HOME

TheInfoList




The Dorian invasion is a concept devised by historians of
Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era wa ...
to explain the replacement of pre-classical dialects and traditions in southern
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in . Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of 2021; is its largest and capital city, followed by . Situated on the southern tip of the , ...

Greece
by the ones that prevailed in
Classical Greece Classical Greece was a period of around 200 years (the 5th and 4th centuries BC) in Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dar ...
. The latter were named "Dorian" by the ancient Greek writers, after the
Dorians The Dorians (; el, Δωριεῖς, ''Dōrieîs'', singular , ''Dōrieús'') were one of the four major ethnic groups into which the Hellenes The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllines'' ) are an ethnic group native to Gree ...
, the historical population that spoke them. Greek legend asserts that the Dorians took possession of the
Peloponnesus The Peloponnese (), Peloponnesia, or Peloponnesus (; el, Πελοπόννησος, Pelopónnēsos, ) is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while be ...
in an event called the Return of the Heracleidae ( grc, Ἐπιστροφὴ τῶν Ἡρακλειδῶν). Nineteenth-century Classical scholars saw in the
legend A legend is a genre of folklore that consists of a narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether nonfictional ( memoir, biography, news report, documentary, Travel literature, tra ...
a possibly real event they termed the ''Dorian invasion''. The meaning of the concept has changed several times, as historians,
philologist Philology is the study of language in oral and writing, written historical sources; it is the intersection of textual criticism, literary criticism, history, and linguistics (with especially strong ties to etymology). Philology is more commonly d ...
s and
archaeologist Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch of socio-cultural anthropology, but archaeologists also draw from biological, geological, ...

archaeologist
s used it in attempts to explain the cultural discontinuities expressed in the data of their fields. The pattern of arrival of Dorian culture on certain islands in the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.
Mediterranean
, such as
Crete Crete ( el, Κρήτη, translit=, : , : '','' ) is the largest and most populous of the , the largest island in the world and the largest island in the , after , , , and . Crete rests approximately south of the Greek mainland. It has an ar ...

Crete
, is also not well understood. The Dorians colonised a number of sites on Crete such as
Lato Lato ( grc, Λατώ, Latṓ) was an ancient city of Crete Crete ( el, Κρήτη, translit=, : , : '','' ) is the largest and most populous of the , the largest island in the world and the largest island in the , after , , , and . Crete ...

Lato
. Despite nearly 200 years of investigation, the historicity of a mass migration of Dorians into Greece has never been established, and the origin of the Dorians remains unknown. Firm archeological evidence of such an invasion has not been established. Nonetheless, the pervasiveness of the Dorians in literature means that most historians do not reject the theory. Some have linked them or their victims with the emergence of the equally mysterious
Sea Peoples The Sea Peoples are a purported seafaring confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty A treaty is a f ...
during the
Late Bronze Age collapse The Late Bronze Age collapse was a transition period in a large area covering much of Southeast Europe, West Asia and North Africa North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly ac ...
. The meaning of the phrase "Dorian invasion" as an explanation for the cultural and economic breakdown after the
Mycenaean period Mycenaean Greece (or the Mycenaean civilization) was the last phase of the Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features ...
and into the
Greek Dark Ages The Greek Dark Ages is the period of Greek history The history of Greece encompasses the history of the territory of the modern nation-state of Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country locate ...
has become to some degree amorphous.


Return of the Heracleidae

Classical tradition, as recorded for example in Herodotus, describes the "Return of the
Heracleidae Heracles with his son Telephus, one of the Heracleidae In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogon ...
" (Ἐπιστροφὴ τῶν Ἡρακλειδῶν), the descendants of
Heracles Heracles ( ; grc-gre, Ἡρακλῆς, , glory/fame of ), born Alcaeus (, ''Alkaios'') or Alcides (, ''Alkeidēs''), was a divine in , the son of and , and the foster son of .By his adoptive descent through Amphitryon, Heracles receive ...

