The Parthenon was built to honor the Greek goddess Athena. It is located on the Acropolis in Athens, Greece.
The Rise of Ancient Greece
This chapter will examine the rise of Ancient Greece and the development of democracy, philosophy, and the arts during the Golden Age of Athens.
The Rise of Greek Civilization
Religion, Philosophy, and the Arts
Target Reading Skill
Sequence In this chapter, you will focus on using sequencing to help you understand how events are related to one another. Sequencing helps you see the order in which events happened and can help you understand and remember them.
The ruins of the Temple of Poseidon in Greece
Location Notice the land of the ancient Greeks: the mainland and the islands in the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. The ancient Greeks also built colonies on the coast of Asia Minor, or modern-day Turkey. Describe Flow would you describe the lands of the ancient Greeks? Draw Conclusions Study the map to make some guesses about how the people of ancient Greece earned a living. What role did the sea probably have in their lives? Why do you think some Greeks left ancient Greece to build cities elsewhere?
PHSchool.com Use Web Code mup-0601 for step-by-step map skills practice.
The Rise of Greek Civilization
Prepare to Read
In this section you will
1. Understand how Greece's geographic setting influenced the development of Greek civilization.
2. Examine early Greek history.
3. Examine the development of democracy in Greece.
As you read, find the main ideas and detail! concerning the rise of Greek civilization. Copy the chart below, and use it to record your findings.
Target Reading Skill
Noting the order in which events take place can help you understand and remember them. You can track the order of events by making a sequence chart. In the first box, write the first event, or the development that sets the other events in motion. Then write each additional event in a box. Use arrows to show how one event leads to the next.
• peninsula (puh NIN suh luh) n. an area of land nearly surrounded by water
• epic (EP ik) n. a long poem that tells a story
• acropolis (uh KRAH puh lis) n. a high, rocky hill where early people built cities
• city-state (siki tee stayt) n. a city with its own traditions, government, and laws; both a city and a separate independent state
• aristocrat (uh RIS tuh krat) n. a member of a rich and powerful family
• tyrant (TY runt) n. a ruler who takes power with the support of the middle and working classes
• democracy (dih MARK ruh see) n. a form of government in which citizens govern themselves
Following their defeat of the Titans, Zeus and his brothers and sisters battled the giants. The gods Apollo and Artemis, above left, confront a group of helmeted giants.
First there was nothing. Then came Mother Earth. The gods of Night and Day appeared next, and then the starry Sky. Earth and Sky created the Twelve Titans (TYT unz). These great gods rebelled against their father Sky and took away his power. The youngest of the Titans, Cronos (KROH nus), ruled in his father's place. In time, Cronos had six children. The youngest, mighty Zeus (zoos), toppled Cronos from his throne.
With such stories, the people of ancient Greece described the struggles of their gods. Like their gods, the people of Greece had to struggle for power and independence. Their struggles began with the land itself.
Greece's Geographic Setting
The land of Greece looks as if the sea had smashed it to pieces. Some pieces have drifted away to form small, rocky islands. Others barely cling to the mainland. Greece is a country made up of peninsulas. A peninsula is an area of land surrounded by water on three sides. Look at the map titled Ancient Greece. As you can see, no part of Greece is very far from the sea.
Mountains are the major landform of Greece. Greece's islands are mostly mountain peaks. Mountains wrinkle the mainland, so there are only small patches of farmland. Only about one fifth of Greece is good for growing crops. No wonder the Greeks became traders and sailors. At times, they left Greece to found colonies far away.
What was life like for people living in Greece 3,000 years ago? In a way, the ancient Greeks were all islanders. Some lived on real islands completely surrounded by water or on small peninsulas. Others lived on what could be thought of as land islands. Instead of water, mountains separated these small communities from one another. The geography of Greece made it hard for people from different communities to get together.
For this reason, it is no surprise that ancient Greek communities thought of themselves as separate countries. Each one developed its own customs and beliefs. Each believed its own land, traditions, and way of life were the best. And each was more than ready to go to war to protect itself. In fact, for most of their history, the Greeks were so busy fighting among themselves that it is easy to forget that they shared a common heritage, spoke the same language, and worshiped the same gods.
Reading Check What do we mean when we say the ancient Greeks were all islanders?
Several typical geographic features appear in this picture of the northwestern coast of Greece. These features include a rocky coastline and rugged mountains. Critical ThinkingHow did the geographic features shown affect the way ancient people lived in this area?
Early Greek civilization arose on and off the Greek mainland. Two ancient peoples, the Minoans (mih NOH unz) and the Mycenaeans (my suh NEE unz), made an important impact on Greek history.
Early Greek Cultures
The fresco from the 1500s B.C., shown below, illustrates Minoan naval combat. A Mycenaean princess appears in the above photo. ConcludeHow do we know that both the Minoans and the Mycenaeans developed advanced cultures?
Minoan Civilization From about 3000 to about 1100 B.C., Bronze Age people called the Minoans lived on the island of Crete (kreet). Washed by the waters of the Aegean (ee JEE un) and Mediterranean Seas, Crete was an ideal place for the Minoans to develop a broad sea trade network. Mainland Greece and other Greek islands, as well as Egypt and Sicily, traded with the Minoans, who at one time dominated the Aegean. Archaeological finds show that the Minoans had developed a vibrant culture. Samples of Minoan writing have been found on thousands of clay tablets. A grand palace once stood in the ancient Crete city of Knossos (NAHS us). Palace ruins hint at rooms once covered with fanciful wall paintings. Various statues found within suggest that the Minoans worshiped goddesses. In the middle of the 1400s B.C., Knossos was destroyed, and Minoan civilization declined. People from main land Greece, the Mycenaeans, were the likely invaders.
