The Foundation of Western Thought
Blog for this unit
Wanderings In The Classical World: What makes a good government?
Wanderings In The Classical World: Is democracy the best form of government?
Wanderings In The Classical World: Who is the greatest Greek statesman and why?
Introducing Modern Greece
Greece is not the cultural influence it once was, however, humanity, especially western culture owes a huge debt to Greece. Today Greece is part of The European Union. It struggles to be a financially stable country. It has never been able to regain military and political supremacy after the Roman conquest. Nonetheless, Greek influence is still felt after more than two- thousand years. Standards for art, history, religion, politics, and science emerge from this small peninsula surrounded by the Ionian, Mediterranean, and Aegean seas. All of western culture has been molded and blessed by the achievements of the Ancient Greeks.
The Greek People and Current Events
The Greek people of today are an energetic and passionate people. They are influenced by their ancient traditions yet have adapted to the dominant trends in Europe and The Americas. Greek people love to dance, eat, celebrate, and discuss any issue. At the heart of any Greek is the love for family, beauty, and love for Greece.
A Map of Greece Today
Resources on Recent Greek History and Current Events
Please click on the following links to get more information on Greece.
The study of Ancient Greece is integral to a classical education. Ancient Greek history is one of the cornerstones of western civilization.The contributions of Greek thought have influenced western art, architecture, mathematics, law, political science, history, science, religion, etc. The legacy of Greek history still permeates to this day.
The Geography of Ancient Greece
Greek geography is essential in developing Greek culture. The rugged terrain of Greece separated the inhabitants of Greece forcing them to be isolated and eventually form distinct political units, which eventually formed the Greek city-states. Since it was difficult to transverse across the mountains of Greece, the Greek people, resorted to travel around the Greek peninsula by sea. The effect of being surrounded by seas and living in a mountainous land made the Greeks natural sailors, merchants, and traders. It was the propulsion of the seas and the poor land, which influenced the Greek mind by being able to travel to remote parts of The Ancient World in Europe, Asia Minor, The Middle East, and parts of North Africa.
Please click below for more information on Greek geography and trading patterns.
Minoans and Mycenaeans
The Minoans and Myceneans were earlier civilizations that lived in The Mediterranean World that influenced Greek culture. The Minoans lived in what is today the island of Crete. They influenced the Greeks in shipbuilding, trade, and in art. The Mycenaeans developed an early form of the Greek language. Moreover, the Mycenaeans inspired the Greeks through the importance of developing nautical prowess and its heroic mythology. The Mycenaeans prided themselves as warriors and colonizers of distant lands. The fusion of these two cultures developed Greek culture.
Click the following links for a better understanding of Minoan culture.
Click the following links for a better understanding of Mycenaean culture.
The Evolution of Democracy in Ancient Greece
Democracy originates from Ancient Greece ,namely, the city-state of Athens. However before democracy could be established in Ancient Greece it went through other forms of government. Greece first started as several different poleis. Almost all of them had some form of oligarchy as the political structure for its government. Many of those oligarchies were aristocracies. However, throughout Greek history, tyrants seized power from the different oligarchies that were in charge. Eventually, some of the tyrants surrendered their power. This eventually led to the formation of democracy, the rule of the people.
Terms to Know:
Democracy Oligarchy Aristocracy Tyrant
Greek Contributors to The Evolution of Democracy
Draco was one of the first law givers of Athens. He was considered very harsh. so harsh that the word "draconian" means someone who is cruel or harsh.
Click below to learn more about Draco.
Solon is another law giver of Athens. He is known for repealing the most of the laws of Draco.
Click below for more information on Solon.
After being tired of oligarchic rule, Peisistratus took over the government of Athens becoming one of the first tyrants of Ancient Greece.
Please click below for more information on Peisistratus.
Cleisthenes was the first law giver to really set the foundation of democracy. He established the concept of the popular vote. He began gving more power to the people of Athens.
Click below for more information on Cleisthenes
Pericles is considered the greatest statesman and leader of Athens. He was the leader of Athens during The Peloponnesian War. Moreover, he was essential in bringing to democratic thought to its highest in Classical Greece.
Click below for more information on Pericles.
Athenian Educational Beliefs and Practices
Athenians admired both the mind and body. Athenians believed in the well-rounded scholar. The scholar who was able to think logically and be physically fit with an appreciation for the arts. The purpose of Athenian education was to get citizens ready for public service and leadership. However, education was limited to the wealthy and upper class boys of Athens. Women were not able to receive an education in Athens.
Athenian Education in Academics
http://hrsbstaff.ednet.ns.ca/mcallip/Hist10/Greece /athenian_education.htm B
Athenian Physical Education and The Arts
This vase shows athletes competing in a race.
http://en.wikipedia.org /wiki/Education_in_ancient_Greece#Athenian_System B
Spartan Educational Beliefs
As the Athenians admired the mind the Spartans regarded the body as more important. Spartan society consisted in creating citizen soldiers who were tough, loyal, disciplined, and showed ruthless cunning on the battlefield.
Spartan Education in Academics
Spartan Physical Education and The Arts
Athenian and Spartan Architecture
The Relevance of The Gods of Greece and Heroes
Below are links to help you better understand the roles of the gods of Ancient Greece
Greek Sculpture "The Perfection of Man"
Greek sculpture was fundamental in understanding The Ancient Greeks. Sculpture was a way of showing devotion and respect to the human body but it was also a way of instilling pride and civic virtue in the polis. Classical Greek art breaks away from previous forms of art by focusing on naturalism and movement in the human figure. Prior to this, sculpture was static and unmoving. The art of The Ancient Greeks will have a tremendous influence on western civilization. Renaissance painters will use Greek art as inspiration and will eventually break away from Classical Greek Art and then return to it in Neoclassicism.
Greek philosophy started as a revolt against Greek mythology. It valued reason, logic, and intellectual exploration to better understand the world. From Greek philosophy we get the invention of new disciplines such as science and history. Greek philosophy is the bedrock of western philosophy.
Socrates: The Father of Philosophy
Through his technique of questioning and breaking down preconceived notions or ideas, Socrates, challenged people to reconsider and reflect on their thoughts and beliefs about life.
To explore more on Socrates click any of the links below.
Plato is one of the most important philosophers in history. His ideas were fundamental for providing inspiration to future philosophers. Plato's ideas covered just about everything in human existence such as law, ethics, God, existence, and so on. It is through the writings of Plato that we know about the life of Socrates.
A student of Plato, Aristotle, was also a very important philosopher. Aristotle was instrumental in starting the science of zoology, science, and furthering the study of ethics. Many of his ideas were in contrast to his teacher Plato. Nonetheless, Aristotle was important in that he posited learning through experience and induction instead of deduction and Idealism.
To learn more about Aristotle click below.
Greek Math and Science
The Greeks revolutionized math and science. Famous mathematicians like Euclid and medical scientists like Hippocrates were responsible for improving Greek civilization and providing an influential body of knowledge for future mathematicians and medical doctors.
Click below to learn more about Euclid.
To learn more about Hippocrates, one of the most famous doctors in history click below.