Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern as well as in , , , , , some islands in the southern and some cities on the south east coast of ...

Sparta
and the
Peloponnesian League The Peloponnesian League was an alliance in the Peloponnesus The Peloponnese (), Peloponnesia, or Peloponnesus (; el, Πελοπόννησος, Pelopónnēsos, ) is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") ...
.
Athenian democracy The relief representation depicts the personified Demos being crowned by Democracy. About 336 BC. Ancient Agora Museum. Athenian democracy developed around the 6th century BC in the Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or rela ...
was established in 508 BC under
Cleisthenes Cleisthenes ( ; grc-gre, Κλεισθένης, Kleisthénēs, ) or Clisthenes ( la, Clīsthenēs ) was an ancient Athenian lawgiver credited with reforming the constitution of ancient Athens , image_skyline = File:Ath ...

Cleisthenes
following the
tyranny A tyrant (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following peri ...
of
Isagoras Isagoras ( grc-gre, Ἰσαγόρας), son of Tisander, was an Athenian aristocrat in the late 6th century BC. He had remained in Athens during the tyranny A tyrant (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Gr ...
. This system remained remarkably stable, and with a few brief interruptions remained in place for 180 years, until 322 BC (aftermath of
Lamian War The Lamian War, or the Hellenic War (323–322 BC) was fought by a coalition of cities including Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Greece, la ...
). The peak of Athenian
hegemony Hegemony (, , ) is the political, economic, and military predominance of one state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (ne ...
was achieved in the 440s to 430s BC, known as the
Age of Pericles Fifth-century Athens is the Greek city-state of Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Greece, largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica ( ...
. In the
classical periodClassical period may refer to: *Classical Greece, specifically of the 5th and 4th centuries BC *Classical antiquity, in the Greco-Roman world *Classical India, an historic period of India (c. 322 BC - c. 550 CE) *Classical period (music), in music ...
,
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...

Athens
was a centre for the arts, learning and
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...

philosophy
, home of
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian philosopher during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought and the Platoni ...

Plato
's
Academy An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; Koine Greek Ἀκαδημία) is an institution of secondary education, secondary or tertiary education, tertiary higher education, higher learning, research, or honorary membership. Academia is the w ...
and
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
's
Lyceum The lyceum is a category of educational institution An educational institution is a place where people of different ages gain an education, including preschools, childcare, primary-elementary schools, secondary-high schools, and universities. ...
, Athens was also the birthplace of
Socrates Socrates (; ; –399 BC) was a Greek philosopher from Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Greece, largest city of Greece. Athens domi ...

Socrates
, Plato,
Pericles Pericles (; grc-x-attic, Περικλῆς, in Classical Attic; c. 495 – 429 BC) was a Greek statesman and general of Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Click ...

Pericles
,
Aristophanes Aristophanes (; grc, Ἀριστοφάνης, ; c. 446 – c. 386 BC), son of Philippus, of the deme 250px, Pinakia, identification tablets (name, father's name, deme) used for tasks like jury selection, Museum at the Ancient Agora of Athe ...

Aristophanes
,
Sophocles Sophocles (; grc, Σοφοκλῆς, ; 497/6 – winter 406/5 BC)Sommerstein (2002), p. 41. is one of three ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , ...

Sophocles
, and many other prominent philosophers, writers and politicians of the ancient world. It is widely referred to as the cradle of
Western Civilization Western culture, also known as Western civilization, Occidental culture, or Western society, is the heritage Heritage may refer to: History and society * In history History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired ...
, and the birthplace of
democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation ("direct democracy"), or to cho ...

democracy
, largely due to the impact of its cultural and political achievements during the 5th and 4th centuries BC on the rest of the then-known European continent.


History


Rise to power (508–448 BC)

Hippias Hippias of Elis Elis or Ilia ( el, Ηλεία, ''Ileia'') is one of the regional units of Greece The 74 regional units ( el, περιφερειακές ενότητες, ; sing. , ) are Administrative divisions of Greece, administrative units of G ...
, son of Peisistratus, had ruled Athens jointly with his brother, Hipparchus, from the death of Peisistratus in about 527. Following the assassination of Hipparchus in about 514, Hippias took on sole rule, and in response to the loss of his brother, became a worse leader who was increasingly disliked. Hippias exiled 700 of the Athenian noble families, amongst them
Cleisthenes Cleisthenes ( ; grc-gre, Κλεισθένης, Kleisthénēs, ) or Clisthenes ( la, Clīsthenēs ) was an ancient Athenian lawgiver credited with reforming the constitution of ancient Athens , image_skyline = File:Ath ...

