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oneclass_ANCHIST 102.pdf

Ancient History
Course Code
Dr.Jeremy Armstrong

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Time Periods:
55 000 BC
Middle Palaeolithic Period
Hunter-gatherers arrive in Greec
6 000 BC
Neolithic Period
Stable populations and settlements
3 000 BC
Bronze Age
Minoans and Mycenaeans
1 150 BC
Dark Ages
700 BC
Archaic Period
Kings, Tyrants and the origins of the Greek city-state
480 BC
Classical Period
Persian Wars to Alexander the Great
323 BC
Hellenistic Period
Alexander to the conquest by Rome
168 BC
Greece in the Bronze Age
Geography of Greece
Mediterranean climate (semiarid) long, hot summers and short, moist winters
affects agriculture thus the ‘Mediterranean triad’
grain, grapes, olives as the raw produce
bread, wine, olive oil as the staples of Greek diet
pastoralism of sheep, goats
cattle and horses as status symbols for the rich
long, craggy coastline + rugged, mountainous inland
only 20% is good agricultural land but soil is fertile and conducive to grains
easiest way to travel is by sea
Aegean sea tied Greece to Near East and Egypt
trade overseas for raw materials (especially as Greece is not a natural resource-rich land)
generally composed of Mainland Greece and islands
example: Peloponnese is connected to the mainland (near the city of Corinth) by a narrow land
bridge Isthmus of Corinth
the poor geography of Greece did not encourage the development of a large, empire-type people, but of
smaller groups of people all sharing the limited resources
Spirit of Agon (’αγων) – spirit of competition, developed due to above
The Aegean Bronze Age (c. 3000-c. 1150 BC) History of early human habitation in Greece
c.3000 BC introduction of bronze (90% copper + 10% tin) into Greece
made work and war more efficient
widened the gap in wealth and prestige between higher-ranked families and everyone else
followed by a short period of great growth
village expansion
new infrastructure
better agriculture
c.2250BC a period of severe destruction throughout most of Mainland Greece and the islands

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invaders? internal warfare? drought? a combination of factors?
suffered less severe destruction than the mainland supposedly due to the isolated nature of the
3000 BC saw a longer period of growth in Crete
the most dominant city-state/community in Crete
unsure whether true political centre of Crete or just the most dominant (like
The Palace at Knossos
excavated by Sir Arthur Evans
supposedly served both a ritual and political purpose
the Minoans (pp.27-35)
not a lot of evidence to fully reconstruct culture
had a lot of wealth in trade, as traders and trade facilitators
literate (Linear A)
Chthonic Symbol (snake goddess)
double-headed ax (Labrys)
bull as a prominent animal (in frescoes, etc.)
Theseus and the Minotaur myth + the maze-like nature of the Palace at Knossos
c.1500 BC the Palace at Knossos was redesigned!
possibility that mainland Greeks (Mycenaeans) took over Crete after a weakening in
the Minoan culture Theseus and the Minotaur myth a history?
volcanic eruption close to the island, near the time
tidal wave?
Mycenaeans (pp.35-54)
literate (Linear B readable)
also agricultural like the Minoans
rougher around the edges
more war-like, militaristic
best known for the Trojan War myth or history?
basically one of the many large-scale Mycenaean raids similar to the one in
male Sky God
main centres (in mainland Greece): Agros and Mycenae
Mycenae excavated by Heinrich Schliemann who also excavated Troy
more on Mycenae
also centred around a palace (Citadel)
walls were very thick and large Cyclopean Masonry (too large to have been built by men)
but area was smaller than Palace at Knossos
lion gate
chariot access to the centre of the palace
1400-1200BC height of the Mycenaean culture
a warfare society with a strong political structure, social hierarchy, and trading culture
1100 BC the end of the Bronze Age, sometime after the Trojan War
bronze being replaced by long, metal swords, javelins
new style of warfare: infantry rather than chariot warfare
supposedly there was a Dorian invasion
Dorians eventually settled in modern-day Sparta

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evidence that all Mycenaean settlements were destroyed by that time invasion or other cause?
historians argue that end of the Bronze Age was brought about by Systems Collapse
everything eventually falls apart even without the help of warfare
Greece in the Dark Ages
Greece and the Mediterranean c.1100 BC
the situation in the Near East (1100BC)
most of the eastern Mediterranean in general decline
decline in trade, travel
less wealth and ideas circulating
massive movement of peoples (Assyrians, etc.)
‘power vacuum’
contraction, maintenance and internal security prioritised over expansion of boundaries
not a lot of interaction between major powers in terms of foreign relations, military movement
allowed for the rise of little city-states (e.g. Phoenicians)
the situation in Greece
similar to the Near East, Greece experienced a general decline in 1100BC
period of massive change
movement away from centralised state system
people moving into smaller communities (ruled by Basileus)
decline in population
deaths, migration, fewer births
decline in economy
trade is more internal, less external trade than before
decline in culture
less art (less wealth circulating, less demand, etc.)
decline in writing
writing disappears as there is little need for lists/catalogues (primary use of Linear B) as
possessions are few
BUT still a strong oral tradition
CONTINUITY (some things remained the same)
religious beliefs and practices; gods and goddesses
agricultural techniques, crops; pastoral techniques, animals
pottery, metalworking, carpentry, weaving remained albeit at a lower skill level and refinement
basic household level economy
Cyprus and Crete
seems to have avoided most of the decline problems of mainland Greece because of its isolation
close enough, though, to maintain contact
(cast) iron smelting industry
also avoided most of the decline due to its location, maintained links
did NOT have an iron smelting industry (c/o skills learned from mainland Greeks)
slowly became more isolated, developed its own distinctive culture over time
Sources for the Dark Ages how do we know all THAT about the ‘DARK Ages’?
survey archaeology
written evidence
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