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The Achaeans were a people who migrated into Greece around the 17th century B.C. and built up what is called the Mycenaean civilization. Around 1400-1300 B.C. they overpowered the contempoarary civilization of the Minoans on Crete, which had previously helped shaped their civilization. The Achaeans were Greek speakers and worshipped much the same Gods as the later Greeks, but had a very different culture, and were organized into kingdoms centred around huge fortified palaces and probably with a redistribution based economy. Chariots formed the backbone of the military.

Around 1200 B.C. most of the Achaean citadels fell, as happened to other cities across the near east, and their civilization crumbled; later Dorians took over much of the Peloponnesus, and the Hellenic civilization grew up in their place.