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Greece and Persia, 1000-30 BCE Tracy Rosselle, M.A.T. Newsome High School, Lithia, FL


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Title: Greece and Persia, 1000-30 BCE Tracy Rosselle, M.A.T. Newsome High School, Lithia, FL

Greece and Persia, 1000-30 BCETracy Rosselle,
M.A.T.Newsome High School, Lithia, FL
  • Beginning the Age of Classical Civilizations

Indo-Europeans in conflict
  • This presentation deals mainly with the Greeks
    but also looks in part at the rivalry and wars
    between the Greeks and Persians from the sixth to
    the fourth centuries BCE.
  • Traditionally viewed as a classic clash of
    civilizations of two peoples with ways of life
    fundamentally different and thus almost
    preordained to come into conflict these
    civilizations had more in common than is often
  • Both spoke in tongues belonging to the same
    Indo-European family of languages found
    throughout Europe and western and southern Asia.
  • Many scholars believe that ancient peoples who
    spoke languages belonging to this family
    inherited fundamental cultural traits, forms of
    social organization and religious outlooks from
    their shared past.

Ancient Iran
  • Iran, the land of the Aryans, links western
    Asia and southern and Central Asia a key
    mediating geographical fact.
  • Around 1000 BCE, Persians one of several
    Iranian peoples settled in southwest Iran and
    in the sixth century BCE created the largest
    empire the world had yet seen.

Persian Empire
This map shows the extent of the Persian Empire
in relation to its predecessor, the Assyrian
Empire (outlined in red), the Kush Empire and the
later Qin Dynasty in China.
aka Achaemenid
  • What many refer to as the Persian Empire was
    actually the Achaemenid (a-KEY-muh-nid) Empire
    the first of a succession of Persian empires
    ruling much of southwest Asia for more than a
  • The Achaemenids ruled c. 550-330 BCE, followed by
    Seleucids (323-83 BCE), Parthians (247 BCE 224
    CE) and Sasanids (224-651 CE).

Cyrus leads the way
  • Cyrus the Great (550-530 BCE) Persias first
    ruler who redrew the map of western Asia,
    conquering among others the Lydians (whose
    capital was in western Anatolia).
  • Lydians are notable in world history because
    they were first to coin money ? idea quickly
    spread, leading to monetary system of consistent
    prices, the ability to save vast sums of money
    for the future.
  • Cyrus established the Persian practice of ruling
    in a tolerant, practical manner (e.g., showed
    respect to conquered Babylonians by having his
    son crowned king in accordance with native

Darius was da man
  • Cambyses (kam-BIE-sees) son of Cyrus during
    his short reign (530-522 BCE) extended Persian
    Empire into northeast Africa.
  • Darius I (duh-RIE-uhs) Following Cambyses
    death, ruled for 36 years (522-486 BCE).
  • Extended Persian control eastward to Indus Valley
    and westward into Europe.
  • Put forts in Thrace (modern-day northeast Greece
    and Bulgaria) and by 500 BCE on doorstep of

Darius skilled, energetic, ruthless
  • Darius
  • developed maritime routes and completed a canal
    linking Red Sea with the Nile.
  • presided over vast empire with multitude of
    ethnic groups and different forms of political
    and social organization.
  • is considered a second founder (after Cyrus) of
    the Persian Empire because of the innovative
    organizational structure he imposed.

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Satrap (say what?)
  • Darius ruled in a decentralized fashion by
    dividing the empire into 20 provinces, each
    supervised by a Persian satrap (SAY-trap), or
    governor, usually related or connected by
    marriage to the royal family.
  • Satraps ruled locally, tolerant of each subject
    peoples traditions, and had much autonomy but
    inspectors (i.e., spies) were sent out to be the
    Kings Eyes and Ears and ensure the loyalty of
    the local officials.
  • Among most important duties of the satraps
    collect and send tribute (i.e., gold and silver)
    to the king.

A magnificent capital was built at Persepolis,
which served as an administrative center and,
more importantly, a monument to the grandeur of
the Achaemenid dynasty.
The Royal Road
  • The famous Royal Road was constructed to
    facilitate fast communication across distant
    parts of the empire.
  • The road, along with the manufacturing of metal
    coins of standard value (which freed people from
    having to weigh and measure odd pieces of gold or
    silver to pay for what they bought), also
    promoted trade, which in turn helped hold the
    empire together.