The Mycenaeans After the Mycenaeans came into power, mainland and island cultures blended. However, the focus of these cultures moved to the mainland, where the city of Mycenae was located. At the height of their power, around 1400 B.C., the Mycenaeans controlled the Aegean Sea and parts of the Mediterranean. Like the Minoans, the Mycenaeans also used writing. Studies of the Mycenaeans' script show that they spoke an early form of modern Greek.
The Minoans had gained much of their power through trade. Although the Mycenaeans traded widely, they relied upon con quest to spread their power.
The Trojan War Greek myth tells the story of the Trojan War, a long struggle between Greece and the city of Troy on the west coast of Asia Minor, in present-day Turkey. It's possible that Mycenaean warriors inspired this legend.
According to the myths, the Greeks conquered Troy by using a trick—the Trojan Horse. Greek warriors hid inside a huge wooden horse. The horse was rolled to the city gates. Thinking it was a gift, the Trojans brought the horse into their city. During the night the Greek soldiers climbed out of the horse and let the rest of their army into Troy. The Greeks burned and looted Troy and then returned home.
Two epics, or long story-telling poems, about the Trojan War survive today. They are the Iliad (IL ee ud) and the Odyssey (AHD ih see). These epics may have been composed by many people, but they are credited to a poet called Homer. The poems were important to the Greeks. They taught them what their gods were like and how the noblest of their heroes behaved. Today, people think these poems came from stories memorized by several poets and passed down by word of mouth through many generations. Homer may have been the last and greatest in this line of poets who told about the Trojan War.
Most historians agree that the Trojan War did not happen exactly as Homer described it. Some believe that Homer's epics were inspired by a long battle between the Greeks and Trojans, but others argue that the epics were inspired by a series of minor battles. Troy was destroyed by a large fire in the mid- I 200s B.C., an act that some historians believe may have been committed by invaders from Greece.
Reading Check Contrast how Minoans and Mycenaeans spread their power.
Links to Science
Troy Discovered Over the years, people came to believe that Troy and the Trojan War were fiction. An amateur archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann (HYNrik SHLEE mahn), disagreed. In the late 1800s he used clues in the Iliad to pinpoint the location of Troy. When he and later archaeologists dug there, they found nine layers of ruins from ancient cities. One was possibly the Troy of the Iliad and the Odyssey.
about 1450 B.C. Fire destroys many towns and palaces on Crete.
Mid-1200s B.C. Troy is destroyed by fire.
about 3000 B.C. Minoan culture begins to flourish on the island of Crete.
about 1600 B.C. Mycenaean culture begins to flourish in Mycenae on mainland Greece.
about 1200 B.C. Mycenaean civilization collapses, possibly because of invasion.
1100s-750 B.C. Dark Ages in Greece
Two ancient peoples, the Minoans and the Mycenaens, made an important impact on Greek history.
Identify Where and when did Minoan culture begin to flourish? Analyze How did the location of Mycenaean culture differ from the location of the Minoan culture?
Pottery painting of a Greek cobbler
The Dark Ages of Greece
Not long after the end of the Trojan War, civilization in Greece collapsed. No one knows exactly why. Life went on, but poverty was everywhere. People no longer traded for food and other goods beyond Greece. They had to depend on what they could raise themselves. Some were forced to move to islands and to the western part of Asia Minor. They were so concerned with survival that they forgot the art of writing.
These years, from the early 1100s B.C. to about 750 B.C., have been called Greece's Dark Ages. Without writing, people had to depend on word of mouth to keep their traditions and history alive. Old traditions were remembered only in the myths that were told and retold.
Greece's Dark Ages were not completely bleak. During this time, families gradually began to resettle in places where they could grow crops and raise animals. Some of these family farms may have developed into villages. When they chose where to build their farms, people favored places near rocky, protected hills. Here they built structures to protect them from attack. The name for such a fortified hill was acropolis, meaning "high city."
After 800 B.C., people in Greece began writing again. It was during this period that Homer is believed to have recorded in writing his epic about the Trojan War.
Reading Check What happened during Greece's Dark Ages?
Temple of Artemis
The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus was the largest of all ancient Greek buildings. The temple was considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. In 1869 British archaeologist John Turtle Wood uncovered the remains of the temple. His discovery marked the first time an ancient Greek site had been excavated, or uncovered. Ancient Greeks worshipped Artemis as the goddess of wild animals and the hunt.
Ruins of the Temple
Fragments of marble are all that remain of the Temple of Artemis, located in present-day Turkey.
A triangular area called a pediment topped the two end walls of Greek temples. The Temple of Artemis had a pediment decorated with statues of female warriors called Amazons.
A giant statue of Artemis stood in an inner chamber of the temple.
A carving of the head of Medusa, a legendary monster with snakes for hair, decorated the front of the temple.
The columns stood more than 60 feet (18 meters) high. They numbered 127 in all.
How was the outside of the temple decorated?
What important changes led to the development of city-states in Greece?
