Unit three new Ideas and New Empires "The armor upon their bodies flashed in the sun."

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New Ideas and New Empires

"The armor upon their bodies flashed in the sun."

From the Iliad, by Homer See page 200.

Why Does It Matter?

A poet in ancient Greece wrote these words to describe a great battle. Today people around the world are familiar with Homer's words as well as many other achievements of his time. People of the world today owe much to the early peoples of Greece, Rome, Arabia, and the Americas. Their ideas about government, law, beauty, education, science, and religion continue to influence us today. Such accomplishments are only a few of the reasons for calling certain periods "Classic."



You poke your head into the doorway of a ruined tomb, and you wonder about the people who painted the walls more than 2,000 years ago. You're not alone. Archaeologists also wonder about the Etruscans, who lived in Italy about the same time that the ancient Greeks were flourishing nearby. The Etruscans built great cities and elaborate tombs. But unlike the Greeks, they left few written records. And the records they did leave—well, no one can read them now, for no one knows the language. So archaeologists hunt through the ruins, looking for other clues about the mystery people of the ancient world.


List some ways you might find out about a culture even if you couldn't read its language.



Ancient Greece


In this chapter you will read about a civilization that developed in the rocky landscape by the Aegean Sea more than 3,000 years ago. Following the time line, you see how the ancient Greeks built cities with unique ways of life. In time, interaction and conflict among the cities and peoples of the region led to a period of tremendous creativity. Greek civilization eventually spread to areas around the Mediterranean Sea.



Geography of Ancient Greece

Focus Activity


What effects did the sea have on life in ancient Greece?


• peninsula

• harbor


• Mediterranean Sea

• Crete

• Rhodes

• Attica

• Peloponnesus

• Phoenicia

Read Aloud

"The good Odysseus (oh DINS ee us) gladly spread his sail: seated, he steered.... Seventeen days he sailed across the sea; on the eighteenth he saw that he'd drawn close to shadowed peaks: he now was near the coast of [an] island; in the mist that land took on the likeness of a shield."

About 2,700 years ago Greeks first began listening to the exciting tales, like the one above, of a poet named Homer. Homer's stories about Odysseus helped the ancient Greeks imagine a distant age much different from their own. They also expressed the strong connection the people of ancient Greece felt with the sea.


In 1500 B.C. the Shang dynasty ruled much of the land along the Huang River. In Egypt the pharaohs of the New Kingdom were building an empire along the southeastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Along the Mediterranean's northeastern shores, meanwhile, another civilization was growing. It was that of ancient Greece, a civilization that had been developing for more than 1,000 years.

No great river carrying thick layers of silt flowed through this land. Rather than being located in a fertile river valley, ancient Greek civilization was rooted in a rocky landscape surrounded by the sea.



The land of ancient Greece was made up of a part of the southern European mainland along with over 400 islands. This is the same area that makes up Greece today. As you can see on the map, the biggest of the islands is Crete. Crete lies about one day's sail south of the Greek mainland. East of Crete lies Rhodes, an island near what is today Turkey. Rhodes provides an ideal rest stop for ships sailing between Greece and western Asia.

Mountains and hills cover about nine out of every ten acres in Greece. The most mountainous region, however, is located in western Greece. There, travel by land is difficult, and little farmable land exists. Herds of sheep and goats live on wild plants that grow on the rugged hillsides.

Land Along the Coast

Larger plains suitable for farming lie in eastern Greece, near the coast. A few of these plains are on Attica, a wedge-shaped peninsula that juts into the Mediterranean Sea. A peninsula is an area of land nearly surrounded by water. Attica also contains excellent natural harbors for ships. A harbor is a sheltered place along a coast.

A large peninsula called the Peloponnesus (pel uh puh NEE sus) lies to the southwest of Attica. Shaped like a giant hand reaching toward Crete, the Peloponnesus is a mountainous region ringed by a thin band of fertile land. Like the rest of Greece, the Peloponnesus contains several rivers. Many of the region's rivers, however, dry up in the summertime, unlike rivers in Egypt or Mesopotamia.


For its size, the land of ancient Greece had a very long coastline. Much of the land is also mountainous. This geography had a great impact on life in the region.

1. What method of transportation do you suppose was quickest in ancient Greece?

2. About how long is the island of Crete? Use the map scale to find this answer.

3. What body of water lies east of Attica?

4. In which direction would you travel to get from Crete to Rhodes?


Like their ancestors in ancient times, many farmers in Greece today herd sheep (left) and raise olives (above).


Greece is not as fertile as the valleys of the Indus or Huang rivers. However, ancient Greeks figured out how to make a living from the few fertile valleys as well as from the sea.

Agriculture in Ancient Greece

Besides having little fertile land, Greece has a climate that presents special challenges for farmers. Summers are hot and dry. Winters can be wet and fiercely windy. Fields can become parched in the summer but soaked with rain in the winter.

Ancient Greek farmers raised crops and animals that were well suited to this environment. They grew some wheat and barley to make bread, which was important to the Greek diet. Olives and grapes became Greece's other major crops. Both grew well in rocky and hilly areas. Shrubs on Greece's many hills and mountains provided fool for herds of sheep, goats, and cattle.