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  • It is thought that Darius and his successors
    (including his son Xerxes, who retreated from the
    policy of toleration toward subject peoples)
    practiced a Persian religion called
    Zoroastrianism, founded on the teachings of the
    prophet Zoroaster (zo-roe-ASS-ter), who may have
    lived anytime between 1700 BCE and 500 BCE
    (generally regarded as a historical figure and
    sometimes referred to as Zarathustra).
  • It is clear from inscriptions that Darius and his
    empire stood on the will of god, Ahuramazda
    (ah-HOOR-uh-MAZZ-duh), who had made Darius king
    and gave him a mandate to bring order to a world
    in turmoil.

Good and evil sound familiar?
  • Zoroaster revealed that Ahuramazda, the wise
    lord, created the world, which is threatened by
    Angra Mainyu (ANG-ruh MINE-yoo), the hostile
    spirit thats backed by a host of demons.
  • In this dualistic universe, the struggle between
    good and evil plays out for 12,000 years, at
    which point god prevails, the world returns to a
    state of pure creation, and people are either
    rewarded or punished by god in the afterlife
    depending on their actions during the cosmic

Great religions
  • Zoroastrianism was one of the great religions of
    the ancient world and is still practiced today
    (the relatively few followers are mostly in Iran
    and India).
  • It may have exerted a major influence on Judaism,
    and later Christianity and Islam
  • God and the Devil, Heaven and Hell, angels and
    demons, reward and punishment, the Messiah and
    the End of Time all appear to be legacies of
    this belief system.

The rise of the Greeks
  • Weve already described the geography of and
    early influences on Greek civilization in our
    discussion of the Minoan and, even more so,
    Mycenaean civilizations.
  • The Greek Dark Age lasted from about 1150 to
    800 BCE, at which time Phoenician ships began
    re-establishing contact between Aegean and Middle
    Eastern peoples.
  • A huge population explosion occurred in the
    eighth century BCE (perhaps partly because of
    more intense agricultural practices and almost
    certainly because of increased food and raw
    material imports). The subsequent Archaic
    period lasted from about 800 BCE to 480 BCE.

The polis
  • The fundamental political entity was the polis,
    or city-state
  • ancient Greece had hundreds of them.
  • most had several thousand people but the largest
    and most influential Athens and Sparta were
    much larger (Athens boasted several hundred
    thousand people).
  • usually covered 50 to 500 square miles, with the
    urban center surrounded by rural territory it

  • Most urban centers had a defensible hilltop
    acropolis (top of the city) that offered refuge
    in an emergency.
  • An agora was a gathering place for discussing
    politics or military matters which later
    evolved into a marketplace.

Acropolis at Athens
The Parthenon
The Parthenon a temple to Athena (goddess of
wisdom and favorite daughter of Zeus) sits atop
the acropolis at Athens. Built c. 440 BCE, the
Parthenons architecture reflects the Greeks
sensibility and desire to express harmony,
symmetry and balance which they found in nature.
Greek warfare
  • Each polis was jealous of its independence and
    suspicious of its neighbors ? frequent conflict.
  • Hoplites heavily armored infantrymen who fought
    in close formation, protected by helmet,
    breastplate and leg guards and armed with a spear.

Warrior farmers
  • Hoplite warfare was closely tied to agricultural
    basis of Greek society
  • armies were private citizens mostly farmers
    called up for brief periods of crisis when
    agricultural cycle allowed.
  • citizen-soldiers needed no special training.
  • professional class of soldiers therefore not
    needed (but well talk about the unique culture
    of Sparta soon).

The absence of a professional military class in
the early Greek states was essential to
broadening the base of political participation
and the later rise of democracy.
and colonists
  • A wave of colonization occurred and spread Greek
    culture to distant lands from about the
    mid-eighth through mid-sixth centuries BCE as
    population surpassed the local agricultural
  • Indigenous populations ? driven away, reduced to
    semi-servile status, or subsumed into culture
    through intermarriage.
  • Greeks began referring to themselves as Hellenes
    (HELL-leans) to distinguish themselves from
    barbaroi (root of the English barbarian)
  • from which we get Hellenism and Hellenistic
    Age Romans later called them Graeci.

