Ancient Greek and their History

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This booklet depicts the history of Ancient Greek describing the Mediterranean world, geographical features that influence the development of Ancient Greece, roles of key groups, beliefs, values, conflicts, contacts.
1. Unit 1 The Mediterranean world
Optional Topic
Ancient Greece covered an area known today
as Greece as well as the parts of modern
Turkey near the Aegean Sea. It also had
many colonies or settlements around the
Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. Ancient
Greece is sometimes called the ‘cradle of
Western civilisation’ because of the debt that
Western society owes to the early Greeks. This
includes democracy as a form of government,
drama (theatre) and the modern Olympic
Games. Some modern architecture and
sculpture also draw on the classical traditions
of ancient Greece. The work of ancient Greek
mathematicians, thinkers and storytellers still
inspires many people today.
D Source 1 Ruins of the ancient Greek town of Selinous, on the island of Sicily (now part of modern-day Italy)
11A 11B 11C 11D
How did geographical features What shaped the roles of key How did beliefs, values and How did contacts and conflicts
influence the development of groups in ancient Greece? practices influence ancient change ancient Greece?
ancient Greece? 1 Athens and Sparta were two ancient Greek city- Greek lifestyles? 1 The people of ancient Greece were active seafarers
states. Athens was a ‘democracy’ (rule by many), and so made many connections with peoples
1 Greece is a very mountainous region, which made 1 The Selinous temple is believed to be a monument
whereas Sparta was an ‘oligarchy’ (rule by few). of other cultures. How do you think this might
it very difficult for the ancient Greeks to travel from to the Greek goddess Hera. What does this tell us
How do you think the lives of citizens in these two have influenced the development of ancient
place to place. How might this have influenced the about the importance of religious beliefs to the
city-states would have been different as a result of Greek society?
way settlements developed across ancient Greece? ancient Greeks?
the two styles of government?
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2. 11A How did geographical features influence the development of ancient Greece?
11.1 Ancient Greece: a timeline Alexander the Great
Battles of Thermopylae and
Finishing line for races at Salamis (Second Persian War)
the ancient Olympics
c. 450
A typical Cyclades
Herodotus writes his
490 account of the Persian War
Battle of Marathon
(First Persian War)
c. 3000 BCE c. 1600 323
Start of Cyclades Mycenaean civilisation Alexander the Great dies
First recorded
culture declining after defeating the Persians
Olympic Games
431 and setting up an empire 146 BCE
Start of hostilities that spread Greek culture Rome conquers
c. 720 between Athens and Corinth, the last
First Greek colonies Sparta, leading to resisting city-state in
established on the island the outbreak of the Greece
now known as Sicily Peloponnesian Wars
3000 1
BCE 2500 1500 750 650 550 450 350 250 CE
c. 2500 c. 1500 508 404
c. 610 Cleisthenes, Sparta defeats
Start of Minoan Eruption of volcano 338 197
Female poet Sappho the ‘father of Athens, ending the
civilisation on Thera c. 750 Phillip II, king of Macedon (and Rome finally defeats Macedon,
born on the Greek democracy’, reforms Peloponnesian War,
Homer credited
island of Lesbos father of Alexander the Great), forcing it to give up the Greek
with writing the Illiad the constitution to and becomes the
controls most of the Greek city-states it formerly controlled
and the Odyssey – create equal rights supreme power in
two important and for all Greek citizens ancient Greece
influential epic poems 447
Construction of the Parthenon on
D the Acropolis in Athens starts
Check your learning 11.1
Remember and understand
A wall panel from the Minoan palace on Crete 1 In what year did the volcano on Thera erupt?
2 In what year did the first recorded Olympic Games take place?
3 When did the Peloponnesian Wars begin?
Evaluate and create
4 Looking at the last few hundred years on the timeline, which key events do
Source 1 A timeline of key events and you think might have contributed to the overall decline of the ancient Greek
developments in the history of ancient Greece civilisation?
322 oxford big ideas humanities 7: victorian curriculum chapter 11 ancient greece 323
3. 11A How did geographical features influence the development of ancient Greece?
