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The Parthenon, a temple dedicated to Athena, located on the Acropolis in Athens, Greece
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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An engraving of Orion from Johann Bayer's Uranometria, 1603 (US Naval Observatory Library)
An engraving of Orion from Johann Bayer's Uranometria, 1603 (US Naval Observatory Library)

In Greek mythology, Orion (/əˈrən/; Ancient Greek: Ὠρίων or Ὠαρίων; Latin: Orion) was a giant huntsman whom Zeus (or perhaps Artemis) placed among the stars as the constellation of Orion.

Ancient sources told several different stories about Orion; there are two major versions of his birth and several versions of his death. The most important recorded episodes are: his birth in Boeotia, his visit to Chios where he met Merope and raped her, being blinded by Merope's father, the recovery of his sight at Lemnos, his hunting with Artemis on Crete, his death by the bow of Artemis or the sting of the giant scorpion which became Scorpius, and his elevation to the heavens. Most ancient sources omit some of these episodes and several tell only one. These various incidents may originally have been independent, unrelated stories, and it is impossible to tell whether the omissions are simple brevity or represent a real disagreement. (Full article...)
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View of the ancient theater.
View of the ancient theater.

The Amphiareion of Oropos (Greek: Άμφιάρειο Ωρωπού), situated in the hills 6 km southeast of the fortified port of Oropos, was a sanctuary dedicated in the late 5th century BCE to the hero Amphiaraos, where pilgrims went to seek oracular responses and healing. It became particularly successful during the 4th century BCE, to judge from the intensive building at the site. The hero Amphiaraos was a descendant of the seer Melampos and initially refused to participate in the attack on Thebes (detailed in the Seven Against Thebes of Aeschylus) because he could foresee that it would be a disaster. In some versions of the myth, the earth opens and swallows the chariot of Amphiaraos, transforming him into a chthonic hero. Today the site is found east of the modern town Markopoulo Oropou in the Oropos municipality of Attica, Greece

The sanctuary is located 37.2 km NNE of Athens at a sacred spring; it contained a temple of Amphiaraos (with an acrolithic cult statue), as well as a theater, stoa, and associated structures. The temenos extended for some 240 metres northeast from the Temple of Amphiaraos (hence Amphiareion) along a streambed. The cult, which was both public and private, dates to the 5th century BCE. There was an upswing in the sanctuary’s reputation as a healing site during the plague that hit Athens in the late 5th BCE Herodotus relates that the oracular response of this shrine was one of only two correct answers to the test put to them all by the Lydian king Croesus. There were many dedications from Greeks, notable Romans, and others, many with inscriptions. On the southeast side of the streambed there are extensive remains of domestic structures as well as an unusually well-preserved clepsydra. (Full article...)

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Marble portrait herm identified by an inscription as Aspasia, possibly copied from her grave.
Marble portrait herm identified by an inscription as Aspasia, possibly copied from her grave.

Aspasia (/æˈspʒ(i)ə, -ziə, -ʃə/; Greek: Ἀσπασία Greek: [aspasíaː]; c. 470 – after 428 BC) was a metic woman in Classical Athens. Born in Miletus, she moved to Athens and began a relationship with the statesman Pericles, with whom she had a son, Pericles the Younger. According to the traditional historical narrative, she worked as a courtesan and was tried for asebeia (impiety), though modern scholars have questioned the factual basis for either of these claims, which both derive from ancient comedy. Though Aspasia is one of the best-attested women from the Greco-Roman world, and the most important woman in the history of fifth-century Athens, almost nothing is certain about her life.

Aspasia was portrayed in Old Comedy as a prostitute and madam, and in ancient philosophy as a teacher and rhetorician. She has continued to be a subject of both visual and literary artists until the present. From the twentieth century, she has been portrayed as both a sexualised and sexually liberated woman, and as a feminist role model fighting for women's rights in ancient Athens. (Full article...)

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Parthenon from south.jpg
Photo credit: Thermos
The Parthenon (ancient Greek: Παρθενών) is a temple of the Greek goddess Athena built in the 5th century BC on the Acropolis of Athens. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered to be the culmination of the development of the Doric order. Here the temple is viewed from the south.

Topics

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

Life: Agriculture · Art · Cuisine · Democracy · Economy · Language · Law · Medicine · Paideia · Pederasty · Pottery · Prostitution · Slavery · Technology · Olympic Games

Philosophers: Pythagoras · Heraclitus · Parmenides  · Protagoras · Empedocles · Democritus · Socrates · Plato · Aristotle · Zeno · Epicurus

Authors: Homer · Hesiod · Pindar · Sappho · Aeschylus · Sophocles · Euripides · Aristophanes · Menander · Herodotus · Thucydides · Xenophon · Plutarch · Lucian · Polybius · Aesop

Buildings: Parthenon · Temple of Artemis · Acropolis · Ancient Agora · Arch of Hadrian · Temple of Zeus at Olympia · Colossus of Rhodes · Temple of Hephaestus · Samothrace temple complex

Chronology: Aegean civilization · Minoan Civilization · Mycenaean civilization · Greek dark ages · Classical Greece · Hellenistic Greece · Roman Greece

People of Note: Alexander The Great · Lycurgus · Pericles · Alcibiades · Demosthenes · Themistocles · Archimedes · Hippocrates

Art and Sculpture: Kouroi · Korai · Kritios Boy · Doryphoros · Statue of Zeus · Discobolos · Aphrodite of Knidos · Laocoön · Phidias · Euphronios · Polykleitos · Myron · Parthenon Frieze · Praxiteles


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