Friday, May 24, 2013


Sadly, you have reached the end of my Ancient Greece blog. The unit has finished, and we are now moving on to Rome. Hope you enjoyed!

Alexander the Great

Alexander's empire crumbled after he died from malaria at the age of 33. After his death, settlers left the cities he constructed, and they fell to ruins. His generals fought for control over his empire. In the end, Alexander's vast realm divided into 3 separate  kingdoms, Egypt, Asia, and Macedonia and Greece. However, Greek ideas stilled spread.

Alexander the Great

Alexander showed respect for the cultural practices fro the people he conquered, by adopting some of these practices himself. He adopted the Persian system of government. He allowed the Persian governors to run day-to-day businesses of their lands. However, he made sure his own people collected the taxes. He also began to wear Persian style clothing. His visitors also had to greet him in  Persian style.He also encouraged marriage to the Persians and Macedonians. He himself married the eldest daughter of Darius, the Persian king he defeated.

Alexander the Great

Alexander used religion in two ways to inspire loyalty among his followers and the people he conquered. First, he honored the Egyptian and Persian gods. He treated them as equal to the Greek gods. He visited oracles sites, made sacrifices, and had temples built in their honor. He even visited the Egyptian god Ammon's oracle, where he was then declared God's son. This gained the Egyptians loyalty. Second  he encouraged people to believe he was Zeus's son. Even though Alexander was sincere in his religious beliefs, no one knew if he really honored them.

Alexander the Great

One way Alexander used the spread of Greek ideas to untie the different people in his kingdom was by building Greek style cities. He established many cities in different parts of the empire. Like Greek cities, they had marketplaces, temples, and theaters. Another way was by settlers flocking in from Greece. They brought with them Greek laws, art, and literature. Alexander wanted local soldiers and government to speak only Greek too!

Alexander the Great

Alexander decided to attack Persia because he wanted to carry out his father's plan. He thought that fighting Persia would also help untie the Greeks by giving them a common enemy. (I don't blame him, he was clever!) Alexander also thought that the death of his father was to blame on Persia. And a victory over Persia would make Alexander wealthier.

Alexander the Great

Alexander became king when he was only 20. However, the young man was well prepared for his new duties. At the age of 16 he led troops into battles. Also, as a youth, he had studied under Aristotle  the famous Greek philosopher. Aristotle taught him public speaking, science, and philosophy. He also taught Alexander to appreciate Greek culture.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Alexander the Great

As a result of the Peloponniesian Wars, Sparta and Athens began war. For 27 years, allies joined either Athens or Sparta. In the end, Sparta won. For a time it was the most powerful city-state in Greece. Then, Sparta, in turn, was defeated by Thebes, never to rise again. While the Greeks fought, Macedonia grew stronger. For a while Macedonia was a collection of scattered tribes, until Phillip the 2nd took the throne and united them. Years of was had left the Greeks weak, so Phillip took advantage of this. King Phillip had conquered most of the mainland of Greece. He allowed the Greek city-states to keep most of their freedom, but they were now under his control. Phillip thought that there was never again to be another powerful city-state in Greece. King Phillip next wanted to conquer Persia, but he was soon murdered.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Panathenic Games

The purpose of athletic events in Greece was to honor the Gods and Goddesses.

One Panathenic event that is  part of our Olympics today is foot-racing.

One Panathenic event that is not part of our Olympics today if Pancratium. In this event men were allowed to punch, kick or even choke each other. The event ended when one fighter surrendered, lost consciousness, or died.

The Agora

Philosophers are people who encourage people to question things they thought they knew. The also try and find the meaning in nature, trading, ideas, the meaning of life, justice, truth, and beauty,

Socrates tried to teach others by encouraging them to question things they thought they knew.

Socrates was charged for not honoring the Gods and Goddesses. He was found guilty, and was sentenced to death. He died by drinking hemlock, the drink from a poisonous plant.

The Theater of Dionysus

One way Greek drama differed from movies and plays of today is that women were not allowed to act only men were! Another way is that they were masks to explain their feelings and their gender. And  plays were staged in open-air theaters.

A Marble Workshop

Athenian sculpture changed a lot over the years. In the beginning the sculptures were Egyptian style, stiff. Later on in Athens sculptures became very well detailed. They now included detailed muscles  hair and clothing. Also wax and bright color were added to the hair, lips, clothing, and headdresses.