Cleisthenes
' family, the Alchmaeonids. Upon their exile, they went to Delphi, and Herodotus says they bribed the
Pythia The Pythia (; grc, Πυθία ) was the name of the high priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi Delphi (; ), in legend previously called Pytho (Πυθώ), in ancient times was a sacred precinct that served as the seat of Pythia, the ...

Pythia
always to tell visiting Spartans that they should invade Attica and overthrow Hippias. That supposedly worked after a number of times, and Cleomenes led a Spartan force to overthrow Hippias, which succeeded, and instated an oligarchy. Cleisthenes disliked the Spartan rule, along with many other Athenians, and so made his own bid for power. The result was democracy in Athens, but considering Cleisthenes' motivation for using the people to gain power, as without their support, he would have been defeated, and so Athenian democracy may be tainted by the fact its creation served greatly the man who created it. The reforms of Cleisthenes replaced the traditional four Ionic "tribes" (
phyle ''Phyle'' ( gr, φυλή, phulē, "tribe, clan"; pl. ''phylai'', φυλαί; derived from ancient Greek φύεσθαι "to descend, to originate") is an ancient Greek term for tribe or clan. Members of the same ''phyle'' were known as ''symphylet ...
) with ten new ones, named after legendary heroes of Greece and having no class basis, which acted as electorates. Each tribe was in turn divided into three trittyes (one from the coast; one from the city and one from the inland divisions), while each
trittys The ''trittyes'' ( grc, τριττύες ''trittúes''), singular ''trittys'' (τριττύς ''trittús'') were part of the organizational structure the divided the population in ancient Attica, and is commonly thought to have been established b ...
had one or more
deme In Ancient Greece, a deme or ( grc, δῆμος) was a suburb or a subdivision of Classical Athens, Athens and other city-states. Demes as simple subdivisions of land in the countryside seem to have existed in the 6th century BC and earlier, but ...

deme
s, depending on their population, which became the basis of local government. The tribes each selected fifty members by lot for the Boule, the council that governed Athens on a day-to-day basis. The
public opinion Public opinion is the collective opinion on a specific topic or voting intention relevant to a society. Etymology The term "public opinion" was derived from the French ', which was first used in 1588 by Michel de Montaigne Image:ArmoiriesM ...
of voters could be influenced by the
political satire Political satire is satire Satire is a of the , , and s, usually in the form of and less frequently , in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, often with the intent of shaming or exposing the perceived ...
s written by the
comic poets Ancient Greek comedy was one of the final three principal drama Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mimesis, represented in performance: a Play (theatre), play, opera, mime, ballet, etc., performed in a theatre, or on R ...
and performed in the city
theaters Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art The performing arts are arts such as music, dance, and drama which are performed for an audience. It is different from visual arts The visual arts are art forms such as pain ...
. The
Assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is the body of ethics, Procedural l ...
or Ecclesia was open to all full citizens and was both a legislature and a supreme court, except in murder cases and religious matters, which became the only remaining functions of the Areopagus. Most offices were filled by lot, although the ten
strategoi Image:Greek strategist Pio-Clementino Inv306.jpg, 280px, Bust of unnamed ''Strategos'' with Corinthian helmet; Hadrianic Roman copy of a Greek sculpture of c. 400 BC ''Strategos'', plural ''strategoi'', Linguistic Latinisation, Latinized ''strate ...
(generals) were elected. The silver
mines of Laurion The mines of Laurion (or Lavrion) are ancient mines located in southern Attica Attica ( el, Αττική, Ancient Greek ''Attikḗ'' or , or ), or the Attic peninsula, is a historical region that encompasses the city of Athens, the capital ci ...
contributed significantly to the development of Athens in the 5th century BC, when the Athenians learned to prospect, treat, and refine the ore and used the proceeds to build a massive fleet, at the instigation of
Themistocles Themistocles (; grc-gre, Θεμιστοκλῆς ; "Glory of the Law"; c. 524–459 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian politician and General officer, general. He was one of a new breed of non-aristocratic politicians who rose to pro ...

Themistocles
. In 499 BC, Athens sent troops to aid the
Ionia Ionia (; Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the period (). Ancient ...
n Greeks of
Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of ...

Asia Minor
, who were rebelling against the
Persian Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, wikt:𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎶, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian peoples, Iranian empire based in Western Asia founded by Cyrus the Grea ...

Persian Empire
(see
Ionian Revolt The Ionian Revolt, and associated revolts in Aeolis, Doris (Asia Minor), Doris, Cyprus and Caria, were military rebellions by several Greek regions of Asia Minor against Achaemenid Empire, Persian rule, lasting from 499 BC to 493 BC. At the heart ...
). That provoked two Persian invasions of Greece, both of which were repelled under the leadership of the soldier-statesmen
Miltiades Miltiades (; grc-gre, Μιλτιάδης; c. 550 – 489 BC), also known as Miltiades the Younger, was a Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Repub ...
and
Themistocles Themistocles (; grc-gre, Θεμιστοκλῆς ; "Glory of the Law"; c. 524–459 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian politician and General officer, general. He was one of a new breed of non-aristocratic politicians who rose to pro ...

