Ancient Greece Essay, Research Paper
After Greece made great migrations from 1100-1000 BC, there was a period called the Greek “dark ages” because little is known about it. At this time, many city-state settlements were emerging. They fortified it at the foot of a hill, so inhabitants could take refuge from any attacks. This city-state or polis contained dependent territory, which they used for agriculture and pasture.
The early archaic polis had weak public authority. They had a society that consisted of wealthy landowners, small farmers, landless laborers, artisans, and serfs. Large families contained the strongest unit in the society since they were able to receive protection and economic help. When they had fights, they were against groups not classes. Each group contained a leading household, which contained many dependents.
The citizens of each polis were divided in-groups that were based on what family they came from. Each city-state contained three political institutions: a king, a council, and an assembly of adult male citizens. Kingships were more vulnerable than councils to problems that happened. In Athens, kingship became an annual and elective.
The council was primarily an advisor but because the decline of kingships, they became the primary scene of political rivalries. When families could not settle disputes, they went to the council and then to the assemblies. The assembly became the second place for settling political rivalries. In the assembly, people would call out their followers to fight for and later to vote for them.
During the 8th century BC, influences from Orientals began to change the Greek communities. They borrowed the Phoenician and Semitic alphabet, and changed it for writing Greek. The way pottery changed in their societies showed they had foreign influences to the way they did things. The new styles in pottery were called “Orientalizing” styles. Since they adopted influences from Oriental cultures, it proves they had growth in overseas trade. Thus, this was likely to change the traditional societies of Greek. This colonization movement is evidence to profound social changes.
In the “dark ages,” they fought using a shield, a sword, and spears. Each warrior fought as champions since they did not have organized groups. In the 6th and 5th centuries, a force developed called the phalanx of hoplites, which was heavily armed infantryman. The hoplite contained a sword and thrusting spear. For protection, they had bronze plated armor with a large round shield. In attacks, the first row would push the enemy off the field while the succeeding rows added weight to the impact. Phalanxes were adopted at different times in city-states (period 700-750). More political power was needed for these military units because they needed more people to attack with.
Tyrants and tyranny were used to control the phalanxes and bigger armies. The tyrant held no office and did not change the city’s law or institutions. They would manage the things happening around their town like boss in a small town. The city-states changed a lot through the “dark ages” since armies became bigger in size; thus, it also altered the role of governments and political power.