Historians believe that sometime around 750 B.C., villages in a small area probably joined to form a city in the shadow of an acropolis. At that time, each city began to develop its own traditions and its own form of government and laws. Today, we call these tiny nations city-states. A city-state is not only a city, but also a separate independent state. Each city-state included a city and the villages and fields surrounding it. Hundreds of Greek city-states grew up, each more or less independent.
Aristocracy: Nobles Rule The earliest rulers of city-states were probably chieftains or kings who were military leaders. By the end of Greece's Dark Ages, most city-states were ruled by aristocrats, members of the rich and powerful families.
Aristocrats controlled most of the good land. They could afford horses, chariots, and the best weapons to make them selves stronger than others.
A New Type of Ruler As the Greeks sailed to foreign ports trading olive oil, marble, and other products, the city-states became richer. A middle class of merchants and artisans developed. They wanted some say in the government of their cities. These people could not afford to equip themselves with horses and chariots for war. However, they could afford armor, swords, and spears. With these weapons, large groups of soldiers could fight effectively on foot. Gradually, military strength in the cities shifted from aristocrats to merchants and artisans.
As a result of these changes, aristocratic governments were often overthrown and replaced by rulers called tyrants. A tyrant was a ruler who seized power by force. Tyrants were usually supported by the middle and working classes. Today, we think of tyrants as being cruel and violent. That was true of some Greek tyrants, but others ruled wisely and well.
Reading Check What kind of ruler often replaced aristocratic governments?
Some wealthy ancient Greeks owned chariots. AnalyzeHow did the aristocrats use their wealth to gain power?
Democracy in Greece
Eventually, the people of many city-states overthrew tyrants. Some of the cities adopted a form of government called democracy. In a democracy, citizens govern themselves. The city-state in which democracy was most fully expressed was Athens.
About 594 B.C., a wise Athenian leader called Solon (sou km) won the power to reform the laws. Solon was well known for his fairness. His laws reformed both the economy and the government of Athens. One of his first laws canceled all debts and freed citizens who had been enslaved for having debts. Another law allowed any male citizen of Athens aged 18 or older to have a say in debating important laws. These laws and others allowed Athens to become the leading democracy of the ancient world.
Not everyone living in ancient Athens benefited from democracy. Only about one in five Athenians was a citizen. To be a citizen, a man had to have an Athenian father and mother. Some of the people living in Athens
were enslaved. These people did not take part in democracy, nor did women or foreigners. Men who were citizens of Athens were free and self-governing.
Reading Check Why did some Athenians benefit more from democracy than others?
Tools of Democracy
Athenians used a machine to help select juries. A colored ball, top, dropped into an allotment machine, bottom, would fall at random next to the slots containing names of potential jurors. In the middle is a voting tablet used in Athens. Infer How do you think voting helped to strengthen Athenian democracy?
Section 1 Assessment
Review the key terms listed at the beginning of this section. Use each term in a sentence that explains its meaning.
Target Reading Skill
Place these events in the correct order: rise of the city-state, height of Minoan civilization, Greek Dark Ages.
Comprehension and Critical Thinking
(a) Recall Describe the geographic setting of ancient Greece.
(b) Predict What effect do you think the geography of Greece had on the kind of communities that developed there?
(a) Recall Describe early Greek civilization.
(b) Make Generalizations How were the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations similar?
(a) Identify What two kinds of government first developed in the Greek city-states after the Greek Dark Ages?
(b) Cause and Effect How did the rise of the middle class help shape government in ancient Greece?
Write a description of the conditions in Greece during the period between the 1100s B.C. and the 700s B.C. Why are these years referred to as Greece's Dark Ages?
Drama was an important part of Greek culture. Many Greek plays were tragedies. These were often based on myth and were solemn and poetic. The main character was usually a good but imperfect person faced with a difficult choice. His or her struggles usually ended in death. Comedies dealt with well-known people and problems of the day. Greek plays were performed by only a few actors who played several roles. Instead of makeup, actors wore masks to indicate the kind of characters they played. A chorus danced, chanted, and commented on the action.
The Theater Early Greek theaters were probably just open areas in cities or next to hillsides. The audience would watch and listen to a chorus singing about the adventures of a god or hero. Later, theaters became much more complex but remained outdoors and open to the sky, much like a stadium today. The theatron, or "viewing place," was where the spectators sat. The theater illustrated to the right could seat 17,000 spectators! Rows of seats curved halfway around a large semicircular area called an orchestra. Behind the orchestra was a building called the skene. The skene was usually decorated as a palace or temple, depending on what background was needed for a particular play. Actors could enter and exit through the doors of the skene.
Scene from Ancient Greek Play
These present-day actors are performing an ancient Greek play. They wear masks, just as their ancient counterparts did.
A Great Greek Playwright
Sophocles was one of three great writers of Greek tragedies. Only seven of his plays have survived.
Describe Suppose that you have attended a play at an ancient Greek theater. Write a letter to a friend describing your experience.
Compare How did the experience of attending a Greek theater differ from that of attending a play today?
Skills for Life
The teacher looked at Lisa and asked, "How did the people of Athens feel about drama?"
Lisa had read the assignment, but there wasn't anything in the book about how Athenians felt about drama. She did remember a few facts, though. "They had a lot of theaters and put on a lot of plays. They had play-writing contests. So I guess if they had so many plays, drama must have been pretty important to them."
