The History of the Greeks: Hellenic and Hellenistic
The Hellenic Age and the Hellenistic Age are the two main periods in Greek history. The Hellenic Age is significantly different from the Hellenistic Age. The Hellenic period saw the rising and falling of the polis while Hellenistic period was plagued by warfare among the remaining dynasties. Despite the differences between the Hellenic and Hellenistic periods, the one thing that remained consistent in both periods was the Greeks' ability to not only advance science and philosophy but to strive for excellence in everything that they undertook including their ability to deemphasize the role of the gods in their lives.
The first period that shaped Greek history was the Hellenic (c.750-323 B.C.). One of the characteristics of the Hellenic period was the polis, or very small city-state. Each polis was dedicated to one specific god. Each polis was self-governing and allowed for the citizens to be involved in the political and cultural life of the city.
The early city-states were colonized as religious institutions. The citizens of each polis had a desire to maintain a bond with the gods. The city-states were originally in Greece, with Athens being the largest, however, because of the growing population, the Greeks needed to expand their territory. They began their colonization to the east on the coast of the Aegean Sea. They then moved to Cyprus along with the coasts of Thrace, the Sea of Marmara and the south coast of the Black Sea. Their western colonization included the coasts of Albania, Sicily, southeastern Italy, the south coast of France, Corsica and Spain. The two most distinct city-states of Greece were Athens and Sparta. During this massive colonization period, one poet would forever change the way the Greeks lived their lives.
The poet's name was Homer.