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Ancient Greece Revision Notes

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GREECE REVISION
Contents 1 - From Bronze to Iron & Rise of the Polis...........................................................................................2 2 - Greek overseas expansion and tyranny...........................................................................................5 3 - Archaic Athens and Sparta...............................................................................................................7 4 - The Classical Period - Greek States at War....................................................................................10 1 - From Bronze to Iron & Rise of the Polis

1. From Bronze to Iron
What is Greece? People, state, geography, language?
Thucydides 1.3 implies before the Trojan War, there was no 'Hellas' as we know it, it was a small area in Thessaly. Archaic Period (700BC) = Hellas = Greece. The name 'Greece' doesn't work either =
inconsistencies with timeline
Language ca.1500 = Linear B script in mainland Greece. Ca. 750BC = earliest Greek ABC on pottery.
Same language, same people, different writing system.
TIMELINE:
Stone Age = 7000-3000
Bronze Age = 3000-2000, early; 2000-1600, mid; 1600-1100, late; 1500 = Greek language
Iron Age = 1100-1950; 750 = Homer, Greek Language
How to establish continuity between Bronze Age and Iron Age + the two forms of language?
Bronze Age: Linear B Sites
Mid-Greece = Peloponnese [Mycenae], Crete [citadel, palaces, workshops, cemeteries].
Cf. Palace of Nestor in Pylos = over 1000 tablets found. We know b/c of the tablets, citadels were places of admin, workshops, agriculture, accounting. Use of Linear B - centralised admin, utilitarian purposes. From frescos, we get the imagery of restoration.
Crete and Mainland Greece vary greatly - on the latter, many fortifications and bronze armour and arms of leather, bone and wood. Vases show foot-soldiers.
Tombs in Mycenae: burials - Tholos Tomb = vaulted construction, underground. Burial goods = gold masks + weapons inlaid with bronze.
Ceramic production = primitive. Wall paintings = hunting, singing = aesthetic and performative culture. Long distance sea-borne trade = not isolated.
Important to remember that Crete (Minoan) and Mycenaean (Greek mainland) were separate and distinct entities until 1450BCE when Mycenaeans took control of Crete. Mycenaean culture flourished in th Late Bronze Age while Minoan sites flourished during the Early Bronze Age.
How it ends
Conflagration and destruction of palaces = 1200-1150. Collapse of the Bronze Age. Sites destroyed in mainland Greece, Crete and Assyrian kingdom. Movement of population. Themes of continuity and discontinuity.
Transition to Iron Age
Material change - dominant from 1000BCE. Change in pottery = geometric designs, regional styles =
aesthetic shift. Changes in architecture = 10-9th century = lack of permanent structure. Burial style =
small pits and cremation. Change in writing system = syllabic - alphabetic. Dark Age: 1150-900BC
● depopulation + migration
● lack of writing survives = 1200-750.
● Site abandonment + diminishes in size
● Loss of architecture
● Lack of long-distancce trade - more local
● Loss of sources - e.g. frescos
● Loss of centralised power structures
● Loss of elite
No reflection of this catastrophe in later Greek accounts. No theory explains everything on the list.

2. Rise of the Polis
Timeline:
1200BCE = Collapse of Mycenaean palaces in Mainland Greece and Aegean 1100BCE = end of Bronze Age 1100-800BCE = early Iron Age; 'Dark Age' - for who? Greeks did not notice discontinuity.
1000-750BCE = Geometric period 800-700BCE = 'Archaic Revolution' - 8th century Renaissance
Settlement 1150-1000 = steep drop in recognisable archaeological sitets 1000-900 = Apsidal shape, brick and mud; small villages. Don't distinctly see a social hierarchy
Dark Age Population + Lefkandi Toumba burial:
Settlement changes reflect population? Abandonment and movement seen. Continuity of use of cult sites.
Exception to this = Lefkandi burial site at Euboea, ca.1000-975BCE. 5 rooms with cemetery. 2 burials:
older male w/various goods and a younger female inhumed. Memorial for an elite and powerful couple. Similar to Eastern Asian traditions - no other examples of this ritual entombment in this area
Textual Sources:
750BCE = short inscriptions on pots. Homeric epics?
Homeric Epics
Helps us reconstruct the period? Old view held that the Homeric poems were mythical and fictional,
cf. description of cyclopes. Gives an impression of the wider world with the geographic placement.
Description of Phoenicians = xenophobic attitudese.
Schlieman found 'The Walls of Troy' 1871-73: citadel that was destroyed w other Mycenaean societies.
Homeric epics = repeated phrases and formulaic, performance!! Homeric Epics could stem from Late
Bronze Age - tradition of epics of heroes? Not easy to date. Influenced by near Eastern lit, cf. Epic of
Gilgamesh. Could memory bridge the gap of the Dark Age? Poetry, history, tradition. Chronicles.
Dating Homeric epics - Iliad 12: "as men are now" = distance between time of epic heroes? Contains some Bronze Age elements, Dark Age and Early Archaic - 750-650? Bronze arms and armour = a memory or reflection? Descriptions of certain elements have corresponding elements from the LBA?
Idea of places that one calls home. Gaia = land, country; demos = people or territory; polis = specific settlement - place/community? Testify to the rise of the polis as a city/walled settlement?
Represents society and formation of polis and hierarchal relationships?
BIOGRAPHICAL CONTEXT OF AUTHOR: Homer
Homer - c.700BCE.
SUMMARY OF WORKS:
Realistic vs fantasy? Magical description of mythological creatures. Odysseus = not a truthful narrator himself, goes between world of fantasy and truth.
Relationship between stories and the world the poet lived in? concept of patria.
Can we use these passages to understand any period of history? Geographical and agricultural knowledge. Rooted in cultural ideology - xenia, trade? Social hierarchy with the crew, at the palace,
Odysseus disguised as an old man.
Reflects this period of sea travel - Greeks w Phoenicians and Etruscans were seafarers of th period.

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