Greek actor's mask
Like Lisa, when you draw a conclusion, you figure out something based on the information you have read or seen. Drawing conclusions is a skill that will help you benefit from your schoolwork and anything you read.
Learn the Skill
Use these steps to learn how to draw a conclusion:
1. Gather factual information about the topic. Find out as many factual details as you can by reading about your topic and then talking with people who know about the subject.
2. Combine the facts with other information you already know. Add the information you find in your research to what you already know.
3. Write a conclusion that follows logically. A conclusion is usually an educated guess.
Practice the Skill
Turn to page 171, and reread the first four paragraphs of text in the main column. Use this information to draw conclusions about the Trojan War.
1. The text tells you about the people who may have inspired the legend of the war. It tells where the war was fought, and it describes the heroes, how they fought, and how the story was handed down to us. Choose one of these topics. Write down facts about that topic.
2. Combine whatever facts you already know with the facts you have just read. You might know something about stories of other wars or about how people react to war stories.
3. Try to form an educated guess about your topic—something that is not specifically stated in the text. Your conclusion might answer a question starting with why. For instance: Why has the history of the Trojan War fascinated so many people through the centuries? Check your conclusion to make sure it is supported by the facts.
Apply the Skill
Turn to page 175, and reread the paragraphs titled Democracy in Greece. Use facts from that text plus facts you already know to draw conclusions about American democracy.
The Trojan horse inside the ancient city of Troy
Religion, Philosophy, and the Arts
Prepare to Read
In this section you will
1. Identify the religious beliefs of the ancient Greeks.
2. Explore how the Greeks searched for knowledge about the world.
3. Describe the relationship between the rise of democracy and the spread of new ideas in Greek city-states.
As you read, look for details about the religion, philosophy, and the arts of the ancient Greeks. Use a copy of the outline below to record your findings.
I. The Golden Age of Athens
A. Period from 479 to 431 B.C.
B. Sources of wealth
II. Ancient Greek religious beliefs
Target Reading Skill
Recognize Sequence Signal Words Signals point out relationships among ideas or events. This section discusses life in the Golden Age of Athens. To help keep the relationship between leaders, thinkers, and writers clear, look for words like first, at that time, and in [date] that signal the order in which these people were active.
• tribute (TRIB yoot) n. a payment made by a less powerful state or nation to a more powerful one
• immortal (ih MAWR tul) n. someone or some thing that lives forever
• oracle (AWH uh kul) n. in ancient Greece, a sacred site used to consult a god or goddess; any priest or priestess who spoke for the gods
• philosopher (fih LAHS uh fur) n. someone who used reason to under stand the world; in Greece the earliest philosophers used reason to explain natural events
• tragedy (TRAJ uh dee) n. a type of serious drama that ends in disaster for the main character
Pericles led the Athenians in peace and war. The helmet he wears reminds us that he was a skilled general.
The Athenian leader Pericles (PEHR uh ldeez) reminded the citizens that Athens was unique.
"Our constitution does not copy the laws of neighboring states. We are a pattern to other cities rather than imitators. Our constitution favors the many instead of the few. That is why it is called a democracy. If we look at the laws, we see they give equal justice to all. . . . Poverty does not bar the way, if a man is able to serve the state. . . . In short, I say that as a city we are the school for all Greece."
— The History of the Peloponnesian War
Pericles' words had special meaning: They were spoken during the first year of a war with Sparta, another Greek city-state. Eventually, it was conflict with Sparta that ended Athens' golden age of accomplishment.
The Golden Age of Athens
The years from 479 B.C. to 431 B.C. are called the Golden Age of Athens. During the Golden Age, Athens grew rich from trade and from silver mined by slaves in regions around the city. Tribute, or payments made to Athens by its allies, added to its wealth.
Athenians also made important achievements in the arts, philosophy, and literature, and democracy reached its high point. For about 30 years during the Golden Age, Pericles was the most powerful man in Athenian politics. This well-educated, intelligent man had the best interests of his city at heart. When he made speeches to the Athenians, he could move and persuade them.
Pericles was a member of an aristocratic family, but he supported democracy. Around 460 B.C., he became leader of a democratic group. He introduced reforms that strengthened democracy. The most important change was to have the city pay a salary to its officials. This meant that poor citizens could afford to hold public office.
One of the greatest accomplishments under the rule of Pericles was the construction of the Parthenon (PARR thuh nahn) between 447 and 432 B.C. The construction of the Parthenon was part of the general reconstruction of the Acropolis at Athens. Many of the buildings there had been destroyed by invaders from Persia about three decades earlier. The Parthenon was a temple built to honor the patron, or protector, of Athens, the goddess Athena.
Reading Check How did Pericles strengthen democracy?
An ancient Athenian silver coin bearing an owl, a symbol of the city
A vase depicting citizenship in Athens
Ancient Greek Religious Beliefs
Greeks worshiped a family of gods and goddesses called the Twelve Olympians (oh LIM pea unz). Each ruled different areas of human life and the natural world. The chart titled "A Family of Gods" gives you more information about some of the Olympians.
The Greeks took great care when honoring their gods. They wished to give thanks and to receive blessings. They also tried to avoid angering the gods.
Gods and Goddesses Wherever the Greeks lived, they built temples to the gods. Because the gods had human forms, they also had many human characteristics. The main difference between gods and humans was that the gods were immortal, which meant they lived forever. They also had awesome power.
