Two wars two turning points in greek history
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Two Wars; Two Turning Points in Greek History. Over 600 poli made up the Hellenic world. Spartan warriors, c. 450 BC. The ruins of Ancient Sparta. Athens, cradle of democracy.

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Two Wars; Two Turning Points in Greek History

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Two Wars; Two Turning Points in Greek History

Over 600 poli made up the Hellenic world

Spartan warriors, c. 450 BC

The ruins of Ancient Sparta

Athens, cradle of democracy

  • The polis developed into a self-governing community that expressed the will of free citizens, not the desires of gods, hereditary kings or priests.

The great Greek contribution to political life:

  • Individual members shared a sense of belonging to and participating in the polis.

  • Community problems are caused by human beings and require human solutions.

  • Laws expressed the rational mind of the community to insure its will and needs are met.

Draco Solon 620’sBC 570’sBC


540’s BC


500’s BC

Herodotus: Persian Wars and … Thucydides: Peloponnesian Wars

Cyrus the Great and his sons after him effectively administered their large empire by:

  • Divided into 20 provinces (satrapies)

  • Special agents who answered only to the king

  • Use of an official language (Aramaic)

  • Network of roads and postal system

  • Common system of weights and measures

  • Empire wide coinage

  • Fusion of Near Eastern cultural traditions

  • Promoted one religion: Zoroastrianism (Ahura Mazda & Ahriman)

The Ionian Revolt, 499-493 BC

King Darius I, 521-486 BC

  • Decided to punish the city of Athens for assisting the rebels during the Ionian Revolt of 499 BC.


The Hoplite: Greek footsoldiers

Battle of Marathon, 490 BC

Battle of Marathon, 490 BC – Phaedippas brings the news to Athens


  • Rushed the construction of 200 triremes

  • Organized Greek city-states into a defensive alliance that included Sparta

King Xerxes, 486-465 BC

  • He sought to avenge his father’s defeat.

  • In 480 BC, his army of 360,000 foot soldiers and 800 ships marched over a bridge across the Dardanelles


King Xerxes & the Second Persian War, 480-479 BC

The Athenians fled the city which was sacked and burned to the ground by the Persians

  • But, the Athenians had a plan…

Battle of Salamis

  • The Persian Wars were decisive in the history of the West. Had the Greeks been defeated, the cultural and political vitality we associate and inherit from the Greeks would never have evolved.

  • The confidence and pride from these victories propelled Greece and Athens, in particular, to its “Golden Age.”

Pericles, 499-429 BC

  • Pericles was the central figure in Athens during its Golden Age

The creation of the Delian League, 478 BC

The corruption of the Delian League

429 BC Plague strikes down Athens

The Peace of Nicias, 421-415 BC

The destruction of Melos, 416 BC

The Final Blow to Athens…

  • The Spartan admiral, Lysander captured the Athenian fleet in the Dardanelles …cutting of its food supplies

  • Athens was required to tear down its walls and agreed to be ruled by a government appointed by Sparta

Effects of the Peloponnesian Wars,431-404 BC

  • Despite the restoration of democratic government, Athens never returned to its former power…

  • A spirit of pessimism and disillusionment prevailed among intellectuals & the young

  • Constant warfare among other states continued…

  • In 371, Sparta lost its first war to Thebes

  • The loss of manpower on both sides weakened all of Greece

Philip II of Macedon 359-336 BC

  • An ambitious and resourceful ruler of Macedonia who built up his army and planned to conquer the Greeks and the Persians.

“The Philippics”

  • A series of fiery speeches by Demosthenes

  • In 338 BC, Philip defeated Athens and its allies and created “The League of Corinth”

Alexander the Great, r 336-323 BC

  • Succeeded his father

  • Destruction of Thebes

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