11.2 Impact of physical Check your learning 11.2
Remember and understand
features on settlement 1 Explain how Greece’s physical features made
the ancient Greeks depend on the sea to meet
patterns their needs (such as food, transport or trade).
2 Look closely at Source 3.
a Where are most of the ancient Greek
city-states located?
b What are the main reasons for this
Ancient Greece was located in south-eastern Europe. Its territory
settlement pattern?
surrounded the Aegean Sea (see Source 3). It also included the
many islands in the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. Greece’s
mountainous mainland and mostly unnavigable rivers made Evaluate and create
travelling difficult. These geographical features had a significant 3 Complete a SWOT analysis chart related to
influence on the development of ancient Greek societies and city-states in ancient Greece. Use information
civilisations. here and in Source 1 on page XX. Copy a
The first known fixed settlements on Greece’s mainland were large version of Source 2 onto an A3 sheet of
on the Peloponnesian peninsula and on the fertile plains in paper to do this activity.
Thessaly (see Source 1). Evidence has been found of scattered a Working in groups of four, with every
mudbrick villages built around 7000 BCE. There were also member contributing in turn, complete
ancient settlements on the nearby islands of Crete, and on the the segments of your SWOT chart with
Cyclades (a group of about 30 islands). as many brainstormed ideas as you can.
One example has been provided in each
Greece’s steep mountains and rugged high country cut off
segment to get you started. You need to
contact between many settlements. These features in ancient Source 2 A coastal landscape of Greece, on the add more.
Greece prevented people from growing as one nation. Rather, Peloponnesian peninsula
b Once all groups are finished, discuss your
many settlements developed as city-states. This meant there was overall conclusions about life in a Greek
no single Greek ruler. ANCIENT GREECE AND SOME OF ITS CITY-STATES city-state.
0 200 km
Source 4 A SWOT chart
City-states were independent THRACE STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES
urban centres that generally • Each city-state • The agora would have
shared a common language and
religious beliefs. Occasionally,
some banded together to fight
D Black Sea
Mt Olympus
produced its own food,
so its people did not
have to depend on
been overcrowded as
the population of the
city-state grew.
a war or for protection. Now Corsica Sea
and then, one might dominate Delphi Eretria Sardis
Sardinia Macedonia
for a time. The most powerful M e X Aegean
city-states were Athens and i Sea Olympia Marathon
t • It was possible to form • A city-state might be
Sparta. They were also at times e Sicily MESSENIA
Near Sparta Delos an alliance with another vulnerable to attack if it
bitter rivals. r Peloponnesian East city-state and become had no allies.
a peninsula more powerful.
n Crete Thera
e a
Ancient Greece
Troy City-state
Colonies of ancient Greece CRETE
Cyclades N Egypt Mountain
X Plains of Thessaly 0 600 km Ancient Greece Mediterranean Sea
Source 1
0411_SAL_BAH1 Source: Oxford University Press 0413_SAL_BAH1
Source 3 Source: Oxford University Press
18-11-10 18-11-10
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4. 11A How did geographical features influence the development of ancient Greece?
11.3 A typical The heliaea, or law courts
The homes of ordinary
people were built from stone
or clay. Many were built
Check your learning 11.3
Greek city-state The agora, a square packed with market
stalls and people doing business. It was
around an open courtyard
to keep them cool. Men
and women often lived in
Remember and understand
1 What was an agora? Where was it
typically found?
separate parts of the house.
criss-crossed with small laneways. 2 Where were temples in Greek city-
A city-state typically had one city, where most political, states usually located? Discuss these
religious and cultural activities took place. At its centre were as a group and try to explain them.
public buildings, centred around a large public space called the Apply and analyse
agora. The markets were there; it was also where people did
3 Study Source 7.7 closely. Write down
business and were entertained. Usually there was raised ground
the three things that most catch your
or a hill somewhere near the agora. This was where temples, eye, either because they puzzle or
palaces and other key buildings were built. Homes for the intrigue you. Discuss these as a group
people of a city-state were built around the city centre. Beyond Narrow streets and alleys were and explain them.
these homes was a wide band of farming land. The farms common in all Greek city-states.
provided the city population with food.
