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The Persian Wars and the Golden Age. The New Army of Greece. Sparta was already a military state, but Athens only had an army made of wealthy citizens As Greece entered the Iron age, weapons became affordable for all, Athens was able to form a stronger army as everyone could get weapons

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The new army of greece
The New Army of Greece

  • Sparta was already a military state, but Athens only had an army made of wealthy citizens

    • As Greece entered the Iron age, weapons became affordable for all,

  • Athens was able to form a stronger army as everyone could get weapons

    • Created an army of foot soldiers, hoplites, who fought in a phalanx formation.

      • Became the most powerful fighting force in the ancient world.

The persian wars
The Persian Wars

  • Begin in Ionia on the coast of Anatolia

    • Greeks had controlled it but the Persians conquered it around 546 BC

  • Ionian Greeks revolted against the Persians and Athens came to their aid.

  • The Persian King Darius the Great defeated the rebellion and vowed to destroy Athens in revenge!

Persians bring revenge
Persians bring revenge!

  • In 490 BC a Persian fleet carrying 25,000 men crossed the Aegean Sea and landed north of Athens on a plain known as Marathon.

  • 10,000 Athenians were there to fight

    • Arranged in Phalanxes

  • The Greeks Charged and the well equipped fighting force forced the Persians to retreat.

    • Persians lost 6,000 men

    • Athenians lost less than 200 men

Pheidippides run
Pheidippides’ Run

  • After the Victory the Athenians had a city that stood defenseless

    • Army leaders wanted to warn the city to tell the people not to give up the city without a fight.

  • Army leaders chose a runner named Pheidippides to race back to Athens

    • Ran 26 miles from marathon to Athens

    • Delivered the message “rejoice we conquer” then he collapsed and died.

  • The People readied for attack but the Athenian Army raced back to Athens and when the Persians arrived by sea they found the city heavily defended.

    • They retreated

The reign of xerxes
The Reign of Xerxes

  • Ten years later Darius Son, Xerxes, took control in Persia.

    • Wanted to crush Athens

      • Raised a massive army to attack the main city in Greece

  • The Greeks were divided on how to handle Xerxes

    • Some wanted to fight

    • Others wanted to let him destroy the city and let him leave

    • And others even fought for the Persians.

  • Xerxes army met little resistance as it moved towards Athens

Last defense
Last Defense

  • As Xerxes came to a narrow mountain pass at Thermopylae 7,000 Greeks and 300 Spartans were waiting

  • The Greeks stopped the Persians and held them off for 3 days

  • The Persians learned about a secret path that ended the stand off.

  • Fearing defeat the 300 Spartans led a battle to hold off the Persians long enough for the Greek army to retreat

    • All 300 Spartans died but their sacrifice made a huge impressions on the Greeks

Defend the city
Defend the City

  • The Athenians knew the battle was coming to Athens

    • Themistocles, an Athenian leader, convinced them to leave the city and fight at sea.

      • Positioned the navy in a narrow channel south of Athens

  • Xerxes set fire to Athens, then sent his ships to block both ends of the channel

    • However the large ships couldn’t move in the narrow channels

    • Greek ships used battering rams to puncture holes in the Persian navy

    • 1/3 of the Persian fleet was sunk

  • Xerxes suffered another defeat at Plataea and from then on they were always on the defensive.

The end of the persian wars
The end of the Persian wars

  • The following year the city states in Greece formed an alliance called the Delian League

    • Named after the headquarter location on the island of Delos

  • In time the league members were able to force the Persians from Greece and surrounding territories and end the threat of future attacks.

  • The Greek city states felt confident and free.

  • Athens would emerge as the leaders of the league and

    • Moved the headquarters of the league.

    • Athens became the leader of the Empire

  • Athens became the center of Greek Culture.b

Pericles athens
Pericles’ Athens

  • A wise statesman named Pericles would hold popular support for much of Athens Golden Age

    • 32 years as leader.

  • Skillful leader, politician, great speaker, and respected general

  • Ruled form 461 to 429 BC also known as the Age of Pericles

  • Pericles had 3 goals for Athens

    • Strengthen democracy

    • Hold and strengthen the empire

    • Glorify Athens

Stronger democracy
Stronger Democracy

  • Pericles increased the number of public officials who were paid

    • Most positions previously were unpaid, so only wealthy filled them, now anyone could fill the position

      • More people involved in government

  • Athens became on of the most democratic governments in all of history.

  • Pericles also introduced a direct democracy

    • Citizens rule directly and not through representatives.

    • Male citizens who served in the assembly established all the important government policies

Athenian empire
Athenian Empire

  • Not only did they move the league to Athens they took control of all the member states

  • Used league money to make the Athenian Navy the strongest in the Mediterranean sea

    • Used it to protect Athens

    • Used it to control and dominate trade

  • Athens used their control of the league to bring members into the empire

    • Though not all members liked this

      • Peloponnesus

      • Sparta

Glorifying athens
Glorifying Athens

  • Used money from the Delian League to beautify Athens

    • Didn’t have approval for this

  • Bought gold, ivory, and marble for building projects

  • Paid artists with league funding.

