The many mountain ranges caused small, independent communities to develop different ways of life.
Their size and independence probably encouraged political participation within, and war among, the different communities.
Greece has many ports, inlets, and islands.
The Greeks became seafarers.
They sailed into the Aegean, the Black, and the Mediterranean Seas, making contact with the outside world and setting up colonies and trade throughout the Mediterranean area.
By 2800 BC, a Bronze Age civilization called the Minoan civilization was established on Crete.
The Minoans sailed to southern Greece and Egypt for trade.
Minoan civilization on Crete suffered a catastrophe around 1450 BC.
Some historians believe a tidal wave caused by a volcanic eruption on the island of Thera was the cause.
Others believe the civilization was destroyed by an invasion of mainland Greeks known as the Mycenaeans.
The first greek state: mycenae
Fortified city in Greece.
Made up of an alliance of powerful monarchies, each living in a fortified center within large stone walls.
The rest of the population lived outside these walls.
One interesting architectural feature is the large beehive-shaped tholos tombs, where the royal family was buried.
Mycenaeans had a warrior culture.
Their murals show the typical occupations of a warrior aristocracy – hunting and fighting.
They also developed an extensive commercial network.
Their pottery has been found throughout the Mediterranean area.
They conquered some of the Greek islands, perhaps even Crete.
Most famous of their supposed military adventures comes to us in the poetry of Homer.
According to Homer, the Mycenaeans sacked the city of Troy, on the northwestern coast of modern Turkey, around 1250 BC. Agamemnon, king of Mycenae, led them.
Ever since Schliemann’s excavation of Troy, some people have believed Homer’s account is based in fact, but no one is certain.
The Mycenaean states began to fight one another, and earthquakes damaged their civilization.
It collapsed by 1100 BC, after new waves of invaders moved into Greece from the north.
The greeks in a dark age
Period from 1100 to 750 BC. In Greece.
Mainly because few records of that period exist.
Both population and food production fell.
Around 850 BC, farming revived and the basis of a new Greek civilization began to be formed.
Many Greeks immigrated to the west coast of modern Turkey to Ionia.
Dark age cont’d
Iron replaced bronze during the Dark Age, improving weaponry and farming.
During the eighth century BC., the Greeks adopted the Phoenician alphabet, which made reading and writing simpler.
The works of Homer, one of the world’s great poets, appeared near the end of the Dark Age.
His two great epic poems were the Illiad and Odyssey.
The Polis: Center of Greek Life
By 750 BC, the polis (city-state) became the central focus of Greek life.
It was a town, city, or village serving as a center where people met for political, economic, social and religious activities.
The main gathering place was usually a hill, topped with a fortified area called the acropolis .
This was a refuge and sometimes a place for religious or other public buildings.
Below was the agora, an open area for people to assemble and for a market.
There were three classes of people:
Citizens with political rights (adult males)
Citizens without political rights (women and children)
Non citizens (slaves and resident aliens)
Developed by 700 BC.
Infantry who carried a shield, sword, and spear.
Fought shoulder to shoulder in a formation called a phalanx.
This close formation made the hoplites a powerful force.
Between 750 and 550 BC., many Greeks settled distant lands.
The growth of trade and wanting good farmland were two motives.
Each colony became a new polis and spread Greek culture and ideas.
The Greeks also settled along the shores of the Black Sea, setting up cities on the Hellespont and Bosporus.
The most notable was Byzantium, which later became Constantinople and then Istanbul.
Increased trade created a new wealthy class of merchants who wanted political power.
Tyranny in the City-States
The creation of this wealthy class led to the rise of tyrants in the Greek city-states.
Tyrants seized and kept power by using hired soldiers.
By the end of the sixth century B.C., tyrants had fallen out of favor.
The end of tyranny allowed new classes to participate in government.
Some city-states became democracies, ruled by many.
Others became oligarchies, ruled by a few.
Athens and Sparta show the differences between these two kinds of government.
The reformist aristocrat Solon was appointed leader in 594 BC. to handle these problems.
In 508 BC. Cleisthenes became leader.
He created a new council of five hundred to propose laws and supervise the treasury and foreign affairs.
The assembly of all male citizens had final authority to pass laws after free and open debate.
For this reason, Cleisthenes’ reforms laid the foundation for Athenian democracy.
Challenge of Persia
Greeks came into contact with the Persian Empire to the east.
The Ionian Greek cities in western Asia Minor revolted unsuccessfully against the Persians in 449 BC.
Darius, the Persian ruler, sought revenge.
In 490 BC, the heavily outnumbered Athenians defeated the Persians at the Battle of Marathon, only 26 miles from Athens.
By 480 BC, Athenians defeated the Persians again becoming the leader of the Greek world.
Growth of Athenian Empire
After the Persian defeat, Athens became the leader of the Greek world.
The Athenians formed a defensive alliance called the Delian League, headquartered on the island of Delos.
