Religion formed another bond of union. Everywhere the
Greeks worshiped the same gods and performed the same sacred rites. Religious
influences were sometimes strong enough to bring about federations known as
amphictyonies, or leagues of neighbors. The people living around a famous
sanctuary would meet to observe their festivals in common and to guard the
shrine of their divinity. The Delphic amphictyony was the most noteworthy of
these local unions. It included twelve tribes and cities of central Greece and
Thessaly. They established a council, which took the shrine of Apollo under its
protection and superintended the athletic games at Delphi.
A NEW AGE
The seventh and sixth centuries before Christ form a
noteworthy epoch in Greek history. Commerce and colonization were bringing their
educating influence to bear upon the Greeks. Hellenic cities were rising
everywhere along the Mediterranean shores. A common language, literature, and
religion were making the people more and more conscious of their unity as
opposed to the "barbarians" about them.
THE GREEK WORLD, 500 B.C.
Greek history has now been traced from its beginnings to
about 500 B.C. It is the history of a people, not of one country or of a united
nation. Yet the time was drawing near when all the Greek communities were to be
brought together in closer bonds of union than they had ever before known.