Greece officially the Hellenic Republic and historically Hellas is a country
in Southern Europe,politically also considered part of Western Europe.
The name of Greece differs in Greece in comparison with the names used for the
country in other languages and cultures, just like the names of the Greeks.
Although the Greeks call the country Hellas or Ellada and its official name is
Hellenic Republic, in English the country is called Greece, which comes from
Latin Graecia as used by the Romans and literally means 'the land of the
Greeks', and derives from the Greek name ; however, the name Hellas is
sometimes used in English too.
Modern Greece traces its roots to the civilization of ancient
Greece, generally considered the cradle of Western civilization. As such it is
the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy ,the Olympic Games, Western
literature and historiography, political science, major scientific and
mathematical principles, and Western drama,including both tragedy and comedy.
This legacy is partly reflected in the seventeen UNESCO World Heritage Sites
located in Greece, ranking Greece 7th in Europe and 13th in the world. The
modern Greek state was established in 1830, following the Greek War of
Greece has land borders with Albania, the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria
to the north, and Turkey to the east. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of
mainland Greece, the Ionian Sea to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the
south. Greece has the 11th longest coastline in the world at 13,676 km
(8,498 mi) in length, featuring a vast number of islands (approximately
1,400, of which 227 are inhabited), including Crete, the Dodecanese, the
Cyclades, and the Ionian Islands among others. Eighty percent of Greece
consists of mountains, of which Mount Olympus is the highest at 2,917 m
The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that
arose on the island of Crete and flourished from approximately
the 27th century BC to the 15th century BC. It was rediscovered
at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of the
British archaeologist Arthur Evans. Will Durant referred to it
as "the first link in the European chain." The early
inhabitants of Crete may have settled as early as 128,000
BC, during the Middle Paleolithic age. However, it was not until
5000 BC that the first signs of advanced agriculture appeared.
What the Minoans called themselves is unknown. The term
"Minoan" was coined by Arthur Evans after the mythic "king"
Minos.Minos was associated in Greek myth with the
labyrinth, which Evans identified with the site at Knossos. It
has sometimes been argued that the Egyptian place name "Keftiu"
(*Káftiu kftiw) and the Semitic "Kaftor" or "Caphtor" and
"Kaptara" in the Mari archives refer to the island of Crete; "On
the other hand some acknowledged facts about Caphtor/Keftiu can
only with difficulty be reconciled with Crete," observes John
Strange. In the Odyssey, composed centuries after the
destruction of the Minoan civilization, Homer calls the natives
of Crete Eteocretans ("true Cretans"); these may have been
descendants of the Minoans.
Mycenaean civilization (mīsēnē'un) an ancient Aegean civilization known from
the excavations at Mycenae and other sites. They were first undertaken by Heinrich
Schliemann and others after 1876, and they helped to revise the early history of
Greece. Divided into Early Helladic (c.2800–2000 B.C.), Middle Helladic (c.2000–
1500 B.C.), and Late Helladic (c.1500–1100 B.C.) periods, the chronology roughly
parallels that of the contemporary Minoan civilization. The Mycenaeans entered
Greece from the north or northeast c.2000 B.C., displacing, seemingly without
violence, the older Neolithic culture, which can be dated as early as 4000 B.C.
These Indo-European Greek-speaking invaders brought with them advanced techniques
in pottery, metallurgy, and architecture. Mercantile contact with Crete advanced
and strongly influenced their culture, and by 1600 B.C., Mycenae had become a major
center of the ancient world. The exact relationship of Mycenaean Greece to Crete
between 1600 and 1400 B.C. is extremely complex, with both areas evidently
competing for maritime control of the Mediterranean. After the violent destruction
of Knossos c.1400 B.C., Mycenae achieved supremacy, and much of the Minoan cultural
tradition was transferred to the mainland. The Mycenaean commercial empire and
consequent cultural influence lasted from 1400 to 1200 B.C., when the invasion of
the Dorians ushered in a period of decline for Greece. Events from 1100 to 900 B.C.
are extremely obscure, but by the 9th cent. B.C. the centers of wealth and
population showed a decisive shift. Although the Mycenaeans had certain innovations
of their own, they drew much of their cultural inspiration from the Minoans. The
great Mycenaean cities—Mycenae, Tiryns, Pylos, Thebes, Orchomenos—were noted for
their heavy, complex fortifications and the massive, cyclopean quality of their
masonry, while Minoan cities were totally unfortified. Mycenaean palaces were built
around great halls called megara rather than around an open space as in Crete.
Unlike the Cretans, the Mycenaeans were bearded and wore armor in battle. Their
written language, preserved on numerous clay tablets from Pylos, Mycenae, and
Knossos, appears to be a form of archaic Greek linguistically related to ancient
Cypriot. The presence of this script, known as Linear B, at Knossos c.1500 B.C.
indicates that Mycenaean Greeks had invaded and dominated Crete during the Late
Minoan period before the final collapse c.1400 B.C. The works of Homer have been
radically reevaluated since the archaeological discoveries of Mycenaean Greece. He
is now considered to give admirable glimpses of the culture of the late Mycenaean
civilization of the 12th cent. B.C. (see Achaeans).
Sparta (Doric Σπάρτα; Attic Σπάρτη Spartē), or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state
in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-
eastern Peloponnese.[It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when
the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c. 650 BC it rose
to become the dominant military land-power in ancient Greece.
Given its military pre-eminence, Sparta was recognized as the overall leader of the
combined Greek forces during the Greco-Persian Wars.Between 431 and 404 BC, Sparta was
the principal enemy of Athens during the Peloponnesian War,from which it emerged
victorious, though at great cost. Sparta's defeat by Thebes in the Battle of Leuctra in
371 BC ended Sparta's prominent role in Greece. However, it maintained its political
independence until the Roman conquest of Greece in 146 BC.
Sparta was unique in ancient Greece for its social system and constitution, which
completely focused on military training and excellence. Its inhabitants were classified
as Spartiates (Spartan citizens, who enjoyed full rights), Mothakes (non-Spartan free men
raised as Spartans), Perioikoi (freedmen), and Helots (state-owned serfs, enslaved non-
Spartan local population). Spartiates underwent the rigorous agoge training and education
regimen, and Spartan phalanxes were widely considered to be among the best in battle.
Spartan women enjoyed considerably more rights and equality to men than elsewhere in the
Sparta was the subject of fascination in its own day, as well as in the West following
the revival of classical learning. Sparta continues to fascinate Western Culture; an
admiration of Sparta is called laconophilia.