In the same way Turks are the actual propagators of Islamic Culture and not Arabs, due to which Islam didn’t stick properly in India, same can be attributed to Macedonians who carried the flag of Greek Culture to the whole world but did not stick anywhere they went. Rome was a better success and what we see as Greek today is actually due to the fact that Romans adopted Greek traditions. Afterall, traditions and culture doesn’t come out thin air and should be inherited from somewhere else.
No Greek ever ventrured as a Greek power out of the traditional Greek sphere which included the current Greece, European Turkey and parts of Anatolia, Balkans and Italy and isolated settlements all over Meditteranean. If we see Greeks outside their domain, it’s only as mercenaries under a Greek or a foreign freebooter. Classic examples for this include Phanes of Athens who led to the Persian Invasion of Egypt and Memnon of Rhodes who tried to stop the Macedonian invasion which ended the Persian Empire.
There was a sudden invasion either from the Balkans or from the Caspian, which would have happened due to sudden displacement of existing tribes due to which all the major kingdoms of the age suffered. The problem may have been started due to an invasion or extreme climatic changes at some location or due to advances in weaponry by those advancing. Hittite Empire and Babylon were extinguished, Egypt succumbed to the pressure but Assyria survived. Other minor kingdoms in that area like Mycenaean Greece, kingdoms in Cyprus, western Anatolia and Italy were washed away in the tide.
Prior to the collapse, not much is known about the Greek Culture. The main kingdoms during that age were Mycenaean and Minoan civilizations. Of these the Minoan culture of Crete is considered to be the oldest and is ultimately conquered by the Mycanaeans around 1500 BC and it can be considered as the first amalgamation of Greek Mythology. Many aspects of Minoan culture were incorporated into the Mycanaean culture and are now visible as the Greek Culture. The only major incident worth mentioning in the history of Mycenaeans except their occupation of petty kingdoms in the Agean peninsular is the invasion of Troy assuming it is fact. Troy was destroyed with much brutality and unwanton death, the epitome of it being the death of Astynax and the death of Priam who died after clubbing him with the dead body of the infant Astynax. Though it is sure that Troy was not a Greek state, the immorality of the way in which the war is carried out saw that Troy is also made a Greek state to justify at least a part of the wrongs done. Note that Hector, and not Agamemnon or Nestor, is held in the highest regard among all the participants of the war.
Since not even a word of it is heard in the contemporary Hittite Chronicles except for the fact that the king of Wilusa(some attribute it to Troy) asked the Hittite Emperor, his suzerain, for help in the War. That the Hittites didn’t lead a grand invasion against the Mycenae, it can be safely assumed that it is just a petty war not even worth mentioning and that nothing changed after that since both of them are Hittite trade partners. But, it is sure that the cream of Mycenae is wiped out and probably would played a major reason in the extinction of the civilization in a short period. Though some say Ahhijawa(Acheaen) was invaded by the Hittites, possibly during the period of Atreus, the father of Agamemnon, there is nothing much to prove that this Ahhijawa is the Achean Peninsula ruled by the Mycaneans. Also, the same Ahhijawa(Aqaiwasha) is mentioned as a component of the Sea People by the Egyptians.
Bronze Age Collapse in Greece
Approximately during the period of the fall of the Hittite Empire, Mycenaean cities were fortified. Greeks believe the sons of Hercules, coming from Macedonia conquered Greece. This is the second attempt by the Greeks to attribute a foreigner to be a Greek. If Ahhijawa is Mycenaeans, there is no sense in saying they fortified their cities against their own invasion. The only alternate is they are Greek mercenaries or pirates or rebels who were out of control of Mycenae and destroyed everything in the wake. Another argument which can be presented is, it’s the Mycenae itself who are the sea people who went on a destructive spree in search of new lands.
During the dark ages except for the fact that Assyria occupied everything in it’s grasp, nothing much is known regarding the rest.
Greece emerged from the dark ages, we can say, with the first Olympics of BC 776. Though glorified, it is nothing more than a village fair where few neighboring villages competed. Slowly, it’s reach increased to include all of Greece. Only Greeks were allowed to participate in it and probably due to the level of nudity involved, which the civilized nations of the region, Egypt, Persia, Babylon and other Mesopotamian kingdoms frowned upon and saw as barbaric, the games were not interrupted by any of the superpowers of the age.
