The Rise of Greek Civilization
The history of the West rests on the foundations of Helladic civilization. Influences on the Greek cultural tradition were Near Eastern and Asian as well as Mediterranean, but Greek culture was more dynamic, competitive, secular, and politically active than any that had come before. This chapter covers "Helladic" civilization from its origins on Minoan Crete through the development of Athenian democracy and the Persian Wars in the early fifth century B.C.E.
After reading this chapter you should be able to:
Understand the social structure of early Greece, dominated by the landed aristocrats, and the work of everyday life carried on in large measure by free, but landless, laborers and some slaves.
Relate how the Homeric legends reflect a society in which personal honor, physical courage, and the rights of property held high place.
Describe the development and functions of the polis.
Understand the different forms of society and government practiced by the two leading poleis, Sparta and Athens.
Summarize the development of Greek religion and philosophy.
Relate the events of the Persian Wars and their significance to the future of Greek civilization.