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Around the Aegean Foundations Classical Era. What were the geographic influences in the development of the Greek city states and later empire? Lacking.

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Presentation on theme: "Around the Aegean Foundations Classical Era. What were the geographic influences in the development of the Greek city states and later empire? Lacking."— Presentation transcript:

1 Around the Aegean Foundations Classical Era

2 What were the geographic influences in the development of the Greek city states and later empire? Lacking fertile river valleys, Greece depended entirely on rainfall for agriculture, and small farm yields restricted the size of its population. Moreover, the rocky terrain, divided by numerous small mountain ranges, and the lack of navigable rivers made overland travel, trading, and communication very difficult. These constraints shaped Greek political structures, commerce, and society. Small city-states developed instead of larger political units, and commerce was linked to the sea. The dearth of natural resources, such as timber and metals, and the need to obtain them, as well as to procure additional agricultural supplies, spurred the growth of maritime commerce. Contact with other peoples brought in new ideas and technologies.

3 In what way are the geographical influences different for the development of Greek civilization than river valley civilizations and those in the Americas? Earlier civilizations emerged in fertile river valleys and in relative isolation from outside influence. –They flourished because of agricultural surpluses, which sustained a class of non-food producers. –Political, economic, and legal systems sprouted in new urban areas, along with monument building, recordkeeping, and advances in the arts and sciences. The Aegean civilizations, first on Crete and later on the Greek mainland, were the results of the fertilizing influence of previously established civilizations. The Aegean civilizations had few natural resources and a precarious agricultural base, requiring significant food imports. Rather than being based in fertile river valleys, those civilizations were centered on fortified hilltop complexes. They developed unique institutions and cultures by using seaborne trade and commerce and thus creating commercial and political relations with other peoples in the region.

4 How was Persian religious experience different than other early civilizations? Persian religion drew on its Iranian past for its moral and metaphysical conceptions. Persians believed that water was not to be sullied and worshiped fire at special altars. They continued to worship some major deities from their pagan past, such as Mithra, the defender of oaths and compacts. Zoroastrianism was also significant. Zoroastrianism fostered the belief in one supreme deity, encouraged moral and ethical virtues, and promised salvation. Because of its conception of the world as a struggle between good and evil, Zoroastrianism was used by Persian leaders to portray the king as having a mandate to bring order to a tumultuous world. Persian subjects were considered a part of that larger cosmic struggle—as individuals to be rewarded or punished in the afterlife for their actions. Zoroastrianism was also significant because of its impact on Judaism and Christianity.

5 Democracy in Greece? Accidental or Inevitable? The development of Greek democracy is in many ways ironic. There were changing political and military trends that ultimately led to the extension of political participation to a broader base of individuals. –In the mid-seventh and sixth centuries B.C.E. tyrants seized power in many of the city-states. Tyrants were generally disgruntled aristocracy or military leaders.p Four “reformers” were Draco, Cleisthenese, Pisistratus, Solon –These tyrants required the backing of the middle class, who were also members of the new nonaristocratic army, the hoplites. –These middle-class backers recognized the power of their support and demanded increased political rights. –The elimination of the aristocratic military and political monopoly and, within a generation or two, the demise of the tyrant government laid the foundation for these changes. –At Athens the importance of the rowers in the navy in the fifth century further catalyzed the extension of political privileges to the lower classes. Citizenship was eventually extended to all free, adult males. Greek democracy was not truly “democratic” by modern American standards, because a sizable portion of the population (women, slaves, and immigrants) were not citizens; however it was a daring and influential experiment with nonmonarchal government.

6 What is the relationship between the trade and wealth of the Athenians and their acknowledged legacy to knowledge? Athenian wealth supported the arts and sciences, and traveling teachers, called Sophists, provided instruction in public speaking and logic. Athenians trained by Sophists had an advantage in politics and the courts, and the term sophist came to mean one whose cleverness distorted and manipulated reality. Socrates was ostensibly brought to trial for corrupting Athenian youth and introducing unorthodox religious beliefs, but the trial was more a measure of Athenian reaction against certain sorts of intellectualism. –Socrates left no written record of his teachings and according to Plato, Socrates said, “Soc. Enough appears to have been said by us of a true and false art of speaking. But there is something yet to be said of propriety and impropriety of writing.” His trial revealed intellectual, social, and political divisions in Athens and changed the course of intellectual life. In the wake of Socrates’ martyrdom, intellectuals such as Plato dedicated themselves to philosophical thought, rather than public careers. Plato’s Academy became an institution for higher education. The “Socratic method” of question and answer became a new way of reaching a deeper understanding of intellectual issues. In this era, writing, rather than oral transmission, became the chief vehicle for the preservation and transmission of knowledge.

7 What connection do you see between the ancient battle of Greece and Persia and present day conflicts? There are similarities between the ancient clash of east and west which include a common Indo- European language family and present day Middle East and the western world. This is a source of other fundamental cultural characteristics and social organization as well. The Persian Wars began when Persia responded to a revolt of Greeks in Persian-controlled territories. Philosophical differences even lead to the decisions made by both sides at the Battles of Thermopylae, Salamis, Marathon, and the final Battle of Plataea and therefore the outcome of the wars.

8 How was the culture of Greece dispersed and allowed to become their greatest legacy? The Hellenistic Age was a period that followed the conquests of Alexander, lasting from about 323 to 30 B.C.E. During the Hellenistic Age, Greek culture acted as the dominant influence on the large kingdoms and diverse populations of northeastern Africa and western Asia. The Hellenistic Age boasted new forms of science, art, and scholarship. The city of Alexandria in Egypt epitomized the Hellenistic Age through its art and architecture, its great library, and its cosmopolitan culture. Long after Greeks ceased to exert any direct political control on those areas, their culture remained a powerful influence.

9 How do the political strengths of the Persian Empire contribute to its expansive nature over time and space? Darius created an enduring organizational structure that sustained the Persian Empire for the remaining two centuries of its existence. The empire was divided into twenty provinces, each ruled by a Persian satrap or governor. –The satrap was often related or connected by marriage to the royal court. –Not surprisingly, the satrap was primarily responsible for collecting and forwarding the tribute to the king. –Satraps in distant provinces had considerable autonomy. The Persians also maintained their control over the empire by building and patrolling the royal roads that connected the provinces to the empire. Darius was also famous for his law code, “law of the King.” –Darius typifies Persian governmental success by combining central organization with local traditions and ordinances. The Persians forestalled resistance and gained support by cultivating local priests and nobles and by respecting local traditions. For instance, having taken Babylon without a struggle, the Persian ruler, Cyrus, showed respect to its priests and had his son crowned king in accordance with Babylonian traditions. The Persians succeeded because they were willing to adapt to local circumstances, to learn from those with experience, and to utilize the skills of non-Persians.


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