CLAS-HIST 1051-100 (or World of the Ancient Greeks) is a class that satisfies the basic requirement of historical context for any Arts and Sciences student at CU Boulder. While the concept may seem intimidating, it’s a great introductory class to a fascinating topic. It’s filled with tons of historical background, and if you’re willing to keep up, it’s a great way to fill your core requirement. Here are the main concepts you’ll need to familiarize yourself with if you want to pass this class easily.
1. The Trojan War
In Greek mythology, this war was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans (the Greeks) after a Trojan prince stole the King of Sparta’s wife. It’s a truly fascinating story and has been written about in nearly every major work of Greek literature that we know of today. The story of this epic battle, the events that caused it, and its aftermath have influenced many topics in Greek history, and it’s important that you familiarize yourself with it if you’re taking the class. The more you understand it, the more interesting it will be, and the easier this class will become.
2. Linear B
“Linear B” is the name used to refer to a tablet script used for writing Mycenaean Greek, the earliest form of the Greek language. Its discovery and decipherment have led to a lot of secrets about Greek history being uncovered. In this class, you will actually be able to look at digital versions of the tablets and learn about its symbols, their meanings, and what the tablet can tell us about how the Greeks lived. The better you can grasp the concept of Linear B, the easier it will be to follow along with the rest of the topics it leads into.
3. The Bronze Age
Mycenaean Greece was the last phase of the Greek Bronze Age, an age that saw the first intellectual and advanced civilization of Greece. Much of Greek history takes place either directly in the Bronze Age or around the concepts that sprung out of it. It’s important to your success in the class that you understand when the Bronze Age occurred, what happened in it, and why it was so influential to Greek history.
4. Greek Geography
In this class, the Map Quiz is a huge part of your grade early in the semester. You’ll be asked to identify around 35 places that were important in ancient Greece on a map. This, along with the reading quizzes, will add up by the end of the semester and can make or break your grade. Doing well on this can ensure a successful semester, and it’s known to be an easier assignment.
Homer was the famed author of two critical pieces of Greek literature: the Iliad and the Odyssey. These epic poems reflected the values and ideals of Greek society at the time, and his works were an incredibly important contribution to ancient Greek culture. His works also reflect his own life and can put him into historical context, revealing a lot about who he was and what place he served in society. You were probably asked to read one of his two epics in high school, but even if you don’t remember anything about them, you’ll learn plenty about their importance in this class.
6. The Importance of Athens
Athens, Greece is a city that still receives plenty of attention and tourism today. However, it was a political and cultural powerhouse in Ancient Greece as well. The rise, fall, and democratic policies of Athens are incredibly important to the rest of Greek history and are discussed multiple times in the course. Understanding the role that Athens played in this part of history will give you a huge advantage in the class.
In the religious sense, Hellinism is the ancient Greek worship of the Greek Gods. However, the Greek Hellinistic period stretched from 323 BC to 31 BC. This time period was marked by a huge variety of events that impacted ancient Greece for the rest of its history. You’ll spend a lot of time on this subject and its philosophical and societal aspects in class. It’s filled with interesting mythology and historical events that will make them much easier to read about.
8. Alexander the Great
Alexander III, also known as Alexander the Great, was king of Macedon in ancient Greece. His death marked the beginning of the Hellinistic period in Greece, and he accomplished many things in his lifetime that are directly tied to Greece’s early history. You’ll read and learn plenty about his significance and his contributions to Greek history, and he is one of the biggest names you’ll hear about as the semester continues.
This concept was originally developed by the Athenians around the fifth century BC and is known as the first democracy to have existed in the world. Many other cities followed the Athenian model of democracy, but none of them were as well-documented as the practice of democracy in Athens itself. The concept of Athenian democracy is one that will play a role in understanding the different politics circulating in ancient Greece, and understanding it will help you to understand the reason for many of the wars and other events that unfolded during this time period.
10. Historical Context
This might be the most important concept one would need to grasp in World of the Ancient Greeks. It’s important to understand the core principles, historical figures, and ideas that built ancient Greece, but it’s almost more important to be able to find the historical context hidden in these concepts. From how an ancient Greek author writes, you can learn an infinite amount about his place in society, the social standing at the time, and how the Greek culture worked. The ability to use the information given to you to make inferences about its historical context is what will guarantee you a good grade in this course.
World of the Ancient Greeks, or CLAS-HIST 1051-100, is an incredibly interesting class that dives into the richness of ancient Greek society. It fills a historical context credit and teaches its students about genuinely fascinating events that happened in ancient Greece. From the Trojan War to the Fall of Athens, there’s a lot to learn in this class. However, if you can understand and fully grasp these ten core concepts, keeping up with your work will be a lot easier.