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Dark Ages of Ancient Greece & the Dorians
Posted In: Ancient Civilizations  2/17/12
By: Yona Williams

It was 1100 BC when the nomadic group of people known as the Dorians conquered the Mycenaeans. As a result, Greece went into a period of decline that lingered for more than 300 years. The Dorians were more interested in living the life of nomads – being shepherds and hunters. In this article, you will learn how the Dorians influenced the Greek culture and some of the events that took place during the Dark Ages.

The Dorians

The Dorians were a tribal people that held onto an intense way of serving justice. During the Dark Ages, the different clans were constantly fighting with one another. One of the reasons that the Dorians were able to make such a mark during the Dark Ages was because they used weapons made out of iron. They are responsible for bringing the more durable metal from the north to other parts of Greece. Because of this, the Bronze Age in Greece came to an end.

With the Dark Ages, not much of Greek civilization is known. The script that the Mycenaeans used to keep records had disappeared and the arts that the Mycenaeans helped to thrive started to decline as well. When the Dorians came into power, many Mycenaean cities were abandoned. The populations of numerous regions and islands also went into decline. If trade took place between other countries, it is not known. The Greeks also headed into a state of poverty.

While the Dorians took over many places on the Greek mainland, there were still a few Mycenaean communities that were still able to survive. They lived in remote parts of Greece. It was not uncommon to find that many Mycenaeans had fled to the east – creating a new life in Athens. Other places that the Mycenaeans settled included over the Aegean and on the coast of Asia Minor – communicating to one another using the language of Ionian Greeks.

Mythology Thrives During Dark Ages

It may seem that everything came to a standstill when the Dark Ages arrived in ancient Greek history, but there is one area that seems to have thrived. Mythology during the Dark Ages kept a legacy alive. Ionian Greeks tried their hardest to keep a hold on the refined civilization of the Bronze Age. They expressed themselves through song and verse, which included the writings of Greek poet Homer, who penned the Iliad and the Odyssey.

Joining the epics of Homer were the accounts of the Greek gods and creation of the universe – written by the 8th century poet Hesiod. A new Greek religion centered on the god Zeus and 11 other gods who they believed lived on Mount Olympus was created. Later on, the characteristics of the Greeks were adopted by the ancient Romans, as they called them different names. For example, the king of the gods for the Greeks was Zeus, while the Romans their king of the gods (and the god of sky and thunder) was called Jupiter or Jove.


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