Heracles
, who were exiled at his death and returned in later generations to reclaim the dominion that Heracles had held in the
Peloponnesus The Peloponnese (), Peloponnesia, or Peloponnesus (; el, Πελοπόννησος, Pelopónnēsos, ) is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while be ...
. The Greece to which the tradition refers is the mythic one, now considered to be
Mycenaean Greece Mycenaean Greece (or the Mycenaean civilization) was the last phase of the Bronze Age in Ancient Greece, spanning the period from approximately 1750 to 1050 BC.. It represents the first advanced and distinctively Greek civilization in mainland ...
. The details differ from one ancient author to another, the commonality being that a traditional ruling clan traced its legitimacy to Heracles. The Greek words referring to the influx of the Dorians are ''katienai'' and ''katerchesthai'', literally "to descend", "come down" or "go down" or, less commonly, "be brought down." It means a descent from uplands to lowlands, or from earth to grave, or rushing down as a flood, or sweeping down as a wind, or those who have returned from exile by ship. This sweeping down upon the Peloponnesus invited the English translation "invasion". There is, however, a distinction between Heracleidae and Dorians.
George Grote George Grote (; 17 November 1794 – 18 June 1871) was an English political radical and classical historian. He is now best known for his major work, the voluminous ''History of Greece''. Early life George Grote was born at Clay Hill near Be ...

George Grote
summarizes the relationship as follows:George Grote, ''Greece'' Part I, Chapter XVIII, Section I: "Return of the Herakleids into
Peloponnesus The Peloponnese (), Peloponnesia, or Peloponnesus (; el, Πελοπόννησος, Pelopónnēsos, ) is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while be ...
."
Herakles Heracles ( ; grc-gre, Ἡρακλῆς, , glory/fame of Hera Hera (; grc-gre, Ἥρᾱ, ''Hērā''; , ''Hērē'' in Ionic and Homeric Greek) is the goddess of women, marriage, family and childbirth in ancient Greek religion and ...

Herakles
himself had rendered inestimable aid to the Dorian king
Aegimius Aegimius (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: Mycenae ...
, when the latter was hard pressed in a contest with the
Lapithae The Lapiths (; grc, Λαπίθαι) are a group of legendary people in Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern t ...
.... Herakles defeated the Lapithae and slew their king Koronus; in return for which Aegimius assigned to his deliverers one third part of his whole territory and adopted
Hyllus In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical cosmology, nature of t ...
as his son.
After the death of Heracles, Hyllus (a
Perseid
Perseid
) was driven from the state of
Mycenae Mycenae ( ; grc, Μυκῆναι or , ''Mykē̂nai'' or ''Mykḗnē'') is an archaeological site near Mykines, Greece, Mykines in Argolis, north-eastern Peloponnese, Greece. It is located about south-west of Athens; north of Argos, Peloponnes ...

Mycenae
into exile by a dynastic rival,
Eurystheus In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical cosmology, nature of ...
(another Perseid):George Grote, ''Greece'' Chapter IV: "Heroic Legends : Exile of the Herakleids."
After the death ... of Herakles, his son Hyllos and his other children were expelled and persecuted by Eurystheus ... Eurystheus invaded
Attica Attica ( el, Αττική, Ancient Greek ''Attikḗ'' or , or ), or the Attic peninsula, is a historical region that encompasses the city of Athens, the capital city, capital of Greece and its countryside. It is a peninsula projecting into the ...

Attica
, but perished in the attempt .... All the sons of Eurystheus lost their lives ... with him, so that the Perseid family was now represented only by the Herakleids ....
The
Pelopid
Pelopid
family now assumed power. The Heraclids "endeavored to recover the possessions from which they had been expelled" but were defeated by the Ionians at the
Isthmus of Corinth An isthmus ( or ; plural: isthmuses or isthmi; from grc, ἰσθμός, isthmós, neck) is a narrow piece of land connecting two larger areas across an expanse of water by which they are otherwise separated. A tombolo A tombolo is a sandy is ...

Isthmus of Corinth
. Hyllus staked peace for three generations against immediate reoccupation on a single combat and was killed by
Echemus In Greek mythology, Echemus ( grc, Ἔχεμος, ''Ekhemos'') was the king of Arcadia (ancient region), Arcadia who succeeded Lycurgus (son of Aleus), Lycurgus. Family Echemus was the son of Aeropus (mythology), Aeropus, son of King Cepheus (ki ...
of
Arcadia Arcadia may refer to: Places Australia * Arcadia, New South Wales, a suburb of Sydney * Arcadia, Queensland * Arcadia, Victoria Greece * Arcadia (region) Arcadia ( el, Ἀρκαδία) is a region in the central Peloponnese. It takes its name ...
. The Heracleidae now found it prudent to claim the Dorian land granted to Heracles: "and from this moment the Herakleids and Dorians became intimately united together into one social communion." Three generations later the Heracleidae with Dorian collusion occupied the Peloponnesus, an event Grote terms a "victorious invasion."


