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Lecture

Archaic Period

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Department
Classical Studies
Course
Classical Studies 1000
Professor
Christopher Brown
Semester
Fall

Description
Archaic Greece  Trade and colonization  Panhellenic religious festivals proliferated and grew in importance  Prominence of ‘new’ literary forms  Development of artistic expression  Birth of philosophy  Rise of the city-state (polis)  Wars proliferated  Civil unrest o A by-product of the stratification of society o An aristocratic elite is naturally complement by a subordinate poor o Tensions within communities (poor and rich) Rise of the City-states  City-state (polis) is a convenient modern term to describe the most conspicuous political unit of Archaic and Classical Greece: o A central city and its surrounding territory o Ex: Athens, Attica  Example of a polis o Basic state is in fact the polis o Polis is often translated “city”, but typically it means the city and city-state as an ideological concept, not the physical city but the makeup of tradition and character, not just the physical buildings  The ideology, values, government form of the people is what makes up the city o One of the most famous remarks by Aristotle: man (humankind) is a political animal  Human beings by nature involve in politics is not what Aristotle meant: he meant that by nature humans are a creature of the polis, we belong in a political setting. A different type of social organization would not be a natural setting for humanity- the polis is what is natural for us  Polis: central city and its surrounding territory  The arrangement is a natural development of political conditions of the Dark Age o The dark age moved from the mycenean world (which was not a world of politics) and when that unravelled, the communities because autonomous, and from those individual communities larger forms  Idea of the state arose in the archaic world Synoecism (Political Unification)  The basic political elements of early Greek Society o A basileus (“chieftan”)- boss figure o Council of elders o Assembly (of men fighting-age)- recognizes importance of the army  Important to have people fight who had invested interest in the community, so typically sons of land-owning people  More important than everyone is the subset of adult citizen males who fought on behalf of the community, so the assembly defined this o The demos- everyone else  Only the other adult citizen males allowed vote and make decisions  Clan-ties were used to bind together the various group both within the city and in the surrounding region o There are a number of large, wealthy families o Civil war erupts because of disagreements between powerful families o Often families more interested in their own interests than those of the whole community o There were people in city-states throughout the Greek world, and even though they were usually members of the elite, they were prepared to make policies to make the cities work better as a whole and undermine the traditional strength of the family clans and traditional sources of violence and advance the ideology of
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