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Ancient Greece in a Nutshell. Crash Course #1. Physical Geography of Greece. The landscape is rocky and mountainous Communication and transportation is difficult Cities developed independently of one another A single great empire is impossible!. The Polis.

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Ancient Greece in a Nutshell

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physical geography of greece
Physical Geography of Greece
  • The landscape is rocky and mountainous
  • Communication and transportation is difficult
  • Cities developed independently of one another
  • A single great empire is impossible!
the polis
The Polis
  • Polis – (city-state) designated city and its surrounding countryside
  • The polis can be governed as a monarchy, aristocracy, oligarchy, tyranny, or democracy – you name it!
  • Athens, Sparta, Thebes, and Corinth are among the most powerful polis
democracy v oligarchy
Democracy v. Oligarchy
  • Greek democracies were really expanded oligarchies
  • Many Greeks saw democracies as unstable and violent
  • Oligarchies allowed for social mobility and gave passive civil rights on all citizens
  • Outsiders are excluded from citizenship
  • Both allow for strong identification with city state by citizens – I smell nationalism!
the archaic age 800 500 bc a tale of two cities

Sparta is an oligarchy ruled by 2 kings and 28 Elders

Conquest is means of economic and agricultural survival

Strong military society


Aristocracy rules

Civil unrest common among economically dependent farmers and the aristocracy

Society emphasizes education and philosophy

The Archaic Age (800-500 BC)A Tale of Two Cities
more on athens
More on Athens
  • Draco establishes the first Athenian Law Code (621 BC) – now everyone knows the law!
  • Solon freed debt slaves and opened the aristocratic assembly to all citizens (594 BC)
  • Cleisthenes set up a form of representative democracy by setting up local demes (gov’ts) to connect to the central government – creating a local voice
the classical period 500 338 bc
The Classical Period (500-338 BC)
  • Pericles made Athens a cultural center of learning and creativity
  • Sophocles and Euripides created plays and dramas
  • Socrates analyzed human society and developed new questioning techniques geared towards analytical thinking
  • Plato believed the truth lay in the world of ideas
  • Aristotle put emphasis on the material world
persian wars
Persian Wars
  • Athens decided to help the Ionians rebel against Persia. Persia gets mad and wants revenge
  • Persia begins an all out invasion of Greece – they think Greece would make a nice addition to their empire
the battles
The Battles
  • Battle of Marathon
  • Battle of Thermopylae
  • Battle of Salamis
wars alliances
Wars = Alliances
  • Persian Wars forced Greek city-states into military alliances
  • The alliances worked so well, they decided to formalize it after the war as a defense.
  • The Delian League – naval alliance against Persia
getting greedy
Getting Greedy
  • The Athenians took control of the Delian League and turned it into a vehicle for building an empire (for themselves)
  • The league was used as a way to exert control and force tributes
  • Needless to say, the other city states weren’t thrilled
peloponnesian war
Peloponnesian War
  • Tired of the Delian League, Sparta and some friends go after Athens, sparking a huge civil war
  • Macedon sees this happening and sees it as a golden moment to invade – Greece is left weak and unstable from their war.
  • Greece falls to Philip of Macedon
hellenistic greece
Hellenistic Greece
  • Alexander the Great (Philip’s son) lays claim to the empire. He gets busy and expands and expands and expands
  • As a result of expansion Greek cities become connected with other cities
  • Greek culture spread to the Mediterranean and Asia
hellenistic philosophy
Hellenistic Philosophy
  • Two Schools of Philosophy Develop:
    • Epicureanism – moderation, self-discipline, and a quiet life
    • Stoicism – civic virtue, devotion to duty, acceptance of one’s lot in life
ups and downs
Ups and Downs
  • Trade and international commerce flourish through new communication and transportation networks
  • After Alexander’s death the empire is broken up into pieces among his generals
  • Monarchies eventually take over the splintered pieces