Before the great Indo-European invasions, Europe was populated by various pre-Indo-European peoples, some of whom had advanced societies, which we are inclined to consider as related to other civilizations and societies outside Europe.
At first, most of Greece was inhabited by Mediterranean peoples that later Hellenes invaders would call Pelasgians. Around 2700 BCE, the Minoan civilization flourished (named in memory of the legendary King Minos), based on the Mediterranean island of Crete, very influenced by Babylon and the Chaldeans, clearly related to the Etruscans and even with Egypt, and known for her telluric “bull worship,” the palace of Knossos, buildings stripped of fortifications and abundant art spirals, curves, snakes, women and fish, all of which places this civilization within the orbit of the cultures of telluric character, focused on Mother Earth or Magna Mater.
According to Greek mythology, as the first peripheral Hellenes were advancing in Greece and coming into contact with its people, the Minoans ended up demanding, as an annual tribute fourteen young, male Hellenes to be ritually slaughtered (the legend of Theseus, Ariadne, the labyrinth and the minotaur is reminiscent of this era).
By 2000 BCE there was an invasion by the first Hellenic wave that opened what in archeology is called the Bronze Age. The Hellenes were an Indo-European mass that, in successive waves quite separated in time, invaded Greece from the north. They were tough people; more united, martial and vigorous than the Pelasgians, and ended up submitting those lands despite being numerically inferior to the native population. These Hellenes were the famous Achaean Greeks referred by Homer and the Egyptian inscriptions. They brought their gods, solar symbols (including the swastika, later used by Sparta), the chariots, the taste for the amber, fortified settlements, Indo-European language (Greek, who would end up imposing itself on the indigenous population), Nordic blood, patriarchy and hunter-warrior traditions.
The Achaeans settled in Greece, establishing themselves as the dominant caste, without at first reaching Crete. The first destruction of the Minoan palaces (around 1700 BCE) was probably due to a large earthquake of which there is evidence; not Achaean invasion.
The Achaeans, finally, opened the way for the Mycenaean civilization, centered on the city of Mycenae, Argolis. In 1400 BCE, the Achaeans took by force the island of Crete, destroying the palaces and finally ending, to some extent, the Minoan civilization; eventually adopting some of its outward forms—what many uprooted invaders who trample a superior, but already declining civilization, do. These Achaeans were the ones who, around 1260 BCE, besieged and razed Troy in a crusade of the West-East capable to unite all the Achaeans—generally prone to war between themselves—in a common enterprise. In the Iliad Homer describes them as a band of barbarians with mentality and appearance of Vikings sweeping the refined and civilized Troy. After this process, the entire western coast of Asia Minor, the Black Sea and the Bosphorus was subject to Greek influence: a process that will have a huge weight upon history.
Around 1200 BCE there was, again, a huge migration flow. Countless Indo-European peoples moved to the South in great tumult and to the East. The entire eastern Mediterranean suffered major seizures under the so-called “Sea Peoples” and other Indo-European tribes that invaded Turkey, Palestine, Egypt and the steppes of Eastern Europe, and opened the archaeological Iron Age in the Eastern Mediterranean.
As for the Mycenaean civilization of the Achaeans, it was also destroyed by one of these invasions. The apocalyptic references in the traditional Greek history (fire, destruction, death) made many historians mistakenly think in large earthquakes or riots. In this legendary invasion, much larger than the previous, iron weapons were used, superior than the bronze weapons of the Achaeans. The Dorians, belonging to such migration and ancestors of the Spartans, broke into Greece with extreme violence, destroying in their path cities, palaces and villages. The Dorians took Crete and the Mycenaean civilization of the Achaeans abruptly disappeared from the archaeological record. Argolis (on Mycenae ground) never forgot this, and although now with Dorian blood the state of Argos and its domains would stubbornly oppose the Spartan power in later centuries.
The former settlement of the Dorians had been in the Balkans and in Macedonia, where they lived in a barbarous or semi-barbarous state. They had not always lived in the area but ended up there as a result of another migration from further north. The most sensible thesis considers the place of origin of the Dorians along with the Celts, Italics, Illyrians and the remaining Greeks, the so-called Tumulus Culture and the latter Urnfield Cultures and Halstatt Culture: proto-Indo-European civilizations, tribal and semi-barbarous that flourished in Central Europe north of the Alps and southern Scandinavia. According to the Greek historian Herodotus, the Dorians had their primordial home “among the snows.” Genetically, Dorians seem to belong to R1b paternal lineage, that dominates Western Europe today.
Across Europe, after the invasions there was a contest (open first and then more subtle) between the martial mentality of the new invaders from the North and the native mentality of concupiscence. The East, Finland, Italy, the Iberian Peninsula and Greece were examples of this struggle, and usually the result was always the same: the Indo-European invaders prevailed despite their overwhelming numerical inferiority. Then they settled as nobility over a mob descendant of aboriginals and subjected peoples. In the Peloponnesus, this latent struggle resulted in the superhuman fruit of Sparta, just as, later, the struggle between Italic and Etruscan led to Rome.
