EUROPE / THE MEDITERRANEAN/GREECE
Philippe is skilful winner, after the triumph of Cheronee. It is
in Greece that appears for the 1st time in Europe, agriculture and
animal husbandry. To the 3rd millennium BC, prehellenic
populations, called for the classical era, Pelasges, live in Thrace,
Beotia, Phocide, Attic, Argonide and to Corinthe and, in spite of weak
mineral resources, work the bronze. The wall in Argonide, show a
concern to protect himself from neighbors. In the islands of Egean sea,
trading and maritime corporations take places, for example in the
In Crete, the Minoan civilization is turned towards the commerce
and the sea, by its harbors of the east. Its natural resources
allow a quick development and she discovers the usage of the copper a
long time before continental Greece and egean islands. In the middle of
the millennium, the discovery of the manufacture method of the bronze
implies commercial exchanges with the western Mediterranean for some to
import tin. Well situated between egypt and the Troade, this is on the
sea that this leap is founded. The reports with the egypt that
the said persons Keftiou, intensify themselves in the first half of the
2nd millennium, simultaneously the Cretan navy is in expansion.
Minoan double axe
Towards - 2000, a true change intervenes in the island. The
unification of the clans is done to the profit of Minos that
personnifie the strength for thousand years (- 2400 - 1400). The
eastern cities decline, while the central plain, with of new cities:
Knossos, Phaistos the big harbor of the island and Malia, gets ready to
the construction of the first palaces. It is a matter of vast
constructions composed from workshops and of attics, but strengthened
nos. The power of the floats Cretan guarantees them against all
exterior attack. This is the "pax minoica" in strong contrast with the
invasions that erupt on Europe and Asia. The Cretan one use quick
vessels, sailing to the sail and to the rows. One talks about Cretan
thalassocratie. The Crete dominates then the islands of Rhodes and of
Thera. Knossos directs this maritime empire. A catastrophe of natural
origin (volcano, earthquake?) destroys these first palaces. But the
civilization resumes with more of vigor for 3 centuries. On the
continent, arrive progressively the first Indo-Europeans speaking the
Greek, the Minyens.
Between - 1750 and - 1550, the Acheans, in origin of the north (the south Russia ?), repress the Pelasges in the heights and constitute small kingdoms on the shores of the Egean sea. This people warrior does progressively the conquest of Peloponnese and Cyprus, to the 14th century, he constructs colossal fortifications around his cities situated in height: Mycenes, Tirynthe. Their weapons are some tans and they use the chariot that they introduce in Crete. The bronze armor and the long sword achean are justified in the shield and triangular poignard of the Egeans. The Acheans constitute a maritime power and deliver themselves to pillage or install colonies: the achaïes. They shed themselves in the sea Egée up to Macedonia, come up against the Hittites in Anatolie, push up to Colchide (Caucase) and in Sicily.
Current Troy VII's walls
To assure the check of the Asia coasts Minor and straits, they
besiege Troy, (the 7th one of the name), the current Hisarlik, in
Turkey, close to the straits of the Dardanelles, to the 13rd century,
this that describes Homère in the iliad. But it is not a
matter not any a centralized strength. The Cretan one know a
quick decadence and influence a lot these pirates then are dominated by
them. They are undone by the invasions of the Peoples of the Sea
towards - 1200.
During this time the Acheans, called so Mycenaeans because of the eminent position of Mycenes, divided since the Troy expedition, undergo the progressive invasion of the Doric, new Indo-European tribes, of Europe Central comings and endow with weapons in iron. Despite the construction of a wall blocking the isthmus of Corinthe, the fortresses of Mycenes, Pylos, Iolkos and Krisa are destroyed towards - 1200 and these centers are abandoned. They install themselves in a first fortress to Corinthe to check the passage, then concentrate in the Peloponnese. The Mycenaean civilization brutally is annihilated. The Acheans take refuge themselves in the Attic, the Arcady, the islands and on the Anatolian coast where the distribution is the following one :
To the North the Eolians ones,
to the Center the Ionians, the ones and the others establish themselves towards the end of the XIe century, and to the following century this is a true colonization,
and to the South the Doric ones that launch themselves to them turn in the navigation in the middle of the Xe century.