The Acropolis

The Parthenon was one of the most beautiful temples in Greece. It was built to honor the Goddess Athena. It had 8 columns across both the front and back and 17 along each side. IT also included a 30 foot tall statue of Athena.

Temple at Delphi

Temple at Delphi

Greek Gods and Goddesses played an important part in lives of the Athenians because they were made up to explain things they did not understand. They helped the Athenians to hard times too. Also the Athenian dedicated temples to them.

A City of Contrasts

A city of Contrasts

 Athens could be called a city of contrasts because before the Persian Wars, Athens was richer for the citizens. However, now Athens is poorer for the citizens and rich for the public. The people's houses are small and the buildings honoring Gods and Goddesses are huge and clean.

Battle of Plataea

Battle of Plataea

At the Battle of Plataea the Spartans fought against the Persians. And luckily they were able to defeat the Persians and Xerxes with 80,00 Greeks.

The Persian wars were important because it helped unite the Greek city-states, It also helped prevent Europe from being conquered. And it also preserved the Greeks independence.

Battle of Salamis

Battle of Salamis

The Athenians sailed to near by islands in panic because they received news that 300 Spartan men were slaughtered by the Persians. They also received news that 150,000 Persians were coming to attack them. The Athenians didn't want to be slaughtered, so they fled to near by islands.

The Greeks were able to defeat the Persians even thought they were outnumbered was by tricking the Persians. The Greeks lowered the Persians into a narrow channel. This gave the Greeks ans advantage. The Greeks lost only 40 ships and the Persians 300 ships.

Battle of Thermoplyae

Battle of Thermopylae

The Spartans were able to hold off such a large Persian army by choosing the battle field. They placed themselves in a small area between the sea and the mountains, that the Persians could not go through without being fought by the Greeks.

The Persians were able to defeat the Spartans by going through a secret path in the mountains. They were then able to fight the Spartans from the front ans rear.

The Spartans refused to escape because they wanted to show to the Persians that they weren't simply going to give up. They were going to fight because they were loyal and brave.

Battle of Marathon

Battle of Marathon

At Marathon, the Greeks and the Persians fought against each other. The Persians were forced to crowd into a small area to attack the Greeks. This gave the Greeks an advantage. The Greeks managed to attack the Persians 3 or 4 at a time from 3 different angles. They also managed to defend Athens.

The Battle of Marathon was important because if the Greeks did not win, Persia would take over Athens. And leave the Greek city-states vulnerable to conquering.

The Ionian Revolt

The Ionian Revolt

The Ionians revolted against the Persian rule because the Persians conquered the wealthy Greek settlements in Ionia in Asia Minor. The Persians also toke away the Ionian farmland and harbors, and made them pay taxes to them.

The Ionians knew they couldn't defeat the Persians, so they called the Greece mainlands to come and help. Athens responded to their call. Athens came ready to battle, then they left the Ionians to lose. After losing, the Ionians were punished by the Persians. The Persians burned down Milteus as a punishment for rebelling. They also put some Ionians into slavery.


Spartan Government

Sparta was called an oligarchy because the ruling power was in the hands of a few people. The power was in the hands of the Council of Elders, which consisted of 30 men. Two of them were kings who inherited their power. And the other 28 were selected by an assembly. The people in the Council of Elders had to be at least 60 years of age. The Council of Elders were allowed to decide on new laws, and new changes.

Spartan Economy

Spartans got the goods they needed for everyday life by farming and conquering other people. Sparta didn't have enough land to feed all it's people, so Spartans took the land the needed from neighbors. And turned them into slaves or helots. They also used non-citizens called perioiki. The perioiki made red cloaks fro soldiers, iron tools like knifes and spear, and hey also traded with other city-states fro goods that Sparta did not have. Sparta used iron bars as money. So not many people liked trading with Sparta.

Education in Sparta

Spartans trained boys and girls so they could protect they city-state very roughly. Boys and girls who weren't born to defend were put on a hillside to die. Those who were fit to defend started training at the age of 7. The received military training. They were trained wrestling, foot-racing, and gymnastics  Spartan boys trained an lived in buildings called barracks. At the age of 20 Spartan boys were tested for fitness, military ability, and leadership skills. If they passed they became soldiers. 

