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Lecture

Greek History


Department
Classical Studies
Course Code
CS 2302A/B
Professor
David Lamari

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CS 2300: Sources; Greek history
Sources – discuss with a picture of a pentathlon on it
(one year before he was born) 700 430 1 – 1 430 700 (1 year after
Christ birth)
430 BC: before christ – 430 BCE – before common era
AD 430 – 430 CE – common era
100 – 1BC = 1st century BC
second century = 101 - 200
-in class – counting down
The Ages of Greek History
3000 – 1200 BC: Minoans/Mycenaeans
1200 – 750 BC: Dark Age
750 – 480: Archaic Age
480 – 323 BC: The Classical Age
323 – 30 BC: The Hellenistic Age
*have to know what events occurred in which age
Outline of Greek History – Romans took over everything. Their moto
was empire without limit. Greeks started around
Delphi/Olympia/Athens – but there were Greeks in North Africa, France,
Sprain, Cyprus – all over. Palace Cultures (Bronze Age) 3000 – 1200 BC
Minoan and Mycenean – not Greek – spoke a language like Greek but
the culture isn’t close to Greek culture – we refer to them as Minoan
and Mycenean. No literature survives – destroyed 1200 BC. There is a
central area and all the people are beheld to the king – pay taxes,
bring food etc. Great palaces exist here – shortly after they get rid of
kings/absolute monarchs Traits of Greeks – didn’t like the idea of one
human being dictating how humans should behave/live their life. The
fact that they have palaces makes them “not Greek”.
Bronze Age/Palace Culture: 3000 - 1100 BC
Minoan and Mycenean civilizations
No literature survives
Destroyed 1100 BC
-wiped out along with most of eastern Mediterranean – disaster – these
2 cultures disappeared

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-greeks remember them because of the culture that arose
-great men existed – only transmitted through mouth but they
remembered them
-palaces remained as a testimony to this civilization
-heros arose – greek myths are formed by these mysterious cultures
- the Greeks cared about this
- Minoans on crete and mycenean on the part Greece on the
Meditteranean
-how did they influence they Greeks?
Dark Age or Iron Age: 1100-750 BC; Homer
-after that collapse enter the Dark Age
-writing is lost/architecture/science/communication/knowledge with the
outside world is lost
-population lost (66%)
-either died or fled looking for a better world
-Greece is plunged into a black pit with no outside world
-singer Homer – created songs and would travel around – people
listened to him sing about this era
-Greeks born in this time period 1200 – 750 BC
-nomadic existence, small clans (brother/grandpa etc)
-stayed in one place for a couple of months
Greek Geography
Polis (pl poleis)
-central area was called a Polis
-there were hundreds of Polis
-polis was approx 10 000 people who were completely independent of
any other polis
-own calendar/currency/holy days/laws etc
-Greece is so mountainous – many rivers it was hard to get
communities together
-werent completely independent – had the same language
-Persian invasion was when they decided to get together and unite – to
stand against the king to resist a tyrant
(Archaic Age)
The Archaic Age: 750-479/480 BC
-period where we begin to understand Greek culture
-thousands of small towns organized as a small fortified area on a hill
-no houses; few live here
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-temple/some small houses – the people that live here live outside the
walls on farms
-if they have to sacrifice or legal things they will go into the area
-it was a fortified place they considered a shrine – religious centre;
otherwise they leave each other alone
-all of a sudden stops, Greeks don’t want to make a federate nation of
Greeks
-never banded together to make a large Greek nation – there was no
Greece in the sense of a united group of people
-they always remained independent citizens who had a central area
that they were connected to
-proud that nobody outside their community could tell them what to do
-nobody was above the law or citizen
Colonization: 750 – 550
-tyrants get things done – maximize resources – but Greek didn’t want
this
-quickly, the Greek world was over populated – didn’t make the best
use of their farmland
-began settling in other parts of the world (italy/Africa/venesia)
-they still maintained their culture – didn’t get absorbed
Tyranny/Revolts
509: Athens becomes a democracy
-greeks shared the belief that it was shameful to have an absolute
ruler
-greeks believed the kings should obey the law – kings not above the
polis
-famous polis > Athens – decided they believed every citizen is as
good as any other
-everybody should be treated exactly the same
-how do we decide whos going to be our ruler?
-if everybodys going to be the same you can pick them at random
-everybody should be involved in the polis – all good to make the
decisions
-if you have to go to trial – randomly pick your neighbours and they will
decide (no judge or legal expert)
-Sparta went another direction – all polis had in common that they
decided what they would be – military master piece, Athens wanted to
be free open culture
-polar opposite but similar because both insisted they wouldn’t let
others tell them what to do
-real Greeks first appear in the Archaic Age
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