ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Ancient Athens

Updated on November 1, 2009

Athens was named for Athena, goddess of wisdom, the city's patron. When the city first appeared in history, its population was grouped in families and tribes. Athens was gov­erned by kings claiming descent from Erechtheus, who according to legend was an early king of Athens and later was deified. In the late 700's and early 600's B.C. the monarchy was superseded by an oligarchy of archons (magistrates) elected by the Athenian aristocracy.

A social crisis led to constitutional and eco­nomic reforms promulgated by Solon in 594 B.C. Pisistratus seized power in 560 and, except for two brief intervals, ruled as a popular and benevolent dictator until his death in 527. He was suc­ceeded by his sons Hipparchus and Hippias. After Hippias was overthrown in 510, a struggle broke out between those who favored oligarchy and those who favored democracy. The demo­crats won and in 508 Cleisthenes introduced re­forms that made Athens the first democracy.

In 480 B.C., the Persians under Xerxes I captured and burned Athens. In the struggle that followed, Athens emerged in ruins but victorious, and its authority as leader of the Ionian Greeks was firmly established. Its geographical position ensured rapid commercial progress. Under the leadership of Cimon (about 468-461) and Pericles (about 461-429), Athens became a great imperial power. The 60 years following the Persian Wars were the great creative age in Athens.

Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, and Socrates all flourished at this time. But the Peloponnesian War (431-404) impoverished Athens. The city surrendered to Sparta and took second place in Greek affairs.

In the 300's B.C., Athens revived, but it struggled unsuccessfully against the rising power of Macedon. Athens retained a measure of autonomy under Alexander the Great (reigned 336-323) and kept its cultural preeminence. In 146 B.C., when the Greek cities were placed under the Roman governor of Macedonia, Athens kept its autonomy, but the city was sacked by Sulla, in the year 86, and in 27 it became part of the Roman province of Achaea. Although Athens ceased to be politically important, it was regarded as the great university city of the Roman world. In the 100's A.D., under Hadrian and the Antonines, it revived as a great commercial center.

After about 300 A.D., Athens began to decline as a cultural center. Under Byzantine rule from the late 300's to 1453, the city was unable to compete with Constantinople.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)