Debates About the Past: Greek Civilization, History, and Culture Week 4
Debates About the Past: Greek Civilization, History, and Culture Week 4 CLA 2110
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Date Created: 01/31/16
DEBATES ABOUT THE PAST: GREEK WEEK 4 (Based on PowerPoints/Class Lectures/Assigned Readings) The Rise of the Polis (and Tyranny!) By 750 BC… • Literacy is common o Inscriptions on stones were very common o Homer was very important • Hoplite armor becoming more common and popular • Greek poleis organized spatially and socially (very gradual) • Greek colonies founded all around the Mediterranean Hoplite warfare • 7 century BC • Armed infantry: • Helmet, spear • Shield (large, made of wood covered in leather) • Phalanx formation • 8 soldiers deep. • A very organized formation • Group cooperation is vital • Organized battles • No longer one-on-one • Disadvantages • Slow, • If someone falls- they all might -clumsy, • Weak bc sides are exposed • Need for calvary to counter how slow it is • The common men would be in the phalanx and the more elite in the Calvary. • Benefits • Because it the leather armor was inexpensive, they had more money for soldiers so the forces increased Results of Hoplite Warfare • Constant defense of land • Emergence of group ethics • Leads to popularity of athletic games o Agonistic society • Increased demand for political representation o “I fight, so I should have a say in the government.” Emergence of the polis (city state) • Aristotle - “Polis is natural because village is natural because family is natural; therefore, man is by nature a political creature.” Definition of “polis” Polis = “poli-tics” To be “political” = to live in a polis • Over 1,035 known by the death of Alexander the Great (323 BC) • Problem: Athens is best source of information o Athens is an atypical polis. • Oikos system o Sort of like a “family system” o Led by male o Dependents include children, wife, etc o Has to be able to sustain themselves o Typically big families are in an Okios system • Self-governing or autonomous (autarkeia) and self-sufficient • Each is unique • Typical population of Polis = 2,000 to 10,000. o None over 100,000. • Typical size = 35 miles squared o small and condensed o Mainly due to geographical reasons • Individual laws, constitution (politeia), governing bodies, army, taxation policies o This is why there was a lot of in fighting • Most important: citizens (polites) The Greek polis or city-state Polis, polies (pl.) • TERRITORY (khora) • CITY (astu) • VILLAGES • HARBOR o almost all have one • PLAINS o for farming • HILLS/MOUNTAINS o Good for vines/grapes • ACROPOLIS o “high city” • WALLS o Not necessary only 43% had them Constitutions • Politeia • Set of laws • Explanation of entire cultural, social, political and economic way of life • Very broad • Mostly about the ethics of the polis • Types: • Democracy – Rule of people • Oligarcy- Rule of a few • Monarcy or tyranny Citizens • Polites (male, pl.) and politis (female, pl.) • Membership qualifications: • Definition differs from polis to polis, constitution to constitution • In general: indigenous and free • Able to defend the polis • Publically permitted to share in administration of justice, public offices, magistracies (i.e. jury member, member of assembly) • Rights of citizens: • Equal legal rights, ability to vote, access to courts to resolve disputes, protection against enslavement, participation in religious life • Make decisions communally • Some rights were more limited: holding offices • Legal equality not generally based on wealth • Power as public domain • Citizens with power • Female citizens • Rarely given the same rights as men • Still citizens but with a different set of rights • Can’t vote or sit on jury (Athens) • Identity, social status, local rights, religious access • Kyrios as “protector” • Man in house protects you • Citizenship rights equal to minors • Not citizens: slaves, “metics” • Metics are people who have moved into the polis but have no ties in it. Basically a foreigner coming in The rise of the polis: causes • “Synoecism” • Gathering of people • Merging of villages, abandonment of others • Population rise? • In the Iron age population decresed, now that its over there is a steep rise in population • Attributed to hoplite warfare? • Aristocrats losing control? Colonization • 750-500 BC • Mother city (metropolis) • Example of dispute: Epidamnus, colony of Corcyra • Epi has probs and asks its mother city Corcyra for help. Corcyra says so. Other cities can help though. • So the mother city does not need to help its colony • The colony should be as independent as possible • Consultation of