Ancient Greece was a Greek civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period]citation needed[ of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity (ca. 600 AD). Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the period of Classical Greece, which flourished during the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Classical Greece began with the repelling of a Persian invasion by Athenian leadership. Because of conquests by Alexander the Great, Hellenistic civilization flourished from Central Asia to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea.
Classical Greek culture, especially philosophy, had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire, which carried a version of it to many parts of the Mediterranean region and Europe, for which reason Classical Greece is generally considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of modern Western culture.
Ancient history is the aggregate of past events from the beginning of recorded human history to the Early Middle Ages or the Postclassical Era. The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, with Sumerian Cuneiform script, the oldest discovered form of coherent writing, from the protoliterate period around the 30th century BC.
The term classical antiquity is often used to refer to history in the Old World from the beginning of recorded Greek history in 776 BC (First Olympiad). This roughly coincides with the traditional date of the founding of Rome in 753 BC, the beginning of the history of ancient Rome, and the beginning of the Archaic period in Ancient Greece. Although the ending date of ancient history is disputed, some Western scholars use the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD, the closure of the Platonic Academy in 529 AD, the death of the emperor Justinian I, the coming of Islam or the rise of Charlemagne as the end of ancient and Classical European history.
The culture of Greece has evolved over thousands of years, beginning in Mycenaean Greece, continuing most notably into Classical Greece, through the influence of the Roman Empire and its successor the Byzantine Empire. Other cultures and states such as Latin and Frankish states, the Ottoman Empire, the Venetian Republic, Genoese Republic, and British Empire have also left their influence on modern Greek culture, but historians credit the Greek War of Independence with revitalising Greece and giving birth to a single entity of its multi-faceted culture.
In ancient times, Greece was the birthplace of Western culture. Modern democracies owe a debt to Greek beliefs in government by the people, trial by jury, and equality under the law. The ancient Greeks pioneered in many fields that rely on systematic thought, including biology, geometry, history, philosophy, and physics. They introduced such important literary forms as epic and lyric poetry, history, tragedy, and comedy. In their pursuit of order and proportion, the Greeks created an ideal of beauty that strongly influenced Western art.
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes (Greek: Έλληνες [ˈelines]), are an ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus, Anatolia and other regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world.
Greek colonies and communities have been historically established in most corners of the Mediterranean, but Greeks have always been centered around the Aegean Sea, where the Greek language has been spoken since antiquity. Until the early 20th century, Greeks were uniformly distributed between the Greek peninsula, the western coast of Asia Minor, Pontus, Egypt, Cyprus and Constantinople; many of these regions coincided to a large extent with the borders of the Byzantine Empire of the late 11th century and the Eastern Mediterranean areas of the ancient Greek colonization.
The city of Athens during the classical period of Ancient Greece (508–322 BC) was a notable polis (city-state) of Attica, Greece, leading the Delian League in the Peloponnesian War against Sparta and the Peloponnesian League. Athenian democracy was established in 508 BC under Cleisthenes following the tyranny of Hippias. This system remained remarkably stable, and with a few brief interruptions remained in place for 180 years, until 322 BC (aftermath of Lamian War). The peak of Athenian hegemony was achieved in the 440s to 430s BC, known as the Age of Pericles.
In the classical period, Athens was a center for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato's Akademia and Aristotle's Lyceum, Athens was also the birthplace of Socrates, Pericles, Sophocles, and many other prominent philosophers, writers and politicians of the ancient world. It is widely referred to as the cradle of Western Civilization, and the birthplace of democracy, largely due to the impact of its cultural and political achievements during the 5th and 4th centuries BC on the rest of the then known European continent.
Pericles' Funeral Oration is a famous speech from Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War. The speech was delivered by Pericles, an eminent Athenian politician, at the end of the first year of the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC) as a part of the annual public funeral for the war dead.
Note: Varies by jurisdiction
Note: Varies by jurisdiction