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Coach Parrish
Chapter 6, Section 1
Greece appears as though the sea has
smashed it to pieces. Some pieces drifted
away forming rocky islands. Others barely
cling to the mainland.
Because of these shapes, Greece is a country
made up of peninsulas – area of land
surrounded by water on three sides.
Only about 1/5th of Greece is suitable for
farming because most of the country is
covered with mountains. The islands are
mountain peaks.
Two Effects of Greek Geography
The Greeks became excellent traders and
The Greeks thought of themselves as
separate countries because it was hard to
get together.
The Minoans lived on the island of Crete from
about 3000 to 1100 BC.
Because of their location, they were excellent
traders who controlled the Aegean Sea.
After the Mycenaeans defeated the Minoans,
the culture of the islands blended with
mainland Greek culture.
At their height in 1400 BC, the Mycenaeans
controlled trade, spoke an early form of
Greek, and used writing.
Greek myth tells the story of the Trojan War
between Greece and the city of Troy in
present day Turkey.
The Greeks conquered the Trojans by using a
fake wooden horse filled with Greek soldiers.
The horse was rolled to the Trojan city gates.
Thinking it was a gift, the Trojans rolled it
inside. After nightfall, the Greeks destroyed
Troy and burned the city to the ground.
Epics – long story-telling poems.
Two epics exist today telling of the Trojan
War, the Odyssey and the Illiad, written by
Homer. Some historians believe that Homer
exaggerated the story to make it sound
Soon after the Trojan War, civilization in
Greece collapsed. People no longer traded
for food and other goods beyond Greece and
poverty was everywhere. The Dark Ages took
place from 1100 – 750 BC.
Acropolis – a high, rocky hill where early
people built cities.
Historians believe that sometime around 750
BC, villages joined with cities and began to
develop their own traditions, laws, and
City-state – a city, that is also a separate
independent state.
The earliest rulers of city-states were
probably chieftains or kings who were
military leaders.
By the end of the Dark Ages, most city-states
were ruled by aristocrats – members of rich
and powerful families.
Because they were wealthy, aristocrats could
afford land, chariots, and the best weapons
that helped make themselves stronger.
As the Greeks sailed to ports to trade various
goods, the city-states became wealthy. A
middle class of merchants and sailors
The middle class wanted representation in
government and began to equip themselves
with armor, swords, and spears.
Gradually power shifted from the aristocrats
to tyrants – rulers who seize power by force.
Eventually the people in city-states overthrew
the tyrants. Some city-states developed a
style of government called democracy –
citizens govern themselves.
The most successful democratic city-state
was Athens.
Athenian democracy became the leading
government of the ancient world.