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Lecture 1

CLASSICS 1M03 Lecture 1: Notes - Ancient Greece (Full Course)

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Claude Eilers

The Dark and Archaic Ages Lecture 17 March 17, 2017 The Dark Ages (1100 750 BC) On a much smaller scale and simpler were the dark ages small communities lived in poverty and raised crops. They still had Kindships and Kings still led in wartimes with religious duties, but the public didnt need the King to reach god anymore and the Monarchs disappeared. The units were smaller, arranged in the polis, or citycitystate. Each combined laws and religion, and the fundamental family unit had the oldest living male as the dominant economic and religious figure. The wealthy still led. Archaic Period (750 500 BC) The Greeks are identifiable by now in ethnic subgroups designated by dialect they can all understand each other o Aeolic o Ionic Dmos, an IonicAttic word o Dorian Dmos, a Doric word meaning a citizen that evolved into democracy Homeric Poetry o The Iliad and The Odyssey o The stories dont sound the same when translated, the language is formulaic o Every hero has adjective that goes with their names a product of oral storytelling o The Homeric poet was at the end of this tradition, he was the first to write it down, a hodgepodge of wordtypes and beginning of written history Colonization occurs o Greeks are spreading, though the Phoenicians held the west and North Africa o Trading through Mediterranean, colonized Carthage who helped form the Greek alphabet They tried to acquire metals this period is called the Bronze Age, named for the weapons and tools made This led to the Iron Age as weapons became stronger o Greek expanded to Sicily, Naples (new polis), and South Italy by the 7 century, Syracuse was founded They chose land with good climate and fertile soil to cultivate olives and grapes o Literacy increased and storytelling became more conclusive and defined Athens o A polis, or a city that was settled in an easily defensible area with an acropolis, located in the region of Attica o During the 600s BC public authority and government were in its early stages and relatively weak Political Institutions o King > archons (magistrates selected by vote), boule (council of the Areopagus), and the ekklesia (assembly) The council was comprised of primarily exarchons who knew the laws at this stage in its history, Athens had no codified laws, merely communal understandings The council functioned similarly to the Supreme Court (without its order and hierarchy) as they were the only qualified individuals to control the court however, biases came out (e.g. property distribution) The assembly was comprised of eupatrids, good fatheredwellbornaristocracy o In most places the roles of the King was transferred over to magistrates as parts of the constitution were done by the council (E.g. Roman Senate), an assembly where decisions were made by adult male citizens Hoplite Warfare o Comprised of the Hoplite Phalanx o Soldiers had large round shields, a spear, greaves (shin guards), and a helmet, with the shield covering half of you and the guy next to you and the unit acted as one individuals were highly vulnerable o These were made of metals obtained through trade and colonization, creating a circular loop as more hoplite soldiers aided with colonization and trade Tyrants o Needed better systems for organization and tyranny wasnt seen as a bad thing at the time o Unconstitutional monarchs existed though there were still magistrates, councils, and assemblies o Cypselus Tyrant of Corinth who famously sent an envoy to Thrasybulus to ask, how do I do good as a tyrant? He cut off the heads of wheat that rose higher than the others if any subjects rise above the other you must kill them also a metaphor for the hoplite phalanx, describing their strength in unity as opposed to disunity o Draco (Drakon) The term draconian is derived from him He was a eupatrid tasked with codifying the laws of the city he penalized many crimes with the death penalty o The economy was agriculturebased, so farmers commuted who lived close to the city centre tried to farm elsewhere, trying to find more marginal pieces of land They fell into debt to the eupatrids and needed to borrow money for seed If crops didnt grow then the farmers would be declared in debt and rock markers were placed on the land
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