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HIST 3311 Final: Cheat Sheet

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HIST 3311
Michael Eisman

History of Greece The ancient Classical and Hellenistic eras of Greece left behind a host of ideas, concepts, and art to provide the foundation of what we call western civilization. The ancient Greek dialects are influential with much Greek vocabulary embedded in the Modern Greek and English languages. Likewise, the art and architecture of ancient Greece has remained relevant and influential in the breadth of western society. The muchcelebrated Renaissance was guided in large part by the rediscovery of the ancient Greek ideas through text and art, which were previously suppressed by the belief in the absolute authority of the supernatural power and the church. History was conceived first in Ancient Greece. Herodotus (484 425 BCE) is considered the Father of History, as he was the first who attempted to record events and human actions for the sole purpose of preserving them for future generations. His Histories read: Herodotus of Halicarnassus here displays his inquiry, so that human achievements may not become forgotten in time, and great and marvelous deeds some displayed by Greeks, some by barbarians may not be without their glory; Being the first to attempt such a feat, Herodotus was not spared from harsh criticism for including in his Histories (written between 431 and 435 BCE), myths, legends, and outrageous tales. Not much later than Herodotus, Thucydides (460 395 BCE) with his History of the Peloponnesian War, put his own stamp on History by attempting to present history in an objective way, and to make correlations between human actions and events. Their approach and methods of recording historical events became the guiding light for historians. Periods Overview Paleolithic (circa 400,000 13,000 BP); Mesolithic (circa 10,000 7000 BCE); Neolithic (circa 7000 3000 BCE); Bronze Age (circa 3300 1150 BCE): Cycladic (circa 3300 2000 BCE), Minoan (circa 2600 1200 BCE), Helladic (circa 2800 1600 BCE), Mycenaean or Late Helladic (circa 1600 1100 BCE); Dark Ages (circa 1100 700 BCE); Archaic (circa 700 480 BCE); Classical (480 323 BCE); Hellenistic (323 30 BCE). Geography of Greece The position of Greece at the crossroads between Africa, Asia, and Europe has undeniably played a large role in the diverse and often turbulent history of Greece. The Mediterranean Sea offered an easily adaptable climate with mild winters and hot, dry summers, while the mountainous terrain, allowed for multiple easily defensible positions. The surrounding sea offered an environment conducive to developing and sustaining an enduring culture that was relatively safe from incursions while able to communicate and exchange large quantities of goods and ideas with ease through the sea lanes. It is not by accident that the ancient Greek civilization developed around a significant maritime power. In ancient Hellenic civilization it expanded throughout the Mediterranean. Besides the traditional mainland, the islands, and the coast of Asia Minor, Hellenic colonies existed in Italy, Sicily, France, Spain, Libya, and all around the Black Sea. With the conquests of Alexander the Great Hellenic civilization attained its widest reach. During the Hellenistic era Greek culture expanded to include Asia Minor, the Middle East, Egypt, and the land further East to the Western parts of India. The Stone Age The earliest evidence of habitation comes in the form of a skull that was found in the Petralona Cave in Halikidiki. It has been difficult to date, estimates indicate it is about between 300,000 400,000 years old. While questions regarding the exact age and the species, it has been classified as a hybrid between Homo Erectus, the first hominid to migrate out Africa, and Homo Neanderthalensis, the early human that dominated Europe and the Near East before the advent of our own species. The earliest evidence of burials and commerce in the Aegean which have been dated to 7250 BCE were unearthed in Franchthi cave in the Argolid. A wealth of stone tools found in sites in Epirus, Thessaly, Macedonia, and the Peloponnesse reveal the existence of flourishing Paleolithic and Mesolithic communities in the Greek mainland. The Neolithic settlements of Sesklo (c. 7000 3200 BCE) and Dimini (c. 4800 4500 BCE) in Thessaly exhibit early evidence sophisticated social organization, fortifications, and construction of pottery art and megaron houses. While the Mycenaean is considered the first Hellenic civilization, the various settlements testify that the territory that defines modern Greece was a hub of cultural activity since the Stone Age. Several Paleolithic open air sites have been unearthed in Epirus, Macedonia and Peloponnese, but the Mesolithic and Neolithic