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Lecture#1-Introduction to Greek Culture

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University of Toronto St. George
Victoria Wohl

Ernie Tam20120109Lecture 1Introduction to Greek CultureGreeks defined themselves by what they are not Eg Canadians are not Americans Canadians are not English nor French Greeks were described as barbariansThe word was used to describe Phoenicians bc their dialect sounded like barb barb barb Herodotus The Babylonians are like the Greeks except they prostitute their daughters Big themes Clothing distinguished the different cultures Social structure Males vs females Greeks defined their masculinity on clothing Trousers worn by other cultures were viewed as something to hide oMen were rational Women were irrational Women had to stay at home Through these differences the Greek defined what it meant to be a Greek Being humans means having a limit on your power God storieslike humans but are much more powerfulimmortal These are all themes used to describe their culture Insiders view on Greeks culture by getting an outsider view on these outer cultures oThe barbarian is not a barbarian from their own perspective When the PersiansEgyptians talked to one another they did not think they were barb barb barb oThese cultures did not think they were inferior For the others Greeks were viewed as barbarians Persia invaded Greece twice In this course we will never see the perspective of the Persians We always view this aspect of history from Greeks point of view When we talk about women we are seeing a male imaginationperspective of women oThis imagination will strike us as extremely farfetched oEg A medical writer had the hypothesis that a female uterus was a little animal that ran around her body looking for sperm That is what made them irrational what Our job is to ask Why do Greeks view femininity through this way Defining yourself by what you are not has consequences on your daily lifeoTake example above what follows is that women are not allowed to vote handle their own finance oThese thoughts by Greek culture have consequences on how society is run Political structure is what is affected as well The way they got drunk was also an indicator of Greek Culture right and wrong way of drinking oIn Greek perspective drinking wrong was drinking fermented grain beeroDrink in communities wine and in educated setting is the RIGHT way of drinking
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