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The Foundations
• Considered the first Greeks
• Migrated to the Greek mainland around 2000 B.C.
• Their kings dominated Greece from about 1600-1100
Mycenaeans meet Minoans
• Value of seaborne trade
• Mycenaens adapted the Minoan writing system to
the Greek language
• Minoan-influenced culture of Myceane formed the
core of Greek religious practice, art, politics, and
literature… which further influences Western
civilization for centuries!
Mycenaean Strengths and
Mycenaean Strength
• To show off strength, Mycenaeans built great monuments like Lion’s Gate
• Kings’ constant quest for power, glory inspired legends
• Most famous, story of Trojan War
Trojan War
• War supposedly involved early Greeks, led by Mycenae, who fought powerful
city called Troy, in what is now Turkey over Helen
• War may not have happened, but ruins of city believed to be Troy found
• War played part in end of Mycenaean civilization, as did drought, famine
• By end of 1100s BC, Mycenaean cities mostly in ruins; dark age followed
• Greek civilization almost disappeared
The Dorians
• Moved into the war-torn area
• Far less advanced than the Mycenaean
• Greeks appear to have temporarily lost the art of
writing during the Dorian age
• No written record exists for the 400 year period
between 1150 and 750 B.C
• The Greek “Dark Age”
Greek Literature
Other Greek literature remains, with a great many works still popular
today. Greeks excelled in poetry—both epics and other forms—
history, and drama.
Homer’s Epics
• Most famous works are some of
• Epic poems of great events and
• The Iliad and the Odyssey,
attributed to poet Homer, tell
stories of Trojan War
Iliad and Odyssey
• Iliad tells story of last year of
war, two heroes—Achilles and
• Odyssey tells story of heroes
from the war, with Odysseus
who was forced to wander the
These two works became basis for the Greek education system.
Gods and Heroes
Legends and Myths
The Gods of Olympus
• Much of what is known about
early Greece comes from
studying Greeks’ legends,
• Ancient Greeks believed in
hundreds of gods,
goddesses; each governed
one aspect of nature, life
• Myths, stories told to explain
natural phenomena, events of
distant past
• Example: Apollo controlled
movement of sun; sister Artemis
did same for moon
• Greek myths explained where
they came from, how they
should live, cope with uncertain
• Greeks believed gods would
protect them, city-states in
exchange for proper rituals,
Mount Olympus
• 12 gods, goddesses were particularly influential in Greek lives
• These 12 lived together on Mount Olympus, highest mountain in
• Olympian gods thought to have great power, though not perfect
• Myths say gods flawed, often unpredictable—loved, hated, argued,
made mistakes, got jealous, played tricks on each other
• Almost all Greeks worshipped
same gods
• Each polis claimed one god,
goddess as special protector
• Example: Athens sacred to Athena
• Some locations considered sacred
by all Greeks
Sacred Locations
• Delphi sacred to all Greeks—
priestesses of Apollo were thought
to receive visions of future
• Olympia—every four years Greeks
assembled there for Olympic
Games; athletes competed against
each other to honor gods
Two things changed life in Greece after the decline of
the Dorian Age:
• Less identity with culture of ancestors and more with
local areas
• Method of governing had changed from tribal or
clan control to more formal governments
Greek City-States
A new type of society emerged in Greece in the 800s BC. The society
was centered on the polis, or city-state. Each polis developed
independently, with its own form of government, laws and customs.
Life in the Polis
• Polis, center of
daily life, culture
• Greeks fiercely
loyal to their polis
• Did not think of
selves as Greeks,
but as residents of
their particular citystate
• Polis built around
high area, called
• Acropolis used as
• Included temples,
ceremonial spaces
• Agora, public
marketplace, below
Other Attributes
• Shops, houses,
temples near agora
• Gymnasium,
athletes’ training
grounds, public
• Sturdy wall for
surrounded polis
Greek Political Structures
• Monarchy
• Aristocracy
• Oligarchy
• Tyrants
• City-states had different forms of government
Working toward democracy
• Draco (621 B.C.)
• Draconian Law
• Solon (594 B.C.)
• Outlawed debt slavery
• Organized Athenian citizens into 4 social classes
• Cleisthenes (500 B.C.)
• Reforms allowed Athenian citizens to participate in a
limited democracy
The Military State
• Located in the southern part of Greece known as
the Peloponnesus
• Nearly cut off from the rest of Greece by the Gulf of
Cornith (map, p. 121)
• Contrasted sharply with other city-states in terms of
outlook and values
• Military state
Sparta conqured the Messenians
Forced them to become helots
Messenians revolted
Sparta barely puts down the revolt
• As a result… Spartans dedicated themselves to
making Sparta a strong city-state
Spartan Government &
Council of Elders
5 elected officials
2 Kings
Social Order
• Citizens descended
from the original
inhabitants of the
• Noncitizens who
were free
• Helots
Most powerful army in
Greece… but at what price?
