Classical Greece 500 B.C.E. to 300 B.C.E.
Mycenaean Civilization • Indo-Europeans migrated from Eurasian steppes to Europe, India, and SW Asia. • Some of these people settled on the Greek mainland around 2,000 B.C.E. • They became known as the Mycenaeans.
Mycenaean Civilization • Guarded by protective wall 20 feet thick. • Warrior-king ruled the surrounding villages and farmers. • Strong rulers controlled the areas around other Mycenaean cities. • These kings dominated Greece from 1600 to 1000 B.C.E.
Contact with Minoans • 1500 B.C.E. • Mycenaeans came into contact with Minoan civilization through trade or war. • Mycenaean traders soon sailed throughout the eastern Mediterranean.
Contact with Minoans • Minoans influenced Mycenaeans: • Mycenaeans adapted Minoan writing system to Greek language. • Decorated vases with Minoan designs. • Greek religious practice • Art • Politics • Literature
Trojan War: Fact or Fiction? Heinrich Schliemann
Greek City-States • Polis (city-state): a city and its surrounding countryside, including villages. • 50-500 square miles of territory • 10,000 residents or less • Acropolis – place on a fortified hilltop where citizens gathered to discuss city government. The acropolis at Athens
Greek Political Structures • Monarchy government: ruled by a king; rule is hereditary; some rulers claimed divine right. (Mycenae, 2000 B.C.E.) • Aristocracy: state ruled by nobility, rule is hereditary based on family ties, social rank, and wealth (Athens prior to 594 B.C.E.) • Oligarchy: state ruled by a small group of citizens; rule is based on wealth or ability; ruling controls military (Sparta, 500 B.C.E.) • Direct Democracy: state ruled by its citizens; rule based on citizenship; majority rule decides vote (Athens after 500 B.C.E.)
Athens Builds a Democracy • In 621 B.C.E. Draco, developed a legal code: “all Athenians were equal.” • In 594 B.C.E. Solon outlawed debt slavery • Solon organized all Athenians into four social classes based on wealth. • Top three classes could hold public office, but anyone could participate in assembly.
Age of Pericles (461-429 B.C.E. • Direct Democracy – citizens rule directly and not through representatives • Male citizens who served in the assembly establish all the important government policies that affected the polis.
Athenian Education • Sons of wealthy families received formal education—poetry, history, math, logic, public speaking, athletics, military school • Girls were educated at home by their mothers, i.e. child-rearing, weaving cloth, preparing meals. • A few women were able to learn to read and write.
Sparta’s Government • Assembly composed of Spartan citizens who elected officials and voted on issues. • Council of Elders – 30 older citizens proposed laws • Five elected officials carried out laws. • Two kings ruled over military forces.
Sparta’s Social Structure • Citizens descended from original inhabitants – ruling families who owned the land. • Non-citizens who were free worked in commerce and industry. • Helots – worked in the fields or as house servants
Sparta’s Society • Sparta had the most powerful army in Greece. • Individual expression was discouraged. • Did not value the arts, literature, intellectual pursuits. • Did value duty, strength, and discipline.
Gender Roles in Sparta • Boys served in the military until age of 60. • Boys’ lives centered on military training. • Spartan girls received some military training; they also wrestled and played sports. • Spartan women had considerable freedom.
Persian Wars • Danger of helot revolt led Sparta to become military state. • Struggles between rich and poor led Athens to become a democracy. • Invasion by Persian armies moved Sparta and Athens to their greatness.
Impact of Technology on Warfare • Before 750 B.C.E., only the rich could afford bronze spears, shields, breastplates and chariots. • Iron later replaced bronze in manufacture of weapons. • Because iron was common and cheap, ordinary citizens could afford to arm and defend themselves. • The phalanx emerged.
Battle at Marathon • In 546 B.C.E. Darius conquered Greeks in Ionia. • Athens helped Ionians and Darius vowed revenge. • In 490 B.C.E. Persian fleet of 25,000 men landed in Marathon. • 10,000 Athenians easily defeated the unprepared Persians. • Pheidippides raced 26 miles from Marathon to Athens to protect city.
