Introduction – Greece
A country in Southeastern Europe, known In Greek as Hellas or Ellada.
Located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa.
A large peninsula surrounded on three sides by the Mediterranean Sea which
compromises the islands – the Cyclades, the Dodecanese, the Ionian islands, the
Isle of Crete and the Peloponnese.
They had close contacts with other peoples such as the Egyptians, Syrians and
Introduction – Greece (Continued)
Ancient Greece has left an indelible mark on European history.
The foundations of democracy, philosophy, theater and science can be traced
back through thousands of years of European history to the warring city states of
This fractious period of expansion and contraction gave rise to an explosion of
creativity and invention throughout the Aegean and Mediterranean.
Out of the mist shrouded mythological Bronze Age of Homer and Hesiod arose a
new way of thinking about mankind's relationship to the physical and
This brief dawn of Ancient Greece would soon be eclipsed by the rise of Rome
who after conquering the Greeks were themselves conquered by the culture of
Timeline of Greece Civilization
1. NEOLITHIC AGE (6,000-2,900 B.C.)
• Stone Age hunters & early farmers. Have been
travelled main due to overpopulation.
• Neolithic Age settlements in Greece, beginning of
2. EARLY BRONZE (2,900-2,000 B.C.)
• The Aegean Bronze Age begins around 3000 B.C.,
This network imported tin and charcoal to Cyprus,
where copper was mined and alloyed with the tin to
• Bronze objects were then exported far and wide, and
supported the trade.
3. THE MINOANS (3,000-1,100 B.C.)
• The civilization that developed in Crete is called
Minoan after the mythical King Minos.
• It had divided into three periods
• The Early Minoans (3,000-2,200 B.C.)
• The Middle Minoans (2,200-1,500 B.C.)
• The Late Minoan (1,500-1,000 B.C.)
4. THE MYCENAEANS (1,600-1,100 B.C.)
• The civilization that took root on the mainland is
called Mycenaean after the first major
archaeological site where this culture was identified.
• The Mycenaeans, an Indo-European group, were the
first speakers of the Greek language. They may have
entered Greece at the end of the early Bronze Age, in
the middle Bronze Age, or in the Neolithic period.
Timeline of Greece Civilization (Continued)
5. THE DARK AGES (1,100-750 B.C.)
• During the Dark Ages of Greece the old major
settlements were abandoned, and the population
dropped dramatically in numbers.
• Many explanations attribute the fall of the
Mycenaean civilization is because of the Bronze Age
collapse to climatic or environmental catastrophe
combined with an invasion by Dorians or by the Sea
Peoples or the widespread availability of edged
weapons of iron.
6. THE ARCHAIC PERIOD (750-500 B.C.)
• This period saw the rise of the poleis (singular polis,
generally translated as "city-state"), the founding of
colonies, the annexation of some of the eastern poleis
by the Persian empire, as well as the first inklings of
7. CLASSICAL GREECE (500-336 B.C.)
• The term “Classical Greece” refers to the period
between the Persian Wars at the beginning of the
fifth century B.C. and the death of Alexander the
Great in 323 B.C.
• Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought
(architecture, sculpture), scientific thought, theatre,
literature, and philosophy derives from this period of
8. HELLENISTIC GREECE (336-146 B.C.)
• Weakness in the established states promoted the rise
of a new power, Macedonia, under the inspired
military leadership of Alexander the Great.
• Alexander left no legacy of stable governance,
however, and the Macedonian Empire that he
created fragmented shortly after his death into a
shifting collection of minor states.
The Rise of Athens and Sparta
The concept of the polis (city-state) began to evolve with the development of aristocratic clans
to replace chiefdoms.
In the eighth century and early seventh century B.C., Sparta began to develop as a militant polis
with a rigid social structure and a government that included an assembly representing all
citizens. Meanwhile, Athens became the largest polis, combining several regions of the
peninsula of Attica.
In different ways Sparta and Athens built states that included wider sectors of society in their
political activity than had any previous society, and the basis of democracy was laid.
The Rise of Athens and Sparta
In the ancient of Sparta, Greece. In the ancient of Athens, Greece.
Persians War (499-479 B.C.)
First Persian War (500 BC - 490 B.C.)
Athens, a Greek city state, was informed of the Persian war. They knew that Persia outnumbered the
Greeks, so Athens then sent over helpful military equipment and other supplies which helped the
Greeks overall defeat Persia. After Sparta wins the battle, the Persians later invade Athens, but are
Second Persian War (480 BC - 476 B.C.)