Timing was important to successful farming in Greece. The Greek poet Hesiod (HEE see ud), who wrote during the 700s B.C., urged farmers:

Take careful note of the time when you hear the voice of the crane uttering high in the clouds her yearly trumpeting cry [in the fall]. She announces the signal for plowing and points to the time of winter and rain.

If farmers waited until winter to plow their land, Hesiod warned, they would "gather only a small little handful" of grain in the spring.

Crossing the Seas

Because farmers could not produce huge grain surpluses, and because travel on the hilly land was difficult, sailing became an important part of life in Greece. Sailors traveled as far as


ancient Egypt to trade. Greek merchants competed with traders from Phoenicia (fuh NEE shuh), in what is today Lebanon. Phoenician sailors were as skilled as the Greeks and traveled to ports all across the Mediterranean Sea.

For many years olive oil was one of the most prized of Greek exports. People loved the flavor it gave food as well as its usefulness as lamp fuel and body lotion. The sale of olive oil made it possible for Greeks to buy much-needed grain for their markets at home.


In the lessons to come, you will read the story of Greek civilization. Beginning around 800 B.C., great changes would take place on these rocky islands and peninsulas. Some things, however, would never change. Farming and sailing would always be lifelines for the people of ancient Greece.

The ancient Greeks sailed in ships with oars, as shown on this ancient pottery bowl (above) and with this present-day replica (right).

Reviewing Facts and Ideas


• Unlike the Nile or Huang River valleys, Greece has land that is hilly and rocky, making farming difficult in most areas.

• Ancient Greeks used the Mediterranean Sea as a "highway" to trade for goods they could not produce themselves.

• Olive oil—a product of a crop that grows well in Greece's rocky soil—became valuable to trade for grain.


1. Why was farming a challenge in Greece? Why was timing important?

2. Contrast the geography of Greece with that of an ancient river valley civilization such as Mesopotamia or the Indus Valley.

3. FOCUS How did ancient Greeks use the sea to spread their products and culture to other regions?

4. THINKING SKILL What effects did geography have on the ways ancient Greeks met their needs'

5. GEOGRAPHY Draw a map of the Mediterranean Sea region. Draw in arrows to show where ancient Greeks sailed.



The Rise of Greek Cities

Focus Activity


What was life like in the ancient Greek cities of Sparta and Athens?


• polis

• acropolis

• agora

• citizen

• oligarchy

• monarchy

• democracy

• colony


• Homer


• Athens

• Sparta

• Mount Olympus

Read Aloud

"Shared blood, shared language, shared religion, and shared customs." Long ago a Greek historian named Herodotus (hih RAHD uh tus) used these words to describe what it meant to be Greek. Greeks were very proud of what they shared. However, they prized just as highly those things that made them different from one another. Those differences began in the many city-states that dotted the mainland and islands of ancient Greece.


By 1100 B.C. both Egypt's New Kingdom empire and China's Shang dynasty had lost their power. Historians know little about how people in Greece lived during this period or during the next 400 years. Very few artifacts from Greece at this time have been found. However, many artifacts dating from about 700 B.C. onward have been found. They show that life had changed greatly since the earliest days of ancient Greece. In many cities, groups of powerful men worked together to make decisions for their communities. Each community usually revolved around one city. The Greek word for this kind of city-state was polis (POH lihs).



Most city-states were laid out according to a similar plan. Most were built around an acropolis (uh KROP uh lihs). An acropolis was a large hill where city residents could seek shelter and safety in times of war. In a nearby clearing farmers would gather to trade with each other and with craftworkers. The clearing, called an agora (AG ur uh), often served both as a marketplace and as a meeting place.

Developing Governments

Although city-states often looked similar, each one had a different type of government. In each type, however, leaders had to be citizens of their polis. Today a citizen is a person who has certain rights and responsibilities in his or her country or community. In ancient Greece, though, only men could be citizens. Women and slaves were not allowed to be citizens and had few rights. Slaves, or helots (HEL uts), in ancient Greece were usually conquered neighbors. Slavery was common throughout ancient Greece.

Being a citizen did not automatically give men a role in their government. In many city-states a small group of the richest, most powerful citizens controlled decision making. This type of government is called an oligarchy (OL ih gahr kee). By 600 B.C. the Greek city-state of Athens was governed by an oligarchy. One Athenian said:

Oligarchy is a government resting on the value of property, in which the rich have power and the poor have none.

Before the oligarchy Athens had another form of government. Like other Greek city-states, it was ruled by one ruler, or king. This type of government is called a monarchy. In fact the word monarchy comes from two Greek words meaning "rule by one."

The Acropolis in Athens is the best known of the many acropolises built in Greece.



Of Greece's many city-states, historians know most about Athens and Sparta. Many documents and artifacts from those cities have been preserved. Like all Greek city-states, they had much in common. The way people lived in the two powerful city-states from day to day, however, differed a great deal.