The term "invasion"

The first widespread use of the term "Dorian invasion" appears to date to the 1830s. A popular alternative was "Dorian migration". For example, in 1831 Thomas Keightly was using "Dorian migration" in ''Outline of History''; by 1838 in ''The Mythology of Ancient Greece and Italy'' he was using "Dorian invasion". Neither of those two words exactly fits the events, as they imply an incursion from outside a society to within; but the Dorians were not outside of either Greece or Greek society. William Mitford's ''History of Greece'' (1784–1810) described a "Dorian conquest" followed by "a revolution in Peloponnesus so complete that, except in the rugged province of Arcadia, nothing remained unaltered." In 1824
Karl Otfried Müller Karl Otfried Müller ( la, Carolus Mullerus; 28 August 1797 – 1 August 1840) was a Germany, German scholar and Philodorian, or admirer of ancient Sparta, who introduced the modern study of Greek mythology. Biography He was born at Brieg (moder ...
's ''Die Dorier'' was published in German and was translated into English by Tufnel and Lewis for publication in 1830. They use such terms as "the Doric invasion" and "the invasion of the Dorians" to translate Müller's "Die Einwanderung von den Doriern" (literally: "the migration of the Dorians"), which was quite a different concept. On one level the ''Einwanderung'' meant no more than the ''Heraklidenzug'', the return of the Heracleidae. However, Müller was also applying the sense of Völkerwanderung to it, which was being used of the Germanic migrations. Müller's approach was
philological Philology is the study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing system composed o ...
. In trying to explain the distribution of tribes and dialects he hypothesized that the aboriginal or
Pelasgian The name Pelasgians ( grc, Πελασγοί, ''Pelasgoí'', singular: Πελασγός, ''Pelasgós'') was used by classical Greek writers to refer either to the ancestors of the Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllin ...
population was Hellenic. His first paragraph of the ''Introduction'' asserts: Müller goes on to propose that the original Pelasgian language was the common ancestor of Greek and Latin, that it evolved into Proto-Greek and was corrupted in Macedon and Thessaly by invasions of Illyrians. This same pressure of Illyrians drove forth Greeks speaking Achaean (including Aeolian), Ionian, and finally Dorian in three diachronic waves, explaining the dialect distribution of Greek in classical times. Following this traditional view, the linguist
Albert Thumb Albert may refer to: Companies * Albert (supermarket) Albert Česká republika, s.r.o., is a division of the Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize group, operating in the Czech Republic. The company (then known as Euronova a.s.) began trading in Czec ...
noticed that in the Peloponnesus and in the islands, where the Dorians established themselves, their dialect showed elements of the dialect. This can be explained if the Dorians conquered a Pre-Doric population, which was pushed into the Arcadian mountains. Where the Dorians were a minority, there is a mixed dialect, as in
Boeotia Boeotia, sometimes alternatively Latinised Latinisation or Latinization can refer to: * Latinisation of names, the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style * Latinisation in the Soviet Union, the campaign in the USSR during the 1920 ...

Boeotia
, or the Dorians adopted the existing dialect, as in
Thessaly Thessaly ( el, Θεσσαλία, translit=Thessalía, ; ancient Aeolic Greek#Thessalian, Thessalian: , ) is a traditional geographic regions of Greece, geographic and modern administrative regions of Greece, administrative region of Greece, co ...

Thessaly
. To the Achaeans described by Homer belongs the Aeolic-Arcadian dialect in the whole of eastern Greece, with the exception of Attica, where the
Ionians The Ionians (; el, Ἴωνες, ''Íōnes'', , ''Íōn'') were one of the four major s that the considered themselves to be divided into during the ; the other three being the , , and . The was one of the of the , together with the and ...
were confined. The Ionians must be considered the oldest first wave of the Greek migration. In 1902, K. Paparigopoulos, calling the event the "Descent of the Heraclidae", stated that the Heraclidae came from Thessaly after being expelled by the Thessalians living in Epirus.


