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University of Guelph
HIST 2850
John Walsh

Lecture 1 Mythical background to Greek history  Proximity to what we know now as Italy, leads to interactions. Which eventually influences the roman history. The land and the People  Rugged land. Most lived in isolation of mountain valleys. Accounts the difference between Athens and Sparta (for example)  Also people of the sea. This accounts for the dominance and prominence of the Greek navy. Rule by the sea  Eratosthenes created the map of Greece and the land around. 194. BC  Greek history begins near the end of the last ice age , some time around 10000 BC  Neo-lithium < 3000 BC. Lived a "new Stone Age" living in small groups around caves  Around 3000 BC something happened that changed the Greek world  At the same time much more advanced civilizations existed. These cultures had an advantage over the Greeks. It was how to combine copper and tin to produce bronze. Produce sturdy weapons and such.  By proximity of trade routes the Greeks discovered the creation of bronze.  Minoans 3000 to 1800-1100 BC  Bronze Age Minoans flourished. No literature, language is undecipherable.  Artistic, creative, mercantile people. Palace had no fortifications lived in peace on the island and the strength of navy. Dominant supreme power. Arthur Evans: King Minos  Believed he excavated king Minos' palace.  King Minos was the legendary leader of Crete  His father was Zeus. According to myth, Zeus abducted, raped Europa. According to the Greeks Zeus did this a lot.  Alexander the greats mother made the claim that Zeus has visited her and impregnated her. He claimed divinity because of this. His divinity was accepted because of the idea that this was something that Zeus normally did.  Birth of another divine child, Jesus.  Alexander the Great established the sovereignty of our culture today.  Zeus to Crete with Europa.  o Acknowledged the technology from the east. Symbolically represents learning from the east.  Greek alphabet is adapted from the east as well. Minos, Pasiphae, and Poseidon  Child born is Minos and wants to be king of Crete. And asks Poseidon to help him become king and Poseidon agrees and demands the sacrifice of his most prized bull. Attempts to cheat the god and give him a lesser bull. Watches his wife fall in love with the bull.  His wife consults a man named Daedalus, who builds a cow for her so she can preform beastiality with the bull  Thus, the birth of the Minotaur, grows up and develops a taste for human flesh and lives in a maze beneath the palace.  The myth of the Minotaur where stories created by slaves that were taken from the mainland to Crete. The palace seems like a maze.  Mainland overthrew the island and took power. The myth of Theseus who goes to Crete and kills the Minotaur. Mycenaeans: invasion 2000-1600 BC  Many masses of people migrate to the mainland of Greece.  They are the mythical people of the Trojan war.  Begins with Zeus turning into a swan, and seduces Leda. Helen is important to the Trojan war. Greeks where terrified of the power of the sexual power of woman. Agamemnon  The leader of the Greek war. On the way to the war he sacrificed his daughter, Clytemnestra was angry about this and she waited for him after the ten years, and killed him.  The tension between the Minoan and Mycenaeans. Archaic Period 776-490 BC  Date of the first Olympiad. 490 the date of the Persian invasion. Lecture 2 The Bronze Age  Bronze Age Greece  o Minoans and Mycenaeans  The greeks did not invent this.  o important because the Greeks insult the romans for taking things from them  First evidence in Crete, palace was ahead of it's time, art etc.  Mainland 1600-1000 BC, intrusion of new people who bring new culture to the Greek one (Mycenaean one)  Dark Age 1000-800 BC  o destruction, canabalism, etc.  One theory that contributes to the destruction of Crete, is the volcanic eruption on the island of Thera, whole island basically exploded, mass tidal waves, ash blocking out the sun  o but there is no one single cause for the destruction of a culture  Some people suggested that that volcanic eruption and the decline of Crete culture sparked the idea of Atlantis  In the myths of the greeks we see the decline of the Minoan culture (death of the minotaur) Minoan Religion  To suppress female supremacy  Linguistic evidence  o They inscribed on the clay tablets symbols (Linear A)  has yet to be deciphered o This was replaced by Linear B (by mycenaeans) o  was deciphered (shows the supremacy of this culture)  The important thing that this does tell us that Mycenaean culture took over the Minoan one Mycenaeans  Series of mainland palaces  Cyclopean Walls: Tiryns