The idea that what the Greeks have in common, and what distinguishes them from barbarians, is more important than what divides them. The word is not ancient, though Panhellēněs is used of the Greeks once in the Iliad (see hellenes). The idea originates in the Greeks' resistance to the Persian invasions of 490 and 480–479 bc (see persian wars), and in the Delian League as a Greek alliance formed to continue the war against Persia. In the 4th cent., after the Peloponnesian War, the argument that the heyday of the Greeks was when they (31 states) were united against Persia rather than fighting among themselves, and that to recover their greatness they should again unite against Persia, was advanced by Gorgias and Lysias and became a recurrent theme in the works of Isocrates. The invasion of the Persian empire planned by Philip II of Macedon and accomplished by Alexander 2 the Great was partly inspired by this idea. Others might represent Macedon itself as a barbarian enemy. Panhellenic Games were games open to all Greeks; see agones, (2). The four great panhellenic sanctuaries were Delphi, Olympia, Isthmia, and Nemea, though there were panhellenic aspects to the Panathenaea at Athens.
Subjects: Classical Studies.