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Lecture 8

MMW 11 Lecture 8: Athens: Early Greece and the Rise of Democracy

Making of the Modern World
Course Code
MMW 11
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MMW 11 Lecture 8 Citizens, Sexuality, and Greek Drama
Highly fragmentary
o Islands
o Mountain ranges
Stretches out toward Egypt
o Connections between Egypt and Greece
o Mountains come down to sea
o Not room for cultivation, big cities
Rivers small
Communication difficult expect by sea
o Great sailors
o Moved goods/traded by sea
Land cut up into small pockets with areas of habitation isolated from one another
o Geographical fragmentation led to political fragmentation
Small-city states
Developed in isolation from one another
Not united until very late
Sort of united against a few empires like Persians, Alexander the
Important for institutions of western civilization
o Philosophy, drama, democracy, atheism
No revealed religion
o No scripture
o No sacred text everyone agrees on
Not powerful in the world
o Empire short-lived
Culture begins on island of Crete
o Sea people invasion
o Natural disaster
o Division between mythological era of the Greeks and historical era
o Period where literacy may have been lost
Linear B
o Gradually people come back to small households, start building back around 800
Fall of city of Troy
o Helen of Troy
o Possibly a real event
o 1180 BCE
some memory into historical era of Greece, mythology grows out of it
land restrictive, created colonies
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o didn’t have enough land for all of its people
cities in eastern Mediterranean attacked by Persian empire
o revolted against Persian rule at beginning of 5th century BCE
Persians sent 2 armies to control Greeks, achieve hegemony over
Battle of Marathon 490 BCE
Greeks defeated Persians, took great pride in this
o Saw themselves as free persons fighting against emperor,
enslaved Persian army
o Athenians became very important, protectors of fund to
fight the Persians if they ever returned
Eventually took the fund, used it to build up Athens
Period after Persian invasions most fertile, culturally rich episode in Greek history 480-
404 BCE
o Tragedies
o Comedies
o Philosophy
o Enhanced democracy
o Architecture
Peloponnesian War
o Athens wants to expand, Sparta doesn’t like it
o Sparta wins
Alexander the Great conquers Greeks
Religion and politics separate from each other, no divine monarchy
o Vs Egypt: Pharaoh ruler, god on Earth
No extensive imperial bureaucracy
Culture begins here Did not speak Greek
1650 BCE flourishing Minoan society
o named after King Minos
Linear A writing script
Art, frescos
Trade with Egypt, other near eastern powers
Goddess of fertility
o Connected to goddesses of ancient near east
Wrote down Iliad/Odyssey
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