To put its age into perspective: the first permanent settlement in the United States (St. Augustine, Florida) wasn’t founded until 1565! The metro-rat, or metropontikas, is a mechanical excavator that came across a lot of important pieces of history while grinding rock all over Attica for the new Athens Metro network; so many, in fact, that there is now a small museum in almost every Metro station. Athens was chosen as the reference city for the 14th documentary major international art Event in 2017 under the title Learning from Athens. The origins of Athens date back to 3000BC, making it one of the oldest cities in the world. The city's environmental and infrastructure problems were the main reason why Athens failed to secure the 1996 centenary Olympic Games. The Peloponnesian War ended in 404 BC with the complete defeat of Athens. The Assembly was open to all 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. Country fact file: Greece. During Michel Fourmont's visit in the city in the 1720s, he witnessed much construction going on, and by the time the Athenian teacher Ioannis Benizelos wrote an account of the city's affairs in the 1770s, Athens was once again enjoying some prosperity, so that, according to Benizelos, it "could be cited as an example to the other cities of Greece". The Florentines had to dispute the city with the Republic of Venice, but they ultimately emerged victorious after seven years of Venetian rule (1395–1402). Many important people wandered its streets throughout time. Delos is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Occupying a small but fertile strip of land, the city of Athens would soon prosper into one of the greatest cities of the Ancient World. The city hosted a French and an English consul. In Athens at this time, the political satire of the Comic poets at the theatres had a remarkable influence on public opinion. However, this medieval prosperity was not to last. Web. Two other major religious sites, the Temple of Hephaestus (which is still largely intact) and the Temple of Olympian Zeus or Olympeion (once the largest temple in mainland Greece but now in ruins) also lay within the city walls. Athens was occupied by the Germans during World War II and experienced terrible privations during the later years of the war. Numerous educational institutions recommend us, including Oxford University and Michigan State University and University of Missouri. 'A Mycenaean Fountain on the Athenian Acropolis', Hesperia VIII. They were themselves influenced by Byzantine Greek culture. Clarke County was established in 1801 and named after Elijah Clarke, a Revolutionary War hero, and Athens was established as a town in 1805. As the soil was not conducive to large-scale agricultural programs, Athens turned to trade for its livelihood and, mainly, to sea trade. Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world as well, with recorded history going back over 3400 years. After the Persian Wars (490-479 BC), Ancient Athens developed as the leading city-state in Greece. When the Byzantine Empire was rescued by the resolute leadership of the three Komnenos emperors Alexios, John and Manuel, Attica and the rest of Greece prospered. Its port, the Piraeus, was home to Greece’s largest fleet of ships. After the conquests of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC, the city's population began to decrease as Greeks migrated to the Hellenistic empires in the east. Sari Muselimi fled to the Acropolis where he was besieged by the Athenians, until the Ottoman governor of Negroponte intervened and restored order, imprisoning the Metropolitan and imposing a heavy fine on the Greek community. By 1412 BC, the settlement had become an important center of the Mycenaean civilization and the Acropolis was the site of a major Mycenaean fortress whose remains can be recognised from sections of the characteristic Cyclopean walls. Athens was then subject to Macedonian rule until their defeat by the Romans in 197 BCE at the Battle of Cynocephalae after which Greece was methodically conquered by the Roman Empire.  The sack of the city by the Herules in 267 and by the Visigoths under their king Alaric I (r. 395–410) in 396, however, dealt a heavy blow to the city's fabric and fortunes, and Athens was henceforth confined to a small fortified area that embraced a fraction of the ancient city. For some people, life in Greece was good, and many lived in busy towns and cities. Here is a compilation of 15 interesting facts you should know about Athens. Alan Cameron, "The Last Days of the Academy at Athens," in A. Cameron, Wandering Poets and Other Essays on Late Greek Literature and Philosophy, 2016, (Oxford University Press: Oxford), pp. He was the author of the valuable work Historiarum Demonstrationes (Demonstrations of History) and was a great admirer of the ancient writer Herodotus, encouraging the interest of contemporary Italian humanists in that ancient historian. Athens is one of the cities with the longest history in the world. , Some of the most important figures of Western cultural and intellectual history lived