The geometric and archaic period

[1100-500 avant JC]

In the regions untouched by the Dorians, the arts are still flourishing, as evidenced by the geometrically patterned vases that date from this period. Around 900 an alphabet was created, and in the 7th century the name “Hellene” began to spread, which encompassed all populations of Greek origin. According to mythology, Zeus, angry with men, provokes to punish them a cataclysm that causes them all to perish, with the exception of King Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha, refugees in a boat at the top of Mount Parnasse. Following the advice of the oracle of Delphi, the spouses throw stones behind them, which are immediately transformed into human beings.

Deucalion’s son, Hellen, had three sons, Doros, Eole and Xouthos, and two grandsons, Achéos and Ion, who gave their names to the Greek tribes. This is the era described as “archaic.” Important Greek settlements developed in Syria, Italy, Sicily, Egypt, Pont-Euxin and Liguria. Around this time, the aristocratic government gave way to tyrants, while Sparta and Athens fought over the hegemony of the Greek tribes.

Throughout the centuries, ancient art has developed in a sober and elaborate style, often in exceptional sites. This is the case of the acropolises, religious and political centers of ancient cities, as we still see today in Lindos, on the island of RODOS. Among religious ensembles, ancient shrines are often organized around a main temple, dedicated to a mythological deity. The temple embodies the spiritual high place of the shrine and only priests and some faithful have access to it.

In front of the temple stands the altar on which sacrifice is offered. The decoration of the columns topped by the capitals defines the style of the temple: the Doric order (simple) in the 7th century BC, the ion order (ornate) in the 6th century BC, and the Corinthian order (richly ornate) in the 5th century BC. A good example to visit in the Dodecanese Islands is the whole of the Asclepieion, on the island ofKOS