Friday, April 3, 2015

Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece Map
Greece as we all know was one of the biggest and prosperous nation. 
Geography of Ancient Greece.
The territory of Greece is mountainous, and as a result, ancient Greece consisted of many smaller regions each with its own dialect, cultural peculiarities, and identity. Regionalism and regional conflicts were a prominent feature of ancient Greece. Cities tended to be located in valleys between mountains, or on coastal plains, and dominated a certain area around them. Greece is a country located in Southern Europe, its mainland located at the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula. Greece is surrounded on the north by Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia and Albania; to the west by the Ionian Sea; to the south by the Mediterranean Sea and to the east by the Aegean Sea and Turkey.

Timeline of the ancient Greece history.
The ancient Greece is history is divided into following parts.

Neolithic period: The Neolithic Age in Greece lasted from 6800 to 3200 BC. Animal husbandry and pottery was mainly introduced.

Early bronze age: Bronze Age in Greece is from the architecture, burial styles and lifestyle.

Minoan Art: (2000 - 1400 BC )
It is divided into 3 periods
1.      the early Minoan period (c.3000-2200 B.C.),
2.      the Middle Minoan period (c.2200-1500 B.C.)
3.      Late Minoan period (c.1500-1000 B.C.

Mycenaean age: It was an age of cultural development. During this age the basic framework of myths and heroes began.

The Dark Ages (1100 - 750 BC): The fall of myccenean civilization marks this era when the myceneans went under a civil war and the country became weak. A tribe called the dorians took advantage of this and invaded.

The archaic age: Archaic age means “old fashioned age”. This age describes the very roots of Greek art history.   The statues the sculpted were more free standing and stiff, staring straight ahead like the sculptures of the Egyptians. They weren’t as lively. The Greeks modified the Phoenician alphabet to create the Greek. Following the pattern of Greek geography it was divided into many self-governing states. During the Archaic Age the Greeks developed the most widespread and influential of their new political forms, the city-state, or polis.

Classical Greece
Greek era when artists started describing human form accurately. 
Classical period: The term “classical Greece” refers to the period between the Persian Wars at the beginning of the fifth century B.C. and the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C.
It was an age of war. First the war was between the Persians and Greeks and then an internal war between Athenians and Spartans. But it was also an era of unprecedented political and cultural achievement. The art of Classical Greece began the trend towards a more naturalistic (even in its early idealistic state) depiction of the world, thus reflecting a shift in philosophy from the abstract and supernatural to more immediate earthly concerns. Artists stopped merely “suggesting” the human form and began “describing” it with accuracy. Man became the focus, and “measure of all things” in daily life.

Demokratia: The defeat of the Persians marked the beginning of Athenian political, economic, and cultural dominance. Athenian nobleman Cleisthenes had overthrown the last of the tyrants and devised a new system of citizen self-governance that he called demokratia. In Cleisthenes’ democratic system, every male citizen older than 18 was eligible to join the ekklesia, or Assembly, the sovereign governing body of Athens. Other legislators were chosen randomly by lot, not by election. And in this democracy, officials were sworn to act “according to the laws what is best for the people.” Besides the Parthenon and Greek tragedy, classical Greece brought us the historian Herodotus, the physician Hippokrates and the philosopher Socrates. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, such as architecture, scientific thought, literature, and philosophy derive from this ancient society.

Hellenistic age: It is the period between the death of Alexander the great and invasion of Greece by the romans. Hellenistic is derived from the Greek word “hellas” which means “Greece” .The greek culture was dominant during this era and so it is called Hellenistic era. After Alexander's death, his empire was split up into smaller kingdoms. During the Hellenistic Age, many advances in philosophy, science, literature, and art were made.  Libraries in places such as Alexandria (Egypt) and Pergamon helped to make these advances possible. As the Romans began to gain power throughout the Mediterranean, the kingdoms of the Hellenistic Age began to fall, and eventually were swallowed by the Roman Empire. The Hellenistic Age left us with an extreme amount of historical information, as well as beautiful art, architecture; important literature and philosophy, and scientific advances.
Ancient Greek Polis
Greek Polis system told everything about how refined their community was.
A polis (plural: poleis) was the typical structure of a community in the ancient Greek world. A  polis consisted of a town center, often fortified and with a sacred center built on a natural acropolis, which controlled a surrounding territory (chora) of land. The term polis has  been translated as ‘city-state’ as there was typically only one city and because an individual polis was independent from other poleis in terms of political, judicial, legal, religious and social institutions and practices, each polis was in effect a state. Like a state, each polis was also involved in international affairs, both with other poleis and non-Greek states in the areas of trade, political alliances and wars. in due course over 1,000 poleis in the Greek World but among the most important were Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Thebes, Syracuse, Aegina, Rhodes,Argos, Eretria, and Elis. The biggest was Sparta, although with some 8,500 km² of territory, this was exceptionally large and most poleis were small in size. However, poleis such as Athens, Rhodes and Syracuse possessed.

