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Classical Greece. Alexii Lardis , Said Mallouky , Kiersten Paul, Rachel Stone, Kathryn Vance, Brittlyn Warren, Alexa Waters . Who were the Greeks of this time period? . Few Quick Facts….

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Classical greece l.jpg

Classical Greece

AlexiiLardis, Said Mallouky, Kiersten Paul, Rachel Stone, Kathryn Vance, Brittlyn Warren, Alexa Waters

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Few Quick Facts…

  • Classical Greece is considered to be the civilization that was around between the 4th and 5th centuries BC

  • Arguably provided the structure for all Western Civilization (Democracy, Art, Architecture, Philosophy)

  • Athens—center of it all!

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Type of Society:

  • Agrarian and Maritime

  • early Greek world settlements date to ~3000 BC

  • Greek colonies throughout Mediterranean & Black Seas

  • evidence of Greek culture far beyond Greek boundaries

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The Economy

  • Coinage

    • spreading

  • No aggregate market system,

    • individual markets for various items

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Economics - Markets

  • Individual markets

    • Mainly agricultural products,

      • cereals

      • olives

      • grapevines

      • small-stock animals

        • sheep, goats, pigs

  • Avoided a surplus

    • Transactions costs

Olive tree grove

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Economics- Imports and Exports

  • Imports

    • land and soil wasn’t suitable

    • establishment of colonies

      • Southern Italy - “Magna Graecia” or “Great Greece.”

  • Exports

    • Olives and grapes for olive oil and wine

  • Pottery

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  • Rapid Advancements

    • Math and the sciences

  • Basic mechanics and preliminary physics

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  • “screw” – pump - Archimedes

  • The Aeolipile of Heron - a precursor of steam engine

  • Astrolabe of Ptolemaios (2nd century AC) Claudius Ptolemaios

  • Model of automatic gates of a temple - Heron

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  • Population thriving during this period, because it was an end to Persian Rule and the Athenian people established a government where they were fairly represented (democracy)

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  • Athens:  About 315,500 Citizens in 431BC  TODAY: 655,780

  • Sparta: About 36,000 Citizens in 431BC TODAY: 

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  • Similar to the modern system

  • Progressing

  • Home training

  • Elementary education

  • Physical education

  • Secondary school

  • Post-secondary school

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Education – Basics

  • Up to age 7 – home training

    • morals

    • Some hired a master, a pedagogue

  • After age 7 – elementary education

    • reading and writing.

    • available to almost all families

    • Upper class families - formal education

      • Tutor or public school

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Education –Basics (continued)

  • The Arts

    • History

    • Dance and music

      • Singing, harp, flute and lyre

  • Physical Education

    • just after age 7

    • Teacher = paidotribe

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Education- Higher Education

  • Secondary school

    • Wealthy families

    • Hire a traveling tutor or send to public schools

    • geometry, astronomy and meteorology

  • Poor families

    • Specific craft or skill

    • Father was the teacher

  • Post Secondary Schooling- Ephebic training

    • Age 18

    • Military training and service

    • Petition

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  • Passed down orally, also in literature

  • Talked about how gods affected life on Earth

  • Two main subjects:

    • Heroes and God/Goddesses

      • Both very strong and powerful; gods differentiated by their supernatural power

      • Faced challenges and obstacles

  • Sacred Text:

    • Iliad and Odyssey: by Homer

      • Two epic poems

    • Theogony: by Hesoid

      • Long poem that collected many of the myths passed down orally

        Both written before Classical Greece, but characters were still important

Statue of goddess Athena

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  • Belief in many gods

  • Olympic Pantheon most famous

    • Distinctive characters (12) lived on Mt. Olympus

    • Power over nature or abstract concepts; or association with cities

  • Gods/goddesses required worship from heroes and regular men in order to provide protection, etc.

    • Immortal, but still had to obey fate

    • Acted like humans and had human vices

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  • Afterlife

    • Underworld

    • Funerals significant

  • Ceremonies

    • Community events

    • Performed at alters, dedicated to specific god

    • Votive offerings (food, wine)

    • Sacrificed animals

  • Cults

    • Some, but not many, for people that didn’t follow main religion

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  • Greek Philosophers challenged some ideologies during the Classical period

    • Plato: believed in one supreme god (Form of the good, emanation of perfection in the universe)

    • Aristotle: believed evidence did not exist for polytheism; believed in Prime Mover (started creation, but was then not connected/interested in universe)

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  • Marriage provided a means for establishing a network in the community

  • Marriages meant one thing for women: child rearing

  • Children were the most important factor of any marriage

  • Greeks are prideful of their work and wanted children simple to pass on their legacy

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Women and Marriage

  • For most Athenians, marriage was basically living together

  • Marriage was arranged at an early age if the daughter came from a wealthy family

  • Girls got married in their teens, often to a man in his 30’s

  • After a woman got married, she and her husband would give offerings to the god's and share a cake with her husband

  • Didn’t require her consent, she was simply passed from her father to her husband

  • Virginity was important to the Classical Greeks

  • In the case of a divorce, the children were left with the father


  • The ancient Greek girl did not know or meet her husband until the dowry had been agreed upon

  • The dowry could not be spent by the husband

  • If the marriage failed, the dowry was returned to her father

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Polygyny in Marriage

  • Accepted in ancient Greece until the Roman Empire and Roman Catholic Church

  • Then, having one wife but multiple lovers was the common thing

  • Not a public issue, moderate polygyny was supported

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Women’s Rights

  • Classical Athens women lacked all rights of citizenship

  • Only described as the wife of an Athenian citizen

  • Wealthy Greek women hardly ever left the house alone

  • When they were allowed out, it was for weddings, funerals, or religious ceremonies

  • Less significant women left to retrieve water and sometimes work in the fields or markets

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Kinship: Fun Fact!

