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Transcript
World History
Unit 4 Ancient Greek Civilization
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Greek city-states frequently battled each other over land and resources.
The Greeks also fought three major wars in the 400s B.C.
After 546 B.C. Persia conquered the Greek city-states of Ionia in western Asia.
The Ionians rebelled—Athenian soldiers burned the Persian city of Sardis.
Burning Sardis enraged Darius, the Persian king.
After his troops recaptured the Ionian cities Darius set out to conquer Greece.
In 490 B.C. about 20,000 Persians sailed for Greece.
They landed by the plain of Marathon, near Athens.
This flat plain seemed like the perfect battleground for the Persian cavalry (soldiers on horseback).
Athenian infantry (foot soldiers) rushed to Marathon—their situation looked hopeless.
The Athenians were outnumbered and they had no archers or cavalry like the Persians.
At dawn Greek phalanxes raced across the plain the day after the Persians landed.
This took the Persians by surprise—panicked they fled to their ships.
The unexpected Greek victory at the Battle of Marathon ended the First Persian War.
Modern estimates are 1,000 – 3,000 Athenian deaths and 4,000 – 5,000 Persian deaths.
Battle of Marathon.
Legend told of a messenger who died after running 26 miles to carry the news of victory back to Athens.
Ever since then, the word “marathon” has been used to describe a challenging footrace.
In 480 B.C. Darius’s son Xerxes was determined to defeat the Greeks in the Second Persian War.
The Persian Empire controlled Egypt and therefore added the Egyptian army to its ranks.
The Persians did not have a navy but were able to use the ships of the Phoenicians because they were part
of the empire.
The Spartans moved north to block the huge Persian army.
Led by King Leonidas a small Spartan force stopped the Persians at a narrow mountain pass called
Thermopylae.
A Greek traitor showed the Persians another path through the mountains.
Attacked from both sided, the Spartans died in defense of Greece.
With no Greek army to stop them, the Persians now advanced on Athens.
The Athenian leader Themistocles convinced Athenians to flee to nearby islands.
When the Persians reached Athens they found the city almost empty.
Xerxes burned Athens and sent his ships to pursue the Greek navy.
The Persians had 1,200 warships—three times more ships than the Greeks.
Confident of victory, Xerxes had his throne placed on a hill to watch the naval battle in the Strait of
Salamis.
Themistocles had set a trap—he kept his Greek ships hidden until Persian ships filled the narrow Strait of
Salamis.
Suddenly the Greeks attacked ramming the crowded Persian ships.
By nightfall the strait was clogged with more than 200 broken ships—the Greeks lost only about 40 ships.
The Battle of Salamis broke Persian naval power—after another defeat for Xerxes on land, the Persians
returned home.
After defeating the Persians at Salamis Athens enjoyed a Golden Age.
Pericles began rebuilding Athens which became famous for its art and learning—the wealth and power of
the city increased.
Greece now had two rival powers—Athens with the strongest navy and Sparta with the strongest army.
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Each wanted to be the supreme power in Greece.
Soon after the Persian wars, Athens formed an alliance with other city-states.
An alliance is an association of nations formed to achieve a goal.
The members of an alliance are called allies.
The alliance was called the Delian League.
Members promised to protect one another from Persia and provide ships and money for defense.
The Delian League had about 150 members.
All the allies were supposed to be equal but Athens by far was the most powerful.
Athens ran the Delian League as if it were its own empire rather than an alliance of equals.
Some cities were forced into the League and others were blocked from leaving—when Naxos tried to leave
it was attacked and forced to stay.
Rather than asking city-states to contribute ships, Athens requested money—it then used the money to
build its own navy.
Athens also forced League members to use Athenian currency (money) instead of their own.
In 454 B.C. Athenian leaders moved the Leagues treasury from Delos to Athens.
Athens used money from the League members to rebuild Athens including the construction of the
Parthenon.
The Spartans formed their own alliance on the Peloponnesian Peninsula—called the Peloponnesian
League.
Like Sparta, other members of the Peloponnesian League feared the power of Athens and its government.
In contrast to democratic Athens, Sparta and most of its allies were oligarchies.
In 433 B.C. Sparta and Athens came into conflict when Athens placed a ban on trade with Megara (a
Spartan ally).
Both Athens and Sparta, along with their allies, prepared for war.
War between the two Greek alliances broke out in 431 B.C.
The Peloponnesian War lasted on and off for 27 years.
Macedonia was a land in the north of the Greek Peninsula.
Unlike most Greek city-states, the Macedonians were still governed by kings.
One of the rulers of Macedonia was a brilliant and ambitious leader named Philip.
Philip gained power after his brother, the Macedonian king, was killed in battle in 359 B.C.
To strengthen his power, Philip built a powerful army.
Philip organized his infantry into phalanxes and armed each man with an 18-foot-long pike (sarissa)—much
longer than the Greeks.
In 338 B.C. Philip along with his son Alexander, won a battle in Greece over the combined armies of Thebes
and Athens.
Philip then gained control of all of Greece.
The city-states of Greece were allowed to keep their governments.
However, they were expected to support Philip in his next goal—a war against Persia.
As preparations were being made for the invasion of Persia Philip was assassinated at his daughter’s
wedding.
Alexander, Philip’s 20-year-old son gained the throne after his father’s death.
Alexander was already a military leader.
His brilliant mind had been shaped by the famous scientist and philosopher named Aristotle.
As a boy Alexander’s favorite book was the Iliad which was given to him by Aristotle.
Alexander wanted to be the like the book’s hero, Achilles.
Alexander’s first task was to secure control of Greece.
After Philip’s death some city-states in Greece tried to regain their independence.
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Alexander quickly crushed these revolts.
To discourage future rebellions Alexander burned Thebes to the ground.
In 334 B.C. with Greece secured, he took his army of 30,000 foot soldiers and 5,500 cavalry troops
(horseback) into Asia.
He inspired fierce loyalty among his soldiers by personally leading them into battle.
In Asia, Alexander freed the Ionian city-states from Persian rule.
He also freed the Egyptians from the Persians and before leaving Egypt he founded the city of Alexandria.
From Egypt, Alexander headed back toward Persia.
By the end of 330 B.C. Alexander had defeated the Persian king.
Alexander now had a greater goal—world conquest—he led his army into Afghanistan and India.
Because he built a vast empire in only 11 years, people called him “Alexander the Great.”
Alexander’s luck was turning.
After his last major battle in what is now Pakistan, his beloved horse Bucephalus died of battle wounds.
Soon after, his army mutinied and refused to conquer any more lands.
In 323 B.C. Alexander died of a fever in Babylon at age 32.
His infant son was too young to take control of the empire.
So Alexander’s generals divided the empire into kingdoms.
One kingdom in Egypt was ruled by a general named Ptolemy—the family ruled for nearly 300 years.
Cleopatra was the last member of the Ptolemy family to rule Egypt.
Alexander founded Greek-style cities everywhere he went.
In these city-states, Greek customs mingled with the ideas and art of other lands.
Out of this exchange emerged a new form of Greek culture called Hellenistic, or Greek-like.
The word Hellenistic comes from the Greeks word for themselves: Hellenes.
The Hellenistic period lasted from Alexander’s time until about 30 B.C.
Because of Alexander, Greek culture spread all the way to India.
Alexander’s empire was short-lived, but the world was forever changed by his conquests.
Ancient Greek Beliefs and Arts.
Ancient Greeks practiced polytheism, the worship of many gods or deities.
A deity is a being with supernatural powers.
Greek gods looked and behaved like human beings.
Greeks expressed their religious beliefs in their mythology.
Mythology is the collection of myths or stories that people tell about their gods and heroes.
Greeks honored their gods with public and private religious rituals.
Public meetings began with prayers and animal sacrifices.
Women played important roles in some of these public ceremonies.
In private homes, families maintained household shrines where they honored their favorite gods or
goddesses.
Each city-state built temples to its patron deity.
On holy days, citizens made sacrifices in front of the gods’ temple.
People offered gold, cakes, and wine, or prized animals such as bulls.
They asked the gods for favors, such as good crops or good health.
Some religious festivals included athletic contests.
Athletes competed in boxing, wrestling, and running as well as in throwing the javelin and discus.
The most famous sport event was the Olympic Games which were held every four years—honored Zeus.
During the games all conflicts between city-states ceased.
Travelers came from all over the Mediterranean to attend the games.
The festival site at Olympia was crowded with merchants, food sellers, and artisans.
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Winners became celebrities or famous people.
Successful athletes were rewarded, not with money, but with privileges and fame.
Mount Olympus, in northern Greece, was an important sacred spot.
The Greeks believed it was home to the major gods.
Another sacred site was Delphi located on the slopes of Mount Parnassus.
Delphi contained many shrines, but the most important building was the holy temple of the god Apollo.
The Temple of Apollo housed Apollo’s priestess who was known as the Delphic oracle.
An oracle is someone who predicts what will happen in the future.
The Greeks had a strong appreciation of beauty.
They expressed this in their painting, sculpture, and architecture.
From the description of ancient writers, we know that ancient paintings were realistic.
Early Greek sculpture shows strong Egyptian influence.
Sculptors created images of humans and deities that seemed to inhabit an ideal world of calm and peace.
Greeks honored their deities by creating huge statues of gods and goddesses for shrines and temples.
They also carved scenes to decorate temple walls.
Architects created buildings that gave a sense of balance and harmony of parts.
The finest example of classical Greek architecture is the temple known as the Parthenon built to honor
Athena.
The architects Ictinus and Callicrates designed graceful marble columns to support the roof.
Inside the temple stood a giant statue of the goddess Athena, designed by the sculpture Phidias.
American buildings reveal the influence of ancient Greek architecture.
Doric—Ionic—Corinthian.
Lincoln Memorial—Jefferson Memorial—Supreme Court.—U.S. Capitol Building.
Like the other arts, Greek literature was linked with religion.
Religious festivals often included contests between poets.
Others included plays based on myths.
The Iliad and the Odyssey, Homer’s great epic poems, reflected the Greeks’ belief that the gods controlled
human lives.
Some poets who came after Homer wrote shorter poems.
Performers often sang these short poems while playing a stringed instrument known as a lyre.
As a result these poetic songs became known as lyric poetry.
Greeks wrote lyric poetry on many different subjects.
Pindar praised victorious athletes.
Lyric poet Alcaeus wrote about politics and war.
Sappho wrote about human emotions—although most of her work has been lost, she was greatly admired
in ancient times.
The roots of modern Western theater reach back to ancient Greece.
The word drama, which means a play or performance on stage, is a Greek word.
The words theater, tragedy, comedy, and scene are also Greek words.
Greek drama developed from performances honoring the god Dionysus.
In time, plays became a central feature at festivals.
Greek dramatists wrote two types of plays: tragedy and comedy.
Aeschylus was the first of the three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays can still be read or performed.
The other two were Sophocles and Euripides.
Antigone is a Greek tragedy written by Sophocles.
Antigone is the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta who buries her brother Polynices' body against the order
of her uncle Creon.
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Aristophanes was one of the most famous comedic playwrights.
Two of his comedies that are still performed today are The Frogs and Lysistrata.
Another lasting form of Greek literature is the fable which is a story that teaches a moral lesson.
The most famous of these fables are by Aesop.
The word philosophy comes from the Greek words meaning “love of wisdom.”
The Greeks began their search for wisdom by asking questions similar to those the Chinese asked:
 What is the nature of the universe?
 What is a good life?
The Greeks took their search a step further by asking “How do we know what is real?” and “How can we
determine what is real?”
The Greeks believed that they could answer these questions by using the human power of reason.
Reason is the power to think clearly.
To increase their thinking power, the Greeks developed a system of reasoning known as logic.
Logic involves a step-by-step method of thinking through a problem or question.
Socrates was a philosopher who lived in Athens—he asked question after question to force his listeners to
think more clearly.
This question and answer method of teaching is called the Socratic Method.
Socrates’ discussions challenged accepted beliefs.
Eventually, this got him into trouble with the leaders of Athens.
They charged him with corrupting the young.
Socrates was also accused of not believing in the gods.
Socrates was found guilty and sentenced to death in 399 B.C.
The Death of Socrates by Jacques-Louis David.
Hemlock—poison.
Plato, a student of Socrates, recorded his teacher’s ideas in a series of conversations called dialogues.
Plato went on to found a school of philosophy called the Academy.
During the Hellenistic period new philosophies arose.
One group founded by Zeno was called the Stoics.
To the Stoics divine reason governed the universe.
They believe that people need to live in harmony with nature.
Stoics tried to master their emotions through self-control.
The Greek writer Herodotus is often called “the father of history” because he asked why certain events
happened.
He was born in 484 B.C. and lived during the Second Persian War.
The Persian Wars and the culture of the Persians and Greeks are described in The Histories.
In The Histories, Herodotus investigates the causes of the conflict between the Greeks and the Persians.
Thucydides, of Athens, was another important Greek historian born in 460 B.C.
He lived during the Peloponnesian War and wrote about the history of the war.
Xenophon lived from 427 B.C. to around 355 B.C.—he wrote the first known autobiography in world
history.
An autobiography is a history of a person’s life written or told by that person.
Greek writers also discussed politics and government.
Plato wrote a book called The Republic, which presented his views about the ideal government.
Plato did not approve of the way democracy functioned in Athens.
He thought that the ideal city-state would be led by a philosopher-king who had the wisdom to make the
right decisions.
Such leaders would not be elected by the people.
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The philosopher Aristotle wrote a book about government called Politics.
In his book, Aristotle compared existing governments.
He argued that the best government would be a balanced one that avoided extremes.
Aristotle also believed that citizens must participate in politics in order to be happy.
Like modern scientists, the Greeks first made observations of nature.
The Greeks then formed hypotheses, or logical guesses, to explain their observation.
This way of thinking represented something new in the ancient world.
It laid the foundations of modern science, mathematics, and medicine.
One of the first scientific thinkers was a philosopher named Thales of Miletus—he was born around 624
B.C.
He asked questions such as:
 How big is the earth?
 What is its shape?
 What holds it up in space?
In each case, he based his answer on his observations of nature.
These early Greek scientists were not always correct.
For example, Thales believed all things were made of water and that the Earth was a disk that floated on
water.
Even though his ideas were incorrect, he inspired other thinkers to use logic to develop answers.
The philosopher Democritus said that the universe was made up of tiny particles that could not be split.
He called these tiny particles “atoms.”
Aristotle was born in 384 B.C.—he studied at Plato’s Academy.
Later, Aristotle set up his own school called the Lyceum.
Unlike Plato, who distrusted the senses, Aristotle sought knowledge through observation.
He analyzed data about plant, animals, and rocks.
He also studied mathematics and logic and analyzed government and the arts.
The Greeks put their powers of observation to practical use as they developed sophisticated technology.
From the 400s on the Greeks invented all kinds of mechanisms, including water clocks, watermills, and
locks.
An instrument designed to measure time by the fall or flow of a quantity of water.
The inventor Archimedes is said to have created a weapon that used mirrors to redirect the sun’s light to
set fire to enemy ships.
Archimedes' screw was operated by hand and could raise water efficiently.
Pythagoras of Samos was an early Greek mathematician—he thought that numbers were key to
understanding the universe.
He developed the idea of square numbers.
Today students of geometry still learn the Pythagorean Theorem which bears his name.
A theorem is a statement in mathematics that can be proved to be true.
Hippocrates became the best-known Greek doctor.
He also wrote many medical books and ran a school that trained new doctors.
He taught his students to diagnose patients by asking them questions and making observations so they
could learn about their systems.
Hippocrates also had his students swear an oath.
In this oath, medical students promised to use their knowledge only in ethical ways.
The Hippocratic Oath still guides doctors today.
The city of Alexandria, Egypt became an important center for the study of medicine.
The Greeks benefited from the medical knowledge of the Egyptians.
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Egyptian doctors carefully examined patients and recorded their symptoms.
But the Greeks went further and sought to understand the reasons for a patient’s illness.
Although Greek societies frowned on dissection of the human body, two scientists working in Alexandria,
Herophilus and Erasistratus studied human anatomy.
It was in Alexandria that doctors realized that the optic nerve linked the eye to the brain.
Ancient Greek doctors also discovered that the brain was the center of thought, and that the pulse sent
blood through the arteries.
Aristotle’s interest in the world deeply impressed his student, Alexander the Great.
When Alexander led his army into Asia he brought scientists to study local plants and animals.
Alexandria is the Greek capital of Egypt and it grew rich from trade.
The wealth of the city helped fund projects like the Great Library.
The library was founded by the Ptolemies, the Hellenistic rulers of Egypt.
Their goal was to acquire a copy of every book in the world.
Over the years, the collection grew to about 500,000 books.
At the library Jewish scholars created the Septuagint, a translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek.
Euclid, an important mathematician, lived in Alexandria about 300 B.C.
He brought together all that was known about geometry in his book Elements—this work still forms the
basis of many modern textbooks.
Greek culture spread during Alexander’s conquests.
In Italy, Greek culture influenced the Romans long before they conquered Greek lands.
The union of Greek and Roman culture created what we call Greco-Roman or classical civilization.