Attica History

Attica History

Information about the History of Attica, in Greece but also information about the history of Athens: Although Athens was the most powerful town of Attica in the ancient times, there were also other towns in the peninsula that developed for some time. During antiquity, the Athenians were proud to be autochthonic as they used to say, which means that they would historically originate from the peninsula of Attica and had not moved there from anywhere else.

In the Mycenaean times, the people of Attica lived in autonomous agricultural societies and this is when many towns were established in the peninsula, including Marathon, Rafina, Spata, Thorikos and Athens itself. In fact, Attica had 12 small communities under the reign of Cecrops, a mythical king half snake half man. All these towns were incorporated in an Athenian state during the reign of legendary Theseus.

Until the 6th century BC, aristocratic families lived independently in the suburbs. However, after the laws of the tyrant Pesistratus and the reforms of Cleisthenes, all these local communities lost their independence and were united under the central government of Athens.

After that, Athens became the most powerful town of the peninsula and to gain this power, it had to go to war with other towns, such as Megara. With the development of its naval power, Athens conquered many other towns of Greece and the Asia Minor and became a centre of trade, culture, art and economics. Many sanctuaries were constructed that time around Attica, including the temple of Artemis in Vravrona, the Sanctuary of Amphiaraos and the Temple of Poseidon in Sounion, that can be visited today.

The decline that followed the defeat in the Peloponnesian War was never to be surpassed and since then Athens lost its power.

The history of Attica was actually marked by that war. The centuries that followed, with a small exception during the Roman period (2nd century BC-2nd century AD), Athens and generally the peninsula of Attica was destroyed by wars, pirate raids and invasions from northern tribes.

Only in the mid 19th century, when Athens became the capital of Greece, Attica started to develop again and today it has become of the most important region of the country, with many ports, high ways and factories.

Read also: Attica Geography | Attica museums

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