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Introduction to the Course and to Greece

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University of Toronto St. George
Victoria Wohl

09/01/2012 CLA232- LECTURE 1 Vocabulary:  Xenophobic—fear of the other  Misogyny—hatred of women  “Alterity” relationship between self and other  INTRO—Defining Greek Culture through the “OTHER”  Looked at the “other” from a Greek perspective.. Women, irrational—affects politics in whose allowed to vote, etc.  Barbarian: opposite of everything Greek—foreign policy  Greek self definition through the “other”  Affecting political structure, social conduct, attitude towards drinking for example o Women, children, slaves didn’t drink at all, barbarians drank too much, drank beer, just not the way to do it—they drank wine, mixed with water, drink in communities, and to facilitate educated conversation  Look at Greeks by contrast of others in their definition of them selves  Greeks relationship to the other after war  “Alterity” relationship between self and other  False and simplistic view of the other—hard to get a nuanced view of that culture  Chauvinist that makes self criticism hard  Alphabet, political structure, artistic style, inherited from “the other”  In literature we see the Greeks interpreting the lives of the others, moments of empathy and understanding, and that maybe we’re not so different and the other is superior COURSE AIMS AND LARGER IMPLICATIONS  2 objectives in course: come to know Greek culture and society in contrast to others— understand dynamics of alterity and defining themselves by contrast  Media today thinks us versus them, religion versus religion, polarizing logic similar to Greek culture  Larger implications  Canada defining ourselves against Americans  Why useful to define ourselves separate form Americans  Greeks matter because they discovered rationality  How do the irrational and rational coexist in Greek culture APPROACH TO READINGS  Take notes as you read: plot, characters, important details  Reading questions online  Some may end up on midterm or final  “Ancient Greece: a Political, Social history”—helpful textbook  10:10am-11:30am, lecture hours GEOGRAPHY AND TOPOLGY OF ANCIENT GREECE  Greece engaged in extensive economic and cultural exchange  Greece had limited resources o Got their grain from Egypt o Gold from turkey o Wood from Macedonia  Paradox of superiority over others and a cultural/economic interdependence  Greece dependant on sea o Control of sea meant control over everything o Power and prestige went to navy o In Athens prestige and power went to those in charge of navy—rowers o Athenian democracy emerged from dependence of sea—giving power to rowers of navy  Greece mountainous o Picture on right—Delphi o Not rich and agricultural soil o Only 20-35% of whole peninsula was arable and usable for farming o Goats, sheep, chicken, no cows o No corn, takes a lot of land o Barley grows on poor soil, fish products, olives and olive oil, grapes for wine o Feast—barley cakes with cheese, wine, grilled fish or eel, little birds, maybe a sheep if important, figs, honey cakes o Daily existence was minimal o This is reflected in Greek mentality—Hesiod—work hard and die o Mountainous nature—communication between different parts of Greece difficult  Villages built in valleys  Political communities grew up but it was hard for communities to communicate over the mountains  Greece not unified until 19 century, when talking about Greece we’re talking about individual cities BREIF HISTORY OF GREECE  Mycenaean culture 1600-1200bc  earlier was Minoan on island of Crete, Minoans didn’t have a lasting impact on Greek culture, and Minoan language still hasn’t been deciphered  Mycenaean period affected Greek development, idealized in Iliad and Odyssey o Society of wealthy powerful kings o Palaces central  full of gold, chariots,  outside poorer populations,  hierarchical culture o Militaristic—walls proving defence against invaders o When linear b deciphered all that was written were tax documents  Where income was, how they were doing  income covered 2 separate villages that were faraway  How much tax, how much women were paid for weaving, etc. o A lot of interaction amongst themselves and others around Mediterranean  Mycenaean pottery found in tombs in Egy
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