Minoans named by archeologist after the legendary King Minos

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  • Named by archeologist after the legendary King Minos

  • Located on island of Crete

  • Considered the stepping stone to Greek culture

  • Contributions of the Minoans include…


  • Wall paintings called frescoes

  • Painted vases

  • Vast palace at Knossos

  • Legend of the Minotaur

  • Excellent sailors

  • Writing system (later adopted by Greeks)

  • Worshipped many gods and goddesses


  • Active people who enjoyed being outdoors

  • Participated in sports such as wrestling, boxing and bull leaping


  • The first Greek-speaking people we have written records of

  • Named after the leading city-state of Mycenae

  • City-states were led by powerful warrior-kings

  • Adopted many ideas of the Minoans


  • Around 1200 B.C. Mycenaean kings fought a 10 year war against Troy

  • This war is the backdrop for Homer’s two great epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey. (composed 500 years later!)

  • Do you know who Heinrich Schliemann and Manfred Korfmann were?

Trojan Hero’s

The Dark Ages

  • Shortly after the Trojan War the Mycenaean civilization collapsed.

  • A new group of people known as the Dorians moved into Greece.

  • They were far less advanced than the Mycenaean Greeks.

  • No written records exist for this 400 year period; stories were passed down in an oral tradition.

Clisthenes (594 BC)

  • Works to make Athens a full democracy!

  • Expanded democracy by extending citizenship to more males

  • Permitted men of all classes to serve in the Council of 500 (chosen by lot)

Persian Wars: Background

  • Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered the Greek city-states in Asia Minor around 546 BC

  • In 499 BC some of the Greek city-states in Asia Minor (led by Miletus) revolted against Persian rule.

  • Darius (son of Cyrus) puts down the revolt and vows to conquer the city-states of the Greek mainland.

The Second Campaign: (480 BCE)

  • Thermopylae (480 BCE) Ten years later, Xerxes (son of Darius) led an even larger army back to Greece.

  • His army is met at the narrow mountain pass of Thermopylae by a small group of Spartans led by Leonidas.

  • Only after they are shown another way around the pass by a Greek traitor do they manage to defeat the Spartans.

Thermopylae today

Spartan Soldier

What did Xerxes really look like?

Salamis & Plataea

  • After setting fire to Athens, Xerxes sends his naval fleet to meet the Athenians at the narrow channel near the island of Salamis.

  • The Greeks, led by Themistocles, use their smaller, faster ships to gain a decisive victory.

  • Xerxes watches in horror as his fleet is destroyed. He returns to Persia, leaving a small army behind that is defeated on the plain of Plataea

Key Figures from the Persian Wars

  • Persians- Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes

  • Greeks- Pheidippides, Leonidas, Themistocles

  • Greece enters into the “golden age”

  • Athens forms an alliance of 140 city-states called the Delian League to protect against another Persian attack.

Greek Philosophers

Myron’s Discus Thrower

Philip II of Macedonia

  • Became king of Macedonia in 359 BC

  • Was impressed with Greek culture

  • Began a movement to unite the city-states

  • Some Greeks saw him as a hero. Others like Demosthenes of Athens gave speeches warning of him and trying to unite the Greeks

  • Philip conquered the Greeks in 338 BC at the battle of Chaeronea

  • He dreamed of leading Greek and Macedonian forces against Persia, but was assassinated at his daughters wedding in 336.

Philip of Macedon

Alexander the Great

  • Tutored by Aristotle as a boy

  • His taming of Bucephalas (his horse) foreshadowed his greatness

  • His father gave him military training; he was a respected commander by the age of 16

  • Defeated the Persians at Granicus and again at Issus in 334 BC; freeing the city-states in Asia Minor (Darius III was his hated rival)

  • He took Egypt from the Persians in 332 BC and founded the city of Alexandria

  • After the battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC he captured Babylon and eventually Persepolis

Warm up question

  • What makes a person great?

  • Who is the greatest person in history, in your opinion?

Question 1

  • Do you think Alexander the Great was a great man? Why or why not?

Lighthouse of Alexandria

Question 2

  • Why do you suppose Alexander encouraged his soldiers to marry Persian women?

Question 3

  • What are the lasting legacies of Alexander's rule?

Death of Alexander

  • After reaching India, his men refused to march any further.

  • Alexander returned to Babylon where he died in 332 BC at the age of 32.

  • His empire was divide among his three generals Antigonus, Ptolemy, and Seleucus

  • A new culture that blended Greek, Egyptian, Persian, and Indian cultures would emerge….. Hellenistic culture

Question 4

  • Why is Alexandria so important?

Question 5

  • The Library of Alexandria was the greatest repository of learning in the ancient world, but it burned down in antiquity. What do you think we could learn about the ancient world if we could recover the lost books from the library?

Question 6

  • Who would you side with, Epicurus (Epicurians), Zeno (Stocism) or Diogenes (Cynics)? Why?

Question 7

  • Artwork often reflects important cultural values of a society. What cultural values do you think are represented in classical Greek art and sculpture? How was the Hellenistic art/sculpture different than before?

Question 8

  • What do you think is the most important discovery/conclusion made in this Hellenistic time

Colossus of Rhodes

  • The Colossus of Rhodes was a statue of the Greek Titan Helios, erected in the city of Rhodes on the Greek island of Rhodes by Chares of Lindos between 292 and 280 BC. It is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was constructed to celebrate Rhodes' victory over the ruler of Cyprus (Antigonus I Monophthalmus).

Colossus of Rhodes

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