In 500 B.C.E., what we call Greece now was actually a group of independent city-states – Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Thebes, Argos, Delphi, etc. Athens was one of the largest, and the birthplace of “democracy” – a form of government in opposition to the prevailing dictatorships, monarchies, etc. in which one ruler (who was in power by birth or military conquest) made all the choices for his/her own personal gain and without any other voice being heard. The Athenians, citizens of Athens (excluding visitors, women, and slaves) decided on every choice, from distribution of wealth to war itself, by a vote in a public place. This system, bolstered by the philosophical statements of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and others, worked very well, until the Persians attacked. In the process of seeking allies and supporters from other city-states, especially Sparta, the city-states eventually joined together, at first under the leadership of Alexander the Great, into what we now call the country of Greece.