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Chapter 7 The Greek Adventure Three epochs of ancient Greek history Mycenaean Age Hellenic period Hellenistic Age.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 7 The Greek Adventure Three epochs of ancient Greek history Mycenaean Age Hellenic period Hellenistic Age."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 7 The Greek Adventure Three epochs of ancient Greek history Mycenaean Age Hellenic period Hellenistic Age

2 Geography and Political Development

3 Little suitable land, no large flat areas for large- scale farming No place is farther than 80 miles from the sea Has always been easier to travel and trade by sea than by land Geography also encouraged political fragmentation –Own sense of community and identity –Only secondarily shared common culture and language

4 Mycenaean Civilization Mycenaeans were nomadic Indo-Europeans, settled into towns Our knowledge comes from archaeological excavations and epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey Trojan War – probably caused by Mycenaean trade rivalry with Troy Minoan culture was wide-ranging empire –Both partner and rival of Mycenaeans –Mycenaeans destroyed settlements –Minoan civilization disappeared Mycenaeans engaged in extensive internal warfare –Fell to the Dorians –Dark Ages then began as culture declined

5 Early Hellenic Civilization The Polis (pl poleis) –Community of adult free persons making up a town –Could be any size – Athens had nearly 300,000 population –Each polis saw itself as political and cultural unit, but also as part of distinct “Greek” culture –Polis was the frame of reference for all public life

6 Early Hellenic Civilization Not everybody was a citizen –Women were excluded –Many resident aliens –Many slaves –Included only free males over age 20 Each polis had roughly same economic and demographic design –Town of varying size, surrounded by farms, pasture, woods –Artisans, traders, import-export merchants, intellectuals, artists etc. –Most Greeks were peasants, workers

7 Athens and Sparta Two poleis dominated Greek life and politics These came into conflict Four types of government known to the Greeks –Monarchy –Aristocracy –Oligarchy –Democracy

8 Early Athens Original monarchy forced aside by aristocrats Aristocrats gave way to oligarchs –Most important oligarch was Solon –Oligarchs gave him supreme power to deal with discontent –He established a constitution Pisistratus made himself sole ruler, gave concessions to common people Cleisthenes –True founder of Athenian democracy –Believed the people should have the last word in their government

9 Athenian Democracy Ekklesia – town meeting –All free male Athenians, med on ad hoc basis –All could speak freely –All could be elected Boule –Council of 500 citizens, served 1-year terms –Day-to-day legislature, executive –Supervised civil and military affairs –All male citizens would serve at least one term Deme –Territorial unit –Could select certain number of boule members

10 Athenian Democracy Ostracism –“Pushing out” of citizen who did not conform to will of others –Person had to go into exile, lost all rights of citizenship Democracy –Was actually a very abnormal system of government –Quite daring when introduced –Not used again until 18 th century –Probably some poleis adopted similar governments –There was resistance even within such poleis

11 Spartan Militarism Sparta differed from Athens in almost every way Messenian Wars – Sparta fought with nearest neighbors, won Defeated people became near-slaves – helotry Sparta became nation of soldiers and their helpers Economic needs largely met by captive helots –Worked the fields, did all crafts, commerce –Spartans devoted all their energies to military arts

12 Spartan Militarism Spartans held arts in contempt, rejected individualism –Public life meant total obedience –Government headed by ephors – elected officers Most Greeks admired Spartan way of life –Self-discipline, courage, rigid obedience, physical vigor –Single-minded patriotism Sparta was conservative, non-aggressive state –Army was so large, feared, that rarely had to be used –Actually became peaceable polis

13 Persian Wars Through 5 th century, Athens and Sparta were both concerned with keeping independent of foreign threat – Persia First Persian War –Athenian victory –Athens went to aid of rebellious Persian colonies –Persian emperor Darius sent army to Greece –They were defeated at Marathon in 490 BCE

14 Persian Wars Second Persian War –Even more decisive Greek victory –Other poleis helped Athens –Spartan troops defeated Persians at Thermopylae in 480 –Athenian navy defeated Persians at Salamis By end of these wars, Greece had decisively turned back Persia Crucial turning point for western civilization

15 Peloponnesian War BCE No harmony among Greeks after Persian Wars Athenians under Pericles in conflict with Corinth, a Spartan ally When Sparta defended them, Pericles responded with war Athens thought they could defend against Sparta indefinitely War was an intermittently fought deadlock In 404 Spartans defeated Athenian navy with Persian help War was actually a loss for all concerned

16 Final Act in Classical Greece Greeks continued to fight intermittently for two generations Macedonians took over from north –Philip of Macedonia turned it into effective, aggressive state –Took over most of mainland City states became provinces of Macedonian Empire From now on, Greece would almost always be under foreign rule

17 Discussion Questions 1. The polis was the organizational unit of Greek civilization. What do you see in common between the polis and the modern city? What does the modern city have that the polis did not? Are there advantages to living in the polis; what are they? 2. The rule of the people was one of Athens’ most enduring developments, yet it differed from modern ideas of democracy. What comparisons can you make between Greek and modern democracy? Are there advantages of the Athenian model over the modern one?


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