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GREECE. Unit 4. Ancient Greece. Picture on pg. 129. Homer. His works date back to 700 BCE He created some of the earliest Greek writings His poems tell of people who lived 500 years before his time The stories were past down from generation to generation before Homer recorded them.

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Unit 4

Ancient greece
Ancient Greece

Picture on pg. 129


  • His works date back to 700 BCE

  • He created some of the earliest Greek writings

  • His poems tell of people who lived 500 years before his time

  • The stories were past down from generation to generation before Homer recorded them

The iliad
The Iliad

  • One of Homer’s great epics, inspired by the Greek people telling them of great deeds in their history, and by praising historic values – courage, glory, and valour

  • Homer writes about the legendary Trojan War in which, Achilles, one of the Greek heroes, fought a great duel with Hector, the son of the king of Troy

  • Not only do these poems represent some of the great literature of the period, but they also give us a fascinating glimpse into ancient Greek society

Land sea
Land & Sea

  • Greece has nearly 3200km of coastline, which meant for many harbours

  • Greeks sailed from Island to Island across the Aegean Sea and around the whole rim of the Mediterranean Sea sharing products and ideas

  • Mainland Greece actually had no major rivers, and only a few of the minor rivers flowed all year round

  • The rugged mainland was marked by mountains, which acted as a natural partitions for each of the City-States

  • Due to all of these mountains the Greek’s could not cultivate even 1/5 of its territory, and prized the small amount of fertile land highly

Land sea1
Land & Sea

  • In ancient times cedar, cypress, and pine covered the mountains of Greece, but the people cut most of the trees down to get timber for shipbuilding and charcoal for fuel

  • This deforestation led to erosion, which swept away precious soil, making it even more difficult to produce enough wheat for a growing population

  • Except for iron and silver (Spartan Laconia & Laurium) Greece also had few mineral deposits

  • With limited farmland and few natural resources, many Greek city-states relied on foreign trade


Answer questions 1-3 on page 130

The minoans
The Minoans

  • Were the earliest civilization associated with Ancient Greece

  • It was located on the Island of Crete

  • It was named after a legendary ruler, King Minos

  • King Minos dominated a large part of the Augean Sea with his powerful Navy

The minoans1
The Minoans

  • Tales of King Minos and his Navy had been Greek legends for centuries before Greek historian Thucydides recorded them in 5th century BCE

  • In 1900, Archaeologist Arthur Evans found actual evidence of this Ancient Kingdom. His discovery of the palace of King Minos at Knossos was one of the most important archaeological finds of the century

  • The palace he uncovered was like a huge maze, with over 800 interconnecting rooms grouped around the large central courtyard

  • Rooms seemed to have had various purposes, suggesting that the palace served as a gov’t center, royal residence, temple, and storehouse

The minoans2
The Minoans

  • The west side housed the official quarters or state rooms, including a throne room and large storerooms

  • The huge jars found in these storerooms, originally for olive oil, wine, and grain may represent taxes paid by the people to the King

  • The east side, which extends beyond a large courtyard, housed the domestic or living quarters

  • The palace also had several architectural innovations

  • Light-wells or shafts to create a brighter more open atmosphere

  • They piped water into the palace

  • Had flush toilets and baths

  • Constructed an advanced drainage system

    (Indoor plumbing did not become common again for 3,600 years)

The palace ruins
The Palace Ruins

The Ruins Today

Digital Reconstruction

The minoans3
The Minoans

  • On the interior walls of the main rooms there were wall paintings depicting nature and Minoan life

  • One room had an entire mural of dolphins

  • Other paintings show crowds watching lively dances or sports such as bull-leaping

  • In some images young men and women are shown grabbing the horns or a charging bull and vaulting over its back

  • The bull seems to have been sacred to the Minoans

  • Other evidence suggests these people worshipped a Mother goddess of fertility who often appear with snakes

  • As no battle scenes appear on the walls and few weapons were found in the excavations, historians believe the Minoans were more peaceful, more preoccupied with nature and life than with war

The minoans4
The Minoans

  • Archaeologists also discovered 2 clay tablets at Knossos with different scripts, they were named Linear A and Linear B

  • The script called Linear B was finally decoded in 1952, and probably replaced the earlier script, Linear A, which remains a mystery

  • Texts written in Linear B have also been found at many mainland locations in Greece

  • Their discovery suggests that Greeks from the mainland – possibly from the Mycenaean civilization that emerged in 1,600 BCE dominated Knossos in its final years

The minoans5
The Minoans

  • Knossos was not only the Minoan center on the Island of Crete, but it was the most important

  • Sometime around 1,450 BCE, most of the palace-centers were destroyed, although historians are not certain why

  • One theory (1939) suggested that a massive eruption of a volcano on the island of Thera destroyed the palaces

  • This theory also linked the sudden destruction of the Minoan civilization with the legend of the lost continent of Atlantis

  • Recently, however, historians have found flaws in this theory and now believe that invaders from the Greek mainland probably destroyed the palace-centers on the Island

The mycenaeans
The Mycenaeans

  • While the Minoan palace-centres were flourishing on Crete, people on the Greek mainland were living in small, simple farming communities.

