About This Chapter
Early Greek Civilizations - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives
If you've ever had to read The Iliad or The Odyssey in English class, you've already had a taste of ancient Greek culture. These epics, which are attributed to Homer, tell stories of Bronze Age Greece. In this chapter, you'll learn about the Bronze Age and multiple early Greek civilizations. By the time you finish the lessons, you'll have insight into topics like:
- How climate and geography impacted the early Greeks
- What theories explain the fall of Minoan civilization
- How Greek writing developed
- What caused Mycenae's rise and fall
- What slavery's role in ancient Greece was
- How the phalanx impacted warfare
- How Spartan society was structured
|How Geography & Climate Shaped Early Greek Life||Explore the ways climate and geography impacted early Greek society and activities.|
|The Minoans||Find out about the Minoan civilization's achievements and see what may have caused its collapse.|
|History of the Alphabet: From Cuneiform to Greek Writing||Trace the development of writing across multiple cultures, including the ancient Greeks.|
|Bronze Age Greece: Schliemann's Quest for Troy||Take a look at Schliemann's archaeological discoveries of Troy and Mycenae.|
|Mycenaean Civilization Develops||Examine how Mycenaean civilization developed, and learn about its achievements.|
|From Mycenae's Collapse to Greek Colonization||Trace the history of Mycenae's collapse, the Dark Ages in Greece and the rise of Greek colonization.|
|The Iliad: Greek Epic||Learn about the plot and themes in The Iliad.|
|The Odyssey: Greek Epic||Discover the plot of The Odyssey and the impact of Greek epics on literature.|
|Greek City-States and Governments||Explore the defining characteristics of the different Greek city-states, or poleis.|
|Phalanx Warfare in Ancient Greece||Learn about the design and impact of phalanx warfare in ancient Greece.|
|History of Sparta||Discover Sparta's unique culture and its military of elite warriors.|
|Slavery in Ancient Greece||Get details on the kinds of slavery in Ancient Greece and the rights of Athenian slaves.|
1. How Geography & Climate Shaped Early Greek Life
Just as the Nile shaped Egypt, so too did the unique geography of Greece help to shape one of the most enduring cultures in history. From politics and war to the economy and colonies, the geography of Greece impacted them all.
2. The Minoans
This lesson explores Minoan civilization. Beginning with Arthur Evans' discoveries at Knossos, we move on to explore the mysteries of Minoan art and writing, as well as their mysterious decline in the 15th century BCE.
3. History of the Alphabet: From Cuneiform to Greek Writing
This lecture follows the development of writing, from the pictographs of proto-cuneiform to the symbolic phonemes of cuneiform and hieroglyphics. Then from the abjads of the Phoenecians, Minoans, Hebrews and Arabs to the complete alphabets of the Greeks. It explores the limitations and strengths of each development and draws modern parallels.
4. Bronze Age Greece: Schliemann's Quest for Troy
This lecture covers the history of Bronze Age Greece, beginning with the discovery of its greatest city, Mycenae, by Heinrich Schliemann, emphasizing that the quest to find these cities was inspired by works of classical literature. It then describes the architecture of Mycenae and some of the relics found there. Finally, the lesson examines the Mycenaean achievement and its place in Western history.
5. Mycenaean Civilization Develops
The Mycenaeans were among the first people to settle in Greece and ultimately would set the stage of much of Greek Culture for the centuries to follow, from mythology to the tales of Homer.
6. From Mycenae's Collapse to Greek Colonization
This lesson covers the history of Greece from the collapse of Mycenae to the start of Greek Colonization. We watch its dissolution during the Dorian Invasion and take a look at Greece in the Dark Ages.
7. The Iliad: Greek Epic
This lecture traces the history of Greek epics. It then examines the central themes of 'The Iliad': Xenia, Achilles' wrath, and his quest for immortality. The plot of 'The Iliad' is summarized and attention is drawn to themes from the Sumerian tradition.
8. The Odyssey: Greek Epic
This lecture provides a rough outline of the exploits of Odysseus in Homer's epic poem ''The Odyssey''. You'll learn plot details about this epic poem, in addition to hearing about how this important tale relates to Greek culture and literary works throughout history.
9. Greek City-States and Governments
This is a lecture about Greek city states. It begins with an examination of the influence geography had on Greek politics, by comparing Greece to Egypt and Mesopotamia. This is followed by a loose characterization of Greek poleis in general, with specific attention paid to constitutions, colonialism and competition.
10. Phalanx Warfare in Ancient Greece
This lecture compares phalanx warfare to its hit-and-run predecessors, drawing distinctions between hit-and-run skirmishing and decisive warfare. It examines the cultural, political, and geographical features of Greece that made phalanx warfare possible and necessary, and it describes the hoplite gear and mentality.
11. History of Sparta
In this lesson, you'll examine forces that shaped a Spartan society of elite warriors. We'll also explore the stratified caste system created by Lycurgus.
12. Slavery in Ancient Greece
This lesson explores slavery in ancient Greece. We examine the various forms slavery took in Greece, comparing Spartan serfdom to Athenian chattel slavery. Finally, we enumerate the duties and rights of Athenian slaves.
Earning College Credit
Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.
To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page
Transferring credit to the school of your choice
Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.
Other chapters within the History 112: World History I course
- Prehistory & the Development of Humankind
- Civilization Begins at Mesopotamia
- Early Egyptian Civilization
- Early Civilizations of the Ancient Near East
- The Rise of Empires in the Ancient Near East
- Early Indian Civilizations & Empires
- Early Chinese Civilizations & Empires
- Classical Greek Culture & Philosophy
- Alexander & the Spread of Hellenistic Culture
- Rise of the Roman Republic
- The Roman Republic Becomes an Empire
- Roman Culture & Society
- The Development of Christianity
- Fall of the Roman Empire
- The Birth of the Muslim World
- Early African Civilizations
- Early Civilizations in Asia
- The Roman World in Transformation
- Feudalism in Europe & the Early Middle Ages
- The Byzantine Empire & the Crusades
- Rise of the Russians & the Turks
- Society & Culture in the Medieval Warm Period
- Medieval Civilization & Christianity
- European Kingdoms Emerge
- Culture of the High Middle Ages
- The Late Middle Ages
- Early Civilizations in the Americas
- The Muslim World Expands
- The European Renaissance