The name of Athens in Ancient Greek was. "The Athenses" since it was originally a group of villages which coalesced into a city. The name has no definite etymology in Greek. The Greeks believed the city was named for its protectress, the goddess Athena, but it is equally probable that the goddess took her name from the city.Athens began its history as a Neolithic hill-fort on top of the Acropolis ("high city"), sometime in the third millennium BC.
Athens was built in the plains of Attika between the Parnitha, Penteli and Hymettos mountains and close to the Saronic Gulf. For
ages its important geographic location and its mild climate were the main reasons why people chose to live here.The city was an amazing place, the largest in Greece. Athens controlled the land around it, a large region called Attika. Between the many mountains were fertile valleys, where farmers grew olives, grain, fruit and grapes. Athens became rich and powerful, helped by
Attika's valuable sources of silver, lead and marble.
From early in the 1st millennium, Athens was a sovereign city-state, ruled at first by kings. The kings stood at the head of a
land-owning aristocracy.First king was Actaeus and the last Kodor.
Democracy and Reforms:
The Athenian democracy (sometimes called classical democracy) was the democratic system developed in the Greek city-state
of Athens (comprising the central city-state of Athens and its surrounding territory Attica). Athens was one of the very first known democracies and probably the most important in ancient times. Democracy evolved from monarchy to aristocracy to democracy. The reforms of Solon dealt with both political and economic issues. Politically, Solon divided the Athenians into four classes, based on their wealth and their ability to perform military service. The poorest class, the Thetes, who were the majority of the population, received political rights for the first time, being able to vote in the Assembly, but only the upper classes could hold
The new system laid the foundations for what eventually became Athenian democracy, but in the short term it failed to quell class conflict, and after 20 years of unrest the popular party led by Peisistratus, a cousin of Solon, seized power (541). Peisistratus is usually called a tyrant, but the Greek word tyrannos does not mean a cruel and despotic ruler, merely one who took power by force. Peisistratus was in fact a very popular ruler, who made Athens wealthy, powerful, and a centre of culture, and founded the Athenian naval supremacy in the Aegean Sea and beyond. He preserved the Solonian constitution, but made sure that he and his family held all the offices of state. Cleisthenes was the one who established democracy in Athen. The reforms of Cleisthenes replaced the traditional four "tribes" (phyle) with ten new ones, named after legendary heroes and having no class basis: they
were in fact electorates. Each tribe was in turn divided into three trittyes while each trittys had one or more demes (see deme) - depending on the population of the demes -, which became the basis of local government. The tribes each elected fifty members to the Boule, a council which governed Athens on a day-to-day basis. The Assembly was open to all citizens.
The poorer Athenians lived in small ,box-like dwellings with few Windows and single door opening on to the street.Town houses were usually one or two storeys high.They were built of bricks and had sloping roofs.
Greek food was simple but the rich made their meals last a long time.
Man vs woman:
In the golden age of Athens, women had few rights. Wives didn't go with husbands to the theater or parties, and couldn't even eat at the same dinner table.Athenian women and girls were kept at home with no participation in sports or politics. Wives were considered property of their husbands. They were responsible for spinning, weaving and other domestic arts.
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