People had settled at the site of
According to tradition, both Athena and Poseidon wanted to be the patron god of the city. Citizens held a contest: whichever god gave the city the best gift would be its patron. Poseidon struck the ground with his trident and gave the city a spring of water symbolizing naval power. Athena created for them the olive tree promising peace and prosperity. The citizens chose Athena. The story of this contest was later celebrated in a series of marble statues created for the t
By 1400 BC the city was an important center of Mycenean civilization. Around 1200, however, that civilization collapsed.
By 700 the municipal state of
The rulers then appointed Solon in 594 to create another constitution for their municipal state. He did better. Solon made both economic and political reforms. Athenian citizens could not be enslaved, the number of men controlling land was greatly enlarged, and restrictions on trade were lifted. Politically, even the poorest male citizens were given the right to vote in the Assembly for the first time.
This constitution, after many variations in acceptance and rejection, became the basis for the Athenian democracy established under Cleisthenes. He overthrew an unpopular dictator in 510, with the help of an army from
In 498, Athenian rulers sent soldiers to Hellenian cities along the west coast of
Darius 1st decided to invade Hellenia and punish
The Persian threat remained. Xerxes (518-465, r. 486), son of Darius, led an army of perhaps 120,000 soldiers to Hellenia in 480. Leonidas, king of
As the Persian army advanced toward
These stunning victories at Marathon,
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