o Built on fortified hill sides; military built  Architecture was not meant to delight; it was built by warriors  o real military purpose o menacing type of architecture  Evidence of great wealth  Great gold work; hoarding of treasures  o swords, daggers, weaponry  Different kind of artistic sensibility  Tomb of Clytemnestra o Different kinds of burials o Hoarding o Massive tombs o Wealth was more important; strict hierarchy  Wanax < name given to the Mycenaean King  o Ancient warrior king  Some will suggest the King had some sort of proximity to the divine  Centrally as a king he was a warlord  The Wanax rules and has the right to do so because he is a warlord  With a revolution in battle (shared experience) leads to greek democracy  Political participation, often follows participation in battle  Figure eight shields and chariot warfare  Best literally evidence of Mycenaean war comes from Homer  o his accounts are often different than the images from the Mycenaean time period Hittites, Ahhiyawa, Archaea  Reference to the Mycenaeans  o Letter from Hittites to Ahhiyawa (might be a corruption of Archaea)  The Hittites were very advanced military people, who respected the Archaea  o Highly mobile chariot warfare  Hittite reference to Troy  1200, period of collapse  Entire Mediterranean entered a period of collapse  Resources are consumed in a less effective way  o populations collapse in city centers  Hittites also collapse  o Probably due to a number of problems  Egyptians nearly collapse as well  o refer to mysterious "sea people"  Huge amounts of people where on the move, trying to reestablish themselves  In a 1000 the world leaves the Bronze Age and enters the Dark Age  o the world becomes illiterate o Great cities are abandoned o Period of migration  Iron Age o Period of massive cultural decline on every single part  Except for the only advances made in weapons in technology Lecture 3 The Iliad 1. Establish the cultural and mythical context of later periods of Greek history 2. Identify the role of the Iliad in shaping the Greek character 3. use mythological 'history' to bridge the Greek and Roman world  matters very little if the incidents in the Iliad actually occurred  o they were important to the Greek fundamentally  The linking story in the Iliad to the Romans is the Trojan war Homer  He did not invent or create the stories within the Iliad  o The stories where already 400 years old after he wrote them down  Greeks gained the ability to write and the first thing that happened was that these stories were written  Who was he?  Where did he live?  Method of recording these poems  What are they about? o they are about how males in that particular society should behave  AD 1100, Byzantium  Fragments of papyri  Homers story dates to the 1200 destruction of a city (Troy) Wedding of Peleus and Thetis  End of the Bronze Age  o The war emerged from a wedding o Thetis (divine goddess) o All the gods and goddess were invited except for Eris o  She was the goddess of strife  The greeks believe that strife was a woman o She showed up to the wedding uninvited o Brings a golden apple and throws it into the wedding party o  one word on it "the most beautiful" o Three hands grab for the apple, belong to Athena, Aphrodite, Hera o Appeal to Zeus, but he doesn't want anything to do with this argument o He gives the decision making to a mortal man Paris (exiled prince of Troy) o  He cannot decide which is the most beautiful  Hera promises to make him political master of all of Asia  Athena promises to give him strategic power in war  Aphrodite says she will give him the love of the most beautiful woman in the world o Paris is a young man and chooses option three  Helen, child of Zeus and Leda  o she is promised to Paris o Problem she is married, to the king of Sparta  Paris travels to Sparta and while he is the guest  o he abducts and runs away with Helen o obligation of guest hospitality o  was essential for holding together loosely held city states o Offended menaliuses pride  his honor had been wounded o this demanded retaliation Lecture 4 Trojan War  Hellen launched 1000 ships  Winds are not favourable. Agamemnon prays to sea, is to told to sacrifice Iphiginia, his daughter  o Winds pick up as he kills his daughter o Has to choose the success of mission over death of daughter, Greeks approve this o  Story that portrays tough decisions of leaderships  Agamemnon gather Odysseus though O is reluctant  o tries to act mad to avoid campaign o  Acts crazy by sewing his own farm with salt  Iliad begins with conflict between achilles and Agamemnon  o Although Agamemnon is the leader of coalition, the Greeks retain
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