Evolution of political organization
  • Dark Age kings ruled societies ? later
    superseded by councils of noble families.
  • Society debt-slaves, peasant serfs, free peasant
    landowners, urban-based craftsmen and merchants
    (who were constituents of emerging middle
  • Mid-seventh and sixth centuries BCE ? city-state
    tyrants gained control often disgruntled or
    ambitious members of aristocracy, but had the
    approval of middle class (and thus not
    necessarily tyrannical in the normal sense of the
    word today).

The seeds of democracy
  • With new economic opportunities and the cost of
    metals declining, middle class men (whod already
    been hoplite soldiers in local militias)
    increasingly able to acquire arms ? must have
    demanded some political rights as the price of
    their support for their local tyrant.
  • Some tyrants able to pass power to sons, but
    tyrant-family eventually toppled.
  • Authority then developed along two lines
  • oligarchy political privilege of wealthy few.
  • democracy political power of all free adult

Myths, religion and sacrifice
  • Greek religion ? wide range of cults, beliefs
    gods often anthropomorphic representations of
    forces in nature (Zeus sent storms and lightning
    Poseidon was master of sea and earthquakes)
    larger than life but with human failings.
  • Worship of gods at state-sponsored festivals as
    much civic identity as personal piety.
  • Sacrifice was central ritual gave gods simple
    gifts (small cake or cup of wine poured on the
    ground), or would kill one or more animals, spray
    the altar with the victims blood, burn parts of
    its body so aroma would ascend to the gods, and
    enjoy a rare feast of meat.

An artists rendering of the statue (left) and
the ruins today.
A temple with a 40-foot-tall statue of Zeus the
father of all Greek gods and goddesses was
built at Olympia in the fifth century BCE. The
Olympics date back to the eighth century BCE, but
the games were expanded to five days in 472 BCE.
Intellectual development
  • During Archaic period of Greek history (c.
    800-480 BCE), a growing sense of individuality
  • shift away from family dominance and centrality.
  • tyrant seizing power for himself alone, colonist
    embarking on the distant frontier ? rugged
  • humanism a valuing of the uniqueness, talents
    and rights of the individual

Intellectual developmentPre-Socratic
  • Began challenging traditional religious ideas
    (e.g., Xenophanes questioned the kind of gods
    popularized by Homer).
  • Sought rational explanations for origins and
    nature of the world.
  • Concerned mainly with how world was created, what
    its made of came up with a theory amazingly
    similar to modern atomic theory (atom, from a
    Greek word meaning indivisible).
  • Pre-Socratic means before Socrates, who
    shifted focus of philosophy to ethical questions
    in fifth century BCE.

Intellectual developmentLog it for historys sake
  • In sixth century BCE, a group of men later
    called logogaphers (loe-GOG-ruff-er) were the
    first to begin writing in prose (the language of
    everyday speech) instead of poetry, which had
    long facilitated the memorization essential to an
    oral tradition.
  • They took advantage of writings infinite
    capacity to store information (remember, the
    Greeks adapted the Phoenician alphabet) by
  • ethnography descriptions of a peoples physical
    and cultural characteristics.
  • geography of Mediterranean lands.
  • origins of famous families and important cities.

Intellectual developmentThe father of history
  • Logographers called the method they used to
    collect, sort and select information historia.
  • Herodotus (c. 485-425 BCE) published his
    Histories, the latter part of which focused on
    his previous generations wars with the Persian
  • Herodotus narrowed the meaning of the word
    historia to the modern sense of the word history
    by doing this He clearly stated that he wanted
    to find out why Greeks and Persians had fought
    one another.

