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Athens reached its zenith during the fifth century , a period known as its Golden Age.
At this time Athens experimented with a form of internal democracy unique in the ancient world, achieved a singular culture, and left enduring literary and architectural legacies.
The national anthem is "The Hymn to Freedom" (" Imnos pros teen elefteeriahn "). the city-states united to defeat Persia, a common enemy, but national unity proved to be short-lived.
The power struggle between Athens and Sparta, the principal city-states, dominated the period.
Great Britain, France, and Russia assisted Greece in its struggle for independence, and Greece came under the protection of these powers by the London Protocol of 1830.
In 1832 the Bavarian Otto I became the first king of Greece, and in 1844 a conservative revolutionary force established a constitutional monarchy.
The Hellenistic Age that followed Alexander's rule lasted until 146 395, Greece became part of the Eastern Empire, which continued as the Byzantine Empire until 1453.
Socrates, Plato, Xenophon, Herodotus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aeschylus came into prominence, and in 432 and a plague that raged through Athens in 430 contributed to bring the Golden Age to an end.
For a time Sparta dominated the Greek world, but war and severe economic decline hastened the decline of all of the city-states.
Nearly 2,000 islands surround its eastern, southern, and western borders.
The nine major land areas that constitute Greece include Central Pindus, Thessaly, the Salonika Plain, Macedonia/Thrace, Peloponnesus, the Southeastern Uplands, the Ionian Islands, the Aegean Islands, and Crete.