ATTICA, a state of ancient Greece, the capital of which, Athens, was once the first city in the world. The territory was triangular in shape, with Cape Sun ium (Colonna) as its apex and the ranges of Mounts Cithmron and Parnes as its base. On the N. these ranges sep arated it from Boeotia; on the W. it was bounded by Megaris and the Saronic Gulf; on the E. by the YEgean. Its most marked physical divisions consisted of the highlands, midland district, and coast district, with the two famous plains of Eleusis and of Athens. The Cephissus and Ilissus, though small, were its chief streams; its principal hills, Cithieron, Parnes, Hymettus, Pentelicus, and Lau rium.
History.—According to tradition the earliest inhabitants of Attica lived in a savage manner until the time of Cecrops, who came, 1550 B. C., with a colony from Egypt, taught them all the essentials of civilization, and founded Athens. One of Cecrops' descendants founded 11 other cities. To Theseus is assigned the honor of uniting these cities in a confederacy, with Athens as the capital, thus forming the Attic state. After the death of Cod rus, 1068 B. c., the monarchy was abol ished, and the government vested in archons elected by the nobility, at first for life, in 752 B. c. for 10 years, and in 683 B. C. for one year only. The severe Constitution of Draco was succeeded in 594 B. c. by the milder code of Solon, the democratic elements of which, after the brief tyranny of the Pisistratids, were emphasized and developed by Clisthenes, He divided the people into 10 classes, and made the Senate consist of 500 persons, establishing as the government an oli garchy modified by popular control.
Then came the splendid era of the Per sian War, which elevated Athens to the summit of fame. Miltiades at Marathon and Themistocles at Salamis conquered the Persians by land and by sea. Attica appears to have contained a territory of nearly 850 square miles, with some 500, 000 inhabitants, 360,000 of whom were slaves, while the inhabitants of the city numbered 180,000. Cimon and Pericles, 444 B. c., raised Athens to its point of greatest splendor, though under the lat ter began the Peloponnesian War, which ended with the conquest of Athens by the Lacedmmonians. The succeeding tyranny of the Thirty, under the pr3tec tion of a Spartan garrison, was over thrown by Thrasybulus, with a temporary partial restoration of the power of Athens; but the battle of Cheronma (338 B. C.) made Attica, in common with the rest of Greece, a dependency of Macedon, The attempts at revolt after the death of Alexander were crushed, and in 260 B. C. Attica was still under the sway of An tigonus Gonatus, the Macedonian king. A period of freedom under the shelter of the Achman League then ensued, but their support of Mithridates led in 146 B. C. to the subjugation of the Grecian states by Rome. After the division of the Roman empire Attica belonged to the empire of the East until, in 396 A. D., it was conquered by Alaric the Goth, and the country devastated.
Attica, along with the ancient Bceotia, now forms a nome or province (Attike and Viotia) of the kingdom of Greece; area, 2,472 square miles; pop. about 450,000.