Hellas and Hellenism: A Social and Cultural History of Ancient Greece

By Nicholas P. Vlachos | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II THE HEROIC AGE

Introduction

THE preceding pages contain a short account of that pre- Hellenic civilization which, having its center in Crete, thence spread through the Aegean to the mainland. It was not a Greek creation, but the work of an indigenous Mediterranean race which spoke a non-Hellenic language. The overthrow of Cretan power dates from about 1350 B.C. We now enter upon Hellenic history proper.

For the first six hundred years, however, we move in a darkness which is only partly illuminated by legendary material surviving in Hellenic poetry of later days (Homer is the earliest example), by archaeological data, and by stray references to Hellenic doings in the contemporary records of Egyptians and Hittites. The story which we are trying to piece together from this scanty material is that of the gradual settlement of Greece by the Hellenic people, and of their amalgamation with the prehistoric inhabitants whom they found in possession. The Hellenic peoples of historical times, therefore, are a blend of northern (Indo-European) and Aegean (Mediterranean) stocks.1 The constituents vary among the ethnic groups of Hellas; relatively speaking, the Dorians were of purer northern stock than the Ionians. But it remains true for all the Hellenes that they were a mixed race.

The invasions of the northerners occupied centuries; successive waves of major proportion were so far apart in time that they have left their impress on the Greek language in the three main dialects which form the most important linguistic divisions among the Greek-speaking peoples.

____________________
1
"Indo-European" is a linguistic term; "Mediterranean," an anthropological term.

-20-

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Hellas and Hellenism: A Social and Cultural History of Ancient Greece
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • Chapter I - Introductory 3
  • Chapter II - The Heroic Age 20
  • Chapter III - The Transition 61
  • Chapter IV - The Political History of Hellas 68
  • Chapter V - The City-State 128
  • Chapter VI - Religion 146
  • Chapter VII - Morality 171
  • Chapter VIII - Education 180
  • Chapter IX - Poetry 199
  • Chapter X - Prose 278
  • Chapter XI - Art and Architecture 322
  • Chapter XII - Science and Philosophy 361
  • Bibliography 415
  • Index 419
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