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The Civilization of the Greeks

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1 The Civilization of the Greeks
Chapter 1 Section 2

2 The Polis: Center of Greek Life
Greek city-state, or polis – central focus to Greek life City-states varied in size Between a few hundred and several thousand Athens was one of the largest – 250,000 Polis was the town, city, village and surrounding countryside People met for political, religious, social, and economic activities Polis = means Politics to us Polis was made up of three groups Citizens with political rights (adult males) Citizens with no political rights (women and children) And noncitizens (slaves and resident aliens)

3 7th or 6th Century B.C. – Tyrants – conflicts
Rulers who seized power by force and were not subject to laws Tyrants were supported by rich traders & poor peasants in debt to landholding aristocrats Hired Soldiers to maintain power Built new marketplaces, temples, and walls Greeks turned against the tyranny Insult to ideal of the law Overthrew the tyrants to form Democracy Govt. by the people or rule of many


5 Sparta – powerful city state
Conquers neighboring peoples Laconians and Messenians Prevent them from rebelling Sparta created a military state Lives of Spartans were rigidly organized and controlled Spartan means highly self disciplined Boys/Men spent childhood learning military discipline and enrolled in military service at age 20 They might marry but lived in the barracks until age 30 At age 30, they could vote and live at home but stayed in the military until age 60

6 Government was an Oligarchy
Women – Lived at home which gave them greater freedom of movement & power unique in Greece Expected to exercise Bear children and raise healthy children Expected bravery from their husbands and sons Government was an Oligarchy Headed by 2 Kings Led the Spartan army on their campaigns Council of Elders 2 Kings and 28 citizens who were over the age of 60 Power to decide on what issues would be presented to the assembly of male citizens

7 Conservative government with a Closed society
Turned their back on the outside world Were not allowed to travel - No one in/no one out Were not allowed to study philosophy, literature, or the arts Anything that could encourage critical thinking Art of war was the Spartan ideal All others were frowned upon



10 Athens – Major city state in ancient Greece
700 B.C. was a unified polis on the peninsula of Attica Early Athens was ruled by a king 7th century B.C. it was an oligarchy Economic problems Athenian farmers could not pay their debts to aristocrats Being sold into slavery Led to Democratic government 508 B.C. aristocrat Cleisthenes came to power Restructured the assembly and laid the foundation for democracy Created the council of 500 members came from local districts All male citizens allowed to vote and elect the Council Controlled foreign policy and the treasury Council prepared legislation Legislation was debated openly in the assembly Athens had a Direct Democracy Citizens participated directly in decision making

11 Pericles – dominated politics from 461 B.C. to 429 B.C.
Started paying salaries Made it possible for many more citizens to serve in public office Athenians became deeply attached to their political system Athens became the leading center of Greek culture New temples and statues Art and architecture flourished




15 The Greek Love of Wisdom
Philosophy refers to an organized system of thought Comes from the Greek word meaning “love of wisdom” Greatest thinkers of the Western World Socrates Plato Aristotle

16 Socrates was an Athenian stonemason
Education had no other goal than improving human understanding Teaching method called the Socratic method Presumed all knowledge was already present in each person Careful questioning can draw it out Question and answer format Placed great emphasis on the ability to reason Questioned all things… including authority Accused and convicted of corrupting the youth by encouraging critical thinking Sentenced to death by drinking hemlock, poison


18 Plato – one of Socrates’ students
Considered by many to be the greatest philosopher of Western Civilization The Republic – ideas about government Thought political life in Athens was too rowdy Ideal state – 3 groups in society (1) Upper class – philosopher-kings Political power because they were wise (2) Warriors – protected society (3) Everyone else Masses driven by desires, not wisdom or courage Believed men & women should have the same education & access to all positions in society


20 Aristotle was a student of Plato
Studied at Plato’s famous Academy for 20 years Focused on analyzing & classifying things based on observation & investigation Wrote – ethics, logic, politics, poetry, astronomy, geology, biology & physics Great contributions to Western society Based largely on Aristotle until the Scientific Revolution Thought critically about a rational form of government (3) good forms government Monarchy, Aristocracy & Constitutional government Constitutional government was best for people


22 The Greeks & Western Civilization
Principal source of Western culture Socrates, Plato & Aristotle established the foundations of Western philosophy Rational method of inquiry was important to modern science Established in ancient Greece Western Literature derived from drama & poetry Art and Architecture Greek principles of harmony and proportion have remained Greece being a citizen in democracy brought with it a strict sense of duty

23 Pericles – Advanced democracy - Great leader of Athens “We do not say a man who takes no interest in politics minds his own business; we say he has no business here at all.” The Greeks called such a man idiotes, meaning “idiot,” by which they meant a fool who lives in his own private world. Pg 141


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