Achaeans


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Achaeans,

people of ancient Greece, of unknown origin. In Homer, the Achaeans are specifically a Greek-speaking people of S Thessaly. Historically, they seem to have appeared in the Peloponnesus during the 14th and 13th cent. B.C., and c.1250 B.C. they became the ruling class. There is no sharp line of separation between the earlier Mycenaean civilizationMycenaean civilization
, an ancient Aegean civilization known from the excavations at Mycenae and other sites. They were first undertaken by Heinrich Schliemann and others after 1876, and they helped to revise the early history of Greece. Divided into Early Helladic (c.
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 and the Achaean; the cultures seem to have intermingled. The invasions of the DoriansDorians,
people of ancient Greece. Their name was mythologically derived from Dorus, son of Hellen. Originating in the northwestern mountainous region of Epirus and SW Macedonia, they migrated through central Greece and into the Peloponnesus probably between 1100 and 950 B.C.
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 supposedly forced some of the Achaeans out to Asia Minor; others were concentrated in the region known in classical times as Achaea.

Achaeans

 

one of the major ancient Greek tribes who first inhabited Thessaly (northern Greece) and also settled at the beginning of the second millennium B.C. on the Peloponnesos and certain Aegean islands. During the 17th and 16th centuries B.C. the Achaeans formed early class states, such as Mycenae and Pylos, which flourished economically and politically from the 15th through 13th centuries B.C. The large role played by the Achaeans in the history of Greece of that time is demonstrated by the spread of their name to the remaining Greek tribes (as may be seen from the epic of Homer). In the middle of the 13th century B.C., after the Trojan War, the Achaean kingdom was weakened, and after the migrations of the Dorians and other Greek tribes during the 12th century B.C. into the region where the Achaeans had settled, their power was completely broken. Some of the Achaeans were driven into Asia Minor and to Cyprus and other islands; in the Peloponnesos the Achaeans were pushed into the northern regions along the Gulf of Corinth, where they formed the province called Achaea. During the eighth century B.C. settlers from Achaea founded a number of the largest cities in southern Italy—Sybaris, Croton, and others. The Achaeans again became important after 280 B.C., when the Achaean city-states reorganized their old union into the Achaean League. The league played a major role in the fight against Macedonian and Roman expansion during the third and second centuries B.C. In the ancient Greek language the dialects of the Achaeans constituted a special Achaean group.

REFERENCES

Georgiev, V. Issledovaniia po sravnitel’no-istoricheskomu iazykoznaniiu. Moscow, 1958.
Hrozný, B. Ancient History of Western Asia, India, and Crete. New York, 1953.

T. V. BLAVATSKAIA

References in classic literature ?
Take my advice, call the Achaean heroes in assembly to-morrow morning--lay your case before them, and call heaven to bear you witness.
On this the rest of the Achaeans with one voice were for respecting the priest and taking the ransom that he offered; but not so Agamemnon, who spoke fiercely to him and sent him roughly away.
For nine whole days he shot his arrows among the people, but upon the tenth day Achilles called them in assembly--moved thereto by Juno, who saw the Achaeans in their death-throes and had compassion upon them.
He it was who had guided the Achaeans with their fleet to Ilius, through the prophesyings with which Phoebus Apollo had inspired him.
Achilles, loved of heaven, you bid me tell you about the anger of King Apollo, I will therefore do so; but consider first and swear that you will stand by me heartily in word and deed, for I know that I shall offend one who rules the Argives with might, to whom all the Achaeans are in subjection.
And Achilles answered, "Fear not, but speak as it is borne in upon you from heaven, for by Apollo, Calchas, to whom you pray, and whose oracles you reveal to us, not a Danaan at our ships shall lay his hand upon you, while I yet live to look upon the face of the earth--no, not though you name Agamemnon himself, who is by far the foremost of the Achaeans.
And Achilles answered, "Most noble son of Atreus, covetous beyond all mankind, how shall the Achaeans find you another prize?
Let the Achaeans find me a prize in fair exchange to my liking, or I will come and take your own, or that of Ajax or of Ulysses; and he to whomsoever I may come shall rue my coming.
With what heart can any of the Achaeans do your bidding, either on foray or in open fighting?
Therefore I say, and swear it with a great oath--nay, by this my sceptre which shalt sprout neither leaf nor shoot, nor bud anew from the day on which it left its parent stem upon the mountains--for the axe stripped it of leaf and bark, and now the sons of the Achaeans bear it as judges and guardians of the decrees of heaven--so surely and solemnly do I swear that hereafter they shall look fondly for Achilles and shall not find him.
Therefore, Agamemnon, though you be strong, take not this girl away, for the sons of the Achaeans have already given her to Achilles; and you, Achilles, strive not further with the king, for no man who by the grace of Jove wields a sceptre has like honour with Agamemnon.
And the old man went away in fear and silence, and, when he had left the camp, he called upon Apollo by his many names, reminding him of everything which he had done pleasing to him, whether in building his temples, or in offering sacrifice, and praying that his good deeds might be returned to him, and that the Achaeans might expiate his tears by the arrows of the god,'--and so on.