in Athens during this period: the dramatists Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes, the physician Hippocrates, the philosophers Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, the historians Herodotus, Thucydides and Xenophon, the poet Simonides, the orators Antiphon, Isocrates, Aeschines, and Demosthenes, and the sculptor Phidias. The period from the end of the Persian Wars to the Macedonian conquest marked the zenith of Athens as a center of literature, philosophy, and the arts. Under the Burgundian dukes, a bell tower was added to the Parthenon, known as the Frankish Tower. Greek entry into the European Union in 1981 brought a flood of new investment to the city, but also increasing social and environmental problems. Throughout the city’s history Athens was involved in numerous wars, including conflicts with the Persians and other Greeks, but it was also a great centre of learning. Since its inauguration, the Athens Metro has provided passengers with shorter commute times and removed more than 375,000 cars per day from the congested streets while curbing pollution. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/Athens/. His abuse of power led to protests by both the Greeks and the Turks; Sari Muselimi killed some of the notables who protested, whereupon the populace burned down his residence.  The site is a natural defensive position which commands the surrounding plains. Around the tenth century B.C., the settlers form… Athens, Modern Greek Athínai, Ancient Greek Athēnai, historic city and capital of Greece. The remains of a Mycenaean palace can still be seen today on the Acropolis. The city remained an important center of learning, especially of Neoplatonism—with notable pupils including Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil of Caesarea and emperor Julian (r. 355–363)—and consequently a center of paganism. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. Related Content  English visitors during the 1760s report a population of around 10,000 inhabitants, around four-fifths of which were Christians. By the 7th century BC, social unrest had become widespread, and the Areopagus appointed Draco to draft a strict new code of law (hence the word 'draconian'). History. The Agora, the commercial and social centre of the city, lay about 400 m (1,312 ft) north of the Acropolis, in what is now the Monastiraki district. It exported leather, soap, grain, oil, honey, wax, resin, a little silk, cheese, and valonia, chiefly to Constantinople and France. The resentment felt by other cities at the hegemony of Athens led to the Peloponnesian War, which began in 431 BC and pitted Athens and its increasingly rebellious overseas empire against a coalition of land-based states led by Sparta. The poorest class, the Thetai, (Ancient Greek Θήται) who formed the majority of the population, received political rights for the first time and were able to vote in the Ecclesia (Assembly). In 1388, the Florentine Nerio I Acciajuoli took the city and made himself duke. Athens remained a centre of learning and philosophy during its 500 years of Roman rule, patronized by emperors such as Nero and Hadrian.  From the early 17th century, Athens came under the jurisdiction of the Kizlar Agha, the chief black eunuch of the Sultans' harem. This period is the peak in the history of Athens. The Acropolis of Athens is one of the most famous ancient archaeological sites in the world.  His early tenure also saw two large Albanian raids into Attica, as a response to which he ordered the construction of a new city wall, the "Wall of Haseki", which was partly constructed with material taken from ancient monuments. A Brief History of Athens Just below the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, near the confluence of the North and Middle Oconee Rivers, lies the city of Athens. It is a tribute to an enduring legacy that the Roman general Sulla, who sacked Athens in 87-86 BCE, slaughtered the citizenry, and burned the port of Piraeus, refused to allow his soldiers to burn the city itself. 1. Covering more than 135 kilometers with 61 stations and 4 interchanges, the Athens Metro network serves the Athenian agglomeration and parts of East Attica. The home of democracy and origins of Western civilization is still a major draw despite years of decline and neglect, and the city has managed to retain some of the world's most magnificent ancient architecture. The new system laid the foundations for what eventually became Athenian democracy, but in the short-term it failed to quell class conflict and after twenty years of unrest the popular party, led by Peisistratus, seized power (in 541 BC). The 5th century BC is known as the Classical Century or the Golden Age of Pericles, the man who dominated on the political scene of Athens at that time. The history of Athens is as impressive as they come, at one time boasting genius thinkers and unrivalled prowess in the arts. On the summit of the Acropolis, below the later Erechtheion, cuttings in the rock have been identified as the location of a Mycenaean palace.  