MEANWHILE THE INDO-EUROPEAN TRIBE OF THE HELLENES WAS TAKING POSSESSION OF GREECE
 THE Pyramids were a thousand years old and were beginning
to show the first signs of decay, and Hammurabi, the
wise king of Babylon, had been dead and buried several centuries,
when a small tribe of shepherds left their homes along
 the banks of the River Danube and wandered southward in
search of fresh pastures. They called themselves Hellenes,
after Hellen, the son of Deucalion and Pyrrha. According
to the old myths these were the only two human beings who
had escaped the great flood, which countless years before had
destroyed all the people of the world, when they had grown
so wicked that they disgusted Zeus, the mighty God, who lived
on Mount Olympus.
Of these early Hellenes we know nothing. Thucydides,
the historian of the fall of Athens, describing his earliest
ancestors, said that they "did not amount to very much," and
this was probably true. They were very ill-mannered. They
lived like pigs and threw the bodies of their enemies to the wild
dogs who guarded their sheep. They had very little respect
for other people's rights, and they killed the natives of the
Greek peninsula (who were called the Pelasgians) and stole
their farms and took their cattle and made their wives and
daughters slaves and wrote endless songs praising the courage
of the clan of the Achaeans, who had led the Hellenic
advance-guard into the mountains of Thessaly and the Peloponnesus.
 But here and there, on the tops of high rocks, they saw
the castles of the AEgeans and those they did not attack for
they feared the metal swords and the spears of the AEgean
soldiers and knew that they could not hope to defeat them with
their clumsy stone axes.
AN AEGEAN CITY ON THE GREEK MAINLAND
For many centuries they continued to wander from valley
to valley and from mountain side to mountain side. Then the
whole of the land had been occupied and the migration had
come to an end.
That moment was the beginning of Greek civilisation. The
Greek farmer, living within sight of the AEgean colonies,
was finally driven by curiosity to visit his haughty neighbours.
He discovered that he could learn many useful things from
the men who dwelt behind the high stone walls of Mycenae, and
He was a clever pupil. Within a short time he mastered
the art of handling those strange iron weapons which the
AEgeans had brought from Babylon and from Thebes. He
came to understand the mysteries of navigation. He began
to build little boats for his own use.
THE ACHAEANS TAKE AN AEGEAN CITY
And when he had learned everything the AEgeans could
 teach him he turned upon his teachers and drove them back
to their islands. Soon afterwards he ventured forth upon the
sea and conquered all the cities of the AEgean. Finally in the
fifteenth century before our era he plundered and ravaged
Cnossus and ten centuries after their first appearance upon
the scene the Hellenes were the undisputed rulers of Greece,
of the AEgean and of the coastal regions of Asia Minor. Troy,
the last great commercial stronghold of the older civilisation,
was destroyed in the eleventh century B.C. European history
was to begin in all seriousness.
THE FALL OF CNOSSUS