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Greek History Lecture
Transcript of Greek History Lecture
παλαιός + λίθος = paleolithic
The Bronze Age!
Named after legendary king Minos, who was remembered to have had a naval empire based on Crete. (Thucydides 1.4)
Akrotiri Destroyed in volcanic eruption
Palatial Period: 2000-1470 BCE
Palaces? Regional Distribution Centers?
The idea that they were peaceful is largely due to Evans' own idealism. Thanks, Sir Arthur Evans!
Findspots clockwise from upper left:
Akrotiri, Phylokopi, Akrotiri, Knossos
Cool Greek Word: Anastelosis = standing stuff back up. This stuff is mostly fake though.
Palatial Period: 1450-1200 BCE
The Lion Gate
Look what I found!
Bull's Head Rhyton
(for pouring libations)
Surely this must be Agamemnon!
Heinrich and Sophia Schliemann
But what about Gla?!
1200-1100: Trojan War?
Destructions of Troy VI, VIIa, b
Yes, this is part of the Bronze Age too, but we just don't talk about what happened. It's for the best.
The Neolithic saw the rise of agriculture and social complexity
After the Mycenaean collapse
Small fortified communities
"Geometric" art style
hits full swing around 900BCE
480-79 BCE: The Second Persian War
But wait, there's more!
The Polis (City-state)
ἡ πόλις, πολέως
Don't worry, we learn how to decline this in excruciating detail in Chapter 9
"From this is it clear that the polis is natural, and man is by nature a political animal (πολιτικὸν ζῷον)"
-Aristotle, Politics 1253a1
First Persian War = Battle of Marathon, 490 BCE
Alexander the Great: Dead at 33 by 323 BCE
τὰ ὅπλα = the gear
The Hoplite Phalanx
For the end of the Hellenistic Period, take your pick:
31 BCE: Octavian (later Augustus) defeats Antony and Cleopatra at Actium
30 BCE: Antony and Cleopatra defeated in Egypt, commit suicide
Societies collapsing, apparently
Gelon, tyrant of Syracuse, and Theron of Agrigentum decisively defeat the Carthaginians at the Battle of Himera in Sicily, allegedly on the same day as the battle of Salamis. This is a famous and sketchy synchronism in Herodotus 7.153-167.
776 BCE: Traditional date for founding of the Olympic Games
373: Plato writes the Republic
371: Thebes defeats Sparta at Leuctra
The Archaic Kouros and Kore
The Trireme Olympias
The Battle of Salamis
You forgot the Thespians!
The Hellenistic Kingdoms
I brought the people together for these reasons,
How did I stop before I accomplished them?
In the court of Time these things will be witnessed
by the testimony of the great mother of the Olympian
gods, the Black Earth, from whom I drew
up the boundary stones stuck in everywhere;
earlier she was enslaved, now she is free.
Many men I brought up to their divinely-founded
fatherland, men sold, one illegally,
another legally, and others fleeing
by forcible necessity, no longer speaking an Attic-tongue,
as men wandering everywhere;
and others holding a shameful slavery,
now trembling before their masters,
I set them free. By my own power,
fitting together force with justice,
these things I did, and I came through as I promised.
And statutes alike to the base man and to the noble
fitting straight justice onto each man’s case,
these I wrote But had another man than I taken the goad,
an evil-thinking and power-hungry man,
he would not have restrained the people. For if I acquiesced
to whatever things were pleasing to my enemies,
and then shifted to what the other side thought,
this city would be widowed of many men.
On account of these things, making a defense in all directions,
I stood, as a wolf among many hounds.
James Lewis, trans.
594: Solon reforms Athenians' Laws
"He was convinced that a partial change of the laws would be of no avail whatsoever, but that he must proceed as a physician would with a patient who was debilitated and full of all sorts of diseases; he must reduce and alter the existing temperament by means of drugs and purges, and introduce a new and different regimen. Full of this determination, he first made a journey to Delphi, and after sacrificing to the god and consulting the oracle, he returned with that famous response in which the Pythian priestess addressed him as "beloved of the gods, and rather god than man," and said that the god had granted his prayer for good laws, and promised him a constitution which should be the best in the world."
