Greece Notes


  1. Hellas- Land (Geography)
    1. Includes the Greeks Peninsulas, Greek Islands, and the land surrounding the Aegean Sea
      1. Peninsula- area of land mostly surrounded by water and connected by a small strip of land
        1. Greek mainland is made up of many of these that jut out into the Aegean Sea and Ionian Sea
      2. Little islands fill the Aegean Sea
        1. These make travel around the Aegean easy
    2. Mountainous
      1. Greece is made up of many rocky hills and mountains
        1. Shallow, rocky soil
          1. Make farming difficult
        2. Difficult to travel
          1. Few roads, most were paths with ridges cut for chariots
          2. Isolated people
            1. Caused the creation of many similar but distinct cultures and societies
    3. Agriculture
      1. Due to the mountains farming was very difficult
      2. Grew many grapes and olives
        1. Grapes for eating and making wine
        2. Olives for eating and olive oil
          1. Can be used to fuel lamps and preserve food
      3. Sheep and goats live well in mountains
      4. Wheat could be grown in smaller pockets of rich soil
      5. Fishing was a major supply of meat
  2. Minoans and Mycenaeans (1650-1100BC)
    1. The Greek civilization begins with with two civilization; Minoans and Mycenaeans
    2. Minoans
      1. Dwelt on the island of Crete 
        1. Crete was located on the south point of the Aegean in the center of the mediterranean, close to egypt and the Levant
      2. Archaeology
        1. Most of what we know comes from archaeology, not writing
        2. Minoans wrote in Linear Form A which we have not translated
      3. Culture and Society
        1. The center of society was the palace
          1. The most important of these was at Knossos
            1. Also the location of the Labyrinth with the minotaur
          2. These palaces were decorated with vibrant blue and red frescoes
            1. Frescoe is a method of painting on wet plaster
        2. Minoans were governed by a king and his court
        3. Primarily sailors and traders
          1. Their location made them a central trade point in the Mediterranean
          2. Culture was influenced by many civilizations
        4. Peaceful nation
          1. No evidence of warriors or weaponry
      4. Conquered by the Mycenaeans around 1450 BC
    3. Mycenaeans
      1. Originally Mycenaeans and Minoans lived peacefully and cooperated with one another
      2. The first advanced civilization on the Greek Peninsula
      3. Mycenaean Rise to power
        1. After Minoan fall, Mycenae quickly became the leader of trade in the Med. 
        2. Built many grand palaces and large citadels with large stone walls
        3. Massive spread of culture
      4. 1300-1100 BC Civil War
        1. Small kingdoms of Mycenae fought with one another
        2. Caused mass disruption, poverty, and chaos
        3. Leads to the Greek Dark Age
  3. Dark Age 1100-800 BC
    1. Development of Homer’s Epics
      1. Iliad and the Odyssey
        1. Stories of Greek heroes; sack of troy and adventures of Odysseus
        2. Heroes and gods were larger than life but very human
    2. The Polis
      1. Greek city-state; a city and its surrounding countryside
      2. People lived within the walls of the city
      3. Had public fountains for water
      4. Acropolis
        1. An elevated point that contained a public square, marketplace, temples, agora
          1. Agora-political center of the polis (courts and public buildings)
      5. Citizens left the city each day to farm, heard, quarry stone, or mine outside of the city
      6. Relatively small
        1. Populations were never very high and thus very intimate
          1. People knew their leaders
          2. All citizens served as magistrates, administrators and soldiers
        2. Citizenship was very restricted
        3. People felt very important and that they were part of something
      7. Hoplites- foot soldiers
    3. Forms of Government
      1. Monarchy- rule of one man (king)
      2. Aristocracy- rule by a select family or group
      3. Oligarchy- rule of a few wealthy citizens
      4. Democracy-  rule by all citizens
      5. Tyranny- rule by a single tyrant who seizes power