Ancient Greek Agriculture

Farming in ancient Greece was difficult due to the limited amount of good soil and cropland. It is estimated that only twenty percent of the land was usable for growing crops. The main crops were barley, grapes, and olives.

Grain crops, such as barley and wheat, were planted in October and harvested in April or May. Olives were harvested November through February. Grapes were normally picked in September.
Barley was the main cereal crop for the ancient Greek farmers. They made the barley into porridge or ground it into flour to make bread. Olive oil was used for cooking oil or in oil lamps. Grapes were primarily used for wine production, although they could be eaten or dried into raisins.
Most farms were small with four or five acres of land. Farmers grew enough food to support their families and, at times, they grew a small surplus to sell at the local market. There were some very large farms run by overseers while the owner lived in the city.

Four major types of government:
1.      Monarchy (rule of a king) limited by an aristocratic council and a popular assembly.
2.      Oligarchy (rule of the few) arising when the aristocratic council ousted the king and abolished the assembly.
3.      Tyranny (rule by one who ruled without legal authority) riding to power on the discontent of the lower classes.
4.      Democracy (rule of the people), the outstanding political achievement of the Greeks.

Ancient Greek Gods
Greeks had a different outlook at religion with God and Mankind being linked.
Greeks were polytheists. They had a new outlook on religion. They believed that the gods and mankind had a partnership with one another and that both existed to serve one another. They believed that their gods were human in form and that they exhibited human emotions, including jealously, love and hatred. Their gods married, had families, and even committed murder.

The only difference between mankind and the gods was that the gods had supernatural powers while mankind did not. Greek students were taught to strive to be the best individuals they could possibly be so that they could be more like the gods.

Each Greek city-state selected a patron god as their protector. This god was worshiped (in an effort to please them) so that their good favor would fall upon the people of that region. Every Greek citizen also worshipped the chief god, Zeus.

The Greeks believed that the twelve most important and most powerful gods lived on top of a mountain in northern Greece known as Mount Olympus. From this holy mountain, the people believed that the gods ruled and controlled all aspects of the natural world as well as all aspects of the lives of individual people.

Free men had most of the rights in the culture of Ancient Greece. Male slaves, women, and children were not considered to be citizens. Fathers had control over their daughters and husbands had control over their wives. In fact, a woman couldn’t leave her home without her husband’s permission.
The free men of Ancient Greece participated in politics and public events. Men were the actors in the theater and played both male and female characters. Many Greek dances were designed for men to dance together in a group. It was rare for men and women to dance with each other.

Ancient Greek Olympics
Olympics said everything about Greek culture. 
The Olympic Games were designed for free men who could speak Greek. Women had a smaller athletic event in honor of Hera, the wife of the god Zeus.

Because Ancient Greece was an agricultural society, most of the population earned their living by farming. The way to wealth was through ownership of land. Men were in charge of getting the crops to grow but everyone in the family helped, unless the family was wealthy and had enough slaves to handle the work.

Greek women had very little freedom outside the home. They could attend weddings, funerals, some religious festivals, and could visit female neighbors.In their homes, Greek women were in charge. Their job was run the house and bear children . female slaves cooked, cleaned, and worked in the fields.male slaves watched the door to make sure no one came in when the man of the house was away, except for female neighbors, and acted as tutors to the young male children. Wives and daughters were not permitted to watch Olympic game as the participants in the games did not wear clothes.

Ancient Greek Clothing

The Greeks wore light, loose clothes as the weather was hot for most of the year. Long pieces of colourful fabric were used to make the Greek clothes.

The main item of clothing for men was a tunic, called a chiton, These were big squares of cloth, held in place by pins at the shoulders and a belt round the waist. They were made from wool in the winter or linen in the summer.

Women also wore clothing which was made from big square piece of linen or wool. They used pins in various places to hold it together. Unlike the men's, the dresses always went down to the ankles.
The ancient Greeks could buy cloth and clothes in the agora, the marketplace, but that was expensive. Many of the clothes were made by the women and female slaves.

Wealthy people had tunics made of coloured cloth. The tunics of the poor were plain. In cold weather, cloaks were worn. Most Greeks went barefoot. If they needed shoes, they put on leather sandals or boots.

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