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First great Greek civilization, which developed on the island of Crete in about 2000 B.C.


Paintings done on wet plaster walls


Civilization on the Greek mainland that conquered the Minoans in Crete in about 1400 B.C.


Greek word for city-state, which developed around a central fort


Hill or mountain in Greece that included a fort as well as temples and other public buildings


Marketplace in a city-state in Greece


Homer's great epic that tells the story of the Trojan War


Homer's epic that tells the story of the Greek hero Odysseus on his way home from the Trojan War


Greek poet believed to have written the Iliad and the Odyssey.


Traditional stories about gods, goddesses, and heroes


Special places where the ancient Greeks believed gods spoke through priests and priestesses

Olympic Games

Ancient Greek sports contests held every year in honor of Zeus


Greek city-state controlled by nobles


Heavily armed Greek infantry who carried long spears and fought in closely spaced rows


In ancient Greece, rulers who seized power by force but who ruled with the people's support; later came to refer to rulers who exercise absolute power brutally

popular government

Idea that people can and should rule themselves


Government in which citizens take part


Conquered residents of Greece who became slaves in Spartan society


Five officials in ancient Sparta who were elected for one-year terms to make sure the king stayed within the law


People living in Athens who were free but not Athenian citizens, who could work and paid taxes but were not allowed to own land or take part in government


Rulers in ancient Athens who served one-year terms


Archon who created Athens's first written laws, which were very harsh


Athenian archon who abolished enslavement for debt, defined political rights in terms of wealth rather than birth, and established court of appeals


Tyrant who ruled with support of lower classes but clashed with the nobles for dividing their estates among poor farmers


Athenian ruler who seized power and made Athens a direct democracy by creating the Council of Five Hundred

direct democracy

Form of democracy in which all citizens participate directly in making decisions

representative democracy

Form of government in which citizens elect representatives to run the government for them, rather than each citizen serving directly in the government


Carving small, flat plots of land from hillsides to use for farming


Good or service bought from another country or region


Good or service sold to another country or region


Female poet from ancient Greece who often wrote about everyday Greek life


In ancient Greece, a male slave who taught a young boy manners


Athenian men who opened schools for boys to study government, mathematics, ethics, and rhetoric


Study of what is good and bad, and of moral duty


Study of public speaking and debating

Phoenician alphabet

Alphabet created by the Phoenicians that became the model for later Western alphabets

Persian Wars

Conflicts between Greece and Persia that lasted more than twenty years

Battle of Marathon

Battle in which Athenians defeated invading Persian troops led by Darius

Battle of Thermopylae

Battle in a narrow mountain pass where Spartan troops fought to the death against a much larger Persian force


Athenian leader who won a navy battle and helped defeat the Persians, ending the Persian Wars

Delian League

Alliance of city-states in ancient Greece led by Athens


A great Athenian general, orator, and statesman, who brought Athens to the peak of its power

Peloponnesian War

War between Sparta and Athens that broke out in 431 B.C.

golden age

Era of cultural progress in Greece in the 400s B.C.


A high hill that marked the center of ancient Athens


White marble temple to Athena built on the Acropolis in ancient Athens, considered the finest example of Greek architecture


Greek sculptor from the golden age who sculpted The Discus Thrower


Greek sculptor from the golden age who sculpted the statues of Athena in the Parthenon and Acropolis and the statue of Zeus at the Temple of Olympia


Greek sculptor who lived 100 years after Phidias and sculpted human figures that were lifelike and natural


The study of basic questions of reality and human existence


Important Athenian thinker who taught that education was the key to personal growth and thought students should be trained to think for themselves


Aristocratic student of Socrates who founded the Academy for teaching philosophy and wrote The Republic


a government ruled by an upper class


One of Plato's students who believed that every field of knowledge had to be studied logically. He pioneered the process of classification and later founded his own school in Athens


Greek philosopher who believed that everything could be explained in terms of mathematics and developed the Pythagorean theorem of geometry


The founder of medical science


First historian of the Western world


Plays containing action or dialogue and involving conflict and emotion


Forms of Greek drama in which the main character struggles against fate or events


One of three well-known writers of the Greek golden age, he wrote Oedipus Rex which Aristotle called a perfect example of tragedy


Great playwright of the golden age, he wrote The Trojan Women, which showed the pain and misery of war


Finest writer of Greek comedies

Philip II of Macedon

Macedonian king who conquered and united Greece under his rule


Athens's finest orator, whose speeches convinced Athens to lead Greece in the fight against Philip II of Macedon


Public speakers


Military formation composed of rows of soldiers standing shoulder to shoulder, carrying pikes or heavy spears

Alexander the Great

Son of Philip II of Macedon who conquered Persia, Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt, and Mesopotamia

Hellenistic culture

"Greek-like" way of life that combined ideas and values drawn from the Mediterranean and Asia


Greek philosopher who established the Stoic philosophy, which suggested that people should accept their fate without complaint


Founder of the Epicurean philosophy, which taught that the aim of life is to seek pleasure and avoid pain


Great Greek mathematician who helped develop geometry


The greatest Hellenistic scientist who calculated the value pi () and invented many machines, including the Archimedes screw


Greek astronomer who correctly believed that the earth and other planets moved around the sun


Greek geographer and astronomer who calculated the distance around the earth using the angle of the sun's rays from different points on the globe


Form of government in which voters elect officials to run the state


Absolute ruler


Chief executives elected to run the government in ancient Rome.


