2Geography of Greece Greece is a small country in Europe. To the west is the Ionian Sea, to the south is the Mediterranean Sea, and to the east is the Aegean Sea.The main part of Greece is on a peninsula. A peninsula is a body of land with water on almost all of the sides.The rest of Greece is made up of islands.
3Geography of Greece cont’d The ancient civilization of Greece began around 3000 B.C.Many ancient Greeks made their living from the sea. (Fishermen, Sailors, Traders)Greece is mountainous and has rocky soil. It is not ideal for growing crops, however, the climate is mild and in some places people grew wheat, barley, olives, and grapes. They also raised sheep and goats.
4The Minoans The island of Crete lies southeast of the Greek mainland. The Minoans were not Greeks, but their civilization was the first in that region that later became Greece.The Minoans made their wealth from trade. They built ships from oak and cedar trees and sailed as far as Egypt and Syria.Minoan ships controlled the eastern Mediterranean Sea.The Minoan civilization collapsed around 1450 B.C. possibly because of a group of Greeks from the mainland called the Mycenaeans.
5The Mycenaeans The Mycenaeans were originally from central Asia. They invaded the Greek mainland around 1900 B.C. and conquered the people living there.The Mycenaean leaders became the first Greek kings.Each Mycenaean kingdom had a fortified palace on a hill, surrounded by giant stone walls.Mycenaean palaces were the center of activity.Government officials kept track of the wealth of every person in the kingdom.They also collected wheat, livestock, and honey as taxes and stored them in the palace.The Mycenaeans were a warring people, and their most famous victory was probably the Trojan War.
6ColoniesBy 700 B.C., farmers were struggling to feed the people of Greece.Greece began sailing to other lands to build colonies. A colony is a settlement in a new territory that keeps close ties to its homeland.Colonies traded regularly with their “parent” cities, shipping them grains, metals, fish, timber, and slaves.Greeks began minting coins during the 600’s.
7City StatesEach Greek city-state, known as a polis, was like a tiny independent country. It had its own laws, rulers, and money.The main gathering place in the polis was usually a fortified hill called the acropolis. Below the acropolis was an open area called an agora, which was used for both a marketplace and a meeting place for debates.The Greeks were the first people to develop the idea of citizenship.Most city-states were oligarchies (Sparta) or democracies (Athens).Remember: In an oligarchy a few people hold power. In a democracy all citizens share in running the government.
8SpartaThe Spartans focused on military skills to control the people they conquered.Reading and writing was not very important to Spartans.At age 7, Spartan boys left their families to go live in barracks to be trained for war.Sparta had three classes. The first class was citizens. Not all people in Sparta were citizens. Only men born in Sparta were citizens. The women were not citizens, but they could own land and businesses. The second class in Sparta were people who came from other Greek city-states or other countries. Many owned businesses. The third class were slaves.
9AthensAthenians believed that people should rule themselves and run the government.Learning was very important in Athens.Boys went to school to read and write.Socrates was a great thinker and teacher in ancient Greece.The Greeks believed in many gods and goddesses. They built fine temples for them. Athen was named after the goddess Athena.
10Persian War and Alexander the Great The Persians conquered most of the Middle East, they tried to conquer Greece, but failed.Phillip II was a king from a country north of Greece, he conquered the Greek city-states in 338 B.C. His son, Alexander the Great conquered the Persian army. All of the Persian islands became Greek lands.After Alexander the Great died, the Greek people were conquered by the Romans.