Ancient Greece History: Timeline, War and Strategy, and Sports

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After Dacia, Trajan started a war with the Parthians and defeated them.

Persian Wars | Infoplease

He conquest Mesopotamia and created a new province. Sun Tzu, Chinese military general, war strategist, and author of The Art of War, completely changed the way war was fought in ancient times. The Art of War has been studied by many military commanders, nations, and intellectuals and has remained the most important military treatise in Asia for the last 2, years. In the 20th century, The Art of War became influential in Europe and America in various fields such as culture, politics, business, sport, and modern warfare. Julius Caesar was a brilliant military general, lawgiver, builder, and politician.

He was one of the most famous figures in ancient history, and he has had a significant impact on the ancient and modern world. The month of July, which was previously known as Quintilis in Rome, was named after him. He conquered Gaul modern-day France, Switzerland, Belgium, and northern Italy and was also the first Roman emperor to lead a military expedition to Britain.

Cyrus the Great was a Persian leader who conquered the Medes and unified the whole of Iran under a single ruler for the first time in history. Cyrus became the first king of the Persian Empire and established one of the largest empires in the world. He expanded his territory from the western part of present-day Iran and conquered a major nomadic tribe who lived in the eastern part of Iran. He invaded the kingdoms of Lydia and Greece and conquered them along with the coast of Antonia, which gave him access to the sea ports of the Mediterranean.

He issued the first human rights declaration of the ancient world which stated that all inhabitants of the empire were free to practice their own religions and social customs. Hannibal was an audacious military commander who also had the advantage of superior military tactics and strategy. Hannibal was mostly known for his courageous attempt to cross the Alps with his 50, infantry, 9, cavalry, and 37 elephants which was thought to be impossible at the time. The never-ending conflict between Rome and the Carthaginians resulted in the Second Punic War , where Hannibal shows his brilliant military tactics.

Despite all his efforts and great military strategies, his life mission to conquer Rome came to an end when he committed suicide to avoid falling into Roman hands. Military genius and King of Macedon, Alexander is one of the most respected military commanders of all time. He took an army of 50, on a year march with the intention of expanding his territory. See also: Top 10 Important People of Greece. Undoubtedly, Alexander the Great and Hannibal were the two biggest inspirational military commanders of the ancient world. If we are going there, we should start with Atilla the Hun. Genghis is not considered as an Ancient Warrior.

I have not included Genghis Khas in the article because all the military commanders are from the ancient period. His generals did most of his commanding for him. Alexander had 2 mil square miles to cover in 12 years with an army of 50, and by the time he was done he had lost less than half. He is also know as the greatest general to ever live by many historians.

If he had lived as long as khan Alexander would have probably been close to conquering most the know world back then. Have u seen his river battle during his invasion of India? That was genius. Scipio Africannus of Rome never lost a battle and he soundly thrashed Hannibal at Zama.


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He should certainly be on the list. Khalid Bin Walid never beat anybody who was any good which is why I suspect he is put on the B. Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon somehow always gets overlooked on ancient commander lists. He crushed both the Assyrians AND the Egyptions and conquered some 16 kingdoms including the supposedly impregnable city state of Tyre long before Alexander did. Scipio Africanus never lost a battle because he never faugh a truly difficult one. He always avoided ones that seemed unfavorable let to him. His only true achievement is defeating Hannibal.

When the Romansun agreed to a ceasefire, their only demand was that Hannibal must vacate Italy immediately.

When Hannibal returned to Africa the numidian king deserted the carthaginian cause and sided with rome. So Hannibal went into battle with Scipio lacking any good cavalry force plus his infantry was made up of bruttians, conscripts essantialy from lower Italy that he brought back with him. And witness accounts say that the infantry battle was even and only changed when the numidians attacked Hannibalso flanks and rear. Do some research before making suggestions. He studied Hannibal well especially after the traumatizing events at Cannae and it was clear that Hannibal inspired Scipio to think deeper about battles Ilipa.

That Scipio avoided battles he might not win shows him to be a good commander. Khalid bin Walid was one of the best military commanders of all time. Khalid bin Walid fought in over battles with armies of 30, plus whilst his own army consisted of 10, people. Furthermore the battles were one on one sword fighting and he proved to have excellent horse riding and sword fighting showmanship.

And it's not well established in the historical record when Hellen actually existed, but this is where we get the name Hellas from. And it's very important. Do not confuse this Hellen, who was a man, with Helen of Troy. Helen of Troy was a different person. When I was a child and I heard about Hellenic things or the Hellenic period, or the Hellenes, I was like, oh, maybe that's something to do with Helen of Troy.

That's referring to the Greek progenitor Hellen.

