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Classical Greece. Section 4.3. The Challenge of Persia. The Greek states of Athens and Sparta formed alliances to defeat Persian invaders. As the Greeks spread throughout the Mediterranean , they came into contact with the Persian Empire .

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Classical greece

Classical Greece

Section 4.3


The challenge of persia
The Challenge of Persia

  • The Greek states of Athens and Sparta formed alliances to defeat Persian invaders.

  • As the Greeks spread throughout the Mediterranean, they came into contact with the Persian Empire.

  • The Ionian Greek city-states in Western Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) had fallen to the Persian Empire.

  • The Ionians revolted against Persian rule, with the help of the Athenian Navy, but were unsuccessful in freeing themselves.


The challenge of persia1
The Challenge of Persia

  • The intervention of Athens in the Ionian revolt led the Persian ruler Darius to seek revenge by invading Greece in 490 B.C.

  • The Persians landed at Marathon, where a greatly outnumbered Athenian army defeated them.

  • According to legend, an Athenian messenger, Pheidipides ran from Marathon to Athens (42km) and cried “nike” (victory) and died.


The challenge of persia2
The Challenge of Persia

  • In 486 B.C. Xerxes became the new Persian ruler and vowed revenge on the Greeks for the Persian defeat at Marathon.

  • The Greeks prepared for war under the leadership of the Spartans on land and the Athenians at sea.

  • King Leonidas of Sparta led the Greek army while Themistocles led the naval force.


The challenge of persia3
The Challenge of Persia

  • Xerxes led a massive invasion force of 180,000 troops into Greece.

  • A Greek force led by the Spartans held of the Persians at Thermopylae for two days.

  • The Greek fleet led by the Athenian commander Themistocles, defeated the Persians near Salamis.

  • The final defeat of the Persians came at Plataea, where a combined Greek force destroyed the invading Persian army.


The athenian empire
The Athenian Empire

  • In 478 B.C. the Athenians formed a defensive alliance against Persia, called the Delian League.

  • Its main headquarters was on the island of Delos while the chief officials and commanders of the league were Athenians.

  • The Delian League would free the Ionian Greek city states from Persian rule and free the Aegean Sea from pirates.

  • In 458 B.C. the Delian League’s treasury was moved to Athens giving it control of a mini Greek Empire.

  • Under Pericles leadership Athens would expand its empire between 461 B.C. and 429 B.C. This period would become known as the Age of Pericles.


The age of pericles
The Age of Pericles

  • By creating a direct Democracy, Pericles expanded the involvement of Athenians in their democracy.

  • Every male citizen participated directly in government in mass meetings held every ten days in which the assembly voted on all major issues.

  • Anyone attending the meetings could speak but usually only respected leaders did so.

  • Ten officials, or generals directed policy.


The age of pericles1
The Age of Pericles

  • Athenians devised the practice of ostracism to protect against ambitious politicians.

  • On a pottery fragment members of the assembly could write the name of a person they considered dangerous. A person who had their name mentioned 6,000 times would be exiled for 10 years.

  • Under Pericles Athens became the center of Greek culture. Pericles undertook a massive rebuilding program including temples, and statues. Art, architecture, and philosophy flourished.


Daily life in classical athens
Daily Life in Classical Athens

  • Before the plague in Athens in 430 B.C. there were 300,000 people living in Athens.

    • 60,000 were adult males with political power.

    • 10,000 were Adult male foreigners who had protection of the laws.

    • Slaves numbered around 100,000

  • Slavery was common in the Ancient world most people in Athens owned at least one slave.

  • Slaves usually worked in the fields or in the home as cooks and maids.

  • Slaves owned by the city would work on public building projects.


Economy and society
Economy and Society

  • The Athenian economy was largely based on farming and trade.

  • Athenians grew grains, vegetables, and fruit for local use.

  • Grapes and olive trees were cultivated for wine and olive oil, for local use and for export.

  • Athenians raised sheep and goats for wool, milk and dairy products.


Economy and society1
Economy and Society

  • Athenians had to import from 50 to 80 percent of its grain for public use.

  • Trade would become increasingly valuable as demand for basic goods such as grain increased.

  • The Athenians would build a port at nearby Piraeus which would help them become a leading trade center in the Greek world.


Economy and society2
Economy and Society

  • The family was an important institution in Ancient Athens.

  • It was usually composed of a husband, wife, children and grandparents.

  • The family’s role was to produce new citizens for Athens.


Economy and society3
Economy and Society

  • Women who were citizens could take part in most religious festivals.

  • They were expected to remain at home and if they left the house they had to have a companion.

  • Athenian women could not own property except for personal items.

  • Athenian girls married at age 14 or 15 and were taught from an early age how to run a home.


The great peloponnesian war
The Great Peloponnesian War

  • After the Persian Wars the Greek city states divided into two major alliances. One led by Athens (the Delian League) and the other by Sparta (the Peloponnesian League).

  • War would break out between the two sides in 431 B.C.

  • With the Spartans commanding a superior land force the Athenians withdrew behind their walls and received supplies from their colonies.

  • In the second year of the war plague broke out in Athens killing one third of the population of Athens including their leader, Pericles.


The great peloponnesian war1
The Great Peloponnesian War

  • A major defeat of the Athenians came at Aegospotami when their fleet was destroyed.

  • The war lasted from 431-404 B.C. when Athens finally surrendered. For the next 67 years. Sparta, Thebes and Athens would fight for domination of the Greeks.

  • The Greeks would eventually be conquered by their northern neighbors, the Macedonians.


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