Subsequently, the conquests of Alexander the Great widened Greek horizons and made the traditional Greek city state obsolete.  Athens then took the war to Asia Minor. The next chapter in the history of the monument came with the Greek Revolution (1821-1832), which resulted in the creation of the modern Greek state. At some point during the Aragonese period, the Acropolis was further fortified and the Athenian archdiocese received an extra two suffragan sees. In 1832, Otto, Prince of Bavaria, was proclaimed King of Greece. Athens has been continuously inhabited for over 3,000 years, becoming the leading city of Ancient Greece in the first millennium BC; its cultural achievements during the 5th century BC laid the foundations of western civilization. The Fighting Bunch: The Battle of Athens and How World War II Veterans... Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. , The city was threatened by Saracen raids in the 8th–9th centuries—in 896, Athens was raided and possibly occupied for a short period, an event which left some archaeological remains and elements of Arabic ornamentation in contemporary buildings—but there is also evidence of a mosque existing in the city at the time. Since the loss of the war was largely blamed on democratic politicians such as Cleon and Cleophon, there was a brief reaction against democracy, aided by the Spartan army (the rule of the Thirty Tyrants). A day that changed history: the bodies of unarmed protestors shot by the police and the British army in Athens on 3 December 1944. Each phyle was in turn divided into three trittyes and each trittys had one or more demes, which became the basis of local government. Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization. Athens Facts For Kids – Ancient Greek History There were many important city-states in Ancient Greece, but Athens was perhaps the most important and the most powerful. Most public offices were filled by lot, although the ten strategoi (generals) were elected. The table below shows the historical population of Athens in relatively recent times. It supplied, among other structures, the fountain house in the southeast corner of the Agora, but it had a number of branches. The city covers a total area of 412 square kilometers (159 square miles). 1939. , His cousin Laonicus Chalcondyles (c. 1423–1490) was also a native of Athens, a notable scholar and Byzantine historian and one of the most valuable of the later Greek historians. According to the historian Waterfield, "The pride that followed from widespread involvement in public life gave Athenians the energy to develop their city both internally and in relation to their neighbors". Democritus envisioned an atomic universe. The reforms that Solon initiated dealt with both political and economic issues. Lykavittos Hill is the highest point in Athens, rising 277 meters (910 feet) above the city. The Ottoman forces remained in possession until March 1833, when they withdrew. Cite This Work  The Arch of Hadrian commemorates the foundation of the city by Hadrian, with the "city of Theseus" referred to on its inscription on one side of the arch, and the new quarter erected by Hadrian around the Temple of Zeus called the "city of Hadrian". Athens is one of the cities with the longest history in the world. The story goes that when she touched the ground where Athens was to be built with an olive branch, an olive tree grew. 2.The Greeks had some strange superstitions about food – some wouldn’t eat beans as they thought t… Each state had its own laws, government and money but they shared the same language and religion.The two most important city states were Athens and Sparta.We know much about Athens because it produced many writers and artists, whose work has survived to this day. In 1311, Athens was conquered by the Catalan Company, a band of mercenaries called Almogavars. The history of Athens is one of the longest of any city in Europe and in the world. Lykavittos Hill is the highest point in Athens, rising 277 meters (910 feet) above the city. The Eleusinian Mysteries become part of the official Athenian religious calendar. The early Mycenaean period (c. 1550 - 1100 BCE) saw massive fortresses rise all over Greece, and Athens was no exception. 120,000 people lived in the state of Athens in the 5th century BC. There is evidence that the site on which the Acropolis ('high city') stands was first inhabited in the Neolithic period, perhaps as a defensible settlement, around the end of the fourth millennium BC or a little later. The ancient walled city encompassed an area measuring about 2 km (1 mi) from east to west and slightly less than that from north to south, although at its peak the ancient city had suburbs extending well beyond these walls. The Athenians, afterward, claimed for themselves a special status in that they spoke Ionian, instead of Doric, Greek and held to customs they felt were superior to their neighbors.  