Chapter 4: ANCIENT GREECE 1750 B.C. - 133 B.C.

Chapter 4: ANCIENT GREECE 1750 B.C. - 133 B.C.

Chapter 4: ANCIENT GREECE 1750 B.C. 133 B.C. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. How did the Minoans and Mycenaeans shape early Greek civilizations? How did government and culture develop as Greek city-states grew? How did war with invaders and conflict among Greeks affect the city-states? How did Greek thinkers, artists, and writers explore the nature of the universe and peoples place in it? How did Alexander the Great expand his empire and spread Greek culture throughout the realm? 1 EARLY PEOPLE OF THE AEGEAN The island of Crete, located on the Aegean Sea, was home to a successful trading civilization known as the Minoan civilization. Minoan rulers lived in a vast palace at Knossos. This palace housed rooms for the royal family, banquet halls, and work areas for artisans. It also included religious shrines, areas

dedicated to the honor of gods and goddesses. The walls were covered with colorful frescoes watercolor paintings done on wet plaster. The frescoes revealed much about Minoan culture by illustrating scenes from daily life. Island of Crete By about 1400 B.C, the Minoan civilization vanished. The reasons are unclear, but it is certain that invaders played some role in its destruction. These invaders were the Mycenaeans. The Mycenaeans ruled the Aegean world from about 1400 B.C. to 1200 B.C. They were also sea traders whose civilization reached as far as Sicily, Italy, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. The Mycenaeans learned skills from the Minoans, such as writing. They also absorbed Egyptian and Mesopotamian customs, which they passed on to later Greeks. 2 The Mycenaeans are remembered for their part in the Trojan War, which began about 1250 B.C. The conflict may have started because of economic rivalry between Mycenae and Troy, a rich trading city that controlled the vital straits, or narrow water passages,

connecting the Mediterranean and Black seas. According to Greek legend, the war erupted when the Mycenaeans, or Greeks, sailed to Troy to rescue the kidnapped wife of the king. The war lasted 10 years, until the Mycenaeans finally burned Troy to the ground. Much of what we know about the Trojan War and life during this period comes from two epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey. These works are credited to the poet Homer, who probably lived about 750 B.C. The Iliad and the Odyssey reveal much about the values of the ancient Greeks. The poems heroes display honor, courage, and eloquence. In about 1100 B.C., invaders from the north known as the Dorians conquered the Mycenaeans. After the Dorian invasions, Greece passed several centuries in obscurity. Over time, a new Greek civilization emerged that would extend its influence across the Western world. 3 THE RISE OF GREEK CITY-STATES Greek city-states were isolated from one another by mountains or water. The seas, however, provided a vital link to the outside world. The Greeks became skilled sailors and traders. As they traveled, they

acquired new ideas from foreign lands, which they adapted to their own needs. As their world expanded, the Greeks evolved a unique version of the city-state, called the polis. The polis consisted of a major city or town and its surrounding countryside. The acropolis, or high city, with its many temples, stood on a hill. Because the population was small for each city-state, the citizens felt a shared sense of responsibility for the triumphs and failures of their polis. Different forms of government evolved in Greece. At first, there was a monarchy. In a monarchy, a hereditary ruler exercises central power. In time, the power shifted to an aristocracy or rule by the landholding elite. As trade expanded and a wealthy middle class emerged, the result was a form of government called an oligarchywhere power is in the hands of a small, wealthy elite. The acropolis, or high city 4 A new method of fighting also emerged. The phalanx was a massive tactical formation of

heavily armed foot soldiers. In the citystate of Sparta, Spartans focused on developing strong military skills, paying less attention to trade, wealth, new ideas, or the arts. In Athens, government evolved from a monarchy into an aristocracy. Under the aristocracy, discontent spread among ordinary citizens. Slowly Athens moved toward democracy, or government by the people. Despite government reforms under the leadership of Solon in around 594 B.C., there was still unrest. This led to the rise of tyrants, or those who gained power by force. They often won support from the merchant class and the poor by imposing reforms to help these groups. In 507 B.C., the reformer Cleisthenes broadened the role of ordinary citizens in government and made the assembly a genuine legislature, or lawmaking body. Spartan soldiers in the Phalanx Despite divisions among city-states, Greeks shared a common culture. They spoke the same language, honored the same ancient heroes, participated in common festivals, and prayed to the same gods. 5

CONFLICT IN THE GREEK WORLD After 522 B.C., the Persians extended their empire to include the Greek city-states of Ionia in Asia Minor. Although under Persian rule, these Ionian city-states were largely self-governing, they resented Persian control. In 499 B.C., Athens sent ships to help these city-states fight the Persians. This decision led to the Persian Wars. Eventually, the Greeks were victorious against the Persians. This victory increased the Greeks sense of uniqueness. Athens emerged from the wars as the most powerful city-state in Greece. Athens formed an alliance, called the Delian League, with other Greek city-states. An alliance is a formal agreement to cooperate between two or more nations or powers. After the Persian Wars ended, a golden age began in Athens under the leadership of Pericles. Periclean Athens was a direct democracy. Under this system, citizens take part directly in the daily affairs of government. Pericles believed that citizens from all social classes should participate in government. Therefore, Athens began to pay a stipend, or fixed salary, to men who served in the Assembly and its Council. Greek City-State along Asian Minor

