Saturday, January 23, 2016

Warring City-States

Main idea: power and authority
City-states → development of several political system including democracy
Setting: During the Dorian period Greek civilization experienced decline
Two things changed life: 
1) identify less with the culture of their ancestors and more with local area
2) government: tribal/clan → city-states

Rule and Order in Greek City-States
Fundamental political unit (750 B.C.) city-states/ polis (50-500 square miles of territory and fewer than 10,000 residents)
Acropolis (agora/ marketplace/ fortified hilltop): citizens gathered to discuss city government

Greek Political Structure
Different forms  of government:
monarchy (king)
aristocracy (noble/ landowning families → serve in military for king to gain political power)
oligarchy (a few powerful people)→wealthy merchants and cavalry (trade)

Tyrants Seize Power
Repeated clashes occurred between rulers and common people
Tyrant: seized control of the government by appealing to the common people for support →  work for the interests of ordinary people

Athens Builds a Limited Democracy
Representative government: Athens → make timely reforms to avoid political upheavals
democracy (people) → citizens participated directly in political decision making

Building Democracy
Draco (621 B.C.) nobleman: developed a legal code → dealt harshly with criminals (making death the punishment for practically every crime) and upheld debt slavery
Solon (594 B.C.) → outlawed debt slavery (no citizen should own another citizen)
organized citizens into 4 classes according to wealth:
members of top 3 can hold political office
all citizens can participate in the Athenian assembly
any citizen can bring charges against wrongdoers
Cleisthenes (500 B.C.) → broke up the power of nobility (organized citizens into 10 groups based on where they lived rather than on their wealth)
increase the power of assembly
created the Council of Five Hundred → proposed laws and counseled the assembly (members were chosen at random)
Limited democracy → citizenship was restricted to a small number (free adult male property owners born in Athens, women, slaves and foreigners only had few rights)

Athenian Education
Only sons of wealthy families received formal education (began at age of 7)
Went to military school when they got older (defending Athens)
Girls did not attend school (educated at home by their mothers or other females) → to be good wives
Though few could learn to read and write even become writers most women cannot do outside family

Sparta Builds a Military State
Located in the southern part of Greece known as the Peloponnesus, was nearly cut off from the rest of Greece by the Gulf of Corinth
Military state → contrasted with other city-states (Athens)

Sparta Dominates Messenians
Around 725 B.C., Sparta conquered Messenia and took over the land → Messenians became helots
In 650 B.C., Messenians revolted (demanded half of the helots' crops each year)
The Sparta put down it barely so they dedicated to making Sparta a strong city-state

Sparta's Government and Society
Government had several branches:
An assembly (all citizens) → elected officials and voted on major issue
The Council of Elders (30 older citizens) → proposed laws on which the assembly voted
Five elected officials → carried out the laws, controlled education and prosecuted court cases
Two kings → ruled over Sparta's military force
Consisted of several groups:
citizens (descended from the original inhabitants of the region, including ruling families (own land)
noncitizens (free, worked in commerce and industry)
helots (bottom of society, worked in the fields or as house servants)

Spartan Daily Life
Had the most powerful army in Greece (600-371 B.C.)
Valued duty, strength, and discipline over freedom, individuality, beauty and learning
Men served in army until 60, spending all days marching, exercising, and fighting (7-30 barracks)
Had hard lives (all weather, light tunics, no shoes, no blanket, hard benches, coarse porridge) → such training produced tough, resourceful soldiers
Girls received military training and were taught to put service to Sparta above everything (come back with your shield or on it)
Had considerable freedom → running the family estates when husbands were on military service (surprised Athenian)

Friday, January 22, 2016

Ancient Greece is the World

In the past people spent all days hunting animals and gathering tree fruits to survive
They did not know how to grow food → had shelter instead of home because look around food
Mycenaean: the first time people gathered together and everyone had specific work to do (find food, make shoes, sharp stones, grow, hunt)
All those are based on water → eating (fish), drinking, transportation, cleaning, growing food (great soil)

Great civilization/ Key river
Mesopotamia/ Tigris and Euphrates Rivers
Egypt/ Nile River
India/ Indus River
China/ Huang He River

Mediterranean → Middle earth (freshwater)
People did not travel far away from where they lived
Greece had different governments (they did not care about each other though they were both Greeks)
Important cities and seas: Adriatic Sea (separate Italy and Greece), Athena, Sparte
Peloponnesus: 1400 islands in Adriatic, Ionian, and Aegean Sea → easy to sell stuff by sea transportation

Lack of resources but had something special (other did not have): olive oil → make money
Grow grapes → wine
Healthy diet: olive oil, grapes, grain
Difficult to unite Greeks because of the terrain
Fertile valleys but only 20% were suitable for farming
Great climate: winter 40s summer 80s
Invented Olympics

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Cultures of the Mountains and the Sea

The Minoans created an elegant civilization that had great power in the Mediterranean world
Greek culture is based on interaction of the Mycenaean, Minoan, and Dorian cultures

Geography Shapes Greek Life

The region's physical geography directly shaped Greek traditions and customs (peninsula jut out into Mediterranean Sea and have 2000 islands)

The Sea

→ Greeks did not live on a land but around a sea (important transportation routes: Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, Black Sea)
Lack natural resource → sea travel and trade were important and connected Greece with other societies

The Land

Rugged mountains covered about 3/4 of ancient Greece
The mountain chain ran from northwest to southeast along the Balkan peninsula
Mountains divided the land into many small, independent communities
Land transportation was difficult because of the uneven terrain
Small part land was arable and had small streams → could not support large population (at most a few million) → seek new sites for colonies
Tiny but fertile valleys covered about 1/4 of Greece

The Climate

Greece has a varied climate → support outdoor life for Greek citizens (discuss public issues, exchange news, and take an active part in civic life)

Mycenaean Civilization Develops

Large migration of Indo-European from Eurasian steppes to Europe, India, and Southwest Asia
Mycenaean was located in southern Greece on a ridge and surrounded by a protective wall more than 20 feet thick.
Ruled by a warrior-king (1600 to 1100 B.C.)

Contact with Minoans

Mycenaean contacted with the Minoan civilization through either trade or war
Influences -
1) Saw the value of seaborne trade (eastern Mediterranean)
2) writing system and decorated vases
(religious practice, art, politics, literature)

The Trojan War

During the 1200s B.C., the Mycenaeans fought a ten-year war against Troy
Because a Troy prince had kidnapped Helen, the beautiful wife of a Greek king
This attack on Troy was almost certainly one of the last Mycenaean battle campaigns

Greek Culture Declines Under the Dorians

Not long after the Trojan War, Mycenaean civilization collapsed
Around 1200 B.C., sea raiders attacked and burned many Mycenaean cities (Dorians - far less advanced than Mycenaeans)
Greeks appear to have temporarily lost the art of writing during the Dorian Age
No written record exists (400-year period between 1150 and 750 B.C.) → little known about history

Epics of Homer

Homer, the greatest storyteller also was a blind man
Composed his epics, narrative poem celebrating heroic deeds (750-700 B.C.)
The Iliad (backdrop is Trojan War) - one of Homer's great epic poems
Heroes are warriors: Achilles and Hector
→ Learn to be brave, to fight at the front, striving to win great fame for my father, for myself
→ Give insight into the Greek heroic ideal of arete (virtue and excellence)
→ Display this ideal on battlefield or in athletic

Greeks Create Myths

The Greeks developed a rich set of myths about gods → understand the mysteries of nature and the power of human passions
Source: the works of Homer and another epic, Theogony by Hesiod
Greeks attributed human qualities to their gods → gods quarreled and competed with each other constantly