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And so that's where the word Hellas comes from, and ideas like Hellenes, which is the Greek people. Or Hellenic, which is referring to something that is Greek, or the Hellenistic Period, which we'll talk about many videos from now, which is this period of Greek influence. So with that out of the way, let's now talk about the big arc of history of ancient Greece. And it's believed that the Greek Peninsula has been settled by human beings for thousands and thousands of years.

And as time goes on we'll hopefully understand more and more about them. But my timeline right over here starts with Mycenaean Greece, or it starts with the end of Mycenaean Greece. In other videos we might talk more about the Mycenaean Empire. And as that empire falls, we enter into the Greek Dark Ages. Now there's one event, and I'll kind of say that with a slight emphasis or a question that is worth noting here.

Once again, there's not a strong historic record for the Trojan War, but it is a famous war, that was chronicled by Homer. And even Homer, we don't know if he really existed, or whether he was an entire literary tradition. But it was chronicled in the Iliad in the aftermath in the Odyssey. And once again, this was chronicled many hundreds of years later, and even Homer is a semi-legendary figure.

But when people talk about the Trojan Wars or you see movies about it, we're talking about something that, if it happened the way it happened, it's on the order of BCE. Now as we exit the Greek Dark Ages, that's when we start to have some of the institutions that really, that we now identify with the ancient Greeks, get established. You have the Oracle at Delphi. This is where leaders of the Greek city-states went for direction to understand what was likely to happen, to get prophecies. And this institution, the Oracle at Delphi, lasts through this entire period I have on my timeline, into Roman rule, for over years, where the Oracle at Delphi is a very, very prominent figure in influencing Greek leaders.

At around the same time, you also have the Olympic Games, where they're held at Olympia, where people compete to show their athletic prowess. And this ancient Olympic Games once again, it continues on for over years. Our modern Olympics are just kind of a flash in the pan, and it was obviously modeled after the ancient Olympics, compared to how long this lasted. Now when most people think of Greece, they're actually talking about classical Greece.

So this is the Classical Period right over here. And we're gonna do videos on a lot of these events, but it's roughly the period between the Persian invasions that were successfully put off, and the rise of Alexander and the fall of Alexander. And that's where you have all of these ideas of Greek democracy really kind of coming to the surface. Pericles, the Strategos of Athens, who had the influence to really help democracy flourish. Under his leadership, or during his leadership, you have the Acropolis and the Parthenon, these famous icons of Greek culture being established.

But once again, this is in this period. That's in this period right over here. This is also the period that we associate with the famous Greek philosophers. These lines right over here are the lives of Socrates and Plato, who is Socrates' student, established the famous academy. Aristotle who was Plato's student and famous tutor of Alexander the Great. Now as I mentioned, you had these city-states, and the ones that are worth mentioning, all of them are worth mentioning. They were also required to dance naked in front of the men to teach them bravery and to be too ashamed to let themselves get fat.

The boys learned to read and write but their primary educational goal was to learn to be brave and strong. Maybe the most frightening of the Spartan institutions were the Crypteia , where young boys were sent to the countryside to live off the land similar to 'Outward Bound' except for a critical difference. These boys were permitted to kill any helot they ran into. This pretty much kept the helots at home. The Spartans not only feared their own subjugated population but they also feared ideas like democracy for instance entering and polluting their system.

Though it is easy to get the impression that the Spartans were a society of militaristic robots this is not the case. The Spartans were known for their wit and their ability to say a lot without wasting words. Because the helots did all the work the Spartans had plenty of time for leisure and it is a myth that they spent every free moment in training. They used mercy as a tactic as well. The Spartans would not pursue and slaughter a retreating enemy, considering such behavior disgraceful and not befitting a true warrior.

This gave their adversaries the option of not fighting to the death but turning around and running and living to fight another day. It was a policy of Lycurgus not to fight too many wars with the same opponent since that gives him a chance to learn your style and strategies and defeat you. He made the Kings and the people of Sparta take an oath that they would not change any of his laws until he returned. He left the city and disappeared forever. At the age of sixteen Theseus was given the task of lifting the heavy stone where his father had put a sword and sandals.

Successful in his efforts he walked to Athens to find his father, defeating monsters and evil along the way. After arriving in Athens as a hero he volunteers to go to Crete where King Minos has been demanding a sacrifice of young men and virgins to a monster called the Minotaur. Theseus defeats the Minotaur and returns to Athens though he forgets to remove the black sail of death from the ship. His father, King Aegeus, thinking his beloved son has died, hurls himself into the sea, which is how it came to be known as the Aegean. He makes it a policy to give aid to the weak and helpless. Later he was overthrown and then murdered while exiled on the island of Skyros.

