Landscape & Climate
Covered by Mountains
No large rivers
Lots of coastline
How did the land influence
Mild, rainy winters
Only a small part of the
region good for farming
Over ½ of Greeks were
farmers and herders
Most farming in the valleys
colonies in Anatolia
Lacked natural resources like precious metals
Plentiful stone for buildings
Coastline with many good harbors
A Seafaring People
“Highways of Water”
Mediterranean Sea: to the South
Ionian Sea: to the west
Aegean Sea: to the east
Greeks became expert sailors
Fish a large part of the Greek diet
Trade & Commerce
Major trading partners: Egypt &
olive oil, wine, wool, and pottery
grain, timber, animal hides, and
Mycenae: The First Greek Civilization
Built on the Peloponnesus
Wealthy civilization; mostly
Created writing, gold jewelry,
bronze weapons, and pottery
Collapsed around 1200 BC
Little is known about Greece
from 1200 BC – 750 BC
Greece Comes Back
Greeks learned much
by trading with the
Picked up the
between 900-800 BC
Learned about coins
from Anatolians by
Divine qualities with human
Jealous, loving, angry,
Zeus & 11 major gods lived on
Mt. Olympus (Olympian gods)
- The stories of the Greek gods and goddesses, often
as they interact with humans.
- Two purposes
Honoring the Gods
Built statues and temples
Days were set aside to honor different gods & goddesses
Festivals held to honor the 12 Olympian gods
The Parthenon was a
temple in Athens, built in
honor of the city’s patron
Held every four years (oldest record: 776 BC)
Part of a festival to honor Zeus
Events: foot race, wrestling, long jump, javelin and discus throw.
Unmarried girls raced to honor Zeus’ wife, Hera
Blind poet (c. [about]
8th Century BC)
Major influence in
Story of Greek heroes during
the Trojan War
Included story of Achilles
Legend has it that the baby
Achilles was dipped into the
river Styx as a way to protect him.
The only part that didn’t get wet
was his heel.
Story of Greek hero Odysseus and his trip home after the Trojan War
Included the Cyclops and the sirens
Video – first 12 minutes
The Cyclops, a one-eyed
monster, is one of the creatures
that stops Odysseus from getting
home to his wife, Penelope.
- Aesop was believed to be a Greek slave
- Today, we believe it was a pseudonym
- Used animals to tell moral lessons
- Tortoise & the Hare
Monarchs & Aristocrats
By 700’s BC, most city-states had moved
from monarchy to aristocracy
Do you think this was a good move?
What is the difference between an aristocracy & an
Leader who took power illegally
Not of noble birth – often a general
Urged the poor to support him
Why would the poor do this?
Some helped the poor
What is a “tyrant” today?
Nicias was an Athenian general and
Athenian Democracy: It’s a start
By 500’s poor citizens demanded a voice in
Who is a “citizen”?
Gradual reform led by Solon & Cleisthenes
Ruled 594 – 560 BC
Freed people who had been enslaved
due to debt
Reorganized Athenian Society –
All citizens could serve in the
By 500 BC took power away from
Reorganized citizens into 10
tribes based on geography
Each tribe elected 1 of the 10
The Council of Five Hundred
Who was eligible?
The type in Athens
Citizens make political decisions directly
How is this different from democracy in the US?
How was Athenian Democracy limited?
Ostracism: the assembly could vote a person out of
Athens for up to 10 years
The Responsibilities of a Citizen
Serve on juries
Ruled by 2 kings
Council of Elders proposed
All Spartan citizens part of
Assembly elected officials &
voted on laws
Social Groups of Sparta
At age 7 boys moved to
During what ages did all male
citizens serve in the army?
What was expected of Spartan
Girls were given athletic
training & expected to be
Women could own property
What four classes existed in Athens?
1/3 of population enslaved
Where did the Athenians find slaves?
What was the purpose of education in Athens?
Studied logic, oratory, reading, writing, math, poetry,
What were the expectations for Athenian women?
Girls did not attend school.
The Persian Wars
490 BC: Persians invade
Athens to punish a colonial
Athenians defeated the
480 BC: Persians invade
Sparta helps Athens by
fighting for two days at
Wealthy citizen of Athens
By 460 BC, the strongest ruler in Athens
What three goals did Pericles have for
How was Pericles able to persuade people to
back his ideas?
Changing Athenian Democracy
“Everybody is equal under the law.”
Should we pay public officials?
Expanding the Empire
Delian League: an alliance of Greek City-States
Organized by Athens; headquartered on Delos
By 454 BC treasury moved to Athens
Why did this make other city-states unhappy?
The alliance became an Athenian Empire
Where did Pericles get the money?
Built on the Acropolis in Athens
Temple to Athena
Why did city-states fear and resent Athens?
Sparta created the Peloponnesian League as a rival to
431 BC: Sparta declares war on Athens
Leader of Macedonian kingdom
(North of Greece)
23 years old
As a hostage in Thebes, studied
338 BC: conquers a weakened
336 BC: assassinated and
succeeded by his son, Alexander
Alexander the Great
King at 20
Crushed a rebellion in Thebes
Defeated the Persians by invading
How was Alexander received in
Conquered land as far east as India
Died of a fever at 32
Legacy of Alexander
Spread Greek culture and language
encouraged local cultures to blend with
Founded in 332 BC
Housed the greatest library of the
(2 min mark – 5:50)
Logical study of basic truths about the world
used questions to encourage examination
Put to death by Athens
Follower of Socrates
Started a school that lasted 900 years
Student of Plato
Created the Lyceum
Tutored Alexander the Great for three years
Greece -- Netflix
Science & Technology
Greek contributions to Astronomy
Accurate estimation of the circumference of Earth
Theory that the sun revolved around the earth; disproved in 1500s
Greek contributions to Math & Physics
Euclid organized knowledge of geometry
Archimedes created the lever
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