At this time, Greece was fragmented almost to a city and they mainly maintained two forms of governments – democracies or oligarchies and dictatorships. The democracies are nothing like the democracies of today where everyone has got a right in decision as slaves and women, who constituted 70-80% of the population were exempted. What we are looking at is a group consisting of 20-30% of the population is allowed to participate in decision making.
Due to the increasing population in a land without any resources, communities migrated to setup Greek communities all over the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. In the Western Meditteranean, they came into clash with Carthage in around 600 BC, which outlived the Greeks(who were out of the picture in that area by 265 BC) and after giving the scare of their lifetime to the Romans, collapsed in 164 BC. The last Greek force was provided by Pyrrhus(under Macedonian hegemony) and again, there is no confirmation if Epirus is a Greek kingdom or if it is a kingdom appropriated by the Greeks like that of Macedonia.
From then on, till the Macedonian invasion, their story is just a monotonous case of bickering city states all over Greece, pitted either singly or with the aid of a foreign power and Greek soldiers trying their hands all over as paid mercenaries. Battle of Pelusium where Cambysses routed the Egyptian forces is a classic example of it where the Greeks under Egyptian banner fought against Greeks under Persian banner.
Their history is just that of bickering petty polity till the advance of the Persians where a state or a group of states are pitted against each, the best examples being Lelantine War and Peloponnesian War being considered the largest and were almost equal to a Greek Civil War if we treat Greece as a single entity. The Persians, first took Lydia thereby breaking it’s hegnemony over the Greek States, then took Egypt and invaded Greece proper. The Greeks first tried to revolt in Anatolia in 499 but were unsuccessful. This made Darius advance into Greece Proper but the Persians were unable to conquer Greece proper and withdrew back by 478 BC. Neither were the Greeks capable of advancing. This unity didnot stay long and it erupted into a full blown war between Sparta and Athens, the most premier of the Greek states of the age who fought for domination and goes by the name of Peloponnesian War where Athens lost. Next was Cornithian War between 395 and 387 BC where Persia dictated the terms of peace and almost everyone became subservient to the Persians, with Sparta on the advantage. Sparta lost it’s supremacy by 371 BC. All this bloodletting weakened Greece which led to a Macedonian invasion and complete subjugaton of Greece which was complete by 338 BC.
The bloodletting during the Peloponnesian War weakened Greek kingdoms that severely that Macedonia under Phillip II(the contemporaries of Phillip did not treat him as a Greek) invaded Greece and occupied it in waves, the conquest completing by 338 BC. The complete subjugation of Greece can be gauged from the text for the League of Cornith is a clear proof of that –
I swear by Zeus, Gaia, Helios, Poseidon and all the gods and goddesses. I will abide by the common peace and I will neither break the agreement with Philip, nor take up arms on land or sea, harming any of those abiding by the oaths. Nor shall I take any city, or fortress, nor harbour by craft or contrivance, with intent of war against the participants of the war. Nor shall I depose the kingship of Philip or his descendants, nor the constitutions existing in each state, when they swore the oaths of the peace. Nor shall I do anything contrary to these agreements, nor shall I allow anyone else as far as possible. But if anyone does commit any breach of the treaty, I shall go in support as called by those who need and I shall fight the transgressors of the common peace, as decided (by the council) and called on by the hegemon and I shall not abandon——–
of Thessalians–Elimiotes–Samothracians and Thasians—Ambraciots—from Thrace and—Phocians, Locrians
Oitaeans and Malians and Ainianes –and Agraeans and Dolopes—Perrhaebi—Zacynthus and Cephalenia.
This is the end of Greek History. Any history of Greece as an independent country till it’s complete subjugation by the Romans in 192 BC should be treated as Macedonian History and not Greek. And by the time Romans came into picture, of all the ancient civilizations, only the Greeks survived and the Romans appropriated them. Another reason being, the Romans and Greeks are brothers in arms against Carthage.