The Greek World • Crash Course World History: Perisans and Greeks
Take the “How Greek Are You Survey” • Add up your score and check against the scale.
If you scored between 60 and 80 • 60 – 80 – Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Archimedes, and Homer are you best buds! You value scepticism and have a healthy questioning of authority. You are a romantic that can see the beauty of all things, even painful or hurtful things and you emphasize dialogue and discussion rather than force and action.
If you scored between 40 and 60 • 40 – 60 – You are very much like a modern person. You are a product of the modern world’s blending and exposure to other philosophies and experiences. Some of the Greek ways of thinking are just not possible in a polis the size of Winnipeg and even less possible in a country the size of Canada so it’s understandable you are not totally Greek.
If you scored between 20 and 40 • 20 – 40 – Still somewhat in the “Dark Ages”, you are more action oriented and living in the here and now. You are focussed and efficient and that which does not concern your daily life does not clutter your attention.
If you scored less than 20 • 0 – 20 – You, sir, are a barbarian. You live a life of hedonism and action, you are totally in the moment and you do not worry about the past and even less about the future. Peter Griffin, Bart Simpson, and Steve-O are more your philosophical inspirations. Get your finger out of your nose and open a window cause you are all about the party!
The Mediterranean Civilizations – Greece and Rome • Part 1 – The Greek World
Geography • Greece – rugged rocky terrain, variable rainfall amounts – unpredictable growing conditions • Only 10% of land is arable, and it must be fallowed often. Poor, chalky, acidic soil. • Heavy reliance on the “Mediterranean Triad” – grains, olives, wine – specifically, beans, barley, and wheat.
Maritime Culture • No place in the islands or the southern mainland is more than 32 miles from the sea • Relatively calm waters and inlets along the coast make sailing relatively safe and reliable. • This means that trade becomes important. • This combination of terrain, weather, and soil conditions leads to the formation of separate, small, farming communities that are periodically forced to trade amongst each other – early forms of city-states
The history of settlement in Greece can be divided into 8 distinct periods: • Stone Age – 1000,000 – c3500 BCE • Early Bronze Age (Cycladic) – c3500 BCE – 2000BCE • Middle Bronze Age (Minoan) – c2000 BCE – 1600 BCE • Late Bronze Age (Mycenaean) - 1600 BCE – 1100 BCE • Dark Ages – 1100 BCE – 700 BCE • Archaic Period – 700 BCE – 480BCE • Classical Period – 480 BCE – 323 BCE • Hellenistic Period – 323 – 31 BCE
Stone Age • Divided into three eras – Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic • Paleolithic – hunting and gathering, no permanent settlements and stone tools. • Mesolithic – agriculture begins – gradual formation of permanent settlements – Francthi • Neolithic – agricultural revolution is complete, permanent settlements begin to form, social stratification develops, political class is formed, public works indicate civic organization – palaces
The Bronze Age • There are three dominant Bronze Age cultures found in ancient Greece: • Cycladic – 2500 BCE to 1900 BCE • Minoan – 2000 BCE to 1400 BCE • Mycenaean - 1600 BCE to 1100 BCE
Early Bronze Age • Development of metallurgy - Bronze • multiplier effect – a single event that triggers a chain reaction of developments in a society • Arms race begins and trade follows – city-states fight and trade for new innovations in weaponry
Social changes – Early Bronze Age • Craft specialization – trade skills for staples allows for specialized craftsmen in urban centers. • New professions • New social strata • Power/wealth shifts • Spatial distribution of settlements change – fewer, larger settlements that control larger areas - markets
Social changes of the Early Bronze Age • Social stratification becomes more complex • Accumulations of wealth occur • As trade becomes more important, certain settlements along the coast become more important than others. • Urbanization increases • Commerce emphasized • The cities begin to rise – Aegean Sea and the west coast of Turkey - Troy
Cycladic Period • Centered in the scattered, rocky islands in the Eastern Mediterranean Ios, Naxos, Melos • Skilled metalworkers and craftsmen • Not concentrated in towns, not warlike – had no defences for their settlements • Religion focussed on female deities • No emphasis on scale – all art is small, figurines, etc.