Mythology tells us that the Greeks worshiped gods led by Zeus, the king of the gods. From Mt. Olympus, Greece's highest mountain, Zeus ruled the gods and humanity. In addition to worshiping gods, the Greeks also honored mythical heroes like Achilles (uh Kll. eez), whose great deeds are told in the Iliad.
Although the Greeks worshiped all their gods, each city-state honored one of the twelve gods, in part by building a temple to that god. Athena (uh THEE nuh), for example, was the patron goddess of Athens. The Greeks also honored their gods by holding festivals and by sacrificing animals and offering food to the gods. To honor Zeus, the city-states came together every four years for an Olympian festival and games. Modern Olympic Games are based on this tradition.
Poseidon, Athena, Apollo, and Artemis are shown in this relief.
The Tholos Temple at the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia was once the gateway to Delphi. In the vase painting, Aegeus, a legendary Athenian king, consults a priestess at Apollo's oracle in Delphi. ConcludeWhy did the ancient Greeks visit oracles?
The Oracles In ancient cultures, people often looked to their gods for signs or advice. They wanted the gods to show them how to live or how to behave. The Greeks visited oracles, sacred sites where it was believed the gods spoke. At these shrines, the people would ask the gods to give them advice or to reveal the future. Sometimes the advice came through dreams. Often a response would come in the form of a riddle, delivered by priests or priestesses thought to be capable of hearing the voice of the gods. Oracles of various gods were located throughout Greece. Heads of state often sought advice on governing and wars from the oracle of the god Apollo at Delphi (DEL fy), an ancient town in central Greece. Because such advice was taken very seriously, the oracles had a great impact on Greek history.
Reading Check How did the Greeks honor their gods?
The Greeks believed the world was ruled by gods and goddesses. Ten of them are listed in the table below. Identify Who was considereded to be the leader of all gods and goddesses? Analyze Why do you think this chart is titled "A Family of Gods?"
Poseidon (poh SY dun) God of earthquakes and the ocean
Demeter (dih MEE tur) Goddess of fertility
The Search for Knowledge
Most Greeks believed that their gods were responsible for all natural events. But a few thinkers disagreed. About 150 years before the Golden Age of Athens, some people thought about new ways to understand the world.
Recognize Sequence and Signal Words
What words signal that Democritus lived in the same century as Pericles?
Greek Science and Philosophy You learned earlier about philosophy, which is a system of beliefs or values. Philosophers believed people could use the powers of the mind and reason to understand natural events. One of the first philosophers, Thales (THAY leez), believed that water was the basic material of the world. Everything was made from it. Over the years, various philosophers had other ideas about the universe. They did not do experiments. But they were careful observers and good thinkers. Democritus (dih MAHK ruh tus), who lived in the 400s B.C., thought that everything was made of tiny particles he called atoms. More than 2,000 years later, modern science showed that he had been correct.
Socrates During the Golden Age and later, several important philosophers taught in Athens. One was a man called Socrates (SARK ruh teez). People in the marketplace of Athens could not help but notice this sturdy, round-faced man. He was there at all hours of the day, eagerly discussing wisdom and goodness.
Socrates wanted people to consider the true meaning of qualities such as justice and courage. To do this, he asked questions that made others think about their beliefs. Some times they became angry because Socrates often showed them that they didn't know what they were talking about. "Know thyself" was his most important lesson.
Death of Socrates
Socrates urged his students to question and critically examine all around them. For "corrupting the youth" in this way, an Athenian jury sentenced him to death. ConcludeWhy do you think some people believed Socrates corrupted the youth of Athens?
In 399 B.C., Socrates was brought to trial. The authorities accused him of dishonoring the gods and misleading young people. He was sentenced to death by forced suicide, a common sentence in Athens at the time. Socrates drank a cup of hemlock, a poison, and died.
Plato and Aristotle Much of what is known about Socrates comes from the writings of Plato (PLAY toh), one of his students. Socrates' death caused Plato to mistrust democracy. In The Republic, Plato wrote that society should be made up of three groups: workers, soldiers, and philosopher-rulers. Plato founded a school in Athens called the Academy, where he taught a student named Aristotle (AR uh staht ul). Aristotle believed that reason should guide the pursuit of knowledge. He later founded his own school, the Lyceum.
Reading Check How did Socrates challenge the values of the people of Athens?
Links to Math
The Golden Rectangle
Greek architects based the design of their buildings on a figure called the Golden Rectangle. A Golden Rectangle is one with the long sides about one and two-thirds times the length of the short sides. The Greeks thought Golden Rectangles made buildings more pleasing to look at. Modern architects have also used the Golden Rectangle.
Once the religious center of Athens, the Acropolis now serves as a monument to Greek architecture.
1. The Propylaia, the entrance to the Acropolis, was completed in 432 B.C.
2. The Odeion (theater) of Herodes Atticus was built in A.D. 161.
3. The Erechtheion, named after a legendary king of Athens, was completed in 406 B.C.
4. Completed in 438 B.C., the Parthenon served as a temple to Athena, the patron goddess of Athens.
Predict Why do you think the Athenians built the Acropolis?
Visual and Dramatic Arts
The ancient Greeks devoted great attention to their arts. The Greeks used visual arts, such as architecture and sculpture, to glorify and honor their gods. The ancient Greeks are also known as the first playwrights, people who write dramas.
