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Greek Government and Society. CH 5 Section 2. Some review. Who were the earliest known Greeks? Who defeated the earliest known Greeks? Who lived on the island of Crete and had to develop sea trade?. The Homeric age. The Iliad and Odyssey are gathered together and written down around 700 BCE

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Greek Government and Society

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Greek Government and Society

CH 5 Section 2

Some review

  • Who were the earliest known Greeks?

  • Who defeated the earliest known Greeks?

  • Who lived on the island of Crete and had to develop sea trade?

The Homeric age

  • The Iliad and Odyssey are gathered together and written down around 700 BCE

  • The Stories are credited to Homer, No Not that Homer!

  • A blind poet

  • Has anyone read them?

  • The truth is that no one knows who wrote the poems

  • {The Iliad tells the story of the Trojan War}

  • Helen of Troy, the wife of a Mycenaean king, runs off with Paris (not Hilton), a Trojan prince, back to Troy

  • This leads to 10 years of war filled with some of the greatest battle scenes in the movies to that time.

  • Achilles shows looking like Brad Pitt

  • He is supposedly invincible except his Achilles heel and of coarse that is where he gets shot by Paris (not Hilton)

  • So this Siege of Troy lasts a long time and the Mycenaean's decide to give up when they can’t get into the walls of the city

  • But First they are going to leave a gift for the City of Troy no strings attached

  • The Mycenaean's gather up all the wood they can find and build a giant horse and wheel it to the door of the city

  • The people of Troy see the Gift and think

  • “We do deserve a giant horse for our trouble. Maybe those Mycenaean's aren't so bad after all. Drag that thing inside.”

  • but they bring more than they think in with them

  • After everyone passes out the troops hiding inside jump out, open the gates, and kill everyone

  • This is the story of the Trojan Horse

  • The battle of Troy actually happened the ruins of the city have been unearthed and there is a picture on the next slide

  • The Odyssey is about Odysseus and his trip home from the Trojan war

  • It takes him 10 years to get to Ithaca (home) cause the Gods are working against him, they send him off course and wreck him on islands

  • He does eventually make it home to find a number of suitors trying to take his wife

  • He kills them all

Greek Religious Beliefs

  • The Greek religion did not expect personal morality like other religions of the time

  • Instead they looked at religion for three things

    • To Explain Nature, the cause of lightning, thunder, the seasons

    • To explain emotions that caused people to lose self control

    • They thought religion could bring them benefits here and now like long life

      {NOT a preparation for the afterlife or salvation from sin}


  • The Greeks created Myths or traditional stories about gods, goddesses, or heroes

  • The gods had human qualities and personalities

  • The gods were believed to live on Mt Olympus in North Greece


  • King of the Gods

  • Had a daughter and son

  • {The Olympic games were held every 4 years in honor of him}


  • Daughter of Zeus

  • Protector of wisdom and womanly goodness

  • Athens was named for her


  • Son of Zeus

  • God of light, music, and poetry


  • Greek god of fertility and wine

Religion Continued

  • The Greeks believed that the gods spoke to them through oracles and would travel to these oracles to ask questions about the future

  • They tried to please the gods through sow of strength and bravery in athletic contests

  • The most important of these contests were the Olympic games held every four years to honor Zeus held the fist time in 776 BC

  • Originally only men could compete in or watch the games

  • Competitions included boxing, wrestling, and foot races

Greek Government: From Kings to Democracy

  • City-States were originally small kingdoms ruled by warrior chieftains from a hilltop fortress

  • Wealthy land owners were asked to support their rule and form their armies

  • Land owners were the only ones who could afford horses, chariots, and bronze weapons

  • Over time the small group of land owners, known as aristocrats, or “best men” in Greek,

  • Nobles started to gain more land and power in Greece

  • by 700 BC they had overthrown their kings and taken power


  • Originally the word aristocracy meant “ruled by the best”}

  • Over time it became the word for the privileged upper class

  • {These aristocracies are groups of nobles that came to rule the Greek city-states}

  • They held a monopoly over the military and controlled the economy

  • {They even held control over religion}

  • They acted as judges, determining the city-states laws and punishments


  • A new form of infantry that carried long spears they fought in closely spaced rows

  • This was a non aristocratic soldier that demanded more say in Govt.

  • The chariots and cavalry of the aristocrats were no match for the Hoplites formations

  • The soldiers in 300 are similar but the real ones wore armor


  • {Someone who illegally took power but had the peoples support}

  • Between 650 and 500 BC tyrants ruled many Greek city-states

  • They ended the nobles fight for power and promoted trade

  • At first they rule well but in some cases they become unjust

  • Tyrant now means someone who uses absolute power brutally

Popular Government

  • The city-states would take power back from the tyrants and the idea of popular government took root

  • This idea that the people could and should rule themselves

  • Democracy or government in which the citizens take part developed in places like Athens.

  • Full rights were only allowed to free men

  • Women and slaves had no political rights

  • Other city-states like Sparta maintained kings or went back to the aristocratic government

Section Review

  • What book tells the story of the Trojan war?

  • The Olympic games were held every 4 years in honor of who?

  • Aristocracy originally means ______ __ ___ _____.

  • Someone who took power but had the peoples support?

The End?

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