The Greek World

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Transcript The Greek World

The Greek World
Greece is very mountainous
• 75% of Greece is covered by mountains
• Difficult to farm
Surrounded by seas
• Greece is located on the Balkan Peninsula
• Made trade easier
Factors of Greece location
Cut off by mountains and the seas
• Isolated
– Led to the formation of city-states
– Limited interaction and unity of Ancient Greece
– Created fierce rivalries
• Sea became a vital link
– Hundreds of bays to provide safe harbor for ships
– Skilled sailors
• Traded olive oil, wine, and marble
• Returned with grains, metals, and ideas
– Adapted the Phoenician alphabet
– Became basis for all Western alphabets
First Greek civilization
Located on the island of Crete
Palace of Knossos
Religion included animal sacrifices and
• Written script (Linear A)
• Invading Mycenaean ended Minoan rule.
• First Bronze Age
• More warlike than Minoans
– Military adventures recounted in the poetry of
• Agamemnon, King of Mycenae (Troy)
• Linear B (adopted from Linear A)
• Declined due to war among rival kings or
Dorian invaders
• Ionian poet
• Facts are debated
• Epic poem
– Iliad
– Odyssey
(Final days of Trojan War and ten years afterward)
Trojan War
• Around 1260 BC
• Troy was attacked
– Due to Spartan King Menelaus’ wife abduction
– Combined forces with brother, Agamemnon (King
of Mycenae)
War ended when a gift horse was delivered in to the
walls of Troy
City States
• Greece consisted of city states or “polis”.
– Small communities
– Clusters of farms and houses
– Surrounding a fortified citadel or (acropolis)
• Functioned as a unity against external
• Greatest city states
– Athens
– Sparta
• Political rights
adult males
• No political rights
– Women & children
– Slaves
– Laborers
– Resident aliens
• Largest city state
• Quarter of a million people
• Came under control of tyrants
– Pisistratus
Ruled for more than 30 years
Boosted trade abroad
Fostered the arts
Encouraging religious and cultural festivals
• Located on the peninsula of Attica
• Early Athens
– Ruled by a king
– 7th Century BC  oligarchy w/ aristocrats
• A small group of people having control over a country,
organization, or institution
• Owned the best land and controlled political life
• End of 7th Century
– Political turmoil due to economic problems
• Farmers were sold to aristocrats as slaves if they could
not pay their debt  caused cries to give land to poor
(Civil War in the near future?)
• 594 BC – Solon takes control
– Reform-minded aristocrat
– Given power by the aristocrats
– Cancelled all land debts
• Solon (cont’d)
– Freed people who had fallen into slavery
– Refused to take land from rich to give to poor
• Despite reforms, aristocrats were still powerful
• Poor peasants could not obtain land
– Reforms led to internal strife, leading to tyranny
• 560 BC – Peisistratus now the leader
– Athenian trade to please merchants
– Unlike Solon, gave aristocrats’ land to poor to gain
• 510 BC – Athenians rebelled against
Peisistratus’s son
– Two years later, Cleisthenes (backed by aristocrats)
now leads
• Cleisthenes (cont’d)
– Created a council of 500 that dealt w/ foreign
affairs, treasury, and proposed laws
– Assembly (of men) given final authority to pass
laws after open and free debate
– Created foundation for Athenian democracy
• Did not gain new lands by starting them, but
by conquering them
• 730 BC – took over Messenia (larger size and
– Messenians became serfs for Spartans
• An agricultural laborer bound under feudal system to
work on his lord’s land
• Also known as Helots (Greek word for “capture”)
• Thus creating a military state
• 800-600 BC – Spartans lived a very structured
life style
– Creating term of “spartan” meaning “highly selfdisciplined”
– Males:
• Spent childhood learning military discipline
• Enrolled in army at 20
• Allowed to marry but lived in barracks till 30
– At 30, allowed to vote in assembly
• Males (cont’d)
– After 30, could live at home but stayed active in
military duty till 60
• Females:
– Lived at home (creating greater freedom of
movement and power w/in household)
– Expected to remain fit to bear and raise healthy
– Expected husbands and sons to be brave in war
• “Come back carrying your shield or being carried on it”
• Government
– Oligarchy (headed by two kings)
– Ephors – group of five men responsible for
education of youth and conduct of citizens
– Council of elders (two kings and 28 citizens over
60) decide on issues that are presented to an
assembly made of citizens
• Not a debate, only voting
• Culture
– Turned back on the outside world
– Foreigners were discouraged from visiting
– Not allowed to travel
– Discouraged from studying philosophy, literature,
and art (studying Art of War was ideal)
• Military state
• Leadership of Lycurgus
– Maintained a primitive monarchical government.
– Relied solely on army for protection
• Athens were excellent mariners
– Colonies in Emporium (northern Spain)
– Phasis (on the Black Sea)
– Traded with the Etruscans in Italy
– Phoenicians to the east
– Stimulated economic growth and political
– Elite class and the city of Athens
• Athens enter a democratic period for 200
• Liberty and equality
– Excluded women and slaves
• Three organs of government.
