About This Chapter
Overview of Ancient Greece - Chapter Summary
These were the times of Odysseus, of Menelaus and Agamemnon, of Socrates and Herodotus. Philosophy had its beginnings here, as did democracy and the art of oratory. Heroes and helots, gods and goddesses, beauty and wisdom, and war and treachery all come to life in these video lessons.
Ancient Greek civilization gave us much of what we know today. By watching these videos, you can renew your appreciation and understanding of these extraordinary people and the many gifts that they bequeathed to us. The videos illustrate the following and more:
- Development of the Greek alphabet
- Homer's epics: The Iliad and The Odyssey
- Invasion and destruction of Mycenaean civilization
- Gods and goddesses: the Greek myths
- Political organization of ancient Greece
- Status of women and slaves
- Presocratic philosophers and Herodotus' account of the Persian War
Clever animation and engaging narration make these video lessons a delight to watch and fun to work through. Fully written transcript versions accompany each video, and important terms are shown in bold text so that identification is easy and immediate. The lessons last no longer than ten minutes, so you'll progress through the chapters quickly, and the timeline feature built into each video allows you to move from segment to segment without loss of time.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
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Other chapters within the ORELA Social Science: Practice & Study Guide course
- Technology in Early Human Civilizations
- History of Mesopotamia
- Ancient Egypt
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