In 700 B.C. Sparta covered much of the southern Peloponnesus and was Greece's largest city-state. Dozens of villages belonged to this polis. Sparta's central "city" was a cluster of villages that lay almost 30 miles from the Mediterranean Sea. A low mountain nearby formed Sparta's acropolis. Near its base lay the polis agora, or meeting place. Here Sparta's leaders made the decisions that shaped life in this polis.

As in other city-states, farmers gathered at Sparta's agora to do business. Most of Sparta's farm workers, however, were slaves. Sparta had many more slaves than other city-states. At some times, there were as many as seven slaves for every one Spartan.

The Spartan Military

Around 600 B.C. Sparta's slaves revolted. The Spartans, however, managed to overpower their slaves. Polis leaders then set out to make Sparta the strongest military power in Greece. They wanted to make sure that neither slaves nor another polis could ever gain control of Sparta.

Sparta's people dedicated much of their lives to making their polis strong. Spartan children, too, were expected to do their part for the polis. At about age seven, boys and girls began training. Although they spent some time learning to read and write, boys spent even more time training to be soldiers. Girls practiced running, throwing spears called javelins, and playing ball games. In Sparta, girls trained not to become soldiers but rather to be strong mothers of strong children.


Life for girls and boys was very different in the city of Athens. Athens lay on the peninsula of Attica, northeast of Sparta. Athenian girls did not practice sports. Rather, they were told to "see


little, hear little, and ask no more questions than are absolutely necessary." Girls stayed at home to help their mothers. They carried out such duties as weaving cloth from sheep's wool. Girls who lived on farms helped in the fields at harvesttime.

Many Athenian boys worked each day with their fathers in the fields, or in pottery or stoneworking shops. If their parents could afford to send them to school, boys studied reading and writing. After classes they would practice wrestling or boxing at a local gymnasium before returning home.

Government in Athens

Life in Athens was different from that in Sparta. Athenians did not spend as much time and energy building a strong army. Yet Athens had challenges of its own.

Remember, Athens' government around 600 B.C. was an oligarchy. Most of Athens' early leaders belonged to noble families that were both rich and powerful. In time the poorer citizens of Athens demanded to have more say in how their government was run. The nobles were forced to share some of their power with other citizens.

Power to the People

The developing new government featured large meetings where all the citizens could take part in making decisions for the polis. This form of government is today called a democracy. The word democracy combines two Greek words meaning "rule by the people." It means that citizens vote to make government decisions.

The beginnings, of democracy marked an important time in world history. Some historians, in fact, trace our own ideas of democracy back to ancient Greece. In the next lesson you will read about further developments in Greece's new democratic system.

Spartan women trained vigorously (right) while women in Athens led more gentle lives (below).



The citizens of Athens did not meet to discuss government policies every day. Like the people of the other Greek cities, Athenians reserved a few days of every month for religious celebrations to honor gods and goddesses.

Ancient Greeks believed that many gods and goddesses ruled the world. The most powerful were said to live on Mount Olympus. Mount Olympus is a mountain in northern Greece.

Special Festivals

Each polis honored at least one god or goddess as its special protector and provider. In Athens people worshiped Athena, the goddess of wisdom. Every summer they held a huge festival in her honor. After singing and dancing all night, Athenians walked to the top of the city's acropolis. There, as the sun rose in the sky, priests killed cattle in honor of Athena.

People from all over Greece also gathered at temples to worship Zeus (ZOOS), the most powerful god in the ancient Greek religion. The city-states also came together to compete in athletic competitions. You will read more about the most well known of these games, the Olympics, in this chapter's Legacy on pages 202-203. At the Olympic Games crowds cheered athletes from many city-states.

A Greek Poet

People in all city-states loved to hear the stories of the poet Homer. Many of these stories described Greece's past. Homer is thought to have lived sometime between 800 and 700 B.C. His most famous epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, tell stories of war and adventure. The Iliad describes what happened when a prince from Troy, an ancient city in what is today Turkey, kidnapped Helen, a Greek queen. The poem also describes how the gods created Greek cities. How does Homer describe the Greek army?



Excerpt from the Iliad, by Homer, c. 700 B.C.

As when, at the edge of the sounding sea, wave after wave comes up under the driving of the West Wind—out on the deep it lifts its crest and is broken on the land with a noise like thunder, and far over the headlands shoots its salt foam—so did the Greek lines then go into battle. Each chief gave his men their orders, but the rest said not a word. You would not have thought that all that great army had a voice among them, in such silence they all went through fear of their chiefs. And as they moved, the armor upon their bodies flashed in the sun.


Beyond Greece

Not long after the Greek festivals and Olympics were begun, athletes from faraway Greek colonies came to participate. The colonies were made up of groups of people who lived apart from, but kept ties with, Greece. Colonies were founded by Greeks in the 700s B.C. Many colonies became important trading partners because they grew grains that were much in demand in Greece. Greek ships also traveled south to Egypt's Nile Delta.