Kretschmer's external Greeks

Toward the end of the 19th century the
philologist Philology is the study of language in oral and writing, written historical sources; it is the intersection of textual criticism, literary criticism, history, and linguistics (with especially strong ties to etymology). Philology is more commonly d ...
Paul KretschmerPaul Kretschmer (2 May 1866 – 9 March 1956) was a German linguist Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed ...
made a strong case that
Pelasgian The name Pelasgians ( grc, Πελασγοί, ''Pelasgoí'', singular: Πελασγός, ''Pelasgós'') was used by classical Greek writers to refer either to the ancestors of the Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllin ...

Pelasgian
was a pre-Greek substrate, perhaps Anatolian, taking up a classical theme of remnant populations existing in pockets among the Greek speakers, in mountainous and rural
Arcadia Arcadia may refer to: Places Australia * Arcadia, New South Wales, a suburb of Sydney * Arcadia, Queensland * Arcadia, Victoria Greece * Arcadia (region) Arcadia ( el, Ἀρκαδία) is a region in the central Peloponnese. It takes its name ...
and in inaccessible coasts of the far south. This view left Müller's proto-Greeks without a homeland, but Kretschmer did not substitute the Heracleidae or their Dorian allies from Macedon and Thessaly. Instead he removed the earliest Greeks to the trail leading from the plains of Asia, where he viewed the
Proto-Indo-European language Proto-Indo-European (PIE) is the theorized common ancestor of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( s ...
as having broken up about 2500 BC. Kretschmer suggested that somewhere between that Asian homeland and Greece a new cradle of the Greek tribes developed, from which Proto-Ionians at about 2000 BC, Proto-Achaeans at about 1600 BC and Dorians at about 1200 BC came to swoop down on an increasingly less aboriginal Greece as three waves of external Greeks. Kretschmer was confident that if the unknown homeland of the Greeks was not then known, archaeology would find it. The handbooks of Greek history from then on spoke of Greeks entering Greece. As late as 1956 J.B. Bury's ''History of Greece'' (3rd edition) wrote of an "invasion which brought the Greek language into Greece". Over that half-century Greek and Balkan archaeology united in an effort to locate the Dorians further north than Greece. The idea was combined with a view that the
Sea Peoples The Sea Peoples are a purported seafaring confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty A treaty is a f ...
were part of the same north-south migration about 1200 BC. The weakness in this theory is that it requires both an invaded Greece and an external area where Greek evolved and continued to evolve into dialects contemporaneously with the invaded Greece. However, although the invaded Greece was amply represented by evidence of all sorts, there was no evidence at all of the external homeland. Similarly, a clear Greek homeland for the Sea Peoples failed to materialize. Retaining Müller's three waves and Kretschmer's Pelasgian pockets the scholars continued to search for the Dorians in other quarters. Müller's common ancestor of Greek and Latin had vanished by 1950; and by 1960, although still given lip service, the concept of Greek developing outside of Greece was in decline.