• All forms of individual expression were discouraged
• Spartans did not value the arts, literature, or other
artistic and intellectual pursuits
• Spartans valued duty, strength, and discipline over
individuality, beauty, and learning
Spartan Life
• Men expected to
serve in the military
until age 60
• Boys left home at 7,
staying in military
barracks until age 30
• Daily life centered
on military taining
• Led hardy lives
• Some received
military training
• Also ran, wrestled,
and played sports
• Taught to put service
to Sparta above
everything- even
love of family
• Had considerable
The Persian Wars
Sparta & Athens Greatest Glory
A New Kind of Army
Dorian Age
• Only the rich served
in armies
Shfit from bronze to iron
• Army composed of
the rich and
merchants, artisans,
and small
• Hoplites- foot soldiers
• Phalanx
The Persian Wars- What
Started It?
• Persians
conquered IoniaIonian Greeks
• Athens sent ships
and soldiers
• Darius the Great,
Persian King,
defeated them…
swore revenge
The Battle of Marathon
25,000 Persians
10,000 Athenians
The last stand of
the Spartan 300
Meanwhile in Athens…
watched as
nearly onethird of his fleet
The Delian League
• An association of Greek city-states, under the
leadership of Athens, whose purpose was to
continue fighting the Persian Empire
• 150-173 city-states were members
Consequences of the Persian
• Greeks felt a new sense of confidence and freedom
• Particularly Athens
• Athens’ power over the other city-states and its
wealth as well as the prestige of victory over the
Persians sets the city up to enter its golden age
Athens’ Golden Age
The Age of Pericles
Stronger Democracy
Pericles increased the number of public officials who
were paid salaries
Consequently, Athens had more citizens engaged in
self-government than any other city-state in Greece
Made Athens one of the most democratic
governments in history
Direct Democracy
• A form of government in which citizens rule directly
and not through representatives
• Important legacy of Periclean Athens
Athenian Education
Only sons of wealthy families received formal
• Schooling began at age 7
• Largely prepared boys to be good citizens
• Athletic activities
• Military training
Girls educated at home by their mothers and female
members of the household
• Learned skills that helped them become good wives
and mothers
• Some were able to learn to read and write
During a time of uncertainty (after the war with
Sparta), many Athenians lost confidence in
democratic government and began to question their
During this time, several great thinkers appeared
“Lovers of Wisdom”
Based their philosophy on 2 assumptions:
The universe is put together in an orderly way, and
subject to absolute and unchanging laws
People can understand these laws through logic and
• Questioned people’s unexamined beliefs and ideas
about justice and other traditional values
• Protagoras
Greek Drama
A serious drama
about common
themes such as love,
hate, war, or betrayal
Contained scenes
filled with slapstick
situations and crude
humor- often making
fun of politics and
respected people
and ideas
Athenians and
Spartans go to War
Peloponnesian War
• Stronger Navy
• Strategy- avoid land
battles, wait for
opportunity to
attack by sea
• Stronger Army
• Location not easily
attacked by sea
The Peloponnesian War
Athens vs Sparta
431-404 BC
Alexander the Great
Rough terrain, cold climate
Macedonians lived in villages rather than city-states
Thought of themselves as Greeks
Had very shrewd and fearless kings
The Greeks looked down on the Macedonians as
uncivilized foreigners who had no great philosophers,
sculptors, or writers
King Philip II
• Became king in
359 at age 23
• Brilliant general
and ruthless
• Transformed
peasants into a
professional army
The End of Greece’s
• The Battle of Chaeronea
• Macedonians soundly defeated the Greeks
• This marked the end of Greek independence
• City-states retained control of local affairs
• Greece as a whole was under control of foreign
The End of Philip II
Alexander Defeats Persia at
the Granicus River
• Alexander led
35,00 soldiers
• 40,000 men
rushed to defend
• Alexander
smashed the
Persian defenses
Alexander Gains Anatolia
50,000-75,000 Persians
Alexander was outnumbered
Ordered a surprise attack
Darius III fled, followed by his army
Alexander now controls Macedonia, Greece, and
Alexander Conquers Egypt
Alexander in India
The Death of Alexander
Alexander’s Legacy
Control of Empire
• Antigonus- Greek
• Ptolemy- Egypt
• Seleucus- Persian
Cultural Impact
• A vibrant culture
emerged from the
blend of Greek and
Eastern customs
Hellenistic Culture
Hellenistic Culture
A blended culture comprised of Greek, Egyptian,
Persian, and Indian influences
A result of Alexander’s policies
Koine- the popular spoken language used in
Hellenistic cities, was the direct result of cultural
Science & Technology
Two major philosophies developed out of the
emerging concern over how people should live their
Greece in Decline
By 150 B.C., the Hellenistic world was in decline
A new city, Rome, was growing and gaining strength
Through Rome, Greek-style drama, architecture,
sculpture, and philosophy were preserved and
eventually become the core of Western civilization