The Spartans were defending the Greek city states during the Second Persian War. The Spartans knew
that the Greeks were going to lose this battle to the Persians, so they warned all of Athen’s people to
get out of the area. When the Persians arrived they killed 300 Spartans. This proves the allies formed
between many of the Greek city states.
A barrier between Greece and the Near East that ruptured a vibrant cultural zone including Phoenicia,
Lydia, Egypt, and other cultures of the Near East. The barrier would not be broken until the middle of
the next century, and the concept of a divided Asia and Europe became permanent.
The Peloponnesian War (430-404 B.C.)
The Peloponnesian Wars were fought between Athens and Sparta, two city states in ancient
The cause of the war was after the Athenians took control of the Delian League, Athens began
to abuse their power. Spartans became angry and started to revolt against them.
The second phase began in 414 B.C., when Sparta repulsed an Athenian invasion of Sicily.
The war lasted about 25 years, With aid from Persia, Sparta built a large navy that finally
destroyed the Athenian navy in 404 B.C. at Aigispotamoi. Thus ended the Athenian Empire and
the golden age.
Alexander the Great expands Greece
Alexander the Great was an ancient king of Macedon (356–323 BC).
At the death of his father, the twenty-year-old Alexander became king. A natural warrior, he
also received a formal education under the philosopher Aristotle.
One of the major events of Ancient Greece was the reign of Alexander the Great. From 333 to
323 B.C., he greatly expanded the territory of Greece from mainland Greece all the way to
present day Afghanistan through conquest and assimilation.
And he manipulated the local religions to legitimize his own rule. In creating his empire,
Alexander changed the face of the world.
He died at age 32.
Alexander the Great expands Greece
Expanding the Empire,
Alexander’s forces of over
40,000 crossed at the
Dardanelles into Asia.
Social Structure and Government
Greece in the Archaic Period was made up from independent states, called Polis, or city state.
The polis of Athens included about 2,500 square kilometres of territory, but other Polis with
smaller areas of 250 square kilometres.
Citizens are born with Athenian parents and expected to be government officials and take
part in Jury service (civic duty, protection of rights, federal courts largely used).
Metics are foreign birth that migrated to Athens. They either practise or trade a craft. They
are required to pay taxes and sometimes serve as army. They could never achieve full rights
as the Citizens. They couldn’t own houses or land neither has the right to speak in courts.
Slaves were used as servants and labourers, without any legal rights. Sometimes the slaves
were prisoners of war or bought from foreign slave traders. Although many slaves lived
closely with their owners, few were skilled craftsmen and even fewer were paid.
The social classes applied to men only, as women all took their social and legal status from
their husband or their male partner. Women in ancient Greece were not permitted to take part
in public life.
Athens – The Upper Class
Metics – The Middle Class:
Freedmen – The Lower Class:
The majority of Greek states were governed by groups of rich landowners, called
aristocrats; this word is derived from 'aristoi', meaning best people. This was a system
known as 'oligarchy' the rule by the few.
Athenian power in the Archaic Period was controlled by Aeropagus, or council. Their
policies were delivered through three magistrates called Archons.
Democracy was introduced by an aristocrat, Cleisthenes. Who was from family of the
Alcmaeonids in 508 B.C., after 2 years of civil war, they used the help of Spartans to secure
Ancient Greek and Language Culture
The first surviving script for writing Greek was the Linear B discovered in 1953. It was used
for the archaic Mycenaean dialect. When Mycenaean civilization was destroyed, there was a
period of roughly five hundred years, when writing was either not used, or either that there
was nothing that survived.
Three Major Dialects :
Ancient Greek and Language Culture
Homer's poetry of the Iliad and Odyssey were written in a sort of literary Ionic with some
borrowed words from the other dialects. Ionic, became the first literary language of ancient
Greece until the ascendancy of Athens in the late fifth century. Greek lyrical poetry and
Ancient Greek Tragedy was written in Doric.
Ancient Greek and Language Culture
From the beginning of the classical period, Greek has been
written in the Greek alphabet, which was derived from the
This is clear from the shape of the letters, even Herodotus in his
book of Histories, claimed the Greek alphabet included
Phoenician styled letters in the alphabet, However, the
Phoenician language only had letters for constants, which the
Greeks adopted and evolved to included letters of sounds that
were not included.
Early Ancient Greek was also written from right to left, the same
as the Phoenician.
Ancient Greek and Language Culture
Attic Greek was a sub dialect of Ionic that belonged to
the language of the Athenians for centuries. Classical
Literature that survived is written in Attic Greek, this
includes extant text of Plato and Aristotle .
