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Ch 2: Overview & History of Ancient Greece

About This Chapter

Use our lessons to review information about the history and achievements of the ancient Greeks. Refresh your understanding of the great city-states, politics, conflicts and philosophy.

Overview & History of Ancient Greece - Chapter Summary

This chapter's lessons reflect on Greek civilization and its greatest accomplishments. Our instructors examine the Minoans and their civilization, the city-states of Athens and Sparta, and important Greek philosophers and their ideas. Additionally, the lessons will go into detail about the development of Greek democracy, Greek political leaders, and the Peloponnesian War.

Specifically, after completing this chapter, you should have an understanding of the following:

  • The Minoan civilization and its fate
  • Life in Sparta
  • Slavery in ancient Greece
  • Democracy in Athens under Solon and Cleisthenes
  • Pericles and the Athenian Golden Age
  • The causes and outcome of the Peloponnesian War
  • Socrates, Plato and Aristotle and their philosophies and central concepts

You can watch these lessons from a smartphone, tablet or computer anytime you've got a few extra minutes. After each lesson is a short multiple-choice quiz that lets you assess your knowledge. If you want to review a particular topic, every video includes a clickable timeline that makes it easy to locate the spot you need to see.

9 Lessons in Chapter 2: Overview & History of Ancient Greece
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The Minoans

1. 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.

History of Sparta

2. 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.

Slavery in Ancient Greece

3. 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.

Athenian Democracy: Solon and Cleisthenes

4. 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

5. 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

6. 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.

Socrates: Life, Death and Philosophy

7. 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

8. 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

9. 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.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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