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Greece – Classical Age. Chapter 6-1 Geography of Ancient Greece Video: Minoans and Mycenaeans – 25m TN SPI – 6.5.11. Directions. For today’s lesson, you will need a sheet of notebook paper folded as a 4-square. Colored Pencils. Geography and Agriculture. Trading Cultures. Government.

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Greece – Classical Age

Chapter 6-1

Geography of Ancient Greece

Video: Minoans and Mycenaeans – 25m

TN SPI – 6.5.11

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  • For today’s lesson, you will need a sheet of notebook paper folded as a 4-square.

  • Colored Pencils

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Geography and Agriculture

Trading Cultures



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Geography of Ancient Greece

  • Greece is a country made up of:

    • Small scattered islands

    • Rugged mountains

    • Many peninsulas

    • Few valleys and coastal plains for farming

    • Isolated communities

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  • Because of geography, farming was often difficult.

  • Good farmland was located by the coast and in the valleys.

  • Farms were usually small and only produced enough food to feed one family with a little extra to sell at the market.

    • Major crops: wheat, barley, olives, grapes

    • Farm animals: pigs, poultry, sheep, goats

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Geographic Borders

  • Greece is bordered by:

    • Aegean Sea -East

    • Ionian Sea - West

    • Mediterranean Sea - South

    • Macedonia – North

    • Mt. Olympus – 9,570’

  • Since travel inland across rugged mountains was so difficult, the early Greeks became skilled shipbuilders and sailors.

  • The sea was for travel, trading, and a source of food.

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Trading Cultures

  • Two of the earliest cultures that settled in Greece were:

    • the Minoans – seafaring traders (non Greek)

    • the Mycenaeans – considered the first Greeks

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The Minoans

  • The Minoans lived on the island of Crete located south of Greece in the Mediterranean Sea.

  • Although they lived in what is now Greece, they are not considered to be Greek because they didn’t speak the Greek language.

  • They were among the best shipbuilders and traders in the Mediterranean.

    • They traded pottery and olive oil for copper, gold, silver, and jewels.

    • A volcano erupted in the c1600 BC ending the Minoan civilization.

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The Mycenaeans

  • The Mycenaeans were the first to speak the Greek language and are considered by historians to be the first Greeks.

  • They were builders of fortresses all over the Greek mainland and often attacked other kingdoms.

  • Historians believe the Mycenaeans attacked the city of Troy, possibly starting the legendary Trojan War.

    • The Mycenaean civilization was defeated by invaders from Europe in c1200 BC.

    • This period in Greek history is referred to as the Dark Age of Greece.

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Greek City-States

  • Geography prevented small communities from coming together. For this reason small city-states (a city and the surrounding area) formed which had their own:

    • Traditions

    • Governments

    • Laws

    • Leaders

      • Hundreds of Greek city-states formed. Athens, Sparta, Olympia, and Troy were most well known.

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Life in City-States

  • Life in the city often focused on the marketplace, or agora.

  • Many shops bordered the agora.

  • Farmers brought their crops to the market to trade for goods made by artisans.

  • The agora was a large open space that also served as a meeting place for political and religious meetings.

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Government - Who Ruled?

  • Oligarchy – rule by a small group (Sparta)

    • Early Greeks were governed by aristocrats, or a small group of rich landowners.

    • As trade increased, a middle class began to grow who resented the aristocracy.

    • The middle class demanded a role in government.

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Government - Who Ruled?

  • Direct Democracy – citizens govern themselves (no elected representatives)

    • Athens formed a democracy .

    • Must be a male citizen 18 years of age.

    • Both parents must be Athenian to be considered a citizen.

    • Women were not allowed to debate laws.

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Democracy Then and Now

Direct Democracy

Republic - Indirect Democracy

Citizens elect representatives to debate and vote on issues for them.

There is a separation of powers. Citizens elect people to create laws, others to enforce laws, and others to be judges.

Men and women who are citizens have the right to vote.

  • All citizens met as a group to debate and vote on every issue.

  • There was no separation of powers. Citizens created laws, enforced laws, and acted as judges.

  • Only free male citizens could vote. Women and slaves could not vote.