The slave market,
where slaves were
bought and sold
The tholos, where a city-
state’s council met
The bouleuterion, a building
where the city’s Council
of Citizens (known as the
Boule) met
Audiences often The acropolis, the highest
gathered in the agora to piece of land in the city-
hear philosophers speak
The homes of
wealthier people,
known as villas,
were often built on
D on a range of subjects.
state where important
temples and forts were built
higher ground.
The strategium, or
military headquarters
Villas of the wealthy often
had an atrium (a central
courtyard without a The temple – Greek temples were
roof), which might have built from stone and marble. Some
contained a pool. were simple, while others were very
The stoa, a long building, like a large and ornate. Temples were
Transport around the city hall, containing shops and offices. designed to act as ‘homes’ for the
was on foot only – people It also provided shelter and a gods and featured statues inside to
Source 1 An artist’s impression of the walked everywhere. shaded place to meet.
central part of a typical Greek city-state honour them.
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5. 11A How did geographical features influence the development of ancient Greece?
11.4 Impact of physical features Source 2 A model
of the Knossus
palace, the largest
on ancient Greek civilisations
of many palaces on
the island of Crete. It
had more than 1000
Many historians agree that the roots of ancient Greek
civilisation lie in three Bronze Age cultures. The first
of these cultures belonged to a group known as the
Cyclades (who lived on the Cyclades Islands in the
Aegean Sea). The other two were the cultures of the
keyconcept: evidence Check your learning 11.4
Minoans (who lived on the island of Crete) and the
Mycenaeans (who lived on mainland Greece).
Linear B Remember and understand
The Cyclades 1 Name the three Bronze Age cultures
The Mycenaeans had their own
that many historians agree were a
language, called ‘Linear B’. This
The Cyclades are a group of islands in the Aegean foundation for the civilisation of ancient
has been decoded by scholars.
Sea (see Source 1 on page XX). Some are just rocky Greece.
Thousands of tablets like that
outcrops. Santorini (formerly called Thera) is one of 2 Describe the location of each of these
Source 1 An artist’s impression of the possible shown in Source 3 have been
two islands in the Cyclades that is volcanic. The super- effects of the eruption of Thera (now called Santorini) cultures in terms of their geography.
found. These tablets not only
volcano there exploded in about 1500 BCE. on the ancient Minoans 3 What have we been able to learn
provide evidence about the types of
The Cycladic people lived about 4000 to 4500 about Minoan culture from the ruins of
goods the Mycenaeans traded, but
years ago, trading with other Mediterranean peoples. the Knossus palace?
they also refer to gods and reveal
Food was not easy to grow on the rocky islands so, in Historians have learned much about the Minoans
from the ruins of the Knossus palace. For example,
that priests and priestesses owned Apply and analyse
exchange for food, they traded copper, white marble property. Translations of Linear B
and obsidian (a dark volcanic glass). the frescoes (paintings) on the palace walls provide 4 Many scholars think that a massive
written on these tablets suggest that
evidence that the people were regular sea traders. tidal wave (and possible earthquakes),
The Cycladic culture began to decline after about the people were more warlike than Source 3 A stone tablet
Some Minoan goods have been found in Egypt. caused by the explosion of the super-
1700 BCE. Some historians think it was absorbed by the the Minoans. covered in the Mycenaean
There is also evidence that the Minoans had their volcano on Thera, caused extensive
Minoan civilisation. Only the island of Delos kept its For more information on the key script, known as Linear B
own written language, which has been called ‘Linear damage and loss of life for the ancient
separate cultural identity for the next 2000 years. concept of evidence, refer to page
A’. This language has never been decoded. Minoans. Using Source 1 to help you,
XX of ‘The history toolkit’.
write a short report of what might
The Minoans
The Minoan civilisation began over 4500 years ago
The Mycenaeans
The Mycenaean culture began to develop on Greece’s
have happened on Crete when Thera
erupted. Your perspective will be that
of a writer living on Crete at the time.
on the island of Crete. It lasted close to 1500 years.
