The Dorian Invasion of Greece

There is still some uncertainty as to the origins of the Dorians. Though they are generally believed to have originated from Epirus or Northern Macedonia, there are some historians who believed that they only arrived from there as they had previously been forced out of Doris in central Greece by the Mycenaeans.

The Dorian Invasion

** The image above shows a 6th-century cup from Lakonia, the center of the classical Dorians
By Rider Painter (Jastrow (2006)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

After originally settling in the Peloponnese, the Dorians soon spread out all over mainland Greece overtaking the city-states and forcing the inhabitants into slavery. Crete and Asia Minor’s south-west coast were later taken over as well. This over-taking of states forced many tribes in resettling into other areas.

The Thessalians, who were an Indo-European tribe, settled in what we now know as Thessaly. The Aeolians, an original Greek tribe relocated to the North West coast of Asia Minor. The islands of Samos, Levos and Chios as well as the central coast were where the Ionians fled to, although some were also able to remain in mainland Greece in Attica, and the city of Athens which was well protected.

The time period of 1200 – 800 B.C. is refered to as the Dark Age. This title however, does not do justice to Dorian civilization who brought with them the introduction of the Iron Age. As well as bringing fourth the change of worshipping only male Gods instead or fertility goddesses, the Dorians developed into aristocrats who owned land. This resulted in the majority of farmers being worse off.

The idea of monarchy and kings as the method of government was also brought to an end, and was replaced by the land owning aristocrats as the new form of government. This was the beginning of the basis of the democratic government as a means of ruling.