Chapter 7- Greek Life and Culture in the 5 Century
Avoiding war was important- had to protect grandeur of hellinic civilization. Polis became
fragmented once again, boding Greeks ill future.
GREECE AFTER THE 30 YEARS PEACE
After signing of the peace in 445- Greeks optimistic
Hindsight valuable- events in 440’s and 450’s are significant
460- Athens allied with Megara- access to the port of Pegae
450- many more alliances formed, Leontini, rival of Corinth. Commerce with western Greeks
played a key role in Athenian economy, eventually other greek cities adopted their currency
Athens had an interest in the lands of the west- Pericles decision to found a colony in Italy
Athens interest in Thrace and the Black sea- imported lots of grain and timber
440 -Revolt in the east, feared the survival of Athens empire. Samos almost won control of
Athens once, aided with help from Sardis. Byzantium revolted soon after. Athens eventually
confiscated their navy’s and they returned to the empire.
437- Athens established colony of Amphipolis in the north east- strategic to protect Athens
access to the black sea. Amphipolis surrended to Sparta in 424
Not known how Sparta viewed the world between the 30 years peace and their declaration of
war on Athens in 432. When peace hung in balance, Greece had much cultural activity
PHYSICAL SPACE OF THE POLIS: ATHENS 5 CENTURY
Each polis unique in culture
The Acropolis- used to mean just the big hill in any polis. In Athens it was very spiritual-
associated with gods and rulers
Parthenon was a blend of Doric and Ionic elements (pg 194). Rectangle 8x17 columns. Built
Sculpture important to the Greeks. Temples not for congregation but private home of a divinity.
Parthenon was for Athena
The Erechtheion – temple for posiedon and Athena- completely ionic columns
Temples made to show allegiance to the empire
Agora- center for human activities (market, exchange, judicial, social) with a special place for
the gods. (pg 199 figure 7.10)
The hillside of Pnyx where assembly met- important to Athenians – speeches motions, debates INTELLECTUAL LIFE
In Hesiod’s day – universe was chaos, order emerged with kosmos. Biggest contribution
of 6 century thinkers was to throw this away and explain world by material processes
Ionian rationalists focused on natural world. Anaxagoras believed everything was divisible and
the sun was not a god but a very hot rock
Empodocles from Sicily based the universe from 4 elements – earth water air and fire
Leucippus believed in small particles atoma, meaning uncuttable. The beginning of the word
These people were considered philosophers not scientists- prayer still very important
Case studies formed basis of the doctrines of Hippocrates- Greeks didn’t discover much about
medicine, but mostly commitment to seek rational explanations for natural phenomena
HISTORICAL AND DRAMATIC LITERATURE OF 5 CENTURY
Verbally- main achievements of Athens were history and tragedies- important tragedies by
Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides and Herodotus history
HERODOTUS- born in Ionia- exposed to rationalism and very inquisitive- why he wanted to
follow origins of history. Would interrogate his parents about the Persian wars. He would
sometimes change history around to make it more impactful – example of conversation between
Solon and Croesus to represent the communications between Greeks and Persians. He also
included clever women in many of his histories- showing he thought women not stupid.
THUCYDIDES- did a history about the war he participated in, very different than Herodotus-
didn’t believe women important. Exiled when he failed to keep the Spartans from taking
Amphipolis. After that he couldn’t gather info from Athenian assembly, only outside sources.
Believes the truth is the most important. Described as the 1 scientific historian
THE BIRTH OF TRAGEDY- tragedies vital for spiritual and intellectual life of the polis, plays
would go on for days, deal with painful issues- demanded high intelligence from the audience.
All parts played by men, not encouraged to portray personality unlike todays films and plays.
Tragedy meant to be heroic unlike real life so as to not be trivial. No violence was allowed on