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Students will be able to explain
what Greek culture was like and
how the gods influenced this
What do you know about
Ancient Greece?
Students will be able to explain
the rise and Fall of greek
Please get out your notebook, a
book and a computer..
Cultures of the Mountains
and the Sea
Chapter 5 Section 1
What did Greeks Value?
• “Our constitution is
called a democracy
because power is in
the hands not of a
minority but of the
whole people”
- Pericles, an
Athenian Statesman
• “For we are lovers of
the beautiful, yet
simple in our tastes”
-Thucydides, a
Geography Shapes Greek Life
• Greece wasn’t a
united country,
instead a collection of
separate lands where
Greek speaking
people lived
• Like the Minoans who
lived on the Greek
island Crete
The land
• Greece mainly a mountainous peninsula
extending into Mediterranean Sea.
• Also includes 1,400 islands in the Aegean
and Ionian Seas
• Basically, a civilization on water
• Never traveled more than 85 miles
between coastlines
• Rugged mountains covered ¾ of ancient
Greece- only 20% of land suitable for farmingaccess to sea was important due to lack of
natural resources
• Because of mountains, couldn’t unite under a
single government
• Didn’t have roads- just dirt paths. To travel from
Sparta to Olympia (site of Olympic games) took
7 days to travel just 60 miles!
• Today, they have built
homes and buildings
on these steep
rugged mountains
• With so little fertile farmland or fresh water
for irrigation, Greece wasn’t able to
support a large population
• Greeks based diet on basic staple crops
like grains, grapes and olives
• Desire for more living space and farmland
were probably factors that motivated
Greeks to seek new sites for colonies
Perfect climate
• Had varied climate that averaged 48
degrees in winter and 80 degrees in
• Weather allowed for an outdoor lifestyle
• Men spent time outdoors or at public
events discussing politics, news, or
engaging in sports
Mycenaean Civilization Develops
• Existed around 2000 B.C.
• Name came from city they settled in, Mycenae
(my-SEE-nee) on the mainland of Greece
• Ruled by militaristic
kings- these kings
dominated Greece
from 1600-1200 B.C.
• City surrounded by
protective walls 20
feet thick- could
withstand any attack
• Lived in huge
beautiful palaces
• Lived an extravagant life, drank from gold
and silver and cups
• When royal Mycenaean’s died, they were
buried with richest treasures
• Warrior kings became wealthy by
controlling local production and trade
• Wealthy kings used weapons made of
bronze while commoners used tools made
of wood and stone
Influenced by the Minoan’s
• Kings invaded Crete, and flourished on the
island for 600 years
• Preserved Minoan culture, especially using sea
for travel
• Adapted the Minoan writing system to the Greek
language and decorated vases with Minoan
• Legacy survived in form of legends, eventually
forming core for Greek politics, religious
practice, art and literature.
Trojan War
• Legend: The Trojan War was a war waged,
against the city of Troy in Asia Minor following
the kidnapping of Helen of Sparta by a Trojan
• The actual Trojan war was probably a
Mycenaean raid occurring around 1200 B.C.
against rival trading city Troy, and a fight to
control the Aegean Sea
• Many believed the legendary stories of the war
was fictional
• 1870, and excavation of the site revealed 9
layers of city life in NW Turkey, suggesting the
story of the Trojan war was based on real
stories, events and people
Truth of Troy: Trojan War Story
The Dorians
• Shortly after Trojan war Mycenaean civilization
• Economy and trade stopped existing
• 1200 B.C. sea raiders attacked and burned
palace after palace
• Another group moved to war-torn country side
called the Dorians
• Far less advanced than Mycenaean Greeks- no
written record for a 400 year period
• Hard to know about period of decline with no
written record
Epics of Homer
• With no writing, Greeks of this time
learned about Trojan War through spoken
• Greatest storyteller was Homer, a blind
• Composed epics- narrative poems
celebrating heroic deeds
• Trojan War backdrop for Homer’s 2 epic
poems, The Iliad and the Odyssey
The Iliad
• The heroes of the Iliad were the fierce Greek
Achilles, and courageous noble Hector of Troy.
• The story is an example of arête, meaning virtue
and excellence
• A Greek could display this ideal on the
battlefield, in combat, or athletic competitions
• Read A Voice From the Past on page 114. What is
Hector communicating to his wife?
The Odyssey
• Story is about Odysseus
and how he uses wit and
trickery to defeat the
• Much of the epic is set
after the war, and is about
his 10 year adventure
home and the strange
lands he visits along the
Greeks Create Myths
• Greeks developed a rich set of mythstraditional stories- about their gods
• Tried to understand mysteries of human
nature and human passions through myths
• Attributed human qualities to their gods
like love, hate and jealousy
• The gods competed with each other
constantly , but could live forever unlike
Greek Gods
• Zues- ruler of Gods lived on Mount
Olympus with wife Hera
• Hera jealous of Zeus’s relationships with
other women
• Athena, was Zeus’s favorite daughter, and
goddess of wisdom
• Hermes was the son of Zeus, and
messenger of gods
Gods and Goddesses
A few other things the Greeks have
given us….
• On the back side of your notesheet:
– Come up with 5 “ Gods of Worship” that would
be important to society today.
– What would their names be?
– Be prepared to share with the class
• Examples: “God of Sports”, money, etc..
• Facts