Athens Becomes a Direct DemocracyAt first, Athens was a monarchy, then proceeding to turn into an Aristocracy, then an Oligarchy, and into a tyranny. Finally, in 507 B.C. they became the first Greek city state to turn into a direct democracy. This governmental structure allowed the Athenians to be a direct influence on their government. This is an important part of history because even the basic forms of democracy, such as direct democracy, helped build the modern day democracy we Americans have today.
Persian Wars BeginDespite the Persian power, there is on conquest they failed the Persians failed, this started in Marathon, Greece in 499 BC. The Greeks managed to defeat the Persians at the battle of Marathon using the Phalanx formation. Then the battle of Thermopylae, and finally the final and most important battle, the battle of Salamis. Their success in the Persian Wars led to future victories. And their naval brilliance in the battle of Salamis was recognized for centuries to come.
Athens Create Delian LeagueAfter their success in the Persian wars, Athens creates the Delian League lasting from the end of the Persian Wars at 449 BC to the end of the Peloponnesian Wars at 404 BC. This group of city states fought the threat of the Persians. The alliance involved the Athenians taxing many other Greek city-states, and becoming very wealthy and powerful. The Delian League is very important because without it, the Golden age of Athens, a prosperous time for the Athenians, would never have happened.
Golden Age of AthensAfter the Persian Wars, Athens began its golden age, a time of peace and prosperity caused by the creation of the Delian League. Athens would tax allies that were a part of the Delian League, therefoer making it a rich city. The leader of the Athenians during this time was Pericles who increased democracy, created the strongest navy, and decorated the city. The Golden Age only lasted from 461 BC to 429 BC, ending because of the plague, caused by the Peloponnesian War.
Sparta Creates Peloponnesian LeagueDuring their Golden Age, the Athenians were very harsh. This angered many city-states including Sparta. They used their strong military to create a new league of allies, in 478 BC, called the Peloponnesian league. The league was named after the Peloponnesian Peninsula on which Sparta is located. Eventually, the Delian League would go to war with the Peloponnesian League, and end the Golden Age. However the league disbanded after the Peloponnesian War in 404 BC just like the Delian league.
Peloponnesian Wars BeginFinally tension snapped between Sparta and Athens, Sparta’s military attacked Athens. The citizens camped out in the city walls, but the crammed quarters allowed for disease to spread. The Athenian plague claimed the lives of ⅓ of the citizens, and even killed their leader Pericles. The great historian Thucydides wrote a primary account of the events, and called it “The History of the Peloponnesian War”. After 20 years of battle the depleted and sick Athenians lost, ending the battle in 404 BC.
King Phillip II Conquers AthensPhillip the II easily conquered the depleted Athenian and Spartan troops. The Athenians were slowly dying because of the plague, and therefore had far more important things to worry about. As a result the Golden Age of Athens came to a close in 404 BC which also became a year for fruition to the Macedonians. Before the conquest of Greece, they were mountain people who lived in small villages instead of city states. Under the rule of Phillip the II, they were able to become more powerful.
Alexander the Great Becomes RulerSadly the great king Phillip the II of Macedonia was assassinated in 336 BC, giving way to the young King Alexander, who was only 20. Some questioned his might, but Alexander proved them wrong by using his training and education as a military officer. He was able to expand far beyond the reaches of Greece, conquering the mighty Persian Empire. Although he may not have ruled within the boundaries of the Greek Empire, he was one of the greatest leaders of all time changing the Greek world forever.