– Areopagus
– Council of Five Hundred
– The Assembly
Crime and Punishment
• The first use of juries in Athens coincided with
the founding of Athenian democracy in 590
• A council ran both the government and the
court system (the aristocrats).
• Greek were as litigious as we are today!
– Litigious: Quarrelsome, tending or wanting to take
legal action.
Influenced by Asian deities
Supreme god is Zeus
Mount Olympus- home of the gods
Acropolis had own god/goddess for protection
– Athens temple dedicated to Athena
Myth and Folklore
• Homer
– Debated if he existed
• Reason for the Trojan War
– Debated as mythical
• Odysseus
– Folklore
– Known for being cunning and deceitful
Classical Greece
• Around 900 BC (after Mycenaean civilization)
– Influx of Dorians (north)
– Sea peoples (south)
• Greek Dark Ages
– Decline in Greek palace culture
– Colonization across the Ionian coast
• Polytheistic – belief in many gods
• Major Gods/Goddesses lived atop Mount
Olympus (highest in Greece)
• Gods intervened with humans in daily life
– Oft times to teach lessons
• Zeus was the top dog
– Favorite Weapon: thunder bolt
– Myth…
• Greeks created gods in the image of humans
– Gods constantly fought among themselves,
behaved irrationally, and were oft jealous of each
• Greek religion did not have a standard set of
morals (i.e. No Ten Commandments)
• Explained how the world came to be (i.e.
Pandora’s Box and Hercules’ Labors)
• Gods were oft put into literature (i.e. Homer’s
Iliad and Odyssey)
– Iliad – an epic poem about the events of the
Trojan War
– Odyssey – epic poem about the travels of
• Athens threw many dramas (plays) and
citizens felt it was civic duty to attend as many
as possible
• Dealt with: important issues, posed tough
questions, and educated theatergoers.
– Gov’t would oft times pay for tickets
• Literature was passed down from generation
to generation by word of mouth
– Wasn’t written until years later
• Another type of poems – lyric
– Sappho most famous lyric poet
• Known for her writings about the world around her and
focused on love and sexuality
• Word “lesbian” comes from Sappho’s island of birth,
• Age of Pericles
– 461-429 BC
• Outdoor theaters were built
• Scenes of actual wilderness became backdrops of the
• Festivals were plays competed against one another
– Always tribute the gods
• Tragic
– Strong central character/hero ultimately fails and
is punished by gods
• Socrates – found himself on trial for his
– Corrupting the youth of Athens
– Drank hemlock (poison)
– On trial for questioning the Athenian gov’t
• Plato – student of Socrates
– Wrote ideas down, unlike Socrates
– Wrote The Republic stating ideal state (which was
not very democratic)
• Aristotle – Plato’s student
– Very scientific mindset
– Emphasized importance of observations and
gathering of data
– Believed Earth was center of universe
• Hippocrates – student of medicine
(Hippocratic Oath)
• Pythagoras - mathematician (Pythagorean
Peloponnesian War
• Athens and Sparta were allies against Persia
• Persian King Darius lead an attack on Athens
– Due to Athens support of the Ionian city-state
• Athens sent 20 ships
• Led to the burning of Persian city of Sardis
• Persians second attack by Xerxes, son of Darius
– Successfully approached through the Thermopylae
– Defeated at the Battle of Salamis by the Athenians
Peloponnesian War
• Athens power and influenced rose
– Land and capital
• Upon Persia’s defeat, rivalry sparked
• Athenian naval supremacy
– Increased the wealth of the city
– Broke the Greek alliance that was established during the
Peloponnesian War
– Envy rose against Athens
• Sparta proved victorious
– Outbreak of the plague (Pericles )
• The battle between Athens and Sparta was a war of
land verse naval power
• Hellenism- Greek culture/ideas
• Delphi was the sanctuary
Located at the foot of Mount Parnassos
Considered the center of the earth
Dedicated to Apollo
Oracles directed in the matters of war, love and
• Amphyctionic League
– Center of the sanctuary
– Powerful political organization
– Consist of Delphic priest
• Located in the Western Peloponnese
• Dedicated to Zeus
• First Olympic games held 776 BC
– Commemorate the victory of Pelops in a chariot
– Attributed to Heracles
Hellenistic Empire Rise
• Sparta used Persian support to build a fleet
– Won the battle of Aegospotami in 405 BC
• Athens became a vassal state of Sparta
– Athens restored independence
– Never regained power
• Sparta was defeated by Thebes
• 338 BC Ancient Greece became the new
Hellenistic Empire.
Alexander the Great
• Expanded Greek rule and expanded the
economy, language and cultural ideas
• Known for his military strategy and ability to
fight in any geographical location
• Goal was to merge Greeks, Macedonians and
• Greek became the primary language
– Business transactions
– Government positions
Greek Philosophies
Explain the following quotes and its significance as it pertains to you:
1. Cleverness is not wisdom
- Euripides
2. Of prosperity mortals can never have enough
- Aeschylus
3. Always desire to learn something useful
- Sophocles
4. A good decision is based on knowledge and not numbers
- Plato
5. The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing
- Socrates