Greek origin in Greece

Additional progress in the search for the Dorian invasion resulted from the decipherment of
Linear B Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, the earliest attested form of Greek. The script predates the Greek alphabet The Greek alphabet has been used to write the Greek language since the late ninth or ...
inscriptions. The language of the Linear B texts is an early form of Greek now known as
Mycenaean Greek Mycenaean Greek is the most ancient attested form of the Greek language Greek (modern , romanized: ''Elliniká'', Ancient Greek, ancient , ''Hellēnikḗ'') is an independent branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European family of lan ...
. Comparing it with the later Greek dialects scholars could trace the development of the dialects from the earlier Mycenaean. For example, classical Greek '' anak-s'' (), "king", was postulated to be derived from a reconstructed form ''*wanak-'' (). In the
Linear B Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, the earliest attested form of Greek. The script predates the Greek alphabet The Greek alphabet has been used to write the Greek language since the late ninth or ...
texts appears the form , ''wa-na-ka'', sometimes accompanied by the , ''wa-na-sa'' (, "queen"). Ernst Risch lost no time in proposing that there was never more than one migration, which brought
Proto-Greek The Proto-Greek language (also known as Proto-Hellenic) is the Indo-European language The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with t ...
into Greece. Proto-Greek is the assumed last common ancestor of all known varieties of
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
and then dissimilated into dialects within Greece. Meanwhile, the linguists closest to the decipherment were having doubts about the classification of Proto-Greek.
John Chadwick John Chadwick, (21 May 1920 – 24 November 1998) was an English linguist Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestu ...
summarizing in 1976 wrote:
Let us therefore explore the alternative view. This hypothesis is that the Greek language did not exist before the twentieth century B.C., but was formed in Greece by the mixture of an indigenous population with invaders who spoke another language .... What this language was is a difficult question ... the exact stage reached in development at the time of the arrival is difficult to predict.
Georgiev suggested that:
The
Proto-Greek The Proto-Greek language (also known as Proto-Hellenic) is the Indo-European language The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with t ...
region included Epirus, approximately up to Αυλών in the north including Paravaia, Tymphaia, Athamania, Dolopia, Amphilochia, and Acarnania, west and north Thessaly (Hestiaiotis, Perrhaibia, Tripolis, and Pieria), i.e. more or less the territory of contemporary northwestern Greece
In another ten years the "alternative view" was becoming the standard one.
JP Mallory James Patrick Mallory (born October 25, 1945) is an American archaeologist and Indo-Europeanist Indo-European studies is a field of linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of eve ...
wrote in 1989 concerning the various hypotheses of Proto-Greek that had been put forward since the decipherment:
Reconciliation of all these different theories seems out of the question ... the current state of our knowledge of the Greek dialects can accommodate Indo-Europeans entering Greece at any time between 2200 and 1600 BC to emerge later as Greek speakers.
By the end of the 20th century the concept of an invasion by external Greek speakers had ceased to be the mainstream view (although still asserted by a minority); thus Geoffrey Horrocks writes:
Greek is now widely believed to be the product of contact between Indo-European immigrants and the speakers of the indigenous languages of the
Balkan peninsula The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather ...

Balkan peninsula
beginning c. 2,000 B.C.
If the different dialects had developed within Greece no subsequent invasions were required to explain their presence.


Destruction at the end of Mycenaean IIIB

Meanwhile, the archaeologists were encountering what appeared to be a wave of destruction of
Mycenaean palaces Mycenaean may refer to: * Something from or belonging to the ancient town of Mycenae in the Peloponnese in Greece * Mycenaean Greece, the Greek-speaking regions of the Aegean Sea as of the Late Bronze Age * Mycenaean language, an ancient form of ...
. Indeed, the recorded the dispatch of "coast-watchers", to be followed not long after by the burning of the palace, presumably by invaders from the sea.
Carl Blegen Carl William Blegen (January 27, 1887 – August 24, 1971) was an American archaeologist who worked on the site of Pylos Pylos (, ; el, Πύλος), historically also known as Navarino, is a town and a former Communities and Municipalities of Gr ...
wrote:.
The telltale track of the Dorians must be recognized in the fire-scarred ruins of all the great palaces and the more important towns which ... were blotted out at the end of Mycenaean IIIB.
Blegen follows Furumark in dating Mycenaean IIIB to 1300–1230 BC. Blegen himself dated the Dorian invasion to 1200 BC. A destruction by Dorians has its own problems (as discussed in the next section) and is not the only possible explanation. At approximately this time
Hittite Hittite may refer to: * Hittites, ancient Anatolian people ** Hittite language, the earliest-attested Indo-European language ** Hittite grammar ** Hittite phonology ** Hittite cuneiform ** Hittite inscriptions ** Hittite laws ** Hittite religion ** ...

Hittite
power in Anatolia collapsed with the destruction of their capital
Hattusa Hattusa (also Ḫattuša or Hattusas ; Hittite Hittite may refer to: * Hittites, ancient Anatolian people ** Hittite language, the earliest-attested Indo-European language ** Hittite grammar ** Hittite phonology ** Hittite cuneiform ** Hittite in ...
, and the late
19th 19 (nineteen) is the natural number File:Three Baskets.svg, Natural numbers can be used for counting (one apple, two apples, three apples, ...) In mathematics, the natural numbers are those numbers used for counting (as in "there are ''six'' ...
and the
20th 20 (twenty; Roman numeral XX) is the natural number following 19 (number), 19 and preceding 21 (number), 21. A group of twenty units may also be referred to as a score. In mathematics *20 is a pronic number. *20 is a tetrahedral number as 1, ...
dynasties of Egypt suffered invasions of the
Sea Peoples The Sea Peoples are a purported seafaring confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty A treaty is a f ...
. A theory, reported for instance by Thomas and Conant, attributes the ruin of the Peloponnesus to the Sea Peoples:
Evidence on the Linear B tablets from the Mycenaean kingdom of
Pylos Pylos (, ; el, Πύλος), historically also known as Navarino, is a town and a former municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of self-government or ...