settlements found are much more numerous. The settlements of Dimini and Sesklo show that that Stone Age peoples of Greece had reached a high level of development by 3000 BCE with advanced economies and complex social structure. Bronze Age A period that lasted roughly 3,000 years, saw major advances in social, economic, and technological advances that made Greece the hub of activity in the Mediterranean. Historians identified 3 distinct civilizations to identify people of the time. These civilizations overlap in time and coincide with the major geographic regions of the Greece. The Cycladic civilization developed in the islands of the Aegean, and more specifically around the Cyclades, while the Minoans occupied the large island of Crete. At the same time, the civilization of the Greek mainland is classified as Helladic. The Mycenaean era describes Helladic civilization towards the end of the 11th c. BCE and is also the called Age of Heroes because it is the source of the mythological heroes and epics like Hercules, the Iliad and the Odyssey. All 3 civilizations of the Bronze Age had many characteristics in common, while at the same time were distinct in their culture and disposition. The Minoans are considered to be the first advanced civilization of Europe, while Mycenaean culture had a great deal of influence with its legends and Greek language on what later became the splendor of Classical Greece. Either by fortune or force, the Mycenaeans outlasted both the people of Cyclades and the Minoans, and by the end of the 10th c. BCE expanded their influence over the Greek mainland, the islands of the Aegean and Ionian seas, Crete, and the coast of Asia Minor. However, after 1100 BCE Mycenaean civilization ceased either through internal strife, or outside invasions (the Dorian invasions have been proposed as a possible explanation), or through a combination of the two, it is not known for sure. What is known is that the extensive damage done to the Mycenaean civilization took 300 years to reverse. We call this period the Dark Ages partly because the people of Greece fell into a period of basic sustenance with no significant evidence of cultural development, and partly because the incomplete historical record renders our own view of the era rather incomplete. Dark Ages Old major settlements were abandoned (with the exception of Athens), and the population dropped dramatically. Within these 300 years, the people of Greece lived in small groups that moved constantly in accordance with their new pastoral lifestyle and livestock needs, while they left no written record behind leading to the conclusion that they were illiterate. Later in the Dark Ages (between 950 and 750 BCE), Greeks relearned how to write once again, but this time instead of using the Linear B script used by the Mycenaeans, they adopted the alphabet used by the Phoenicians innovating in a fundamental way by introducing vowels as letters. The Greek version of the alphabet eventually formed the base of the alphabet used for English today. Life was undoubtedly harsh for the Greeks. In retrospect we can identify one major benefit. The deconstruction of the old Mycenaean economic and social structures with the strict class hierarchy and hereditary rule were forgotten, and replaced with new sociopolitical institutions that allowed for the rise of Democracy in 5th c. BCE Athens. Notable events from this period include the occurrence of the first Olympics in 776, and the writing of the Homeric epics the Iliad and the Odyssey. Archaic This lasted for about 200 years from (700 480 BCE). During this epoch Greek population recovered and organized politically in citystates (Polis) comprised of citizens, foreign residents, and slaves. This kind of complex social organization required the development of an advanced legal structure that ensured the smooth coexistence of different classes and the equality of the citizens irrespective of their economic status. This was a required precursor for the Democratic principles that we see developed two hundred years later in Athens. Greek citystates of the archaic epoch spread throughout the Mediterranean basin through vigorous colonization. As the major citystates grew in size they spawn a plethora of coastal towns in the Aegean, the Ionian, Anatolia, Phoenicia, Libya, Southern Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, and as far as southern France, Spain, and the Black Sea. These states, settlements, and trading posts numbered in the hundreds, and became part of an extensive commercial network that involved all the advanced civilizations of the time. As a consequence, Greece came into contact and aided in the exchange of goods and ideas throughout ancient Africa, Asia, and Europe. Through domination of commerce in the Mediterranean, aggressive expansion abroad, and