Women and Slaves in Sparta

Women and slaves were treated fairly in Sparta. Women were allowed to own their own property, marry whom they like, and chat with their husband's friends. Slaves weren't treated as well. However, they were allowed to marry whom they like and keep their own name. However, some slaves weren't as lucky. If you were a strong fighter, you would be killed purposely by the Spartans.


 Athenian Government

Athens was called a democracy because they were a direct democracy. And Athens had almost 500 citizens vote on suggested laws, and 6,000 to agree on them. Every citizen in Athens was allowed to vote.

Athenian Economy

Athenians got the goods they needed for everyday life by trading. They set up agoras(markets) To trade with people from different place. They also traded with other places, such as Italy and Egypt.

Education in Athens

Athenians trained the minds and bodies of boys by forcing them to participate in classes. In these classes the boys trained their minds by memorizing important information. Boys were also included in choirs and sports. Most boys were also involved with the military. 

Women and Slaves in Athens

Women were treated unfairly in Athens. Women were not considered citizens in Athens. Since women weren't citizens, they had very few rights. Women could not inherit there own property. Women spent all of their time teaching her kids, until the age of 7, ordering servants, and running the household. 

Slaves in Athens were also treated unfairly. Slaves were treated so badly that they would be put out in the agoras fro sale. You could simply walk in and buy a slave. Once bought, slaves spent long hours doing work for their owner. The slaves that were "bad" were in jobs that would lead to death.

Types of Government


A monarchy is a form of government with a single ruler, such as a king, queen, or emperor, who holds all the power in a country or empire.

The powers that the Greek king has on the monarchy was that they could create laws, they acted as judges, they led armies, and he could punish people too.

The Greeks put an end to monarchies because they allowed the king to inherit their crown, and the aristocrats did not like this, so they overthrew the monarchies.


An oligarchy is a form of government with one of several people who rule a country or empire together, sharing the power.

The oligarchies failed because they were making the wealthy even more wealthy. And the poor even more poorer. So the poor people eventually made the oligarchies fail.


A tyranny is a form of government that seizes power illegally. There are two ways a tyranny is different from a monarchy. The tyrant could not claim that he had legal right to rule. Also, the tyrants did not usually inherit his father's power.

Most tyrannies failed because they were stealing illegal power. And they were using this power for band things. This power wasn't used for the good of the country or empire. So, the tyrannies failed.


A direct democracy is a type of democracy where all citizens have the right to vote on every issue.

A representative democracy is a type of democracy where representatives vote on every issue.

The problems that led many city-states to abandon democracy were that the democracy couldn't make decisions and stick with them. This caused many people anger. So, most city-stats abandoned democracy.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Bronze Age

(The following is adapted from History Alive-Ancient Greece, Teacher's Curriculum Institute)

Greek Beginnings - The Bronze Age

Crete is an island of 3,189 square miles located off the coast of Greece. According to legend, Crete is the birthplace of Zeus, the King of the Gods. Mycenae (pronounced my-SEE-nee) is a city in the northeast of the Peloponnesian Peninsula on the Greek mainland. Legend states that Mycenae was founded by the Greek hero Perseus after he killed the monster Medusa. It is in these two kingdoms that recorded Greek history begins. 

The Minoans developed their culture on the island of Crete circa 3000 BCE. The kingdom was named after King Minos. Minoans palace murals and painted pottery shows a sea-based culture, centering on fishing, farming, and the local arts. The Minoans set up trade routes with Spain, Egypt, Canaan, and Asia Minor. Socially  the Minoan culture was based upon equality. Both men and woman held respected positions in religion, farming, and craft work  The Minoans relaxed by dancing, singing, and playing music. They also took part in "bull-leaping" - a challenging game of somersaulting over a charging bull, and boxing, complete with boxing gloves and mouth guards. The Minoans appear to have been a peaceful civilization, based upon the lack of fortresses, war equipment, of painted battle scenes among the remains of their civilization. The Minoan civilization is important, because it was the cultural model for Mycenaean civilization, which is considered the earliest culture on mainland Greece.

