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Minoan civilization

- A Bronze Age civilization
- Founded on the island of Crete
- Named after Minos: legendary king of Crete
- enormous palace complex on Crete at Knossos
- Knossos as the center of a far-ranging sea empire based on trade (ships took them to Eygpt as well as southern Greece)
- suffered a sudden and catastrophic collapse around 1450BC. - some historians believe that the collapse was caused by a tidal wave triggered by a volcanic eruption on the island of Thera. - some believe the destruction was result of invasion by the mainland Greeks.


- The first Greek state
- Flourished between 1600 and 1100 BC
- Part of an Indo-European family
- Made up of powerful monarchies

Mycenaean civilization

- A warrior people
- Developed an extensive commercial network
- Conquered Crete and some Aegean islands
- collapse due to earthquakes, state feuds, and new greek civilization


- Wrote epic poems
- used stories from the Trojan war to compose Iliad and Odyssey
- taught values of courage and honor
- a hero strives for excellence (arete)
- gave Greek males a model of heroism and honor
- taught students to be proud of their Greek heritage and their herioc ancestors.


Greek hero whose anger led to disaster

The Dark Age

A difficult period in which population declind and food production dropped.

The Odyssey and Iliad

first great epic poem of Greece


fortified area on top of a hill that served as a place of refuge during an attack and sometimes came to be a religious center on which temples and public buildings were built.


- a Greek city state
- encouraged people to participate in political affairs
- led to warfare and Greeks
- a community of people who shared a common identity and common goals.
- consisted of citizens with political rights (adult males), with no political rights (women and children), and noncitizens (slaves and resident aliens)
- New military system developed (hoplites and phalanx)
- Aristocrats dominated the political life (large landowners)
- Tyranny (seized power by force from the aristocrats; kept power by using the soldiers; supported by the rich and the peasants who were tired of aristocratic domination; did not last)
- End of tyranny allowed many new people to participate in government and ended the rule of aristocrats.


- below the acropolis
- an open area that served as a place where people could assemble and as a market.

Forms of government

Monarchy, aristocracy, oligarchy, direct democracy


state ruled by a king; rule is heredity; some rulers claim divine power (practiced in Mycenae)


state ruked by its citizens; rule is based on citizenship; majority rule decides vote. (practiced in Athens)


state ruled by nobilty; rule is heredity and based on land ownership; social status and wealth supported rulers'authority. (practiced in Athens)


a state ruled by a small group of citizens; rule is based on wealth; ruling group controls military (practiced in Sparta)

Spartan government

- An oligarchy that had elements of monarchy, and a democracy.
- Assembly of all free males (democracy); consisted of men over the age of 30 who were citizens; voted yes or no on laws.
- Selected 28 elders to serve for life on the council of; ders.
- Council of elders - 28 members; had lots of power; proposed the laws; could dismiss assembly if not in favor of votes.
- 5 ephors (oligarchy); made sure laws were enforced; elected by the assembly every year; controlled the education system and prosecuted court cases.
- Two kings that ruled over the military (monarchy)

Athenian government

- Athens suffering severe economic problems
- poor farmers had borrowed food (grain) from wealthier farmers that had gone into debt (many in the form of slavery)
- Political and economic crisis occurred

Solon's Economic Reforms

1) Cancelled farmers debts
2) outlawed slavery based on debt
- this allowed Athens to avoid revolution and civil war
- did not solve the problems of Athens; aristocrats still powerful and poor peasants couldn't obtain land; internal strife led to tyranny.

Solon's Political Reforms

1) establised four classes of citizens (based the income of your farmland NOT heredity)
2) Top 3 could hold public office
3) All 4 could hold vote in assembly and sit on juries
- If men were to become wealthy, they could move up in class and advance in positions of leaderships.
- All free adult males are citizens
- Under Solon, Athens was still limited as a democracy

Reforms of Cleisthenes

1) allowed all citizens to submit laws for debate and passage.
2) created a council of 500 which proposed laws and counseled the assembly. - all free males over the age of 20 were allowed to participate for 1 year
- created the foundations for Athenian democracy

The Age of Pericles

1) Increased the number of paid public officials
2) Increased the number of paid jurors
- This allowed poorer citizens to participate in the government; caused Athens to evolve into a direct democracy; enabled every male citizen to participate in the governing assembly - voted on all major issues, elected public officials, and made final decisions on war and foreign policy; ten officials (generals) were the overall directors of policY (could be reelected)
- under pericles, Athens became the center of Greek culture and expanded its empire abroad.


Athenians practiced this to protect themselves from overly ambitious politicians. - members wrote the name of a person they considered harmful; if named by at least 6000 members, banned from the city for 10 years.


