Mesopotamia - land between the rivers,older than Romans/Greeks
City State - Sparta,Athens,some cities become powerful and take over territories to
Transportation in the Greek time was mostly through chariots where we saw the
domestication of animals.
What makes up civilization?
• It's non-nomadic
• Cultivated plants,domesticated animals
• We see property,public buildings such as the Mesopotamia Ziggurat
• There is a goverment (domestic policy,laws,foreign policy,public/religious culture
• Tools (metal,weapons,ships for trade and buildings that the Mesopotamians were good
• There is an economy
• Social classes
• Culture used to be more public
• Literacy - who is literate? why?
Civilization - it is in cities that we ﬁnd civilization,rural sites are usually small and
scattered thus it's difﬁcult to ﬁnd literature plus the literature was produced by urban
elites - may be a bias?
BronzeAge - 3rd Millenium BC:earliest period of civilization:copper used for tools,
around 3500 BC and weapons.
By 2500 BC - most used bronze.
- hominids (homo habilis) (creatures close to humans):Made earliest stone tools
recovered from Ethiopia
- homosapiens - last 100 000 years
- Paleolithic - "old" "stone age" - tools made out of stone,there are no written records of
the stone age:no writing appeared in the Mediterranean before about 3300 BC,thus
must rely on artifacts for information (of stone or metal) - can be done with
Archaelogical excavation:digging into the ground to unearth bones.This was also the era
of the "ice ages".
- Neolithic period - "new StoneAge" - tools began to be made for weapons,music, painting etc..thus for productivity.Here,humans produced their own food by farming and
raising domesticated animals - leading to an agricultural revolution as an adaptation to the
environmental changes since many species became extinct,broadening the range of
supplies was necessary.This was around the 9th millenia.(9K BC) Examples with Jericho,
Stonehenge of earlist known evidence of agriculture in near East.
Jericho - earliest example of public architecture (buildings used by the whole community).
Catalhoyuk:people buried bones of the dead beneath ﬂoors of their houses where
skeletons of all types - men,woman,children and infants have been found
Stonehenge:different type of Neolithic site
- created monument where there were megaliths (large rocks) and these were made
- have to do with the ritual:death and time.The ﬁnished stone faced towards mid-
summer sun-rise other parts of the monument were in mid-winter
- ring had cremated human remains
- place for organizing festivals
Civilization - may not be a good thing for cavemen,nomads,or people stealing things
since it leads to unequal division of power.
Sumer,Sumerians - came beforeAkkadians,was ﬁrst to dominate in 3rd millenium,Sargon
came to power later.They are geographically lower thanAkkadians.Their language is not
related to any living or ancient language but scholars can read it because it was taught as
a classical course/language byAkkadians
Til 2300 BC - documents were written in Sumerian only
Akkadians - 2nd Millenium BC,they incorporated sumerian civilization into their own,
respected sumerian civilization and tried to preserve their culture
- similar to how Romans eventually took over Greek culture but tried to preserve it
-Akkadian was a semitic language related to Hebrew andArabic
Sumerians andAkkadians lived side by side,since 3rd millenium,hard to separate the two.
The earliest cuneiform tablets were of the Sumerian language.A large variety of
cuneiform documents still survive.
Semitic - language and culture
• had city states and empires, • monarchy but shared power system:kings had absolute power
• polytheistic (many gods),anthropomorphic religion (supernatural powers but had
• literature of Gilgamesh Epic,Homeric epics describe period.Gilgamesh:where there
was a story of a king with heroic adventures to see if he can be immortal.Homeric
epics:similar to that
• writing systems were pictographic and phonetic
• later there was direct interaction with Persian Invasions - 5th century,conquered by
Alexandar the Great,Roman conﬂict
Temples in the ancient world were designed for the religion of the culture,were often
Writing systems - like Mesopotamian
Hammurabi's law code:
• king of Babylon,1st half of 2nd Millenium
• Law code:stable,public rules but was it a good thing? Class? Gender?
• Some law codes for women,some for slaves being protected,but doesnt do a very
• Eg.For killing an equal's daughter,your daughter is killed
• if a commoner's you pay 2 mina
• if a slaves,1/3 mina - thus punishments depended on class
• sign - language
• Mesopotamian cuneiform,Egyptian hieroglyphics
• sign of sounds or concept..phonetic,pictographic
• syllabic:consonant + vowel sound "ba","beh" together
• 'true' alphabet:different signs for consonants and vowels [b+a or e],this is what we
Semitic aleph ,beth - alpha,beta
Greeks:placed new meanings to sounds:etruscan alphabet took the Greek signs
It went from the Etruscan alphabet to Latin to "Roman".
Indo-European languages - spread out over millenia,slowly moving east or west so
different languages being spread out
Ancient Egyptian culture • Pharaoh:God-king,national bureaucracy
• had pyramids,temples
• religion:multiplicity of divine beings (syncretism - growing together).
• often animal or hybrid gods (cf.anthropomorphic Mesopotamian gods
• concern for after life,thus with body,pyramids
Relevance of Egyptian Culture
• BronzeAge:Mycenean trade,later contact
• Greek travel to egypt (Herodotus)
• Conquered byAlexander,Rome
• religious interactions:"syncretism" (two religions coming together)
• Syncretism eg.Demeter and Isis:Egyptian Myth:Isis is a mother of Horus;Greek Myth:
Demeter,mother of Persephone
Both myths feature a mother worried for her child.Both are considered almost the same.
