In 415 Athens launched an ambitious naval expedition to dominate Sicily; the expedition ended in disaster at the harbor of Syracuse, with almost the entire army killed and the ships destroyed. From about 750 BC the Greeks began 250 years of expansion, settling colonies in all directions. HISTORY: • In the 8th century BC, Greece began to emerge from the Dark Ages which followed the fall of the Mycenaean civilization. When Alexander died in 323 BC, Greek power and influence was at its zenith. Northeast lay Thessaly, while Epirus lay to the northwest. The Greeks came before the Romans and much of the Roman culture was influenced by the Greeks. There are significant fragments of actual Greek musical notation as well as many literary references to ancient Greek music. Sparta and Athens promptly turned on each other, at which point Cleomenes I installed Isagoras as a pro-Spartan archon. Sparta had a special type of slaves called helots. The education system of the wealthy ancient Greeks is also called Paideia. The region was already settled, and agriculture initiated, during the Paleolithic era as evidenced by finds at Petralona and Franchthi caves (two of the oldest human habitations in the world).  However, Athens failed to win a decisive victory, and in 447 lost Boeotia again. Classical Greek culture, especially philosophy, had a powerful influence on ancient Rome, which carried a version of it throughout the Mediterranean and much of Europe. As Horace put it. Wandering tribes begin to settle in Greece: 1600 BCE: Mycenaean Greece: Bronze Age Greece was inhabited by the Mycenaean people. These reforms, attributed to Lycurgus of Sparta, were probably complete by 650 BC. Decisively defeating an allied army of Thebes and Athens at the Battle of Chaeronea (338 BC), he became de facto hegemon of all of Greece, except Sparta. Philip II and Alexander the Great, as strong leaders, spread many Greek ideas to conquered lands.  Many Greeks migrated to Alexandria, Antioch and the many other new Hellenistic cities founded in Alexander's wake, as far away as present-day Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom and the Indo-Greek Kingdom survived until the end of the first century BC. The Greek colonies of Sicily, especially Syracuse, were soon drawn into prolonged conflicts with the Carthaginians. The civilization of ancient Greece has been immensely influential on language, politics, educational systems, philosophy, science, and the arts. The civilization of ancient Greece was immensely influential in many spheres: language, politics, educational systems, philosophy, science, and the arts. The Aetolian league grew wary of Roman involvement in Greece, and sided with the Seleucids in the Roman–Seleucid War; when the Romans were victorious, the league was effectively absorbed into the Republic. The peculiarities of the Greek system are further evidenced by the colonies that they set up throughout the Mediterranean Sea, which, though they might count a certain Greek polis as their 'mother' (and remain sympathetic to her), were completely independent of the founding city. , In the 8th century BC, Greece began to emerge from the Dark Ages which followed the collapse of Mycenaean civilization. During the second millennium BC, Greece gave birth to the great stone and bronze civilization: the Minoans (2600-1500 BC), the Mycenaeans (1500-1150 BC) and the Cycladic civilization. During the early first millennium BCE, the Phoenicians, who originated in Lebanon, turned into successful maritime merchants, and they gradually spread their influence westwards, establishing outposts throughout the Mediterranean basin. Via the Roman Empire, Greek culture came to be foundational to Western culture in general. The Spartan hegemony lasted another 16 years, until, when attempting to impose their will on the Thebans, the Spartans were defeated at Leuctra in 371 BC. The Theban general Epaminondas then led Theban troops into the Peloponnese, whereupon other city-states defected from the Spartan cause. The Antikythera mechanism, a device for calculating the movements of planets, dates from about 80 BC, and was the first ancestor of the astronomical computer. Greece thus entered the 4th century BC under a Spartan hegemony, but it was clear from the start that this was weak. In the east, the unwieldy Seleucid Empire gradually disintegrated, although a rump survived until 64 BC, whilst the Ptolemaic Kingdom continued in Egypt until 30 BC, when it too was conquered by the Romans. Almost all of the surviving non-technical Hellenistic literature is poetry, and Hellenistic poetry tended to be highly intellectual, blending different genres and traditions, and avoiding linear narratives. The art of ancient Greece has exercised an enormous influence on the culture of many countries from ancient times to the present day, particularly in the areas of sculpture and architecture. Some studies estimate that the average Greek household grew fivefold between 800 and 300 BC, indicating a large increase in average income. This was a form of diarchy. When battles occurred, they were usually set piece and intended to be decisive. When this tyranny was ended, the Athenians founded the world's first democracy as a radical solution to prevent the aristocracy regaining power.  Supported by troops sent from Athens and Eretria, they advanced as far as Sardis and burnt the city before being driven back by a Persian counterattack. Roman civilization on the other hand was founded in 800BC on an Italian peninsular (Spielvogel, 2008). Fought between leagues of cities dominated by Athens and Sparta, the increased manpower and financial resources increased the scale, and allowed the diversification of warfare. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. The Lelantine War (c. 710 – c. 650 BC) is the earliest documented war of the ancient Greek period. A crucial part of a wealthy teenager's education was a mentorship with an elder, which in a few places and times may have included pederasty. As so often in other matters, Sparta was a notable exception to the rest of Greece, ruled through the whole period by not one, but two hereditary monarchs. These were the first important civilizations in Greek history. The discoveries of several Greek mathematicians, including Pythagoras, Euclid, and Archimedes, are still used in mathematical teaching today.  Prose first emerged as the writing style adopted by the presocratic philosophers Anaximander and Anaximenes—though Thales of Miletus, considered the first Greek philosopher, apparently wrote nothing. Helots raised food and did household chores so that women could concentrate on raising strong children while men could devote their time to training as hoplites.  Initially the Athenian position continued relatively strong, with important victories at Cyzicus in 410 and Arginusae in 406. This is demonstrated by the average daily wage of the Greek worker which was, in terms of wheat, about 12 kg. 2002. Undoubtedly the geography of Greece—divided and sub-divided by hills, mountains, and rivers—contributed to the fragmentary nature of ancient Greece. As the major city-states grew they underwent vigorous colonization. It greatly widened the horizons of the Greeks and led to a steady emigration of the young and ambitious to the new Greek empires in the east. The most noteworthy result of Pericles’ public-works campaign was the magnificent Parthenon, a temple in honor of the city’s patron goddess Athena.  The alliance against Persia continued, initially led by the Spartan Pausanias but from 477 by Athens, and by 460 Persia had been driven out of the Aegean.  During this long campaign, the Delian League gradually transformed from a defensive alliance of Greek states into an Athenian empire, as Athens' growing naval power intimidated the other league states. (Actually, this date was worked out centuries later, and is almost certainly wrong.)  The Athenian failure to regain control of Boeotia at Delium and Brasidas' successes in northern Greece in 424 improved Sparta's position after Sphakteria.  Though heavily outnumbered, the Athenians—supported by their Plataean allies—defeated the Persian hordes at the Battle of Marathon, and the Persian fleet turned tail.  The revolt continued until 494, when the rebelling Ionians were defeated. A modern revival of Classical Greek learning took place in the Neoclassicism movement in 18th- and 19th-century Europe and the Americas. Ancient Greece refers to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Dark Ages to the end of antiquity (c. AD 600).