Whether fact or fiction, the meaning behind these stories is what is important to the Athenians. Theseus embodies all they stand for. The Athenians of the 5th Century used his deeds as the standards to measure themselves and their democracy. Theseus was to the Athenians what George Washington is to Americans today. The Athenian democracy was reformed by King Solon in Solon was to Athens what Lycurgus was to Sparta and his reforms paved the way out of a volatile period and into the Golden Age.

Top 12 Greatest Ancient Military Commanders

Under Athenian law if you could not pay your debt, the person you owed money to could seize you and your family and sell you as slaves to get his money back. The economic reforms that Solon enacted led to the future prosperity of Athens. He banned the export of all agricultural products with the exception of olive oil, which was as valuable to the ancient Greeks as it is to the modern Greeks.

By offering citizenship he attracted some of the finest craftsmen of the Greek world to Athens. He made being unemployed a crime. He created a supreme court made up of former Archons ruler or chief magistrate of Athens and another legislative body of to debate laws before putting them before the people for a vote.

Though Solon's reforms did not cure the ills of Athenian society overnight in the way that Lycurgus had done with the Spartans, the long term effect was to solidify the rule of law and eventually led to Athenian democracy. After committing these laws to writing Solon left Athens because he did not want to be bothered by the Athenians who would be continuously asking him to interpret his laws. He wanted to let them figure it out and he went off to Egypt where he started but never finished a story about Atlantis, which he had learned about from the Egyptian priests.


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After he left, the Athenians began fighting amongst themselves again and for two years the city was a leaderless anarchy. The word anarchy comes from the Greek, meaning without a leader or archon. Athenian politics was comprised of three groups which corresponded to the different areas of the Attica peninsula.

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With these men he seized the Acropolis and tried to make himself ruler. He was driven out. Three years later he tried again by marrying a young girl from another leading aristocratic family but she left him for not fulfilling his matrimonial duties and Pisistratus left for Thrace where he focused on amassing more wealth by digging for silver and gold. Apparently this worked because his followers defeated his opponents at the Battle of Palini and Psistratus became the ruler of Athens.

So in other words it did not mean he was a bad guy. It just meant he could do whatever he wanted because there was nothing above or below that could stop him. The period of Athenian history under Pisitratus was one of peace and his rule was a positive step in the establishment of democracy, perhaps more so than Solon. Unfortunately his sons, who assumed power after his death in were not quite up to the task and were tyrants in the sense of the word that we are familiar.

After another period of instability following the expulsion of Hippias, two aristocratic leaders, Cleisthenes and Isagoras, emerge as the leading contenders for rulership of Athens in Cleisthenes becomes archon. He redraws the political map of Athens in a way that breaks the power of the old aristocracy and gives all the Athenian people a voice in politics.

The Athenians embrace this and identify strongly with their deme to such a degree that when asked his name he would give his first name, the name of his father and his deme. So I would be Matt, son of Nicholas of Kalithea. Read more on Athenian Democracy Just imagine the US declaring war and invading Costa Rica. When a herald named Phidippides runs the 26 miles from Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory and dies on the spot, an event which may or may not have happened, we have the origin to the marathon races which are now run all over the world.

That's why they are 26 miles. The epitaph of the heroic Spartans was written by the poet Simonides and carved in the stone walls of the pass:. Tell them in Lacedaemon passerby that here obedient to their words we lie. As the Persians continued their relentless march south towards Athens, the Greek fleet lures the Persian fleet into the straits between Attica and the island of Salamis where their smaller and more maneuverable ships have an advantage. This is the end of the Persian wars and the beginning of the end of the Persian empire.

Had the Persians won and occupied Greece, western civilization as we know it might not have occurred. What did occur is a feeling among the Greeks that because they had defeated a larger and more powerful enemy, the Persians must be somehow weak, effeminate and inferior to them. It also is the beginning of the split between east and west and the word barbarian which had meant speaking an incomprehensible language , now came to mean uncivilized or inferior. In the Athenian general and statesman Cimon travels to the island of Skyros where he finds the bones of Theseus, brings them back and builds a shrine to the great king who had not only been an inspiration to them but who had been seen fighting alongside the Greek soldiers in the battle of Marathon.

With the threat from the east gone Athens begins a fifty year period under the brilliant statesman Pericles BC during which time the Parthenon was built on the Acropolis and the city becomes the artistic, cultural and intellectual as well as commercial center of the Hellenic world, attracting all sorts of smart and interesting people and taking command of the other Greek states.

In the Delian League is formed by Athens and its allies on the island of Delos , the sacred island of Apollo. After swearing an oath, these Greek city-states, some who were forced to join by threats, begin to rid the land of the last remaining Persians and free the seas of piracy. But as enemies became fewer and members of the league want to devote their resources to peaceful endeavors, Athens is becoming more powerful and forces other members do what is best for Athens.

This takes the form of payments, supposedly for the maintenance of the fleet, from the other members.