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Classical Persia
Influence of the River Valley
Civilizations on Classical
The economic and political systems,
writing, technology, language, etc. of
the classical civilizations were built
upon the foundations laid down earlier
by the river valley civilizations.
“Classical” Civilization
• During the Classical Era, civilization spread
beyond the river valleys, some establishing
large empires.
• These civilizations developed institutions,
systems of thought and cultural styles that
still influence the world today.
• Art, music, and literature set standards
against which later works would be
• Classical: of the highest class or rank
The Persian Empire (2000
 Medes and Persians resided in the Middle East on the
Iranian Plateau, between the Caspian Sea.
 Cyrus the Great unified the Medes and the Persians.
 Also known as the Achaemenid Empire
The Persian Empire (2000
 Darius the Great built a network of public roads (over 1,500 miles),
introduced a uniform of set weights and measure,
established several capital
The Persian Empire (2000
 Created one of the largest empire from Turkey to Libya
 Able to control empire by dividing into provinces and collecting
 The provinces benefited from extensive trade throughout the
The Persian Empire (2000
 Advanced postal system, roads, single currency, and
decentralized government
 Zoroastrianism: primary religion – monotheistic
 Fell to Alexander the Great
 Prophet: Zoroaster around 600B.C.
 Ahura Mazda-god of truth and light battles
Ahriman-god of evil and darkness
 Man must choose which side to follow
 Sacred Book/collection is called the Avesta
 Concept of heaven and hell is developed
 End of world battle between good & evil
 Alexander the Great-end in Persia
 Still practiced today manly in India
Geography of Greece
Ancient Greece (2000B.C.300B.C.)
 Civilization gradually spread from Mesopotamia,
Egypt, and Persia to other places in the
 Greece consists of a large mountainous peninsula,
islands of the Aegean Sea, and the coast of present
day Turkey
Geographic influences on
Geography: a land poor in
natural resources and surrounded
by the Aegean Sea
Influence: Greeks became a
seafaring people and established
colonies throughout the Aegean and
Mediterranean seas to obtain
needed resources such and timber,
metals, farmland
Through trade the Greeks were
exposed to the Phoenician alphabet
Geographic influences on
 Geography: Greece was made up of many
islands, had no major river system, had poor
soil, and was divided by rocky, mountainous
 Influence: the Greeks grew mostly vine products
such as grapes and olives and made up an
important part of their diet
 Transportation and communication were
 Were unable to unite under a singe government
and the city-states remained independent
Geographic influences on
Geography: Greece had a mild
Influence: Greeks spent much of the
time outdoors, meeting to discuss
public issues and took an active part
in civic and political life
Minoan Civilization
 Flourished on the island of Crete from 2000B.C. –
Minoan Civilization
 Developed own form of writing
Minoan Civilization
 Used copper and bronze and were skilled shipbuilders
Minoan Civilization
 Athleticism was stressed in contests such as bullleaping
Minoan Civilization
Mysteriously collapsed in 1400B.C.
Mycenaean (aka Greeks) will
Sea trading,
writing system,
Minoan vase design
Greek City-States
City-States (Greek: Polis)
 Due to geography much of the population was cut off
from one another, so politically independent citystates developed.
City-States (Greek: Polis)
 Each city-state had its own form of government and
system of laws
City-States (Greek: Polis)
 The two most famous city-states are Athens and
 There were many ways to govern the city-states.
Forms of Government:
 The state is ruled by a king.
 It is hereditary.
 Some rulers claim divine right.
 Practiced in the city-state of Mycenae (1450 BCE)
Forms of Government:
 The state is ruled by nobility.
 It is hereditary and based on land ownership.
 Social status and wealth support rulers’ authority.
 Practiced in Athens (594 BCE)
Forms of Government:
 The state is ruled by a small group of citizens.
 It is based on wealth.
 The ruling group controls the military.
 Practiced in Sparta (800-600 BCE).
Forms of Government:
Direct Democracy
 The state is rule by its citizens.
 The rule is based on citizenship.
 Majority rule decides vote.
 Practiced in Athens
Persian Wars
 Were between the Greeks (Athens, Sparta, and other
city-states versus the Persians ( Darrius and then his son
Persian Wars
 Battle of Marathon
 The Persian cross the Aegean Sea and land on a plain
called Marathon with 25,000 men.
 10,000 Athenians are waiting
 The Persian were defeated
Persian Wars
 Battles of Thermopylae and Salamis
 Thermopylae - the Persians (Xerxes) come to a mountain
pass and 300 Spartans blocked the way.
 The Persians get around the mountain pass and take out the
 Salamis – Xerxes sent warships to block the channel, but
their ships were to big.
 The Athenians in their smaller ships destroy over 1/3 of the
Persian ship.
Consequences of Persian
 The Persian were defeated
 Athens became the leader of the Delian League, an
alliance of 140 city-states.
 Athens will enter the golden age
 Women were regarded as inferior and excluded from
public life.
 Women took care of the home and were subject to
their husbands will.
 Sparta women enjoyed more freedoms than others.
They were given an education and endured physical
Golden Age of
Athenian and American
Venn Diagram
Athenian Democracy
 Citizens: male; 18 years old; born of citizen parents
 Laws voted on and proposed directly by assembly of
all citizens
 Leader chosen by lot
 Executive branch composed of a council of 500 men
 Juries varied in size
 No attorneys; no appeals, one-day trials
Athenian and American
Venn Diagram
U. S. Democracy
 Citizens: Born in United States or completed citizenship
 Representatives elected to propose and vote on laws
 Elected president
 Executive branch made up of elected and appointed
 Juries composed of 12 jurors
 Defendants and plaintiff’s have attorneys; long
appeals process
Athenian and American
Venn Diagram
 Political power exercised by citizens
 Three branches of government
 Legislative branch passes laws
 Executive branch carries out laws
 Judicial branch conducts trials with paid jurors
Golden Age of Athens
 Greeks enjoyed great prosperity and made significant
achievements in art, literature, and philosophy.
Athens developed the first known democratic
government- a system in which citizens take part in
Golden Age of Athens
 Athenians believed human reason was powerful enough to
understand the world and solve problems. Greeks believed in
dignity of the individual. Through the use of reason, they believed
humans could understand how the world worked. Socrates, Plato,
and Aristotle were noted Greek philosophers who questioned
nature and life.
Golden Age of Athens
Greek Art
 Greek values of order, balance, and
proportion became the standard of
what is called classical art.
 Sculptors attempted to create figures
that were graceful, strong and perfectly
formed, and to capture the grace of the
idealized human body in motion.
Golden Age of Athens
 Athens created statues and
buildings of perfect, balanced
 Parthenon - temple to goddess
Golden Age of Athens
Science and Mathematics
 Archimedes: value of pi (π),
contributions to geometry, law of
the lever, pulleys & other devices
 Eratosthenes: circumference of
the earth; device for discovering
prime numbers
Golden Age of Athens
 Had this first known
comedies and tragedies.
Greeks watched these
plays in giant open-air
Golden Age of Athens
 Historical Writings
Herodotus and Thucydides
told the story of the past.