competition at home, several very strong citystates began emerging as dominant cultural centers, most notably Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Thebes, Syracuse, Miletus, and Halicarnassus among other. Classical Greece The flurry of development and expansion of the Archaic Era was followed by the period of maturity we came to know as Classical Greece. Between 480 and 323 BCE Athens and Sparta dominated the Hellenic world with their cultural and military achievements. These 2 cities, and other Hellenic states, rose to power through alliances, reforms, and victories against invading Persian armies. They resolved their rivalry in a long, nasty war that concluded with the death of Athens first, Sparta second, and the emergence of Macedonia as the dominant power of Greece. Other citystates like Miletus, Thebes, Corinth, and Syracuse played a role in the cultural achievements of Classical Greece. Early in the era Athens and Sparta coexisted peacefully through their underlying suspicion of each other until the middle of the 5th c. BCE. The political and cultural disposition of the 2 citystates occupied the opposite ends of the spectrum. Sparta was a closed society governed by an oligarchic government led by 2 kings, and occupying the harsh southern end of the Peloponnesus, organized its affairs around a powerful military that protected the Spartan citizens from both external invasion and internal revolt of the helots. Athens on the other hand grew to an adventurous, open society, governed by a Democratic government that thrived through commercial activity. The period of Perikles leadership in Athens is described as the Golden Age. It was during this period that the massive building project, that included the Acropolis, was undertaken. The Athenian adventurous spirit, and their loyalty to their Ionian kin led them to come to the aid of the Asia Minor colonies that were feuding with the powerful Persian Empire. To aid the Ionian Revolt, led by Miletus, the Athenians landed a small garrison in Ionia to fight against the Persians and to spread the revolt. The Greek forces burned the capital of Lydia, Sardis in 498 enraging the Persians, before they were defeated in 494 BCE. The sacking of Sardis invoked the wrath of the Persian king Darius who vowed revenge. In 490 BCE, he landed his forces at Marathon. While the Spartans were occupied with a religious festival, the outnumbered Athenians under the leadership of Miltiades mounted a surprise attack and routed the dumbfounded Persians at Marathon to preserve Greek independence. It took 10 years, but the Persian king Xerxes, determined to succeed where Darius failed, amassed what Herodotus described as the greatest army put together to attack Greece again. The Athenians, expecting a full attack from the Persians prepared for that moment. Under the leadership of Themistokles, they cashed the silver extracted from the dug mines of Lavrion, and built a formidable navy of triremes. Xerxes crossed the Hellespont in 480 BCE with his army and began annexing Greece through land and sea. The first line of defense for the Greek alliance of citystates was at the narrow passage of Thermopylae where Leonidas with 300 Spartans and 700 Thespians held back the Persian army for 3 days before they fell to a man through deceit. The Athenian ships fought the Persian navy to a stalemate at nearby Artemision before it withdrew to the straights of Salamina. The Athenians vacated the entire noncombat population from their city, so when the Persians arrived they met no resistance. They took vengeance on the buildings and temples of Athens by burning them to the ground, and anchored their fleet at Faliron in pursuit of the Greek navy that was sheltered at nearby Salamina Island. While the joint leadership of the Hellenes argued in typical Greek fashion if they should withdraw to the Peloponnese and where to engage the Pesians next, Themistokles, seeking a quick battle, invoked the Persian fleet into attacking as the Greek ships faked an early morning escape from Salamina. As the Persians pursued what they thought was a fleeing foe, the Greck triremes turned and engaged the surprised Persians inflicting massive casualties and decimating the Persian navy. With his navy destroyed, Xerxes feared that the Greek triremes would rush to the Hellespont to cut off his only way home, so he withdrew back to Asia leaving his able general Mardonious to fight the Greeks. The next year, in 479 BCE, this Persian army was defeated at Plataea by the alliance of Greek states under the leadership of the Spartan general Pausanias, putting a permanent end to further Persian ambitions to annex Greece. The victory of the Greek forces at Marathon and Salamis are hailed as pivotal points in the development of
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