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Ancient Greeks Ancient Greeks

5.1 ancient greece

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Ancient GreeksAncient Greeks

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Greece: the basis of the West

Some important places -

Athens

Sparta

Corinth

Thebes

Olympia

Troy

Ephesus

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The Greeks didn’t stay put in Greece or the Aegean, though. They colonized all over the Mediterranean

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As your book notes, geography helped shaped Greek civilization

• Rugged rocky terrain meant that the interaction, communication, and ability to travel that’s necessary for empire was difficult

• The cities developed as city-states and were fiercely independent. They each also developed their own government and sub-culture while remaining Greek.

• The Greeks were pretty proud of themselves. The ability to speak Greek marked one as civilized. Those who couldn’t (or whose first language wasn’t Greek) were barbarians.

• In fact, ‘barbarian’ comes from the Greek word barbaros. That’s because it sounded to the Greeks like non-Greeks were just going “Bar bar bar bar.”

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Mycenaeans

• Early Greek civilization lasting from about 1600-1100 BC

• They extended through southern Greece and even onto Crete

• On Crete, they defeated the Minoans and adopted their system of writing

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The Mycenaean civilization suddenly collapsed around 1100 BC. It entered a dark age from which we have no written records

• One theory is that the Dorians invaded and conquered the Mycenaeans, but this is disputed. We do know Mycenae and the other cities suffered damage.

The Dark Ages

• Greece had its own. No written records from the time exist.

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Lion’s Gate Entrance to citadel at Mycenae

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Entrance to the tholos tomb in Mycenae. That doorway is 18 feet high. Note the relieving arch. The inner lentil weighs 100 tons. How’d they do that?!

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Homer

• THE Greek poet-originally an oral tale

• In writings, the Greeks would often refer to him simply as ‘the poet.’ Everybody knew Homer.

• Wrote the Iliad about the Trojan war and the Odyssey about Odysseus's journey home

• Good stuff and it informs about Greek character

• Arête-means virtue and excellence and it was the Greek heroic ideal. It could be displayed on the battlefield in combat or in sporting events

• And the Odyssey has Cyclops, sirens, monsters, witches, revenge. How can you go wrong with that?