CLA237H5 Chapter 1: Chapter 1

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Chapter 1: A small, Far-Off Land
Historical Sketch
-Built societies that were communities of equal citizens who systematically applied their reason to explaining the world (700-200BC :
Mid archaic, Classical and Mid Hellenistic period)
-Created masterpiece literature and art
-Democracy, philosophy, history writing, drama began in ancient Greece
-Developed science, math
-Lord Byron talks about Greek spirit
-Struggled with problems about freedom, equality, justice. Slaves from overseas, democracies excluding women, endless wars, acts
of violence
Basic overview
1. Bronze Age civilizations had arisen in Mesopotamia
2. Mesopotamian kings say they had special relation with gods and w/o them gods wouldn’t smile on humans
3. Egyptian kings said they were gods
4. Similar societies formed in Greece. Palaces flourished but burned (1200 BC) along with cities all over the east Mediterranean
5. After destruction, way of doing things in Egypt changed. From 1200-800 BC(Dark Age), writing disappeared from Greece, population
shrank, isolated from wider world  “dark age”
6. Emerging from Bronze Age new Greek world features:
Organized themselves in small city-states (poleis/polis) not kingdoms
As population grew in 8th century, Greeks sailed off and established new communities around shores of Mediterranean
Greeks came to see city-states as communities of equal, free males which was basis for and origin of concept of
citizenship
Refused to believe that gods gave any individual or narrow elite divine right to rule
Problems with new developments
If gods didn’t put kings on earth to tell mortals what to do, what was the relationship b/w mortals and divine?
-Thought gods were powerful and wise, world was full of spirits and ghosts, few oracles and pirests could give access to supernatural
-What was true?
-These conditions created the Greek problem
The Greek Problem
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Document Summary

Built societies that were communities of equal citizens who systematically applied their reason to explaining the world (700-200bc : Democracy, philosophy, history writing, drama began in ancient greece. Slaves from overseas, democracies excluding women, endless wars, acts of violence. Bronze age civilizations had arisen in mesopotamia: mesopotamian kings say they had special relation with gods and w/o them gods wouldn"t smile on humans. Palaces flourished but burned (1200 bc) along with cities all over the east mediterranean. After destruction, way of doing things in egypt changed. From 1200-800 bc(dark age), writing disappeared from greece, population shrank, isolated from wider world dark age . Emerging from bronze age new greek world features: Organized themselves in small city-states (poleis/polis) not kingdoms. As population grew in 8th century, greeks sailed off and established new communities around shores of mediterranean. Greeks came to see city-states as communities of equal, free males which was basis for and origin of concept of citizenship.

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