A study in contrastsAthens and Sparta
  • The two main city-states competing for power in
    the late Archaic and Classical periods were
    Athens and Sparta. They were vastly different
  • Athens was the political, commercial and cultural
    center of Greek civilization.
  • Sparta was an agricultural and highly
    militaristic region where citizens led austere,
    highly disciplined lives (hence the modern
    expression, a Spartan existence or

  • Initially followed the Greek path of trading and
    participating in the arts, but responded to
    population pressures not by sending out colonists
    but invading the fertile plain of Messenia to
    their west.
  • Messenians then became helots peasants forced
    to stay on the land they worked (and thus the
    most exploited population on Greek mainland).
  • Around 650 BCE, the resentful Messenians revolted
    and the outnumbered Spartans were just barely
    able to put down the uprising.

Military preparedness
  • Their vulnerability shockingly exposed, the
    Spartans resolved to boost their military
    preparedness and thereafter became a giant,
    permanent military camp.
  • Boys taken from their families and put into
    barracks at age 7, where they would stay until
    they reached 30.
  • They were toughened by extreme regimen of
    discipline, beatings and deprivation marching,
    exercising, fighting, serving the military until
    they reached 60.

Stopping the clock
  • Spartans declined to take part in the economic,
    cultural and political renaissance found
    elsewhere in Archaic Greece.
  • No longer artists and poets in Sparta.
  • Effort to maintain equality among citizens ?
    metals and coinage banned, commerce forbidden.
  • Interestingly, Spartan women had greater freedom
    and more opportunities born of running family
    estates while husbands were active in military
    than women from other Greek city-states,
    including Athens.
  • Sparta had best military but rarely flexed its
    own muscle, practicing a cautious, isolationist
    foreign policy.

  • When we think of Greece as the birthplace of
    democracy and the fountainhead of Western
    culture, were thinking of Athens.
  • Athens possessed an unusually large and populous
    territory (with moderately fertile plains suited
    for olive trees) the entire region of Attica,
    which provided buffer against initial stresses of
    Archaic period.
  • Draco nobleman who in 621 BCE developed a legal
    code based on idea that all Athenians, rich and
    poor, were equal under the law ? first step
    toward democracy.
  • But by early sixth century BCE, threat of civil
    war was in the air and Solon (SO-luhn) was
    appointed lawgiver and granted extraordinary

Solon and so on toward democracy
  • Solon
  • outlawed debt slavery (no citizen should own
    another citizen).
  • organized Athenians into four social classes
    according to wealth ? all could participate in
    Athenian Assembly, but only top three could hold
    political office.
  • introduced legal concept that any citizen could
    bring charges against wrongdoers.

Solon and so on toward democracyCleisthenes
  • Broke up power of nobility by organizing citizens
    into ten groups based on where they lived rather
    than on their wealth.
  • Increased power of the Assembly by allowing all
    citizens to submit laws for debate and passage.
  • Created Council of Five Hundred body that
    proposed laws and counseled the Assembly council
    members chosen by lot (randomly).

Solon and so on toward democracyPericles
  • Skillful politician, inspiring speaker,
    respected general ? held popular support for 32
    years, called the Age of Pericles.

  • He and political allies took final steps in
    evolution of Athenian democracy
  • transferred all power to popular organs of
    government (Assembly, Council of Five Hundred,
    Peoples Courts).
  • From then on, and because Pericles increased the
    number of public officials who were paid
    salaries, men of moderate or little means could
    hold office and participate in political process
    (because they now could afford to do so).

The democratic system
  • Sovereignty of the people embodied in the
    Assembly, which consisted of all male citizens
    over 18 (about 40,000 of total population of
  • Meetings held every 10 days on a hillside east of
    the Acropolis (attendance seldom reached 6,000).
  • Direct democracy in action Assembly passed all
    laws and made final decisions on war and foreign
  • Board of 10 officials known as generals elected
    to guide affairs of state usually wealthy
    aristocrats, their power depended on respect
    theyd attained (Pericles re-elected 15 times).

546-323 BCEThe struggle of Persia and Greece
  • The Greeks of the fifth and fourth centuries BCE
    viewed the larger Persian Empire as the great
  • Their conflict was a decisive historical event
    across two centuries for the Greeks, but the
    Persians were probably more concerned about
    events further east.
  • The ultimate outcome, however, was profoundly
    important for the eastern Mediterranean and
    western Asia.
  • The notion of an East-West dichotomy traces to
    the Greek tradition.