Pylos
describing the dispatch of rowers and watchers to the coast, for instance, may well date to the time that the Egyptian pharaoh was expecting the arrival of foes.
The identity of the foes remained a question. The evidence suggests that some of the Sea Peoples may have been Greek. However, most of the destroyed Mycenaean sites are far from the sea, and the expedition against
Troy Troy (Greek language, Greek: Τροία) or Ilium (Greek language, Greek: Ίλιον) was an ancient city located at Hisarlik in present-day Turkey, south-west of Çanakkale. It is known as the setting for the Greek mythology, Greek myth of the ...

Troy
at the end of this period shows that the sea was safe. Desborough believes that the sea was safe in central and south Aegean in this period. Michael Wood suggests relying on tradition, especially that of
Thucydides Thucydides (; grc-gre, Θουκυδίδης ; BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the app ...
:
t us not forget the legends, at least as models for what might have happened. They tell us of constant rivalries with the royal clans of the Heroic Age –
Atreus In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical cosmology, nature of ...
and
Thyestes In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical cosmology, nature of ...
,
Agamemnon In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical cosmology, nature of ...
and Aigisthes, and so on ....
In summary, it is possible that the Mycenaean world disintegrated through "feuding clans of the great royal families". The possibility of some sort of internal struggle had long been under consideration. Chadwick, after following and critiquing the development of different views, in 1976 settled on a theory of his own: There was no Dorian invasion. The palaces were destroyed by Dorians who had been in the
Peloponnesus The Peloponnese (), Peloponnesia, or Peloponnesus (; el, Πελοπόννησος, Pelopónnēsos, ) is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while be ...
all along as a subservient lower class (Linear B: , ''do-e-ro'', "male slave"; latter Greek form: ), and now were staging a revolution. Chadwick espoused the view that northern Greek was the more conservative language, and proposed that southern Greek had developed under Minoan influence as a palace language. Mylonas joins two of the previous possibilities. He believes that some developments in Argolis and attempts for recovery after 1200 BC, can be explained by an internal fighting, and by an enemy pressure, by the
Dorians The Dorians (; el, Δωριεῖς, ''Dōrieîs'', singular , ''Dōrieús'') were one of the four major ethnic groups into which the Hellenes The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllines'' ) are an ethnic group native to Gree ...
. Even if the Dorians were one of the causes of the
Bronze age collapse The Late Bronze Age collapse was a transition period in a large area covering much of Southeast Europe, West Asia and North Africa North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly ac ...
, there is evidence that they brought with them some new elements of culture. It seems that the Doric clans moved southward gradually over a number of years, and they devastated the territory, until they managed to establish themselves in the Mycenaean centres.


Invasion or migration

After the
Greek Dark Ages The Greek Dark Ages is the period of Greek history The history of Greece encompasses the history of the territory of the modern nation-state of Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country locate ...
, much of the population of the Peloponnesus spoke Dorian, while the evidence of
Linear B Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, the earliest attested form of Greek. The script predates the Greek alphabet The Greek alphabet has been used to write the Greek language since the late ninth or ...
and literary traditions, such as the works of
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was the presumed author of the ''Iliad'' and the ''Odyssey'', two epic poems that are the foundational works of ancient Greek literature. The ''Iliad'' is set during the Trojan War, the ten-year s ...

