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Ancient Greece: Wars and Contributions


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Title: Ancient Greece: Wars and Contributions

Ancient Greece Wars and Contributions
  • Dr. East

Time Line
Clash of Super Powers Persian Wars (546 449
  • Athens and Sparta had a mutual enemy Persia
  • See pg. 132, book for good map
  • 546 B.C. Persians united under Darius the Great
    conquered Ionia (land in Western Anatolia where
    Greeks had long settled)
  • Athens attempted to come to their aid but were
  • 490 B.C. Persians decided to take Athens and
    sent ships across the Aegean Sea

Battle of Marathon (490 B.C.)
  • 25,000 Persians landed northeast of Athens on
    plain called Marathon
  • 10,000 Athenians matched them in battle
  • Result Huge Persian defeat with approx. 6,000
    dead before they retreated to the sea only 200
    Athenian casualties
  • Why the defeat?
  • Ans. Greeks had better battle formations
    learned during land wars between city-states
  • Greek Army of Hoplites (all kinds of men), iron
    weapons, and a fighting form called the Phalanx
    destroyed the unprepared Persians
  • After their retreat to the sea, the Persians
    tried to sail into the harbor and conqueror from
    this new area. They were met by a heavily
    defended city. A runner named Pheidippides
    warned the Athenian people to ready for battle.
    Joined by the returning Greek Hoplites, the
    Persians found a heavily defended place and they
    again retreated. Guess how far he had to

Battles of Thermopylae, Salamis, and Plataea
(Defeats of Xerxes)
  • By 480 B.C. Darius son, the Persian King Xerxes,
    tried again and sent a huge invasion force
    overland to invade Athens from the northwest
    (See map pg. 132)
  • In trying to get trough a mountain pass at
    Thermopylae, 7,000 Greeks, including 300 Spartans
    blocked his way for 3 days until he found a work
    around The Spartans held off the force while the
    other Greeks retreated thus giving the rest of
    the Greeks time to reposition their forces... All
    Spartans died.
  • Retreating Greeks decided to evacuate Athens and
    fight from the sea in a narrow channel near the
    island of Salamis. Xerxes ships were large and
    unwieldy and smaller, faster Greek ships were
    armed with battering rams and they tore the
    Persian fleet apart. 1/3 of the Persian fleet
    was lost in this battle
  • The Persians last major attack occurred in 479
    B.C. on land at Plataea where the Greeks easily
    defeated them after this the Persians were
    simply on longer an affective threat to Greece.

Height of Democracy The Short, Golden Age of
Pericles (461-429 B.C.)
  • After the war, Athens joined with other
    city-states in military league called the Delian
    League (in the 470s this was a league of 200
  • Athens emerged as a clear leader with a strong
    ruler, Pericles
  • He strengthened democracy and tried to make
    Athens the undisputed imperial ruler of Greek
  • He rebuilt the city after it burned during the
    Persian Wars
  • Responsible for rebuilding the Parthenon
  • He started paying people salaries to serve in
    political office thus he opened up government
    positions to poorer men (in the past under
    Cleisthenes only property owning, richer men
  • Under Pericles, direct democracy flourished in
    the Council of 500
  • Unfortunately, he used monies from the Delian
    League to glorify Athens only this would
    eventually become Athens downfall as the other
    city-states would rise up against it.

Dissension Within Peloponnesian War (431-404
  • Angered by Pericles's use of Delian monies,
    Sparta declared war on Athens, 431 B.C., and
    created a Peloponnesian League to defeat it .
    See map pg. 137
  • Athens had a better navy Sparta had a better
  • Sparta was hard to get to by sea and land
  • Spartans burnt the Athenian hinterland
    (destroying the citys food supply) and later on
    a plague would destroy the city from within
  • Both sides signed a temporary truce, which Athens
    broke in 413 B.C. when it tried to take the
    Spartan allied city-state of Syracuse again the
    Spartan trained armies defeated the Athenians
    Athens surrendered by 404 B.C.

