Chapter 1 - Early Greece and the Bronze Age.docx

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Classical Studies
Vichi Ciocani

CLAB05 Week 1 Chapter 1 - Early Greece and the Bronze Age GREECE IN THE STONE AGES Early inhabitants from the middle Paleolithic (Old Stone) Age lived by hunting, gathering wild plants, finely crafted tools and weapons of stone, wood and bone At the end of the ice age, the climate became warmer = landscape and animals evolved to their present forms Evidence from the cave in Franchthi show that inhabitants at the end of the ice age hunted deer and smaller game, caught fish and gathered cereals, peas, beans and nuts Early Neolithic (New Stone) Age c.7000 BC o Cultivate domesticated plants to use domesticated animals, weave cloth o Artisans began creating figurines in clay and marbles of animals, colourful shaped pottery o Agriculture allowed people to settle down permanently o Small farming villages made up of one room mud brick houses then villages grew larger and communities were formed o Probably Egalitarian w/ no inequality outside of sex, age and skill o Families shared w/ neighbours o Leadership was most likely temporary as the need for a decisive voice arose o w/ a growth in population, a more lasting leader most likely emerged anthropologists would call this leader the big man or the head man ~ this man would have wisdom, courage, generosity and would have demonstrated he is better suited until he is old/dies/retires/pushed out GREECE IN THE EARLY AND MIDDLE BRONZE AGES (C. 3000-1600 BC) after the adoption of agriculture, BRONZE was introduced as another technological innovation this was an advance for weapons and tools and was more efficient than stone, bone or copper by 2500 BC, metal workers had mastered the use of Bronze, lead, silver and gold possession of these and other prestige items distinguished people from the mass population their increasing demand for metal goods created a need for more specialists and workshops and accelerated trade for copper, tin and other metals throughout the Mediterranean region as the economy and settlements grew larger, the wealth and power now established as hereditary chiefs ruling for life and accorded honors and privileges The Civilizations of the Near East had progressed to that higher level of organization of the natural and social environment termed civilization the Aegean civilizations of Crete owned their rise in the 2 millennium to their close contact w/ the palace- kingdoms of the East around 3500 BC in the wide fertile plains the Greeks named Mesopotamia the land bw rivers (in what is now southern Iraq) there appeared the markers of civilization: large-scale irrigation, cities w/ thousands of inhabitants, bureaucratic government wide trade networks, written documents, legal systems and science In Mesopotamia societies evolved in the form of discrete polities, centered around great cities that drew the surrounding towns and villages into a single political unit the city state administered from the capital During the 3 millennium the more powerful city-states conquered weaker neighbors giving rise to territorial kingdoms that were ascendant for a time Kingdom societies: o Highly stratified o Popln was dependent on and subject to an elite ruling class headed by a hereditary monarch o The kings and high nobles deployed a huge amount of surplus wealth from agriculture, manufacture, trade, human labor = that built defensive walls and temples, palaces, tombs o Art and architecture esp served religion became important means of control, for it identified the will of the ruler with the will of the gods o Vast wealth and increased popln allowed frequent wars and well organized armies 1 The First Greek Speakers Greece attained a fairly high level is social complexity during its early bronze age The remains of Lerna in Argolis, show that it was a large town with stone fortification walls and monumental buildings, the largest of which may have been the house of the ruling chief Toward the end of this period, Lerna and similar sites in southern and central Greece was destroyed Historians have traditionally associated the destruction and the cultural stagnation that followed during the Middle Bronze Age w/ the incursion of a new people, who spoke an early form of Greek More certain is that the newcomers were part of a great and lengthy ancient migration of peoples, known collectively as Indo-Europeans. o A British official in India observed that the ancient Greek bears many similarities to other ancient languages such as Latin & Sanskrit o The close likeliness in vocab and grammar among these ancient languages and their descendants led scholars to conclude that they had all sprung from a common linguistic ancestor which they termed Proto-Indo-European o Current hypothesis: that Greek and the other Indo-European languages evolved during the long waves of emigration from an original Indo-European homeland, located perhaps in the vast steppes north of the black and Caspian seas. o Over the course of many centuries the Indo-European languages spread across Europe, Asia, from Ireland to Chinese Turkestan The Greeks Eventually the Greek language completely submerged the non-Indo-European Aegean languages The few words that survived from the old language were chiefly names of places (e.g. Korinthos, Parnassos) and of native plants and animals, such as hyakinthos and Melissa. th During the 19 c. of our era, there was estimation about the social organization and culture of the Indo- Europeans; many assumed that they were a superior race of horse riding Aryan warriors who swept into southern Europe and obliterated the cultures of the weak, unwarlike, agrarian natives = no scholar today accepts this myth of Aryan superiority that was responsible for so many crimes The imposition of their language does suggest that the Greek speakers came in as conquerors and dominated the indigenous populations it is likely that by the end of the Middle Bronze Age, the two peoples had merged into a single people and as did their cultures into a Hellenic culture. The became herders and farmers and practiced metallurgy and other crafts (ie pottery, cloth making) Indo-European society was patrilineal and patriarchal The Discovery of the Aegean Civilization When the first Greek speakers entered Greece, organized societies were scattered throughout the Aegean basin The Cyclades were dotted w/ small towns, whose inhabitants sailed the sea in sleek galleys and created for deposit in tombs elegant abstract-looking marble sculptures of standing males and females and complex figures of seated lyre players o The center for civilization would soon be Crete, where the first palaces appeared in c.1900 (signaling emergence of state-level societies) o 400 yrs later, the Greeks would also reach the level of development, thnks to the Cretans That there had been advanced civilizations in the Bronze Age Aegean was demonstrated only in the late 19 c, when archaeologists unearthed three cities that up to that time were known only from legends from the Trojan war, events from the mythical ages of heros 1870 Heinrich Schliemann excavated the ruins of Troy. o In his day, most historians regarded the Greeks stories of an ancient war against Troy as just fables o 4 yrs later, Schliemann turned to the site of Mycenae (city of the leader of the greek invasion of Troy tradition says) 2o His excavations of the Bronze Age level uncovered a large fortified palace complex (worthy of a warrior king) o Although his findings were not conclusive evidence, the ruins unearthed at both sites w/ the immense quantities of god and other things did confirm the Greeks belief that their heroic age (aka the Late Bronze Age) was a time of fabulous wealth and splendor Bc of the importance of Mycenae in fact and myth, the Late Bronze Age is commonly referred to as the Mycenean Period 1899 Sir Arthur Evans discovery of the palace complex of Cnossos on Crete, magnificence of which grave credence to the legends that in ancient times Cnossos had been the center of a powerful naval state. o Evens named this first Aegean civilization Minoan, after the mythical King Minos of Cnossos, who Homer claimed lived 3 generations before the Trojan War who spent his time restoring the palace to its ancient glory. The Minoans First settled around 7000 bc by Neolithic farmers and stock raisers and spoke a non-indo-European language During the 4 millennium, some of the small farming villages had grown into large towns Eventually the chiefs of these early centers emerged as leaders; thus Crete became a land of small city-kingdoms The earliest large, multiroom complex with a
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