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lecture 1

Course Code
Dimitri Nakassis

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Lecture 1: Introduction to Greek History
-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
-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
-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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