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The Light of Dark-Age Athens: Factors in the Survival of Athens after the Fall of Mycenaean Civilization

Description: When looking at Dark Age Greece, one of the most important sites to consider is Athens. The Dark Age was a transitional period between the fall of Mycenaean Greece of the Bronze Age, and Archaic Greece of the Iron Age. This period is called the Dark Age because the palaces that ruled the Mycenaean age collapsed, and with them fell civilization in mainland Greece. Writing, fine art, massive architecture, trade, and luxury goods disappear from mainland Greece. But Athens survived the fall of the Mycenaeans. In order to understand the reason why Athens survived one must look at what the causes of the fall of the Mycenaeans were. Theories range from raiders and invasion, to natural disasters, such as earthquakes, droughts, and plagues. One must also examine Greece itself. The landscape and climate of Greece have a large impact on the settlement of the Greeks. The land of Greece also affects what Greek communities were able to do economically, whether a city would be rich or poor. It is because Athens is located in Attica that it survived. Attica had the poorest soil in the Mycenaean world, and was the poorest of the major cities, therefore, when looking at the collapse of the Mycenaeans being caused by people, there would be no reason for said people to raid or invade Athens and Attica. It is because Athens survives that it is such an important site. Athens survived the fall of the Mycenaeans and in doing so acts as a refugee center and a jumping off point for the remaining Mycenaeans to flee east, to the Aegean islands and Anatolia. Athens also stayed occupied during the Dark Age and because of this it was able to make some advancements. In particular Athens was a leader in mainland Greece in the development ...
Date: May 2015
Creator: Golightly, Paul