Themistocles
(see
Persian Wars The Greco-Persian Wars (also often called the Persian Wars) were a series of conflicts between the Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empi ...
). In 490 the Athenians, led by
Miltiades Miltiades (; grc-gre, Μιλτιάδης; c. 550 – 489 BC), also known as Miltiades the Younger, was a Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Repub ...
, prevented the first invasion of the Persians, guided by king
Darius I Darius I ( peo, 𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁 ; New Persian New Persian ( fa, فارسی نو), also known as Modern Persian () and Dari (), is the final stage of the Persian language Persian (), also known by its endonym An endonym ( ...
, at the
Battle of Marathon The Battle of Marathon ( grc, Μάχη τοῦ Μαραθῶνος, translit=Machē tou Marathōnos) took place in 490 BC during the first Persian invasion of Greece. It was fought between the citizens of History of Athens, Athens, aided by Plat ...

Battle of Marathon
. In 480 the Persians returned under a new ruler,
Xerxes I Xerxes I ( peo, wiktionary:𐎧𐏁𐎹𐎠𐎼𐏁𐎠, 𐎧𐏁𐎹𐎠𐎼𐏁𐎠 ; grc-gre, Ξέρξης; – August 465 BC), commonly known as Xerxes the Great, was the fourth King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire, ruling from 486 to 465 ...

Xerxes I
. The Hellenic League led by the Spartan King
Leonidas Leonidas I (; Doric , '; Ionic and Attic Greek Attic Greek is the Greek language, Greek dialect of the regions of ancient Greece, ancient region of Attica, including the ''polis'' of classical Athens, Athens. Often called classical Greek, it ...

Leonidas
led 7,000 men to hold the narrow passageway of
Thermopylae Thermopylae (; Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods ...
against the 100,000–250,000 army of Xerxes, during which Leonidas and 300 other Spartan elites were killed. Simultaneously the Athenians led an indecisive naval battle off
Artemisium Artemisium or Artemision (Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 1 ...

Artemisium
. However, that delaying action was not enough to discourage the Persian advance, which soon marched through
Boeotia Boeotia, sometimes alternatively Latinised Latinisation or Latinization can refer to: * Latinisation of names, the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style * Latinisation in the Soviet Union, the campaign in the USSR during the 1920 ...

Boeotia
, setting up Thebes as their base of operations, and entered southern Greece. That forced the Athenians to evacuate Athens, which was taken by the Persians, and seek the protection of their fleet. Subsequently, the Athenians and their allies, led by
Themistocles Themistocles (; grc-gre, Θεμιστοκλῆς ; "Glory of the Law"; c. 524–459 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian politician and General officer, general. He was one of a new breed of non-aristocratic politicians who rose to pro ...

Themistocles
, defeated the Persian navy at sea in the
Battle of Salamis The Battle of Salamis ( ; grc, Ναυμαχία τῆς Σαλαμῖνος, Naumachía tês Salamînos) was a naval battle Naval warfare is human combat in and on the sea, the ocean, or any other battlespace involving a major body of water ...

Battle of Salamis
. Xerxes had built himself a throne on the coast in order to see the Greeks defeated. Instead, the Persians were routed. Sparta's hegemony was passing to Athens, and it was Athens that took the war to Asia Minor. The victories enabled it to bring most of the Aegean and many other parts of Greece together in the
Delian League The Delian League, founded in 478 BC, was an association of Greek city-states, with the number of members numbering between 150 and 330 under the leadership of Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, ...
, an Athenian-dominated alliance.


Athenian hegemony (448–430 BC)

Pericles Pericles (; grc-x-attic, Περικλῆς, in Classical Attic; c. 495 – 429 BC) was a Greek statesman and general of Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Click ...

