Early Greek History and Indo-Europeans
Early Greek History and Indo-Europeans CLAS 160D2 - 002
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Popular in Classical Mythology
This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Samantha Work on Wednesday January 27, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CLAS 160D2 - 002 at University of Arizona taught by Michael Teske in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 35 views. For similar materials see Classical Mythology Lecture in Classical Mythology at University of Arizona.
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Date Created: 01/27/16
Classical Mythology: Early Greek History and the IndoEuropeans Migration of IndoEuropeans ● The Indo-Europeans were an aggressive, war-like mother race which began to migrate as early as 5,000 B.C. o Perhaps from steppes of western Russia o With domestication of horses ● They spread all the way west to the Iberian peninsula to the east even into the subcontinent of India o I.e. modern day Spain ● Almost all the European cultures from Spain to India are derived from the Indo-Europeans Both the Ancient Greeks and Romans are Branches of the Indo Europeans ● The Greeks, in about 1900 B.C., cascaded down from the North bringing their sky-god Zeus and other divinities with them. ● These Greeks quickly conquered, submerged, and assimilated the existing inhabitants, and established citadel complexes. o Hellenes as they called themselves Power Triad of Argos, Mycenae, and Tiryns ● The Greeks built huge citadels, some with massive defensive walls such as the Cyclopean fortifications as Mycenae o With the stones supposedly set in place by the one-eyes giants, the Cyclopes ▪ Greek plural ▪ ● These mainland Greeks created navies and merchant fleets and fanned out in the Mediterranean, soon coming in contact with the Minoans on Crete o Minoans=Cretans Cnossos on Crete and King Minos’ Palace ● Minos’ palace at Cnossos has no large fortifications o Unlike Mycenae ▪ Perhaps because of the natural protection of the island’s isolation and an extensive navy ● The Minoans, when encountered by the Greeks already had a well-established civilization o Working in bronze, bull worship, veneration of a snake-goddess, etc. Evidence of the Coalescing of Minoan and Greek Culture ● Linear B clay tablets initially found at Cnossos in Crete and at Pylos in southwestern part of Peloponnesus o Ca 1450 B.C. o The southern peninsula of Greece ● In 1952, Michael Ventris, and amateur linguist and a cryptographer, deciphered Linear B o Aided in part by Sir John Chadwick, and academic Nature of Linear B ● Linear B is a Cretan syllabary representing Greek sounds o Thereby showing the melding of Minoan and Greek culture ▪ Tablets dated from at least 1450 B.C. on Crete, and many from 1400 B.C. onward in Greece ● What is contained in the Linear B tablets? o Dry administrative records, but also the first list of the Greek gods and some offerings given to them o But no myths Destruction of Minoan Power ● In about 1450 B.C. a large volcanic eruption on the island of Thera generated huge tsunamis which buffeted and devastated the northern coast of Crete ○ 72 miles to north of Crete ● Then presumably an invasion force destroyed Minoan power ○ of the Greeks, or others ○ some have even argued for a couple major cataclysms with one as early as 1620 B.C. ● After cs. 140 B.C., Minoans no longer are a force in Mediterranean ○ Minotaur myths, etc. must predate this eclipse of Minoan power Archeological Evidence of Trojan War (ca. 1200 B.C.) ● Excavations at Troy ○ 9 levels of settlement identified ■ 1st level about 2900 B.C. ■ 2nd level about 2450 B.C. ● 1st 5 levels all predate 1700 B.C. ■ level 6 about 1250 B.C. ■ level 7a perhaps king Priam’s Troy from ca. 1200 B.C. ● Heinrich Schliemann excavated at Troy in 1870’s ○ amateur German archeologist ○ i.e. hill of Hisarlik in Turkey Subsequent Excavation at Troy ● Dorpfeld continued the dig in the 1880’s ○ Schliemann’s architect friend ● Carl Belgen of the University of Cincinnati excavated at Troy in the 1930’s ● Korfmann from a German university, and C. Brian Rose of University of Cincinnati have continued the excavations from 1980’s to the present Schliemann also excavated Mycenae ● He found the citadel complex, and large tholos tombs, huge “bee-hive shaped” tombs cut into the mountainside ○ He thought he had found the treasury of Atreus (Agamemnon’s father) and the tomb of Clytemnestra (Ag.s Wife) ● He also discovered a series of shaft graves closer to the central part of the citadel ○ in them he found beautiful funerary masks of beaten gold, jewelry and weaponry ■ these date to ca. 1600 B.C. Wealth and Power of Troy and Mycenae in 2nd Millennium B.C. ● Schliemann had helped to establish that both Troy and Mycenae seemed to have significant resources in ca. 1200 B.C., and could have been involved in a protracted war ● Troy’s strategic position at the entrance to the Hellespont suggests that the Trojan War could have been a conflict fought over trade routes and access to the Black Sea ○ though the mythic explanation was that queen Helen of Sparta was abducted by the Trojan prince Paris Hope this helps! - Sam
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