6 CONFLICT IN THE GREEK WORLD In addition, Athenians served on juries. A jury is a panel of citizens who make the final judgment in a trial. Athenian citizens could also vote to banish a public figure they believed was a threat to their democracy. This was called ostracism. Athens prospered during the Age of Pericles. Pericles efforts helped turn Athens into the cultural center of Greece. The arts were encouraged through public festivals, dramatic competitions, and building programs. Building projects increased Athens prosperity by creating jobs for artisans and workers. Many Greeks outside Athens resented Athenian domination. Soon, the Greek world was divided by new rivalries. In 431 B.C., warfare broke out between Athens and Sparta. This conflict, known as the Peloponnesian War, soon engulfed all of Greece. Sparta defeated Athens with the help of Persia. The defeat ended Athenian domination of the Greek world. However, the Athenian economy revived and Athens later regained its place as the cultural center of Greece.

A Prosperous Athens The Peloponnesian War 7 THE GLORY THAT WAS GREECE Greek thinkers used observation and reason to explain events. These thinkers were called philosophers, meaning lovers of wisdom. Philosophers explored many subjects, from mathematics and music, to logic, or rational thinking. They believed that through reason and observation, they could discover laws that governed the universe. Some philosophers were interested in ethics and morality. In contrast, the Sophists believed that success was more important than moral truth. They developed skills in rhetoric, the art of skillful speaking. men could use clever and persuasive rhetoric to advance their careers. SOCRATES The philosopher Socrates was an outspoken critic of the Sophists. He believed in seeking truth and self-knowledge. Most of what we know about Socrates comes from his student Plato. Plato set

up a school called the Academy where he taught his own ideas. Like Socrates, Plato emphasized the importance of reason. Platos most famous student, Aristotle, also promoted reason as the guiding force for learning. He set up a school, the Lyceum, for the study of all branches of knowledge. ARISTOTLE 8 While Plato argued that every object on Earth has an ideal form, Greek artists and architects reflected a similar concern with balance, order, and beauty. The most famous example of Greek architecture is the Parthenon. The basic plan of the Parthenon is a simple rectangle, with tall columns supporting a sloping roof. Early Greek sculptors carved figures in rigid poses. Later, they emphasized more natural forms. Sculptors carved their subjects in a way that showed human beings in what was considered their most perfect, graceful form. the Parthenon

In literature, the Greeks also developed their own style. Some Greek playwrights wrote tragedies, or plays that tell stories of human suffering, usually ending in disaster. Others wrote comedies, or humorous plays that mock customs or that criticize society. History was also an important study for Greeks. Herodotus, often called the Father of History, stressed the importance of research. He visited many lands to collect and chronicle information from witnesses of actual events. Thucydides also recorded events as he experienced them. Both men set standards for future historians. 9 ALEXANDER AND THE HELLENISTIC AGE Soon after Macedonian king Philip II gained the throne in 359 B.C., he built a powerful army and eventually brought all of Greece under his control. Philips next goal was to conquer the Persian empire. However, he was assassinated before he could. Assassination is the murder of a public figure, usually for political reasons. After Philipss death, his son, who came to be known as Alexander the Great, acquired the throne and began organizing forces to conquer

Persia. Alexander was victorious. Once much of the Persian empire fell under his control, he advanced into India. the Parthenon Unexpectedly in 323 B.C., Alexander died at the age of 33 in Persia from a fever. Although his empire collapsed soon after, he is credited with spreading Greek culture from Egypt to the borders of India. Local people assimilated, or absorbed, Greek ideas. In turn, Greek settlers adopted local customs. Gradually, a new Hellenistic culture emerged that blended Greek, Persian, Egyptian, and Indian influences. 10 At the very heart of the Hellenistic world stood the magnificent city of Alexandria, founded in Egypt by Alexander. Its great library was among the greatest scientific and cultural centers of the age. Like Alexandria, cities of the Hellenistic world employed many architects and artists. Temples, palaces, and other public buildings were larger and grander than the buildings of classical Greece. The elaborate new style reflected the desire of Hellenistic rulers to glorify themselves as godlike.

During the Hellenistic age, scholars built on earlier Greek, Babylonian, and Egyptian knowledge. In mathematics, Pythagoras derived a formula to calculate the relationship between the sides of a right triangle. The astronomer Aristarchus developed the theory of a heliocentric, or suncentered, solar system. Another scientist, Archimedes, applied the principles of physics to make inventions. In the field of medicine, the Greek physician Hippocrates studied cures for illnesses. Ancient Alexandria Pythagoras Greek works in the arts and sciences set a standard for later Europeans. Greek ideas about law, freedom, justice, and government continue to influence political thinking today. 11 Question: Describe the Spartan student dress code. What was its purpose? 12

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