Farming and Food
Majority of Ancient Greek population made a living from farming. Citizens often had land
outside the city which provided their income.
Grapes: picked and kept for eating or made into wine
Olives: picked by hand/ knocked out of trees using sticks; crushed to produce olive oil,
some eaten. Olive oil was an important product to the Greeks that had many uses
including; cooking, lighting, beauty products and for athletic purposes.
Their diet consisted of bread (barley or wheat) and porridge, accompanied with food such as
cheese, vegetables, fish, eggs and fruits.
Animal such as deer, hare and boars were hunted only as addition to the food supply
Seasoning usually involved coriander, sesame seeds and honey.
Greek boys played games like hockey, which were not part of the
Olympic Games. The boys usually played games naked, so girls were
forbidden to watch.
Ancient Greek women and girls were not expected to do much physical
activity for recreation purposes
The Ancient Greeks also played games that did not involve much
physical activity also:
The Greek theatre history began with festivals honoring their gods.
Dionysus, was honored with a festival – "City Dionysia“. In Athens, during this festival,
men used to perform songs to welcome Dionysus. Plays were only presented at City
Tragedy, comedy, and satyr plays were the theatrical forms.
Tragedy =“goat song” - perhaps referring to goats sacrificed to Dionysus before
performances, or to goat-skins worn by the performers.
3 well-known Greek tragedy playwrights of the 5th century are Sophocles, Euripides
Was also an important part of ancient Greek theatre. Comedy plays were derived from
imitation; there are no traces of its origin.
A distinct comedy was Lysistrata, a humorous tale about a strong woman who leads a
female coalition to end war in Greece.
Satyr plays dealt with the mythological subject in comical manner.
Produced in the Hellenistic period of Ancient Greece were various kinds of jewellery:
necklaces, earrings, pendants, pins, bracelets, armbands, thigh bands, finger rings, wreaths,
diadems, and other elaborate hair ornaments.
Elaborate minor decorations drew plant and animal motifs, or the relation between adornment
and the goddess, Aphrodite, and her son, Eros.
Jewellery was often passed down through generation. Occasionally, it was dedicated at
sanctuaries as offerings to the gods.
Greeks were master artists.
They were so good because they paid attention to fine detail.
They also studied the human body.
Many of their sculptures looked like they could come to life.
Statues were made of stone or marble.
Greek sculpture is admired for its realism and details.
Greek paintings are also admired
for their detail.
Many of the painted scenes show
athletics or scenes from myths.
Scenes were usually done in red
The Greeks did a fine job creating buildings that would blend with the natural environment
and take advantage of that environment. They wanted their buildings to be a reflection of their
Greek theaters, for instance, took advantage of natural acoustic features to create theaters
where actors could be heard loud and clear by all the thousands in attendance.
Elements of Greek architecture have been copied again and again from Roman times onward--
and we still see many elements of Greek architecture in at least some of our public buildings
There are many Acropolises in Greece but the Acropolis of Athens is the best known.
Acropolis in Greek means "The Sacred Rock, the
high city". All around the world the Acropolis of
Athens is known as 'The Acropolis'.
Pathenon, sculptures of Phidias
Greeks Temple Architecture
The Greeks developed three architectural systems, called orders, each with their own
distinctive proportions and detailing. The Greek orders are: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian.
We compete in "gymnasiums" and "stadiums" today--names that both come from Greek.
There are lots of other echoes of the Greeks in our sports tradition of today. Some of our track
and field events come out of Greek tradition. Events like the Marathon and the Decathalon have
Greek names, though they weren't specific Greek events.
The Game and Religion
The Olympic Games were closely linked to the religious festivals of the cult of Zeus, but were
not an integral part of a rite. They had a secular character and aimed to show the physical
qualities and evolution of the performances accomplished by young people, as well as
encouraging good relations between the cities of Greece. According to specialists, the Olympic
Games owed their purity and importance to religion.
The First Olympic Games in Ancient Greece - Olympia
Ancient Olympia site found –
Greece in 1766
Englishman Richard Chandler
discovered the site of ancient
The first modern Olympic Games in
Athens, Greece, in 1896.
There was only one event - the men's
First and some of greatest historians, including Herodotus,
Thucydides, and Xenophon
The Greeks give us the first true historical works, and it was a
Greek (Herodotus) that first used the term "history" for what
we call history today.
Herodotus' history of the Persian wars is impressive for all
sorts of reasons. First of all, it is impressive because it moves
beyond the mere chronicling of and attempts to explain why
certain events happen and what those events means: What
lessons we can learn from history.