Under Athenian leadership, the league expelled the Persians from almost all the Greek city-states in the Aegean.
The League’s chief officials were Athenians.
The headquarter was then moved to Athens.
Age of Pericles
Under Pericles, the prime figure in Athenian politics between 461 and 429 BC., Athens expanded its empire.
Democracy and culture thrived at home.
Period was the height of Athenian power and brilliance.
Pericles turned Athens into a direct democracy.
Developed ostracism to protect themselves from overly ambitious politicians.
If six thousand assembly members voted so, a person was banned from the city for 10 years.
The Great Peloponnesian War
The Greek world came to be divided between the Athenian Empire and Sparta.
Athens and Sparta had built very different kinds of societies, and Sparta and its allies feared the growth of the Athenian Empire.
War broke out in 431 BC.
Athens planned to win by staying behind its walls and receiving supplies from its colonies and powerful navy.
Athens was finally defeated in 405 BC when its navy was defeated.
Its walls were torn down, the Athenian Empire destroyed, and the war ended.
Decline of the Greeks
The Peloponnesian War weakened the Greek city-states and ruined cooperation among them.
For the next 66 years, Sparta, Athens, and Thebes , struggled for domination.
These internal struggles caused the Greeks to ignore the growing power of Macedonia, an oversight that cost the Greeks their freedom.
King Philip II became king of Macedonia.
He admired Greek culture and wanted to unite all Greece under Macedonian rule.
He wanted to form a league with the conquered Greek city-states under his control to conquer Persia.
He was assassinated.
ALEXANDER THE GREAT
King Philip’s son, Alexander the Great, became king when he was only 20.
He had been educated by the great Greek philosopher Aristotle.
He considered non-Greeks equal of Greeks and envisioned an unified world.
Alexander moved immediately to fulfill his father’s dream of conquering Persia.
By 331 BC., He had conquered the Persian Empire and established the city of Alexandria in Egypt.
The Hellenistic Kingdoms
Alexander created a new age, called the Hellenistic Era.
This era saw the expansion of the Greek language and ideas to the non-Greek world of Southwest Asia and beyond.
After Alexander’s death his empire fell apart as Macedonian generals vied for power.
Four Hellenistic Kingdoms
All were conquered later by the Romans.
The Hellenistic Era saw considerable cultural achievement, especially in science and philosophy.
Most important cultural center was Alexandria, home to scholars of all kinds – philosophers, scientists, and writers.
Alexandria’s library was the largest of its kind, with over five hundred thousand scrolls.
Founding and rebuilding cities provided opportunities for architects and sculptors.
The baths, theaters, and temples that characterized the Greek homeland lined the streets of the Hellenistic cities.
Hellenistic sculptors added realism and emotion to the classical period’s technical skill.
Important advances in mathematics and astronomy were made.
Aristarchus developed the theory that the sun is the center of the universe and that the sun rotates around the sun.
Eratosthenes determined that Earth is round and nearly calculated the correct circumference of the Earth.
Euclid wrote a textbook on plane geometry, the Elements, that was used up to modern times.
Archimedes was one of the most important Hellenistic scientists.
He established the value of pi and did important work in the geometry of spheres and cylinders.
He invented the Archimedes screw, used in pumping and irrigation.
Athens remained a center for philosophy.
It became the center of two new schools of thought, Epicureanism and Stoicism .
Epicurus believed that human beings were free to follow their self-interest.
Following freedom from anxiety that comes from a mind at rest.
Happiness was the goal of life, and happiness was achieved by pursuing pleasure, the only true good.
Remove oneself from public life.
Life could only be achieved by fulfilled when centered on virtuous friendship.
A teacher named Zeno founded Stoicism.
This school of thought also emphasized achieving happiness.
Happiness was gained by living in harmony with the will of God.
Life’s problems could not disturb a person.
Regarded public service as noble and did not remove themselves from public life.
Greeks theatre thrives in Athens. Many of the most famous Greek plays are written during this time. 472 - 410 BC Athens becomes a very powerful city, and controls an empire. by 450 BC Greeks defeat Persian invaders at the battles of Marathon (490 BC)and Salamis (480 BC). 490 and 480 BC Democracy begins in Athens 508 BC Corinth is ruled by the tyrant Kypselos and then his son Periander. 650 - 580 BC Early Greek culture. Homer '. writes the epics 'The Iliad' and the 'Odyssey about 750 BC The first Olympic games. 776 BC
Alexander the Great, son of Philip, conquers most of the known world as far east as India. 336 - 323 BC Rome conquers Greece - Greece becomes part of the Roman empire. 146 BC Philip, king of Macedonia, takes control of Greece 338 BC Sparta defeats Athens. 404 BC The revolt of Mytilene 428 BC War between Athens and Sparta (the Peloponnesian war) 431 - 404 BC The Parthenon in Athens is finished being built. 432 BC Perikles is the popular leader at Athens as the general of the Athenian army 462 - 429 BC