Mycenae was settled in 2700 BCE. Most of the myths about Ancient Greek heroes and their famous battles coome to us from the Mycenaeans.  Their tales were passed down for generation and then written down later by Greek poets, such as Homer. The Mycenaeans spoke an early form of the Greek language and developed an agricultural economy based upon grains, grapes, and olives. The Mycenaeans traded by sea with Egypt and Asia Minor. They also spent a lot of time developing a strong military. The royal tombs of Mycenae held collections of uniforms, helmets, chariots, daggers, and axes. Horses were also important to the Mycenaeans, and were used for war. Mycenaean writing shows that society was arranged by social classes, with kings and soldiers in positions of power, while prisoners of war were their slaves. There is some artwork that show that the Mycenaeans held religious festivals and musical performances  but their is not much else indicated what the Mycenaeans did for recreations. 

The Minoan civilization on Crete flourished for approximately 600 years. Minoan palaces and surrounding villages were nearly destroyed by a series of earthquakes in 1700 BCE, but the Minoans rebuilt in a short period of time. Over the next hundred years, the Minoans established trade settlements on the nearby islands of Thera, Kythera, Melos, and Rhodes. These civilizations were all friendly and supportive of each other, and as a result, they all prospered. They also continued to make impressive architecture and artwork.

Mycenaean invaders conquered the Minoans in the mid-1400s BCE. It is unclear as to why the Mycenaeans began to invade, but scholars think that one of three things led to the invasions. First, the Mycenaean mines had stopped producing copper, and they may have been seeking a new source. Second, fights over the control or trade routes had left some Mycenaeans seeking new trade routes to move their goods. The third possibility is that invasions by the Greeks who lived on the mainland my have forced the Mycenaeans to find new places to live. Whatever the cause, the Mycenaeans invaded Crete in 1450 BCE and the peaceful Minoan civilization soon came to an end. Minoan architects and artists were captures and moved to Mycenae in order to work on Mycenaean projects, and Mycenaean weapons, chariots, and wars were introduced to Minoan civilization.

In 1100 BCE, the Dorian Greeks (tribes from the mainland and from Asia Minor) invaded the Peloponnesus, Crete, and other southern islands. The invasion brought an end to Mycenaean rule. However, through the Dorians, elements of Minoan and Mycenaean cultures were carried on in the art, architecture and literature of Classical Greece.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Farming, Colonies, and Trading

Farming in Ancient Greece

Greek Farmers grew crops and raised a lot of animals. Three of the crops that Greek Farmers grew was olives, grapes, and orchards. Three animals that Greek Farmers raised was sheep, goats, and bees.

Starting Colonies

Greeks started colonies because their settlements began to grow, and they were starting to lack food. So, they started colonies, as a solution to their lack of space and food. When starting a colony the Greeks followed certain steps. First they consulted with the oracle. Second they gathered food and supplies. Third, they went on a long sea voyage. Fourth, they looked for areas with natural harbors and good farmland. Finally they began a colony.

Trading for Needed Goods

Most Greek settlements traded because they had very little or small farmland. Since they had little farmland they couldn't grow everything they needed. So, they began trading. The Greeks usually traded grain, timber, and metal. And for exchange they received olive oil, pottery, and wine.

Greek Land

The land in Ancient Greece

Map of Ancient Greece
 In Ancient Greece, there were mountains that were steep, and rocky. These mountains were almost entirely surrounded by turquoise seas. And these seas were very important for the Greeks. These seas were used to gather food, such as fish. They were also important to the Greeks because they used the sea to establish colonies ad trade with people from other lands.

Isolated Communities and Dangers of Travel

High Mountains of Greece
Ancient Greek communities were separated form one another because of one simple reason, the mountains. The mountains were really high. So, it was heard to travel over them, which led to little communication. When the Greeks travels they faced grave danger. Either it was on land or sea. On land, the Greeks had to watch out for bandits when they traveled by foot. However, when they traveled by sea, pirates could attack them, they could be robbed by a dishonest sailor, or violent storms could struck. Living in Ancient Greece was not easy!


Welcome to Ancient Greece!

Map of Ancient Greece
In the blogs to come, you learn about the life humans lived, battled, and worked for in Ancient Greece. You will learn about Athens and Sparta, The Persian Wars, The Golden Age, and much more! So, I welcome you to join me in learning more about Greece! Let the journey begin!