Not only do the Greeks give us our first history, they give us also our first political science, the
systematic study of human government. When one studies political science today, one
constantly uses Greek terms (monarchy, democracy, etc.).
Aristotle also made important contributions to political science. His "Politics" examines the
constitutions of many different Greek city-states. Aristotle classifies the various kinds of
governments he finds and looks at the strengths and weaknesses of each.
Aristotle's Politics and Plato's Republic are still much read in political science/political
philosophy classes today, another good example of the lasting influence of the Greeks.
The Greeks also excelled at lyric poetry. One example:
Sappho's poems were meant to be sung, and she apparently
was the first person to use what we call the mixolydian
mode. She may also have invented the plectrum, the
pick. Unfortunately, most of her works have disappeared, but
some of the finest poets in the Roman world (e.g., Catullus)
imitated her work.
As a result, Sappho's indirect influence has been tremendous:
many, many of the West's finest poets imitated the Roman
poets who were imitating Sappho.
Math is another area in which the Greeks made important
contributions. You are all familiar with the Pythagorean
theorem, and the Greek reverence for numbers that starts with
Pythagoras is certainly an important contribution of the
Even more important, the Greek geometer, Euclid. Euclid's
Elements was the main geometry textbook of the west for
hundreds of years, and it remained the basis for all good
geometry texts right up through the 1970's. What Euclid did
was to take five fundamental axioms. From these axioms, he
devises a series of more an more complex proofs.
The Greeks also made important contributions to the sciences. Biology, Physics, Physiology,
Zoology: all Greek names, because the Greeks were the first to systematically explore these
Aristotle made important contributions to taxonomy and to botany and zoology in general. He
also came up with a very impressive theory of physics: a theory that turned out to be wrong ,
but extremely influential. For 2000 years, most educated people accepted that theory as fact.
Other Greek scientists included Eratosthenes (a man who tried to calculate the circumference
of the earth and missed in his estimate by only about 1%) and Aristarchus of Samos, who
advocated the "Copernican" theory 2000 years before Copernicus.
Economic and military changes
The Persian wars exposed the Greeks to a wider world of trade as well as different military
tactics that could threaten the powerful, but largely immobile hoplite phalanx.
Athens especially adapted to these new challenges, relying more on trade, foreign grain,
and a money economy, along with the navy and Long Walls to protect its empire.
The Peloponnesian War would force other poleis to adapt in order to be able to compete
Sparta, in particular, built a navy and, after the Peloponnesian War, relied increasingly on
mercenaries to bolster its power.
As a result, more and more Greeks were drawn from the countryside by the lure of riches
to be made as traders and mercenaries.
Economic and Military Changes
Trade and a money economy grew in importance compared to the small family farms that
had previously been the mainstay of the polis' economy.
Warfare became professional, sophisticated, chronic, and expensive.
Rising taxes to support this new style of warfare put increasing burdens on the farmer
hoplites who started to decline economically, militarily, and politically.
Gradually, large estates worked by tenant farmers or slaves would replace the small family
owned farms worked by independent farmers.
And once these farmers, the backbone of the traditional polis, went into decline, so did the
polis itself. The Greeks were still a dynamic people, but the polis itself was starting to
Economic changes, this spread of Greek civilization to Macedon would contribute to the
downfall of the Greek polis.
The beginning of Peloponnesian war, the third reason for the decline of the polis.
Triggering this pattern was a tendency of the poleis to gang up against the most powerful
Greek state at that time. This would bring about not only the downfall of that state, but
also the rise of another polis to dominance, causing the other poleis to gang up
on that state, and so on.
This cycle would repeat itself three times: first in the Peloponnesian War to bring down
Athens, next in a series of wars that wrecked Sparta's power and brought Thebes to pre-
eminence, and finally in the struggle against Thebes that would leave all of Greece open to
attack by the growing Macedonian kingdom to the north.
In conclusion, regionalism, inequality, and advancement best define Ancient Greece. In
Ancient Greece, men were superior to women and slaves. Men were of higher importance,
while women ranked lower on the social class. Slaves were also treated unfairly, and were
brutally harmed by people of a higher social class. In addition, Greece was advanced with
their developed idea of a democratic government. Ancient Greece was made up of city-states
that had their own governments, values, army, and foreign affairs based on the mountainous
geography. Furthermore, Ancient Greece can best be explained through its regionalism,
inequality, and advancement characteristics. Lastly, The Greeks also made many major sector
of contributions to the development of Western Civilization. For example, Greek architecture
is still copied today and Modern theatre is based on the principles established by the Greeks.