The Parthenon Today, the Athenian leader Pericles is probably best known for making Athens a beautiful city. The Acropolis, the religious center of Athens, had been destroyed in 480 B.C., during one of the city's many wars. Pericles decided to rebuild the Acropolis and create new buildings to glorify the city.
The builders of the new Acropolis brought Greek architecture to its highest point. Their most magnificent work was the Parthenon, a temple to the goddess Athena. The temple was made of fine marble. Rows of columns surrounded it on all four sides. Within the columns was a room that held the statue of Athena, made of wood, ivory, and gold. The statue rose 40 feet (12 m), as high as a four-story building.
The great statue of Athena disappeared long ago. However, much of the sculpture on the inside and outside of the temple still exists. Many of the scenes that decorate the Parthenon have three important characteristics. First, they are full of action. Second, the artist carefully arranged the figures to show balance and order. Third, the sculptures are lifelike and accurate. However, they are ideal, or perfect, views of humans and animals. These characteristics reflect the goal of Greek art. This goal was to present images of perfection in a balanced and orderly way.
Dramas In addition to their achievements in architecture and sculpture, Athenians were the first people known to write dramas. Among the city's greatest achievements were the plays written and produced in the 400s B.C., during the Golden Age.
Some of the most famous Greek plays were tragedies. A tragedy is a serious story that usually ends in disaster for the main character. Often, tragedies told of fictional humans who were destroyed when forced to make impossible choices. A Greek tragedy consisted of several scenes that featured the characters of the story. Between the scenes, a chorus chanted or sang poems. In most plays, the author used the chorus to give background information, comment on the events, or praise the gods.
Comedies During the 400s B.C. in Athens, poets wrote comedies that made fun of well-known citizens and politicians and also made jokes about the customs of the day. Because of the freedom in Athens, people accepted the humor and jokes.
Reading Check What was the role of the chorus in Greek drama?
Greek actors performed in out door theaters, such as the one shown above at Epidauros. By using different masks, such as the one at top, actors could play a variety of roles.
Aristides, a general at the Battle of Marathon, writes his name for someone who wants him banished from Athens. Inset photo is of a voting tablet used in Aristides' trial.
Many City-States, One People
The citizens of Greek city-states such as Athens had strong patriotic feelings and valued their freedoms. For these reasons, they took a very active role in their government. They were able to develop new ideas in philosophy, religion, government, and the arts in part because of the value they placed on free thinking. The spread of education and growing wealth through trade with Egypt, Sicily, and other places gave the Greeks the freedom to explore new ideas.
Though Athens was the most important city-state, it was not the only one in Greece at this time. City-states in Greece competed against one another, but their citizens spoke the same language and had many of the same customs. They thought of themselves as part of the same people, calling themselves Hellenes.
One example of the common culture of the city-states was the Olympic Games, which were held every four years throughout ancient Greece. The first recorded Olympic Games were held in 776 B.C. Other Olympic Games were held fairly regularly over the next thousand years. Athletes from city-states around Greece competed for prizes in competitions in running, horse racing, boxing, and many other events.
Reading Check What role did education and growing wealth play in the development of philosophy and the arts in ancient Greece?
Section 2 Assessment
Review the key terms listed at the beginning of this section. Use each term in a sentence that explains its meaning.
Target Reading Skill
Review the section "The Search for Knowledge"on pages 184-185. Find the words that signal time related to the lives of the philosophers.
Comprehension and Critical Thinking
(a) Define What was the Golden Age of Athens?
(b) Draw Conclusions Why do you think Pericles called Athens "the school of all Greece"?
(a) Explain How did the Greeks attempt to understand the world? (b) Explore Details What did Socrates mean when he said, "Know thyself"?
(a) Explain What characteristics did people in city-states through out Greece share?
(b) Infer How did the growth of wealth through trade contribute to the spread of new ideas in Greece?
Write a brief essay describing the achievements of Athenians during the Golden Age.
Chapter 6 Review and Assessment
Section 1: Early Greek Civilization
• The geography of Greece encouraged the growth of independent communities that shared a common culture.
• The dominance of the Minoans and then of the Mycenaeans was followed by a collapse of these Greek civilizations.
• Greeks lost the art of writing and other advancements during Greece's Dark Ages, and people began living in villages.
• Greece's traditionally independent cities provided the foundation for government rule by the people.
Section 2: Religion, Philosophy and the Arts
• During the 400s B.C., Athens enjoyed a golden age of achievement in philosophy and the arts.
• Greeks worshiped many different gods and goddesses and sought their advice at oracles.
• Greek philosophers introduced new ways to think about the world.
• Visual arts, such as architecture and sculpture, and literary arts, such as drama, flourished during the Golden Age of Athens.
• Although city-states in Greece competed against one another, their citizens shared a common culture.
Minoan naval battle
The Golden Age of Athens
Write a definition for each of the key terms listed below.
4. city-state 5. aristocrat
Comprehension and Critical Thinking
(a) Identify Who were the Minoans and the Mycenaeans?
(b) Generalize Describe the period in Greek history that followed the dominance of the Minoans and the Mycenaeans.
(c) Infer How did the story of the Trojan War help the ancient Greeks understand their history?
(a) Recall How did city-states arise in ancient Greece?
