Presentation on theme: "Chapters 2-5. Pgs. 76-95 Mediterranean classical civilizations were composed of two main cultures:1)Greek and 2)Roman. Together these civilizations."— Presentation transcript:
Mediterranean classical civilizations were composed of two main cultures:1)Greek and 2)Roman. Together these civilizations form what is known as Greco-Roman culture. The study of classical Mediterranean civilization is complicated because it first includes Greek and then Roman political, social, and economic institutions, which were sometimes shared but often unique. While it is more dynamic than the previously studied Chinese and Indian civilizations in some areas, it is far less successful in others.
Greeks and Romans had contacts with and were influenced by the Persian Empire.
Persia was one of the largest empires in world history, located in the Middle East. Because of their size and influence, they naturally had encounters with Mediterranean civilizations, particularly Greece. Under the leadership of Cyrus the Great, they developed a massive empire and a new religion (Zoroastrianism). They were eventually defeated by the Greek conqueror, Alexander the Great.
At the time of the Persian Empire, Greece consisted of the mainland, the thousands of islands within the Aegean Sea, and the pockets of settlements along the western coast of Asia Minor (present- day Turkey).
As the Persian Empire expanded, it came into conflict with Greeks living in western Asia Minor (Ionia). Eventually, they conquered this area and appointed tyrants to rule over the area. This was counter to the independent nature of the Greeks. In 499 B.C.E., the Ionian Greeks revolted against the Persian Empire. They asked for the help of the Athenians, who came to their aid. The revolt was crushed with ease, but Darius the Great (Cyrus the Great’s son) vowed to crush Athens in revenge. (See Map)
The wars took place in two major waves of attack by the Persians. The “first” Persian War included the famous Battle of Marathon. The “second” Persian War included battles like Thermopylae, and Salamis.
The rise of Greek civilization around 800 BCE was based off of the strong city-states created. Each city-state had its own government, typically a tyranny of one ruler or an aristocratic council. (#1) Why did city-states develop instead of a unified nation?
The peninsula of Greece was so divided by mountains that a unified government would have been very difficult to establish. (#1)
Although the city-states were divided geographically, they did tend to share common cultural elements such as: Language – A rich written language derived from Phoenician alphabet spread throughout peninsula Trade – Trade between city-states was common. Usually conducted via water routes. Religious festivals – Olympic competitions. They DID NOT share similar governing styles.
Sparta and Athens came to be the two leading city- states. Sparta represented a strong military aristocracy. Its city-state was dependant on large numbers of slaves. Athens was a more diverse commercial state that was proud of its artistic and intellectual leadership, but also maintained significant numbers of slaves. During the impending Persian Wars, the two city- states cooperated, although probably for mere survival reasons.
During the 5th century Pericles dominated Athenian politics, creating a democratic political structure where each citizen could participate in government. (Direct democracy) (#2) Citizens could participate in order to select officials and pass laws. (#2) Political decline soon set in for the city-states as Athens and Sparta vied for control of Greece during the Peloponnesian Wars.
After these wars weakened the city-states of Athens and Sparta, the powerful king of Macedonia (a region just north of Greece) named Philip II conquered both city-states. His son, Alexander the Great, succeeded him and spread the empire to Egypt, through the Middle East and into parts of India. He died at age 33, but not before mixing Greek culture with Egyptian, Indian and Persian cultures. This came to be known as Hellenistic culture. “Hellenistic” means Greek- like. Trade and knowledge flourished under the Hellenistic era. The exchange of goods and ideas between Greek, Indian, Egyptian, and Persian cultures allowed for the largest example of cultural diffusion up to this point in history. (#3)
The most famous Hellenistic center was the city established by and named after Alexander in Egypt, Alexandria.
The Roman state began as a local monarchy in central Italy around 800 B.C.E. Roman aristocrats succeeded in driving out the monarchy in 509 B.C.E., and vowed to never be ruled by a king again. They established a republic, a form of government where the power lies in the hands of voters who elect officials and representatives to rule on their behalf.
As the power of the city-state continued to grow, they eventually conquered the Italian peninsula along with some Greek colonies. Eventually they came into conflict with another powerful Mediterranean city-state, Carthage. The Phoenician city-state of Carthage was located in northern Africa. Rome and Carthage fought a series of three wars from 264 to 146 BCE called the Punic Wars. (Rome won and took control of the western Mediterranean) (#5)
The politics of the Roman republic grew unstable as victorious generals sought even greater power while the poor of the city rebelled. In 45 BCE, one of these generals, Julius Caesar, won control of the Roman state, effectively bringing an end to the republic. After his assassination, another set of generals fought for control. Eventually his grand- nephew, Octavian (Augustus), won.
“I had rather be first in a village than second in Rome.” “If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it.” “It is not these well-fed long-haired men that I fear, but the pale and the hungry-looking.”
Augustus (Rome’s 1 st emperor) established the basic structures of an empire. For the next 207 years the Roman Empire maintained peace and prosperity throughout the Med. World. (From Augustus to Marcus Aurelius) This time period is known as the Pax Romana (Roman peace)
During the time of the Pax Romana, the empire grew tremendously, virtually covering the entire Mediterranean World.
Over the next 250 years, the empire experienced a slow and steady decline as a result of several contributing factors. One of the main factors was invasions from outside tribes. (Germanic tribes and Huns) (#6) p.82
Though the empire was in decline, it still experienced a few strong leaders. (Ex. Diocletian and Constantine ) They tried to reverse the tide of its ultimate fall. Constantine adopted the then somewhat obscure religion of Christianity in 313 CE.
Politics were an extremely important part of both Greek and Roman civilizations. In fact, the word politics comes from the Greek word for city-state, polis. This reinforces that there were intense political interests in Greece and Rome. Both tended to emphasize aristocratic rule but there were significant examples of democratic elements as well.