Pericles
– an Athenian general, politician and orator – distinguished himself above the other personalities of the era, men who excelled in
politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of res ...

politics
,
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...

philosophy
,
architecture upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted), Plan of the second floor (attic storey) of the Hôtel de Brionne in Paris – 1734. Architecture (Latin ''archi ...

architecture
,
sculpture Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions. It is one of the plastic arts. Durable sculptural processes originally used carving (the removal of material) and modelling (the addition of material, as clay), ...

sculpture
,
history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...

history
and
literature Literature broadly is any collection of written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), entitie ...

literature
. He fostered arts and literature and gave to Athens a splendor which would never return throughout its history. He executed a large number of public works projects and improved the life of the citizens. Hence, he gave his name to the Athenian Golden Age. Silver mined in
Laurium Laurium or Lavrio ( ell, Λαύριο; grc, Λαύρειον (later ); before early 11th century BC: Θορικός ''Thorikos''; from Middle Ages until 1908: Εργαστήρια ''Ergastiria'') is a town in southeastern part of Attica Region, ...
in southeastern Attica contributed greatly to the prosperity of this "Golden" Age of Athens. During the time of the ascendancy of
Ephialtes Ephialtes ( grc-gre, Ἐφιάλτης, ''Ephialtēs'') was an ancient Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to loa ...
as leader of the democratic faction,
Pericles Pericles (; grc-x-attic, Περικλῆς, in Classical Attic; c. 495 – 429 BC) was a Greek statesman and general of Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Click ...

Pericles
was his deputy. When Ephialtes was
assassinated Assassination is the act of deliberately killing a prominent or important person, such as heads of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state Foakes, pp. 110–11 " he head of state ...

assassinated
by personal enemies, Pericles stepped in and was elected general, or ''
strategos Bust of unnamed ''Strategos'' with Hadrian.html"_;"title="Corinthian_helmet;_Hadrian">Corinthian_helmet;_Hadrianic_Roman_copy_of_a_Greek_sculpture_of_c._400_BC ''Strategos'',_plural_''strategoi'',_ Corinthian_helmet;_Hadrianic_Roman_copy_of_a_G ...
'', in 445 BC; a post he held continuously until his death in 429 BC, always by election of the
Athenian Assembly The ecclesia or ekklesia ( el, ) was the assembly of the citizens in the democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'peop ...
. The
Parthenon The Parthenon (; grc, Παρθενών, , ; ell, Παρθενώνας, , ) is a former temple A temple (from the Latin ) is a building reserved for spiritual rituals and activities such as prayer and sacrifice. Religions which erect te ...

Parthenon
, a lavishly decorated temple to the goddess
Athena Athena or Athene, often given the epithet An epithet (, ) is a byname, or a descriptive term (word or phrase), accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shades of meaning when applied ...

Athena
, was constructed under the administration of Pericles.


Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC)

Resentment by other cities at the hegemony of Athens led to the
Peloponnesian War The Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to ...

Peloponnesian War
in 431, which pitted Athens and her increasingly rebellious sea empire against a coalition of land-based states led by
Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek Doric or Dorian ( grc, Δωρισμός, Dōrismós) was an . Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern as well as in , , , , , some islands in the southern and some cities on the south east coast of ...

Sparta
. The conflict marked the end of Athenian
command of the sea Command of the sea (also called control of the sea or sea control) is a naval military concept regarding the strength of a particular navy A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a Nation's armed forces principally designated ...
. The war between Athens and the city-state Sparta ended with an Athenian defeat after Sparta started its own navy. Athenian democracy was briefly overthrown by the coup of 411, brought about because of its poor handling of the war, but it was quickly restored. The war ended with the complete defeat of Athens in 404. Since the defeat was largely blamed on democratic politicians such as
Cleon Cleon (; grc-gre, wikt:Κλέων, Κλέων, ; died 422 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian strategos, general during the Peloponnesian War. He was the first prominent representative of the commercial class in Athenian politics, although he w ...
and Cleophon, there was a brief reaction against democracy, aided by the Spartan army (the rule of the
Thirty Tyrants The Thirty Tyrants ( grc, οἱ τριάκοντα τύραννοι, ''hoi triákonta týrannoi'') were a pro-Spartan oligarchy installed in Classical Athens, Athens after its defeat in the Peloponnesian War in 404 BCE. Upon Lysander's request, the ...
). In 403, democracy was restored by
Thrasybulus Thrasybulus (; grc-gre, Θρασύβουλος, ''Thrasyboulos''; "brave-willed"; 440 – 388 BC) was an Athenian general and democratic leader. In 411 BC, in the wake of an oligarchic coup at Athens, the pro-democracy sailors at Samos elect ...
and an amnesty declared.


Corinthian War and the Second Athenian League (395–355 BC)

Sparta's former allies soon turned against her due to her imperialist policies, and Athens's former enemies, Thebes and
Corinth Corinth ( ; el, Κόρινθος, Kórinthos, ) is the successor to an ancient city, and is a former municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of sel ...

Corinth
, became her allies.
Argos Argos usually refers to: * Argos, Peloponnese Argos (; Greek language, Greek: Άργος ; Ancient Greek: Ἄργος ) is a city in Argolis, the Peloponnese (region), Peloponnese, Greece and is one of the List of oldest continuously inhabited ci ...
, Thebes and Corinth, allied with Athens, fought against
Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek Doric or Dorian ( grc, Δωρισμός, Dōrismós) was an . Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern as well as in , , , , , some islands in the southern and some cities on the south east coast of ...