  • Waves of invaders from the North hindered their development

  • Indo-European peoples penetrated the Greek mainland as early as 2500BCE

  • Within 500 years, they had penetrated southern Greece, building fortress settlements on the fertile plains

  • Some of the early invaders spoke Achaean, which became the basis of modern Greek

The mycenaeans1
The Mycenaeans

  • The invaders seized Mycenae, the main centre on the Greek mainland at the time

  • They built a wealthy and powerful civilization, known as the Mycenaean, that flourished for about 500 years

  • Mycenaean culture dominated the Mediterranean between 1600 and 1100 BCE

The legend of minotaur
The Legend of Minotaur

  • A favorite legend of the Athenian Greeks told of Theseus and the Minotaur

  • The story linked King Minos of Crete with Theseus, one of the earliest and greatest kings of Athens

    Read story aloud…

The mycenaeans2
The Mycenaeans

  • Mycenaean kings ruled over their territories from fortified palaces and gained much of their wealth from trade and piracy

  • In the most famous of their expeditions they attacked the city of Troy on the northwest corner of Asia Minor

  • Mycenaeans passed down treasured songs and stories about a great Trojan War and other adventures from generation to generation

  • Each Mycenaean city had its own King, but the King of Mycenae itself, Agamemnon, was the most important

The mycenaeans3
The Mycenaeans

  • Around 1876 a German Archaelogist conducted excavations and discovered the following:

  • Agamemnon’s royal residence was built around a central hall accessed from a court yard

  • There were domestic quarters, workshops, and storage rooms inside the residence

  • The interior walls were decorated with frescoes, many of which depicted scenes of war or hunting

  • There were vertical burial shafts

  • The grave shafts looked that they had been used more then once

  • Inside the graves he found gold, silver, ivory, and pottery

The mycenaeans4
The Mycenaeans

  • There were artifacts found which showed a strong influence of the earlier Minoan civilization

  • The Mycenaeans adopted the Minoans art of wall painting, their vase designs, style of dress, and form of writing

  • The eventually abandoned the shaft graves, and started to use thalos tombs, which were massive chambers cut into hillsides with walls constructed of fine stone blocks carefully laid in rows, each row narrower then the other one below it

  • Why did they make this change?

The mycenaeans5
The Mycenaeans

  • By the beginning of 12th century BCE, many of the Mycenaean fortresses were destroyed and settlements were abandoned

  • This may have been due to several factors:

  • Civil Wars among the Mycenaen cities

  • Outside invasion

  • Drought and Famine

  • Disease

  • All of the Mycenaencentres, except for Athens, fell

  • By 1100 BCE all of Mycenae was destroyed


  • Pg. 138

  • Questions 1-3

  • Do question #4 or explain the difference between the drawings found in the Minoan and Mycenae buildings.

The trojan war
The Trojan War

  • Two epic poems by Homer “Iliad” and “Odyssey” describe the Trojan War

  • Approximately 1194-1184 BCE

  • Greeks vsTroy

  • The story of the Trojan War and the Greek hero Achilles

  • Troy – The movie that was release in 2004 is based around Homer’s writings

  • The film has some definite Hollywood exaggeration

The iliad troy
The Iliad & Troy

  • The story of the Trojan War and the Greek hero Achilles

  • Troy – The movie that was release in 2004 is based around Homer’s writings

  • The film has some definite Hollywood exaggeration

The dark ages
The Dark Ages

  • Following the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization, Greece entered a bleak period that lasted for 300 years

  • This period has been named by historians the Dark Ages, because we know so little about these years

  • It was a time when new raiding parties arrived from the North, dispersing the Greek-speaking people all around the Aegean Sea

  • The achievements of the Mycenaean civilization in construction, art, monument building, and writing were lost or forgotten

  • In their trek south, the invaders wiped out farming communities, drastically reducing the food supply, famine struck, and the Greek population rapidly declined

