Ancient Athens and the Golden Age of Greece

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Discover why Athens was the preeminent city during the Golden Age of Greece on this look at of the cradle of Western civilization. Travel back to the time of Pericles, the noble statesman who led the revolution that touched all fields of knowledge. We will visit the amphitheatres that were home to the famous tragedies of the day, tour the site of the premier Olympic games, and see the ornate temples of the Gods including a bird’s eye view of the architectural masterpiece of its day — the Acropolis.

Ancient Greece was a Greek civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period 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 Basin and Europe, for which reason Classical Greece is generally considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of modern Western culture.

The city of Athens during the classical period of Ancient Greece (508–322 BC) was the major urban center of the notable polis (city-state) of the same name, located in 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 Isagoras. 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,[4] 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.