Sparta
in the decisive
Corinthian War The Corinthian War (395–387 BC) was a conflict in ancient Greece which pitted Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek Doric, or Dorian ( grc, Δωρισμός, Dōrismós) was an Ancient Greek dialect. Its variants were spoken in the southern ...
of 395–387 BC. Opposition to Sparta enabled Athens to establish a
Second Athenian League The Second Athenian League was a maritime confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty, confederations of stat ...
. Finally Thebes defeated Sparta in 371 in the
Battle of Leuctra The Battle of Leuctra ( grc-gre, Λεῦκτρα, ''Leûktra'') was a battle fought on 6 July 371 BC between the Boeotians led by the Thebes (Greece), Thebans, and the History of Sparta, Spartans along with their allies amidst the post-Corinthian ...
. However, other Greek cities, including Athens, turned against Thebes, and its dominance was brought to an end at the
Battle of Mantinea (362 BC) The Second Battle of Mantinea was fought on July 4, 362 BC between the Thebes, Greece, Thebans, led by Epaminondas and supported by the Arcadia (ancient region), Arcadians and the Boeotian league against the Spartans, led by King Agesilaus II and ...
with the death of its leader, the military genius
Epaminondas Epaminondas (; grc-gre, Ἐπαμεινώνδας, Epameinṓndas; – 362 BC) was a Greeks, Greek General officer, general (''strategos''/Boeotarch) of Thebes, Greece, Thebes and statesman of the 4th century BC who transformed the Ancient Gre ...

Epaminondas
.


Athens under Macedon (355–322 BC)

By mid century, however, the northern Greek kingdom of
Macedon Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an Classical antiquity, ancient monarchy, kingdom on the periphery of Archaic Greece, Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. Th ...

Macedon
was becoming dominant in Athenian affairs. In 338 BC the armies of
Philip IIPhilip II may refer to: * Philip II of Macedon (382–336 BC) * Philip II (emperor) (238–249), Roman emperor * Philip II, Prince of Taranto (1329–1374) * Philip II, Duke of Burgundy (1342–1404) * Philip II, Duke of Savoy (1438-1497) * Philip ...
defeated Athens at the Battle of Chaeronea, effectively limiting Athenian independence. During the winter of 338–37 BC Macedonia, Athens and other Greek states became part of the
League of Corinth The League of Corinth, also referred to as the Hellenic League (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country lo ...
. Further, the conquests of his son,
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title ...

Alexander the Great
, widened Greek horizons and made the traditional Greek city state obsolete.
Antipater Antipater (; grc, Ἀντίπατρος, translit=Antipatros, lit=like the father; c. 400 BC319 BC) was a Macedonian general and statesman under kings Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, ...
dissolved the Athenian government and established a
plutocratic A plutocracy ( el, πλοῦτος, ', 'wealth' and , ', 'power') or plutarchy is a society that is ruled or controlled by people of great wealth Wealth is the abundance (economics), abundance of Value (economics), valuable financial asse ...
system in 322 BC (see
Lamian War The Lamian War, or the Hellenic War (323–322 BC) was fought by a coalition of cities including Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Greece, la ...
and
Demetrius Phalereus Image:Alexandria18.jpg, 200px, Statue of Demetrius at the entrance of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Demetrius of Phalerum (also Demetrius of Phaleron or Demetrius Phalereus; grc-gre, Δημήτριος ὁ Φαληρεύς; c. 350 – c. 280 BC) wa ...
). Athens remained a wealthy city with a brilliant cultural life, but ceased to be an independent power.


The city


Overview

Athens was in
Attica Attica ( el, Αττική, Ancient Greek ''Attikḗ'' or , or ), or the Attic peninsula, is a historical region that encompasses the city of Athens, the capital city, capital of Greece and its countryside. It is a peninsula projecting into the ...

Attica
, about 30 stadia from the sea, on the southwest slope of
Mount Lycabettus Mount Lycabettus (), also known as Lycabettos, Lykabettos or Lykavittos ( el, Λυκαβηττός, ), is a Cretaceous limestone Limestone is a common type of carbonate rock, carbonate sedimentary rock. It is composed mostly of the minerals ...

