In this episode of Empire Builders, we explore the great historic sites of the Minoan civilisation on Crete, Mycenae in the Peloponnese, and the emerging Greek city states such as Corinth. We also travel to Greek settlements established in the Mediterranean, at places such as Paestum in southern Italy and Selinunte in Sicily.
In this episode we discover that the Minoans built elaborate city palaces, that served as also as vast community centres in addition to residences for their rulers. Although the Minoans didn’t speak Greek (their language is yet to be translated) and were heavily influenced by the civilisations of ancient Egypt, they are regarded by scholars as the first Greeks, who subsequently influenced civilisations to follow.
Like the Minoans, the Mycenaeans, who succeeded them, were great sea farers and traders. They are also noted for their elaborate hilltop fortresses built of giant boulders which survive at places such as Mycenae and Tyrns. These complexes weren’t discovered by archaeologists until the end of the 19th century, and we’re compared to the great finds of ancient Egypt such as the pyramids.
After the fall of the Mycenaean civilisation, one of the dominant city states to emerge was Corinth. Strategically situated at the entry point of the Peloponnese peninsula, Corinth built one of Ancient Greece’s first acropolises, which served as a model for hilltop fortresses that we’re erected by other city states such as Athens and Sparta.
Corinth was renowned for its crafts such as pottery and its architectural forms such as the Corinthian column, and the production of weapons such as the Corinthian helmet.
When the Persian Empire, the world’s biggest, invaded the Greek mainland in 5th century BC, the Greek city states pulled of unlikely victories at Thermopylae and Marathon,
We explore the military skills of Spartan warriors and the naval skills of Athenian Mariners who developed highly effective galleys with three rows of oars known as triremes.
The Greek victories set off classical Greece’s golden age which would last for another 300 years.