Greece and the Balkans 500 BCE
A great civilization has emerged in Greece, based on hundreds of small city-states.
What is happening in Greece and the Balkans in 500BCE
The region of Greece and the Aegean Sea is fragmented into steep mountains and valleys, as well as many small islands. Over the past centuries this has caused the populations here to form several hundred tiny city-states. The mountainous nature of the landscape has encouraged coastal Greek states to look out to sea. Many have sent out overseas colonies, so that Greek culture is now spread far and wide across the Mediterranean basin.
In the centuries since 1000 BCE, contact with Phoenician traders from Syria has led to the introduction of the alphabet, amongst other things.
Ancient Greece is now in the classical phase of its civilization. By 500 BCE, most Greek city-states have a republican form of government. Political life in these states is often unstable, and sometimes violent, but they allow a degree of freedom unknown in other lands. This has given rise to dramatic intellectual achievements which made Ancient Greek civilization one of the great civilizations of world history.
A few of these states have become the first democracies in history; the largest of these is Athens, soon to be one of the most famous centres of culture in the ancient world.