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 – 800 AD

Classical Greece | 500 BC – 323 BC
The fifth century BC is often considered the “Golden Age” of Greece. Athens emerged as a cultural and intellectual center, producing notable figures like playwrights Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, and philosophers Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. The city-state also played a significant role in the Persian Wars (490-479 BC) against the Persian Empire.

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 – Fourth century AD
Greece fell under Roman control after the defeat of the Macedonian Kingdom. While Greece maintained a degree of autonomy, it became a Roman province in 27 BC. Greek cities continued to thrive under Roman rule, and Greek culture had a profound influence on Roman art, architecture, and literature. Many Greek philosophers and writers remained highly regarded in the Roman world.

Late Antiquity and Byzantine Greece | Fourth century – 800 AD
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 Roman Empire split into the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire) and the Western Roman Empire. Greece became part of the Byzantine Empire, with Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) as its capital.

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