  • Homosexuality was actually an embraced concept in this early time period (for men, not for women)

  • Older males would initiate relationships with younger males, and shower them with gifts and affection

  • These relationships were seen as the highest form of love because since men were seen as the most intellectual of the two sexes, it meant that the two men were highly invested emotionally

  • However, marriage was still required. Younger males in these relationships would get married to women, and then after marriage initiate another relationship to a younger male (role reversal)

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Men > Women

(Speaking of which…)

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Social Stratification

  • Social classes were a large part of Classical Greek Society

  • Based on wealth with 4 distinct classes

  • Upper Class: small class; slave-owners, free from economic tasks (i.e., trade) but were wealthy; participated in government, war, literature, & philosophy

    • Upper class = leisure class

  • Middle class: often small famers who owned land; later gained the right to vote

  • It was composed of metics (foreign, free non-citizens) who were professional men (i.e., craftsmen, artists, merchants, tradesmen, etc); controlled the ceramic industry;

  • Lower Class: urban craftsmen & freedmen (previous slaves); usually didn’t own land

  • Slaves: the lowest class; legal practice but they had no legal rights or power; servants & laborers; very important to society;

    • Varied from domestic servants a factory worker to a ship crew member

    • Depending on what type of slave you were, you were treated better or worse

    • Female slaves were seen as the lowest part of society

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Social Stratification Cont…

  • Social classes only applied to men and women took the same status as their husband however could not participate in society

  • Elites: were the upper crust of society, aristocrats; held many advantages in society; Ruled in the government; owned land; could vote; went to war in armor on horses

  • Non-elites: Some owned land; mostly worked in businesses and craft industries;

  • People could change classes if they made more money

  • Upper class had more access to medicine and doctors; however health care had not evolved yet

  • Poverty and inequality were very prevalent in ancient Greek society

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What did they do?

  • Men -Trained for the military -Discussed politics -Went to the Theatre for entertainment (tragedies and comedies)

  • Women -Domestic work -Spinning -Weaving and other domestic duties. -Not involved in public life or in politics.

  • Children in ancient Greece usually occupied their time playing with toys and games.

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Polity: The Greek Polis

  • Classical Greek world composed of individual poleis, or city-states

    • central urban area surrounded by countryside

    • prominent poleis: Athens & Sparta

  • mostly governed by citizen councils

  • poleis struggled for dominance and formed alliances to protect themselvesagainst enemies

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Polity:Athens & Democracy

  • Athenian Classical politics: direct democracy (~500 BC)

  • Athenian population divided into demes, trittyes, and tribes

  • representatives elected to AthenianCouncil of 500

  • participation in government extended to all male citizens

  • new emphasis:

    • persuasive speech and direct representation - replaced former corrupt elite and family ties

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  • Classical Greek society: both agrarian and maritime

    • poleis built strong armies and navies for protection and conquestover land and sea

  • conflict groups = poleis and their allies

  • frequent and prolonged warfare on an unprecedented scale

    • Persian Wars (499–449 BC): Persian Empire vs. Greek (Athenian) forces

    • Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC): Athens vs. Sparta, power struggle for Greek rule

  • conquest and the formation of empires

    • unity of political and military power

    • Delian League

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Conflict: Technology & Victory

  • military technology and strategy, not man power, as deciding factors in battles

  • power and wealth amassed through conquest

    • significant investment in military equipment

    • e.g., Athenian navy of 200 triremes

    • metallurgy:

      • bronze shields, ship rams, spears

Spartan hoplite soldier

Phalanx battle formation

Athenian trireme battleship

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Which of the following terms refers to the basic unit of political and military organization in Classical Greek society?

A.  hoplite

B.  Athens

C.  polis

D. phalanx

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Which of the following is true of Greek kinship during the Classical period?

A. Women could choose their own husbandsB. Marriages were rarely arrangedC. Marriage was optional

D. Having children was considered imperative

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Which one of the following is NOT a reason Classical Greece Women were allowed out of the house?

A.      Funerals

B.      Weddings

C.      Parties

D.      Religious Ceremonies

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Greek religion followed the belief in multiple deities.  This is known as:

a) Atheismb) Monotheismc) Polytheism

d) Pantheism

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Was education an equal opportunity for all in Classical Greek society?

  • No, it was based on family lineage and social standing

  • No, it was given to those who could afford it

  • Yes, if the student could score well enough to pass

  • Yes, all students could attend