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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 civilization and the Achaean; the cultures seem to have intermingled. The invasions of the Dorians supposedly forced some of the Achaeans out to Asia Minor; others were concentrated in the region known in classical times as Achaea.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


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


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
How can you say that we hold back from the fighting whenever we Achaians make bitter war on the horsebreaker Trojans?
Likewise, in discussing Il, 7.189, in which various Achaian warriors put their own mark on some token, Eustathius once again (2.437) specifically says that grdmmata would be inappropriate in a Homeric context.
After excoriating Agamemnon, and flaunting the principles of rhetoric, Thersites assails his audience ("Achaian girls...women, not men"), repudiates their mission, and urges abandonment.
"Sing, goddess, of the anger of Achilleus, son of Peleus, the accursed anger which brought uncounted anguish on the Achaians...
The book with very little exaggeration might be called "in praise of the Achaian nation." He ascribed great importance to the Phoenician element in Greece and claimed that Ulysses and Ithaca showed "distinct Phoenician characters." But "the two ideas in Homer that are really cardinal, central, generative, are the nation, and its reflection in the Thearchy, or Olympic society." Homer "had to launch into the world the Greek idea," a nation and its religion.
An arrow from his bow strikes Achilles in the heel and kills the Achaian warrior.
The Roman period, in UMME's chronological scheme, began with the defeat and temporary dissolution of the Achaian League in 146 B.C.
When Achilles questions the whole system of the heroic code, during his meeting with the embassy sent from the Achaians in book IX, we are reminded through the softening of his attitude during the visit that Achilles has a kind, affective character.
As the poet tells us, Zeus was planning victory for Hektor and the Trojans even though he did not want the Achaians to be entirely defeated at Troy [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 349-50).
Announcing his death, Menelaus does not hesitate to call him by the formulaic phrase "the bravest of the Achaians," whereas Achilles labels him "the bravest of the Myrmidons," who are led by Achilles himself.
Each woman has been assigned to her respective possessor by the Achaians acting as a collective authority, as his rightful prize from the booty taken by the army.