Greece and the Balkans 200 BCE

The Greek city-states are buffeted by the great powers of the region.

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What is happening in Greece and the Balkans in 200BCE

The years after 500 BCE saw the Greek city-states, under the leadership of Athens and Sparta, see off an attempt by the mighty Persian Empire to conquer them. This struggle opened two centuries in which the civilization of ancient Greece reached its brilliant cultural peak, culminating in the philosophical achievements of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. These would lay much of the foundations for two thousand years of European thought. The cultural brilliance was accompanied by unceasing warfare, however, when led to the Greek city-states being eclipsed by new, larger powers.

To the north of Greece, the kingdom of Macedonia rose to prominence under Philip II (reigned 359-336 BCE) and even more so under his son, Alexander the Great (reigned 336-323 BCE), under whom it briefly controlled one of the largest empires the world has yet seen. Since then Macedonia has played its part as one of the leading kingdoms of the region, along with Egypt and Syria.

These kingdoms now overshadow the many small city-states of Greece. The classical age of ancient Greece is now over. However, Greek civilization continues to exert an enormous influence as the basis for the Hellenistic culture, which mingles Greek and local Asian/Egyptian elements and now stretches as far as India.

The days of independent Greek states will shortly come to an end, however. To the west, a new power is rising. The city of Rome has already won control of the western Mediterranean, and is now turning its attention eastwards.

Next map: Ancient Greece 30 BCE

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