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27 Sep 2010
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Lecture 1: Introduction to Greek History
Chronology:
-the period can be roughly divided into two sections: history and prehistory
-in historical times, we have texts and specific concrete knowledge about what was
happening
-traditionally, we mark the beginning of Greek History in 776BC, the first Olympiad -
before that we have very little evidence and data
-however, a more thorough division can be made as follows
Stone Age (55000-3000BC) - prehistory
-includes Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic
Bronze Age (3000-1200BC) - prehistory
-includes Early, Middle, and Late Bronze Age periods
Iron Age (1200BC - on) - history for the most part
-includes the Early Iron Age/Dark Ages (1200-800BC), which was between history and
prehistory, and the Archaic (776-480BC), Classical (480-323BC), and Hellenistic (323-
30BC) periods
-the classical period is seen as the best, the height of the civilisation, though these
value judgments have faded in recent years
The Stone Age
-no evidence of human activity before 300000BC
-then we begin to see the stone tools of some human ancestor
-they were hunters and gatherers
-recently, stone tools from 120000BC were found in Crete, which shows they travelled in
boats
-by the Mesolithic period, fish bones are found, and people on the mainland are making
Obsidian tools, which they got from the island of Mylos
-in the Neolithic era, farming begins - animals and grains appear very suddenly, which
suggests that these advances were brought in a package from the Middle East, not
developed uniquely in Greece
-not sure exactly how farming and domesticated animals came to Greece: with population
movements, or trading??
Geography of Greece
- in this course, we focus on the current territory of Greece and Western Turkey - the
basin of the Aegean Sea
-however, we also look at the large Greek colonization during the Archaic period - Spain,
southern Italy, Cyprus, and the Black Sea
-also, the Persian empire and Alexander's conquests as far west as India
-large numbers of small, isolated valleys surrounded by hills
-thus, you have fairly small, isolated farms and compact villages
-snow is rare in Athens, more common in the hills
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Document Summary

The period can be roughly divided into two sections: history and prehistory. In historical times, we have texts and specific concrete knowledge about what was happening. Traditionally, we mark the beginning of greek history in 776bc, the first olympiad - before that we have very little evidence and data. However, a more thorough division can be made as follows. Includes early, middle, and late bronze age periods. Iron age (1200bc - on) - history for the most part. Includes the early iron age/dark ages (1200-800bc), which was between history and prehistory, and the archaic (776-480bc), classical (480-323bc), and hellenistic (323- The classical period is seen as the best value judgments have faded in recent years. , the height of the civilisation, though these. Then we begin to see the stone tools of some human ancestor. Recently, stone tools from 120000bc were found in crete, which shows they travelled in boats.

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