Mount Lycabettus
, between the small rivers Cephissus to the west,
Ilissos The Ilisos or Ilisus ( el, Ιλισός, ) is a river in Athens, Greece. Originally a tributary of the Cephissus (Athenian plain), Kifissos River, it has been rechanneled to the sea. It is now largely channeled underground, though as of June 2019 ...
to the south, and the Eridanos to the north, the latter of which flowed through the town. The walled city measured about in diameter, although at its peak the city had suburbs extending well beyond these walls. The Acropolis of Athens, Acropolis was just south of the centre of this walled area. The city was burnt by Xerxes I of Persia, Xerxes in 480 BC, but was soon rebuilt under the administration of
Themistocles Themistocles (; grc-gre, Θεμιστοκλῆς ; "Glory of the Law"; c. 524–459 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian politician and General officer, general. He was one of a new breed of non-aristocratic politicians who rose to pro ...

Themistocles
, and was adorned with public buildings by Cimon and especially by
Pericles Pericles (; grc-x-attic, Περικλῆς, in Classical Attic; c. 495 – 429 BC) was a Greek statesman and general of Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Click ...

Pericles
, in whose time (461–429 BC) it reached its greatest splendour. Its beauty was chiefly due to its public buildings, for the private houses were mostly insignificant, and its streets badly laid out. Towards the end of the
Peloponnesian War The Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to ...

Peloponnesian War
, it contained more than 10,000 houses, which at a rate of 12 inhabitants to a house would give a population of 120,000, though some writers make the inhabitants as many as 180,000. Athens consisted of two distinct parts: * ''The City'', properly so called, divided into The Upper City or Acropolis of Athens, Acropolis, and The Lower City, surrounded with walls by Themistocles. * The port city of Piraeus, also surrounded with walls by Themistocles and connected to the city with the Long Walls, built under Conon and
Pericles Pericles (; grc-x-attic, Περικλῆς, in Classical Attic; c. 495 – 429 BC) was a Greek statesman and general of Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Click ...

Pericles
.


City walls

The city was surrounded by defensive walls from the Bronze Age and they were rebuilt and extended over the centuries. In addition the Long Walls consisted of two parallel walls leading to Piraeus, 40 stadia long (4.5 miles, 7 km), running parallel to each other, with a narrow passage between them and, furthermore, a wall to Phalerum on the east, 35 stadia long (4 miles, 6.5 km). There were therefore three long walls in all; but the name ''Long Walls'' seems to have been confined to the two leading to the Piraeus, while the one leading to Phalerum was called the ''Phalerian Wall''. The entire circuit of the walls was 174.5 stadia (nearly 22 miles, 35 km), of which 43 stadia (5.5 miles, 9 km) belonged to the city, 75 stadia (9.5 miles, 15 km) to the long walls, and 56.5 stadia (7 miles, 11 km) to Piraeus, Munichia, and Phalerum.


Acropolis (upper city)

The Acropolis of Athens, Acropolis, also called ''Cecropia'' from its reputed founder, Cecrops I, Cecrops, was a steep rock in the middle of the city, about 50 meters high, 350 meters long, and 150 meters wide; its sides were naturally scarped on all sides except the west end. It was originally surrounded by an ancient Cyclopean masonry, Cyclopean wall said to have been built by the Pelasgians. At the time of the Peloponnesian war only the north part of this wall remained, and this portion was still called the ''Pelasgic Wall''; while the south part which had been rebuilt by Cimon, was called the ''Cimonian Wall''. On the west end of the Acropolis, where access is alone practicable, were the magnificent ''Propylaea'', "the Entrances," built by
Pericles Pericles (; grc-x-attic, Περικλῆς, in Classical Attic; c. 495 – 429 BC) was a Greek statesman and general of Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Click ...

Pericles
, before the right wing of which was the small Temple of Athena Nike. The summit of the Acropolis was covered with temples, statues of bronze and marble, and various other works of art. Of the temples, the grandest was the ''
Parthenon The Parthenon (; grc, Παρθενών, , ; ell, Παρθενώνας, , ) is a former temple A temple (from the Latin ) is a building reserved for spiritual rituals and activities such as prayer and sacrifice. Religions which erect te ...

Parthenon
'', sacred to the "Virgin" goddess
Athena Athena or Athene, often given the epithet An epithet (, ) is a byname, or a descriptive term (word or phrase), accompanying or occurring in place of a name and having entered common usage. It has various shades of meaning when applied ...

Athena
; and north of the Parthenon was the magnificent ''Erechtheion'', containing three separate temples, one to ''Athena Polias'', or the "Protectress of the State," the ''Erechtheion'' proper, or sanctuary of Erechtheus, and the ''Pandroseion'', or sanctuary of Pandrosos, the daughter of Cecrops. Between the Parthenon and Erechtheion was the colossal Athena Promachos, Statue of Athena Promachos, or the "Fighter in the Front," whose helmet and spear was the first object on the Acropolis visible from the sea.