By 500 B.C. Greek city-states ringed the Mediterranean "like frogs around a pond," as a teacher named Plato put it. Some of Greece's eastern territories, however, were being taken over by a growing empire that was already vastly larger than Greece. At its height this empire of Persia—based in what is today Iran—was bigger than any that had yet existed in the world. It included all lands from Egypt and the western edge of the Mediterranean Sea to the Indus Valley.

Ancient Greeks worshiped Apollo, their god of the sun.


The city-states of ancient Greece had their differences and valued their independence. Many of the Greek cities even had different types of government. One of these cities, Athens, began to develop a new kind of government called democracy. The idea of democracy is important in the United States.

Despite their differences, the cities of ancient Greece shared many cultural ties. In 499 B.C. a Greek colony on the edge of what is today Turkey wanted to break free from Persian control. People of the colony asked the Greek city-states for help. Athens, Sparta, and other city-states joined together to fight Persia. The war that followed would change Greece forever.

Reviewing Facts and Ideas


• Life in most of the Greek city-states revolved around an agora and an acropolis.

• Spartans spent much of their time working to strengthen their bodies and their army. In Athens free women and girls worked at home. Boys and men worked, went to school, or took part in government.


1. What did city-states have in common? What made them different?

2. Who was allowed to vote in the developing democracy of Athens?

3. FOCUS Why was life in Sparta so different from life in Athens?

4. THINKING SKILL What effects did slavery have on life in Sparta?

5. GEOGRAPHY What made the agora a center for cultural interaction?





Have you ever dreamed of competing in the Olympic Games? You may have imagined yourself crossing the finish line at the end of a race. Perhaps you simply enjoy watching the events on television.

The Olympic Games were first held nearly 3,000 years ago in ancient Greece. City-states cooperated to make the games an important part of Greek culture.

By about A.D. 400 the ancient Olympics had faded away. The tradition was revived in 1896. Today the international games take place every two years. Most nations of the world send their best athletes to take part in the Summer and the Winter Olympic Games.

Look at the pictures on these pages. Think about how the modern Olympic Games help people to remember an important legacy of the past.


Disabled athletes compete in Special Olympic Games. The first Special Olympic Games were held in Chicago in 1968. Today athletes from more than 100 different countries participate in these events.

Unlike ancient Olympic Games, women now compete in most sports. American speed skater Bonnie Blair won two gold medals during the 1994 Winter Olympics. Other sports in the Winter Olympics are cold-weather sports, such as skiing, ice hockey, and bobsledding. Those events became part of Olympic competition in 1924.

The modern games begin with a parade of Olympic athletes from every participating nation. Today many of the athletes take part in team competitions. Such team events were not part of ancient Olympic Games.



Athens' Age of Glory

Focus Activity


What did the Athenians achieve during Athens' "Golden Age"?


• assembly

• jury

• philosophy

• Peloponnesian Wars


• Pericles

• Socrates

• Plato


• Acropolis

• Parthenon

Read Aloud

If Athenians living in 500 B.C. could somehow have traveled 65 years into the future, they would have been amazed by what they saw. In the city's harbor many ships would be tied at a long dock leading straight to a huge trading area. People could buy a wide range of goods, from Egyptian papyrus to Italian cheese, with coins from Athens or Persia. Walking up the road to the city—now surrounded by walls—they would have seen grand stone temples where far simpler ones had once stood. Athens, clearly, was flourishing.


What happened to bring about the success of Athens? As you read in the last lesson, the city-states of Greece went to war against the empire of Persia in 499 B.C. Understanding the importance of sea power, the Athenians built a mighty naval fleet. Over the next 20 years they joined forces with the armies of Sparta and other city-states. Together they defeated the Persians.

Many Greek colonies were still in danger of Persian attack, however. Some of them began paying money for protection by the Athenian navy. Athens became rich from these payments. Some of that money went toward building an even more powerful navy. Much of the rest went to improve life in the city itself.

Around 460 B.C. Athens entered a period of rich culture. Some historians call the next 30 years the "Golden Age" of Athens. It was a time of great achievement.


Beautifully made vases (left) and the Parthenon (below) were among the many achievements of the ancient Greeks.


In the middle 400s B.C. Athens was the same in many ways as it had been 65 years earlier. Life still revolved around the agora and the acropolis. Citizens still voted on issues that shaped life in the city. Festivals honoring Athena were still held every summer. Much, however, had changed.

A Walk Through Athens

The Acropolis, high above the city, was the religious center of Athens. Many Greek cities had their own acropolises. The one at Athens, however, was larger than others—that is why it is generally spelled with a capital A. Here a group of buildings displayed the city's new wealth and power. At their center rose a temple to Athena made of marble cut from a nearby mountain. This stunning temple was the Parthenon (PAHR thuh nahn). It still sits on the highest point of the Acropolis and can be seen from all over the city.

Looking down from the Acropolis, one could see many buildings. About 100,000 people lived in Athens, making it the largest city in Greece.

Activity in the Agora

Following the winding road down from the Acropolis, one might see crowds of people. Many had come to do business at the agora. There were shopkeepers, students, and lawyers heading for the market or government buildings. In one corner of the agora, citizens gathered at a monument that served as the city's "bulletin board." Here people could leave messages or read postings about upcoming matters to be voted on.