Isis is later featured in Greek and Roman cults,where she's worshipped even by Non-
• Shows how religions are open to other religions - Romans and Greeks made
connections with other religions and shared.
• phoenicians:had a knack for sailing around mediterranean,trading,colonies:notably
Carthage established:became a mini empire
Starting from 4th millenium: Mycenean - Ended at the end of the BronzeAge
• Greeks are indo-europeans
• Indo-european languages have
a common root
• seeped into the mainland
• people were already there,
Myceneans formed a
civilization (taking over
• Myceneans created places
(ca.1700):shaft graves (dug
deep down into the ground
and these shaft graves gave
goods and artifacts,designed
for rulers with silver,gold,
• 13th,12th century:Mycenean
palaces were destroyed,
(centralAsia),east side of
Mediterranean was attacked
by "sea peoples".
Minoans:Not greek,but inﬂuenced the Mycenean civilization.Non-greek Minoans lived in
Linear B:Used by Myceneans,used by Greeks and was found in Mycenean palaces:
cracking of code of this language happened in 1951 by an amateur.Linear B used to
record for Greek,which tells us that Greeks were at Crete.This script perished when
palaces were destroyed but Greeks continued to live,less people but culture still passed
• Mycenean + Minoan civilizations during this time period
• Mycenae palace dug up,lots of artifacts found,design architecture of palaces a certain
way • Hesiod:Gold,silver,HeroicAge,BronzeAge
• more useful
• Consisted of DarkAge,ArchaicAge,ClassicalAge,HellenisticAge
Mycenae:Considered major Mycenean palace,but of course there were other palaces as
Ages were described by a metal where Bronze is worse than iron.
HeroicAge:between Silver and BronzeAge
Hesiod:Belonging to the IronAge,looked back at the HeroicAge where all used bronze.
He tries to give a history of the past with additions of what is happening in his present.
Since there was little/no literacy,he had no knowledge of the Myceneans but knew of
heroes who did memorable things.
- displayed theogony (origin of gods)
- works and days (his farm manual as he complains about his brother taking more land
that his father left him than he deserved (Brings out theme of justice)
- catalogue (conveyor of info of gods)
- he thinks of ethical behaviour for his brother
• Meter:Where stress goes on the accent,arrangement of long and short syllables
• 6 meters together- long short short or long long."dum dah dah or dum dum"
• epic poems:were relatively long especially Homer as they were designed to tell a story.
Put poems into books,the Iliad has 24 books
• GoldenAge:not civilized,no rulers,no literature,no culture
Schlieman:German businessman,uncovered Mycenean artifacts,dug up ancient city of
Troy.He found a gold mask,thinking it'sAgamemnon but unsure if it is.
Evans:Dug up artifacts of Minoans Knossos (place):Evans 1899 Knossos
- myth:King Minos,Minotaur
- more than one Minoan/Mycenean palace
- other "Minoan" palaces in Crete
- no walls in art work:seas,bulls (historical interest in bulls),religious themes
- LinearA not Greek,code not cracked
- Evans found a chair:thought it was a throne- reconstructed what a throne room would
have looked like (guesswork involved)
- ClayTablets found
• Myth:King of Mycenae wasAgamemnon (of Iliad)
• TholosTombs (Treasury ofAtreus (father of King),these were impressive but were
• military artwork present
• Linear BTablets were present:no poetry on it but economies found on it,what farmer
lived where,economics distribution system
• there were enough resources to build walls but walls are easy to knock down,thus
walls could be a weakness therefore being protective in case of an invasion,the Minoan
palaces had no walls
• tunnel inside of wall,where you ﬁnd natural springs of water in case of an attack.
-Tunnel to water inside walls at Mycenae,could these people lay siege toTroy? Does it
look like people would go off to anotherTroy?
- Odysseus wears a boar's tusk helmet in bk.10 of the Iliad,Homer knew of BoarTusk
helmet through memory or some way?
Thucydides - 5th century,athenian historian,reports a war
- saysTrojan war is history but needs to be rationalized,said there was no supply of
weapons,that's why it took so long
- No Greek/Hellenic "nation" back then
- Minos,Agememnon are real people
-Thucydides attitude is that it may mean something to him (culture-wise),skeptical,
believes that they are heros.
- [cf.remarks on future remains ofAthens and Lacedaemon = Sparta]
- says you cannot look at physical ruins and think of conclusions
- says if they look at archaeology into the future (us today,now),they'll see lots of
architecture ofAthens but not for Sparta.If they see only ruins forAthens,they wont
know how powerful Sparta was. "DarkAge" ca.1200-800
• no palaces,big buildings
• population loss;migration toAsia Minor where Greeks ended up in
• use of iron (IronAge:Hesiod,archaeology)
• loss of literacy [no more Linear B],oral traditions remained
• During this time Hesiod thinks of ethical behaviour with his brother,we may see such
for the Iliad as well
• renewed trade with outside world
• recovery of population
• rise of polis (city)
• new 'true alphabet but continuing oral performance of epic poems
• Hesiod and Homer try to represent the 'heroic' age - however if it is oral tradition can
they really know about theTrojanWar?
Troy (Edge of ModernTurkey)
• Ilium Novram:Latin for NewTroy (Greeks moved in and made new city)
• Schiemann:1870's:Digs upTroy,Mycenae
• Myth:Trojan war of the "HeroicAge"
• archaeology:no texts,no literary proof,few weapons atTroy
• LevelVI(6) [there were different levels ofTroy made] (destroyed ca.1300):big walls
destroyed,considered a time to be around theTrojan war,could the war be
responsible? But however,that was an earthquake that caused it