::Archaic Greece


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The Greek territories and colonies during the Archaic period.

The Archaic period in Greece (800 BC – 480 BC) is a period of ancient Greek history that followed the Greek Dark Ages. This period saw the rise of the poleis (singular polis, generally translated as "city-state"), the founding of colonies, the annexation of some of the eastern poleis by the Persian empire, as well as the first inklings of classical philosophy. The newly invented Greek theater created tragedies that were performed during Dionysia; written poetry appeared alongside the reintroduction of written language, which had been lost during the Greek Dark Ages; and the oral epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey were written down for the first time, ostensibly by Homer himself. The term archaic thus covers cultural developments as well as social, political and economic changes.

The starting point of the Archaic period in 800 BC is defined as the "structural revolution", meaning the sudden upsurge of population and material goods that occurred c. 750 BC, and the "intellectual revolution" of classical Greece.<ref>Snodgrass, pp. 13, 23.</ref> The sharp rise in population at the start of the Archaic period led the settlement of new towns and the expansion of the older population centers within poleis. Increases in the population also led to the establishment of colonies along the Mediterranean and Black Sea coasts that began about 800 BC. The reason for this phenomenon has been described by Greek authors as stenochoria, or "the lack of land", but in practice it was caused by a great number of reasons, such as rivalry between political groups, a desire for adventure, expatriation, the search for trade opportunities, etc.<ref>Robin Lane Fox, Traveling Heroes in the Epic Age of Homer, 2008.</ref> The end of archaism is conventionally marked by Xerxes' invasion of Greece in 480 BC.

Archaic Greece sections
Intro  Etymology  Crisis and consolidation of the polis  Themes  Art  Conflicts  Important people  See also  References  Further reading  External links  

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