By about 1500 B.C. the Achaeans controlled most of the peninsula and had established Mycenae as their capital.
Their economy was based on trade, and they established a number of commercial alliances with other prominent cities and states of the eastern Mediterranean area such as Troy, Cyprus, Palestine, and Egypt.
After several hundred years, however, prolonged warfare and a declining Mycenaean economy permitted another invasion of the Greek peninsula from the north.
These invaders, the Dorians, referred to themselves as Hellenes and the area they had invaded as Hellas. The period of the Achaean or Mycenaean culture, from about 1500 to 800 B.C., was the Age of Homer.
Many descriptions of Greek life and customs in this time appear in the two epic writings that are attributed to Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey. Rule was by an oligarchy that is, by a small group of aristocrats.
Women were not considered equal to men in this society, but were considered the property of the men with a certain value in livestock. The education of the men at this time was essentially military, for there was no formal education as we think of it today.
The emphasis was on developing military skills by such activities as running, boxing, and wrestling. The people had developed rituals for the burial and entombment of the dead, which were similar to the customs of the Egyptians.
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