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GreeceThe Greek peninsula has been culturally linked with the Aegean Islands andthe west coast of Asia Minor since the Neolithic Age The numerous naturalharbors and close-lying islands lead to a unified maritime civilizationHowever cultural unity did not produce political unity Mountain ranges anddeep valleys separated the peninsula into small economic and political unitsConstant feuding between cities and surrounding empires for political powermade Greece the sight of many battlesPrehistoric PeriodArcheological evidence shows that a primitive Mediterranean people closelyrelated to races of northern Africa lived in the southern Aegean area asfar back as the Neolithic AgeA cultural progression from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age started about3000 BC This civilization during the Bronze Age was divided into two maincultures One on these called Cretan or Minoan was centered on the islandof Crete The other culture Helladic who became Mycenaean populated mainlandGreece The Minoan culture dominated trade until 1500 BC when the Mycenaeanstook controlDuring the third millennium BC a series of invasions from the north beganThe most prominent of the early invaders who were called the Achaeans hadin all probability been forced to migrate by other invaders They overransouthern Greece and established themselves on the Peloponnesus Many othervaguely defined tribes were assimilated in the Helladic cultureAncient GreeceGradually in the last period of Bronze Age Greece the Minoan civilizationfused with the mainland By 1400 BC the Achaeans were in possession of theisland itself and soon afterward gained control of the mainland The TrojanWar described by Homer in the Iliad began about 1200 BC and was probablyone of a series of wars waged during the 12th and 13th centuries BC It mayhave been connected with the last and most important of the invasions whichhappened at about the same time and brought the Iron Age to Greece The Doriansleft the mountains of Epirus and pushed their way down to Peloponnesus andCrete using iron weapons to conquer the people of those regions The InvadingDorians overthrew Achaean kings and settled in the
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