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Year 356 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Ambustus and Laenas (or, less frequently, year 398 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 356 BC for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Dominicalendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.
- Having blamed the defeats by Philip II in Thessaly and Chalcidice on his colleagues, Chares is left as sole Athenian commander. Chares is in need of money for his war effort, but frowns upon asking it from the Athenians so, partly compelled by his mercenaries, he enters the service of the insurgent Persian satrap Artabazus of Phrygia who rewards Chares very generously.
- Artabazus of Phrygia is also supported by the Thebans, who send him 5,000 men under their general Pammenes. With the assistance of these and other allies, Artabazus defeats his Persian enemies in two great battles.
- The Persian King Artaxerxes III orders all the satraps (governors) of his empire to dismiss their mercenaries. The Athenians, who have originally approved their mercenaries' collaboration with Artabazus of Phrygia, order them to leave due to their fear of Persian support for the revolting states of Chios, Rhodes, and Cos. Thebes follows suit and withdraws its mercenaries.
- With King Artaxerxes III succeeding in depriving Artabazus of his Athenian and Theban allies, Artabazus is defeated by the Persian King's general, Autophradates.
- Philip II of Macedon secretly offers the city of Amphipolis back to the Athenians in exchange for the valuable port of Pydna. Despite the Athenians being willing to comply, both Pydna and Potidaea are conquered by the Macedonians (along with other Athenian strongholds in Thessaly and Chalcidice) despite being defended by Athenian forces led by general and mercenary commander, Chares, as well as generals Iphicrates and Timotheus.
- With Pydna and Potidaea occupied, Philip II decides to keep Amphipolis anyway. He also takes the city of Crenides from the Odrysae and renames it Philippi.
- The Phocians capture and sack Delphi in whose territory the famous temple and oracle stand. A sacred war is declared against them by the other members of the Great Amphictyonic League. The Phocians, led by two capable generals, Philomelus and Onomarchus, use Delphi's riches to hire a mercenary army to carry the war into Boeotia and Thessaly.
- The Social War or the "War of the Allies" begins between the Second Athenian Empire, led by Athens, and its revolting allies of Chios, Rhodes, and Kos as well as the independent state Byzantium. Mausolus, the tyrant of Caria, instigates the rebellion against the Athenian control of these states. The revolting allies ravage the islands of Lemnos and Imbros which are loyal to Athens.
- The Athenian generals Chares and Chabrias are given command of the Athenian fleet with the aim of defeating the rebellious cities. However, Chabrias' fleet is defeated and he is killed in its attack on the island of Chios, off the coast of Ionia.
- Chares is given complete command of the Athenian fleet and withdraws to the Hellespont to move against Byzantium. The generals Timotheus, Iphicrates and his son Menestheus are sent to help him when the enemy fleet is sighted on the Hellespont. Timotheus and Iphicrates refuse to engage due to a severe gale, but Chares does engage and lose many of his ships. Timotheus and Iphicrates are accused by Chares and put on trial, however only Timotheus is condemned to pay a fine.
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The Ancient Greek Empire was very large, and included the modern European countries of Turkey and Bulgaria. Alexander the Great led many battles that extended the boundaries all the way through Iran, to around the border of India.
Some of the most well-known city-states are:
- Athens – Athens is the most famous city-state, and it is the capital of Greece today. In ancient times, Athens was the capital of culture – great thinkers, mathematicians, scientists and actors lived there. They were also a democracy, meaning the citizens decided among themselves how to govern the city-state. The final decision would be whatever the majority of people wanted. Athens also started using juries made up of Athenian citizens to try people who were suspected of committing crimes – the juries decided if someone were guilty or not. We also use juries today in Britain.
- Sparta – Sparta was governed through an oligarchy, which meant that a small group of people were in charge. These people were in charge of the military, and being physically fit and a good soldier was the most important thing for Spartan men. Women in Sparta were also taught how to fight and keep fit, and they wanted to have sons who would grow to be good soldiers. Boys were taken from their families when they were just seven years old and trained for a life in the military. Because of this, Spartan warriors were the best in Greece, but it was not a city of culture like Athens or Corinth.
- Corinth – Corinth was ruled by a king, so their government was a monarchy. It was located by the sea and had a good harbour, so it prospered through trade. They also had very good artists, and all boys were taught maths, science, music and literature.
The Greeks used a row of tall columns in their buildings that helped support the structure. There are three main types of columns that were used, each with a distinctive style – Doric (which was pretty plain), Ionic (which had curled ‘flutes’ at the very top) and Corinthian (which was the most decorative, with flowers and leaves at the top)
Ancient Greeks believed that everything should have balance, order and harmony – you can see this in Greek art and architecture.
Slaves were very common in Greek society, and only very poor families wouldn’t have had slaves. Slaves may have once lived in a region that was conquered by Greece, such as Persia. Sometimes unwanted babies would be left in a public place for someone to take and raise as a slave.
Education was important to the Greeks, and children were taught a variety of things. Everyone learned how to play a musical instrument, such as the lyre (a kind of small harp) or the double aulos (a pair of pipes with holes like a recorder). Boys learned how to be good athletes, but in Sparta girls exercised as well – everyone had to be fit and ready to defend Sparta.
Names to know:
Alexander the Great (356-332 BC) – Alexander the Great was the king of one of the Greek states (Macedon) and led Greek armies to many victories – in fact, he was never beaten! He extended the Greek empire as far east as India. Alexander died when he was only 32 years old.
Archimedes (c.287-212 BC) – Archimedes was a famous Greek mathematician and philosopher. He discovered a way of measuring the volume of an object by putting it in water, and seeing how much the water rose – like it does when you get in the bathtub. Archimedes was actually in the bathtub when he figured this out, and then he jumped out and shouted, ‘Eureka!’, which means ‘I found it!’
Aristotle (384-322 BC) – Aristotle was a Greek philosopher who taught Alexander the Great. Plato was Aristotle’s teacher.
Euripides (c.480-406 BC) – Euripides wrote many plays, mostly tragedies (sad plays).
Herodotus (c.484-425 BC) – Herodotus was a famous Greek historian, and his writings have really helped us understand what happened in ancient times. He was also careful about how he gathered facts – he tried to make sure they were true before writing them down. His books are called The Histories.
Hippocrates (c.460-370 BC) – Hippocrates was a famous doctor in ancient Greece, and he is called ‘the father of Western medicine’. People who become doctors today take the Hippocratic oath, promising to be good at their job and to do what’s best for their patients.
Pericles (c.495-429 BC) – Pericles led Athens during its Golden Age. Athens prospered in many ways, including winning battles and expanding its culture. Pericles thought education and art were very important.
Plato (c.424-347 BC) – Plato was a Greek philosopher who taught Aristotle. Socrates was Plato’s teacher. Plato founded the Academy in Athens, which was like a university where people could learn more than they did in school.
Pythagoras (c.569-475 BC) – Pythagoras was a Greek mathematician and philosopher. One of the things he studied was triangles, and he came up with the Pythagorean theorem which has to do with right-angle triangles.
Socrates (c.469-399 BC) – Socrates was a Greek philosopher who taught Plato. His ideas helped to develop the scientific method we use today – Socrates would always start off with a hypothesis about something, and tested that to see if it was correct.