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By Hal Marcovitz

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Poseidon responded by hurling his trident into the earth, opening an enormous well to supply drinking water to the villagers. But when the people tasted the water, they found it salty. Athena threw her spear into the ground. When the goddess withdrew the spear, an olive tree grew from the hole. To Cecrops and his people, the olive tree represented peace as well as a source for food, so they chose Athena as their protector and named their village Athens. the uprising, Isagoras and his Spartan soldiers took refuge atop the Acropolis, a large, rocky hill in Athens.

As the battle ended, a huge storm swept through the region. During the storm many of the Athenian ships sank, and their crews were forced to jump overboard. Hundreds of Athenian sailors bobbed in the choppy waters, waiting to be rescued. But the storm made that impossible; fearing they would capsize in the rough waters, the surviving vessels were forced to flee. The Athenian sailors who were struggling for their lives in the rough Aegean waters all drowned—many losing their lives within sight of the survivors.

The other city-states of Greece suffered similar degrees of jealousy and suspicion. During the era of ancient Greece, the entire country would never be united under a single Greek assembly or monarch. This refusal to unite would often lead the city-states into war. Indeed, warfare was so common in ancient Greece that every man—aristocrat, farmer, craftsman, and laborer— was expected to answer his city-state’s call to arms. Perhaps Heraclitus, a fifth-century BC Greek philosopher, did the best job of defining his country’s main preoccupation.

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