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Ancient Greece in a Nutshell


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Title: Ancient Greece in a Nutshell

Ancient Greece in a Nutshell
  • Crash Course 1

Physical Geography of Greece
  • The landscape is rocky and mountainous
  • Communication and transportation is difficult
  • Cities developed independently of one another
  • A single great empire is impossible!

The Polis
  • Polis (city-state) designated city and its
    surrounding countryside
  • The polis can be governed as a monarchy,
    aristocracy, oligarchy, tyranny, or democracy
    you name it!
  • Athens, Sparta, Thebes, and Corinth are among the
    most powerful polis

Democracy v. Oligarchy
  • Greek democracies were really expanded
  • Many Greeks saw democracies as unstable and
  • Oligarchies allowed for social mobility and gave
    passive civil rights on all citizens
  • Outsiders are excluded from citizenship
  • Both allow for strong identification with city
    state by citizens I smell nationalism!

The Archaic Age (800-500 BC)A Tale of Two Cities
  • Sparta
  • Sparta is an oligarchy ruled by 2 kings and 28
  • Conquest is means of economic and agricultural
  • Strong military society
  • Athens
  • Aristocracy rules
  • Civil unrest common among economically dependent
    farmers and the aristocracy
  • Society emphasizes education and philosophy

More on Athens
  • Draco establishes the first Athenian Law Code
    (621 BC) now everyone knows the law!
  • Solon freed debt slaves and opened the
    aristocratic assembly to all citizens (594 BC)
  • Cleisthenes set up a form of representative
    democracy by setting up local demes (govts) to
    connect to the central government creating a
    local voice

The Classical Period (500-338 BC)
  • Pericles made Athens a cultural center of
    learning and creativity
  • Sophocles and Euripides created plays and dramas
  • Socrates analyzed human society and developed new
    questioning techniques geared towards analytical
  • Plato believed the truth lay in the world of
  • Aristotle put emphasis on the material world

Persian Wars
  • Athens decided to help the Ionians rebel against
    Persia. Persia gets mad and wants revenge
  • Persia begins an all out invasion of Greece
    they think Greece would make a nice addition to
    their empire

The Battles
  • Battle of Marathon
  • Battle of Thermopylae
  • Battle of Salamis

Wars Alliances
  • Persian Wars forced Greek city-states into
    military alliances
  • The alliances worked so well, they decided to
    formalize it after the war as a defense.
  • The Delian League naval alliance against Persia

Getting Greedy
  • The Athenians took control of the Delian League
    and turned it into a vehicle for building an
    empire (for themselves)
  • The league was used as a way to exert control and
    force tributes
  • Needless to say, the other city states werent

Peloponnesian War
  • Tired of the Delian League, Sparta and some
    friends go after Athens, sparking a huge civil
  • Macedon sees this happening and sees it as a
    golden moment to invade Greece is left weak and
    unstable from their war.
  • Greece falls to Philip of Macedon

Hellenistic Greece
  • Alexander the Great (Philips son) lays claim to
    the empire. He gets busy and expands and expands
    and expands
  • As a result of expansion Greek cities become
    connected with other cities
  • Greek culture spread to the Mediterranean and

Hellenistic Philosophy
  • Two Schools of Philosophy Develop
  • Epicureanism moderation, self-discipline, and a
    quiet life
  • Stoicism civic virtue, devotion to duty,
    acceptance of ones lot in life

Ups and Downs
  • Trade and international commerce flourish through
    new communication and transportation networks
  • After Alexanders death the empire is broken up
    into pieces among his generals
  • Monarchies eventually take over the splintered