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Dorians and Ionians
Classical Greece
Philip and Alexander
New empires
     Greece and Rome
     A new Greek empire
     Greece unsettled

Ottoman empire
Kingdom of Greece
To be completed

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Greece and Rome: from the 2nd century BC

Throughout the 3rd century the Greek city-states, in varying coalitions, make frequent and sometimes successful attempts to rid themselves of Macedonian dominance. They recover their freedom for a while after the Roman defeat of Macedonia in 197 BC, when Rome declares that all Greek cities are now free under Roman protection.

It is soon found to be a hollow liberty. A Roman army arrives in 148 to punish regions considered disloyal or hostile. In Epirus seventy towns are destroyed and 150,000 men taken into slavery. In Corinth, even more brutally, the city is razed to the ground, the men are massacred, the women and children enslaved.


Greece languishes under Roman rule. The Roman example may civilize the more primitive western empire. But Greek civilization loses its vitality in a provincial setting, even though the influence of Greek culture is now spread far and wide in what becomes known as the Hellenistic Age.

Athens and Sparta, as cities of resounding fame, are allowed to keep their independence. Athens, in particular, remains a centre of cultural excellence. It has one of the Roman empire's best universities. Its architecture and sculpture bring tourists from Italy. When Nero wants to prove his artistic tendencies, this is where he comes in AD 66-7. But the throb of Athenian life, in politics, literature or theatre, is a thing of the past.


A new Greek empire: from the 4th century AD

Greece itself, as a district, will never again be the centre of a distinctive culture. But just when the region of the old city states seems in terminal decline, a Greek empire of a new kind emerges which will flourish for more than 1000 years.

In AD 330 the emperor Constantine selects an ancient Greek colony - Byzantium, on the Bosphorus - as the site for his new capital. Athens will from now on lie in the shadow of this more spectacular neighbour to the east, under its new name of Consantinople. But the Byzantine empire and Greek Orthodox Christianity are, in the perspective of history, as characteristically Greek as the Parthenon or Athenian democracy.


Greece unsettled: 11th - 13th century

The position of Greece, as a central region of the Byzantine empire, remains reasonably secure until the 11th century. At that time, and in the following century, there are troublesome attacks on the Greek coastline from the Normans of Sicily. But the real upheaval, throughout the Balkans, comes in the early 13th century after the capture of Constantinople by the fourth crusade.

The invading Latins seize kingdoms in the Balkans. The Venetians establish settlements along the coast. When the Byzantine emperors reassert themselves, later in the century, this becomes a hotly disputed region. It remains so, in the 14th century, with the arrival of new intruders - the Ottoman Turks.


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