Athens is the capital city of Greece, and it holds a prominent place in history as one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
According to Chrétien de Troyes, this Greek city served as the capital of the empire of Greece and Constantinople.
Athens | 0 to the 9th century AD
Athens has a rich history that spans over 3,400 years. It is often considered the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, philosophy, and various other intellectual and cultural achievements. In ancient times, Athens was a powerful city-state and a center of learning, art, and philosophy. It reached it zenth during the Golden Age of Athens in the fifth century BC, under the leadership of statesman Pericles. The city was home to notable philosophers such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.
Roman Period | 1st century BC – 4th century AD
In the first century BC, Athens came under Roman rule following the Roman general Sulla’s conquest of the city in 86 BC. During the Roman Empire, Athens retained its cultural and educational significance, but its political importance waned. The city continued to be a center of philosophy and learning.
Roman Imperial Period | 2nd – 4th centuries
Athens flourished during the Roman Imperial period. The Roman emperors, including Hadrian, were patrons of the arts, and several monumental structures were built in Athens during this time. Hadrian, in particular, was associated with the construction of the Library of Hadrian and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
Early Christian Period | 4th – 6th centuries
With the rise of Christianity, Athens, like much of the Roman Empire, experienced changes in religious and cultural practices. During the reign of the emperor Justinian I in the sixth century, the Parthenon was converted into a Christian church dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
Byzantine Period | 7th – 9th centuries
In the seventh century, Athens, like many other parts of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire), faced challenges from various invasions, including the Slavs and Avars. The city’s population declined, and urban life contracted. The Byzantine Empire, however, sought to fortify Athens against external threats.
Arab Invasions | 7th – 8th centuries
Athens was briefly captured by Arab forces during the Arab-Byzantine Wars in the seventh and eighth centuries. The city suffered from destruction and depopulation during these invasions.
Revival and Decline | 9th century
In the ninth century, Athens experienced a degree of revival under the Macedonian Dynasty of the Byzantine Empire. The construction of new defensive walls and fortifications took place during this time. However, Athens continued to face challenges, including raids and invasions.
Cligés | Chrétien de Troyes, late 12th century