Refuse to approve (a bill or law)

checks and balance

System of government that prevents any one part of the government from becoming too powerful


Elected Roman officials who helped the consuls


Roman officials who registered citizens according to their wealth, appointed senators, and supervised moral conduct


Officials elected by Rome's popular assemblies who could veto actions of the Senate


Powerful landowners who inherited power to control Roman government and society


Farmers and workers who made up most of the Roman population

Punic Wars

Three costly conflicts between Rome and Carthage over control of the Mediterranean region


Great general of Carthage who marched across the Alps into Italy during the Second Punic War


Roman general who defeated Hannibal in Africa during the Second Punic War


Roman class of business people and landowners who had great wealth and political influence


Roman slave who led a slave revolt in 73 B.C.

the Gracchi

Two brothers who were each elected tribune and were each murdered by senators and their supporters for attempting reform

Gaius Marius

Roman general and consul who created an army of troops whom he rewarded with land and money and who became more loyal to him than to the government

Lucius Cornelius Sulla

Consul who started and won a civil war and then ruled Rome as a dictator

Julius Caesar

Popular general and consul who formed a political alliance called the First Triumvirate with two other Roman generals, then, using the army to enforce his will, seized sole power as dictator. He expanded the boundaries of the republic, but was murdered in the Senate.

Gnaeus Pompey

Popular Roman general who joined Julius Caesar in a political alliance called the First Triumvirate, then turned against him and was defeated by him


Political alliance of three rulers


Queen of Egypt who was put into power by Caesar and later formed an alliance with Marc Antony against Octavian, but lost to Octavian and committed suicide to avoid capture

Marc Antony

A general and ally of Caesar who formed part of the Second Triumvirate and formed an alliance with Cleopatra, but was defeated by Octavian and committed suicide to avoid capture

Augustus (Octavian)

First ruler of the Roman Empire, who greatly expanded its borders and began a period of peace that lasted for 200 years

Pax Romana

Period of Roman peace that lasted for 200 years

Julio-Claudian Emperors

Relatives of Caesar who ruled for 54 years following the death of Augustus

Five Good Emperors

Five rulers who led Rome for almost 100 years during the Pax Romana


Trained fighters, usually slaves, who fought to the death in arenas as public entertainment


Roman doctor who wrote a summary of all medical knowledge of his time


An astronomer and geographer from Alexandria who believed that the sun, the planets, and the stars revolved around the earth


Bridge-like structures that carry water


Greatest Roman poet who wrote a famous epic, the Aeneid


Roman poet who wrote of human emotions in odes, satires, and letters


Roman poet who wrote love poems and the Metamorphoses, a collection of myths in verse


Great Roman historian who wrote Annals, a history of Rome under the Julio-Claudian emperors


Roman writer who wrote Parallel Lives, a collection of Greek and Roman biographies


Jewish scholars who interpreted scripture and Jewish Law


Jewish founder of Christianity, whose teachings greatly influenced the Western world


Persons put to death for their beliefs


Heads of the early Christian Church in major cities


Bishops of the major centers of the early Christian Church


Title assumed by the patriarch of Rome and head of the Catholic Church; from the Latin word meaning "father"


Rise in prices caused by a decrease in the value of money


Roman emperor who slowed the decline of the empire by appointing a co-emperor in the West, driving out invaders, and controlling almost every aspect of life to promote security


Roman emperor who supported Christianity and created a new capital city in the East, Constantinople


One of several Germanic tribes who invaded the Roman Empire and sacked Rome


Nomadic people from Asia who attacked the Roman Empire


Hun leader who attacked the Western Roman Empire


Vast dry grasslands south of the Sahara Desert in Africa

tropical rain forests

Vast forests that receive much rainfall and have dense vegetation


Thick growth of plants found in a tropical rain forest


Scholars who study languages


Family of closely related African languages

oral traditions

Poems, songs, and stories passed by word of mouth from one generation to another


Highly trained West African speakers and entertainers who memorized oral traditions


Describes a society in which people trace their ancestors and inherited property through their mothers rather than through their fathers

King 'Ezana

King of Aksum who conquered Kush, converted to Christianity, and made it the official religion of his kingdom


African culture and language that emerged in East Africa and combined elements of African, Asian, and Islamic cultures


People who migrated onto the plateau of what is known today as Zimbabwe

Tunka Manin

One of Ghana's most powerful rulers, who ruled in the A.D. 1000s.

Mansa Musa

King of Mali at its peak in the A.D. 1300s who led a mass pilgrimage to Mecca displaying the riches and power of Mali

Sonni 'Ali

Rebel leader who captured Timbuktu and established the kingdom of Songhai

Mohammed I Askia

Songhai ruler and successor to Sonni 'Al_ who made Timbuktu a center of culture, trade, and learning


Narrow strip of water that connects two larger bodies of water


Land bridge during the Ice Age that provided the means for Asians to travel to the Americas


Ceremonial gatherings of Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest


Group of people who lived in the southwestern United States who abandoned their communities in the 1300s or 1400s


Group of people who lived in permanent settlements in the southwestern United States


Sun-dried brick used for building by the Pueblo Indians


Large animal that roamed the Great Plains of the United States and was hunted by the Plains people


Cone-shaped tents made of buffalo hide


Native American group that settled in the Ohio Valley region and built earthen mounds


Native American group that lived in the Eastern
Woodlands and were mound-builders


Earliest culture of Mexico, which began in about 1200 B.C.


Earliest culture of Andean South America

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