Classical period
B.C. By about 500, the city of Athens had emerged as “the rule of the people”. B.C. After the defeat of a Persian invasion in 489-479, especially the Greek mainland and Athens entered a golden age. Athens was unrivaled in theater and philosophy, literature, art and architecture. The empire of the city extended from the Western Mediterranean to the Black Sea, creating immense wealth. In this way, the largest public building projects in Greece, including the Parthenon, were incurred.

The ancient Greeks played a vital role in the early history of money. The ancient Greeks did not only do one of the oldest coins in the world, but they were the first to use them widely in trade.

Hellenistic period
Following the death of Alexander and the division of his empire, the Hellenistic period (323-31 BC) saw Greek power and culture stretching to the Middle East and the Indus Valley. When the Roman Empire brought the Greek world into its vast empire, Greek ideas, art and culture greatly influenced the Romans.

Alexander has always been courteous. This was in fact a great innovation: there were depictions of beards in all previous portraits of Greek statesmen or rulers. This royal fashion lasted for almost five hundred years and until Hadrianus almost all Hellenistic kings and Roman emperors were depicted without beard.

The collection of the British Museum carries objects from the entire Greek world, historically, from the beginning of prehistory to early Christianity in the Byzantine period.

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