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From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS
I. THE LANDS OF THE WEST AND THE RISE OF GREECE TO ABOUT 500 B.C.
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THE HOMERIC AGE (ABOUT 1100-750 B.C.)
COMING OF THE NORTHERN BARBARIANS
The barbarians who overthrew Aegean civilization seem to have entered Greece from the north, perhaps from the region the Danube River. They pushed gradually southward, sometimes exterminating or enslaving the earlier inhabitants of the country, but more often settling peaceably in their new homes. Conquerors and conquered slowly intermingled and so produced the one Greek people which is found at the dawn of history. These Greeks, as we shall call them henceforth, also occupied the islands of the Aegean Sea and the coast of Asia Minor. The entire basin of the Aegean thus became a Greek world.
THE HOMERIC EPICS
The period between the end of the Aegean Age and the opening of historic times in Greece is usually called the Homeric Age, because many features of its civilization are reflected in two epic poems called the Iliad and the Odyssey. The former deals with the story of a Greek expedition against Troy; the latter describes the wanderings of the hero Odysseus on his return from Troy. The two epics were probably composed in Ionia, and by the Greeks were attributed to a blind bard named Homer. Many modern scholars, however, consider them the work of several generations of poets. The references in the Iliad and the Odyssey to industry, social life, law, government, and religion give us some idea of the culture which the historic Greeks received as their inheritance.
Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy