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Classical Mediterranean
Mr. Stikes
SSWH3 The student will examine the political,
philosophical, and cultural interaction of Classical
Mediterranean societies from 700 BCE to 400 CE.
a. Compare the origins and structure of the Greek polis, the
Roman Republic, and the Roman Empire.
b. Identify the ideas and impact of important individuals;
include Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle and describe the
diffusion of Greek culture by Aristotle’s pupil Alexander
the Great and the impact of Julius and Augustus Caesar.
c. Analyze the contributions of Hellenistic and Roman
culture; include law, gender, and science.
d. Describe polytheism in the Greek and Roman world and
the origins and diffusion of Christianity in the Roman
e. Analyze the factors that led to the collapse of the
Western Roman Empire.
• Minoans
• Mycenaeans
• Greeks
– Spartans
– Athenians
• Etruscans
• Romans
• Carthaginians
• 700 B.C. – A.D. 400
Greece and Rome
You are here
Greece & Rome
• Compare the origins and structure of the
Greek polis, the Roman Republic, and the
Roman Empire.
Early Greece
• Greek civilization developed along the
Balkan peninsula
Greece’s Physical Geography
• Low-lying mountains make up ¾ of the
– Mountains protect & isolate
• Long coastline with many harbors
– No part of Greece is more than 50 miles from
the coast
• Mild Climate
Greece’s Physical Geography
Greece’s Physical Geography
Early Aegean Civilizations
• Early Aegean civilization arose on the
island of Crete
• We call these
people the
Minoans, after
their legendary
king, Minos
Minoan Civilization
• The Minoan Civilization flourished from
2700 B.C.E. - 1450 B.C.E.
Minoan Civilization
• Discovered by modern times by Sir Arthur
Evans in 1900
– Excavated Knossos, a large palace on Crete
• We don’t know much about the Minoans
– Why?
• Language we don’t understand or read
• Relatively new discovery
End here on 9/17
Minoan Civilization
• Language:
– Non Indo-European or Greek
• Society
– Wealthy, but generous to others
• Government built houses for poor
• Wealth seems to be distributed
– Concerned with leisure activities and sports
Minoan Civilization
• Government:
– “Bureaucratic monarchy”
• Trading peoples
• Government depended on international trade
throughout the Mediterranean
– Why?
– Unconcerned with invasion from other groups
• Little military structures were discovered
Minoan Civilization
• Technologies
– Plumbing systems (lost)
– Writing
• Linear A
• Linear B
End of Minoan Civilization
• Archaeological evidence shows us that the
palaces of Crete were destroyed by a
series of great earthquakes and volcanoes
Mycenaean Civilization
• Group of peoples from central Asia who
entered the Balkan peninsula around 2000
• Divided present-day Greece into a number
of kingdoms, each centered around a
capital city
Mycenaean Civilization
• Cities were built on hilltops
– Royal fortress built on top of hill
– City walls surrounded the hill
– Most people lived outside the walls and
entered on a daily basis to conduct business
– Served as protection in case of attack
Mycenaean Civilization
• The Mycenaeans eventually conquered
the Minoans
• They adopted much of Minoan culture
• Most famous Mycenaean story/man:
– The Illiad
– Agamemnon
Fall of the Mycenaean Civilization
• The Mycenaeans were eventually
defeated by the Dorians
– Dorians invaded from the north
– Used iron weapons to defeat the bronze
weapons of the Mycenaeans
Dorian Civilization
• The Dorians ruled all of Greece from 1100
to around 750 B.C.E.
• The period of Dorian rule has traditionally
been called Greece’s “Dark Age”
– What is a Dark Age?
Dorian “Dark Age”
• Overseas trade stopped
• Poverty increased
• Lost ability to write
– Traditions and stories were maintained by
bards (traveling storytellers)
• Thousands left mainland Greece and
settled in Ionia (present day Turkey)
Ionian Restoration
• The Ionians eventually overcame the
Dorians and “culture” returned
• We call this new civilization “Hellenic”
What is a Polis?
Ancient Greek city-state
Origin of the Polis
• By the 8th century B.C., cities began to
develop into city-states
• How?
– Differs by city
– Theories
Public Building Theory
Rural Sanctuary Theory
Burial Practice Theory
Geographic Determinism Theory
Colonization Theory
Origin of Polis
• Happened to all Greek city-states around
the same time
• Governments of Greek Poleis were unique
to their city
– Athens – democratic
– Megara – despotic
– Boeotia – federal
– Corinth – oligarchic
Common Characteristics of Greek
• Acropolis:
– Fortress on top
of a hill
– Site of temple
– Center of city
• Agora:
– Public square
– Sat at foot of acropolis
– Site of business transactions and political affairs
A Representative Greek Polis
The Two Great Poleis:
Sparta and Athens
• Located on the
• Government:
(developed by Lycurgus)
– Two kings (called basileis)
• Did not rule in traditional sense, but were basically
nobles with special privileges
• Held power to declare war
– Council of Elders (called gerousia)
• 28 men plus 2 kings
• Requirements: Spartan men over 60
• Could veto assembly, replace a king, and acted as
a court
• Government:
– Assembly of Citizens (called apella)
• All Spartan men over 30
• Elected members of Council of Elders and five
• Approved or denied decisions by Council of Elders
and Ephors
– Ephors
• 5 men
• Much power
– (basically governed day to day life in Sparta)
• Society
– 3 Levels
• Top - Spartans (Spartiates)
– Citizens, had to undergo formal military training
– Descended from original inhabitants of Sparta
– Military group – did not perform other tasks
• Middle – perioeci
– Free, but not citizens
– No political power, but conducted trade for Spartans
• Bottom – helots
– Slaves
– No rights, worked the land and performed other labors
• Education/Military Training
– All Spartan male citizens were required to
become soldiers
• Birth to age 7: all children raised by mother
• Age 7: male children taken from their homes; all
live in barracks and are organized into groups of
60; children play games, learn about Spartan
customs, and learn how to survive
• Age 12: each student received an older Spartan
soldier as a mentor; continue to live in barracks
• Education/Military Training
• Age 20: Allowed to marry, but lived in barracks
• Age 30: Became member of Assembly, allowed to
live at home
• Age 60: Retired from army, eligible to be elected
member of Council of Elders
• Status of Women
– More free than in other parts of Greece
• Could own property, move about the city, etc.
• Could not participate in politics
– Married later (19 as opposed to 14)
– Received an education and physical training
– Were expected to manage husband’s affairs
during war
• Located on
the Attic
• Government
– Development
• Reformers
– Draco – first written law code
– Solon – cancels debts, moves Athens towards
– Peisistratus – divided land, gave citizenship to
landless peasants, public works program
– Cleisthenes – broke power of aristocracy,
increased power of the Assembly
• Government
– Council of 500
• Chosen by lottery amongst all citizens
• Carried out work of the government
• Other
– Ostracism – citizens write names of unwanted
persons who would be expelled after 6,000 votes
– Jury System – 201 to 1,001 members
• Education
– Focused on the arts and philosophy
– From age 7 to age 14
• Privatized – parents had to pay
– Studied grammar, arithmetic, geometry, music
and gymnastics, the Iliad and Odyssey
• At later ages, rhetoric was added
– 2 years of military training at age 18
Sparta v. Athens
• Sparta
Oligarchic gov’t
Warrior state
Population in 430 B.C.
• 100,000
– Strong Army
– Militaristic Society
• Athens
Democratic gov’t
Trading state
Population in 430 B.C.
• 140,000
– Strong Navy
– Emphasis on Culture
Persian Wars
• In the 6th century B.C.E., the Greek poleis
in Ionia were conquered by the Lydians
– Remember the Lydians? Why were they
• In 546 B.C.E., the Lydians were
conquered by the Persians
– This means that the Persians now controlled
the Ionian Greek city-states
Persian Wars
• The Greeks in Ionian did not like the way
they were treated by the Persians
– Heavy Taxes
– Draft
– Interference into local government
• In response, they revolted
– 502 B.C.E. to 498 B.C.E. – Ionian Revolt
Persian Wars
Revolt led by
of Miletus
– Helped by
Athens and
– Captured
city of
Sardis and
burned it
Persian Wars
• In response, the Persians attacked and
defeated the rebels
– The Persian Emperor Darius wanted to
punish Athens and Eretria for helping the
– In response, Persia launched a fleet carrying
between 25,000 and 100,000 troops
(accounts vary)
Persian Wars
• Battle of Marathon (490 B.C.E.)
– Greeks defeat Persians
• Battle of Thermopylae (480 B.C.E.)
– Persians defeat Greeks
– “300”
• Battle of Salamis (479 B.C.E.)
– Greeks defeat Persians
• Battle of Plataea and Mycale (479 B.C.E.)
– Greeks defeat Persians
– Persians leave Greece
Greek Culture
• Theater
– Two Main Divisions:
• Comedy
– Humorous or happy
– Ex. Aristophanes
• Tragedy
– Struggle against fate
– Ex. Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides
• Theater
Greek Culture
– Aeschylus
• The Oresteia Trilogy
– Sophocles
• Antigone
• Oedipus Rex
• Oedipus at Colonus
– Euripides
• Medea
• The Trojan Women
– Aristophanes
“Father of Comedy”
The Clouds
The Birds
– Menander
The Stage
Greek Culture
• Poetry
– Homer
• Iliad
• Odyssey
– Hesiod
• The Theogony
• Works and Days
– Sappho
– Pindar
Greek Culture
• Sculpture
– Myron
• Ideal form of people
• Discus Thrower
– Phidias
• Athena in the Parthenon
– Praxiteles
• Life-sized statues, showing humanity/grace not
Greek Culture
• Philosophy
– Pre-Socratic School
• Thales of Miletus – “Father of Greek Philosophy”
– Water is basis of all things
• Heraclitus of Ephesus
– All originates from fire, all is in a perpetual flux, the flux is
structured by logoV (logos or word)
• Pythagoras of Samos
– Founder of Pythagoreans, discovered Pythagorean
– “all things are numbers”
• Parmenides of Elea
– Perception v. reality
• Zeno
– Paradoxes
Greek Culture
• Philosophy
– Sophists
Sophists were traveling teachers
Concentrated on rhetoric
Believed in relative truth
Important Sophists:
– Protagoras – “Man is the measure of all things”
– Gorgias
» Nothing exists; Even if something exists, nothing can
be known about it; but even if something can be
known about it, knowledge about it can't be
communicated to others.
– Prodicus
» Ethics: virtue vs. vice
Greek Culture
• Philosophy
– Socratic School
• Socrates (469 B.C.E. – 399 B.C.E.)
Wrote nothing of his own
Taught by questioning his followers
Believed in absolute Truth
Virtue of the unexamined life – questioning of everything?
» Is this correct?
– Convicted of corrupting the youth of Athens and sentenced
to death; drank hemlock to commit suicide
Greek Culture
• Philosophy
– Socratic School
• Plato
– Taught at the Academy
– Appearances are deceiving, only through search for truth
can you find it
– Major Works:
» Apology – Socrates’ defense at his trial
» Crito – Justice v. Injustice
» Phaedo – death of Socrates; question of eternal life
» Republic – philosophical look @ government; best is
by the learned
Greek Culture
• Philosophy
– Socratic School
• Aristotle
– Taught at the Lyceum
– Taught about the importance of logic
– Major Works:
» Physics – earth as center of solar system; observed
information and classified by similiarities/differences
» Politics – practical look @ politics; perfect system put
power in middle class & combined all types of gov’t
Greek Culture
• Philosophy
ocrates – absolute truth
lato – appearances are deceiving
ristotle – trust logic
Greek Culture
• Historians
– Herodotus
• “Father of History”
• Wrote Historia, or “Histories”
• Not just facts, incorporated legends and stories
– Thucydides
• Peloponnesian War
• Only focuses on facts, rejects influences of gods
and goddesses
• Some call him the first “Scientific Historian”
Greek Culture
• Scientists
– Mathematicians
• Thales of Miletus – could predict a solar eclipse
• Pythagoras – Pythagorean Theorem
– Medicine
• Hippocrates – “Father of Medicine”
– Disease had natural causes
– Advocate of hygiene
– Hippocratic Oath
Peloponnesian Wars
• Greek versus Greek
• Development of Empires:
– Athens – Delian League
• Started as alliance, gradually developed into an
Athenian Empire
– Sparta – Peloponnesian League
• Alliance to oppose Athens
Delian League
• Athens began a “golden age” under
– He consolidated power into the hands of
• Taxed other city-states
• Forced them to use Athenian coins/money
• Deployed troops to stop uprisings
Delian League
• Athens forcefully allied herself with two
city-states on the Peloponnesus
– This made Sparta suspicious
– Sparta declared war
• First Peloponnesian War
First Peloponnesian War
• Athens dominates the beginning, but a
Persian fleet causes heavy damage during
a battle near Egypt
• City-states in the Delian League start to
rebel against Athens
– Athens asks for peace
Peloponnesian War
• Athens and Sparta start fighting again
• Sparta had a large army
– Outnumbered Athens’ 2-1
• Athens had a large & powerful navy
• “Whale v. Elephant”
Peloponnesian War
• Each side tried to wear down each other
• Peace of Nicias
– 50 years
– Maintains statue quo
• Alcibiades
– Athenian politician
– Convinced Athens to invaded Sicily, Syracuse
Peloponnesian War
• Syracuse destroys Athenian army
• Sparta attacks
• Persia attacks
• Athens holds out, but is eventually defeated
– Sparta tears down Athens’ walls & eliminates
the navy
End of
• Remember:
Persian Wars
Classical Greece
Ionian Rest.
Rise of Macedonia
• Macedonia is the region north of Greece
• Monarchy under the control of King Philip II
– Goals:
• Create a strong, standing army
• Unify the Greeks under Macedonia
• Destroy the Persians
Philip II of Macedonia
• Philip conquered the Greek city-states one
by one
– City-states did not cooperate with each other
• Athens was the last to fall
• Philip II was assassinated as soon as he
conquered Athens in 336 B.C.E.
Alexander the Great
• Crowned king after the death of his father
– 20 years old
– Well-educated, taught by Aristotle
• 334 B.C.E. – Alexander the Great led
30,000 Greek soldiers and 5,000 cavalry
against the Persians
• Alexander began to defeat the Persians
Alexander’s Conquests
Alexander’s Empire
• Alexander wanted to use his empire to
combine Greek and Persian cultures
– We call this new culture Hellenistic
• Alexander the Great died at age 33 in
Alexander’s Empire
• After Alexander’s death, the empire was
divided into three parts, each ruled by one
of his generals
– Ptolemy ruled Egypt, Libya and Syria
– Selecus ruled Mesopotamia, Afghanistan and
– Antigonus ruled Macedonia and Greece
Hellenistic Culture
• Alexander founded new cities throughout
his empire
– Most were named Alexandria
• Most famous is in Egypt
• These helped to merged Greek and
Persian cultures
Large Harbor (up to 1,200 ships)
Great Library
Zoo & Botanical Garden
Museum (first ever)
Institute for Scientific
Hellenistic Culture
• Philosophy
– Cynicism
• Founded by Diogenes
• People should give up material luxuries
– Epicurianism
• Founded by Epicurius
• Avoid joy & pain by accepting the world as it is
– Stoicism
• Founded by Zeno
• Gain happiness by ignoring emotion and following
Hellenistic Culture
• Science
– Euclid –Elements of Geometry
– Eratosthenes – estimated circumference of
earth to within 1% of correct figure
– Archimedes – invented compound pulley and
cylinder screw, discovered principle of
buoyancy and of the lever
Origins of Rome
• Many diverse peoples occupied the Italian
peninsula by the time of Greek
– Umbrians in the north
– Latins in the central plain
– Oscans in the south
• Eventually, most of these peoples came to
be dominated by the Etruscans
• Rome, as a city, was probably settled by
800 or 700 B.C.E. by the local Latin
– Traditional date: 753 B.C.
• Mythical Founding:
– Romulus and Remus
• Lived in fortified city-states
• These city-states formed confederacies
• Agrarian
– Forced conquered peoples to work the farms
• Borrowed & adopted Greek religion, Greek
• The Tarquins, a rich Etruscan family, were
installed as kings of Rome by the
• Under Tarquin rule, the people of Rome
learned how to use bricks and tile
• The Tarquins also built many temples
End of Tarquin Rule
• “Rape of Lucretia”
– Legend about the end of
Tarquin rule
– Led to abolishment of
monarchy by Junius
Brutus in 509 B.C.E.
– In it’s place, a republic
was established
“Rape of Lucretia” by Titian
Roman Republic
• Government – Major Positions
– Consuls (2)
See handout for
more detailed
• Head of government, act as commanders-in-chief.
Become senators at the end of term.
– Senate (300)
• Supervise government matters, especially military
and foreign affairs. Serve for life.
– Tribunes (10)
• Guard rights of plebeians can veto senators and
other officials. Serve for one year.
Roman Republic
• Army
– Origins – volunteer-based, used Greek tactics
– Developed into legions
• 6,000 men, subdivided into groups
of 60-120
• Soldiers were called legionaries
– Military strength was vital
• Physical geography left Rome
open to invasion
Punic Wars
• The other major power in the western
Mediterranean was Carthage
– Remember, Carthage was originally a
Phoenician colony
– It developed a large trading empire in the
western half of the Mediterranean
Carthaginian Empire
First Punic War
(264 B.C.E. – 241 B.C.E.)
• 264 B.C.E. – Carthage threatens to invade
First Punic War
(264 B.C.E. – 241 B.C.E.)
• In response, Rome invaded Sicily and
conquered the Carthaginian colonies there
• Carthage had a powerful fleet, and used it
to stop Roman aggression
First Punic War
(264 B.C.E. – 241 B.C.E.)
• Rome built a huge fleet to attack the
– Used grappling hooks to board ships and fight
hand to hand
• Rome destroyed the Carthaginian fleet
and threatened to invade Carthage
First Punic War
(264 B.C.E. – 241 B.C.E.)
• In response, the Carthaginians asked for
– 241 B.C.E.
– They were forced to pay a large indemnity
• Indemnity – payment for damages
Second Punic War
(219 B.C.E. – 202 B.C.E.)
• 221 B.C.E. – Hannibal becomes general of
Carthaginian army in Spain
• 219 B.C.E. – Hannibal conquers Roman
city in Spain
• Hannibal then invades Italy over the Alps
Hannibal Crosses the Alps
• About 40,000
• About 40
• Weather killed
about ½ of
troops and
Hannibal’s Route
Second Punic
(219 B.C.E. –
202 B.C.E.)
• Hannibal
enters Italy and
starts to
destroy the
• Rome sends
its legions –
they meet at
the Battle of
Second Punic War
(219 B.C.E. – 202 B.C.E.)
• Rome is in trouble – How can she be
• Rome decides to invade Carthage
– Led by Scipio
Second Punic War
(219 B.C.E. – 202 B.C.E.)
• Scipio defeats the Carthaginians at Zama,
in Africa near Carthage
Second Punic War
(219 B.C.E. – 202 B.C.E.)
• Carthage asks for peace
– Rome makes them pay another large
– Rome destroys all of the Carthaginian
– Rome gains Carthaginian colonies in Spain
Third Punic War
(149 B.C.E. - 146 B.C.E.)
• Carthage can no longer have an army or
• Carthage has no empire
• This allows Carthage to recover
Third Punic War
(149 B.C.E. - 146 B.C.E.)
• Cato, Roman Senator, encourages war against
– Reason: Residual anger, Carthage rearmed
• Rome invades, takes 3 years of heavy fighting to win
• Rome destroys Carthage
– Tears down walls
– Burns city to ground
– Sells citizens into slavery
Punic Wars Review
Punic Wars: Result
Rome rules all of
the Western
Rome in the Eastern
• During the Punic Wars, Rome also begins to
extend her power into the Eastern Med.
• Wars:
– First Macedonian War
– Second Macedonian War
– Syrian War
– Third Macedonian War
– Fourth Macedonian War
(215 – 205 B.C.E.)
(199 – 196 B.C.E.)
(192 – 189 B.C.E.)
(171 – 167 B.C.E.)
(149 – 148 B.C.E.)
Rome in the Eastern
• Rome embraced Greek culture
– Literature
– Philosophy
– Art
– Architecture
Growing Social Problems in Rome
• Roman Social
Freed Slaves
Growing Social Problems in Rome
• Conditions leading to reform:
– Latifundia - large estates worked by slaves
and owned mostly by senatorial families.
– Manufacturing and trade managed by skilled
Greeks and other non-Romans.
– Understaffed army
Growing Social Problems in Rome
• Conditions leading to reform:
– Rome's Allies became disgruntled with their poor
treatment and lack of political and economic benefits.
– Slave Rebellions were a constant threat, and in Sicily
one occurred in 135-131 BCE which disrupted Rome's
grain supply.
• Spartacus led 70,000 slaves in a revolt from 73-71 B.C.E.
– Economic crisis in Rome, because less money was
coming in from foreign conquests; fewer public projects
and fewer jobs.
• Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus
– Both killed for their attempts to divide land
amongst the people
• Marius
– Consul
– Allows landless men to enter army
• Army is now loyal to commander, not to Rome
• Sulla
– Consul
– Restores power of the aristocracy
• The Gracchi vs. Marius vs. Sulla
– The Gracchi- had privileged the People's
Assembly over all else.
– Marius- had privileged the Consul and the
army over all else.
– Sulla - had privileged the Senate over all else.
• Pompey the Great takes
over as Consul
– Has to deal with Spartacus
Led revolt
– Slavery still exists
– 6,000 crucified on Appian Way
– Great orator
– His Latin prose style was imitated by all the
most learned thinkers for centuries to come.
– He gave Romans the vocabulary to express
their unique views on philosophy, politics,
and history.
Julius Caesar
• Aristocrat
• Formed First Triumvirate
– Members:
• Caesar
• Pompey (political power)
• Crassus (monetary support)
– Group of three rulers with equal power
• Consul in 59 B.C.E.
– Leads legions into Gaul to attack the Celts
Caesar in Gaul
• Won many
• Viewed as a
military hero by
the lower classes
of Roman society
• Wrote Gallic War
about his
End of the First Triumvirate
• Crassus is killed fighting in Asia
• Pompey becomes rival of Caesar
– Orders Caesar to return to Rome without his
– “Crossing the Rubicon” – viewed as act of war
against Pompey
Julius Caesar’s Reform
• Reduced the dominance of Rome
– Integrated Rome with Italy & Italy with provinces
• Julian Calendar
• Enlarged Senate from
600 to 900
– Included Romanized
– Gives more unity to
Roman rule
Julius Caesar’s Reform
• Socio-economic reforms:
– Public works projects: temples, libraries,
theaters, roads, and harbors
– Colonies of Roman citizens in provinces
– Roman citizenship for intellectuals - teachers,
scholars, doctors, and librarians
– Founding of schools and public libraries in the
Western provinces