Merchants sold perfume, vegetables, and clothing or offered haircuts. In nearby workshops, potters crafted vases and bowls. The diagram on page 207 shows what Athens may have looked like.



In the early 400s B.C. a small council of powerful citizens made all of the city's important decisions. Later in the century, though, the council's powers had been taken over by an assembly of citizens. An assembly is a lawmaking body of a government. The assembly voted on issues that helped to shape the future of the city.

Do you remember from the last lesson who were considered citizens in Athens and who were not? No women and no enslaved men had a voice in Athens' government. In fact they did not enjoy any of the rights of citizenship, such as land ownership. However, the people of ancient Athens took a big step toward creating a government that represented the people.


What did ancient Greeks do for entertainment?

Famous people such as Socrates and Pericles were made fun of by writers such as Aristophanes (ar uh STOHF uh neez). He wrote funny plays called comedies. Comedies, along with serious plays called tragedies, were performed at festivals. Another playwright, Aeschylus (ES kuh lus), wrote tragedies about events in Greek history.

Over 13,000 people crowded into outdoor theaters to watch the popular plays. Actors played their parts with the help of big masks. A group called the "chorus" sang, danced, and acted in the plays.

A Great Statesman

Pericles (PER ih kleez), an Athenian leader around 450 B.C., explained his city's government this way:

Our city is called a democracy because it is governed by the many, not the few. . . . No one, moreover, if he has it in him to do some good for the city, is barred because of poverty or humble origins.

Pericles made sure poor as well as rich citizens could take part in government.

Citizens served on the assembly and sat on juries. A jury is a group of citizens chosen to hear evidence and make decisions in a court of law. Pericles arranged for citizens to be paid when they held office or served on a jury. This meant that farmers and other poor citizens could afford to take the time to become involved in government.

Philosophy in Athens

While citizens debated government issues, famous teachers like Socrates (SAHK ruh teez) led discussions about the right way to live. Socrates lived around the middle 400s B.C. He taught his students philosophy, or the search for wisdom and the right way to live. They discussed what makes the best kind of government or what it means to love or to be a good citizen.

Shortly before 400 B.C. Socrates began questioning Athenian values, such as laws, customs—even religion. It made some Athenians angry that he would doubt anything about the polis. In 399 B.C. Socrates was brought to trial For "urging Athens' young people to revolt." The jury decided he was guilty and sentenced him to death. His teachings, however, were written down by a student, Plato (PLAY toh), who also became a famous philosopher.



In the 400s B.C. Athens was flourishing. Many daily activities took place at the Acropolis. What do you see going on?



The Golden Age of Athens did not last, however. Sparta and other Greek city-states were jealous of the power and wealth of Athens. They formed what they called the Peloponnesian League. You can see where the allies of Sparta and the allies of Athens were located on the map on this page. In 43'1 B.C. the two sides began what became known as the Peloponnesian (pel uh puh NEEZH un) Wars.

Battles on Land and Sea

The wars began with an attack by the Spartan army. Pericles knew that his army was no match for Sparta's. He called for Athenians living outside the city to move inside the city walls. The walls protected the city, but Sparta's army destroyed the farmland around Athens. The Athenians did not starve, however, because their navy controlled :he Aegean Sea. Ships were able to bring in grain from other areas.

In fact the powerful Athenian navy Kept the wars in a deadlock for many years. Athens was able to win most of the battles at sea while Sparta won pore often on land. However, the course of the wars worsened for Athens. A terrible disease swept through the crowded city. At least one third of the population lied from it. One of its victims was Pericles. Meanwhile the wars continued, taking many more lives.

A Final Blow

In 404 B.C. Sparta was able to cut off the Athenian grain supply from the Black Sea. The starving Athenians had to surrender. All of Greece had suffered great losses from the Peloponnesian


The Peloponnesian Wars cost many lives.

1. How long did the Peloponnesian Wars last?

2. Which side, Athens or Sparta, controlled more coastal areas? Why do you suppose that might have been?

3. What northern region did Sparta control?

4. How does this map show that Athens and its allies were mainly on the defensive during the Peloponnesian War?


Ancient Greek soldiers went into battle protected by bronze helmets and chest plates.

Wars. The Greek historian Thucydides (thoo SIHD ih deez), who lived during the time, concluded that war "is a violent teacher."

The End of a Golden Age

Following the Peloponnesian Wars, Sparta was once again the leading polls in Greece. Yet its victory was short-lived. For the next 50 years no city-state was able to maintain control for long before others challenged it. These unsettled times would leave Greece open to threats from a new power to the north.


Between 500 B.C. and 400 B.C. Athens gave the world some of ancient Greece's most enduring legacies. Athenians improved their democracy and built splendid temples. They searched for wisdom through philosophy and created new dramatic forms. After 400 B.C. a young warrior-king from another land would spread those legacies far and wide. His name was Alexander. You will read about him in the following lesson.

Reviewing Facts and Ideas


• In the 400s B.C., during their "Golden Age," Athenians discussed philosophy, wrote plays, and built many grand buildings.