An intense preoccupation with politics that included frequent discussions about affairs of the city-state characterized politics in the Mediterranean. Citizens felt that the city-state was theirs and they had an obligation to participate in its governance. It also helped that citizens were actively involved in the military and that gave them a heightened sense of pride.
There was no single Greek political style, but democracy is the most famous. Democracy actually derives from the Greek word demos, which means “the people”. In Athens, major decisions of the state were made by general assemblies where ALL citizens could participate. (#8) This is known as a direct democracy, cause people rule or make decisions directly and not through representatives.
This term can be somewhat misleading when referring to Greek politics however. Although all citizens could participate in politics, only a minority of people in Athens were actually citizens. (#8) Citizenship rights were not extended to all (usually just landowners). For example, women had no political rights, and foreigners or slaves, who were not citizens, made up half the adult population. (#8)
Rome’s republic allowed citizens to actively elect representatives (senators) who would ideally operate in his electors’ interests. Citizens could not directly vote on laws in Rome. Athens’ democracy allowed its citizens to vote directly on laws, hence the name direct democracy.
Romans emphasized carefully crafted laws to hold their vast territories together. The first law code of the Roman republic was introduced in 450 B.C.E., known as the Twelve Tables.
The laws restrained upper classes from arbitrary action. Romans believed that laws should be able to evolve over time to meet changing conditions. Laws, instead of personal whim should govern people. The Twelve Tables also promoted a common sense fairness. (Ex. p.86)
Mediterranean governments are more well known for the types of government systems they established such as democracy and republic than for their specific functions. Nevertheless, here are some of those functions: 1) Maintaining law courts and military forces (#11) 2) Regulating commerce (especially of important crops like grain) (#11)
3) Construction of vast public works projects to facilitate trade and commerce, to provide entertainment and distraction for its subjects, to bring in fresh water (aqueducts), and for religious purposes. 4) Provided cheap food, gladiator contests and entertainment for the masses (bread and circuses) 5) Governments also supported official state religions and loyalty to the state through religious festivals.
ROMAN SENATE (MAINTAINING LAW) ROMAN LEGIONARY (MILITARY FORCES)
Roman Harbors * One Roman wrote this: "So many merchant ships arrive in Rome with cargoes from everywhere, at all times of the year, that the city seems like the world's warehouse. * Wine, grain, and exotic animals came from all over the Roman Empire.
First of all, neither Greece nor Rome generated a major world religion. Greco-Roman religion was derived from a belief in the spirits of nature (animism) elevated into a complex system of gods and goddesses. Though there were different names for the deities between Greece and Rome, they were essentially the same.
The gods were sought out by the people for foretelling and advice on a whole host of issues from health to harvest. Greco-Roman gods were seen as in a much more human nature than an out-of-this-world approach. They were ascribed certain actions, blunders, and behaviors that were passed down in human stories about the gods known as myths. As your book says, these were like soap operas on a super-human scale.
Greco-Roman religion lacked an intense spiritual passion that failed to satisfy many “ordinary” citizens such as peasants, artisans, and merchants. It also provided little in the way of comfort during times of economic distress or political chaos. Though it did provide for political loyalty, it had no basis for ethical and moral thought. Because of this absence, Greek and Roman writers emerged to stress the importance of ethical qualities like moderation and balance in human behavior as opposed to the excesses that were seen in the gods’ lives. Aristotle and Cicero were prime examples.
Aristotle was one of Greece’s most famous philosophers, tutoring leading Athenian citizens and even Alexander the Great.
Greek philosophy emphasized the powers of human thought. Questioning the conventional wisdom of the time period in order to arrive at the truth was a chief aim of Greco-Roman philosophers like Socrates. Though he was persecuted for encouraging this method, the principle of rational inquiry (Socratic method) became a major part of classical Greek thinking.
The main problem faced agriculturally by Greece and Rome was in the fact that their soil conditions were not well suited for large scale agricultural crops like grain. The land was more suited for crops such as grapes and olives, but these could not feed the growing populations and took considerable time to develop. As a result, both societies looked to new areas for access to grain production (Middle East, North Africa, Sicily). This was one of the chief reasons for empire expansion.
Obviously, agricultural products (grain, olives, grapes) were the main commodity traded. Luxury products were also widely traded among the Mediterranean, India, and China. Mediterranean products were far less sophisticated than those of east Asia, so instead they traded luxury products like animal skins, precious metals, and exotic animals for Asian zoos in return for spices and artisan products from the east.
Merchants within Greco-Roman culture had a somewhat ambiguous status. They generally made up the second highest social class behind landlords and patricians, but they were typically foreigners who did not have citizenship rights and were therefore not entirely part of the culture. Overall, they were in between the value of merchants in China and India.
Slavery was essential to Greco-Roman culture. Neither civilizations could have functioned without it. Athenians used slaves domestically in the household as well as for extensive mining of salt and silver. They were in both societies the main labor force. In Rome, their primary role was in agricultural production. They were also used within the house for domestic service, which included tutoring of high-class children (usually done by Greek slaves).
Other duties included construction, entertainment, and the sex industry. Most historians believe slaves made up close to half of the empire’s population. The constant need for slaves, which came from conquered territories, promoted military conquest.
Abundant slave labor discouraged innovative and more efficient technological or agricultural techniques. Greeks and Romans tended to depend more on their slaves to do the work for them rather than come up with more practical inventions or methods.
1) Once it fell, it fell. There was no revival of Roman culture or power like there was in China. 2) Unlike India, there was no central religion to hold it together or serve as a link between the classical period and what followed. 3) Finally, Rome fell in some parts of the Mediterranean more than it did in others. It was not a uniform fall.