Why the Greeks??? • What was unique about the Greek cultural, social, historical and political situation that created an atmosphere so conductive to philosophy? • Why was philosophy so unique to Athens in particular over other Greek city-states such as Sparta?
Why the Greeks??? • The Greek city-states such as Athens and Miletus, unlike Egypt and Babylon, were wealthy from other factors than merely agriculture
The Importance of TRADE • This other source of wealth was TRADE • The major exports of Athens were olive oil and wine; both were non-perishable and were in great demand for many uses
Implications of a Trading Culture • What were the implications of a trading culture? • The trading culture of Athens fostered independence amongst citizens, being away from all authority at home • It was a culture that dealt with many peoples, cultures, practices and ideas
Democracy in Athens • The institution of kings in many Greek city-states was gone • In Athens, the office of “ruler” pushed aside the authority of the king • The office at first was filled with the nobility, but later turned to elected nobles with a one-year term • In essence, Athens enjoyed a period of pure DEMOCRACY
ATHENS vs. SPARTA • If a COMMERCIAL DEMOCRACY was the type of environment which fostered philosophic thought, then it stands to reason that philosophy would not occur in another Greek city-state that was neither commercial nor democratic
SPARTA • Sparta had little philosophic thought • It was a military oligarchy where the average citizen had little/no political power • The business of Sparta’s citizens was war! • The Spartans had the best army in Greece