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Ch 9: Classical Greek Culture & Philosophy

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons to explore major figures and works of classical Greek culture and philosophy that made lasting impacts on society. Gauge your understanding of the chapter material by taking quizzes included with each lesson.

Classical Greek Culture & Philosophy - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

If you've ever watched the Olympic Games, you're already familiar with one aspect of classical Greek culture that we continue to keep alive today. Yet there are many other influential ideals, achievements and events from ancient Greece that have impacted Western civilization even in modern times. In fact, Greek accomplishments in science, politics, architecture and the arts have had major effects on society, culture and democracy itself. In this chapter, you'll explore these subjects through video lessons; after completing them, you'll have details on topics such as:

  • How Athenian democracy developed
  • What caused the rise and decline of the Athenian Golden Age
  • Repercussions of the Peloponnesian War
  • Roles and rights of Greek women
  • Leading Greek tragedians
  • How philosophers like Socrates and Plato influenced society
  • Characteristics that defined ancient Greek art and architecture

VideoObjective
Birth of History: Herodotus' Persian WarLearn about the historical account that Herodotus provided of the Persian War.
Athenian Democracy: Solon and CleisthenesExplore the development of democracy in Athens and the reforms of Solon and Cleisthenes.
Pericles, the Delian League, and the Athenian Golden AgeExamine the Delian League's formation and Pericles' role in making Athens the seat of an empire.
Peloponnesian War and ThucydidesLearn about Thucydides' account of the Peloponnesian War and explore what caused the conflict.
Women of GreeceExamine the lives and roles of women in ancient Greece.
Greek Myth and ReligionStudy Greek mythological figures and the characteristics of ancient Greek religion.
Greek Theatre: Tragedy and ComedyFind out about the genres of Greek theatre and the works of leading tragedians.
Ancient Greek Art, Pottery and SculptureTake a look at the style transitions of ancient Greek pottery and sculpture.
Ancient Greek Architecture: Dorian, Ionic & CorinthianFind out about the elements of ancient Greek architecture and the orders of Greek columns.
The Birth of Philosophy: The PresocraticsExamine the philosophical ideas of those that came before Socrates.
Socrates: Life, Death and PhilosophyExplore the life and influential philosophical works of Socrates.
Platonic Idealism: Plato and His InfluenceTake a look at Plato's philosophy and how it impacted later philosophers.
Aristotelian Logic: Aristotle's Central Concepts and InfluenceLearn about Aristotle's life and the legacy of his philosophical concepts.
Daily Life in Ancient AthensGet details on ancient Athenian daily life, culture and society.
Legacy of Ancient Greece: Art, Government, Science & SportsDiscover the many accomplishments of ancient Greece and their lasting impact in multiple fields.

15 Lessons in Chapter 9: Classical Greek Culture & Philosophy
Birth of History: Herodotus' Persian War

1. Birth of History: Herodotus' Persian War

This lecture begins with Herodotus' special place in history. It then looks at the miracle at Marathon and seeks to explain how it happened by comparing phalanx warfare to Persian warfare. Following that, we'll run through a brief summary of the rest of the war, with special attention drawn to Greek triremes.

Athenian Democracy: Solon and Cleisthenes

2. Athenian Democracy: Solon and Cleisthenes

Although Athens is remembered for creating the first democracy, it took many years and multiple leaders to develop the system we think of today. Learn about who took control, what reforms they made and how the people revolted against the old system.

Pericles, the Delian League, and the Athenian Golden Age

3. Pericles, the Delian League, and the Athenian Golden Age

This lecture covers the formation of the Delian League, its development into the Athenian Empire and the peculiar place of Pericles in the midst of it all, turning the city of Athens into the seat of an empire.

Peloponnesian War and Thucydides

4. Peloponnesian War and Thucydides

This lecture covers the Peloponnesian War. First we enumerate the causes of the war. Then we examine Pericles' plan to win it. We see how Pericles' plan eventually fell apart and how the Athenians struggled without leadership until their eventual destruction at the hands of the Spartans.

Women of Greece

5. Women of Greece

The Greeks were one of the most progressive ancient civilizations, but that wasn't true in how they treated women. This lesson goes over facts about how women were treated and explains how the best place to be a woman in Greece was Sparta.

Greek Myth and Religion

6. Greek Myth and Religion

This lecture examines the troubles of generalizing Greek religion, before doing just that. It lists the major Olympian gods and their roles. It then explores the function of heroes in Greek religion. Next, the relationship between gods and men is laid out. Finally, it explores aspects of Greek myth that reemerge in Christianity.

Greek Theatre: Tragedy and Comedy

7. Greek Theatre: Tragedy and Comedy

This lecture examines the function of theatre in Greek culture and religion, with special focus on the Athenians. It then explores the three different sorts of Greek theatre: satyr plays, comedy and tragedy, citing specific examples. Finally, we study the impact of theatre on Western civilization.

Ancient Greek Art, Pottery and Sculpture

8. Ancient Greek Art, Pottery and Sculpture

A survey of the transitions in Greek art, with special emphasis placed on the importance of materials and technique. This lecture explores Greek pottery styles from geometric to Orientalizing to black- and red-figure vases. It then turns to sculpture from Archaic styles to realism to idealism. Slides are shown throughout to get students familiar with these Greek styles.

Ancient Greek Architecture: Dorian, Ionic & Corinthian

9. Ancient Greek Architecture: Dorian, Ionic & Corinthian

This lecture discusses Greek architecture and its legacy. Enjoy our exploration of Greek columns, temples, stadiums, treasuries and theaters, and see why the Greeks might have reached the pinnacle of architectural achievement.

The Birth of Philosophy: The Presocratics

10. The Birth of Philosophy: The Presocratics

This lecture covers the advent of philosophy. It first differentiates philosophy from religion, drawing parallels to modern science. It then establishes the basic questions of Presocratic philosophy: What is matter? and What causes change? The rest of the lecture demonstrates how these questions developed as they were tackled by generations of Presocratic philosophers. Finally, it makes plain our incredible debt to the Presocratics.

Socrates: Life, Death and Philosophy

11. Socrates: Life, Death and Philosophy

This lecture is a whirlwind tour through the life of Socrates. It begins with an explanation of the Socratic problem, followed by an examination of his philosophy. The lecture ends with a summary of Socrates' legacy.

Platonic Idealism: Plato and His Influence

12. Platonic Idealism: Plato and His Influence

This lecture examines the philosophy and legacy of Plato. It covers the Allegory of the Cave, the Realm of Forms and Plato's views on politics and the soul. Finally, it shows Plato's enduring legacy in modern science.

Aristotelian Logic: Aristotle's Central Concepts and Influence

13. Aristotelian Logic: Aristotle's Central Concepts and Influence

This lesson will explore the life of the famous philosopher Aristotle. It will highlight his life in Northern Greece and Athens, as well as his interactions with Alexander the Great. It will also explain the main tenants of Aristotelian logic.

Daily Life in Ancient Athens

14. Daily Life in Ancient Athens

In this lesson, you will explore the culture of ancient Athens and experience the daily life of an Athenian citizen. Afterward, you can test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Legacy of Ancient Greece: Art, Government, Science & Sports

15. Legacy of Ancient Greece: Art, Government, Science & Sports

In this lesson, you will explore the legacies that the ancient Greeks left behind on this world in art, government, science, and sports. Then, test your understanding with a brief quiz.

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