Agora (lower city)

The lower city was built in the plain around the Acropolis, but this plain also contained several hills, especially in the southwest part. On the west side the walls embraced the Hill of the Nymphs and the Pnyx, and to the southeast they ran along beside the
Ilissos The Ilisos or Ilisus ( el, Ιλισός, ) is a river in Athens, Greece. Originally a tributary of the Cephissus (Athenian plain), Kifissos River, it has been rechanneled to the sea. It is now largely channeled underground, though as of June 2019 ...
.


Gates

There were many gates, among the more important there were: * On the West side: ''Dipylon'', the most frequented gate of the city, leading from the inner Kerameikos to the outer Kerameikos, and to the
Academy An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; Koine Greek Ἀκαδημία) is an institution of secondary education, secondary or tertiary education, tertiary higher education, higher learning, research, or honorary membership. Academia is the w ...
. ''The Sacred Gate'', where the sacred road to Eleusis began. ''The Knight's Gate'', probably between the Hill of the Nymphs and the Pnyx. ''The Piraean Gate'', between the Pnyx and the Mouseion, leading to the carriage road between the Long Walls to the Piraeus. ''The Melitian Gate'', so called because it led to the
deme In Ancient Greece, a deme or ( grc, δῆμος) was a suburb or a subdivision of Classical Athens, Athens and other city-states. Demes as simple subdivisions of land in the countryside seem to have existed in the 6th century BC and earlier, but ...

deme
Melite, within the city. * On the South side: ''The Gate of the Dead'' in the neighbourhood of the Mouseion. ''The Itonian Gate'', near the Ilissos, where the road to Phalerum began. * On the East side: ''The Gate of Diochares'', leading to the Lyceum. ''The Diomean Gate'', leading to Cynosarges and the deme Diomea. * On the North side: ''The Acharnian Gate'', leading to the deme Acharnai.


Districts

* The ''Inner Kerameikos'', or "Potter's Quarter," in the west of the city, extending north as far as the Dipylon gate, by which it was separated from the outer Kerameikos; the Kerameikos contained the Ancient Agora of Athens, Agora, or "market-place," the only one in the city, lying northwest of the Acropolis, and north of the Areopagus. * The
deme In Ancient Greece, a deme or ( grc, δῆμος) was a suburb or a subdivision of Classical Athens, Athens and other city-states. Demes as simple subdivisions of land in the countryside seem to have existed in the 6th century BC and earlier, but ...

deme
Melite (Attica), Melite, in the west of the city, south of the inner Kerameikos. * The deme Skambonidai, in the northern part of the city, east of the inner Kerameikos. * The Kollytos, in the southern part of the city, south and southwest of the Acropolis. * Coele, Koele, a district in the southwest of the city. * ''Limnai'', a district east of Melite and Kollytos, between the Acropolis and the Ilissos. * Diomea (Attica), Diomea, a district in the east of the city, near the gate of the same name and the Cynosarges. * ''Agrai'', a district south of Diomea.


Hills

* The ''Areopagus'', the "Hill of Ares," west of the Acropolis, which gave its name to the celebrated council that held its sittings there, was accessible on the south side by a flight of steps cut out of the rock. * The ''Hill of the Nymphs'', northwest of the Areopagus. * The ''Pnyx'', a semicircular hill, southwest of the Areopagus, where the ''Ecclesia (ancient Athens), ekklesia'' (assemblies) of the people were held in earlier times, for afterwards the people usually met in the Theatre of Dionysus. * The ''Mouseion'', "the Hill of the Muses," south of the Pnyx and the Areopagus.


Streets

Among the more important streets, there were: * The ''Piraean Street'', which led from the Piraean gate to the Ancient Agora of Athens, Agora. * The ''Panathenaic Way'', which led from the Dipylon gate to the Acropolis of Athens, Acropolis via the Ancient Agora of Athens, Agora, along which a solemn procession was made during the Panathenaic Festival. * The ''Street of the Tripods'', on the east side of the Acropolis.


Public buildings

* ''Temples''. Of these the most important was the ''Olympieion'', or Temple of Olympian Zeus (Athens), Temple of Olympian Zeus, southeast of the Acropolis, near the Ilissos and the fountain Callirrhoë, which was long unfinished, and was first completed by Hadrian. The Temple of Hephaestus, located to the west of the Ancient Agora of Athens, Agora. The Temple of Ares, to the north of the Agora. ''Metroon'', or temple of the mother of the gods, on the west side of the Agora. Besides these, there was a vast number of other temples in all parts of the city. * The ''Bouleuterion'' (Senate House), at the west side of the Agora. * The ''Prytaneion, Tholos'', a round building close to the Bouleuterion, built c. 470 BC by Cimon, which served as the Prytaneion, in which the Prytaneis took their meals and offered their sacrifices. * ''Stoae'', or Colonnades, supported by pillars, and used as places of resort in the heat of the day, of which there were several in Athens. In the Ancient Agora of Athens, Agora there were: the ''Stoa Basileios'', the court of the Archon of Athens, King-Archon, on the west side of the Agora; the ''Stoa of Zeus, Stoa Eleutherios'', or Colonnade of Zeus Eleutherios, on the west side of the Agora; the ''Stoa poikile, Stoa Poikile'', so called because it was adorned with fresco painting of the
Battle of Marathon The Battle of Marathon ( grc, Μάχη τοῦ Μαραθῶνος, translit=Machē tou Marathōnos) took place in 490 BC during the first Persian invasion of Greece. It was fought between the citizens of History of Athens, Athens, aided by Plat ...

