Ancient Greece: Wars and Contributions

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Transcript Ancient Greece: Wars and Contributions

Ancient Greece: Wars and
Dr. East
Clash of Super Powers: Persian Wars
(546 – 449 B.C.)
• Athens and Sparta had a mutual enemy – Persia
• See pg. 132, book for good map
• 546 B.C. – Persians united under Darius the Great
conquered Ionia (land in Western Anatolia where
Greeks had long settled)
• Athens attempted to come to their aid but were
• 490 B.C. – Persians decided to take Athens and
sent ships across the Aegean Sea
Battle of Marathon (490 B.C.)
• 25,000 Persians landed northeast of Athens on plain called
• 10,000 Athenians matched them in battle
• Result: Huge Persian defeat with approx. 6,000 dead before they
retreated to the sea; only 200 Athenian casualties
• Why the defeat?
• Ans.: Greeks had better battle formations learned during land wars
between city-states
– Greek Army of Hoplites (all kinds of men), iron weapons, and a
fighting form called the Phalanx destroyed the unprepared
• After their retreat to the sea, the Persians tried to sail into the
harbor and conqueror from this new area. They were met by a
heavily defended city. A runner named Pheidippides warned the
Athenian people to ready for battle. Joined by the returning Greek
Hoplites, the Persians found a heavily defended place and they
again retreated. Guess how far he had to run?_________
Battles of Thermopylae, Salamis, and
Plataea (Defeats of Xerxes)
• By 480 B.C. Darius’ son, the Persian King Xerxes, tried again and
sent a huge invasion force overland to invade Athens from the
northwest (See map pg. 132)
• In trying to get trough a mountain pass at Thermopylae, 7,000
Greeks, including 300 Spartans blocked his way for 3 days until he
found a work around… The Spartans held off the force while the
other Greeks retreated thus giving the rest of the Greeks time to
reposition their forces... All Spartans died.
• Retreating Greeks decided to evacuate Athens and fight from the
sea in a narrow channel near the island of Salamis. Xerxes ships
were large and unwieldy and smaller, faster Greek ships were
armed with battering rams and they tore the Persian fleet apart….
1/3 of the Persian fleet was lost in this battle
• The Persians’ last major attack occurred in 479 B.C. on land at
Plataea where the Greeks easily defeated them… after this the
Persians were simply on longer an affective threat to Greece.
Height of Democracy:
The Short, Golden Age of Pericles (461-429 B.C.)
• After the war, Athens joined with other city-states in military league
called the Delian League (in the 470s this was a league of 200 citystates)
• Athens emerged as a clear leader with a strong ruler, Pericles
• He strengthened democracy and tried to make Athens the
undisputed imperial ruler of Greek culture
• He rebuilt the city after it burned during the Persian Wars
– Responsible for rebuilding the Parthenon
• He started paying people salaries to serve in political office thus he
opened up government positions to poorer men (in the past under
Cleisthenes only property owning, richer men served)
• Under Pericles, direct democracy flourished in the Council of 500
• Unfortunately, he used monies from the Delian League to glorify
Athens only… this would eventually become Athens downfall as the
other city-states would rise up against it.
Dissension Within: Peloponnesian War
(431-404 B.C.)
• Angered by Pericles's use of Delian monies, Sparta declared
war on Athens, 431 B.C., and created a Peloponnesian
League to defeat it …. See map pg. 137
• Athens had a better navy; Sparta had a better army
• Sparta was hard to get to by sea and land
• Spartans burnt the Athenian hinterland (destroying the
city’s food supply) and later on a plague would destroy the
city from within
• Both sides signed a temporary truce, which Athens broke in
413 B.C. when it tried to take the Spartan allied city-state of
Syracuse… again the Spartan trained armies defeated the
Athenians; Athens surrendered by 404 B.C.
Alexander the Great & the Hellenistic Age
• Wars between the city-states weakened them all, efforts toward
democracy slowed, and Greek cultural advancements lagged…
Athens and Sparta were ripe for the taking
• King Phillip II of Macedonia advanced and his armies easily defeated
the weakened city-states, Athens, Sparta and many others fell to
• By 338 B.C. King Phillip of Macedonia controlled Greece
• He died suddenly and his son, Alexander, went on to create a huge
empire that spread from Greece to Egypt, through Persia and into
• In a 13 year epic journey, Alexander spread Greek culture
throughout the East… in so doing he spread a little of Eastern
cultures into the West… thus Hellenistic culture was characterized
by a blend of Greek, Egyptian, Persian, and Indian cultural traditions
• Alexander died in 323 B.C. leaving his empire to be divided up
between Greek generals
*** Movie ***
• Discovery Channel: The Conquerors,
Alexander the Great
*** Watch from 10 min. in
The Contributions of Greek Culture
• Spread throughout the world by Athens and later by Alexander the Great
• Drama, Tragedy & Comedy:
– Tragedy – serious drama about common themes such as love, hate,
war, or betrayal
• Hero usually has a tragic flaw… like pride or being blinded by love
– Aeschylus, writer, 80 plays, most famous tragedy was Oresteia, stories
of Agamemnon, the Mycenaean King of Troy
– Sophocles, writer, over 100 plays, author of tragedies like, Oedipus the
King and Antigone
• Poetry: Homer’s Iliad & Odyssey, epics, narrative poems describing heroic
deeds, actions of Gods, and in the Iliad, the Trojan War
• History:
– Herodotus, “Father of History”, wrote first book on Persian wars that is
considered to be the first historical analysis … not a poem
– Thucydides, wrote “History of Peloponnesian War” greatest historian
of classical age Greece, he felt like a better understanding of history to
aid us for decisions in the present
Contributions Cont. - Architecture
Parthenon = Doric
Cont. – Sculpture
• Sculpture – Phidias, sculptor that
created statue of Athena in the
Parthenon, Athena Parthenos
40 ft tall, … made of marble, silver and
gold. On the middle of her helmet is
placed a likeness of the Sphinx ... and on
either side of the helmet are griffins in
relief. ... The statue of Athena is upright,
with a tunic reaching to the feet, and on
her breast the head of Medusa is worked
in ivory. She holds a statue of Victory
(Nike) about four cubits high, and in the
other hand a spear; at her feet lies a
shield and near the spear is a serpent.
This serpent would be Erichthonius. On
the pedestal is the birth of Pandora in
relief.[5] - Wikipedia
Contributions Cont. – Science
• Many Greek Scientists’ work emerged from Alexandria – the
Center of Hellenistic Greece
• Archimedes –
– accurately estimated Pi, ratio of a circumference of a circle to a
– Ideas about levers
• Hippocrates – medicine, Hippocratic Oath “never do harm”
– Hippocrates and other Greek doctors believed that the work done
by a doctor should be kept separate from the work done by a
priest. They believed that observation of a patient was a vital
aspect of medical care. Ancient Greek doctors did examine their
patients but Hippocrates wanted a more systematic period of
observation and the recording of what was observed. Today, we
would call this ‘clinical observation’. Such ideas have lead to
Hippocrates being called the ‘Father of Medicine’.
Contributions Cont. -- Mathematics
• Euclid – geometry, author of
Elements, with 465 proofs, it is still
the basis for modern geometry
• Pythagoras – founder of a
mathematical school that adopted
Chinese, Arabic, and Egyptian
ideas about triangle math during
Hellenistic age … theory known as
Pythagorean theorem associated
with this school …
– The square of right triangle’s
hypotenuse equals the sum of the
squared lengths of the two
remaining sides.
Contributions Cont. -- Philosophy