(b) Explain Why did tyrants replace aristocrats as rulers of the city-states?
(c) Identify Effects How did rule by tyrants affect the city-states?
(a) List Identify two characteristics that describe Greek religion.
(b) Describe What was the importance of the oracles to the Greeks?
(c) Apply Information According to Greek philosophers, how could people understand natural events?
(a) Generalize What arts were important in ancient Greece?
(b) Compare Describe the two types of dramas developed by ancient Greeks.
(c) Draw Conclusions How did the comedies affect the free exchange of ideas in ancient Greece?
Drawing Conclusions In the Skills for Life Activity, you learned how to draw conclusions from information that is not specifically stated in the text.
Review the steps you follow to apply this skill. Reread the passage in Section 2 titled Socrates. Use what you have read and your own observations of human nature to draw conclusions about Socrates and the impact of his ideas on future civilizations.
Writing Activity Language Arts
Choose at least five terms from the Key Terms list on the previous page. Write a brief poem, essay, or dialogue about ancient Greece that uses the terms you have chosen.
MAPMASTER Skills Activity
Place Location For each place listed below, write the letter from the map that shows its location.
Standardized Test Prep
Some questions on standardized tests ask you to analyze an outline. Study the outline below. Then follow the tips to answer the sample question.
TIP Use key words in the text to help you.
I Solon's Reforms
A Outlawed slavery based on debt
B Opened high offices to more citizens
D Gave the assembly more power
II Limited Rights
A Allowed only male citizens to participate
B Restricted citizenship
C Left many slaves without rights
TIP Think about how the text is organized. Use that information to help you answer the question.
Pick the letter that best answers the question.
Which of the following belongs in I-C?
A Later reforms under another ruler
B Allowed male citizens to debate important laws
C Life in Athens
D Did not allow women to share in public life
Think It Through This outline is organized by major topics and subtopics. The question asks you to find a subtopic under Solon's Reforms. Answer C
is too general; it could be the subject of an entire outline. Answer A is also general; it could be the subject of another topic in this outline. Answer D does not fit under Solon's Reforms. The key word reforms means "changes" or "improvements." Therefore, answer B is correct.
Use the tips above and other tips in this book to help you answer the following questions.
1. Why did the ancient Greeks think of their communities as separate countries?
A A different language was spoken in each community.
B Each community's people came from a different country.
C Each community practiced a different religion.
D Geographical features cut communities off from one another.
2. Philosophers believed that they could understand the world around them by
A using the powers of reason.
B building shrines to the gods.
C seeking answers at the oracle at Delphi.
D paying tribute to their allies.
Study the outline below, and then answer the following question.
I Greek Beginnings
A Minoan Civilization
1. Lived on the island of Crete
B Mycenaean Civilization
3. Which answer belongs in the space numbered 2 in the outline above?
A Spoke an early form of modern Greek
B Spread their power through conquest
C Fought in the Trojan War
D Dominated the Aegean Sea through trade
Have you ever been persuaded to go somewhere, do something, or buy something because someone made it sound fun or exciting? Messages like these can sometimes lead people in the wrong direction.
The Sirens (SY runz) in this myth are creatures who use their songs to lead sailors to destruction. The hero, Ulysses (yoo LIS eez), is warned about the Sirens as he tries to sail home to Greece after the Trojan War.
Ulysses is the name the Roman people gave to the Greek hero Odysseus (oh DIS ee us). The tale of Ulysses and the Sirens comes from a series of tales told in Homer's Odyssey. The clever Ulysses had expected an easy journey home. Instead, he was delayed by adventures that tested his body and spirit.
Like Homer himself and other storytellers, Bernard Evslin has retold the ancient story of the Sirens in his own words. The events are the same as those in the Odyssey myth. But the author has added many details to make the story his own.
Sculpture of a Siren
In this selection you will
1. Learn about the Greek ideas of leadership and heroism.
2. Think about the roles temptation and danger play in this story and in people's lives.
Thrinacia (thrih NAY shee uh) n. mythological island that might have been Sicily
strait (strayt) n. narrow water passage between two pieces of land islet (EYE lit) it small island
caulk (kawk) v. to stop up and make tight
In the first light of morning Ulysses awoke and called his crew about him.
"Men," he said. "Listen well, for your lives today hang upon what I am about to tell you. That large island to the west is Thrinacia, where we must make a landfall, for our provisions run low. But to get to the island we must pass through a narrow strait. And at the head of this strait is a rocky islet where dwell two sisters called Sirens, whose voices you must not hear. Now I shall guard you against their singing, which would lure you to ship wreck, but first you must bind me to the mast. Tie me tightly, as though I were a dangerous captive. And no matter how I struggle, no matter what signals I make to you, do not release me, lest I follow their voices to destruction, taking you with me."
Thereupon Ulysses took a large lump of the beeswax that was used by the sail mender to slick his heavy thread and kneaded it in his powerful hands until it became soft. Then he went to each man of the crew and plugged his ears with soft wax; he caulked their ears so tightly that they could hear nothing but the thin pulsing of their own blood.
Then he stood himself against the mast, and the men bound him about with rawhide, winding it tightly around his body, lashing him to the thick mast.
They had lowered the sail because ships cannot sail through a narrow strait unless there is a following wind, and now each man of the crew took his place at the great oars. The polished blades whipped the sea into a froth of white water and the ship nosed toward the strait.