Delphic oracle • Before starting a colony leaders would typically ask a oracle for guidance (typically at Delphi) • Organized expedition – group decision • Sometimes forced Reasons for colonization: • NOT for imperial purposes o Reasons seem to be more economic • Population explosion at beginning of Archaic period o created more land strife • Expulsion of troublemakers • Scarcity of land; “land hunger” o “We want more land! Send some people there!” • Problem with inheritance o Youngest kids usually get jipped, so the youngest son would be sent out t help colonize • Resources needed: metals, food o desire for wealth Consequences of colonization • Revival of international trade • Over 80 sites with Greek pottery by 8 century • From Spain to the black sea • Increasing encounters with “barbaroi” • Orientalizing movement in art • Especially in pottery (pottery and sculpture) • What greeks do with interactions from non greeks • Cultural reinforcement to counter • Olympic games (776 BC) and agnostic society • Agnostic means struggle which is attributed to the competitive energy Aristocracy and Tyranny in the Archaic Period Inequality in the polis • Tension in the state? o Due to Oikos system § some families become stronger – get ritcher- adding to tension which deprive the others- which add tension and create social stratification o people start going into debt • Equality vs. inequality o Inequality of wealth, yet there is some equality in politics • “Man is a communal (koinonikon) animal” (Aristotle) • What kind of inequalities seem “normal” in any state? o Economic: Classes? o Upper vs. lower? o Aristocracy vs. demos (people)? By the end of the “Dark Age”: The Rise of the Aristocracy • Arist- “best”; cracy – “rule” = rule of the best • Based on prestige, glory of lineage and wealth • Not nobility • Wealth, conduct, and birth • Public works programs and displays of wealth o (conspicuous consumption) Greek aristocratic virtues: HOW GREEK ARE YOU? • aristoi: “the best”: games, physical health, beauty • olbioi: “the blessed”: sacrifices to the gods o Adherence to religious expectations § Donate votive offerings § Donate animals to be sacrificed § etc • ploutoi: “the wealthiest”: displays of wealth, public works o like building libraries or monuments with your name on it o Gotta show that you’re generous • Homeric kings and heroes vs. Archaic ruling class o Kings are not really a thing in this time period Other “communities” in the polis • demos: “the people” • In literature: “good” vs. “bad” o Good: Arisocracies o Bad: the demos § Didn’t mean bad, just lower • Need to appease the demos o There was this pressure to make sure the demos were satisfied The Symposium • Aristocratic parties • Watered-down wine • It was seen as barbaric to drink wine straight • Philosophical discussions • Plato’s Symposium • Can escalate to wild party atmosphere • Closed, safe environment Guests • Elite, upper-class men • Young boys (as proteges) • To educate them • Servants (boys or women) • “Companions” or hetairai (expensive female prostitutes) • they were talented and usually would play instuments… then do what prostitutes do. • NO WIVES ALLOWED. Crisis of the aristocracy • Non-elites acquiring substantial property, marrying elite, etc. • Pressure to extend citizenship to more people • Elite groups less cohesive due to competition • Elites would fight with each other for support of the demos • This is why they are less cohesive • The result: Tyranny! • There are both good and bad tyrants • Tyrants means unconstitutional ruler How to become a tyrant • A response to strife, desire to establish order. • “Some [tyrants] arose from those chosen to fill the chief magistracies… and others from oligarchies that selected one of their own to the greatest offices… the greatest number of tyrants have risen, so to speak, from leaders of the people, winning trust by slandering the nobles.” Aristotle • Other ways: • Offering citizenship to disenfranchised for support- to get more support • Military coup- fight for your tyranny Qualities of tyrants • Rarely lasts more than 2 generations • Tyrannies are rare in general o Only 27 out of hundreds had them • Because it’s a more stable time w/tyrants there are more poets and artworks made in these times Good results of Tyrannies • Law codes (esp. Athens) • Emergence of greater freedom of thought o Art flourished in times of tyranny • Tyrants as patrons of the arts (Pittacus and Sappho) • Increased writing • Games o During times of stability there is more wealth so there is more money to spend on games! • Building programs o Pheidon of Argos o Theagenes of Megara
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