The rise of the city state
The Rise of the City-State

  • Despite the hardships of the Dark Ages, Greeks gradually developed small, secure, and independent communities

  • These communities formed the basis of the Greek City-State or Polis (community of people)

  • Even at it’s largest, a polis rarely exceeded 20,000 people, and was more like a town then a city

  • There were 2 major exceptions, Athens and Sparta

  • Athens and its surrounding villages covered about 2,500km, and Sparta eventually controlled 2/5 of the Peloponnese

The rise of the city state1
The Rise of the City-State

  • By the middle of the 8th century BCE, the population of the Greek world was growing once again, and putting a strain on the available food supply

  • The Greeks needed to find additional land to grow more food, and needed to do something about the overcrowded streets

  • Colonization became essential and various cities launched a search for apoikai or “away homes” where their goal was to create self-sufficient colonies which would be only bound to the parent city by trade

The rise of the city state2
The Rise of the City-State

  • The first Greek colony was established in about 750 BCE on the Bay of Naples

  • During the next century Greek cities appeared on almost every coastal plain in Sicily, Southern Italy, parts of Northern Africa, Spain, and France

  • The greatest of the colonies was Syracuse in Sicily, the population of which grew to over 100,000 people by the 5th century

The rise of the city state3
The Rise of the City-State

  • Due to the upsurge in trade, metal currency became common use

  • A new middle class emerged, made up of the people who made their living through commerce and industry rather then from the land

  • The Greeks adopted an alphabet, which would be passed down to us by way of the Romans

  • Some city states began to specialize in certain products, for example Athens produced a great deal of pottery

  • During this period the 1stOlympics were held and Homer wrote his great literary works

  • Growth exploration, trade, the exchange of ideas, the glorification of past heroes and exploits in Homer’s poems all played a factor in the development of Greek society, and Ancient Greece was on the verge of its greatest period

The persian wars
The Persian Wars

  • At the beginning of the 5th century BCE the growing city-states faced a serious threat – Invasion by the powerful eastern empire of Persia, the largest of all of the near-eastern empires

The persian wars1
The Persian Wars

  • It was ruled by a powerful general, Cyrus the Great and was a powerful and unified empire

  • Greece was a small city-state unit weakened by fighting one-another and ill prepared to defend themselves

  • Would they fall easy prey to a powerful and unified empire?

    War @ The Plains of Marathon

The persian wars2
The Persian Wars

  • Realizing the Persians would probably return, the Athenians, under Themistocles, took defensive precautions

  • Most importantly they developed a strong navy, with a fleet of 200 ships

  • Sparta and Athens decided to share a leadership role

  • The concern of the Athenians was well founded, as Xerxes, the son and successor of Darius (former Persian King), was determined to continue the assault against the Greek mainland

  • He took an army of 180,000 people and 1,200 ships to fight Greece

The persian wars3
The Persian Wars

  • The Greeks chose a defense position at Thermopylae, a narrow pass through which the Persians had to pass

  • The Greeks had about 7,000 troops, led by Spartan King Leonidas, who had brought with him 300 of the finest Spartan soldiers

  • This is the story that lead to the Hollywood movie “300”


  • Answer questions #1, 2, & 4

    on page 144

Classical greece
Classical Greece

  • The end of the Persian Wars marked the liberation of the Ionian city-states and the dawn of the greatest age in ancient Greek history

  • The single century between 480-380 BCE saw a phenomenal rush of achievements, many of these stemmed from Athens

  • Metal work, glass making, and other crafts were created

  • It was a time for great thinkers, artists, poets…It was so impressive that some call this century “the age of the Greek miracle”

  • A “league” was formed in 478BCE uniting the city-states of Greece to protect themselves against further attacks from the Persians

Classical greece1
Classical Greece

  • Members had to contribute money or ships as a defense fund

  • Most city-states chose money, and athens used the money to build ships

  • According to the rules of the league, a member could not withdraw without consent from all, and when Naxos and Thasos tried to break away, they were crushed by Athens and forced to pay a heavy tribute

  • The other great city-state and rival to Athens was Sparta

  • It developed very differently from Athens, and was a highly militaristic state, unlike democratic Athens Sparta ruled by a small group of powerful aristocrats

Classical greece2
Classical Greece

  • Sparta had taken no part in the colonization movement between 800-550BCE, it had remained agricultural, leaving commercial ventures to other states

  • It fought battles to acquire more land and eventually dominated most of the Peloponnese

  • Tensions between the 2 rivals increased when Athens tried to expand it’s empire in central Greece, threatening Sparta’s power base

  • Athens blocked some cities from trading, and these cities were opposed…They decided to ask Sparta for help in these issues, and hence the outbreak of the great Peloponnesian War in 431 BCE

The peloponnesian war
The Peloponnesian War

  • This war lasted 27 years, and was costly and bitter!

