Ancient Greece

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One of the powers of the ancient world, Ancient Greece may have dominated the world militarily only briefly under Alexander the Great, but Greek culture influenced future generations everywhere, even in the United States.


Ancient Greece was, for the most part, located on mainland Greece, though it's culture did spread to islands in the Aegean, the lower Balkans, Anatolia, Sicily, North Africa and southern France. Alexander's campaigns spread it throughout the known world.


There was no capital of Greek culture, because they were a loose collection of city-states that warred often. Mycenea was one of the strongest and richest in the Bronze Age, but after the attacks by barbarians in 1200 B.C., it disappeared. This ushered in a Dark Age that lasted for 400 years (1200 B.C. to 800 B.C.). The city-states came back into prominence around this time, reappearing at old sites (ex. Athens) and new site (ex. Sparta & Cornith). Athens (the cultural center) and Sparta (the strongest military) vied for dominance during the Archaic Period (800-500 B.C.) and the Classical Age (500-336 B.C.).


The Bronze Age[edit]

The armies during this time were chariots maintained by the richest citizens. These were destroyed during the turmoil that ocurred around 1200 B.C. This event was what plunged Greece into the Dark Age.

Archaic Age[edit]

Aristocrats dominated the army as cavalry becasue they were the ones who could afford horses. The foot soldiers in his time came from the poorer classes who could not afford horses or better weapons & armor.

Classical Age[edit]

When the cost of weapons fell when they began to be made with iron, the cavalry was replaced with an army of infantry called hoplites. These warriors fought in a formation called a phalanx, a square of men usually eight ranks deep. Now the Greeks disdained the use of any other type of troops, including cavalry, archers, and slingers. As long as they fought among themselves this was no problem, but encounters with other militaries during the Persian Wars convinced them that the phalanx needed to be helped. The ultimate Greek army, used by Alexander, employed cavalry, infantry, skirmishers and the phalanx.