Battle of Marathon
by Polygnotus, on the north side of the Agora. * ''Theatres''. The Theatre of Dionysus, on the southeast slope of the Acropolis, was the great theatre of the state. Besides this there were ''Odeon (building), Odeons'', for contests in vocal and instrumental music, an ancient one near the fountain Callirrhoë, and a second built by
Pericles Pericles (; grc-x-attic, Περικλῆς, in Classical Attic; c. 495 – 429 BC) was a Greek statesman and general of Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Click ...

Pericles
, close to the theatre of Dionysius, on the southeast slope of the Acropolis. The large odeon surviving today, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus was built in Roman times. * Panathenaic Stadium, south of the Ilissos, in the district Agrai, where the athletic portion of the Panathenaic Games were held. * The ''Argyrocopeum'' (mint) appears to have been in or adjoining the chapel (''heroon'') of a hero named Stephanephorus.


Suburbs

* The ''Outer Kerameikos'', northwest of the city, was the finest suburb of Athens; here were buried the Athenians who had fallen in war, and at the further end of it was the ''
Academy An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; Koine Greek Ἀκαδημία) is an institution of secondary education, secondary or tertiary education, tertiary higher education, higher learning, research, or honorary membership. Academia is the w ...
'', 6 stadia from the city. * ''Cynosarges'', east of the city, across the Ilissos, reached from the Diomea gate, a Gymnasium (ancient Greece), gymnasium sacred to Heracles, where the Cynicism (philosophy), Cynic Antisthenes taught. * ''Lyceum'', east of the city, a gymnasium sacred to Apollo, Apollo Lyceus, where
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
taught.


Culture

The period from the end of the Persian Wars to the Macedonian conquest marked the zenith of Athens as a center of literature, philosophy (see Greek philosophy) and the arts (see Greek theatre). Some of the most important figures of Western cultural and intellectual history lived in Athens during this period: the dramatists Aeschylus,
Aristophanes Aristophanes (; grc, Ἀριστοφάνης, ; c. 446 – c. 386 BC), son of Philippus, of the deme 250px, Pinakia, identification tablets (name, father's name, deme) used for tasks like jury selection, Museum at the Ancient Agora of Athe ...

Aristophanes
, Euripides and
Sophocles Sophocles (; grc, Σοφοκλῆς, ; 497/6 – winter 406/5 BC)Sommerstein (2002), p. 41. is one of three ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , ...

Sophocles
, the philosophers
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
,
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian philosopher during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought and the Platoni ...

Plato
, and
Socrates Socrates (; ; –399 BC) was a Greek philosopher from Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Greece, largest city of Greece. Athens domi ...

Socrates
, the historians Herodotus, Thucydides and Xenophon, the poet Simonides of Ceos, Simonides and the sculptor Phidias. The leading statesman of this period was
Pericles Pericles (; grc-x-attic, Περικλῆς, in Classical Attic; c. 495 – 429 BC) was a Greek statesman and general of Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Click ...

Pericles
, who used the tribute paid by the members of the Delian League to build the
Parthenon The Parthenon (; grc, Παρθενών, , ; ell, Παρθενώνας, , ) is a former temple A temple (from the Latin ) is a building reserved for spiritual rituals and activities such as prayer and sacrifice. Religions which erect te ...

Parthenon
and other great monuments of classical Athens. The city became, in Pericles's words, an education for Hellas (usually quoted as "the school of Hellas [Greece].")Thucydides, 2.41.1


See also

*
Athenian democracy The relief representation depicts the personified Demos being crowned by Democracy. About 336 BC. Ancient Agora Museum. Athenian democracy developed around the 6th century BC in the Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or rela ...
* Academy of Plato * Athenian Army * Ephebic Oath * Women in classical Athens


References

{{Coord, 37.97, N, 23.72, E, source:wikidata, display=title Classical Athens, 508 BC 6th-century BC establishments in Greece 322 BC 4th-century BC disestablishments in Greece Ancient Athens Greek city-states