• Though democracy was still limited to male citizens, Pericles worked to give poorer citizens a voice in Athenian government.

• The Peloponnesian Wars ended the "Golden Age" of Athens. Afterward no single polis dominated Greece.


1. How did the war against Persia bring new wealth and power to Athens?

2. What changes did Pericles introduce in Athens?

3. FOCUS List three things that reflect how the century before 400 B.C. was a "golden age" for Athens.

4. THINKING SKILL Make a generalization about the changes that occurred in Athenian government between 500 B.C. and 400 B.C.

S. WRITE Write a paragraph comparing democracy in Athens with democracy in the United States.


Thinking Skills

Making Conclusions

The painting School of Athens by Raphael shows Socrates with other philosophers. Plato (left), shown in another part of the painting, takes notes.




In the last lesson you read about a type of government that developed in Athens. While you read, you may have made certain conclusions about democracy. A conclusion is a final statement about the meaning of many facts. The skill of making conclusions is especially important to students of history because it helps them to see events within the "big picture."

Making a conclusion also helps you to make sense of specific facts because you can see how they fit into the big picture. Use the Helping Yourself box for some hints on "adding up" facts to make conclusions.


Read the paragraph on the next page. Look for a common idea suggested by all of the facts. Then, make a conclusion based upon this idea.


In the 400s B.C. more schools were created in Athens than ever before—though none were for girls or slaves. Families who could afford the cost began sending their boys to school at age seven. There they learned to read, write, and memorize the poems of Homer. Math and science were rarely taught. Most students left school after learning basic skills. The sons of wealthy families kept studying until they were teenagers. Their teachers worked to make them good thinkers and speakers so they would be respected in the city's assembly.

The paragraph provides information about education in Athens. Because many schools were created and some students attended until they were teenagers, you might conclude that education became more important in Athens during the 400s B.C. You might also conclude that the sons of wealthy families were given more opportunities to learn. You can often make more than one conclusion from the same information.

Helping Yourself

• Making a conclusion involves finding a statement about the meaning of many facts.

• Start by identifying a topic that is related to all the facts.

• Find an idea about the topic that is supported by all the facts.

• State this common idea as your conclusion.


Read the following paragraph. What conclusion can be made from it?

Most teachers of wealthy students in Athens charged fees to teach public speaking. A few philosophers like Socrates, though, taught students for free. To those thinkers, understanding the proper way to live was more important than money or the skills that made money. Thanks to Socrates and his fellow philosophers, the search for knowledge and truth would become an important part of life in Athens for years to come.


1. What is a conclusion?

2. What steps are involved in making a conclusion?

3. How does making conclusions help you to better understand many specific facts?

This sculpture shows Aristotle, a student of Plato, thinking. Aristotle is considered to be one of the greatest Greek philosophers.



The Greek Empire

Focus Activity


What did Alexander the Great do to spread legacies of Greek civilization?


• Alexander

• Aristotle


• Macedonia

• Alexandria

Read Aloud

Stadium. Gymnasium. Museum. Democracy. These words represent things that are important in our lives today. All of them had beginnings in ancient Greece. The story of Greek civilization continues with a young man named Alexander.


In the late 400s B.C. the Peloponnesian Wars raged in Greece. During this time the Persian empire, which you read about in the last lesson, still controlled a huge part of the world. Egyptians, Phoenicians, Jews, Babylonians, and Indians all lived under the rule of Persian kings. Connecting this empire was a network of roads and messenger services.

The Greek historian Herodotus may have traveled those roads around 450 B.C. He once made a 1,500-mile journey in about 90 days. He was amazed by the relay of royal messengers who traveled the same roads in just nine days! "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor night holds back [the messenger from] the accomplishment of the course that has been assigned him," he marveled. Today the United States Postal Service uses similar words to describe the task of letter carriers as they transport mail across the country and around the world.

A man named Alexander traveled the roads of the Persian empire between 334 and 323 B.C., a little over 100 years after Herodotus. He conquered many areas and eventually became known as 'Alexander the Great." As a result of his victories, Greek language and traditions spread as far as Egypt in Africa and the Indus Valley in Asia.



Although the Peloponnesian Wars ended in 404 B.C., conflict continued to weaken the Greek city-states. This left them open to attack from Macedonia (mas ih DAHN nee uh), a powerful kingdom to the north. By 336 B.C. Macedonia's army had conquered most of Greece.

Macedonia's king at this time was a 20-year-old man named Alexander. He had already proven that he was a bold commander. He was also well educated. Aristotle (AR uh staht ul), one of the most famous philosophers in Athens, had been his private teacher. Because of Aristotle's teachings, Alexander developed a deep respect for Greek culture and traditions.

Expanding the Empire

In 334 B.C. Alexander and his armies set out to conquer Persia. Find their route on the map on the next page. For three years they fought their way along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean. Everywhere they went, they seized food and whatever else they needed to continue their journey.

The powerful Macedonian army never lost a battle. In 331 B.C. Alexander proclaimed, or publicly declared, himself ruler of Persia's vast empire as well as of Greece. To secure his power, Alexander pushed his army farther east.