Much of what we know about it is due to the southern mainland from about 1600 BCE. Like
efforts of the British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans. the Minoans, the people took advantage of their
He named the civilisation after King Minos, the closeness to the Mediterranean Sea by becoming busy
legendary king of Crete. Much of his work involved sea traders.
restoring the massive royal palace at Knossus. Mycenaeans lived in a number of ‘cities’, usually
The Knossus palace (see Source 2) was first built built on a hill or a cliff top. There are still remains
around 1700 BCE. It is believed to have been badly of the ancient walls and gates that enclosed some
damaged after the volcanic explosion on Thera, and of these settlements. Around and below these walls
Source 4 An artist’s reconstruction
then rebuilt around 1500 BCE. It was later destroyed were the houses of the people. Nearby land was
of the former kingdom of Mycenaea.
by fire around 1150 BCE. Some believe this was a farmed to provide food for the city occupants. Like the later Greek city-states,
palaces and temples of Mycenaean
result of an invasion by the Mycenaeans.
cities were enclosed within solid city
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6. 11A How did geographical features influence the development of ancient Greece?
11A rich task
skilldrill: Continuity and change
A closer look at Using Venn diagrams to Apply the skill
the Minoans identify continuity and
1 Study Sources 1 and 2 carefully, noting the features
of each. Think about their size, shape, colour, design,
layout, purpose, benefits, limitations and so on.
When the British archaeologist Sir Arthur Now prepare two Venn diagrams to compare and
Venn diagrams are simple diagrammatic
contrast the following:
Evans unearthed and partially restored tools that help you organise your
thinking. They help to quickly identify • Venn diagram 1 should compare the Minoan food
the Knossus palace on the island of storehouse shown in Source 1 with the storeroom
and document what two things have
Crete in 1900, he found a great deal of in common and how they differ. These and coolroom of a large restaurant or hotel kitchen
evidence to suggest that the Minoans ‘things’ can be anything – artefacts, cities,
political systems, warfare strategies and • Venn diagram 2 should compare the Minoan
were a very advanced civilisation for ceramic container shown in Source 2 with a vase
so on. Venn diagrams can be a quick and
the times. The palace itself, which had helpful way to think about examples of or container you have at home.
been home to the Minoan king, was change and continuity in history.
enormous, with 1300 rooms. It even had Venn diagrams consist of overlapping
circles. To complete the Venn diagram in
water supply and sewerage systems. Source 3, you need to:
The two photographs shown here are • think about how the two things you are
of items made by the ancient comparing are different. Record these
individual features in each of the non-
Minoans. Source 1 is a A C B
overlapping sections of the two circles
photograph of part of the (sections A and B).
storehouse of the Palace of • think about how the two things you are
comparing are similar. Record these
Minos. Source 2 is a piece
common features in the overlapping
of pottery from another section of the two circles (section C).
Minoan palace, the Palace at For a detailed description of this skill, refer
Phaestus. The artefacts in these to page XX of ‘The history toolkit’.
photographs are important primary
sources of information about ancient
D Source 1 The ruins of an
excavated food storehouse in
Source 3 To create a Venn diagram, features that are specific
to one thing you are looking at should be recorded in section
A, features that are specific to the other thing you are looking at
should be recorded in section B, and features that they have in
the palace at Knossos
Minoan civilisation. common should be recorded in section C.
Extend your understanding
1 Think about each completed Venn diagram. Use the points you have noted to write a short
explanation text of 250 words about how each ancient Minoan artefact or practice compares with
Source 2 A Minoan ceramic container
found in the palace at Phaestus some modern equivalents. Decide to what extent each item is an example of continuity and change.
For a detailed outline of the purpose and structure of explanation texts, refer to page XX in ‘The
history toolkit’.
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7. 11B What shaped the roles of key groups in ancient Greece?
