Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Grece, Gresse

Greece is a country located in southeastern Europe and holds a rich historical and cultural legacy that spans thousands of years.

In Culhwch and OlwenArthur has conquered Greece along with most of western Europe. Geoffrey of Monmouth has a king of Greece, Epistrophus, allying with Lucius of Rome in a war against Arthur. Chrétien de Troyes correctly makes it part of the empire of Constantinople and gives its succession of emperors as AlexanderAlis, and Cligés.

The Post-Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal tells us that Erec was a descendant of Greeks; his grandfather, Canan, had been the King of Saloliqui. Finally, in Floriant et Florete, Greece is ruled by Emperor Filimenis and is later inherited by Sir Floriant.

Greece | 500 BC to the 9th century AD

Classical Greece | 500 BC – 323 BC
Greece faced invasions from the Persian Empire. Famous battles, such as the Battle of Marathon, Thermopylae, and Salamis, showcased Greek city-states’ resistance and unity during the Persian Wars (490-479 BC).

Conquest of Alexander the Great | 336-146 BC
Alexander, king of Macedonia, expanded his empire through Asia and North Africa. His conquests spread Greek culture and influence (Hellenism) across a vast territory. Following the death of Alexander, his generals, known as the Diadochi, fought for control of his empire. This led to the division of his conquests into several kingdoms, including the Seleucid Empire, the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, and the Antigonid Kingdom in Macedon.

Roman Greece | 146 BC – 330 AD
Greece became a Roman province after the Roman victory in the Battle of Corinth in 146 BC.

With the establishment of Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) as the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire), Greek culture continued to flourish. The Byzantine Empire faced various challenges, including invasions, internal strife, and the eventual rise of the Ottoman Turks.

The spread of Christianity during the late Roman and early Byzantine periods had a significant impact on Greece. The emperor Constantine the Great legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire in the fourth century. The Byzantine Empire experienced a period of iconoclastic controversy, where the use of religious icons became a subject of intense debate. The Second Council of Nicaea in 787 AD later affirmed the veneration of icons.

Byzantine Empire | 330 – 1453 AD
Justinian I (527-565 AD) was a notable Byzantine emperor who sought to restore the greatness of the Roman Empire. His reign saw significant legal reforms, including the compilation of Roman laws known as the Codex Justinianus.

By the Arthurian period, the Western Roman Empire had fallen to the Vandals and the Eastern Roman Empire was under attack by other barbarians. Greece was invaded by Huns, Slavs, and Goths. Arthurian legend fails to recognize this history.

See also
The Mouree | The Legend of King Arthur
Rhodes | The Legend of King Arthur
Thessaly | The Legend of King Arthur

Culhwch and Olwen | Late 11th century
Historia Regum Britanniae | Geoffrey of Monmouth, c. 1138
Cligés | Chrétien de Troyes, late 12th century
Roman de Brut | Wace, c. 1155
Post-Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal | 1230-1240
Floriant et Florete | c. 1250–1275
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470