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Ancient Greece
The Archaic Period



The Archaic Period
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 8 to 10
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.81

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    unchallenged, abacus, archon, magistrate, profound, aligned, striking, penned, onset, bestow, structural, needless, city-states, pagan, city-state, suffering
     content words:    Bronze Age, Dark Ages, Archaic Period, Four Hundred, Because Solon, Olympic Games, Herean Games, Roman Emperor Theodosius


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The Archaic Period
By Vickie Chao
  

1     More than 5,000 years ago, the Minoans on the island of Crete built a great civilization that officially ushered the Greeks into the Bronze Age. As that culture reached its peak around 1600 B.C., another great civilization, the Mycenaean civilization, began to flourish on mainland Greece. At the time, the Greeks were among the most advanced people on Earth. They knew how to fashion weapons using metals. They made beautiful potteries. They produced striking statues. And they constructed magnificent palaces.
 
2     For a long while, the Greeks' authority had gone unchallenged. But the Dorians changed all that with their invasion at the onset of the 12th century B.C. Now with the Mycenaean civilization crushed, the once blissful days turned bleak. From that point on to about 800 B.C., the Greeks were in the Dark Ages. For nearly three hundred years, they had nothing of any significance to show for it; it was as if they were living inside a cultural vacuum. When they at last emerged from it, however, they spun such a rich civilization in the so-called Archaic Period that its impact can still be felt today!
 
3     During the days of the Archaic Period, the Greeks established numerous city-states. Originally, those city-states were all governed by monarchies. But by the middle of the 7th century B.C., one of them decided to break the ranks and try something totally different. That particular city-state was Athens, and the person who made it happen was Solon (638 B.C. - 558 B.C.) Solon was a famous Athenian lawmaker. He saw how harsh the existing Draco's laws were and, subsequently, how much his fellow citizens were suffering. To make the current legal system more humane, he issued a new set of laws and abolished many severe punishments. One of them was to bar creditors from forcing debtors into slavery.

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