In a few more years his troops had entered the Indus River valley. There they defeated an army that used elephants. Many of Alexander's soldiers had never seen such animals before. After his victory, though, the young emperor became sick. Unable to complete the journey, he died in June 323 B.C., in Babylon.

Alexander the Great was a brilliant military leader. These works of art show Alexander in battle.



About nine years before he died, Alexander planned the creation of a city in Egypt, on the western edge of the Nile Delta. Alexandria, named after the emperor, soon became one of the most important cities in the Greek empire. The city of Alexandria was an example of how Greek civilization and ideas were carried far beyond Greece.

A Blending of Cultures

Like the many cities that Alexander had built, Alexandria's basic layout mirrored a Greek polis. It had an agora, a theater, several temples, a stadium, and a gymnasium. Alexandria's harbor became a major hub of Mediterranean trade. At the mouth of the harbor stood a gigantic lighthouse. This was one of the first lighthouses in the world. Its beam was a guide for sailors many miles away at sea.

The mixture of peoples and cultures in Alexandria created an unusual community. Besides building temples to Greek gods, Alexander planned a temple to the Egyptian goddess Isis. The Greek and Macedonian citizens of Alexandria took part in democratic assemblies. Egyptians in Alexandria had courts of their own. So did the city's Jews, who lived in their own section of the city. Craftworkers made Greek-style pottery. Papermakers continued to practice their ancient craft.

A Legacy of Learning

Not far from Alexandria's busy agora stood the city's museum. At the museum, scholars studied the world and how it worked. To help with their research,


Alexander the Great controlled enormous territories with the help of a very powerful army.

1. Alexander's vast empire included land on three continents. What are they?

2. What region south of Mesopotamia did Alexander not gain control of?

3. What is the easternmost river within Alexander's empire?

4. What river marks the northernmost border of Alexander's empire?

5. In which direction did Alexander travel along the coast of the Arabian Sea?


Alexander (left) founded Alexandria, one of the most important cities in the Greek empire. Today it is the second largest city in Egypt.

they used the books in the library nearby. Alexandria's library had almost 500,000 books written on papyrus rolls, and librarians were always searching for more! Inspectors at the harbor searched newly arrived ships to see if they carried any books. They, kept whatever they found until copies could be made for the city's library.

An Alphabet

Scholars from many countries visited the library in Alexandria to study the books there. The skills of reading and writing had become important for preserving information. Unlike Egyptian hieroglyphics, Mesopotamian cuneiform, and Chinese characters, written Greek used a simple alphabet. Each symbol represented a sound. Learning to read required mastering less than 30 letters, rather than hundreds of symbols. The alphabet made it easier for more people to learn to read and write.

Math and Science

The library in Alexandria contained many books on mathematics. Ancient Greece produced brilliant mathematicians. They had learned a great deal from earlier Egyptian scholars, whose achievements in math and science you learned about in Chapter 4. Today many of the things you do in math class are legacies of their work. Arithmetic, geometry, and mathematics are all words that have Greek origins.



Seven Wonders of the World

Around the time of Alexander, travelers told of the "Seven Wonders of the World." They were called wonders because of their size, beauty, craftwork, or all three. Today only the pyramids still stand, but many people try to imagine the other ancient wonders. This is an artist's idea of what they may have looked like.

Are there Seven Wonders of the modern world? What list would you give a traveler today?


1. Statue of Zeus at Olympia

about 435 B.C.

The statue of Zeus showed the god on his throne. It is said to have been about 40 feet high. Historians say it was probably the most famous statue in the ancient world.

2. Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

about 550 B.C.

This temple is said to have been more than 40 feet high. It was made almost entirely of marble and was dedicated to the Greek god Artemis.

3. Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

about 353 B.C.

This tomb was built for a Persian ruler called Mausolus. It was decorated with a pyramid. The tomb was so famous that all large tombs are now called mausoleums.

4. Colossus of Rhodes

about 200 B.C.

The Colossus was a bronze statue built to honor the sun god Helios. A Greek sculptor is said to have worked for 12 years to create the statue.

5. Lighthouse of Alexandria

about 283-246 B.C.

This lighthouse stood over 400 feet high. A fire that burned at the top of it guided ships into the harbor of Alexandria for about 1,500 years.

6. Pyramids of Egypt at Giza

about 2600-2500 B.C.

The pyramids were built as tombs for Egyptian kings. The largest one, called the Great Pyramid, stands about 450 feet high.

7. Hanging Gardens of Babylon

about 605-562 B.C.

These gardens were probably laid out on a large terrace about 75 feet above the ground. They were watered by the Euphrates River.


After Alexander died, no one person was able to control the vast empire. By 300 B.C. Alexander's generals had divided it up.

Although Alexander's empire did not last, his short rule had far-reaching effects. One of the most important was the mixing of cultures throughout North Africa and western and central Asia.

Many legacies of ancient Greece continue to influence cultures today. You can see Greek influence in classes on such subjects as math, philosophy, and science. Perhaps most important, Greek ideas live on in the way our government operates—as a democracy.

