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Lecture 1

Introduction to Ancient Mediterranean Cultures 1.docx

Classical Studies
Course Code
CLST 100
Christina Zaccagnino

of 4
Introduction to Ancient Mediterranean Cultures 1: the Neolithic
Revolution, Mesopotamia and Egypt
Human colonization of the world: 2.5 million years ago. Developed in Africa 100 000
years ago, spread through Middle east, Asia, Europe.
Earliest humans: Hunter- gatherers: Moved place to place, following animal migration
and plant variation. Left some smaller objects, easy to construct out of skin, wood. Won’t
leave much of a record. (Also, areas have been disturbed, too long ago)
Paleolithic peoples: Earliest stone tools, 2.5 mil years ago
100s of thousands of years later- sharp tools
100 000 years ago – precise form
35000- 10000 years ago, made using variety of stones and bones
Evolution in human mind, changes in culture (specific tools/tasks)
Wisdom being passed down orally
Paleolithic people (Old stone age)- Paintings… animals,
People now have free time in order to paint
Focus on animals/hunting
Learning to use materials/paint
Pass on knowledge through drawings
Preserving/recording past
Religious plea for animals/ provisions
Emphasis on animals, not people (missing)
Paleolithic Figurines- carved in mammoth ivory, soft stones or clay
Emphasis on human body not shown in cave painting
Shown a lot of fat- wealthy, individualism, pregnant?
Real people or religious concepts?
Neolithic Revolution (New stone age)- Hunter gatherer groups changed, domesticated
animals/plants, settled down (permanent)
Sustainable resources, sophisticated tools = human culture revolution
Domestication of dogs-> domestication of plants (selective breeding) (seeds that stay
instead of dispersing in wind) -> Egyptian images show ploughs and innovations which
hunter-gatherers didn’t use. Separate wheat from husk, bc of selective breeding.
Living in one place= more time consuming tasks, harder, but better sense of certainty
Living in villages, population growth
Permanent structures (burial grounds, etc)
Development of religious ideas associated with a place (rain, crops etc)
Catalhoyuk, 7500 BC to 5700 BC
extensive excavation, houses made of mud brick (simple baked mud)
ladders on tops of buildings to move around
non related people living together
plastered interiors, hearth for cooking, roof access, bury dead under floor
no clear evidence of stratification (ranks) all the same, no hierarchy, wealth
differences… no gender stratification in terms of diet
evidence for religion, shrines with bull skulls on walls, human skulls, etc.
(common building)
Goddess figurine (near eastern)
Ain ghazal male fugures, conjoined twins, eyes drawn on
Catalhoyuk-> earliest map
Evidence of trade between communities (obsidian)
Week 3- September 27
Panathenaia- slaves were not allowed to participate (religious/civic festival)
Due to clues we have from inscriptions and literary works, we think it lasted 8 days
Contests of different kinds, and an important procession that brought the robe to the
goddess on the acropolis.
Musical Contests
musical/raphsodic, musician on one/two steps to be visible
Nike(victory) appears (nee-keh) when one is about to win
Torch race- winner’s torch used to light altar where cows sacrificed
Athletic Contests
Prizes were amphoras filled with olive oil
Expensive, used for cooking, soap, lamps, etc
Shape is always same(skinny at bottom, full in middle, skinny at top), and
representation of Athena with full armor, inscription “this is the prize of the
athletic competition”
Chariot race, boxing, pancration(wrestling), pentathlon, boot race of armed
warriors, apobates (dismounter) athlete got on/off chariot many times
Anthesteria (flower festival)
In honour of Dionysos
Month Anthesterion (January/February)
Lots of wine (he wears a panther skin)
First day Pithoigia (jar opening (wine))
Second day Khoes (wine jugs)
oThe holy marriage of Dionysos and the wife of the archon basileus (king
oTradition says that orestus reached Athens during second day of festival,
in order to avoid miasma, everyone had to drink his own wine, women not
allowed to drink wine
oDrinking contests
oChildren represented on khoes, at 3 years old had first sip of wine
oRepresentations of girls sometimes, not sure why
Third day Khutrai (pots)
oGet out keres (evil demons) the Anthesteria is over!
oBoiled and ate veggies
During this festival, the slaves who were admitted used to drink with their masters
Children put on swings which were put on pots, swing was to go on pot and
recited some words.
Eleusinian Mysteries