● Although many Greek gods were based on magic (and previous Mesopotamian deities), many Greeks in
the Ionian colonies began to think rationally about the natural world. This sparked an "intellectual
○ This is the beginning of natural explanations for the world, without god/supernatural
○ Some believed that humans envisioned the gods as resembling themselves
○ Beginnings of agnostic views, as individuals began to question more
○ Hippocrates began to try and diagnose and treat disease without supernatural influence
● Philosophers believed that the world was rational and understandable through natural means
● Heraclitus of Ephesus
○ Opened the door to even more in-depth pondering on the nature of human consciousness and being
● Leucippus of Miletus and Democritus of Abdera believed in tiny solid particles that formed the universe
● Sophists: traveled teaching individuals techniques of persuasion (highly valued in Athenian democracy),
wisdom and virtue
● Critias said that gods were invented by man (much as laws were) to control others behavior
● Socrates -> Plato -> Aristotle (each got their start in the social/political reality of the polis)
● Socrates claimed that laws were real, and not just a convention to control the people. He believed they
were necessary and must be obeyed. and so when he himself was sentenced to death (under suspicion
of corrupting the youth) he chose not to escape when given the chance, as he believed he must obey the
law and face his punishment
● Diogenes was the most prominent of the cynics (an offshoot of Socrates thought). Plato described him as
"Socrates gone mad". He rejected the polis entirely and claimed to be "kosmopolites" or a "citizen of the
● Plato took after Socrates on many ideas, and wrote many books
● Aristotle believed in all of the basics of Plato, but also believed that physical desires should be
accommodated (wealth, comfort and pleasure) as they are in essence, very real to us.
○ EPISTEMOLOGY: "The theory of knowledge", what knowledge is and how it can be acquired.
● Thales of Miletus and Heraclitus, tried to explain natural phenomena without divinity.
● Socrates Plato and Aristotle applied rational to moral and political studies. Greek and Hellenistic Civilization:
● Minoan civilization started out on Crete, and had great influence over the Greece mainland
○ Some of their inventory tablets were found to be written in early Greek, which is strange as it was not their
language, and the Greeks did not take inventory like that
○ Cnossos was a great palace built by the Minoans in Crete
● Mycenaean’s controlled parts of Greek mainland and Crete.
○ Mycenae was seen to be greatly influenced by Minoan culture
○ The Mycenaean’s probably attacked troy (in Asia Minor) which led to the great works of Homer such as
the Iliad and the Odyssey
● The Dorian’s invaded the Greek mainland and are often times believed to be responsible for the collapse
of Mycenaean civilization. ("The Return of the Heraclidae" Legend)
● After the Mycenaean collapse, people’s Greek people spread eastward, the Dorian’s moved across the
Aegean and the Anatolian coast. Then a new group (the Ionians) spread across into Cyclades and the
Anatolian coast (Ionia).
○ This era of disarray with no great powers to control the people, allowed for a unique culture to develop
among the Greek peoples
● Homer: wrote many poems and epics of the Mycenaean age. His poems used rhythmic formulas to aid
in verbal memory, until they were eventually written down in the 8th century
○ Government - His poems showed that even in early Greek times, there was a form of limited constitution
○ Society - He described a society divided into rigid classes, determined by birth. Slaves were rare, and
were usually women who served as maids. "Thetes" worked land, and were vulnerable, much worse off
○ Values - Prowess, courage and protection of family/friends/property. "arete" = courage. These became
the chief values of the aristocratic society, they needed to be the best, and only bring honor to their family.
● Polis: was no longer a high place or a defensible rock, as was previously. It was merely a city state,
which was centered on the availability of farm land.
○ "Agora" - a marketplace and civic center
● The Hoplite Phalanx: Soldiers grouped together with overlapping shields creating a "wall" they could
fight behind. They operated as one.
○ Class conflicts were muted for a short period of time, as aristocrats and family farmers fought with each
other side by side in the phalanx, forming a bond Greek Expansion:
● The Greeks incorporated many things into their society; taking letters from other languages they
conquered, to form the Greek alphabet, forming the easiest to learn language in the world.
● Greece began colonizing, giving its growing population more room to breathe, and so prevent civil wars
by making everyone happy.
○ These new opportunities allowed men outside of nobility to become wealthy and important through trade.
● Tyranny began in Greece, as members of the aristocracy rose to power because of his military ability.
This gained the support of the politically powerless and the newly wealthy.
○ (Tyrants were not necessarily bad, but rather a monarch who took power in an unorthodox fashion)
● End of Tyranny occurred in Greece, as the last few tyrants were widely hated for their cruelty (but tyrants
did aid in the development in Greece)
Life in Archaic Greece:
● The Poet Hesiod was a small farmer, and his works gave a glimpse of the farmer’s life.