This Doric conquest is accompanied of a big cultural regression in the whole Greece. Close to the half of the population disappears. The writing and the international commerce undergo an eclipses for two centuries. This is the Period of the Dark Ages that lasts four centuries and during which forms itself the framework of Greek life, the polite ones. This is in the Ionian cities that the commerce resumes in first as well as in Attic. In the Doric Peloponnese, the economy is especially agricultural.
At first VIIIe century produces itself a "renaissance" Greek,
the demographic tendency returns to normalcy positive, the writing is
reintroduced from Phoenician modified alphabet and quickly is used in
poetry. To the institutional plan, the monarchy is little by
little eliminated with the exception of Sparta and its peripheral
regions (Macédoine...). A land oligarchy replaces it,
claiming heroic ancestors. Navigation resumes life to the sea
Tyrrhénienne. This is one of the big motors of exchanges between
the peoples because of the constant need of necessary metals to the
manufacture of the weapons and heavy equipments. To this era the
war is frequents just as the piracy. During the Dark Ages, the
blade of the swords evolves slowly while shortening itself and while
The reasons of these conflicts are material or religious. Thus Thessalian and Phocidiens dispute themselves the check of Delphes. Athenians and Boeotian or Mégariens some do even for Eleusis. The war Lélantine is the occasion to the VIIIe century, to observe two coalitions of induced states in an at the start limited conflict to the eubée, Chalcis and Erétrie disputing itself the plain Lélantine. Sparta, principal Doric center, opposes itself durably to the Argiens for the rich Thyréatide, conflict that sees the defeat of Sparta to Hysiai towards - 669 and the final victory of Sparta, then does the conquest of the Messénie (a sacrilege some is the motive), to the end of two long wars to the VIII e and VII e century. This war is if lasts that the order is given with the Spartan ones, to do to kill itself rather than to yield ground. The Ie war sacred, at first VI e century, originates of a piracy act.
The conquest of the Phénicie by the Assyrian ones and the strong demography favors the Greek colonial leap, initiated from the Ionian cities of the Asian coast. The causes of this movement are varied: subsistence crisis and research of agricultural earths, political fights, needs to flee the big owners, first, of cereals and of slaves. The absence of enemies fearsome (egypt is in decadence and the Hittite power disappeared), allowed this expansion.
The first times of colonization (towards - 775 - 675) are characterized by a research of extensive earths (Italy of the South and Sicily, Bridge Euxin) and directed at first by important owners. These foundations do not provoke any hostility with the Phoenician ones, there is not commercial issue. The cities to the origin of this movement are continental Mégare, Corinthe, or in Eubée: Chalcis, Erétrie, and in some islands: to Rhodes and in Crete.
A second colonization wave follows (towards - 675 - 500), with rather economical motivations. The placement in value of the region of the straits of of metz and coasts to the North of the Sea Egée, Track to the Bosphore, is piloted by the Eubéens and attracts, in addition, the cities of the east Milet, Phocée and Samos. Sparta is attempted by the adventure and is founded Tarente. The Campanie is attained and commercial relations are tied up with the Etruscan ones. The Phocean ones that fled the Persian ones, install themselves in Catches and in Corsican. Spain enters into the Big Greece. To the east, the Bridge Euxin is colonized by Mégare and Milet. At last, Africa is incluse in the movement. Cyrène is been founded by Doric comings of the Peloponnese and Naucratis in Egypt by the Milésiens, under 1st Psammétique.