Cycladic culture • Early Cycladic settlements prominent with trade and shipping • Linear A style develops from the bureaucratic needs of the local central palace • Ends with the Indo-European invasions c2000BCE – only surviving culture from this time is on the island of Crete – Minoans
Middle Bronze Age • Cycladic society faded slowly but had great influence on the cultures that would follow. • Gradually pushed out from an invasion from the north - Indo-European tribes – linguists show that this infiltration was gradual and assimilative – they blended with local populations to form Achaeans (proto-Greeks) • Only the Minoans survive on Crete • Eventually, Minoans retake the mainland – culture flourishes/spreads • Linear A style found - simplified form of Egyptian hieroglyphics – indicating trade and contact • Emphasis on animals and nature loving in art
Minoan • Centered on the island of Crete – last of the Cycladic islands, resisted the Indo-European invasion • Remarkably sophisticated culture – largely unknown until 1899 • Arthur Evans – Discovered a massive palace at Knossos – held 6000 people, over 800 rooms, no organized floorplan – palace appears to have been added to over time – labyrinthine • Palace at Knossos
Minoan Culture • Assumed to be the palace of King Minos from Homeric poetry. • Some walls still had frescoes on them depicting bulls – the bull figured prominently in Minoan culture – Minotaur • Prominent traders – Crete lies along trade routes between mainland Europe, Egypt, and the Middle East.
Minoan Culture • Other large centers have been discovered on Crete at Phaestus and HagiaTriada. • Depictions of Cretan life showed a peaceful people with a fully developed and prosperous middle class. Women were depicted topless, indicating they held a high status. • Their style of their art emphasized time, place, and individuality over idealized and essential in Egyptian art. Naturalistic rather than stylized.
Minoan Religion • Minoan religion was centred on worship of the bull. Young females were often shown “bull vaulting” – presumably showing reverence and mastery of the savagery and power of nature. • No depictions of the warrior class, no walls or fortifications for major cities, there are no monumental depictions of the ruler and the cult of the king is absent – possibly due to the high status of women in the culture • There is, however, some evidence of child sacrifice • Minoan Civilization
Linear A/B • Minoans developed their own style of writing called Linear A –this indicated a bureaucratic class that controlled trade and taxation. • Well developed road systems crossed the island. Towns had streetplans, drainage, and habitations show a social stratification between upper and lower classes. First flush toilets are found in Knossos • Levies and taxes were paid in the form of goods and flowed through regional centers before ending up at Knossos. • A second style of writing Linear B, was found at Knossos, this later style indicated to Evans that Knossos Palace had changed hands.
Minoan Collapse • Beginning around 1450 BCE, Minoan civilization began to die out with the final destruction of Knossos in 1375 BCE. There are several theories as to the cause: • Eruption of the volcano at Thera – causing massive devastation all over the Cyclades • Invasion from mainland Greeks – Mycenaeans • Minoan Collapse
Late Bronze Age • Myceneans capture Knossos – conquer Minoans in c1450 BCE • Dynamic pottery becomes static as Minoan influence ends • Greece becomes divided into loose federation of city-states subject to federal capital at Mycenae • Development of Linear B style • Accumulation of wealth as capital gains control of trade routes through conquest/piracy
Mycenae • Dominated the eastern Mediterranean from 1600 BCE to 1100 BCE – become one of the three dominant Mediterranean cultures: • 1) Egyptians • 2) Hittites • 3) Mycenaeans • Dynasty founded in c1600 BCE Perseus (?) • City is named in Homeric epics – Agamemnon, Odysseus, Atreus • Mycenaean History and Archeology
Mycenaean culture • The Mycenaean economy was based on small scale agriculture, including the “Mediterranean Triad” as well as metalworkers and craftsmen. The most important industry was textiles – wool and linen. • Above all, while the Minoans were based on trade and commerce, the Mycenaeans were based on piracy and conquest. • The palace was the administrative center for the surrounding countryside. It would house the warrior king and their bureaucracy as well as the service craftsmen required to run the capital. Land surrounding the palace was either owned by the king and worked by slaves or leased to free farmers.
Mycenaean religion • Classical Greek gods begin to arise – Poseidon, Zeus-Hera • Role of women is prominent • Borrowed heavily from Minoan culture • Priest class subjugated to the king • Sanctuary found at Mycenae for a snake-goddess
Mycenae • Reached the peak of it’s power after to came to dominate the gold trade routes from Eastern Europe • 1400’s – construction of the citadel: • Massive “Lion’s Gate” above the main entrance to the city • Cyclopean walls – massive stone block construction • Cistern dug under the city – water supply could withstand long sieges
Mycenaean burials • Peribolos walls surround a series of graveshafts – 2 circles • Capital city discovered in 1870’s by Heinrich Schliemann • He thought he had found the grave of Agamemnon himself due to the amount of gold it contained. • 2 grave circles contained 19 bodies – 8 men, 4 women, 7 children – men were all wearing gold, approx. 6ft. Tall- indicating high wealth, status, and good nutrition throughout their lives.
Mycenaean burials - Tholoi • By 1400 Tholos tombs become common – Treasury of Atreus • Just outside the walls of Mycenae • Circular beehive construction - corbel – largest interior dome for the next 2000 years • Lintel stone over 118 tonnes • Used for multiple burial but the treasures were raided – obvious, not hidden.
