Chapter 3 Greek and Hellenistic Civilization
Minoans, Mycenaeans and the Greek „Middle Ages“
The Minoans are Bronze Age the civilization that arose in Crete in third and second millenia BCE. Ther called after their legendary King Minos. Their reign is divided into 3 main periods: Early, Middle and Late Minoans. Their art and architecture was very distinctive and glorious showing scenes of peace and melancholy, however they didn't have strong walls which were built for defense. Excavation on these sites have revealed some clay tablets that were written on, on some even in a writing that is considered as an early Greek language.
The Mycenaeans are people who used metal, built houses and traded with Crete and other islands. These people lived on the Greek mainland. It is not known where they came from, they did not even speak a language that was Indo-European. Excavatons show signs of later invasions of Greeks. The Mycenaeans were warriors ruled by powerful kings and had fortresses built on hills with srtong defensive walls. Unlike Minoans', their murals are showing scenes of wars and hunting. They are mentioned in the archives of the Hittite Kings of Asia Minor and in Egyptian records. They probably destroyed Troy, which later was a basis for Homer's Iliad and the Oyssey. Around 1200 BCE, this civilization shows signs of striggle and they disappeared.
After their disappearance, which is considered the fault of the Dorians, Greece entered the dark middle ages, about which is not much known. Homer's poems provide the best insight into these dark ages. They are based upon oral poetry and tradition that has come from that very time. Polis in the Expanding Greek World
It is the most characteristic Greek institution representing a city-state. All of polises were initially villages or towns with flourisihng agriculture. A polis was a community of relatives: the citizens have come from one acestor, so they all represent subgroups which were brotherhoods, clans or tribes. Later on, agora – a marketplace and civic - center appeared in polis, it became a place of social interraction and major conversations.
The hoplite phalanx has become an inovational war technique.
From 8th to 6th century BCE, Greek period of colonization began – they successfully placed poleis all the way from Span to the Black Sea. They inhabited Macedonia, and had many colonies in Sicily and Italy later called Magna Graecia. Colonization gave them sense of belonging, of having a culture (panhellenic). It also encouraged trade and industry. Many of the new wealty citizens were not of aristocratic blood, they were not politically included, so they rebelled and many of those conflicts resulted in tyranny.
Tyrants (700-500 BCE) were monarchs who gained power unorthodoxly and ruled strongly. They were usually aristocrates. They supported the trade and colonization only to gain more power and be more popular among the citizens. They cultivated arts, literature and technology. The last of them are remembered as oppressive and aggressive. Archaic Greece
Aristocrats lead privileged lives, the others farmed the land.
The religion played important role in those times. Like most ancient nations, the Greeks were plytheists. The art and literature and general life of polis were tightly connected with religion. The 12 deities that lived on Mount Olympus were considered to behave like humans.
The early Greek traders learnt many techniques in Syria. They borrowed the writing system from a Semitic scrpit and added vowel to create the first real alphabet ever, which was easy to learn. Due to that, the Greece becamy a widely literate society.
During the 6th century, the lyric has become a new genre of poetry. The poets wrote about personal issues that can be implied in life, like love and political state and opinions. Poleis and Persian Wars
Each polis developed in a unique way. Athens and Sparta have become the most powerful city-states with unusual...
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