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Ancient Greece


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  • 1. Ancient Greece
    World History 1
  • 2. Unlike Mesopotamia and Egypt, Greece is small
    It consists of a mainland covered with mountains and dozens of islands
    In fact, Greece is some 90% rock, making farming very difficult.
    On the other hand, there are very few places more than 50 miles from the sea.
    Thus, where do you suppose the Greeks had to make their living?
    The Impact of Geography
  • 3. Made of Mountains
  • 4. Through much of modern times, the kingdom of Minos on the island of Crete was myth.
    Little or no concrete proof existed until the 19th century.
    However, amateur archaeologist Arthur Evans discovered a rich, sophisticated civilization on the island of Crete.
    Flourishing from 2700 to 1450 BC, the Minoans were not Greek but influenced Greek culture
    Island Kingdom
  • 5. Ancient Crete
  • 6. Crete was ideally situated to trade with everyone or act as middle man for everyone
    Crete traded finely crafted pottery, gold, silver for other goods.
    Cretans borrowed techniques from others to improve their own
    They traded all over the eastern Mediterranean: Greece, Asia Minor, Egypt and Palestine
    Merchants and Middlemen
  • 7. Location, Location, Location
  • 8. The palace of King Minos in Knossos was a masterpiece of engineering and architecture
    Equipped with indoor plumbing, workshops for making decorated vases, ivory figures and fine jewelry.
    Rooms were decorated with murals depicting sporting events and nature scenes
    Storerooms held gigantic jars of olive oil, wine and grain paid as taxes to the king
    A Wonder of the Age
  • 9. Nice place but does it have a view?
  • 10. In 1450 BC, Crete civilization ended in a sudden catastrophe
    One theory: a massive tidal wave caused by a massive earthquake on or near the island of Thera consumed the island.
    The most commonly held belief is that the sudden demise came due to an invasion from mainland Greece
    The invaders were competitors who decided to muscle out their main rivals
    Sudden, Mysterious End
  • 11.
  • 12. The Minoans were replaced by their former competitors, the Mycenaeans.
    The Mycenaeans came from Asia, migrating to Europe and into Greece ca. 1900 BC
    They intermarried with locals and controlled Greece by 1600 BC
    Flourishing from 1400 to 1200 BC
    The new boys on the block
  • 13. New Power in the Eastern Med.
  • 14. Mycenaean civilization was made up of powerful monarchies (warlords?)
    Each had his own fortified palace situated on a hill surrounded by high walls.
    The warlords likely formed a loose confederation of independent states
    They were a warrior people who valued heroic deeds in battle
    Their murals show battle and hunting scenes
    Society of warriors
  • 15. The Mycenaeans made use of the trade network inherited from the Minoans
    Their pottery has been found from Syria to Egypt, Sicily and southern Italy to the west.
    Their military expanded the reach as well throughout Greece and the Aegean Sea
    A Wide Reach
  • 16. Warriors with Artistic Taste
  • 17. Homer used the Mycenaean Greeks in his description of the Trojan war.
    The wife of a Mycenaean king was stolen by visiting Trojans
    To avenge the insult, Kings Agamemnon and Menalaos launched a force of 1,000 ships.
    The siege of Troy lasted 10 years, ending with the trick of the Trojan Horse and the sack of the city.
    The Stuff of Legends
  • 18. Trojan War
  • 19. By the late 13th century BC, the Mycenaean civilization was tearing itself apart
    The warlords fought each other while major earthquakes laid waste their cities
    In the 12th century BC, Greek-speaking Dorians from the north moved in.
    By 1100 BC, the Mycenaean civilization had collapsed
    Living and Dying by the Sword
  • 20. With the fall of the Mycenaeans, population declined, food production dropped.
    From 1100 to 750 BC there is little in the way of literature to describe what happened
    Farming did not start to revive until 850 BC
    Many Greeks emigrated to the islands or Asia Minor in search of land or work.
    Some trade did come back and iron replaced bronze as the metal for weapons and tools
    Dark Ages in Greece
  • 21. Toward the end of the 8th century BC, Greece adopted and modified the Phoenician alphabet
    This made communication and writing easier
    Not coincidentally Homer penned the Illiad and the Odyssey at this time
    These epic poems gave the Greeks a heroic past, with heroes of courage and honor, who strive for excellence.
