The origins of Athens

 

The mystical creator of Athens (Athena) was Cecrops. Traces show that already 6,000 years ago, the Acropolis was inhabited. It was a safe place, because the steep slopes of the hills provided safety and good visibility, while numerous water sources gave life.

Initially, Athens was a city not much different from the others.

The flourishing took place in the sixth century BC, when democracy began to be introduced. And when in the 5th century BC Athens defeated the Persians under Marathon and Salamis, followed by the golden age of Athens. They became a power to the entire Mediterranean region. Pericles, an Athenian politician, orator, reformer of the Athenian democracy, significantly contributed to the reduction of social differences and the enormous expansion of the city. The Acropolis was place of worship for the Greek gods. At that time, famous philosophers lived here; Aeschylus, Sophocles, Herodotus, Euripides, Socrates and Phidias. Athens subordinated other cities that had to pay tribute.

A huge blossom of Polis (of the city) worried Sparta. In 431 BC the Peloponnesian war began, which lasted almost 30 years. It ended with a defeat for the Athenians. The long years of the war caused great destruction. The city has not regained its former power. However, it was still a symbol of the capital of culture. Philosophical schools founded by Plato, Aristotle and Epicurus were active here. Their students were not only Greeks. The Romans came here to download education.

In 86 BC Sulla plundered the city, which brought to Rome the vastness of works of art, demolished and burned many monuments. It was only Hadrian, who was very interested in Greek culture, who developed the city. He finished the Temple of Olympian Zeus, set it next to the Arch, which he called by his name, thus setting the border between the Greek and Roman cities.

In 1204, during the Fourth Crusade, Athens passed under the rule of Catholic rulers. Christians either adopted the remaining secular temples on churches or used them as building blocks for new churches and cathedrals.

In 1456, the Turkish Ottomans occupied the city, ruling here until the 19th century. They again destroyed everything that was Christian. At the foot of the Acropolis, there were born new districts typical of Turkey. The Parthenon was turned into a mosque.

In 1687, the city was attacked by the Venetians. They shot the city so hard that one of the missiles hit the Parthenon, where the dust was stored. A powerful explosion damaged the building to a large extent. This destruction was the worst for the temple of Athena.

In 1829, an uprising broke out in which the Greeks defended themselves against Turkish rule. The new king, Otto I, decided to restore the splendor of Athens and this is the city he chose for the capital. Finally, after almost 400 years of captivity, in 1834, the Turks left the city. Athens was then a meaningless town in which there were about 160 houses with 5,000 inhabitants. The young ruler with great impetus took for the reconstruction of the city, monuments, erected public buildings, squares, restaurants.

In 1896, the first modern Olympic games were organized at the Panathenaic Stadium.

In 1923, Athens fought against Turkey, which the Greeks lost. There was a population exchange. New, poor neighborhoods were created in the suburbs of Athens.

Modern Athens is for some people a chaotic city with tiring smog in the air. For others it is a city of sighs and dreams. One thing is certain, Athens we can get to or fall in love with them.

In the first century, thanks to saint Paul from Tarsus, Christianity arrived here. The Greeks' attachment to the old gods was strong, so it took several centuries for the Christian churches to emerge. In the 5th century. The Parthenon was transformed into a church. Likewise, other places of worship of the ancient gods were followed. Many monuments have been dismantled to use the acquired building material at the creation of Christian temples.

In 267, the city was invaded and plundered by the Germanic Herules tribe. The role of Athens weakened even more in Byzantine times. The center of culture became Constantinople. Many works of art were removed there.

Legend of the Athens uprising

 

Very, very long time ago, when Cronos was busy with ruling heaven and earth, his wife, Gaia, when she was lying off the coast of Attica, was very bored. And since she was a goddess, without help from his husband she conceived a child. She gave birth to a strange creature, half-human, half-serpent. She called him Cecrops. She loved him with all her heart and brought up a brave and clever hunter. Unfortunately, she was not able to defend him against people who saw him as a strange creature and mocked and slandered him very much.

Years passed and Cecrops wanted a wife who would love him as mother before. He made a woman with clay. Thanks to the magic he inherited, he breathed a soul into her. His wife gave him three daughters and one son. She loved her husband and convinced the population that Cecrops was a good and wise man. Soon, he began to listen to his teachings: that it is worth living in monogamy, that it is worth learning the magazine, that it is worth burying the dead ... And so won the favor of many residents who soon chose him as their king. Under the rule of the wise ruler, the city grew richer and stronger. As a result, two gods became interested in the city: Poseidon and Athena. Cecrops said that he would give the city to the god who would give a more precious gift. Poseidon, as the ruler of the seas, struck the trident on the rock from which the sea water flowed. It did not please the king much, because around the Attica of the sea is galore. So he waited for the gift from Athens. This hit the spear in the ground and immediately an olive tree grew. It was a gift that the people were waiting for! Not only that, from the goddess who is known for wisdom and just war, she gave the city something very valuable. Olives are appreciated by everyone today. Legend has it that the tree that Atena alone gave birth to is still the same that grows at the Erechtheion on the Acropolis.

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