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History:
  • History regarding Ancient Greece falls into eight different time periods; the Neolithic Period, the Bronze Age, Minoan Age, Mycaenean Age, Dark Ages, Archaic Period, Classical Period, and the Hellenistic Period.
  • The Neolithic Period was mainly a time when humans were in the first stages of development and evolution.
  • The Bronze Age was shared with many other civilizations as a time when bronze was introduced as a metal.
  • The Minoan Age was a period of time when the Island of Crete was ruled by King Minos and Greece culture began to expand.
  • During the Mycaenean Age, the Minoans were conquered by another group known as the Mycaeneans, who preserved Minoan culture and are best known for their war against Troy. It was during this time period that, after conquering Troy, the Mycaeneans fell into civil war and eventually were defeated by the Dorians. The Dorians would later become known as the Spartans.
  • The Dark Ages were known as a time of decline in education and a period of disarray.
  • Eventually, organizations led to the Archaic Age, were oligarchies and aristocracys became advanced forms of government. Also, city-states were created at this time and expanded, thanks to Greece's expansion into Sicily and Southern Italy.
  • The Classical Period was essentially Greece's golden age, when Athen's became at its peak and the great king Pericles took over. It was time when the Parthenon was built and philisophical schools based on the teachings of Plato and Socrates were established.
  • Finally, when Greece was conquered by Alexander the Great, the Hellenistic Period began and Greek culture was assimilated into another form.

Government:
  • During the Late Bronze Age, or the Mycaenean Period, Greece was composed mainly of city states called polises. These in turn were ruled by a system of government called a monarchy, where a single king had absolute power and was above the law. Homer's The Illiad and The Odyssey were composed during this time.
  • After the Dark Ages, few polises had kings. The following era, known as the Archaic Period, was a time in which many city-states became ruled as oligarchies. An oligarchy was a form of government in which a group of nobles had complete power. These nobles were called aristocrats. -Nate
  • Finally, during 600 and 500 BC, tyrants came to power. These people were usually powerful aristocrats that had built a name for themselves and ruled under the support of discontented citizens. Tyrants in most cases did not have legal right to rule.
  • In 510 B.C., the city-state Athens developed the first democracy. This democracy was different than todays because only free males were allowed to vote. Athen's influence was shown when many other polises attempted to imitate Athens. Sparta and Carthage both attempted to give more power to the public, but found this method of government more difficult.

Economy:
  • The greeks had jobs as fishermen, soldiers, traders, farmers, priests, priestesses, and sailors.
  • The traders bought goods from one places and sold them in other places.
  • The soldiers went around conquering lands and collecting taxes from their inhabitants.
  • The priests and priestesses made offerings in temples.
  • The fishermen and farmers provided Greece's food.
  • The sailors sometimes built ships and sailed to conquer lands.

A piece of Greek pottery portraying jobs of Greek people.
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Religion:
  • Each ancient Greek city state had their own main deity. For example, Athens mainly worshipped Athena.
  • The Greeks were polytheistic people.
  • The gods and goddesses were given human qualities and appearances.
  • Sacrifices were often made to the gods and goddesses. The sacrifices were thought to keep the gods happy. Sometimes sacrifices were made so that the sacrificer would be forgiven of a crime.
  • Sacrifices usually did not involve bloodshed. People offered plants, fish, honey, milk, cheese, birds, grain, and burned incense. The offerings were usually burned and set on altars or in jars. The liquid offerings were usually poured into holes on the altar. The sacrificers placed the offerings high up so that the smells could reach the gods and goddesses.

A gathering of Greek gods and goddesses.
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Society:
  • The aristocracy persisted in society as well as in politics, based on the importance of the elite class. Despite differences among political forms, aristocratic assemblies and officials formed coherently in single city-state themes in Greek politics. Aristocrats devoted time to political life as they defined it.
  • As time went on, Greece progressively became involved in increasing trade. The aristocrats were suspicious of the merchants though, particularly among conservatives. Sparta, being the most conservative and having the most fertile land, tried to not even participate in trade. They deliberate made massive coins to discourage commerce. Athens, and the other hand, was more liberal and encouraged trade. The aristocrats there were much more open

Thoughts and Learning:
  • Types of education were very differed from polis to polis. The most powerful city-states, Athens and Sparta, had two radically different forms of education and culture.
  • In Sparta, boys were trained from the age of 8 to serve in the military. They were brought up through fighting and exercises to "toughen" them up. They would eat little food, sleep on hard beds, and were tested on how much pain they could endure. The objective of this rigorous training was to breed the Spartan man into a fighting machine; reading and writing were not emphasized, as well as song and dance, though song and dance served to military ends.
  • In Athens, boys were taught to read and write, as well as to dance and fight. They were taught to play instruments and live according to peace or war. Athenian boys were taught to think and use logic to solve problems. Poorer boys ended their schooling early and became apprentices, while richer boys continued education under private tutors. Eventually, each boy went into one of two classes: practical philosophy (such as geometry and physics) and public philosophy (for if one wanted to become a senator and persuade others) This may have played a part in the survival of Greek culture when Greece was overrun by Alexander the Great.
  • Spartan women were treated much the same way as men, but did not serve in the army. They were taught to fight and gymnastics, as well as reading and writing. The mentality was that strong, tough women would produce stong, tough babies. In contrast to Athenian women, Spartan women were allowed freedom to move about outdoors.
  • Athenian women enjoyed less benefits than Spartans. They were not free to move about and did less. When they left home, they wore a veil to conceal their face.

Arts and Crafts:
  • The Greeks are famous for their columns, including the Ionic column, the Doric column, and the Corinthian column. The Greek columns have been the basis of many famous buildings of the modern world.
  • The Ionic column is thin and elegant; it is decorated by a scroll looking stone on each end. It usually has lines around connecting the two bases. An example of the Ionic column is seen at Nike, the temple of Athena which is located in Athens. A modern architectural building based on the Ionic column is seen at the Jefferson Memorial.
  • The Doric column is plain and wide compared to the other two columns. It starts thin at the top, widens in the middle, and tapers down again at the end. A Greek building that had Doric columns was the Parthenon, which was the worship/government center of Athens.
  • The Corinthian column is the faniciest of the three. It usually has a feather-like design on the top that lengthens into a thin, slender column. The Lysicrates monument is an example of a Greek building with Corinthian columns. The idea of Corinthian columns has been used in the Supreme Court Building.
  • Greek art also included sculptures, paintings, relief carvings, and pottery. Greek scupltures were their many gods and goddesses in an ideal human form. Their bodies were perfectly porportioned and not really realistic. The gods and goddesses were usually unclothed because the Greeks believed to naked human body was perfect and beautiful. Their pottery were mostly clay vases decorated with stories from Greek mythology.
  • Now in modern times, we have many forms of art. We have sculptures, paintings, reliefs, pottery, calligraphy, and much more. Most of the famous paintings nowadays are extremely abstract and not very realisitic. Some artists also think the human body is perfect. But pottery now are mostly decorated with certain designs and patterns.

Ionic Columns

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Nike (Temple of Athena) (left), The Jefferson Memorial (right)

Doric Columns

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The Parthenon (left), The Lincoln Memorial (right)

Corinthian Columns

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Lysicrates (left), The Supreme Court Building (right)

Bibliography:
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History:

Government:

Economy:

Religion:

Thoughts and Learning:

Arts and Crafts:

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