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