Essay Athens: The History of the City

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Athens: The History of the City

The Beginnings

The Athenians have made it their boast that they had never been conquered. Both Achaean and Dorian invaders passed them by, possibly because their rocky plain was far less fertile than the rich valleys of Argos or Sparta. Thus the Athenians represented, or claimed to represent, the purest and most ancient Grecian stock, descended from the gods themselves (Ellis). The initial name of Athens was Akte or Aktike, named after the first king, Akteos (http://www.sikyon.com/Athens/ahist_eg01.html). Her second name, Kekropia, came from the king, Cecrops, who succeeded Akteos by marrying his daughter. According to the legend, his lower body was that of a dragon. During his reign, goddess Athena and
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Initially, there were only three Archons at a time, but eventually, that number increased to nine.? Once the one-year term ended for the Archon, they then joined a council of elder statesmen called the Aeropagus.? Council members served as judges in murder trials and prepared political matters to be discussed and voted upon.?

Another noteworthy king important in Athenian history was King Codrus, who reined about 1060 B.C. when the first Dorian invaders attempted to conquer the area known as Attica (World Book). The oracle at nearby Delphi predicted that, if the Dorians killed the Athenian king, they could not win the city. Due to this, King Codrus resolved to sacrifice himself. The Dorians avoided him in battle, so he disguised himself as a common soldier, went among the enemy, and, picking a quarrel with some of them, was slain. When the Dorians realized who the victim was, they withdrew from Attica without further struggle. The Athenians declared that no other king could be noble enough to take the place of Codrus, and therefore they would have no more kings (Ellis)

Era After the Rule of Kings

As time moved on, the population of Athens grew rapidly.? Due to this, Athens acquired the best farmland from the surrounding countryside to provide food for the people (World Book).? However, small farmers in the area eventually went into debt because they couldn?t keep up with payment on their land. Many of these farmers lost their…