Every era and every place has its own master race. At that time and place the Dorians were the dominant race. Of Nordic appearance, a soul of ice and fire, an inborn discipline and a brutal warrior vocation so natural to them distinguished them from the more peaceful natives, fully dedicated to the pleasures of the lower abdomen. The Dorians in particular (and among them specifically the Spartans, who kept themselves strictly separated from the rest of the people) maintained their original features longer than the other Hellenes: centuries after the Dorian invasion blond hair and tall stature were still considered the characteristic of the Spartan. This is because, as in India, the great epic of ancient invasion remained for a long time in the collective memory of the people; and the racism of the Dorians, along with their insistence on remaining a selected elite, led to a system of racial separation which preserved for centuries the characteristics of the original invaders.
The name of the Dorians comes from Dorus, son of the legendary Helen (Helen of Troy was before Helen of Sparta). The aristocrats were called Heracleidae, as claimed descent also from Heracles, thus attributing divine ancestry. Divided into three tribes, the Dorians were led by the royal lineage, as well as oracles and Hellenic priests equivalent to the Celtic Druids. For the Heracleidae, the invasion of Greece was a divine command nominally from Apollo “the Hyperborean,” their favorite god.
During the four centuries, from 1200 BCE to 800 BCE, there was a stage that modern historiography called “Greek Middle Ages,” when the Dorians erected themselves as the native aristocracy and formed small “feudal” kingdoms constantly fighting against each other, as the uprooted invaders from all eras liked to do. This stage was a heroic, individualistic age of personal glory, in which the warriors sought a glorious sunset. Many battles still were decided by a duel of champions: the greatest warrior of one side faced the best of the other. This represents the heroic but foolish mentality of the time: “the strong destroy each other and the weak continue to live.”
By that time Greece had not yet reached the image of the refined warrior equivalent to the medieval knight: the Dorians were still barbarians. For better or worse, all great civilizations began with hordes of warriors and hunters, tightly bound by ties of clan, and strongly disciplined by a militarized lifestyle. Nietzsche already noted the importance of the “barbarian” character in the formation of all aristocracy. For him, even when such invaders are established and form states, the basic underlying character is still, and subtly, barbaric in the forms of these raising states.
During the Greek Middle Ages, in 1104 BCE, the Heracleidae reached the Peloponnesus. Spartan history explained quite correctly that the Dorians invaded Greece eighty years after the destruction of Troy and, led by King Aristodemus, conquered the peninsula. Pausanias (second century, not to be confused with the Spartan prince who defeated the Persians at the battle of Plataea), in his Description of Greece, goes into more detail. He says that the Dorians, from a mountainous region of northern Greece called Oeta and guided by Hilo, a “son of Heracles” expelled from the Peloponnesus the Mycenaean Achaeans.
However, an Achaean counteroffensive held them back. Then, in a final process called Return of the Heracleidae, the Dorians definitely settled in the Peloponnesus and prevailed over the Achaeans, with great disturbances in the peninsula. The phrase-dogma of the “Return of the Heracleidae” was the way the Dorians had to justify the invasion of the Peloponnesus: noble Dorian families, distantly related to the Achaean noble families (both Dorians and Achaeans were Greeks), claimed what “rightfully” was theirs.
The new stream of Indo-European blood, courtesy of the Dorians, would eventually revitalize the ancient Hellas, keeping it in the spiritual and physical forefront of the time along with Persia, India, an Egypt that was not by then what it used to be, and China. In the south of the Peloponnesus peninsula, the Dorians established their main center, the city of Sparta, also known by its former name, Lacedaemon. The territory under the dominion of Sparta was known as Laconia.
The original city of Sparta or Lacedaemon was not properly a city; it consisted of a “cluster” of five villages (Pitan, Cynosur, Meso, Limnas and Amiclas, initially military garrisons) different but close and united, each with its high priest. The settlements always lacked defensive walls, proudly confident in the discipline and ferocity of their warriors. Antalcidas went on to say that “the young men are the walls of Sparta, and the points of their spears its boundaries.” The lack of walls helped them to stay alert and not allow in any relaxing. Hitler would say, with an identical mentality: “A too great feeling of security provokes, in the long run, a relaxation of forces. I think the best wall will always be a wall of human chests!”
Sparta, however, was surrounded by natural defenses, as it was situated in the valley of the river Eurotas, between high mountains, with the Taygetos mountain range to the west and Parnon at the east. However, the lack of walls demonstrates the safety and confidence of the Spartans as well as certain arrogance.
In ancient Hellas three Indo-European streams would end up as the main ones: Firstly the rough Dorians, who spoke a Greek dialect that used the a and r. On the other hand, the soft Ionians, who came from a Greek invasion before the Dorians, dressed in flowing robes, oriental style, and spoke a kinder Greek dialect to the ear, which employed much i and the s. Other peoples of Greece were called Aeolians, who spoke a dialect that seemed a mix of Dorian and Ionian, and came from the ancient, mixed Achaean and to some extent from the Pelasgians and later with the invading Dorians and Ionians—thus sometimes also called, erroneously, Achaeans.