Persian Wars
  • Cyrus conquered Lydia in 546 BCE and subjugated
    Greek cities on the Anatolian seacoast (Ionia),
    and nearly 50 years later Greeks and other
    subject peoples rose up in what was called the
    Ionian Revolt.
  • Darius sent naval fleet to punish Athens and
    another Greek city-state that had helped the
    Ionian rebels.
  • Athenian hoplites in 490 BCE turned back
    lighter-armed Persian troops at Marathon
    (tradition says young runner named Pheidippides
    raced 25 miles to Athens to bring the news,
    Rejoice, we conquer! then promptly collapsed
    and died of exhaustion).

Spartan sacrifice at Thermopylae
  • Darius son Xerxes (ZERK-seez) returned 10 years
    later with an enormous invasion force (1,200
    ships and 100,000 men).
  • Disunity in defense Some Greek city-states
    agreed to fight, others thought it best to let
    Xerxes destroy Athens, some even fought alongside
  • But 7,000 Greeks fought Persians in a narrow
    mountain pass at Thermopylae after three days of
    fighting, 300 Spartans sacrificed their lives as
    other Greeks retreated.

Athens at sea
  • Athenians evacuated the city (which Xerxes and
    his men then destroyed) but eventually used
    their naval prowess to badly damage Xerxes
    larger, less nimble fleet.
  • The next year, in 479 BCE, the Persian land army
    suffered defeat at Plataea (plu-TEE-uh) and
    thereafter was in retreat.
  • Athens and its naval capabilities replaced
    land-based, isolationist Sparta as leader of the
    campaign against Persia ? voluntary alliance of
    city-states known as Delian League formed in 477
    BCE and, led by Athens, swept away the Persian
    threat from eastern Mediterranean within next 20

Triremes link to democracy
The trireme was a sleek, fast vessel powered by
170 rowers and armed with a metal-tipped
battering ram. Rowers came from lower classes
(middle- and upper-class hoplites could afford
own weapons, protective gear), and since they
were providing chief source of protection could
insist on full rights.
Athenian power on the rise
  • Athens soon came to dominate the other
    city-states of the Delian League, moving the
    capital from Delos to Athens and using military
    force against its challengers and to promote its
    commercial interests.
  • Weaker, poorer city-states paid Athens taxes to
    build the expensive triremes, but some became
    dissatisfied when expensive building projects
    were undertaken to glorify Athens.
  • But it was during this time, in the decades
    following its successful efforts against the
    Persians, that the golden Age of Pericles
    produced a cultural legacy thats still with us
    today. Until the conquest of Greece by Philip II
    of Macedon in 338 BCE, this is known as Classical

Art, architecture,and drama
  • Greek sculptors tried to capture the grace of the
    idealized human body.
  • They valued harmony, order, balance and
    proportion ? ideal beauty rather than realism.
  • This standard is called classical art.

  • Thomas Jefferson once wrote that design
    activity and political thought are indivisible.
    He believed that architecture was an important
    vehicle for expressing political ideals, and he
    worked to ensure that Washington, as the seat of
    the American democracy, would become a city of
    stately and sophisticated buildings based on
    classical precedents.
  • Martin Moeller, Curator, National Building

As youve already seen, the Parthenon is the
classic example of Greek architecture and its
legacy remains patently obvious to this day!
From Aeschylus to E.R.
  • The Greeks originated drama as we know it in
    Western culture.
  • Plays were presented in outdoor theaters as part
    of religious festivals, but notion of drama for
    its own sake eventually emerged.
  • Male actors wore masks that exaggerated human
  • Two kinds of drama tragedy and comedy.

  • Greek tragedies were plays based on the suffering
    of a hero and usually ended in disaster.
  • Tackled universal themes nature of good and
    evil, rights of the individual, nature of divine
    forces, nature of human beings.
  • Repeated theme ? humans free but can operate only
    within limitations imposed by the gods.