  • Athens strength was it powerful navy and wealth, while Sparta on the other hand had a formidable land army of disciplined professional soldiers

  • The Athenian leader, Pericles, devised a strategy to defend Athens, as he used his forces to guard the long walls that surrounded the city and that stretched as far as the port of Piraeus

  • The strategy had a fatal flaw, too many people lived in confided quarters, and hygiene deteriorated which lead to a terrible plague and 1/3 of the population including the general dying…Athens had been dealt a severe blow

The peloponnesian war1
The Peloponnesian War

  • The war dragged on in a seesaw struggle with victories gained by each side, and in 421 BCE the 2 sided actually agreed to a short-lived truce

  • The Athenians attacked and captured the Island of Melos, which wanted to only stay out of the struggle, and for their trouble had all men of military age put to death, and women and children sold to slavery

  • The following year the Athenians set out to attack Syracuse on the Island of Sicily, this was met with mixed feelings from the Athenians back home, and when they struggled time and again to penetrate the walls of Syracuse the negativity worsened

  • Eventually the Athenian fleet was defeated in the Syracuse harbour, the army was surrounded and forced to surrender…The war lasted another 10 years, but Athens could not recover

The peloponnesian war2
The Peloponnesian War

  • The Spartans had formed an alliance with the Sicilian’s, and also aligned themselves with the Persians which made them even stronger on land and sea!

  • The combined Spartan and Persian fleet defeated the Athenians at Aegospotami in 405 BCE, and the power of Athens crumbled

  • The following year the Spartan fleet blockaded Athens, which prevented essential grains from getting into the city, near starvation brought an end to the fighting

  • Sparta’s allies wanted to destroy Athens and sell its citizens to slavery, but Sparta blocked the move

  • Instead Athens was forced to surrender its empire and all of its fleet

  • The Spartans also tore down the cities long walls, but left Athens intact, and free, partly in recognition of its service to the Greek states during the Persian Wars

The peloponnesian war3
The Peloponnesian War

  • After the war, during the 1st half of that century Sparta ruled Greece, then for a time it was Thebes, but the most serious threat to the city-states was on the Northern frontier in Macedonia

  • This is where we find the story of “Alexander The Great”


  • Answer questions #1, 2, & 3

    on page 148

Alexander t he great
Alexander The Great

  • The Macedonians lived in the North of the Greek peninsula, and spoke a dialect of Greek

  • They were mostly farmers and shepherds and had not achieved the same cultural glory as the Greeks to the South

  • However, in 4th century BCE several Kings united and transformed the state into a great military power

  • The most brilliant king was Philip 11

  • The discovery of rich gold deposits had provided wealth Philip needed to assemble one of the greatest fighting forces the world had ever seen

Alexander t he great1
Alexander The Great

  • At a battle near Thebes Philip 11 crushed the independent Greek city-states, and made them part of the Macedonian realm…This was Philip’s first conquest, and only the beginning of his plan to conquer the entire Persian empire

  • Philip military strength came from 1) his use of the phalanx formation as the main unit in his military, and the strong support of a well trained cavalry

  • The phalanx formation densely packed lines of foot soldiers armed with long lances (spears) created a formidable obstacle, even to armed cavalry

Alexander t he great2
Alexander The Great

  • Philip did not have the opportunity to fulfill his ambitions of conquering the Persian empire, as in 336 BCE, he was assassinated by a member of his own bodyguard during his daughter’s wedding celebration

  • His 20 year old son Alexander was proclaimed King…

  • And here we have the story of Alexander The Great

Alexander t he great3
Alexander The Great

  • After Alexander died in 323 BCE, there was no heir apparent

  • For 40 years, his generals fought over the spoils of the empire

  • Finally a pattern of large states emerged, each ruled by a king descended from one of Alexander’s men (The Ptolemaic kingdom of Egypt

  • On the Greek mainland turmoil once again marked the lives of the citizens

  • Peace was not restored until Rome conquered Greece in 27 BCE!


  • Answer questions # 1, 2, & 3

    on page 151

Review of ancient greek geography
Review of Ancient Greek Geography

Bodies of Water:

Aegean Sea

Ionian Sea

Black Sea

Mediterranean Sea


Asia Minor














Points of Interest:

The Hellespont

Mt. Olympus