● Aristocrats on the other hand, hired others to work their land, and so had time for leisure
○ Symposion - "the drinking party", was their primary social life (they avoided becoming drunk, by diluting
their wine in water)
● They were polytheists, and their gods lived on mount Olympus:
○ Zeus (king of gods) and his wife Hera. Poseidon, Hestia and Demeter (Zeus' siblings), Aphrodite, Apollo,
Ares, Artemis, Athena and Hephaestus (Zeus' children) and Hermes, the messenger.
○ Hubris led to moral blindness and ultimately to divine vengeance.
● Sparta: land hunger led them to conquer the Messenia in the 1st Messenia war.
○ They converted themselves into a military society
○ Society - Boys from age 7 were taken to train. At age 20, they were roomed in the barracks but could
marry, and at age 30, they could live at home. They could retire at age 60. Women were given more
freedom than elsewhere. Glory was all.
○ Government - Mixture of monarchy, oligarchy and democracy, they had 2 kings, a council of elders and
an assembly. Council had 28 men, older than 60. Council was men over 30.
● Athens: An aristocratic polis, it was governed by the Aeropaus (a council of nobles, which got its name
from the hill it had its sessions on). ○ Athenians made a living from family farms, growing primarily wheat, though because of poor practice,
they fell into debt as crops failed.
○ Reforms of Solon: Solon was elected as the only archon, he canceled all debts, and freed those
enslaved for their debts, and encouraged the export of olive oil. He also expanded citizenship to
○ Pisistratus: During a time of strife, Pisistratus became a tyrant. He however, did a lot of good and set up
a constitution government. He was remembered popularly.
○ Invasion by Sparta: Hippias (Pisistratus' son) was exiled from Athens, after Sparta invaded Athens with
the aid of a noble family that he had exiled.
○ Clisthenes: "Founder of democracy", forming a council of 500, and an assembly of ALL adult male
○ It was Solon, Pisistratus and Clisthenes that put Athens on track.
● Ionian Rebellion: The Ionian colonies in Asia Minor revolted against the oppression put on them by the
Persians. Athens tried to help, but they withdrew and Persia soon imposed their will and ended the
● King Darius set out to destroy Athens; however the Athenians won the battle of the marathon, ending that
● Xerxes (Darius' successor) gathered an army of 150,000 men and a navy of 600 ships to finally destroy
Greece. Athens made 200 ships in preparation, they were led by Themistocles.
● Battle of Thermopylae: The Greeks channeled them through a narrow pass, allowing them to butcher
their troops. However a traitor told the Persians of a way around this pass, allowing them to surround the
Greeks. (myth of the "300" comes from this story)
● The Athenian navy however, cut off the Persian supply line, and so allowed the Greeks to triumph overall.
The Greeks were victorious in defending themselves.
Delian League: Was formed to protect the Greek city-states from future threats posed by the Persians.
It was first led by Cimon (a soldier and statesmen)
First Peloponnesian War:
● Fall of Cimon: The Thasians, after beginning their rebellion, asked the Spartans to invade Athens, and
though they agreed, an earthquake and a rebellion of helots proved to be too much, and they asked for
assistance. Cimon, persuaded the Athenians to give them help.
● Cimon was exiled, and Athens turned on Sparta
● As Athens gained supremacy over all of Greece, the over reached, and lost disastrously aiding in an
Egyptian rebellion. After this defeat, they moved the Delian League treasury into Athens.
● Slowly the Delian League morphed into an empire, ruled by the Athenians. Athenian Democracy:
● Pericles was the ruler, and limited citizenship, as to limit participation in the democracy.
● He "cleaned up the act" of politics, and all major decisions (political, judicial or otherwise) were decided
on by assembly.
● He was not a dictator, as he was repeatedly elected by the people, because of his incredible skill at
Women: Women had few rights, as they were not allowed to vote, or participate in politics, and at home
they were subject to their husband, and those marriages were arranged. However often times through
mythology, women are depicted as powerful figures.
The Great Peloponnesian War:
Athens and Sparta once again found themselves in conflict. Sparta was sure to win as they outnumbered
the Athenians nearly two to one, and they were much more highly trained. After the war fell into a
stalemate, both sides agreed to the Peace of Nicias, though neither side abided by the rules 100%.
Alcibiades, persuaded the Athenians to attack Sicily, but they failed miserably. 200 ships were destroyed,
4500 soldiers and 40,000 allies were lost. The Spartans, under Lysander, cut