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Archaic period (VIII-VI centuries BC)

Several major problems are connected with the history of Greece of the archaic period: the first is the colonization of the Mediterranean and Black Seas, the second is the "elder" tyranny1, the third is the formation of the Greek polis, the fourth is the emergence of the first legislations.

The Great Greek colonization.

Emigration was a constant factor in Greek history, since even modern Greece is overpopulated, and the lack of internal resources, primarily land, for an increasing population becomes the first cause of the colonization process. Perhaps in the archaic era there was an unexpected demographic explosion, as a result of which mainland Greece turned out to be overpopulated and an outflow of residents was required, because the vital activity of city-states was supported by a small number of people. Impoverished, ruined people or citizens hostile to the official authorities left for the colonies. Some were forcibly sent on a trip for political reasons. On the other hand, colonization can be considered as a new stage of ethnogenesis, when the Greek people have an active internal desire, often not conscious, for activities aimed at the realization of certain goals, often illusory. Such outbursts of activity, called passionarity, have taken place in the history of almost every nation. There is no comprehensive rational explanation for them.1

Colonization is the process of eviction of Greeks from the cities of the Aegean basin to the coasts of the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Any colony (apoikia) was an independent policy with its own citizenship, governing bodies, public institutions and law, usually coinciding with the corresponding institutions of the city that brought out the colony (metropolis - "mother policy"), but independent of it.

The recruitment of future colonists was made from volunteers or by drawing lots, that is, if desired, every free Greek could leave the city. In rare cases, recruitment was compulsory, but more often citizens were given a free choice. From 100 to 1000 people could leave for the colony at a time. In total, several hundred colonies with a number of 1.5-2 million people were bred. Before departure, they requested an oracle - the prophecy of God. Since the beginning of the archaic era, the authority of the sanctuary at Delphi - the oracle of Apollo, which influenced the orientation of colonization activities, which the priests could control through divine instructions sent down to them, has been increasing.

After the colonists arrived at the place, the fortified borders of the policy were established and the division of the land began. Each colonist received a certain plot, since land ownership is the basis of Greek citizenship; a person without land could not be a citizen. The first colonists and their descendants stood out as the political elite in the colony they founded, using full rights. Later settlers no longer received such rights, so over time, corporatism began to take shape in the colonies. A privileged social group consisted of full-fledged citizens: the first colonists and their descendants, and the other - incomplete, who arrived in the city later. However, equality was observed within each corporation. The colony could breed other apoecia. For example, Sparta founded a policy on the island of Fera, which brought Cyrene to North Africa. Corinth became the metropolis of Syracuse (Sicily Island), and those, in turn, became the metropolis of Issa, that is, colonization had the character of a chain reaction, when the colony itself could turn into a metropolis for a number of other cities.

Colonization has radically changed the Greek world, whose geographical horizons have expanded. In the new cities, their own orders were introduced, different from the conditions of the metropolises, new legislation was created. Apoikia opened up a rich source of new resources for Balkan Greece. The system of social priorities was changing in the colonies: not noble, but initiative people were ahead, which could not but blow up the traditional foundations of society from the inside. Acquaintance with the East in the VI century leads to penetration into the previously rather meager rural life of colonies of luxurious, refined forms of life.

There are 2 stages of the colonization process. The first: the VIII century. - the first half of the VII centuries BC, when the colonies were predominantly agrarian in nature. They were withdrawn in order to provide land to the colonists. The second stage: from the end of the VII century to the end of the VI century, when the colonies were focused on maintaining contacts with the local population - on trade with them and handicraft production.

Directions of colonization.

There were 3 directions of colonization: western, southern and south-eastern, north-eastern. The most powerful was the western direction. This is how the territory of southern Italy and the eastern part of Sicily, called "Great Greece", the islands of Sardinia and Corsica, the southern part of France and the eastern coast of Spain were settled. The most famous and early colonies: in Italy - Cumae, where, according to legend, the ancient prophetess of Apollo, the Cumaean Sibyl, lived; in Sicily - Syracuse, which became the capital of a powerful Sicilian power; on the southern coast of France, at the mouth of the Rhone - Massalia (Marseille), which turned into a Greek outpost during the development of Gaul (modern France), through which the Greeks could reach the mysterious "Tin Islands" (Great Britain); and in the eastern part of Spain - Emporion (near modern Barcelona), where the colonization power of the Greeks is already running out since the Carthaginians, descendants of the Phoenicians, settled on the northern coast of Africa, did not allow the Greeks to settle firmly in the western Mediterranean. The division of spheres of influence can be traced to the example of Sicily, divided between the Greeks and the Carthaginians, to whom the western half of the island was transferred.

The second direction is south and south-east: the coast of Syria, Palestine, Phoenicia and North Africa. On the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, urban civilization reached a high level, which is why Greek colonization did not develop here, besides, the Phoenicians were excellent sailors and founded colonies themselves, not allowing foreigners to develop their own territories. They actively opposed the emergence of large colonies in the Eastern Mediterranean, so the centers founded by the Greeks had the character of trading posts in pre-existing cities. The most famous trading post is Al-Mina in Syria.

Two large Greek colonies are emerging in North Africa - Navkratis and Cyrene. Navkratis was located in the Nile Delta, in a special territory allocated by the pharaohs. Until the end of VI BC, this city was the main transshipment point in the Greco-Egyptian trade. It was from here that the papyrus got to Greece. Cyrene, due to its remoteness from Egypt, did not pose a danger to the Pharaohs, who opposed Greek colonization in their possessions. In Cyrene, which was the breadbasket of Greece, unlike other Greek cities, there was a royal power; The famous school of doctors and philosophers was also founded here.

The north-eastern direction is the advance to the Propontis (Marmara Sea) and the Black Sea. Two small towns are founded in Propontis: Byzantium, later renamed the famous Constantinople, from which the history of Byzantium will begin, and Chalcedon, where the fourth Ecumenical Council will take place in Christian times.

Almost all the shores of the Black Sea are inhabited. On the western coast (mainly the territory of modern Bulgaria), the cities of Istria (south of the mouth of the Danube) and Odessos (modern Varna) arise; on the eastern (coast of present-day Abkhazia) - Pitiunt (Pitsunda) and Dioskuriada (near Sukhumi). The eastern coast is Transcaucasia, the territory of Colchis, where, according to one of the myths, a detachment of brave Greeks went on the ship Argo in order to return to Greece the golden fleece of the sacred ram. Here the colonies were of a trade and craft character and were transshipment points in trade with local settlements that were quite well developed. The colonies of Sinope and Heraclea Ponticus are brought to the southern coast.