    Muse of a new Greece
  • 22. Alphabet and Hero
    Greek hero ideal: Perseus
  • 23. As life began to return to Greece, the polis became the center of life
    The polis consisted of the city proper plus the surrounding countryside
    The town, village or city was the center of the polis where political, religious and social activities took place
    The Polis
  • 24. The Early Polis
  • 25. The main gathering place in the polis was the acropolis on top of a hill
    It served as a refuge in case of attack and as a religious center with temples and public buildings
    Below the acropolis was the agora, an assembly area and market place
    These city-states ranged in size from a few square miles to a few hundred.
    Population varied from a few hundred to hundreds of thousands such as Athens.
    Center of Greek Life
  • 26. Centers of the Polis
    Acropolis – fortress on a hill
    Agora – central assembly and
  • 27. The polis was a community of people with shared identity and goals
    Usually 3 types of citizen: those with political rights (adult males), no political rights (women and children) and noncitizens (slaves, nonresident aliens and migrant farm workers)
    Rights also carried responsibilities: each citizen belonged to the state
    The fierce loyalty to one’s polis bred distrust of others and contributed to Greece’s ruin.
    More than buildings or land
  • 28. As the polis grew, so did its need for more men to serve in the military.
    Before, the military was a noble class of horsemen who also dominated politics
    Now with the new hoplites (heavy infantry) arranged in a phalanx (rectangular box),
    A phalanx consisted of soldiers in close order with shields up and long lances, hard to penetrate as long as the line held.
    Political participation broadened (?)
    A new military order
  • 29. Hoplites & the Phalanx
  • 30. As the poleis grew, it became obvious that the land could not support many people
    Thus, to find more farmland, provide jobs and create trade,
    Greeks set out and established colonies throughout the Aegean, Asia Minor, the Black Sea, Sicily, Italy, even France and Spain
    Each colony became an independent city-state in its own right
    Expansion by Necessity
  • 31. A Long Reach
  • 32. With colonies established throughout the Mediterranean, the money flowed in.
    Farmers switched from food production to commercial agriculture growing olives and wine for export.
    The wealth created problems though – a new class of new rich merchants.
    These merchants were a middle class that wanted a share of political power equal to their wealth.
    Unintended Consequences
  • 33. The men in power, military men, landowners had held power for a long time.
    They were not inclined to share power the new rich
    The merchants felt they should have a vote and a say in government
    The merchants allied with the poor who merely wanted debt relief and to keep their land
    The Immovable Object
  • 34. So much turmoil was created in this battle for a piece of the pie that
    A single leader arose who had the trust of the rich and the merchants.
    They ended the class war, restored order.
    They cut through the red tape to create public works projects and
    Try to ease the lot of the poor
    Battles and then the tyrants
  • 35. The tyrants were neither all good or all bad.
    They had the power to do great good or great evil.
    Some men started off doing good before the power and paranoia went to their heads.
    Before long the tyrants passed from the scene, the idea of single man rule went against the grain.
    Good and bad
  • 36. Two city-states (poleis) exemplify the independence and uniqueness of the concept
    Sparta is the best example of a city-state which chose a different path.
    Instead of sending out colonists, they invaded their neighbors and made them slaves.
    These slaves (helots) were forced to work their former lands for the Spartans
    An uprising took 20 years to put down
  • 37. Ancient Sparta
  • 38. To prevent another revolt, the Spartans decided to become a military state.
    Boys started young and stayed until they were 60 years old.
    Even married they lived in the barracks, training constantly.
    Spartans became known as the finest, most professional, best disciplined soldiers in the world.
    And the most feared.
    A military state
  • 39. Spartan phalanx
  • 40. Spartans in battle
  • 41. Because their men were away, Spartan women had more freedom to run the household
    They were expected to remain fit so as to bear strong, healthy children to serve the state
    Most women adhered to the military code, expecting their men to be brave in battle
    The traditional send off: Come home carrying his shield or on it. Victory or death.
    Spartan women
  • 42. Women in Sparta
  • 43. Government was oligarchical, headed by two kings who lead the army in battle.
    A group of five ephors supervised education and citizen conduct
    A council of elders – 28 citizens over 60 and the 2 kings – decided what issues to present to the assembly
    The assembly did not debate, it only voted.
    Spartan government
  • 44. To protect their way of life, Spartans turned their backs on the outside world
    Foreigners who might bring new ideas were discouraged from visiting
    Spartans were not allowed to travel abroad except for military reasons
    Literature, philosophy, the arts were all discouraged
    The military arts were the only ones allowed.
    A closed society