January 24 2014
CLCV 1002 B
• 1100 – 900 BC:
o Development of the alphabet
o Development of the Polis – Greek urban community that proceed the classical Greek
• Was not created by the Greeks, and it was primarily pictographic. The problem with
pictographs was that it can only project things that were object, so abstract things like fear
could not be represented. Therefore, they developed “idea graphs,” instead of “pictographs”
(picture). If they wanted to represent a name, e.g. Macdonald, they would use syllabary,
which is a set of written symbols that represent syllables; although they did not incorporate
• To master these scripts, you have to spend a lot of time memorizing scriptures and meanings.
There are no dictionaries, you must know the meanings. These scripts were only used for
extreme circumstances of importance.
• Everyone operated in terms of the deity. Words that have survived from these societies fall
into two categories: Minister lists or words that relate to the deity. But there are many words
that still exists that fall into neither categories.
• The idea of the alphabet is from the Egyptian hieroglyphics.
o Have extremely weak vowels
o Made up of syllables and few consonants
• How to tell the difference:
o 2436 consonants is an alphabet
o 500600 signs it’s a syllabary
o 600+ its hieroglyphics
• Alphabet was developed in different places within a fairly limited timeframe. It is also an
artificial construct – two different p alphabets
o Southern symetic
o Northern symetic
• After 900 BC: the northern symetic alphabet made its way to Greece; Cadmus (East) brought
it to Greece and taught it to the Greeks.
o Emphasized vowels – took the letters that were not in the Greek language and adapted
them to vowels
o The first Greek letters that survived go from right to left
o Later became left to right
o Use primarily for record keeping by private individuals; one can see there is a lot of
experimentation, since a lot of the forms are not very stable.
o Provided the basis for all subsequent alphabets; such as IndoEuropean alphabet,
which is developed from the Greek. As well as English and Russia. Polis:
• Developed at the end of the Dark Ages but we don’t know how since there was little records
and was almost disappeared. The polis was a closeknit community – function of insecure
times and isolation; small groups huddled together for survival. The polis always remained
relatively small; for example, Samos was a medium sized polis in the form of a small island,
a large polis is considered 1000 sq. The biggest polis was 3000sq2 miles, was Athens.
• Not every Greek lived in a polis, for example, northwestern Greece consisted of villages and
tribes. These people were considered less civilized, since a polis defined your Greekness and
level of civilization. It is not size or a physical aspect that defines a polis, and it could be any
regime and it would still be a polis. A polis is defined in Aristotle’s P