The playwrights
  • Aeschylus (EHS-kuh-luhs) wrote more than 80
    plays, including the trilogy Oresteia, which
    examined the idea of justice and concerned
    Agamemnon, the Mycenaean king who led the Greeks
    at Troy.
  • Sophocles wrote Oedipus the King (Oedipus
    suffers fate of gods but as free man must own up
    to his actions ? unwittingly killed his father
    and married his mother) and Antigone (chorus
    chant Is there anything more wonderful on
    earth, our marvelous planet, than the miracle of
  • Euripedes created more realistic characters,
    complex plots controversial for questioning
    traditional religious and moral values (e.g.,
    portrayed war as barbaric rather than glorious).

Those whacky Greeks
  • Greek comedy developed later than tragedy.
  • Contained slapstick situations and crude humor
    but also satirized politicians and intellectuals.
  • Aristophanes In Lysistrata (411 BCE), when
    Athens was in serious danger of losing the
    Peloponnesian War, wives go on a sex strike to
    get husbands to end the war.
  • Fact that Athenians could listen to criticism of
    themselves and tolerate antiwar political
    messages shows openness of public discussion that
    existed in democratic Athens.

Sophists and Socrates
  • Philosophy is a Greek word that originally meant
    love of wisdom.
  • Early Greek philosophers wanted to explain the
    universe according to unifying principles, but
    Sophists emerged in fifth century BCE to argue
    only worthwhile subject of study was human
  • Sophists
  • questioned traditional values.
  • said there was no absolute right or wrong.
  • argued that true wisdom came from being able to
    perceive and pursue ones own good.

Sophists and SocratesRhetoric gets a bad name
  • Sophists were traveling teachers who provided
    instruction in logic and public speaking
    (rhetoric art of persuasive oratory) to young
    pupils who could afford it.
  • Greek masses came to call someone who uses
    cleverness to distort and manipulate reality a
  • Socrates (c. 470-399 BCE) a critic of democracy
    and of the Sophists (he believed there were
    absolute truths) but encouraged Greeks to
    challenge authority and their own beliefs.
  • The unexamined life is not worth living.
  • Socratic method (questions, questions, questions
  • Wise in that he knew that he knew nothing.

Sophists and SocratesOn trial for dubious charges
  • The defeat of Athens in the Peloponnesian War
    (well get to that shortly) led to soulsearching
    and less tolerance for debate ? Socrates put on
    trial as an old man for corrupting the youth of
    Athens and neglecting the citys gods.
  • He was really a scapegoat for the controversial
    Sophists and several of his aristocratic students
    who had tried to overthrow the Athenian democracy.

Sophists and SocratesRewarded with hemlock
  • Athenian juries of hundreds of citizens often
    swayed by emotion.
  • Vote on Socrates was close 280-220 but he was
    condemned to death by drinking hemlock.

The Death of Socrates
Socrates probably could have avoided his fate had
he offered exile as his punishment instead of
his suggestion that he be rewarded for his
actions or, short of that, that he pay a modest
  • The safest general characterization of the
    European philosophical tradition is that it
    consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.
    Alfred North Whitehead, 20th-century British
    mathematician and philosopher, reflecting the
    widespread belief that Plato is the greatest
    Western philosopher.

(c. 429-347 BCE)
PlatoA student of Socrates
  • Socrates left no writings, but his student Plato
    wrote a lot We know of Socrates through Platos
    dialogues (theres disagreement about the
    degree to which Socrates words reflect the ideas
    of Socrates or of Plato).
  • The Republic Platos most famous work, in which
    he lays out the ideal society (not a democracy
    three classes 1. farmers and artisans, 2.
    warriors, and 3. ruling class ? chooses person
    with greatest insight and intellect

Forms and shadows
  • Plato was fascinated with the question of
  • He believed that a higher world of eternal,
    unchanging Ideas or Forms has always existed
    and to know these ideal Forms (which constitute
    reality) is to know truth.
  • The goal of philosophy is to apprehend these
    Forms, which can only be done by a trained mind.

The Allegory of the Cave
Are the objects we perceive with our senses
simply reflections shadows of the ideal Forms?
Aristotle (384-322 BCE)
  • One of the big three classical Greek philosophers
    (along with Socrates and Plato).
  • A student for decades at Platos Academy in
    Athens, he rejected Platos theory of ideal Forms
    ? instead, said we can examine objects, perceive
    their form and arrive at universal principles
    that are not on a separate, higher plane of
  • His interests lay in analyzing and classifying
    things based on thorough research and
  • Wide-ranging interests he wrote treatises on
    ethics, logic, politics, poetry, astronomy,
    geology, biology and physics.

