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Since the time of Homer, the Greeks have called themselves Hellenes (Έλληνες), though they have been known by a number of different names throughout history. The soldiers that fell at Thermopylae did so as the last protectors of Hellas. Homer, Herodotus and the later Greek authors locate the first usages of the word "Hellenes" as an ethnic name-umbrella under which the Achaians and the rest of the Greek allies sailed for the city state of Troy under Agamemnon's leadership, although up to that point "Hellas" (Greek: Eλλάς) and "Hellenes" was the name of the tribe (also called "Myrmidones") settled in Thessalic Phthia having Achilles as their leader.Alexander the Great is the first leader who officially uses the terms Hellas and Panhellenic League (league of all Greek tribes except for the Lacedaemonians) when he began his military campaign against the Persian rulers of the Greek city-states of Asia Minor (Ionia) to revenge their ancestors.

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The Olympic Games (Ancient Greek: τὰ Ολύμπια - ta Olympia; Modern Greek: Ὀλυμπιακοὶ Ἀγῶνες (Katharevousa), Ολυμπιακοί Αγώνες (Dimotiki) - Olympiakoi Agones) were a series of athletic competitions held for representatives of various city-states of Ancient Greece. Records indicate that they began in 776BC in Olympia, Greece. They were celebrated until 393 AD. when an earthquake destroyed Olympia.The Games were usually held every four years, or olympiad, as the unit of time came to be known. During a celebration of the Games, an Olympic Truce was enacted to enable athletes to travel from their countries to Olympia in safety. The prizes for the victors were olive wreaths, palm branches, sometimes even food for life. The ancient Olympics were rather different from the modern Games. There were fewer events, and only free men who spoke Greek could compete (even though a woman is also mentioned as a winner). Athletes from any country or city (famous athletes from as far as Rome and Armenia are mentioned) were allowed to participate. The Games were always held at Olympia, as with the Cotswold Olimpick Games, instead of moving around to different places for each separate Olympic festival as is the case in the Olympic Games



Hoplites in combat

The Corinthian War was an ancient Greek conflict lasting from 395 BC until 387 BC, pitting Sparta against a coalition of four allied states; Thebes, Athens, Corinth, and Argos; which were initially backed by Persia. The immediate cause of the war was a local conflict in northwest Greece in which both Thebes and Sparta intervened. The deeper cause was hostility towards Sparta provoked by that city's "expansionism in Asia Minor, central and northern Greece and even the west".The war was fought on two fronts, on land near Corinth and Thebes and at sea in the Aegean. On land, the Spartans achieved several early successes in major battles, but were unable to capitalize on their advantage, and the fighting soon became stalemated. At sea, the Spartan fleet was decisively defeated by a Persian fleet early in the war, an event that effectively ended Sparta's attempts to become a naval power. Taking advantage of this fact, Athens launched several naval campaigns in the later years of the war, recapturing a number of islands that had been part of the original Athenian Empire during the 5th century BC.

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The bust of Zeus found at Otricoli (Sala Rotonda, Museo Pio-Clementino, Vatican)

Greek mythology is the body of stories belonging to the Ancient Greeks concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. Modern scholars refer to the myths and study them in an attempt to throw light on the religious and political institutions of Ancient Greece and on the Ancient Greek civilization, and to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself.Greek mythology is embodied explicitly in a large collection of narratives and implicitly in representational arts, such as vase-paintings and votive gifts. Greek myth explains the origins of the world and details the lives and adventures of a wide variety of gods, goddesses, heroes, heroines, and other mythological creatures. These accounts were initially disseminated in an oral-poetic tradition; the Greek myths are known today primarily from Greek literature. The oldest known literary sources, the epic poems Iliad and Odyssey, focus on events surrounding the Trojan War.

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Philip V of Macedon, "the darling of Greece", the main antagonist of the war.

The Cretan War (205 BC200 BC) was fought by King Philip V of Macedon, the Aetolian League, several Cretan cities (of which Olous and Hierapytna were the most important) and Spartan pirates against the forces of Rhodes and later Attalus I of Pergamum, Byzantium, Cyzicus, Athens and Knossos.The Macedonians had just concluded the First Macedonian War and Philip, seeing his chance to defeat Rhodes, formed an alliance with Aetolian and Spartan pirates who began raiding Rhodian ships. Philip also formed an alliance with several important Cretan cities, such as Hierapynta and Olous.With the Rhodian fleet and economy suffering from the depredations of the pirates, Philip believed his chance to crush Rhodes was at hand. To help achieve his goal, he formed an alliance with the King of the Seleucid Empire, Antiochus the Great, against Ptolemy V of Egypt (the Seleucid Empire and Egypt were the other two Diadochi states). Philip began attacking the lands of Ptolemy and Rhodes's allies in Thrace and around the Sea of Marmara.

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The Southern Peloponessus

The War against Nabis or Laconian War of 195 BC was fought between the Greek city-state of Sparta and a coalition comprised of Rome, the Achean League, Pergamum, Rhodes, and Macedon.During the Second Macedonian War (200–196 BC), Macedon had given Sparta control over Argos, an important city on the Aegean coast of Peloponnese. Sparta's continued occupation of Argos at the end of war was used as a pretext for Rome and its allies to declare war. The anti-Spartan coalition laid siege to Argos, captured the Spartan naval base at Gythium, and soon invested and besieged Sparta itself. Eventually, negotiations led to peace on Rome's terms, under which Argos and the coastal towns of Laconia were freed from Spartan rule and the Spartans were compelled to pay a war indemnity to Rome over the next eight years. Argos joined the Achaean League, and the Laconian towns were placed under Achaean protection.As a result of the war, Sparta lost its position as a major power in Greece.

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Pederastic courtship scene Athenian black-figure amphora, 5th c. BC, Painter of Cambridge; Object currently in the collection of the Staatliche Antikensammlungen und Glyptothek, Munich, Germany. The bearded man is depicted in a traditional pederastic courtship gesture known as the "up-and-down" gesture: one hand reaching to fondle the young man, the other grasping his chin so as to look him in the eye.

Greek pederasty, as idealised by the Greeks from archaic times onward, was a relationship and bond between an adolescent boy and an adult man outside of his immediate family, and was constructed initially as an aristocratic moral and educational institution. As such, it was seen by the Greeks as an essential element in their culture from the time of Homer onwards.The ancient Greeks were the first to describe, study, systematize, and establish pederasty as an institution. The origin of that tradition has been variously explained. One school of thought, articulated by Bernard Sergent, holds that the Greek pederastic model evolved from far older Indo-European rites of passage, which were grounded in a shamanic tradition with roots in the Neolithic.Foucault declared that pederasty was "problematized" in Greek culture, that it was "the object of a special — and especially intense — moral preoccupation" focusing on concern with the chastity/moderation of the erōmenos (the term used for the "beloved" youth).

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Ancient Macedon

The definition of Macedonia is a major source of confusion and debate because of the overlapping use of the term to describe geographical, political and historical areas, languages and peoples. Ethnic groups inhabiting the area use different terminology for the same entity, or the same terminology for different entities, which is often confusing to other inhabitants of the region and foreigners alike.Macedonia lies in the middle of the Balkans, and Balkan history is complex. Historically, the region has presented markedly shifting borders across the Balkan peninsula. Geographically, no single definition of its borders or the names of its subdivisions is accepted by all scholars and ethnic groups. Demographically, it is mainly inhabited by four ethnic groups, three of which self-identify as Macedonians: one Slavic group does so at a national level, while a Bulgarian and a Greek one do so at a regional level.

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