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HIST101: Ancient Civilizations of the World

Unit 5: Classical Greece and the Hellenistic World   Classical Greek civilization was one of the most influential civilizations to emerge in the ancient world.  The Greeks’ conception of government—particularly democracy—as well as philosophy, art, and military strategy had a profound effect upon both ancient and modern history.  This sophisticated society had its roots in the Greek Dark Ages—also known as Archaic Greece—a period that was characterized by the proliferation of tiny political units—known as “city-states” or “poleis”—ruled by kings.  The classical period of Greece, however, was dominated by two powerful city-states—Athens and Sparta.  In this unit, we will focus on Athens and Sparta—their military conflicts, artistic accomplishments, and cultural achievements—as well as the advent of the Hellenistic Age.

Unit 5 Time Advisory
This unit will take you 18 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 5.1: 10 hours

☐    Subunit 5.2: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 5.3: 4.5 hours

☐    Unit 5 Assessment: 0.5 hours

Unit5 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - Identify the cultural origins of Greek civilization in the Mediterranean basin. - Trace the development of Greek commerce, cities, and political institutions. - Assess the political, social, and cultural legacies of Greek civilization.

5.1 Rise of Classical Greece   - Reading: Selections from Jack E. Maxfield’s A Comprehensive Outline of World History: “Europe: Greece” Link: Jack E. Maxfield’s A Comprehensive Outline of World History: “Europe: Greece”: “Europe, 700-601 B.C., 'Greece,'”Europe, 600-501 B.C., 'Greece',” “Europe, 500-401 B.C., “Greece”” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of all three sections in order to get a general sense of the ancient Greek world. PDF and EPUB downloads are available at the bottom of the page.
 
About the Link: This online text was developed by Jack Maxfield for use in World History courses and is now part of the Community College Open Textbook initiative.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. It is attributed to Jack E. Maxfield, and the original version can be found here, here, and here.

  • Web Media: Yale University: Professor Donald Kagan’s “Introduction to Ancient Greek History” Link: Yale University: Professor Donald Kagan’s “Introduction to Ancient Greek History” (Adobe Flash)
     
    Available in:
    iTunes U
     
    Instructions: Please listen to or watch the entirety of Class Session 1—“Introduction.”  You may choose to download the video (using QuickTime Player) or download the audio format using an MP3 player.  This session will give you an excellent introduction to the world of ancient Greece from a world-renowned scholar.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: Lectures on Ancient and Medieval European History: “Classical Greece, 500-323 B.C.,” Lecture 7 Link: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide:Classical Greece” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read the entirety of the website in order to get a sense of the volatile period known as the “classical age” in Greece.
     
    About the link: This online text was developed by Dr. Steven Kreis as an open educational resource for use in undergraduate history courses.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.1.1 The Greek Renaissance   - Reading: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: Lectures on Ancient and Medieval European History”: “Homer and the Greek Renaissance, 900-600 B.C.,” Lecture 5 Link: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide:Homer and the Greek Renaissance” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of the website in order to get a sense of the historical context of Homer and his writings.
 
About the link: This online text was developed by Dr. Steven Kreis as an open educational resource for use in undergraduate history courses.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: MIT’s The Internet Classics Archive: Samuel Butler’s 1898 translation of Homer’s *The Iliad* Link: MIT’s The Internet Classics Archive: Samuel Butler’s 1898 translation of Homer’s The Iliad (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the assigned text alongside CUNY-Brooklyn College: Robert Dunkle’s “Iliad Study Guide.” (HTML)
     
    About the link: This website, developed by MIT, hosts numerous primary-source documents, including this classic translation of Homer’s Iliad by Samuel Butler.
     
    Note on the text: Written in about 800 B.C.E., Homer’s Iliad is an epic poem set during the Trojan War.  It centers on the conflicts between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles.  The political backdrop of the 15,700-line poem is the ten-year siege of the Trojan city of Ilium by a coalition of Greek states.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.1.2 The City-State   5.1.3 Athens   5.1.4 Sparta   5.1.5 Wars and Expansion   - Reading: Ancient-Greece: Dr. Thomas Sakoulas’s “Classical Greece” Link: Ancient-Greece: Dr. Thomas Sakoulas’s “Classical Greece” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this text in its entirety.  This reading offers an overview of the turbulent and militaristic world of classical Greece.  Dr. Thomas Sakoulas is an Associate Professor at the State University of New York.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.1.6 Philosophy   - Reading: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: Lectures on Ancient and Medieval European History: “Greek Thought: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle,” Lecture 8 Link: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide:Greek Thought: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of the lecture in order to get a sense for the main ideas of the most influential philosophers in ancient Greece.
 
