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THE GREEKS

*UNLIKE other river valley civilizations like Sumer or Babylon, Greek civilization started by migrations and
trading ventures!
GEOGRAPHY
-Greece was not a single united country -It is made up of many of small islands and peninsulas
-The land is rugged they traded and prospered over the Mediterranean Sea.
-The early Greeks grouped themselves in city-states- the poleis or polis.-The city-states all spoke a common language.
-The city-states had sufficient farming land but were small and often had to depend on one another to survive
-The Greeks were excellent sailors who traveled to distant lands
-The Greeks were less likely to be invaded-high mountains in the north and the Mediterranean Sea in all other
directions.

1. Practical developments:
a) colonizationincreased wealth of city-state
b) Use of Phoenician Alphabet Improved upon by Greeks
c) Literature, poems, plays, tragedies, comedies
• Homer (poet) Illiad and Odyssey; Sophocles→Antigone
• Aristophanes→The Birds, The Clouds, The Wasps, Peace; Eurpides→Electra
• Aeschylus→founder of Greek tragedy- wrote over 80 tragedies
d) City-States-poleis
1) ATHENS-largest of Greek City-states
• Long distance trade=wealth
 Gov't : began as monarchy Aristocracy
• 621 BC-Draco harsh judge
• 594 BC- Solon aristocrat who reorganized society, gave people more
rights
• 508 BC- Cleisthenes worlds 1st organized Democracy
 Citizens enjoyed freedom of speech and equality before the law
 Limited democracy-women, slaves & foreigners-non citizens STILL left
out, could not vote
460-429 BC: "Golden Age of Pericles"
• Architecture: Parthenon (temple for Greek goddess Athena)-built with columns- showed
balance and order within society)
• Arts: pottery, vases- reflected everyday life; Drama: tragedies and comedies

Intellectual developments:
ATHENS:
Math: Pythagoras- measurements of right triangle; Euclid- Geometry
 Science: physics and medicine
Hippocrates- "Father of Medicine", promise to treat their patients well-“Hippocratic Oath”
Archimedes-mathematician, astronomer, inventor-pulley for lifting objects, Archimedes screw for
pumping water
 Philosophy: Thinkers
• Socrates- (470-399 BCE) Answer- Question technique (Socratic Method) to get people to
come to absolute truth. “Ignorance is the only Evil!” Sentenced to death for not believing in
the gods and corrupting the young
• Plato- (427-347 BC) student of Socrates- set up the Academy (school)
- Hated Athenian Democracy for killing Socrates
- Wrote The Republic , aristocracy ruled by highly intelligent was best gov't. A
philosopher king would be the best ruler!
• Aristotle- (384-322 BC) Plato's student-Founded the Lyceum-school
- Wrote about logic, classified many forms of life through observation
- More down to earth than Plato, loved the natural world
- Tutored Alexander the Great

2) SPARTA-military state
 Gov't:
• oligarchy- 2 kings elected every 9 yrs.
• Council of Elders- 28 men over 60 yrs. Of age
• Assembley- Spartan men over 30 yrs. -ALL advised the king
• Ephors (5)=watched the king, controlled education, monitored citizens
 Military Life: For all Spartans
• 7 years old placed in military camp;12 years old trained for combat and survival
• 20 years old could marry;60 years left military
 Spartan Society:
• Athletes-Warrior society; Little trade, little cultural advancement
 Spartan Women:
• Athletes- needed to be strong to produce strong sons-trained in gymnastics, boxing and
wrestling
• could own business-little bit more equal status than Athenian women
ATHENS VS. SPARTA
1. DEMOCRACY-DIRECT 1. RULED BY OLIGARCHY
2. EMPHASIS ON THE MIND 2. EMPHASIS ON THE BODY-
PHYSICAL STRENGTH
3. WOMEN TREATED AS UNEQUAL 3. WOMEN TREATED BETTER
4. ECONOMY-TRADERS AND 4. ECONOMY-MAINLY
AGRICULTURAL AGRICULTURAL
5. ENCOURAGED CREATIVITY 5. EMPHASIZED SOCIAL CONTROL
AND DISCIPLINE

CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE GREEKS__________________________________________________________


1. They developed the world’s first formal western democracy.
2. They created magnificent buildings and beautiful sculptures. Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian style columns.
The Parthenon in honor of the Goddess Athena was one of the greatest structures ever built.
3. They developed the art of philosophy to search for wisdom and truth. Three of the world’s greatest
philosophers were Socrates→Plato→Aristotle.
4. They created outstanding literature and poetry. Two great poems the Iliad and the Odyssey as told by
Homer are still around today.
5. They were the first people to take a scientific approach to medicine and science by observing and
experimenting and theorizing. Hippocrates, Archimedes, Euclid, and Pythagoras were some of the great
early scientists and mathematicians.
ALEXANDER THE GREAT
Hellenistic Civilization of Greece/ Alexander's Empire:
a) 334 BCE- Alexander (of Macedonia) the Great at 22 years- conquered Persia and Darius III,
Egypt & Indus River Valley
→LARGEST EMPIRE IN THE ANCIENT WORLD
Hellenistic Period- the time after the “Golden Age” of Greece that describes the spreading of Greek culture to other
parts of the world. *Alexander the Great spread Greek culture through conquering other empires and lands.

b) Alexandria in Egypt Most important city of his Empire  major center of learning and trade
 Encouraged Innermarriages of Persians, Egyptians, Syrians and others
• mix of all these people became the HELLENISTIC CIVILIZATION
• Cultural Diffusion with EAST and WEST
• Science (270 BCE) Aristarchus- astronomer (earth revolves around sun)
c) Impact
-Spread Greek culture throughout his empire
-Greek classical ideas spread through expansion and absorption by the Roman
Empire