Mycenae 2500 BCE – earliest evidence of settlement at Mycenae • 1600 BCE – Wealth comes to Mycenae, probably result of mercenary activity hired by Egyptians • 1200 BCE – economic recession, loss of markets, force Myceneans to attack northern allies – Trojans • 1180 BCE – according to Homer – Helen, a Mycenaean priestess and wife of Menelaus, brother of Agamemnon is abducted by Paris of Troy – sparking the Trojan War.
Mycenaeans • Mycenaeans are victorious, but have eliminated an ally on their northern frontier and have exhausted the royal treasury in the process. • 1125 BCE – Mycenaeans are overrun by the Dorian invasion.
Bronze Age ends • Trojan War develops 1180 – begins the decline in power of Mycenae as settlements are raided and destroyed - eg. Palace of Nestor at Pylos – 1200 BCE • Mycenaean collapse – 1100 BCE • The Truth About Troy
Dark Ages - c1200 BCE to 480 BCE • After the fall of Mycenae – a Dark Age begins in Greece. • No culture surviving, no written records • Federal system is destroyed – palaces burned, Knossos, Mycenae, Pylos • civilization drops significantly, very few historical records exist because writing stopped sometime between 1100 and 1000 BCE
Dark Age society • Aristocratic Age – heroes, great men honour becomes social focus and prime motivation. Stress of the type not the individual. • Trade collapses – produces closed household economies. Each household aims to consume all it produces. Exceptions – iron, salt • Social stratification diminishes – becomes more simple • Similar to Egyptians, idealized conceptual art dominates the Greek world. Geometric design develops.
Population Collapse • Eg. Pylos – population falls to 10% of Late Bronze Age levels • Centralized government, population, literacy, urbanization, all disappear from Greek life for 400 years • Exact cause is still unknown
Possible Causes? • Dorian Invasion from the north – possible but not sufficient to destroy the entire culture • Decline in Hittite and Egyptian kingdoms – would disrupt trading networks that made Mycenae so powerful • Volcanic or other natural disasters – could have caused agricultural failures
Historians now think that the Mycenaean Collapse was internal: • Fragile culture based on military elites dominating maritime commerce • Overpopulation in a land that could not support too many people • Overspecialization on certain cash crops like sheep and wheat • Rivalry among city states lead to mutual sacking of city palaces
Father will have no common bond with son • Neither will guest with host, nor friend with friend • The brother-love of past days will be gone... • Men will destroy the towns of other men... • Hesiod (c800 BCE) • What kind of society is depicted here? • How reliable is this as a source?
The Greeks scatter across the Mediterranean • Evidence of mercenary service in the Egyptian military • Many turned to piracy. • Many migrated out of mainland Greece to the islands and west coast of Asia Minor (Turkey) • Each of these migrations develops a separate nationality for their region. Different dialect of Greek is spoken: • Dorian - Peloponesse • Ionion – West coast of Asia Minor and islands • Aeolian – Attica and scattered mainland settlements
Technology • Iron replaces bronze as copper and tin become difficult to import. Quality of iron tools begins to improve as techniques are mastered over time. • Pottery quality declines, decoration is simple and geometric • Pictorial representations of humans and animals almost disappear and there is little to no luxury items being produced. • What gold from this period that has been found dates from the Mycenaean Period and was probably robbed from original tombs.
Cultural contributions • All that is known from this period comes from archaeology and from epic poetry: • Iliad – older poem, dating from the 8th c BCE • Odyssey – dating from c750 BCE • Both are oral histories that originate in the previous Late Bronze Age Mycenaean period – harkening back to the “good old days” where society was in a more perfect state. • These oral histories transmit a desire to return to previous culture from generation to generation. • The societies depicted in Homeric poetry are not truly Mycenaean, but more Dark Age.
Literature • Literature begins in the Dark Ages – essential in formation of Greek nationalism. • word of mouth, historical accounts passed on from Mycenean ages as mythology in an effort to recapture the past. • Heroic poetry – Homer: Illiad and Oddessy – Trojan War and Odysseus’ return to Ithica – becomes the first exploration of human nature and the human condition
Philosophy emerges… • Didactic poetry – Hesiod – cosmogony/theogeny • Philosophy’s first attempt to explain/understand the world around them • Near the end of the period, the realization that religion and epic poetry are inadequate for this purpose. More is needed.
Social Structure • Social distinctions were based on ownership and military prowess. • Aristocrats would own farmland and engage in combat with their own weapons and horses in coalitions with other aristocrats. • Petty kings would dominate small populations of farmers, herders, kin and military alliances. • Tensions were indicated in literature between emerging middle class peasants and aristocratic warrior classes.