Between 1801 and 1805 Lord Elgin, the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, arranged for the removal of many sculptures from the Parthenon (the Elgin marbles). "Athens." For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. Athens was a great center for art, literature, philosophy, and education. During the time of the Ancient Greeks it was the center of power, art, science, and philosophy in the world. The magnificent temple on the Acropolis of Athens... Athens National Archaeological Museum - Greece, A day in the life of an ancient Athenian - Robert Garland. those who did not have citizen rights and paid for the right to reside in Athens, numbered a further 70,000, whilst slaves were estimated at between 150,000 and 400,000. , The Turks began a practice of storing gunpowder and explosives in the Parthenon and Propylaea. The origins of Athens date back to 3000BC, making it one of the oldest cities in the world. Along with the Panathenaic frieze, one of the six caryatids of the Erechtheion was extracted and replaced with a plaster mold.  Philippides of Paiania, one of the wealthiest Athenian aristocratic oligarchs, campaigned for Philip II during the Battle of Chaeronea and proposed in the Assembly decrees honoring Alexander the Great for the Macedonian victory. Almost all of the most important Middle Byzantine churches in and around Athens were built during these two centuries, and this reflects the growth of the town in general. The Greeks saw this as a symbol that Athena still had her mark there on the city. , The first owner (malikhane sahib), Ismail Agha, a local Turk from Livadeia, had been humane and popular, appointing good voevodas, so that he was nicknamed "the Good". His son, Hippias, continued his policies until his younger brother, Hipparkhos, was assassinated over a love affair in 514 BCE. It was also the first Greek city-state to adopt a fully democratic system of government. According to the Greek mythology, Cecrops, who was half man and half serpent, founded Athens and became the first king. These victories enabled it to bring most of the Aegean and many other parts of Greece together in the Delian League, an Athenian-dominated alliance. Athens has experienced almost every form of government. Athens is one of the oldest named cities in the world, having been continuously inhabited for perhaps 5,000 years. The descendants of Nerio I Acciajuoli ruled the city (as their capital) until the Turkish conquest of 1458. In the ancient time, the boys could go to school. In 403 BC, however, democracy was restored by Thrasybulus and an amnesty was declared. In 1458 the Ottomans conquered Athens and transformed the Parthenon into a mosque with a minaret. A contest was held among the gods on the Acropolis, with Cecrops and the citizenry looking on, to determine which deity would win the honor. In 88–85 BC, most Athenian buildings, both houses and fortifications, were leveled by the Roman general Sulla (138 BC – 78 BC) after the Siege of Athens and Piraeus, although many civic buildings and monuments were left intact. At the time, Greece was under Ottoman rule. This period is known as the Frankokratia. Unlike other Mycenaean centers, such as Mycenae and Pylos, it is unclear whether Athens suffered destruction in about 1200 BC, an event traditionally attributed to a Dorian invasion (though now commonly attributed to a systems collapse, part of the Late Bronze Age collapse). In ancient times the Greeks lived in city states. We have also been recommended for educational use by the following publications: Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in Canada. 1.27.2]. Ancient History Encyclopedia.  The origin myth explaining how Athens acquired this name through the legendary contest between Poseidon and Athena was described by Herodotus, Apollodorus, Ovid, Plutarch, Pausanias and others. Henceforth it would be leased as a malikhane, a form of tax farming where the owner bought the proceeds of the city for a fixed sum, and enjoyed them for life. In 490 BC, the Athenians, led by the soldier-statesman Miltiades, defeated the first invasion of the Persians under Darius I at the Battle of Marathon. This system remained remarkably stable and, with a few brief interruptions, it remained in place for 170 years, until Philip II of Macedon defeated Athens and Thebes at the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC. Here are some facts about Ancient Athens. During the Second Macedonian War (200–197), the Romans declared "the freedom of Greece" from the Macedonian Kings. We all know that Athens is an ancient city packed with beyond interesting ancient history. The history of Greece encompasses the history of the territory of the modern nation-state of Greece as well as that of the Greek people and the areas they inhabited and ruled historically. In 1822, a Greek insurgency captured the city, but it fell to the Ottomans again in 1826 (though Acropolis held till June 1827). 