The Persian Wars (490 to 479 B.C.E.) • Persia and the Greek city-states battled for over 10 years. • Persians were unsuccessful in their efforts to conquer Greek city-states. • Greek city-states formed alliance called Delian League. • League members eventually were successful in driving the Persians from the territories surrounding Greece.
Consequences of Persian Wars • Athens emerged as a leader of the Delian League which had 200 city-states. • Athens used power to control other league members. • In time, city-states became provinces of Athenian empire. • Prestige and wealth of Athens set the stage for a golden age.
The Parthenon • 23,000 square feet • In traditional style of Greek temples • Built to honor Athena, goddess of wisdom and protector of Athens • Figures were graceful, strong, and perfect. • Set standards for classical art.
The Hellenistic Age • Age of Alexander and his successors • Greek culture expanded influence beyond Greece. • They facilitated trade and made is possible for culture to spread over large distances.
Alexander the Great’s Empire • Phillipp II conquered Greece in 338 B.C.E. • His son Alexander took over at age 20. • Alexander conquered the Persian Empire, including Egypt in 332 B.C.E. Alexandria was established in his name. • By 326 B.C.E. Alexander and his army reached the Indus Valley. After 11 years of fighting his men wanted to go home.
Alexander’s Legacy • After Alexander’s death, his generals fought among themselves for control of the empire. • The empire was divided: • Antigonus – king of Macedonia and Greek city-states • Ptolemy – pharaoh of Egypt • Selecus – Persian empire • These rulers and their descendants ignored democratic traditions.
Alexandria • Wealthiest of Hellenistic Empires was Ptolemaic Egypt. • Huge harbor of 1,200 ships • Culturally diverse • Famous Alexandrian Museum – philosophy, literature, science • Famous Alexandrian Library of more than 700,000 works
Alexander’s Legacy • Alexander adopted Persian dress and customs and married a Persian woman. • Persians and people from other lands made up his army. • In time, Greek settlers throughout the empire adopted new ways. • A blend of Greek and Eastern customs emerged.
Agriculture in Ancient Greece • Mountainous, rocky terrain • Depended upon maritime trade. • Cultivated olives, grapes, olive oil, and wine • Grain came from Egypt, Sicily, and southern Russia • Cities relied more on commerce than agriculture.
Greek Society • Patriarchal – women spent time in the family home; could not own property but sometimes operated small businesses • Literacy was common among upper class Greek women; poet Sappho was active. • Slaves came from those who couldn’t pay debts, conquests and Africa (Egypt)
Socrates (470-399 BCE) • Posed questions that reflected on human issues, i.e. ethics and morality. • Honor was more important than wealth or fame. • “The unexamined life is not worth living.” • Condemned to death for “immorality and corruption of Athenian youth” who joined him to discuss moral and ethical issues.
Plato • Socrates’ student or follower • Presented thought in dialogue between Socrates and a student • The Republic: • Disturbed that intellectual control over the world was not possible because world is constantly in a state of flux. • Advocated intellectual aristocracy; philosophical elite rules while less intelligent classes work.
Aristotle • Believed philosophers could rely on their senses to provide accurate information about the world, and • Use reason to sort out its mysteries. • Wrote on biology, physics, astronomy, psychology, politics, ethics, and literature. • Christian and Islamic theologians tried to harmonize religious convictions with the philosophical views of Plato and Aristotle.
Popular Religion • Most Greeks of classical era did not have advanced education. • Polytheistic • Constructed myths related to stories of the gods. • Myths sough to explain the world and its forces. • Women were the most prominent devotees of Dionysus, god of wine. • Euripides’ play The Bacchae.
Philosophy: The Stoics • Taught individuals they had the duty to aid others and lead virtuous lives. • Focused on reason and nature. • Sought ways to bring individuals to a state of inner peace and tranquility.