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Lecture 2

Week 2: Archaic Greece

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Department
Classical Studies
Course
CLAB05H3
Professor
Janet Mowat
Semester
Fall

Description
Week 2- CHAPTER 8: ARCHAIC GREECE Government By Oligarchy: -Bronze Age Greeks had great kings-“the wanakes” -Weaker kings, basileis replaced wanakes in the Dark Ages -Homer and Hesiod called basileis “dear to gods” -Also thought they had to conform to community values -“Basileus” = often, the leading man among feuding chiefs -Lost power to oligarchies-meaning “rule of few” -Handful of men/council of 100s -“Monarchy” = rule of one man -Rich Greek men called themselves “agathoi” = the good people - The poor are called “kakoi” = the bad people -7 -6 century b.c, power in favor of poor instead of rich -Ordinary citizens increasingly challenged the right of any man to make decisions for an entire community -“Demos” = the people, as a whole making important decisions in several poleis Wealth: -Bases of wealth = land and labor -“Amphoras” = Large pots, used to ship wine and olive oil -Most poleis had iron, but lacked good timber and building stone -“Talents” = a very large sum of money -No great mansions or tombs -Only real wealth found in archaeological research is from sanctuaries -Most poleis had one or two grand sanctuaries with stone temples that got the finest offerings and many smaller shrines where local people dedicated pottery -Narrow gap between rich and poor people = important reason why Greek aristocrats were weaker than the developed societies of the Earth War: -Second reason why Archaic Greeks aristocrats = weak b/c of military -Greeks developed effective way to fight, but gave little chance for aristocrats as heroic leaders -“Hoplite” = citizen-soldiers of Ancient Greek city-states who were primarily armed with spears and shields - Used a shield that could block all but the fiercest blows -Had two handles, weighed ~ 16 pounds -The shield did not protect the right side of the fighter’s body -Hoplites, then created a formation that was dense, a phalanx -Only the man on the far right = exposed -A position of great military honor -Must move slowly -Hoplites almost never stormed fortifications and found in hills -They met on flat ground -The two phalanxes would advance 200 yards and raise a chant then waited to see if the enemy lost their nerve -If neither phalanx lost it, they advanced, running, but kept in order -Greek aristocrats could not afford many armor and could not claim that the community depended on them for survived -Infantryman -A fighter on foot belonging to the infantry -Wore heavy bronze armor (i.e. breastplate, helmet with horse hair crest, shield..) Ideology: -Most important reason for the weakness of the Archaic Greek aristocrats was ideological -No ruling class, no matter how rich and necessary in war can maintain power by coercion alone -Cost of forcing people to do what they are told is too high -Anyone could perform sacrifices in Greece unlike in the Near East and Egypt -Had aristocrats been rich they would have been able to convince ordinary citizens of their close relationship with divinity -The richest men did dominate politics; but their grip = weak -Agathoi claimed to have superior qualities, moderation, and wisdom -By 500 b.c- moved towards male democracy, although aristocrats tried to maintain cultural forms to set them apart of the masses ELITE CULTURE Drinking: -All kinds of people frequented bars -Agathoi preferred private parties = “symposium” = drinking together -The party goers gathered in a room called an “andron” = men
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