The Greek Civilization Essay, Research Paper
The Greek civilization was the first European civilization. At this point in time religion is not prevalent or influential. The European religion was borrowed from the Middle East. There are two main contributions from the Greek civilization. They were politics and secular. Polis the Greek word for city state is where politics came from. They had modern politics with the first democracy. It was divided into city-states that rule themselves in a democratic fashion. With this they have the majority vote. Secular was the non-religious way of looking at things. It was based on assumptions that human beings can use their own mental power to grasp the world they are living in.
The first two Greek civilizations were the Minoan civilization and the Mycenaean civilization. The Minoan civilization was the Island of Crete. This civilization was a very peaceful one surrounded by water. It was advanced in the fields of architecture, art, and indoor plumbing. It had no military fortification, with not too many weapons. No one knows why it disappeared. The Mycenaean civilization arouse on the Greek mainland. The inhabitants of this were not natives of Greece. It was not a unified civilization that was composed of independent city-states. It was an uncultured and illiterate civilization that was always fighting. The priests did not exercise a huge amount of power.
The next thing that happened to Greece was the Dark Ages. This is when the Minoans disappeared and the Mycenaean s entered a period of deep decline. No one could write and all achievements are wiped out. Very little is known of this time in history. Then the Renaissance came about which recovered the ability to write. It was a very artistic period. At this time the Classical Greek Ages began and it set standards and styles.
Classical Greece was independent and self-governed by a direct democracy. This works because the population is low. The citizenship is a restricted privilege to the wealthy. Male homosexuality is socially accepted at this time. There were people that were excluded in the society. This included four different groups. The first was poor people who had to afford military equipment to help defense of the city-state to be a citizen. The women were only seen as property and housewives. They were always under the authority of men. Foreigners were not considered citizens. They moved into the city, but were not born there. Then there were the slaves. This society was based on slavery. The Greeks enslaved other Greeks. They based their capturing on one s debt not race.
Archaic Greece consisted of Sparta and Athens. Sparta was very heavily militarized, but did not invade their neighbors. They made people slaves called Hellots. Young boys were taken from their homes to start military training. Women also went through military training. They had an intense feeling for equality, so therefore abolished money. Sparta had two kings who balanced each other out and had no individual power.
Athens was the home of art, culture, science, and democracy. It was the Home of Philosophy. They were a socially diverse civilization that included sailors, farmers, philosophers, and scientists. Athens evolved a political philosophy to solve conflicting interest between people. Tyrants emerged after the Aristocrats who were strong political leaders that established themselves as single rulers. Solon came about and institutes a system of citizenship. The poor were now able to vote. There were four classes based on wealth and only the top two were allowed direct role in the government.
After this the Persian Wars began. City-states were established at the Greek peninsula. The Persian Empire invaded and decided to take over the Greek peninsula. The first invasion was by Emperor Darius. He was defeated, in the Battle of Marathon, by the Athenians. The second invasion was by the son of the emperor. The Athenians and Greeks defeated the Persians on land in the Battle of Thermopoli.
The Athenian empire then came about. Athens is now the dominant power of Greece. They had the Delian-League, which was the association of independent Greek city-states that work together for gain. It was the Athenian Alliance. Athens was the super power of Greece.
Then the Peloponnesian War came about. This is when the Spartans and their allies go to war with Athens. The Spartans won which lead to the decline of the Greek civilization.
Macedonia then enters. They were agricultural people ruled by a king. It was a large city that was half Greek. Alexander the Great, their king, conquered Greece and Persia. He dies young and his empire is dived between his generals. The Hellenistic civilization started that was a Greek-Persian culture. The Classical Greek culture suffers because of Alexander s conquest. This civilization results in the downfall of Greece.