Reviewing Facts and Ideas


• When Alexander the Great conquered the Persian empire, he spread Greek culture from Egypt to India.

• Alexandria, one of the empire's most powerful cities, reflected the great mix of cultures within the empire.

• Legacies from ancient Greece influence today's education, government, philosophy, sports, and drama.


1. How was Alexander influenced by Greek culture?

2. What did Alexandria have in common with a polis? How was it influenced by a variety of cultures?

3. FOCUS How did Alexander change life around the Mediterranean region?

4. THINKING SKILL What conclusions can you make about Greece's importance to history?

5. WRITE In one paragraph describe how a Greek legacy affects your life.




Historians often have very different viewpoints on historical figures such as Alexander the Great.

How Great was Alexander the Great?

Over the centuries, historians have had different opinions of Alexander the Great, some good and some not. One historian has called him the "greatest general of all times." Others, however, have labeled him a "ruthless murderer" and a "cruel dictator."

One ancient Greek historian, Plutarch, believed that Alexander was a man of vision who tried to bring people of different areas into a great world state. Plutarch lived around the first century A.D., over 300 years after the death of Alexander. Arrian, a Greek historian from the second century A.D., also praised Alexander. Arrian wrote a biography of Alexander, saying that he was very heroic and inspired great confidence in his men. Arrian based the biography on the accounts of two of Alexander's generals.

A modern historian, Eugene Borza, offers a different view. He feels that Alexander needlessly killed many people and that he was considered ruthless by those he conquered. He also believes that Alexander was more interested in gaining a large empire than in spreading civilization. Consider three viewpoints on this issue and answer the questions that follow.


Three DIFFERENT Viewpoints


Historian, Ancient Greece

Excerpt from writings, A.D. 90

Alexander, by founding more than seventy cities among the barbarian tribes, . . . suppressed their savage and uncivilized customs. . . . Those whom Alexander conquered were more fortunate than those who escaped. . . . [He] conducted himself . . . out of a desire to [give] all the races in the world . . . one rule and one form of government, making all mankind a single people.


Historian, Ancient Greece

Excerpt from The Age of Alexander, A.D. 171

[Alexander] was . . . very [famous] for rousing the courage of his soldiers, filling them with hopes of success and dispelling their fear in the midst of danger by his own freedom from fear. . . . I think there was at that time no race of men, no city . .. to whom Alexander's name and fame had not [reached]. For this reason it seems to me that a hero [like him] could not have been born without the [help of the gods].


Historian and professor of ancient history, North Dakota

Excerpt from interview, 1997

[Alexander] slaughtered hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in his conquests. . . . He ended the Persian empire, but he was not a good organizer and his empire fell apart as soon as he died. He was ill-tempered and had a strange personality. . . . In Central Asia he is remembered as a ruthless conqueror. He did not intend to spread the civilization of the Greeks to the East. It happened as a by-product of his wars, but it was not his intent.


1. What is the viewpoint of each person?

2. In what ways are some of the viewpoints alike? In what ways are they different? How might the time period in which a person lived affect his or her viewpoint?

3. What resources could you use to form your own opinion of Alexander the Great?


Discuss what you agree with or disagree with about these and other viewpoints. Discuss what makes an historical figure truly "great." Then as a class, write three statements that all of you can agree with about Alexander the Great.




Number a sheet of paper from 1 to 10. Beside each number write the word from the list below that matches the statement.











1. A government of one ruler

2. A law-making body of government

3. Rule by the people

4. A group of citizens chosen to decide in court cases

5. A large hill where city residents went for safety

6. An area of land nearly surrounded by water

7. A sheltered place along a coast

8. A Greek city-state

9. The search for wisdom and the right way to live

10. Rule by a small, rich group


1. What were two main crops of the ancient Greeks?

2. What was the largest city-state in Greece in 700 B.c.? What made this city-state strong?

3. What did Socrates teach? Why was he put to death?

4. How did Alexander the Great affect the history of his time?

5. Look at the time line above. What important events happened between 500 and 400 B.C.? Why was the century such an important one for Athens?




Reread pages 198-199. Then write a paragraph describing the main differences between Athens and Sparta.


Suppose you live in ancient Athens. Write a paragraph about why you think women should or should not participate fully in Athenian democracy.


Write one paragraph about two of the following people: (1) Homer, (2) Socrates, (3) Pericles, and (4) Alexander the Great.



1. What is a conclusion?

2. Reread "Did You Know?" on page 206 and make a conclusion about why the Greeks liked drama. What information did you use to come to your conclusion?

3. If you were asked to make a conclusion about how successful drama is today in America, what facts would you need to know?

4. When in your life have you made a conclusion about something but later made a different conclusion about the same thing?

5. Why is the ability to make conclusions important for studying history?

Summing Up the Chapter

Review the chapter, then copy the word map below on a separate sheet of paper. Next, fill in each box with at least two related details. After you have filled in the details, use the word map to write a paragraph that answers the question "What did the ancient Greeks contribute to world civilization?"


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