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History of Athens

Traces of human occupation are attested since the Neolithic era on the site of the Acropolis.
But it is only after the Ionian invasions that the Attic was organized in cities, among which Cécropia, the future Athens.
Athens was formally founded towards 800 before our era by the fusion of several villages.
By drawing left the natural fortress from the Acropolis, they could resist to the hordes of plunderers which terrorized the area.
The plural of the word Athens, according to Thucydide, is a trace of the old villages which amalgamated to found the city.
According to the legend, it is the hero Thésée, rubble worker of Minotaure, which directed this unification of the Attic.

Athens was one of the dominant cities in Greece during centuries. Its golden age was reached under Périclès, in the Vth century b-JC, where its domination was at the same time political, financial, military and cultural. It is at that time that Athens was described as a "capital of Greece" (Isocrate).
Quickly, Athens transformed the league of Délos into a true empire which was dissolved at the end of the Peloponnesian War which opposed it to Sparte. The Aristote philosopher born in 384 b-JC took a great part in the intellectual life of Athens in particulary thanks to its Politic book where he criticized the Athenian democracy.
The battle of Chéronée gained in 338 b-JC by Philippe II inserted Athens in the new empire Macedonian. The city, which remained the large hearth of Greek civilization, profited until II th century b-JC of new installations and work of embellishment undertaken under the crook of Lycurgue.

After the death of Alexander the Great in 323 b-JC, the empire is divided, the city, still under domination of kings of Macedonia, sink in the lapse of memory.
Conquered by the Roman Sylla, in 86 b-JC, Athens lost its walls and its political role but remained nevertheless a genuine intellectual headlight thanks to the pax romana which was established.
Allured by the culture and the art of living Athenian, the Romans copied art and life way and did not cease embellishing the city: the Tower of the Winds, the temple of Rome and Auguste on the Acropolis, the Roman agora, the Odeon in the old agora are among the monuments built in those time.

About yaer 1, the city counted approximately 300 000 inhabitants. In 53, the sermons of saint Paul in front of the Learned assembly gave only one weak echo.
Later, the emperor Hadrian (117-138), particularly attached in Greece, continued the work of town planning of his predecessors: the library which bears its name, Olympion (temple of Zeus), a gigantic marble stage located beyond Ilissos, of new roads and the aqueducts were built under its reign.


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