Time: Especially 1 millennium BC and first half of the first millennium AD – ca. 1000 BC to
Place: Mediterranean world (Greek and Italic Peninsulas but anywhere ancient Greeks and
Romans lived). Keeping in mind Alexander the Great and the Romans took over a great part of
Europe and Asia Minor.
This course will sample literature (Homer), Archaeology (Pompeii), Art (paintings), Politics (the
forms of government), Sociology (gender, social class, slavery).
Satyricon by Petronius
The Human in the context of the divine and the animal. Human consciousness of time.
Lecture # 2
Lectures online are summary only. Response is due the at the beginning of each tutorial class.
Classics- Latin as in “class”- social class, relating to the Roman/Greek world, appropriate for the
upper class, the elite to study.
Hominids – primates, early humans
Homo sapiens – last 100,000 years
Paleolithic – “old” “stone” age.
Neolithic- “new” 10,000
Agricultural revolution c.a. 9000 B.C. (9 millennia).
*Fun fact: There are 3D photographs of the cave paintings at Lascaux, France.
Jericho, Stonehenge, Catalhuyuk
-cf “before present” BP (Before Internet)
Ancient methods e.g.: Greek Olympiads (once every 4 years), Roman consuls, “Julian”
Calendar. Back then they used it, they used the Julian calendar after the consul lost power as
(cf= confrere ‘bring together’ compare) e.g. = exempli gratia ‘for example’ ‘for the sake of example’
c.a. circa “around” c = century
Mesopotamia = middle of the two rivers.
Ancient Near East
-Bronze Age: c.a. 3000-1200
-Mesopotamia ‘middle riverplace’
-3K-2K B.C. : Sumerian/akkadian (language civilizations)
-City-states (e.g. Uruk, Babylon) empires.
-Language Groups: SEMITIC
European: Akkadian and Hittite
-cultivated plants, domesticated animals
-Property/buildings/cities )ca. 3000 B.C.)
-War, malnutrition disease
-Specialized skills, economy
Government (temple, palace, assembly, council)
Accounting, administrative, Law , religious myth
Beginning of the Gilgamesh Epic
-He (Gilgamesh) had seen everything…he had journeyed to the edge of the world and made his
way back.. “He had carved his trials on stone tablets, had restored the holy Eanna Temple and the massive
wall of Uruk”
-Gilgamesh is kind of a Noah Story.
Build walls to protect your city.
Tragic Hero= Flawed
Stone Ones- poles across the sea of death
End of the Gilgamesh epic: Return to Uruk
Gilgamesh says to the ferryman on return to Uruk:”see how its ramparts gleam…climb the stone
Aspects of Civilization
Large public builidings= ZIGGURATS
Like the Mesopotamian ziggurat for example.
Writing systems: like Mesopotamian Cuneiform
-Pictures of single things, ideas
Syllabic: consonant + vowel sound
-True alphabet: different signs for consonant and vowels.
SEMITIC aleph + beth Alpha Beta. The Greeks divided the consonants from the vowels.
Hammurabi’s Law code
King of Babylon, first half of 2 Millennium B.C.
The law code provided some stability, however they had massive equality issues. For instance if
an equal’s daughter is killed by (you), then you would not die or go to jail, rather they would kill
your own daughter. Ergo, innocent young girls would die for the mistake of another girl’s father. Mesopotamia- Relevance to Course
Mesopotamia Egypt Greek Pre History
3d Millennium Sumerian Old Kingdom
2 Millennium Akkadian Middle Kingdom Minoan
1. Nile: agricultural flooding, transportation, national unity
2. Inward Looking
3. Challenge of Hyksos
-Pharaoh as king- god: national bureaucracy
-religion: multiplicity of divine beings
Often animal or hybrid gods
(cf. anthropomorphic Mesopotamian gods)
-concern for afterlife, thus with body, pyramids
Syncretism e.g. Demeter and Isis
-c.f. Herodotus and Plutarch on origins
-Egyptian myth featured her family role, mother of Horus, wife of Osiris
-Isis later featured in Greek and Roman cult
2000 B.B. the Indo-Europeans came to Greece. Link back to Demeter/Persephone (connect it to
Isis). Different languages and different cultures do not necessarily mean different races.
Politics in the Iliad
Thersites yelled out these insults right at Agamemnon, the people’s Sheppard, abusing him.
Noble Odysseus stood up quickly, confronting Thersities. Scowling, he lashed out sternly: “Shut up, chatterbox. You’re a champion talker, but don’t try to have it out with kings”
Relevance of Egypt
Bronze Age Mycenaean trade: later contact
-Greek wonder at (Herodotus, Plato’s Atlantis Story)
-Conquered by Alexander, Rome.
Crete- Knossos Dark Ages were 1100-800 B.C.
Minoans had Linear A script (we have the signs yet the code has not yet been cracked)
Linear A: (c.a. 200) may have lead to Linear B (c.a. 1470)
The guy who cracked the Linear B code used to break German codes. He thought
it was Greek (Crete) but they took over the Minoans (especially Knossos) later.