11.5 The political systems Ekklesia citizens over the age of 18, but not everybody was
interested in attending. Some decisions required
The Ekklesia (Assembly) was the main institution
at least 6000 citizens to be present to vote. Slaves
of ancient Greece
of democracy in Athens. Every 10 days or so, the
carrying ropes soaked in red dye were sent out to
Ekklesia met on the side of a hill called Pnyx, in
round up citizens. It was considered shameful to be
Athens, to make important decisions. This might
seen with red dye on one’s clothing, so this helped
include whether or not to go to war. Every Athenian
to hurry citizens along.
citizen had the right to speak at the Ekklesia, and
vote. In theory, the Ekklesia was made up of all
The political systems that developed in ancient Greece had a major influence on how
it was organised, and on the lives of different social groups within that society. These
political systems determined, for example, which individuals or groups had more
keyconcept: continuity and change
power and social influence than others. Other issues such as wealth, ownership of land,
gender, beliefs and military issues also had an impact on the shape of ancient Greek
Only Athenian citizens could vote and take part in
Kings and aristocrats democratic processes. That principle continues in
Australia today, as does the Athenian practice of being
Ancient Greece consisted of several hundred city-states, each with its own system of eligible to vote at 18 years of age. Athenian citizens
government. Between 2000 and 1200 BCE, most of the city-states were monarchies, were men over 18 whose parents had both been born
where the king had total power. Over time, the real power in most city-states was in Athens. Their fathers had to be citizens (and, later,
passed to small groups of wealthy, privileged landowners called aristocrats. They their mother’s fathers had to be as well). Women,
would rule as an oligarchy (rule by only a few powerful people). slaves, children and foreigners were not citizens.
In that respect, things have changed. Everyone
Democracy born in Australia, whether male or female, is a citizen.
Those who immigrate here or are welcomed as refugees
During the 6th century BCE, a can choose to become citizens if they wish. Certain
new way of governing developed conditions have to be met first, though, to qualify. Those
in Athens. It was known as applying for Australian citizenship have to pass tests and
democracy. The word ‘democracy’ participate in a citizenship ceremony.
comes from two Greek words – For more information on the key concept of
demos (‘people’) and kratos (‘rule’). continuity and change, refer to page XX of ‘The history Source 2 Two newly-declared Australians at their citizenship
Under democracy, every citizen toolkit’. ceremony
could be involved in the political
process. However, the actual role
that a person could play in politics
depended on their position in
D Check your learning 11.5
society – that is, their wealth and Remember and understand
land ownership.
1 What were some of the rights people could enjoy in ancient Athens if they were citizens?
We will focus on the political
2 Describe the role of the Ekklesia.
system of Athens, given its
3 What has changed and what has continued in respect to citizenship in ancient Athens
importance as the world’s first
and in Australia today?
democracy. Many city-states
eventually adopted the democratic Apply and analyse
structure of Athens, although 4 Complete one of the following activities to explain your idea of ‘democracy in action’:
many others stuck to the more
a Individually, write a poem or draw a picture.
traditional forms of government.
b In a group, create a short play.
Powerful Sparta, for instance,
became a military state, and kept Source 1 An artist’s impression of the Greek leader Pericles during a democratic
the roles of its kings. debate with the men of Athens
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8. 11B What shaped the roles of key groups in ancient Greece?
11.6 Key groups in ancient Some restrictions placed on women in ancient Greece
Greek society
They were required to put a newborn baby out to die
if the man of the house said so.
They were not educated.
They could not attend the gymnasium.
The city-states of ancient Greece each had their
own unique features. However, some of the roles
They could not participate in public life or institutions.
and responsibilities of their main social groups were
similar. The most detailed information available
They could not visit the agora except to fetch water Source 3 An artist’s impression of slaves being sold in a Greek
about the key social groups in ancient Greece comes or, in the case of poorer women, sell some items. marketplace
from the city-states of Athens and Sparta.
Ancient Greek society was essentially divided They had virtually no legal or political rights.