Alexander the Great the Hellenistic Age
  • Wars between the city-states weakened them all,
    efforts toward democracy slowed, and Greek
    cultural advancements lagged Athens and Sparta
    were ripe for the taking
  • King Phillip II of Macedonia advanced and his
    armies easily defeated the weakened city-states,
    Athens, Sparta and many others fell to him
  • By 338 B.C. King Phillip of Macedonia controlled
  • He died suddenly and his son, Alexander, went on
    to create a huge empire that spread from Greece
    to Egypt, through Persia and into India
  • In a 13 year epic journey, Alexander spread Greek
    culture throughout the East in so doing he
    spread a little of Eastern cultures into the
    West thus Hellenistic culture was characterized
    by a blend of Greek, Egyptian, Persian, and
    Indian cultural traditions
  • Alexander died in 323 B.C. leaving his empire to
    be divided up between Greek generals

  • Discovery Channel The Conquerors, Alexander the
  • http//
  • Watch from 10 min. in

The Contributions of Greek Culture
  • Spread throughout the world by Athens and later
    by Alexander the Great
  • Drama, Tragedy Comedy
  • Tragedy serious drama about common themes such
    as love, hate, war, or betrayal
  • Hero usually has a tragic flaw like pride or
    being blinded by love
  • Aeschylus, writer, 80 plays, most famous tragedy
    was Oresteia, stories of Agamemnon, the Mycenaean
    King of Troy
  • Sophocles, writer, over 100 plays, author of
    tragedies like, Oedipus the King and Antigone
  • Poetry Homers Iliad Odyssey, epics, narrative
    poems describing heroic deeds, actions of Gods,
    and in the Iliad, the Trojan War
  • History
  • Herodotus, Father of History, wrote first book
    on Persian wars that is considered to be the
    first historical analysis not a poem
  • Thucydides, wrote History of Peloponnesian War
    greatest historian of classical age Greece, he
    felt like a better understanding of history to
    aid us for decisions in the present

Contributions Cont. - Architecture
Parthenon Doric
Contributions Cont. Sculpture
  • Sculpture Phidias, sculptor that created statue
    of Athena in the Parthenon, Athena Parthenos

40 ft tall, made of marble, silver and gold. On
the middle of her helmet is placed a likeness of
the Sphinx ... and on either side of the helmet
are griffins in relief. ... The statue of Athena
is upright, with a tunic reaching to the feet,
and on her breast the head of Medusa is worked in
ivory. She holds a statue of Victory (Nike) about
four cubits high, and in the other hand a spear
at her feet lies a shield and near the spear is a
serpent. This serpent would be Erichthonius. On
the pedestal is the birth of Pandora in
relief.5 - Wikipedia
Contributions Cont. Science
  • Many Greek Scientists work emerged from
    Alexandria the Center of Hellenistic Greece
  • Archimedes
  • accurately estimated Pi, ratio of a circumference
    of a circle to a diameter
  • Ideas about levers
  • Hippocrates medicine, Hippocratic Oath never
    do harm
  • Hippocrates and other Greek doctors believed that
    the work done by a doctor should be kept separate
    from the work done by a priest. They believed
    that observation of a patient was a vital aspect
    of medical care. Ancient Greek doctors did
    examine their patients but Hippocrates wanted a
    more systematic period of observation and the
    recording of what was observed. Today, we would
    call this clinical observation. Such ideas have
    lead to Hippocrates being called the Father of

Contributions Cont. -- Mathematics
  • Euclid geometry, author of Elements, with 465
    proofs, it is still the basis for modern geometry
  • Pythagoras founder of a mathematical school
    that adopted Chinese, Arabic, and Egyptian ideas
    about triangle math during Hellenistic age
    theory known as Pythagorean theorem associated
    with this school
  • The square of right triangles hypotenuse equals
    the sum of the squared lengths of the two
    remaining sides.

Contributions Cont. -- Philosophy