The Classical Greek Age 500-350 BCE
The Ancient Greeks • Dark Age: 1200-800 BCE • Archaic Age: 800-500 • Classical Age: 500-350 • Persian War 490-479 (499-449) BCE • Peloponnesian War: 431-404 BCE • Hellenistic Age: 350-200
Timeline for the Classical Age • 490-479: Victories against the Persians. • 479-404: Athens’ Delian League eclipses the power of Sparta’s Peloponnesian League before collapsing. • 440s: Herodotus write his Histories about the Persian War. • 450-430: Pericles extends voting right to thetes, rebuilds Athens on grand scale. • 420s to 390s: Arisophanes writes his plays. • 435-399: Socrates becomes well known Athenian. • 387: Plato establishes his Academy.
What prompted Aristophanes to write Acharnians? How did he go about winning the audience over to his point of view? What were the conditions in Athens when he wrote & produced the play?
Discuss Aristophanes • What sorts of problems did the Acharnians expose in Athenian democracy? • Was he an enemy of democracy? • How was democracy to blame for the war? • What kind of person was the main character? • Who were the Acharnians, and what was their relationship with Dikaipolis?
"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."
How does the play start? • With the main character having breakfast in the agora with his friends • With the main character praying at the temple of Athena in the Acropolis • With the main character sitting alone at the pnyx • With the main character waking his household
How does Dikaipolis explain the outbreak of the war? • He blames Spartan aggression • He mentions the abduction of prostitutes • He refers to a prophecy by the Delphic Oracle • He suggests that Socrates persuaded the Athenians to undertake reckless policies
What does the opening scene at the assembly suggest about the nature of Athenian democracy? • Athenians were corrupt and lazy • Pericles was an amazing orator • Peace with Sparta was popular • Panhellenism was on the rise by 430 BCE
What was the likely impact of Greek victories over the Persians on Panhellenism? • Panhellenism grew as the Greeks learned how to cooperate against Persia • Panhellenism receded as the fear of the Persians lessened • I am not sure • How would I have any idea? • Please just tell me so that I know how to answer it on quizzes or the exam.
The Periclean Building Programs • Named after Pericles (c. 495-429 BCE), the Athenian general/statesman who championed the building program • Parthenon started in 447 BCE with money from the Delian league • Numerous temples built in the Parthenon complex as well as around Athens
The Parthenon, Acropolis, Athens, 448-432 BCE Concrete replica of the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee's Centennial Park
Discuss Athenian cultural development in the 400s. • How did tragedies advance the understanding of psychology? • How did the theater encourage the separation of Athenian and Spartan cultures? • How did the theater encourage other disciplines?
Spartan womentended to have more freedom that middle and upper class Athenian women. Why?
Military Might of Athens and Sparta at the Beginning of the War c. 330
What evidence in Aristophanes’ Acharnians reflected Panhellenic sympathies? • The main character detested the war with Sparta • The main character voice his hatred of Spartans, but also expressed his disgust with fellow Athenians • The main character signed a private peace with Sparta • Something else
Overview • The Delian League • Public life and democracy in Athens • Greek Theater • Women & Greek society
Background • Because Athens has left us the most abundant records of life in classical antiquity, it is tempting to assume that the Athenian experience was typical; however, in analyzing life in classical Greece, we must keep in mind that Athens was probably 30-50 times larger than the typical Greek city-state; consequently its cultural life was much richer and more varied than the experience of most ancient Greek city-states • With that caveat in mind, many city-states adopted Athenian customs and traditions so that they resembled the Athenian model in various ways
The Delian League • After the removal of the Persians from Greece, the Athenians established an alliance of Ionian city-states (the Delian League) for the purpose of protecting the Greek settlements along the coast of Asia Minor from Persian retribution • commercial purposes • tax levies • imperial purposes • By 460, the League had successfully eliminated the Persians from the Mediterranean. • As revenues from the League continued to pour in, Athens embarked on a major reconstruction program
Public Life in Athens • The agora was the public marketplace where citizens met to purchase goods, read public announcements, and discuss politics • Located on the other side of the acropolis, the Theater of Dionysus was the scene of poetry and theatrical contests
Athenian Democracy Defined • Direct and widespread participation of male citizens in legislation - slaves, metics, and women excluded • Random selection and rotation of membership in • the council of 500 • jurors • magistrates • Elaborate precautions against malfeasance & corruption • Equal protection under the law, regardless of wealth • Ten generals with far reaching authority