Early History Part II

Antiquity [from Latin antiquus »old«] die, -, term for Greco-Roman antiquity, the first major epoch in the three-part (ancient, medieval and modern comprehensive) scheme of European history.

Depending on the definition, antiquity extended from the 8th century BC. Until the end of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century or until the death of Emperor Justinian in the 6th century, according to some historians even until the beginning of the spread of Islam in the 7th century AD; it is limited on the one hand by ancient oriental, partly also by prehistory and early history, on the other hand by the Middle Ages. Spatially, it encompassed the entire Mediterranean world from Spain and Morocco to Mesopotamia. She was a pioneer and role model for European culture in the narrower sense up to the beginning of the technical-industrial revolution.

The legacy of antiquity consists of works of art and buildings as well as everyday objects and v. a. from texts that are mainly written in Greek and Latin. It has been systematically researched by classical studies since the 18th century and presented in museums and text editions. The recovery and order of the physical remains is a matter of (classical) archeology; Ancient history and classical philology, which are represented by chairs and institutes at European universities, deal with the study of the texts.


According to Healthinclude, the term antiquity is the result of modern retrospect. However, it does not arbitrarily summarize a multitude of centuries. The two peoples constitutive for antiquity, the Greeks and the Romans, saw themselves, their political constitution and their culture as something special in relation to their “barbaric” (oriental, Phoenician, Celtic, etc.) environment, and they always sought their own To summarize one’s own history chronologically into an independent unit: the Greeks through the counting of the Olympics (from 776 BC), the Romans through the era ab urbe condita (»since the founding of the city of Rome «, From 753 BC Chr.). The development of the two peoples was out of phase and must therefore, at least initially, be widely considered separately: the Greeks, the culturally leading force, preceded and the Romans were strongly influenced by them from the beginning; On the other hand, the political and legal art of the Romans finally produced the Imperium Romanum and with it a civilizing housing that also included the entire Greek sphere with its eastern foothills.

The eras of political history

Antiquity can be divided into three main epochs: the period of polis culture (until the reign of Alexander the Great, 336–323 BC), that of Hellenism (until the reign of Augustus, 27 BC to 14 AD). Chr.) And in the Roman Empire. The beginnings of Greek culture (up to around 900 BC) are ignored here. These have only been rediscovered by modern archeology; for them the terms “Cretan-Mycenaean” or “Minoan-Mycenaean” have become commonplace. At that time Greece was still in its prehistoric state, which was heavily influenced by the Orient.

The age of political culture

Not long after the turn of the millennium, the Greek alphabet, based on the Phoenician alphabet, spread among the Greeks; in the 8th century BC With the epics of Homer, with the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey”, the literary tradition began and the historical antiquity, preserved with fixed dates in memory, began. The age of political culture is usually divided into the two phases of the archaic and the classical period according to the nature of the literary and artistic legacy. From a political point of view, however, it was given a uniform character by the fact that it developed the form of organization that was characteristic of the Greeks – and with them also of the Romans – the autonomous city-state. (Polis)

The inner development of the Poleis began with kings and led, via aristocratic rule, to systems of power distribution and control that mankind had never produced before. Athens, the spiritual center of classical Greece (5th to 4th centuries BC), thus became the archetype of democracy, the “rule of the people”: Due to the principle of “isonomia”, the equal rights of citizens, all male citizens from the age of 30 participated in the state decision-making processes. The people thus always exercised their rule directly through the popular assembly; the modern representative system remained alien in the ancient city-state; also in Rome, where, also in the 5th century BC BC, an oligarchic form of government, the “res publica”, prevailed. The poleis were and remained mutually independent in the entire Greek settlement area – from the coast of the Black Sea to southern Italy; Although they formed leagues, they never formed a state unit.

Early History 2

Early History Part II
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