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Altitude. High Low. Topographic map of Greece, the Aegean Sea and Asia Minor. Archaic Greece Extent of Greek colonization: 750-480 BCE Rise of the polis (“city-state”): town and farmland. Panhellenism Olympia , stadion , starting line, 5 th c. BCE (traditional date: 776 BCE).

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Topographic map of Greece, the Aegean Sea and Asia Minor

Archaic GreeceExtent of Greek colonization: 750-480 BCERise of the polis (“city-state”): town and farmland
Sparta: oligarchic polis led by 2 kings, 28 elders (gerousia), 5 elected ephors, seizes Messenia & leads the Peloponnesian League

Corinthian Gulf












Saronic Gulf



Aegean Sea



Commerce: Corinth & Temple of Apollo (6th c. BCE): commercial enterprise and the leadership of a tyrannos (“tyrant” – usurper)
political systems demokratia in athens
Political systemsδημοκρατία (demokratia) in Athens

Western side of the Athenian agora, looking north

Bema (speaker’s platform) at the Pnyx, meeting place of the ekklesia (citizens’ assembly)

Model of the statue group of the 10 eponymous heroeslocated on the western side of the Athenian agora

heroic past plain of marathon athens plataea vs persians 490 bce
Heroic past: Plain of MarathonAthens & Plataea vs. Persians, 490 BCE

Marathon Bay

Persian cavalry

Persian fleet

Persian camp

Greek camp at sanctuary of Herakles


heroic past leonidas of sparta 7000 hoplites mol n labe plutarch moralia 225c11 come and take them
Heroic past: Leonidas of Sparta, 7000 hoplites:μολὼν λαβέ(molōnlabe: Plutarch Moralia 225c11)“Come and take [them]!”

Heroic Past: Battle of Salamis, 480 BCE

Greeks vs. Persians & the “wooden walls”

Mt. Aigaleos (Xerxes)




heroic past unified greece vs persians
Heroic Past: Unified Greece vs. Persians

“Again, there is the Greek nation – the community of blood and language, temples and ritual, and our common customs; if Athens were to betray all this, it would not be well done …. So long as a single Athenian remains alive we will make no peace with Xerxes” (Herodotus Histories 8.144)

  • τὸ Ἑλληνικὸν ἐὸν ὅμαιμόν τε καὶ ὁμόγλωσσον καὶ θεῶν ἱδρύματά τε κοινὰ καὶ θυσίαι ἤθεά τε ὁμότροπα ...
  • to Hellênikon eon: “the Greek nation” (lit. “being Greek”)
sources for classical greece
Sources for classical Greece
  • Histories
    • Herodotus Histories on the Persian wars (499-479)
    • Thucydides History of the Peloponnesian War (432-411)
    • Xenophon Hellenica (411-362)
    • Aristotle Athenian Constitution (700-400)
    • DiodorusSiculusLibrary of History (479-300)
  • Tragedies & comedies
    • Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes (472-386)
      • 7/90 + 7/123 + 18/92 + 11/40 = 43/345 = 1/8 extant
  • Ephemera: inscriptions, coins, curse-tablets
social issues
Social issues
  • Marginalized populations
    • Women
    • Slaves
    • Foreigners: barbaroi and metoikoi
  • Privileged populations
    • Citizens: name, patronymic, demotic (e.g., Themistokles son of Neokles of Phrearrhioi)
    • Priestly castes
    • Education for the sons of the aristocrats
pentekontaetia 50 years 479 8 432 1 bce

Pentekontaetia(50 years)479/8-432/1 BCE

The wars between the wars, summarized by

Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War1.87-118


What are the key issues emphasized by Thucydides in 1.89-103 of the Pentekontaetiain his History of the Peloponnesian War?

thuc 1 89 93
Thuc. 1.89-93
  • Conclusion of the Persian War, led by Athens
  • Rebuilding of Athens’ walls after the Persian destruction but respect for the “Oath of Plataea” (HCW p. 15)
  • Themistokles’ political acumen in deceiving Sparta
    • “That they now thought it fit that their city should have a wall, and that this would be more for the advantage of both the citizens of Athens and the Hellenic confederacy; [7] for without equal military strength it was impossible to contribute equal or fair counsel to the common interest. It followed, he observed, either that all the members of the confederacy should be without walls, or that the present step should be considered a right one” (1.92 re: 479/8 BCE).
  • Themistokles’ plan for Athens
    • Rebuild and fortify Piraeus (the port of Athens): “For he first ventured to tell them to stick to the sea and forthwith began to lay the foundations of the empire” (1.93)
  • Themistokles, accused of medism, fled to Persia ca. 470-465
thuc 1 94 97
Thuc. 1.94-97
  • Sparta recalls King Pausanias, withdraws from the united sphere and yields to Athenian leadership (1.94-95, 479-477).
  • Athens creates the “DelianLeague,” centered on Delos, under the leadership of Aristides: the Athenians “fixed which cities were to contribute money against the barbarian, which ships; their professed object being to retaliate for their sufferings by ravaging the king's country. Now was the time that the office of ‘Treasurers for Hellas’ was first instituted by the Athenians. These officers received the tribute, as the money contributed was called. The tribute was first fixed at four hundred and sixty talents. The common treasury was at Delos, and the congresses were held in the temple” (1.96, 478/7; see HCW pp. 17-18).
  • Of the next 50 years, Thucydides relates that “the history of these events contains an explanation of the growth of the Athenian empire” (1.97).
thuc 1 98 103
Thuc. 1.98-103
  • Cimon, son of Miltiades hero of Marathon, wages war with the Persians in southern Asia Minor (Eurymedon River) and defeats the Persian fleet (468-466)
  • Cimon besieges, enslaves the inhabitants of, and takes
    • Eion on the Strymon River (in Thrace), for silver and timber
    • Carystus (on the nearby island of Euboea) (476-474), for the grain route
    • Naxos, which revolted from the Delian League (470-69)
      • The “Athenians were very severe and exacting, and made themselves offensive by applying the screw of necessity to men who were not used to and in fact not disposed for any continuous labor” (1.99) and thus sustained the League’s unity
    • Thasos, which revolted from the Delian League (465/4) over silver
      • Thasos appeals to Sparta, distracted by an earthquake which prompted its land-slaves, the helots, to revolt; it finally yielded, handed over its fleet and mainland territory, and paid tribute (463/2)
  • Cimon offers help to Sparta regarding the helot revolt, is rebuffed by Sparta which fears Athenian democracy, and the Athenians are insulted (459/8); Pericles’ career begins


Strymon River





Mt. Ithome