To view the presentation that accompanies the slide descriptions below, please navigate to Pr02a_Ancient Greece’s Environment
(Cover) Slide #1: The Parthenon
Slide #2: Satellite image with the section of interest encircled in the Mediterranean Sea.
Slide #3: Closeup image of the area in the previous slide. Take note of the mountainous terrain, numerous islands (archipelago), and the two peninsulas that makeup the southern area of the Balkans, where Greece resides. These topographical conditions will influence the development of any people who decide to reside there.
Slide #4: Let’s Make a Prediction. By analyzing the previous map for terrain features, relative location to other land masses, and climate you may be able to predict one or more traits for any societies that ultimately develop there. Discuss this with your class neighbor and see what you can agree on.
Slide #5 & #6: This area has been a terminus for migrations and travelers. Peoples have entered the area from the South (Crete, Egypt), East (Asia Minor), and the North (Europe). The Mycenaeans may be the descendants of Indo-European migrations into Europe. The area was a “melting pot” of cultures.
We’ve spoken a bit about the Greek Dark Age before. It appears that the Dark Age period coincided with the arrival of the Dorians; a nomadic people with a lifestyle centered around warfare (Chariots being an important part).
The map on slide #6 shows key features: two peninsulas that makeup the heart of Greece, key city-states, and the Greater Greek world of the Aegean Sea basin.
Slide #7: Here we see a ruin from the island of Crete. This is a colorful remnant of a palace that most-likely belonged to the King of the Minoan civilization. The Minoans proximity to the Greek islands and Ancient Egypt allowed them to be a middleman in the exchange of ideas between the three civilizations. This and the following images depict traits of Minoan culture that the Greeks adapt later on, but many others may have been previously influenced or introduced from Egypt by way of Crete.
Slide #8: The Minoans were among the earliest of civilizations in the Mediterranean. Outside of Mesopotamia, they have developed one of the earliest languages in the region. Being relegated to an island, it makes sense that they will depend on the sea for travel and trade. The wealth that sea commerce generated funded a rich tradition in the arts. Here we see an amphitheater carved-out of the rocky ground.
Slide #9: Sports played an important-enough role in daily life that it was preserved in this wall painting (Pugilists => Boxers). Notice that the contestants are naked.
Slide #10: This mountain image is a reminder that the region is geologically active. The forces that produce mountains and the same that cause earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. It’s highly likely that the Minoan civilization came to quick end from a cataclysmic natural event.
Slide #11: An aerial image of Mycenae showing the city as a fortified area (Walls with ramparts). The mountain serves to protect the side of the city. The mountainous conditions of the Greek archipelago suited the establishment of City-States, like in Mesopotamia. Mountains make communication difficult and hemmed people into small tightly-packed spaces. Of course, the numerous islands that comprise the archipelago helped with that as well.
Slide #12: Mycenaean tunnel. Notice the early ‘arch’ design forming the tunnel roof. The arch was a very important architectural development. Granted, this triangular arch will be overshadowed by the innovative ‘curved arch’ many centuries later. But, it is a start.
Slide #13: Athens and its acropolis (political and cultural center of an ancient city. Often marked by many stone buildings). Notice the Amphitheatre in the foreground? This is physical evidence of the Greek theatrical arts.
Slide #14: Greek vase depicting a maritime scene.
Slide #15: An artist rendition of a Greek merchant vessel. Square sails were the norm in the ancient European world.
Slide #16: A cross-section of the previous vessel. Notice the absence of a prominent keel.
Slide #17: Amphorae. Clay vessels commonly used in the Mediterranean during the classical period. They would carry olive oil, wine, and grain. They were shaped like this because they were inserted into slots on shelves in the ships. Proper loading of these amphorae were important in keeping the ship stable in the water. Improperly loaded cargo can capsize the merchant vessel.
Slide #18 – 22: Sources and outline maps