Athenian runner who raced 26 miles from Marathon to Athens; announced "Victory, we win!" with his last breath before dropping dead. - a legend


The author of History of the Persian Wars (real history in Western civilization; conflict between the Greeks and Persians - struggle between greek freedom and persian despotism)
- traveled widely and questioned many people as a means of obtaining information
- a master storyteller


- an organized system of though that uses reason and observation to discover why things are as they are (find the purpose)
- comes about in society when people are no longer satisfied with supernatural/religious/mythical explanations of the world or of human behavior.
- a means to analyze and understand the change and upheavel that was occurring in society.
- ATHENS best known for philosophy

Three famous philosophers

Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle


- Explained his ideas in a book called The Republic
- Student of Socrates
- didn't trust the democracy because of what they did to Socrates and his life experiences
- thought the democracy acted upon their emotions, NOT reason!
- believed individuals couldn't achieve a good life unless they lived in a just and rational state.
- people without a philosophical education should never exercise political power (bc had no grasp of reality)

Plato's Ideal society:

1) Philosopher kings rule
2) warriors defend the state
3) workers produce the needed material good (food, clothes, shelter)


- Believed all real knowledge is already present within each person...only critical examination is needed to call it forth.
- created the socratic method of teachin: uses a question and answer format to lead people to see things for themselves using their own reason.
- accused of corrupting the youth and of being disloyal to the state (sentenced to death; ate hemlock)


- used his reason and observation skills to scientifically describe the world aounrd him.
- A student of Plato
- discusses his philosophy about government in Politics
- believed a moderate democracy was the best form of government (exercised some power)
- the chief end of government is a good life (happiness) for both individuals and community as a whole.
- established a school called the Academy

Nichomachean Ethics

- being virtuous is the way one reaches their goal of happiness (one finds the "golden mean)

Aristotle's best form of government

1) monarchy (afraid it might to turn into a tyranny)
2) aristocracy (afraid it might turn into a harsh oligrachy)
3) democracy (afraid it might become a radical democracy to an anarchy - no government)

Mount Olympus

- where 12 chief gods and goddesses were thought to live
- highest mountain in Greece.


- considered the greatest historian of the ancient world
- Athenian general who fought in the Great Peloponnesian War (exiled)
- during his exile, he wrote the History of the Peloponnesian War.
- not concerned with divine forces or gods as casual actors in history; saw war and politics in purely human terms, as the activies of human beings.
- examined the Peloponnesian war
- believed that the study of history is of great value in understanding the present.

Archimedes (of Syracuse)

- most famous scientist of the Hellenistic period
- important for his work on the geometry of spheres and cylinders, as well for establishing the value of pi.
- a practical inventor (Archimedes screw - pump water out of mines and life irrigation water)
- discovered specific discovery
- importance of levers


- rural people organized in groups, NOT city-states.
- powerful kingdom

Philip II

- ame to throne and built a powerful army and turned Macedonia into the cheif power of the Greek world;
- longed to unite all of Greece under Macedonia because admired their culture
- gained power of all of Greece at the battle of Chaeronea.
- insist Greek states cooperate with him in a war against Persia.

Alexander the Great

- son of Philip II
- came to power at age 20 (king of Macedonia)
- dreamt of invading Persian Empire
- assembled an army of the Macedonians and the Greeks.
- built Alexandria as the Greek capital of Eygpt
- fulfilled his father's dream and took control over all of Persia.
- died at the age of 32 from fevers, wounds, and alcohol.
- master of strategy and tactics; BRAVE
- sought to imitate Achilles
- extended Greek and Macedonian rule over a vast area (Stimuated their economies)
- created monarchies
- greek language, art, architecture, and literature spread through Southwest Asia; greeks also absorbed aspects of Eastern culture.
- created the Hellenistic Era


- a mathematician
- wrote the Elements: a textbook on plane geometry


- school of thought
- became the most popular philosophy of the Hellenistic world and later flourished in the Roman empire
- created by teacher ZENO
- concerned with how people find happiness; could only be found when people gained inner peace by living in harmony with the will of God; could bear whatever life offered
- did not believe in the need to seperate themselves from the world and politics; PUBLIC SERVICE important; be a good citizen


- founder is Epicurus
- believed that human biengs were free to follow self-interest as a basic motivating force.
- happiness was the goal to life (pursuit of pleasure is the only true good)
- freedom from emotional turmoil and worry. - people had to free themselves from public activity but not to give up all social life.
- life could only be complete when it was centered on the ideal of friendship.


- great Athenian playright
- famous plays: Oedipus Rex and Antigone


- created by Alexander the Great
- "to imitate the greeks"
- expansian of the Greek language and ideas to the non-Greek world
- successors to Alexander: Macedoina, Syria, Pergamum, Egypt.
- especially advanced in science and philosophy
- sculptures were emotional and realistic
- Astronomy and mathematics were two areas of pregress.

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