This colonization and the Greek expansion stop themselves
definitively at the end of LIFE century for several reasons: the better
sites all are occupied and the Greeks meet more and more hostile
To the west, Carthaginian and Etruscan stop them on the Italian and Iberian coasts. The Phocean colony of Alalia (current Aleria in Corsican), been founded in - 565, is abandoned after the naval battle of - 540, opposing floats it Greek to the float combined of the Etruscan and Carthaginian one. This is a victory to the cadméenne for the Phocean, that is to say calamiteuse in material losses. On the other hand their colony of Massilia (Massalia) been founded towards - 620, is not worried. This being the proximity of the Greek establishment, in Corsican that decided the Etrusques.
To the east, after the Assyrian ones that limit, by them strong
presence, the Greek colonial expansion, the Persian facts the conquest
of the Greek cities of Asia and in particular the one of Milet,
then advance towards the Balkans and the Danube, all the same, their
conquest of egypt stops the colonization of the site of
The war to the archaic era
The war strongly is influenced by the religion. Thus each year, sacred peace reigns for thirty days punctuated by Panhellenic games: Olympic to Olympie, Isthmiques to Corinthe and Pythiques to Delphes.
The Thessalie, big producer of horses is alone to have access to a cavalry playing a significant role to the war. This is the aristocratic class in every state that forms the cavalry. The chariot and the rider doryphore (lance carrier) are the essential pieces of the armies, the infantry of modest origin, indeed slave, is mediocrely equipped and plays a secondary role in the battle. Nevertheless the narrow plains limit cuts it cavalry forces.
The sword is long and fine and the shield some drinks round or
The war on sea begins at the VIIIe century but the vessel is especially a transportation of troops, and of a mixed usage (war and commerce). The first conflict known opposes Corinthe and Corcyre towards - 660. The sort appear, quick, sharpened this is a vessel around the éperon, not very capable of the navigation in high sea. This is the fight vessel the most effective one. It measures about 40 meters and it is necessary 170 rowers to move it. 20 soldiers are on board, the épibates. It is necessary a lot of times for that this vessel stops being a simple fight platform and uses naval tactics.
At beginning of VIIe century, appears in the
Peloponnese a new
armament and new manner to use it. The wars between often states
very close, multiply themselves and finish sometimes by the elimination
of the overcome. One fights for his survival. The cities reinforce
their defensive works that remain effective until the Greco-Persians
Wars. The turn intervenes after the harsh defeat suffered by the
Spartans to Hysai, they take of a blow the armament and the fight
method of hoplite. The recruitment basis is widened to the free
peasants who must equiptheirself in heavy infantryman (35 kg of
equipment). The masculine population able to do facing these
obligations rises to a number understand between 3000 and 8000.
The troop hoplitique is very protected for that the frontal
shock against the opponent be the most violent, with the intention of
to undo the opponent.
The helmet is very covering to the detriment of the lateral view.
The big novelty is the hoplos, the wide one and heavy circular
and convex shield (90 diameter cm and 8 kg). It is some drinks, with
the edge in metal and next cover with a bronze leaf. It is passed
to the left arm, slipped on in a bronze armband central.
The offensive equipment understands a lance of more one than 2
some drinks with a point and an iron heel or of bronze. The
sword, shorter than at first of the millennium is adapted to the body
to bodies. The shield serves also of "snout".
With the hoplites, the infantry resumes the principal role in
the Greek army, and maneuvers in phalanx. This is a collective
fight in squeezed rows, to the opposed fight homérique.
Every fighter is protected to his left by the hoplos of his right
neighbor. The phalanx opposes a "wall" of points of lances to his
The hoplites (men of weapons), free citizens constitute the principal force of the army. One finds also light infantry, the armed peltastes of javelins, protected by an indented shield in wicker (pelta) and a linen tunic instead of the armor.
The riders carry 2 lances and a sword. They lightly are protected and limit themselves to carry out recognitions or to recover the enemy in escape.
Bowmen and rebellious complete the army, this capacity to fight from afar is not appreciated by the Greeks (lacks bravery).
This evolution of the army returns the fearsome Greeks and the illustration goes some to be given with the greco-persians wars.
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