Introduction and History
Ancient Greek culture spans over a thousand years, from the earliest civilizations to the cultures that became the Ancient Greeks. Key Points
Before Greek culture took root in Greece, early civilizations thrived on the Greek mainland and the Aegean Islands. The two main cultures were the peaceful Minoans and warring Myceanaeans, who are distinguished by their unique architecture and material culture. Greek culture began to develop during the Geometric, Orientalizing, and Archaic periods, which lasted from 900 to 480 BCE. During this time the population of city-states began to grow, panhellenic traditions were established, and art and architecture began to reflect Greek values. The Early, High, and Late Classical periods in Greece occurred from 480 to 323 BCE. During these periods, Greece flourished and the polis of Athens saw its Golden Age under the leadership of Pericles. However, city-state rivalries lead to wars, and Greece was never truly stable until conquered. The Hellenistic period in Greece is the last period before Greek culture becomes a subset of Roman hegemony. This period occurs from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE, to the Greek defeat at the Battle of Actium in 30 BCE. It marks the spread of Greek culture across the Mediterranean. Ancient Greek culture is noted for its government, art, architecture, philosophy, and sport, all of which became foundations for modern western society. It was admired and adopted by others, including Alexander the Great and the Romans, who helped spread Greek culture around the world. This is the book container
Ancient Greek Culture
Ancient Greek culture covers over a thousand years of history, from the earliest civilizations in the area to the cultures that became the Ancient Greeks. Following a Greek Dark Age, Greece once more flourished and developed into the ancient culture that we recognize today ([[fig:13646]]Figure 1). Greek culture is based on a series of shared values that connected independent city-states throughout the region, which expanded as far north as Mount Olympus. Greek society was insular, and loyalties were focused around one’s polis ("city"). Greeks considered themselves civilized and considered outsiders as barbaric. While Greek daily life and loyalty was centered on one’s polis, the Greeks did create leagues, which vied for control of the peninsula, and were able to unit together against a common threat (such as the Persians). Greek culture is focused on their government, art, architecture, philosophy, and sport. Athens was intensely proud of its creation of democracy, and citizens from all poleis ("cities") took part in civic duties. Cities commissioned artists and architects to honor their gods and beautify their cities. Greek philosophers, mathematicians, and thinkers are still honored in society today. As a religious people, the Greeks worshipped a number of gods through sacrifice, ritual, and festival. Bronze Age and Proto-Greek Civilizations
During the Bronze Age, several distinct cultures developed around the Aegean. The Cycladic civilization, around the Cyclades Islands, thrived from 3,000 to 2,000 BCE. Little is known about the Cycladic civilization because they left no written records. Their material culture is mainly excavated from grave sites, which reveal that the people produced unique, geometric marble figures. The Minoan civilization stretches from 3700 BCE until 1200 BCE, and thrived during their Neopalatial period (from 1700 to 1400 BCE), with the large-scale building of communal “palaces.” Numerous archives have been discovered at Minoan sites; however their language, Linear A, has yet to be deciphered. The culture was centered on trade and production, and the Minoans were great seafarers on the Mediterranean Sea. A proto-Greek culture known as the Mycenaeans developed and flourished on the mainland, eventually conquering the Aegean Islands and Crete, where the Minoan civilization was...
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