Aristotles Politics
  • Like Plato, Aristotle wished for an effective
    form of government but unlike Plato and his
    metaphysical approach, he rationally analyzed
    existing governments to see what worked best.
  • Politics conclusions drawn from examining
    constitutions of 158 states ? three good forms
    are monarchy, aristocracy and constitutional
    government, which he favored for most people.
  • Warning monarchy can easily lead to tyranny,
    aristocracy into oligarchy, and constitutional
    government into radical democracy or anarchy.

A lasting influence
  • Aristotle was chosen by King Philip II of
    Macedonia to tutor his son, Alexander (who youll
    see shortly went on to great things), and later
    returned to Athens to found his own school, the
  • Aristotles philosophical and political ideas
    played a huge role in development of Western
    thought during the Middle Ages as did his ideas
    on women.
  • Unlike Plato, who believed men and women should
    have the same education and equal access to all
    positions, Aristotle thought women inferior The
    association between husband and wife is clearly
    an aristocracy. The man rules by virtue of merit

Greek inequality
  • While theres much greatness to be found in
    Classical Greece, inequality was significant in
  • Citizens were free adult males of pure Athenian
    ancestry (only 10-15 of society) democracy
    didnt apply to women, children, slaves and
  • Athenian direct democracy made possible by slaves
    (mostly foreigners and perhaps 1/3 of Atticas
    population in fifth and fourth centuries BCE)
    needed to run the shop or work the farm while
    master attended meetings, served on boards that
    oversaw the day-to-day activities of the state.

Secondary status of women
  • The position of women varied across Greek
    communities (remember that in Sparta they enjoyed
    a level of public visibility and outspokenness
    that shocked other Greeks), but in Athens women
    were exploited and dominated by men.
  • Husbands and wives had limited contact marriages
    meant to produce children, preferably male.
  • The appearance of bold, self-assertive women on
    the Athenian stage (in plays written by men)
    probably suggests a male fear of strong women.

Peloponnesian War
  • War broke out between Greek alliance systems in
    431 BCE (i.e., Sparta and Athens went to war).
  • Athenian imperial power and cultural achievement
    had aroused suspicions and jealousy.
  • A quick, decisive hoplite battle was avoided when
    Pericles refused to engage Sparta on land Athens
    retreated behind its walls, kept shipping lanes
    open with its fortified port ? so the war dragged
    on for three decades with great loss of life and
    squandering of resources.

Peloponnesian War
War is a savage schoolmaster that brings the
characters of most people down to the level of
their current circumstances. Thucydides, The
Peloponnesian War
It was a war of unprecedented brutality,
violating even the rugged code that previously
had governed Greek fighting and breaking through
the thin veneer that separates civilization from
savagery. Anger, frustration, and the desire for
vengeance increased as the fighting dragged on,
producing a progression of atrocities that
included maiming and killing captured opponents,
throwing them into pits to die of thirst,
starvation, and exposure, and hurling them into
the sea to drown. Bands of marauders murdered
innocent schoolchildren. Entire cities were
destroyed, the men killed, the women and children
sold as slaves. Donald Kagan, On the
Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace
Sparta wins or does it?
  • A plague soon swept through Athens, killing
    perhaps 1/3 of its population (including
  • The Persian Empire eventually bankrolled the
    construction of a navy for the Spartan alliance,
    so it finally was able to take the conflict into
    Athens own element, the sea.
  • Athens lost its empire, power and wealth when it
    surrendered in 404 BCE, but the victorious
    Spartans were also greatly weakened and
    subsequently became highhanded with other
    city-states ? ensuing decades brought almost
    continuous internal conflict among the Greeks
    (remember that this was the time of the great
    philosophers and playwrights, the end of the
    golden age, the Trial of Socrates).

Threat from the north
  • While disunity and factionalism permeated Greece
    following the Peloponnesian War, Philip II (r.
    359-336 BCE) was transforming his previously
    backward kingdom of Macedonia into a military
    power that would conquer Greece by the time of
    his death (he was assassinated at his daughters
    wedding by a former guardsman).

