CLAS 1000 Midterm: Ancient Greece Timeline
SchoolUniversity of Guelph
Course CodeCLAS 1000
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3000 BC Beginning of the Bronze Age in Greece (3000-1200 BC), marking for the
beginning of Greek civilization
2700 BC Cycladic Civilization begins (2700-2400 BC) – created large-scale
sculptures of nude females in clay or stone, often called “fertility figures” or
“mother g-ddesses” (advance in art).
2000 BC Minion Civilization begins (2000-1600 BC) – located in the Aegean islands
(Crete). Characterized by the construction of vast, complex structures,
referred to as palaces, that were the focus of large, centralized
communities. The palaces were built in open areas so that later on they
could be expanded and developed. Created Linear A script. Pre-Greek
1650 BC Mycenaean Civilization begins (1650-1200 BC) – dominant in mainland
Greece and the Aegean, but located primarily in the settlements of
mainland Greece. Earliest expression of Greek culture. Created Linear B
script – earliest evidence in written form of the Greek language. Adopted
the manner of centralized authority localized in a substantial place. Palaces
were heavily fortified and occupied high ground overlooking a plain. Shares
a number of features (social, linguistic, and religious) wit that of Classical
Greece, but is also culturally influenced by the non-Greek Minoans.
Civilization collapsed for unknown reasons.
1200 BC Dark Age (1200-776 BC) – Greeks had an opportunity to reinvent
themselves – this was a decisive period for the formation of Archaic and
Classical Greek culture. Decrease in population = population that lived in
small, isolated settlements. Technology of smelting iron was introduced
from Cyprus to mainland Greece.
Submycenaean Period (1200-1050 BC) – art = vase shapes, abandonment
of figural scenes, with the decoration consisting of bands of colour or other
simple shapes. A number of people migrated eastwards, across the
Aegean Sea to the west coast of Asia Minor and the island of Cyprus
Protogeometric Period (1050-900 BC) – new style of pottery developed
characterized by the use of a faster potter’s wheel. Ceramic ware shows a
notable improvement in terms of the symmetry of the vessels and in the
technical details of the work, both in the clay and the glaze.
Geometric Period (900-750 BC) – the use of abstract geometric shapes
runs wild, completely covers the surface of the vessel with dozens of
bands of small triangles, lozenges, angular meander patterns, and other
regular devices, in an obsession to reduce the exterior of the vase to a
labyrinthine organization of chaos. New technology was introduced, the
population of Greece began to rebound, and increase in material prosperity
took place through trade. Earliest known writing in the Greek alphabet took
place in 770 and the First Olympic games were held in 776.
TIMELINE OF ANCIENT GREECE
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776 BC Archaic Period begins (775-500 BC) –
Art – one of the most dramatic developments is the ability of Greek artists to
represent human figure. The proportion and some poses were adopted from
Egyptian culture, but changed so that the body is more revealing and
detailed. Greek civilization has often been thought of as the birthplace of the
Western concept of the individual. Male statues were naked and women
were represented as fully clothed.
Literature –The developments in literature occurred during this time period.
Major works were composed by Hesiod and Homer during this period. Much
of the poetry written during this time celebrates the individuality of the poet,
but it does so by safely situating that individuality within a range of roles
acceptable to polis. The art and literature of this period encouraged the
illusion of continuity with the “heroic” past and at the same time encoded the
new values of the present in a pleasing harmonious format.
Symposium – a ritualized gathering of privileged males who, after drinking
together, drank wine mixed with water and entertained themselves with
poetry, music, games, and sexual activity. Reclined on their right elbow to
drink and eat with their right hand. Took place in the andron / “gentlemen’s
quarters”, where the women were forbidden. Included both younger and
older men, serving to educate and socialize young citizens, providing them
with examples of restraint and proper behaviour.
Seals – the purpose of the seal was to make an impression in wax of play,
the design in the impression appearing in relief (sculpture created in a way
that the figure projects towards the viewer from a slat background). The seal
was meant to give assurance that no tampering had taken place, or in the
event the seal was broken, to provide evidence of trespass.
Tyranny – the government of nearly all Greek poleis after the Dark Age was
in the hands of local aristocracy consisting of a small number of influential
families, who were thought to be “the best” people in their respective poleis.
There was a great deal of competition among these individuals, and
ambitious members of the aristoi would take control of the government of
the polis and rule in his own name. Tyrant = one of a number of usurpers
who seized autocratic power in a polis and established a hereditary
Ceramics – painted Athenian ceramic was was a desired commodity and
was wildly exported throughout the Greek world and beyond. The “black
figure” technique = men, horses, or other figures were pained in black on the
reddish-orange background of the clay and the vase was then fired as to
give the paint a lustrous black gloss. The “orange figure” technique =
painted tried painting the figures in outline and then filling the background
with paint, so that the figure remained the reddish colour of the clay while
the background became black when the vase was fired. The scenes
depicted included numerous representations of contemporary life, as well as
from myth and the life of the g-ds.
Miletus – (seventh and sixth centuries BC), the city of Miletus was among the
most prosperous and powerful. Milesians were Ionian Greeks. Milesians
began to engage in trade and colonization, establishing numerous
settlements on the coast of the Black Sea and along Hellespont.
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600 BC Philosophy – Thales’ said to be the founder of Philosophy. He claimed the
earth was supported by water and he divested his own proportions of any
mythical elements, Aniaximander challenged Thales’ theory with his own,
saying “the indefinite” is the basic element of the universe. This was again
challenged by Axaimenes, who proposed that the fundamental substance of
the universe is air, explaining change in the universe by appealing to the
process of condensation and rarefaction, by which air can become water
and fire and everything found in the universe.
The Agora – a centrally located open area of a polis where people could
gather. Persian King Cyrus asked Greek polis to pay tributary to him and
the Spartans sent a messenger back to Cyrus saying that they wouldn’t
tolerate his aggression against any Greek city. Cyrus replied that he had
never been intimidated by the sort of men who had an open space in the
middle of their city in which they gather together for the purpose of
deceiving one another.
500 BC The Classical Period (500-323 BC) –
Ionian Revolt (449-494 BC) – Most of the Ionian cities were required to pay
tribute to the Lydians, but the Persians conquered Lydia in 546 BC, and the
Greek cities became absorbed into the Persian empire, now paying tribute
the the satrap / governor of the territorial division for the Persian king. By
the end of the 6th century, the Ionians were ready to revolt. The Persian
King at the time was named Darius I. The Ionians seeked support from
other Greek cities on the mainland but only Athens and Eretia send them
ships. The Greeks captured the city of Sardis but before they reached the
heart of the city, a fire broke out and burned it down. 494 BC, a naval battle
took place and the Persians captured and destroyed the city of Miletus,
enslaving the inhabitants who survived.
Marathon (492 BC) – King Darius was determined to punish Athens and
Eretia for their role in aiding the Ionians revolt and the Greek poleis who
contributed military power. Darius sent his son-in-law Mardonius with a fleet
and army to invade mainland Greece, but the army had suffered so many
substantial losses along the way, especially the navy who was taken down
by storm in the Northern Aegean Sea. Ertria was easily overcome and the
surviving population was enslaved and transported to Asia, the city’s
sanctuaries were burned down in retaliation for those of Sardis that were
destroyed by the fire during the Ionian Revolt. Athenian forces were
outnumbered by the Persians. Hoplite tactics turned out to be more of a
match for the less equipped Persians. The Persians set sail for Attica but by
the time they arrived the Athenian troops were already there, so they turned
around and sailed back to Asia.
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