Plutarch, Life of Lycurgus ch. 5
Lycurgus and the Spartan πολιτεία
FREEDOM JUSTICE AND THE AMERICAN WAY!!!!!
Now in all this there is no trace of injustice or arrogance, which some attribute to the laws of Lycurgus, declaring them efficacious in producing valour, but defective in producing righteousness. The socalled "krupteia," or secret service, of the Spartans, if this be really one of the institutions of Lycurgus, as Aristotle says it was, may have given Plato also this opinion of the man and his civil polity. This secret service was of the following nature. The magistrates from time to time sent out into the country at large the most discreet of the young warriors, equipped only with daggers and such supplies as were necessary. In the day time they scattered into obscure and out of the way places, where they hid themselves and lay quiet; but in the night they came down into the highways and killed every Helot whom they caught. Oftentimes, too, they actually traversed the fields where Helots were working and slew the sturdiest and best of them. So, too, Thucydides, in his history of the Peloponnesian war, tells us that the Helots who had been judged by the Spartans to be superior in bravery, set wreaths upon their heads in token of their emancipation, and visited the temples of the gods in procession, but a little afterwards all disappeared, more than two thousand of them, in such a way that no man was able to say, either then or afterwards, how they came by their deaths. 4 And Aristotle in particular says also that the ephors, as soon as they came into office, made formal declaration of war upon the Helots, in order that there might be no impiety in slaying them. - Plutarch, Life of Lycurgus ch. 28
Spartan state-owned slaves from Messenia were called Helots
THUCYDIDES, an Athenian, wrote the history of the war in which the Peloponnesians and the Athenians fought against one another. He began to write when they first took up arms, believing that it would be great and memorable above any previous war. For he argued that both states were then at the full height of their military power, and he saw the rest of the Hellenes either siding or intending to side with one or other of them. No movement ever stirred Hellas more deeply than this; it was shared by many of the Barbarians, and might be said even to affect the world at large. The character of the events which preceded, whether immediately or in more remote antiquity, owing to the lapse of time cannot be made out with certainty. But, judging from the evidence which I am able to trust after most careful enquiry, I should imagine that former ages were not great either in their wars or in anything else.
For not long afterwards nearly the whole Hellenic world was in commotion; in every city the chiefs of the democracy and of the oligarchy were struggling, the one to bring in the Athenians, the other the Lacedaemonians. Now in time of peace, men would have had no excuse for introduring either, and no desire to do so; but, when they were at war, the introduction of a foreign alliance on one side or the other to the hurt of their enemies and the advantage of themselves was easily effected by the dissatisfied party. And revolution brought upon the cities of Hellas many terrible calamities, such as have been and always will be while human nature remains the same, but which are more or less aggravated and differ in character with every new combination of circumstances. In peace and prosperity both states and individuals are actuated by higher motives, because they do not fall under the dominion of imperious necessities; but war, which takes away the comfortable provision of daily life, is a hard master and tends to assimilate men's characters to their conditions. (Thuc. 3.82)
Corcyra, Epidamnus, and Corinth
An Exciting Picture of a Naval Battle!
The Tyrannicides: Harmodius and Aristogeiton, 514 BCE
Indeed, the daring action of Aristogiton and Harmodius was undertaken in consequence of a love affair, which I shall relate at some length, to show that the Athenians are not more accurate than the rest of the world in their accounts of their own tyrants and of the facts of their own history.
In this way offended love first led Harmodius and Aristogiton to conspire, and the alarm of the moment to commit the rash action recounted. After this the tyranny pressed harder on the Athenians, and Hippias, now grown more fearful, put to death many of the citizens, and at the same time began to turn his eyes abroad for a refuge in case of revolution.
The Phaistos Disk: Ancient Atlantean Artifact?
Side a: Currently in the Iraklio Museum