Male slaves typically worked on farms, mines and
into citizens and non-citizens. Citizens usually ships. They also made up a large part of Athens’ police
force. If they were highly educated, they might teach
formed the smallest and most powerful groups, while They could legally have their children and dowry
non-citizens made up the bulk of the city-states’ taken from them if divorced by their husband. the male children of a wealthy household. Female
Source 1 A Greek painting from the 5th century BCE showing
populations. a wealthy woman in ancient Greece holding a mirror and
slaves mostly worked around the home. A few slaves
powdered chalk to lighten her complexion. They could not attend the Olympic Games. in Athens were treated well. Some were even granted
their freedom. But many, especially those working on
for their families. They were expected to obey the
They were not allowed to attend feasts and men’s ships or in the mines, had brutal, short lives.
In Athens, only men born of Athenian parents could man of the house.
discussions (called symposia) held in their homes. Slaves in Sparta (known as helots) made up most
be citizens. They were also the only ones who could Girls were often married at around the age of 13 to
of the population. Each Spartiate was given land by
own land, vote and contribute to the running of the a man chosen by their father. Girls were generally not
They could not, by law, inherit property. the city-state as a source of income. As the Spartiates
city-state. They were not allowed to have a job because educated, as the purpose of education in city-states
were not allowed to work, the helots did all the
they were required to spend most of their time on such as Athens was to produce good male citizens. Source 2 Restrictions on women in ancient Greece
labour – raising the food and doing the household
compulsory military training, politics and war. They Wealthy married women led more pleasant chores. Helots were treated very badly and they often
also devoted a lot of time to more leisurely pursuits lives than poor women. They had plenty of time to Foreigners organised rebellions to try to improve their lot.
such as music and literature. ‘treat themselves’. They usually bathed every day
Foreign-born people in Athens were known as metics
and used perfumed oil. Powdered chalk or lead was
Sparta was similar in these respects, except that it
and they were usually professional men: merchants, Check your learning 11.6
was mostly a military state, ruled by two kings. The applied to create a pale complexion. In spite of their
manufacturers, tradesmen, craftsmen and artists.
top group in Sparta were the Spartiates (Spartan-born comfortable lives, they were still mostly confined Remember and understand
They could become a citizen only by a special vote
to the home. An outing might mean attending a
men of equal status). They spent all of their time in
compulsory military training and were seldom at
home with their families. They did not have much
religious festival, a wedding, a funeral or visiting
another woman at home.
of the Ekklesia. They could own slaves, but not land.
They also had to pay taxes and would sometimes
have to serve in the army.
1 What were some of the restrictions placed on
women living in ancient Athens?
2 What sorts of people were typically slaves in
time for leisure and luxuries as these were thought to Life for a poor woman, on the other hand, beyond
Sparta had a similar group of people who were ancient Greece, and what jobs did they do?
undermine military discipline. her family responsibilities, consisted of little more
known as perioikoi. These men and their families lived
than fetching water, cooking, spinning and weaving Apply and analyse
in the towns and villages surrounding the central
Non-citizens cloth.
city. As Spartiates were forbidden from engaging in 3 Who would you have been if you had the choice:
any commercial activity, the perioikoi did most of the a Spartan woman or an educated male slave
Non-citizens included women, foreigners and slaves. An exception to the rule – the women of
trading and other professional work in Sparta. working as a tutor? Disregard your gender in
Unlike the citizens, they had no legal rights. Sparta
answering this question, and give reasons for your
Women Although Spartan women could not be citizens or Slaves choice.
hold government positions, they were educated and
Women in ancient Greece were nearly always physically fit. They could also own property and
Slaves in ancient Greece were regarded as property. Evaluate and create
expected to stay at home, regardless of whether they They might have been prisoners of war, people sold
represent themselves legally. They were older than 4 Referring to the text and sources in this section,
were wealthy or poor. Greek women ran the day-to- by very poor families or abandoned babies. By the
Athenian women when they married. Their main role write a short creative recount to describe a typical
day matters of the household, had children and cared 5th century BCE, slaves made up about 30 per cent of day in the life of a wealthy Greek woman.
was to produce strong sons to fight for Sparta.
the population of Athens.
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