Homer
, suggests that the population had spoken Achaean
Mycenaean Greek Mycenaean Greek is the most ancient attested form of the Greek language Greek (modern , romanized: ''Elliniká'', Ancient Greek, ancient , ''Hellēnikḗ'') is an independent branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European family of lan ...
– before. In addition, society in the Peloponnesus had undergone a total change from states ruled by kings presiding over a
Palace economy A palace economy or redistribution economy is a system of economic organization in which a substantial share of the wealth flows into the control of a centralized administration, the palace, and out from there to the general population, which may b ...
to a
caste Caste is a form of social stratification Social stratification refers to a society's categorization of its people into groups based on Socioeconomic status, socioeconomic factors like wealth, income, Race (human categorization), race, educati ...
system ruled by a Dorian master ''ethnos'' at
Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek Doric or Dorian ( grc, Δωρισμός, Dōrismós) was an . Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern as well as in , , , , , some islands in the southern and some cities on the south east coast of ...

Sparta
. According to the scholar H. Michell: "If we assume that the Dorian invasion took place some time in the twelfth century, we certainly know nothing of them for the next hundred years." Blegen admitted that in the following 1200, "the whole area seems to have been sparsely populated or almost deserted." The problem is that there are no traces of any Dorians anywhere until the start of the
Geometric periodGeometric art is a phase of Greek art Greek art began in the Cycladic and Minoan civilization, and gave birth to Western classical art in the subsequent Geometric, Archaic and Classical periods (with further developments during the Hellenist ...
about 950 BC. This simple pottery decoration appears to be correlated with other changes in
material culture Material culture is the aspect of social reality Social reality is distinct from biological reality Reality is the sum or aggregate of all that is real or existent within a system, as opposed to that which is only Object of the mind, imaginar ...

material culture
, such as the introduction of iron weapons and alterations in burial practices, from Mycenaean group burials in
tholos tomb , a beehive tomb romos entrance to the Treasury of Atreus . Of note are the ashlar stomion (of conglomerate) and dromos while the chamber itself remains made of smaller stones, placing the tomb in Wace's second group A beehive tomb, also known as ...
s to individual burials and cremation. These can certainly be associated with the historical Dorian settlers, such as those of Sparta in the 10th century BC. However, they appear to have been general over all of Greece; moreover, the new weapons would not have been used in 1200. The scholars were now faced with the
conundrum Conundrum may refer to: * A riddle, whose answer is or involves a pun or unexpected twist, in particular ** Riddle joke, a riddle that constitutes a set-up to the humorous punch line of a joke * A logical postulation that evades resolution, an int ...
of an invasion at 1200 but a resettlement at 950. One explanation is that the destruction of 1200 was not caused by them, and that the quasi-mythical return of the Heracleidae is to be associated with settlement at Sparta c. 950. On the one hand, it is possible that the destruction of the Mycenaean centres was caused by the wandering of northern people (Dorian migration): destroying the palace of
Iolcos Iolcus (; also rendered ''Iolkos'' ; grc, Ἰωλκός and Ἰαωλκός; grc-x-doric, Ἰαλκός; ell, Ιωλκός) is an ancient , a modern village and a former in , Thessaly, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part ...
(LH III C-1), the palace of Thebes ( late LH III B), then crossing
Isthmus of Corinth An isthmus ( or ; plural: isthmuses or isthmi; from grc, ἰσθμός, isthmós, neck) is a narrow piece of land connecting two larger areas across an expanse of water by which they are otherwise separated. A tombolo A tombolo is a sandy is ...

Isthmus of Corinth
(end of LH III B) and destroying
Mycenae Mycenae ( ; grc, Μυκῆναι or , ''Mykē̂nai'' or ''Mykḗnē'') is an archaeological site near Mykines, Greece, Mykines in Argolis, north-eastern Peloponnese, Greece. It is located about south-west of Athens; north of Argos, Peloponnes ...

Mycenae
,
Tiryns Tiryns or (: Τίρυνς; : Τίρυνθα) is a in in the , and the location from which mythical hero performed his . Tiryns was a hill fort with occupation ranging back seven thousand years, from before the beginning of the . It reached ...
and
Pylos Pylos (, ; el, Πύλος), historically also known as Navarino, is a town and a former municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of self-government or ...

Pylos
, and finally returning northward. However, Pylos was destroyed by a sea-attack, the invaders didn't leave behind traces of weapons or graves, and it cannot be proved that all the sites were destroyed about the same time. It is also possible that the Doric clans moved southward gradually over a number of years, devastating the territory, until they managed to establish themselves in the Mycenaean centres.