The region in 359 BCE
Military maneuvers
  • Philip was a military
  • innovator
  • improved hoplite formation.
  • experimented with coordinated use of infantry and
  • had engineers develop new kinds of siege
    equipment, including the first catapult ? could
    now storm fortifications instead of waiting for
    starvation to take over.

Troops were organized into phalanxes of 16 men
across and 16 deep, each armed with an 18-foot
pike to break through enemy lines. Philip trained
his soldiers against northern enemies before
preparing to invade Greece.
After conquering Greece, Philip planned to move
on and conquer the larger Persian Empire but
that task was left to his 20-year-old son,
The region in 336 BCE
(356-323 BCE)Alexander the Great
  • Came to power at 20, and in a little more than a
    decade had amassed an empire stretching from the
    Mediterranean to Egypt, across Syria and
    Palestine, through Persia and as far east as the
    Punjab region of modern Pakistan.
  • Variously viewed as idealistic visionary,
    ruthless Machiavellian.
  • Warrior hero was Achilles (he kept a copy of
    Homers Iliad under his pillow).
  • Apparently planned to fuse Greeks and easterners
    ? adopted Persian dress, used Persians as
    administrators, encouraged soldiers to marry
    easterners (he had several Iranian wives with
    useful royal or aristocratic connections).

Click on the icon below to see Alexanders
The Hellenistic synthesis
  • Empire split among his generals after Alexanders
    death Antigonus became king of Macedonia and
    Greek city-states Ptolemy (TAHL-uh-mee)
    established a dynasty as pharaoh in Egypt
    Seleucus (sih-LOO-kuhs) took most of old Persian
  • Historians call the era ushered in by the
    conquests of Alexander the Hellenistic Age
    (323-30 BCE) ? lands in northeastern Africa and
    western Asia Hellenized, or profoundly
    influenced by Greek culture.

The Pharos
  • Located at a strategic place on the western edge
    of the Nile delta, the Egyptian city of
    Alexandria was the foremost center of commerce
    and cultural vitality in Hellenistic
  • Population nearly 500,000.
  • Attractions Alexanders glass coffin, the
    Pharos, a library with a half-million papyrus
    scrolls and a museum for advanced study
    (dedicated to the Muses, the Greek goddesses of
    arts and sciences).

(350 feet tall)
The fiery beacon of Alexandrias lighthouse the
first of its kind and one of the seven wonders of
the ancient world could be seen by sailors from
a distance of 30 miles.
AlexandriaScience and technology
  • Archimedes lever, compound pulley, value of pi,
    the Archimedes screw (for raising water from the
  • Advances made in astronomy (Aristarchus and
    Eratosthenes) and geometry (Euclid).
  • Philosophy Stoicism and Epicureanism concerned
    with how people should live their lives ?
    personal happiness, satisfaction and fulfillment
    could be achieved independent of the polis.

Archimedes of Syracuse studied at Alexandria.
Hellenistic art
  • Hellenistic sculptors moved toward more emotional
    and realistic art and away from the ideal beauty
    prized by Greek classicism.
  • This statue of an old market woman carrying
    chickens and a fruit basket realistically shows
    her dealing with the grind of poverty.

Romans on the horizon
  • The Greeks had a profound cultural impact on the
    peoples and lands of the Middle East, facilitated
    in part by their system of easily learned
    alphabetic Greek writing (which led to more
    widespread literacy and far more effective
    dissemination of information).
  • Hellenism persisted as a cultural force for a
    thousand years but the Greek attitude of
    superiority kept them largely separated from the
    native masses of the Hellenistic kingdoms, and
    rulers continued to engage in inconclusive wars.
  • Alexanders empire and Greek culture would soon
    be inherited by a rising power to the west the

  • The Earth and Its Peoples A Global History
    (Bulliet et al.)
  • Traditions Encounters A Global Perspective on
    the Past (Bentley Ziegler)
  • World History (Duiker Spielvogel)
  • Patterns of Interaction (McDougal Littell,
  • AP World History review guides The Princeton
    Review, Kaplan and Barrons