205-246, CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (, Population exchange between Greece and Turkey, "Roman aqueducts: Hadrian's Athens (Greece)", "Eastern Concubines, Western Mistresses: Prévost's, "and (Dontas, The Acropolis and its Museum, 16)", "The Ghost of Athens in Byzantine and Ottoman Times", American School of Classical Studies at Athens, A history of Athens from prehistoric to contemporary times, Remains of the Acharnian Road, Acharnian Gate and Cemetery Site, House of Saint Philothei/Benizelos-Palaiologos mansion, Cathedral Basilica of St. Dionysius the Areopagite, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=History_of_Athens&oldid=999279837, Articles with unsourced statements from July 2019, Articles with unsourced statements from April 2019, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 9 January 2021, at 11:01. Athens. Good thing they have 148 theatrical stages to tell it on! Continuously inhabited for over 7,000 years, Athens is one of the oldest cities in Europe.  The Venetians occupied the town, converting its two mosques into Catholic and Protestant churches, but on 9 April 1688 they abandoned it again to the Ottomans. Athens is named after Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and war, and daughter of Zeus. https://www.ancient.eu/Athens/. Athens was at the centre of an area known as Attica. Throughout the city’s history Athens was involved in numerous wars, including conflicts with the Persians and other Greeks, but it was also a great centre of learning. Greece welcomed 17,920,000 tourists into the country in 2013, many of whom visited Athens for its ancient history and magnificent buildings.  Hence, approximately a tenth of the population were adult male citizens, eligible to meet and vote in the Assembly and be elected to office.  A few years later, another Athenian, Theophano, became empress as the wife of Staurakios (r. People are very impressed with the Ancient Greek civilization. Final Thoughts on the History of Athens. In the aftermath of the coup, and after settling affairs with Spartan factions such as Isagoras's bid for power, Cleisthenes was appointed to reform the government and the laws and, in 507 BCE, he instituted a new form of government which today is recognized as democracy. Athens’ origins date back to 3,000 B.C. The people of Athens believed that no one group of people should make the laws and so citizens could choose the government officials, and vote for or against new laws. Occupying a small but fertile strip of land, the city of Athens would soon prosper into one of the greatest cities of the Ancient World.  In the great dispute over Byzantine Iconoclasm, Athens is commonly held to have supported the iconophile position, chiefly due to the role played by Empress Irene of Athens in the ending of the first period of Iconoclasm at the Second Council of Nicaea in 787. Athens was sacked by the Slavs in 582, but remained in imperial hands thereafter, as highlighted by the visit of the emperor Constans II (r. 641–668) in 662/3 and its inclusion in the Theme of Hellas. Sparta was a warrior society in ancient Greece that reached the height of its power after defeating rival city-state Athens in the Peloponnesian War (431-404 After World War II the city began to grow again as people migrated from the villages and islands to find work. Greece welcomed 17,920,000 tourists into the country in 2013, many of whom visited Athens for its ancient history and magnificent buildings. Along with rest of Byzantine Greece, Athens was part of the series of feudal fiefs, similar to the Crusader states established in Syria and on Cyprus after the First Crusade. Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world as well, with recorded history going back over 3400 years. This legacy would continue as, later, Plato would found his Academy outside the walls of Athens in 385 BCE and, later, Aristotle's Lyceum would be founded in the city center. It is located in Central Greece in the southern part of the region of Attica. The Great Famine (Greece) was heavy in the city. 811–812)..  At that time, Athens had a population of only 4,000 to 5,000 people in a scattering of houses at the foot of the Acropolis, located in what today covers the district of Plaka. , This peaceful situation was interrupted in 1752–1753, when the execution of the previous Kizlar Agha resulted in the dispatch of a new pasha, Sari Muselimi. It was held by the Catalans until 1388. After this Hippias instituted a reign of terror which finally culminated in the overthrow of the Peisistratid tyranny in the Athenian Revolt of 510 BCE (backed by Sparta and lead by the Spartan Kleomenes). Throughout its long history, Athens has had many different population levels. But only the upper classes could hold political office. In 479 BC, the Athenians and Spartans, with their allies, defeated the Persian army conclusively at the Battle of Plataea. From the Acropolis to the Olympic Games, Athens sure has a story to tell! As a result, Athens was awarded the 2004 Olympic Games. This led Hippias to establish a real dictatorship, which proved very unpopular. Several resistance organizations were created. The Roman emperor Hadrian (r. 117–138 AD), constructed the Library of Hadrian, a gymnasium, an aqueduct which is still in use, several temples and sanctuaries, a bridge, and finally completed the Temple of Olympian Zeus. 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