About the link: This online text was developed by Dr. Steven Kreis as an open educational resource for use in undergraduate history courses.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.2 The Hellenistic Period   - Reading: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: Lectures on Ancient and Medieval European History: “From Polis to Cosmopolis: Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic World, 323-30 B.C.,” Lecture 9 Link: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: “From Polis to Cosmopolis: Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic World” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entirety of the website in order to get a sense of the vast empire created by Alexander the Great in the Mediterranean and in Asia.
 
About the link: This online text was developed by Dr. Steven Kreis as an open educational resource for use in undergraduate history courses.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Jack E. Maxfield’s A Comprehensive Outline of World History: "Europe: 400-301 B.C.”: “Greece” and “Upper Balkans” Link: Jack E. Maxfield’s A Comprehensive Outline of World History: "Europe: 400-301 B.C.": “Greece” and “Upper Balkans” (HTML, PDF, and EPUB)
     
    Instructions: Please read the entirety of all three sections in order to get a sense of the demise of ancient Greece and the rise of Macedonia.  PDF and EPUB downloads are available at the bottom of the page.
     
    About the Link: This online text was developed by Jack E. Maxfield for use in World History courses and is now part of the Community College Open Textbook initiative.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. It is attributed to Jack E. Maxfield, and the original version can be found here.

5.2.1 Macedonian Conquest   - Reading: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History:” Colette Hemingway and Seán Hemingway’s “The Rise of Macedonia and the Conquests of Alexander the Great” Link: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History:” Colette Hemingway and Seán Hemingway’s “The Rise of Macedonia and the Conquests of Alexander the Great” (HTML)
 
Instructions: This reading covers subunits 5.2.2 and 5.2.3.  Please read the entire webpage, including any embedded hyperlinks, to get a sense of the rise and expansion of the Hellenistic world.  Also, click on “View Slideshow” at the top of the webpage to view thumbnails and descriptions of the art.  
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.2.2 Philip II and Alexander the Great   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 5.2.1.  Focus specifically on the first paragraph and the beginning of the second paragraph.

5.2.3 The Breakdown of Alexander’s Empire   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 5.2.1.  Focus specifically on the final lines of the second paragraph (make sure to click on the embedded link, “Hellenistic period”), and read the first four paragraphs.

5.3 Greek and Hellenistic Culture   - Reading: University of Virginia's Online Scholarship Initiative: Stanley M. Burstein’s “The Hellenistic Period in World History” Link: University of Virginia's Online Scholarship Initiative: Stanley M. Burstein’s “The Hellenistic Period in World History” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Scroll down to the section entitled “Culture in the Hellenistic Period.” Read the entirety of this section to get a wonderfully comprehensive overview of the major characteristics of Hellenistic society.  This reading will cover the subunits below.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.3.1 Economic and Social Structure   5.3.2 Rural Life and Agriculture   5.3.3 Slavery and Production   5.3.4 Men and Women in Society   5.3.5 Philosophy and Science   - Reading: The History Guide: Benjamin Jowett translation of Plato's "The Allegory of the Cave" Link: The History Guide: Benjamin Jowett translation of Plato’s The Allegory of the Cave** (PDF)

 Instructions: Please read this text in its entirety.  The Allegory
of the Cave describes four stages through which a person has to pass
to get a proper education. Please, try to answer the following two
questions: *What do shadows and the sun stand for? And what exactly
do you think getting out of the cave symbolizes?*  

 Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.
  • Reading: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide: Lectures on Ancient and Medieval European History: “Greek Thought: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle,” Lecture 8 Link: Dr. Steven Kreis’s The History Guide:Greek Thought: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read the entirety of the lecture in order to get a sense of the main ideas of the most influential philosophers in ancient Greece.
     
    About the link: This online text was developed by Dr. Steven Kreis as an open educational resource for use in undergraduate history courses.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Assessment: Pearson Education’s World Civilizations: the Global Experience: “Chapter 5, Multiple Choice Quiz” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

    Submit Materials

  • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Study Questions for Plato’s Allegory of the Cave” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Study Questions for Plato’s Allegory of the Cave” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please complete the study questions.  You can compare your answers to the “Guide to Responding” (PDF)