Closing the gap

The quest for the Dorian invasion had begun as an attempt to explain the differences between Peloponnesian society depicted by
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was the presumed author of the ''Iliad'' and the ''Odyssey'', two epic poems that are the foundational works of ancient Greek literature. The ''Iliad'' is set during the Trojan War, the ten-year s ...

Homer
and the historical Dorians of classical Greece. The first scholars to work on the problem were historians researching the only resources available to them: the Greek legends. The philologists (later linguists) subsequently took up the challenge but in the end only brought the problem into sharper definition. Finally the archaeologists have inherited the issue. Perhaps some distinctively Dorian archaeological evidence will turn up or has turned up giving precise insight as to how and when Peloponnesian society changed so radically. The historians had defined the
Greek Dark Ages The Greek Dark Ages is the period of Greek history The history of Greece encompasses the history of the territory of the modern nation-state of Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country locate ...
, a period of general decline, in this case the disappearance of the
palace economy A palace economy or redistribution economy is a system of economic organization in which a substantial share of the wealth flows into the control of a centralized administration, the palace, and out from there to the general population, which may b ...
and with it law and order, loss of writing, diminishment of trade, decrease in population and abandonment of settlements (destroyed or undestroyed), metals starvation and loss of the fine arts or at least the diminution of their quality, evidenced especially in pottery. By its broadest definition the dark age lasted between 1200 and 750, the start of the
archaic Archaic is a period of time preceding a designated classical period, or something from an older period of time that is also not found or used currently: *List of archaeological periods **Archaic Sumerian language, spoken between 31st - 26th centu ...
or orientalizing period, when influence from the Middle East via the overseas colonies stimulated a recovery. A dark age of poverty, low population and metals starvation is not compatible with the idea of great population movements of successful warriors wielding the latest military equipment sweeping into the Peloponnesus and taking it over to rebuild civilization their way. This dark age consists of three periods of : , Proto-geometric and
Geometric Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; '' geo-'' "earth", '' -metron'' "measurement") is, with arithmetic, one of the oldest branches of mathematics. It is concerned with properties of space that are related with distance, shape, size, ...
. The most successful, the Geometric, seems to fit the Dorians better, but there is a gap, and this period is not localized to and did not begin in Dorian territory. It is more to be associated with
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...

Athens
, an Ionian state. Still, the Dorians did share in the Geometric period and therefore to find its origin might be perhaps to find the origin of the Dorians. The Geometric originated by clear transition from the Proto-geometric. The logical break in material culture is the start of the Proto-geometric at about 1050 BC, which leaves a gap of 150 years. The year 1050 offers nothing distinctively Dorian either, but if the Dorians were present in the Geometric, and they were not always in place as an unrecorded lower class, 1050 is most likely time of entry. Cartledge says humorously:
It has of late become an acknowledged scandal that the Dorians, archaeologically speaking, do not exist. That is, there is no cultural trait surviving in the material record for the two centuries or so after 1200 which can be regarded as a peculiarly Dorian hallmark. Robbed of their patents for Geometric pottery, cremation burial, iron-working and, the unkindest prick of all, the humble straight pin, the hapless Dorians stand naked before their creator – or, some would say, inventor.
The question remains open to further investigation.


See also

*
Ancient Greek dialects Ancient Greek in classical antiquity, before the development of the common Koine Greek of the Hellenistic period, was divided into several variety (linguistics), varieties. Most of these varieties are known only from inscriptions, but a few of th ...
*
Comparative method In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langu ...
*
Doric Greek Doric or Dorian ( grc, Δωρισμός, Dōrismós) was an . Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern as well as in , , , , , some islands in the southern and some cities on the south east coast of . Together with Northwest Gree ...
*
Doris Doris may refer to: People Given name * Doris (mythology) of Greek mythology, daughter of Oceanus and Tethys * Doris, fictional character in the Canadian television series '' Caillou'' * Doris (singer) (born 1947), Swedish rock and pop singer * ...
*Dorus, the Eponym, eponymous founder *
Greek Dark Ages The Greek Dark Ages is the period of Greek history The history of Greece encompasses the history of the territory of the modern nation-state of Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country locate ...
*Historical linguistics *Vedic Period


Notes


Bibliography

* * * * * * * *


External links

* * . * {{DEFAULTSORT:Dorian Invasion Dorians Mycenaean Greece Iron Age Greece Invasions of Greece Late Bronze Age collapse Greek Dark Ages