  • Pericles wanted to make Athens stand out with magnificent buildings and sculptures

  • At the center of his plans was a big project to honor Athena

    • The Parthenon

The parthenon
The Parthenon

  • A masterpiece of architectural design

  • 23,000 Square Feet

  • Designed as a temple to honor Athena

    • Goddess of wisdom and protector of Athens

  • Contained statures and art that would set a standard for artists for generations to come.

    • Phidias was the main sculptor

      • Crafted a giant statue of Athena

      • 30 feet tall

      • Made of gold and ivory

Classical art
Classical Art

  • Phidias and other sculptors were to create art that was graceful, strong, and perfectly formed

  • Statues were to only show faces with serenity,

    • Wanted to portray ideal beauty not realism

    • Harmony

    • Order

    • Balance

    • Proportion


  • To show civic pride and tribute to the Gods the Greeks invented drama as an art form

  • Built the first theaters in the west

  • Wealthy citizens paid for the productions

  • Plays were about leadership and justice and the duties owed to the Gods

    • Often included a chorus that danced, sang, and recited poetry.

  • The Greeks had two forms of Drama

    • Comedy and Tragedy

Greek drama
Greek Drama

  • Scenes filled with slapstick situations and crude humor

  • Made fun of politics and people

  • Aristophanes wrote some of the first comedies

    • The birds and lysistrata

      • Lysistrata represented the women of Athens

  • Demonstrated that Athenians could listen to criticism and were open to public discussion

  • Serious Plays about common themes such as love, hate, war, and betrayal

  • Featured a main character or tragic hero

    • Usually had gifted abilities or extraordinary abilities

    • Hero also had a tragic flaw that lead to the hero's downfall

      • Usually pride




  • It was during the golden age of Greece that accurate reporting of events became important

  • Herodotus – pioneered accurate reporting of events

    • Wrote book on Persian wars that is considered the first work of history.

  • Thucydides

    • Believed that events and situations recur over time

    • Used that belief to write about events in a way to benefit future generations

      • Style still used today

Athens and sparta go to war
Athens and Sparta go to war

  • Athens success and wealth made others hostile towards them.

  • Both sides knew war was inevitable so they pushed for war, not peace

  • Sparta declared war on Athens in 431 BC

    • Peloponnesian War

      • Sparta had stronger army

      • Athens had stronger navy

        • Sparta came towards Athens and Pericles moved the people into Athens

          • Plague swept through the city, killed 1/3 of the people including Pericles

      • War continued for years until the two sides reached a truce in 421 BC.

War returns
War returns

  • In 415 BC the Athenians sent a fleet with 20,000 soldiers to the island of Sicily

    • Plan was to destroy Syracuse, one of the allies of Sparta

  • Athenians were defeated in 413 BC

    • Almost all of them died

  • Sparta attacked but Athens held them off for 9 years

  • Finally in 404 BC the Athenians and their allies surrendered

  • Athens lost its empire, power, and wealth

The greek philosophers
The Greek Philosophers

  • Athenians lost confidence in democratic government and began to question their values

  • In the uncertain times, thinkers appeared

    • Determined to seek the truth, no matter where it lead them

  • Became known as philosophers

    • Lovers of wisdom

  • Thinking was based off two assumptions

    • The universe, land sky and sea, is put together in an orderly way, and subject to absolute laws

    • People can understand these laws through logic and reason.

The sophists
The sophists

  • Questioned the unexamined beliefs and ideas about justice and other traditional values

  • Protagoras

    • One of the most famous Sophists

      • Questioned the existence of the traditional Greek gods.

      • No universal standard of truth

  • These were radical ideas at the time


  • Critic of the Sophists

  • Believed that absolute standards existed for truth and justice

  • Encouraged the Greeks to question themselves and their moral character

  • Put on trial for corrupting the youth of Athens and Neglecting the city’s gods.

  • Said his teachings were good because it forced people to think about their values and actions

    • Court disagreed and he was poisoned to death as punishment.


  • Student of Socrates

    • 20 years old when Socrates died

  • Around 370 BC Plato wrote his most famous work

    • The Republic

  • Set forth the vision for a perfectly governed society

    • Not a democracy

    • Divided into 3 groups

      • Farmers and artisans, warriors, and the ruling class.

      • The person with the greatest insight and intellect would be chosen a philosopher king.

  • His ideas dominated philosophic thought in Europe for nearly 1500 years.

  • Only his teacher and his pupil were rivals to his importance.


  • Pupil of Plato

  • Questioned the nature of the world and the human belief, thought, and knowledge.

  • Came close to summarizing all the knowledge up to his time

  • Created a method for arguing according to rules of logic

  • Applied it to psychology, physics, and biology

  • Provides the basis of the scientific method still used today.

  • Taught Alexander, son of king Phillip II of Macedonia.

    • Taught him for 3 years until he was called back to Macedonia