Ulysses had left his own ears unplugged because he had to remain in command of the ship and had need of his hearing. Every sound means something upon the sea. But when they drew near the rocky islet and he heard the first faint strains of the Sirens' singing, then he wished he, too, had stopped his own ears with wax. All his strength suddenly surged toward the sound of those magical voices. The very hair of his head seemed to be tugging at his scalp, trying to fly away. His eyeballs started out of his head.
For in those voices were the sounds that men love:
Happy sounds like birds railing, sleet hailing, milk pailing....
Sad sounds like rain leaking, trees creaking, wind seeking....
Autumn sounds like leaves tapping, fire snapping, river lapping....
Quiet sounds like snow flaking, spider waking, heart breaking....
strain (strayn) n. tune
surge (surj) v. to rise or swell suddenly
rail (rayl) v. to cry, complain
lap (lap) v. to splash in little waves
Reading Check What does Ulysses do to keep his men from hearing the voices of the Sirens?
A Greek jar showing Ulysses and his men as they encounter the Sirens
purl (purl) v. to make a soft murmuring sound like a flowing stream
spume (spyoom) n. foam
hawser (HAW zur) n. a large rope
About the Selection
Homer's tale of Ulysses and the Sirens is only a few dozen verses long. This version of the tale, "The Sirens," as well as many other tales from Homer's Odyssey, can be found in The Adventures of Ulysses, by Bernard Evslin. The book was published in 1969.
It seemed to him then that the sun was burning him to a cinder as he stood. And the voices of the Sirens purled in a cool crystal pool upon their rock past the blue-hot flatness of the sea and its lacings of white-hot spume. It seemed to him he could actually see their voices deepening into a silvery, cool pool and must plunge into that pool or die a flaming death.
He was filled with such a fury of desire that he swelled his mighty muscles, burst the rawhide bonds like thread, and dashed for the rail.
But he had warned two of his strongest men—Perimedes (pehr ih MEE deez) and Eurylochus (yoo RIHL uh kus)—to guard him close. They seized him before he could plunge into the water. He swept them aside as if they had been children. But they had held him long enough to give the crew time to swarm about him. He was overpowered—crushed by their numbers—and dragged back to the mast. This time he was bound with the mighty hawser that held the anchor.
The men returned to their rowing seats, unable to hear the voices because of the wax corking their ears. The ship swung about and headed for the strait again.
Louder now, and clearer, the tormenting voices came to Ulysses. Again he was aflame with a fury of desire. But try as he might he could not break the thick anchor line. He strained against it until he bled, but the line held.
The men bent to their oars and rowed more swiftly, for they saw the mast bending like a tall tree in a heavy wind, and they feared that Ulysses, in his fury, might snap it off short and dive, mast and all, into the water to get at the Sirens.
Now they were passing the rock, and Ulysses could see the singers. There were two of them. They sat on a heap of white bones—the bones of shipwrecked sailors— and sang more beautifully than senses could bear. But their appearance did not match their voices, for they were shaped like birds, huge birds, larger than eagles.
The Eastern coast of Sicily, Italy
They had feathers instead of hair, and their hands and feet were claws. But their faces were the faces of young girls.
When Ulysses saw them he was able to forget the sweetness of their voices because their look was so fearsome. He closed his eyes against the terrible sight of these bird-women perched on their heap of bones. But when he closed his eyes he could not see their ugliness, then their voices maddened him once again, and he felt himself straining against the bloody ropes. He forced himself to open his eyes and look upon the monsters, so that the terror of their bodies would blot the beauty of their voices.
But the men, who could only see, not hear the Sirens, were so appalled by their aspect that they swept their oars faster and faster, and the black ship scuttled past the rock. The Sirens' voices sounded fainter and fainter and finally died away.
When Perimedes and Eurylochus saw their captain's face lose its madness, they unbound him, and he signaled to the men to unstop their ears. For now he heard the whistling gurgle of a whirlpool, and he knew that they were approaching the narrowest part of the strait, and must pass between Scylla and Charybdis.
appall (uh PAWL) V. horrify
aspect (AS pekt) n. the way some thing looks
Scylla (SIL uh) n. a monster who ate sailors passing through the Straits of Messina, between Italy and Sicily Charybdis (kuh RIB dis) n. a monster in the form of a deadly whirlpool near Scylla
Reading Check What are the Sirens doing on their rocky islet?
Review and Assessment
Thinking About the Selection
(a) Identify What are the Sirens?
(b) Apply Information Why do you think temptation
is sometimes described as a "siren song"?
(a) Recall What fears does Ulysses have about the voyage?
(b) Infer Give two reasons Ulysses leaves his own ears unplugged during the voyage.
(c) Draw Conclusions Do you think Ulysses is a good leader? Explain why or why not.
Retell the Story in a Different Form "The Sirens" is in the form of a short story. Use another form of writing to retell it. You might choose to make it into a poem. You could retell it as a movie script with dialog and scene descriptions. Or, you might write an instruction manual for sailors to follow when they have to travel near the Sirens.
About the Author
Homer Although "The Sirens" is retold here by Bernard Evslin, the tale was made famous by Homer. Homer was a Greek poet who lived around 700 B.C. Scholars believe that he wrote the epic poems the Odyssey and the Iliad for the educated upper class of ancient Greek society.