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Chapter 4-6

CLA237H5 Chapter 4-6: CLA237 Week 2 Reading Notes.docx

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Lisa Trentin

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CLA237 Week 2 Reading Notes
The Greeks: Chapter 2: The Greeks before History (41-
The end of the last ice age: 13,000-9500 B.C
• 13,000 years ago the first ice age ended
o A mini ice age followed
• It was not until 9500 B.C. that a warm and stable climate
• Greece stayed warmer than the rest of Europe, but in
B.C, the winters were longer and colder than anything they
had previously experienced beforeà 30 0 F temperatures
• Fully modern humans were discovered in Greece and
35,000 years ago although the population was small.
o They seem to have lived in bands of 15-25 members
o Moved around a lot according to plants and and animals
for food
o Lived in the plains in the winter and the mountains in
the summer
The origins of Agriculture
• 9500 B.Cà temperatures reached what they are now
(modern levels)
• The ice age left wet mixed woodlands that caused sparse
dry vegetation
o In the fertile crescent in the near east (p43- Map 4.2),
changes that would later transform Greece were
• Wild grains started to evolve in what is now northern Iraq
eastern turkey when temperatures started to rise and rainfall
o Could support a larger population: seeds, wheats,
porridge etc.
• Started genetic modification of crops ear the fertile
first evidence of this
o Also experimented with animal husbandry, taming
cattle, sheep, pigs and goats
• People now had a more reliable and sustainable source of
food—they could now set up houses instead of remaining in
one area
o Harvested crops, settled in permanent villages, planted,
As populations grew, new and deadly viruses started to
o Eventually farmers living with these disease bearing
animals developed immunity to disease • In 7000 B.C, a
settlement in Turkey called çatalöyük had
5,000 residentsà the entire population of ice age Greece
could have fit into this one town
o The complex of changes that followed—ie the
domestication of crops and animals as well as the shift
toward living in one location (sedentary life) was called
the Neolithic Revolution. Occurred around 7,000 B.C
and harvested early forms of barley and wheat as well
as domesticated animals such as sheep and goats
(remember from previous chapters that these were
often used in rituals and were a luxury to the elite
Greeks and Indo-Europeans
• In a small far-off land, who were the Greeks?
o To answer this, look at the following:
§ In 1783, Sir William Jones arrived in India from
England to take a high court post in the British

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colonial regime. He started to learn Sanskrit and
realized it was similar to languages he knew such
as Irish and early Persianà he announced that all
of these tongues evolved from a single family of
languages called Indo-European languages.
• Major languages in Europe are Indo-European, although
are not
• It is thought that the reason why some areas in Europe
unrelated speech and have non Indo-European place names
because sometime in pre history, a precursor to this
known as a proto-Indo-European language was spoken by
ancestors which then took over and displaced and replaced
earlier inhabitants and their languages
• Still unsure where this proto language developed from—
are many differing views and hypotheses
• How did society develop across this time period?
Neolithic society and economy: 5000-3000 B.C.
• Invented plows pulled by oxen to harvest farmland and
o Evidence of plows in Danube valley around 4500 B.C, in
Poland and England around 3500 B.C and in Spain
before 3000 B.C
• Before this invention, often cattle were killed young for
and bones. Following this invention, they allowed them to
longer to pull the plows o Referred to as the secondary
products revolution:
use of animals for traction, milk, wool as much as they
are used for meat
• Development of farming societies enforced a hierarchy
caused things such as private property, land, gender, age,
class differences etc. to become pronounced
• Defining legitimate heirs becomes important as well as
ensuring virginity of wives because males want to ensure
male successors to their properties go to legitimate sons.
• In populations of 1000 or greater, chiefs start to become
apparent who have larger houses than everyone else in the
The Early Bronze Age, 3000-2300 B.C
• Craftsmen started to mix copper with tin or arsenic to
produce bronze (hence the name, the bronze age)
• In 3000 B.C, the elite separated from the masses of other
people and obtained wealth and power
• Started to erect monumental buildings and better
o At Lerna (map 4.4 p47), the house of times (built
around 2500 B.C) measured 80 x 40 feet
o Believed to be an administrative center, had 2 floors,
storage areas for food, wooden doors and stairs
• With this wealthy center came stealing and violence
Culture in the Early Bronze Age
• To keep the working class working, the rulers had to
o Many rulers stated that they were close to divine beings
to enforce this
o The kings in a sense were gods—they had power,
money, food
• Structures called ziggurats proved their wealth and power
well as pyramids. They also pleased the gods
• The message was that no ordinary human but only a god

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could manifest such power (and create such architecture)
• Marble figurines called Cycladic figurines took place in
B.C from Lerna
o Most were female, one has been found as a male
o Originals had eyes, mouths, genitals and other details
painted on them
o The Cycladic people (kind of unknown who they are) are
thought to have been seamen that travelled between
Crete and the mainland o They seemed to have been
buried with people—thus
belonged to the elite who had access to these beautiful
The Middle Bronze Age, 2300-1800 B.C.
• 2300 B.C the house of tiles burned down along with many
other sites in ancient Greece
o 2200 B.C figurines had disappeared from graves in the
o 2000 B.C settlement had gone down to only a few sites
o The long distance trading of goods stopped and no
monumental buildings were erected
• For the next 500 years after 2300 B.C, people lived
village-level lives.
o We don’t know much about this age, but it is called the
middle bronze age
• One hypothesis is that newcomers invaded Greece
2300 B.C and in 2000 B.C again
• The pottery, graves, goods, houses found after 2300 B.C
different from before
o There is also evidence of drier weather that may have
also caused large populations to migrate
• Some believe that this was the time that Indo-Europeans
entered Greece. What really happened is unknown, but it is
hypothesized that this movement occurred in one wave at
one time.
The Age of Minoan Palaces, 2000-1600 B.C.
• In Crete, different things were happening
o Separated from the mainland by 75 miles of water
• Development of art and ceremony began
• 2000 B.C- people of Cnossus and a few other sites built
structures referred to as palaces
o Probably had structures as grand as those previously
erected in Lerna, but they are lost
• Europe’s first experiments with writing took place here
o 2000 B.C—the oldest writing is an un-deciphered script
of 135 symbols representing recognizable objects in
clay in an unknown language
Also started to climb mountains and built altars there to
things to the gods
• Many greeks thought that Crete was ruled by the great
named Minos, hence the term Minoan Crete (or Crete
o According to a tale, Minos failed to sacrifice a bull to the
god Poseidon, and god caused the wife to fall in love
with the bull he tried to sacrifice. The wife hid inside a
wooden cow, and from their union developed a half-
man half-bull, man eating Minotaur (“bull of minos”)
o Minos built a maze called a labrynth and kept the
minotaur in it
• Comparing legends and archaeology raises problems in
understanding sources
• Primary sources—from people present in the period
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