Portal:Ancient Greece

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The Parthenon, a temple dedicated to Athena, located on the Acropolis in Athens
, Greece

Ancient Greece (Greek: Ἑλλάς, romanizedHellás) was a northeastern Mediterranean civilization, existing from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of classical antiquity (c. AD 600), that comprised a loose collection of culturally and linguistically related city-states and other territories—unified only once, for 13 years, under Alexander the Great's empire (336-323 BC). In Western history, the era of classical antiquity was immediately followed by the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine period.

Roughly three centuries after the Late Bronze Age collapse of Mycenaean Greece, Greek urban poleis began to form in the 8th century BC, ushering in the Archaic period and colonization of the Mediterranean Basin. This was followed by the age of Classical Greece, from the Greco-Persian Wars to the 5th to 4th centuries BC. The conquests of Alexander the Great of Macedon spread Hellenistic civilization from the western Mediterranean to Central Asia. The Hellenistic period ended with the conquest of the eastern Mediterranean world by the Roman Republic, and the annexation of the Roman province of Macedonia in Roman Greece, and later the province of Achaea during the Roman Empire.

Classical Greek culture, especially philosophy, had a powerful influence on ancient Rome, which carried a version of it throughout the Mediterranean and much of Europe. For this reason, Classical Greece is generally considered the cradle of Western civilization, the seminal culture from which the modern West derives many of its founding archetypes and ideas in politics, philosophy, science, and art. (Full article...)

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Fragment of a Hellenistic relief (1st century BC–1st century AD) depicting the twelve Olympians carrying their attributes in procession; from left to right: Hestia (scepter), Hermes (winged cap and staff), Aphrodite (veiled), Ares (helmet and spear), Demeter (scepter and wheat sheaf), Hephaestus (staff), Hera (scepter), Poseidon (trident), Athena (owl and helmet), Zeus (thunderbolt and staff), Artemis (bow and quiver), Apollo (lyre), from the Walters Art Museum
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In ancient Greek religion and mythology, the twelve Olympians are the major deities of the Greek pantheon, commonly considered to be Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Hermes, and either Hestia or Dionysus. They were called Olympians because, according to tradition, they resided on Mount Olympus.

Although Hades was a major ancient Greek god and was the brother of the first generation of Olympians (Zeus, Poseidon, Hera, Demeter, and Hestia), his realm was the underworld, far from Olympus, and thus he was not usually considered to be one of the Olympians. (Full article...)
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Dodona (/dˈdnə/; Doric Greek: Δωδώνα, Dōdṓnā, Ionic and Attic Greek: Δωδώνη, Dōdṓnē) in Epirus in northwestern Greece was the oldest Hellenic oracle, possibly dating to the second millennium BCE according to Herodotus. The earliest accounts in Homer describe Dodona as an oracle of Zeus. Situated in a remote region away from the main Greek poleis, it was considered second only to the Oracle of Delphi in prestige.

Aristotle considered the region around Dodona to have been part of Hellas and the region where the Hellenes originated. The oracle was first under the control of the Thesprotians before it passed into the hands of the Molossians. It remained an important religious sanctuary until the rise of Christianity during the Late Roman era. (Full article...)

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  • ... that the Greeks did not have a term for "religion"?

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Bust of Solon, copy from a Greek original (c. 110 BC) from the Farnese Collection, now at the National Archaeological Museum, Naples

Solon (Greek: Σόλων; c. 630 – c. 560 BC) was an Athenian statesman, constitutional lawmaker and poet. He is remembered particularly for his efforts to legislate against political, economic and moral decline in Archaic Athens. His reforms failed in the short term, yet Solon is credited with having laid the foundations for Athenian democracy. His constitutional reform also succeeded in overturning most laws established by Draco.

Modern knowledge of Solon is limited by the fact that his works only survive in fragments and appear to feature interpolations by later authors and by the general paucity of documentary and archaeological evidence covering Athens in the early 6th century BC. It is recorded that he wrote poetry for pleasure, as patriotic propaganda, and in defence of his constitutional reform. Ancient authors such as Philo of Alexandria, Herodotus, and Plutarch are the main sources, but wrote about Solon long after his death. Fourth-century BC orators, such as Aeschines, tended to attribute to Solon all the laws of their own, much later times. (Full article...)

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Ancient Olympia Ruins (5986599465).jpg

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Ruins of the Ancient Olympic Games training grounds at Olympia.The historical origins of the Ancient Olympic Games are unknown, but several legends and myths have survived. One of these involved Pelops, king of Olympia and eponymous hero of the Peloponnesus, to whom offerings were made during the games.

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Places: Aegean Sea · Hellespont · Macedonia · Sparta · Athens · Corinth · Thebes · Thermopylae · Antioch · Alexandria · Pergamon · Miletus · Delphi · Olympia · Troy · Rhodes

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