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Greek Literature

Heroic Age
Greek civilization began in Crete
o Rugged mountainous island located sixty miles south of mainland Greece
3000 BC
o a remarkable culture had developed
o Established by 3000 BC
o Peaceful
o name for this civilization
o after legendary king Minos of Crete
supposedly sacrificed twelve young men and women each year to
feed a half man, half bull monster
called the Minotaur

Mycenaean culture
1. Flourished between 1500 and 2000 B.C. on the Greek mainland
2. Known as Heroic Age
o greek civilization began in crete
rugged mountainous island located sixty miles south of mainland
Minoan civilization
mycenaean culture- 1500-1200 bc
aggressive and enterprising
king agamemnon - 1250bc- expedition of the city of troy in asia minor
homer immortalized the heros of this trojan war in the iliad four
centuries later
The Epic Age
earliest surviving works of Greek poetry are two epics
o known as Iliad and Odyssey
o both attributed to a blind storyteller

Greeks developed a script for their language known as the alphabet based
on the Phoenicians

named for its two initial letters alpha and beta

i. Invention opened the door to a

remarkable era of literary achievement.
The Rise of the City States
700-500 BC
o small fragmented settlements in mainland Greece banded together to form
caused a number of city states to emerge

typical city state

called a polis

ruled by a king

Greeks didnt think of themselves as a single nation

they did feel a cultural bond
called themselves Hellenes
believed themselves direct descendants of Hellen
Feel superior to barbarian neighbors
sense of unity found in various social and religious


Series of athletic contests brought the main Greek city

states in contact with one another

fostered as sense of Greek identity

Most important at Olympus honoring Zeus todays
Olympics are a continuation of this tradition

The Lyric Age

seventh to fifth centuries- lyric poetry began to flourish
brief intensely personal emotional down to earth
First time in history poets told us their names and about their loves hates triumphs
and failures
o Sappho, Anacreon, and Simonides are a few poets of the time
Sparta and Athens This is Sparta
Most powerful city states in greece by the start of the 5th century
Sparta This is Sparta!!!!!!
o boys were taken at the age of 12 for vigorous training
o frail infants left on mountaintops
o extremely militaristic and conservative culture
defeated the persians in persian wars
wartime leader of all city states
chief naval power
established a democratic government- men only
one of the earliest democratic governments in the world
Greek Literature
o ability to wonder- ask the questions why?
o intense love of intellectualism and rational thought