Friday, April 17, 2015

Alexander the Great

In summing up the importance of Alexander the Great, please copy the following information into your notes.

Alexander the Great and His Influence
What three military methods did King Philip use to build Macedonia’s military power?

Professional army: 
*Highly trained                                                   
*Well paid

New battle formations:
*phalanx (line of soldiers with long spears)

New weapons and war machines:
*Battering ram

Each of the following was part of Alexander’s strategy for building an empire.

STRATEGY: Conquering New Lands
*Gave Alexander additional land, power, and wealth.
*Empire extended into Egypt, Persia, India, Asia Minor, Syria, and Libya. 

STRATEGY: Establishing Features of Greek Culture in Conquered Lands
*Modeling new cities after Greek cities.
*Leaving Greeks to rule colonies.

STRATEGY: Adopting Features of the Conquered Culture
*Adopted some aspects of native cultures.
*Many conquered people adopted Greek language, religion, and literature.
*Local people feel like Alexander is one of them. 

STRATEGY: Founding Cities and Naming Them after Himself
*Building cities, not just destroying.
*Left Greek culture and government.
*Cities named for him remind others he is GREAT. 

STRATEGY: Establishing Alexandria (in Egypt) as an intellectual center
*Library and schools in Alexandria had a HUGE impact on education and thinking.

Why did the empire break apart after Alexander’s death?
No ONE general could take Alexander’s place so several generals split the empire among themselves.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Athens, Sparta, and the Peloponnesian War

Here are some video clips about the city-states of Athens and Sparta and the Peloponnesian War between them, fought during the years 431-404 B.C.E.

Check out this easy slide showabout Athens and Sparta:

The Wikipedia article on the Peloponnesian War is actually pretty good:

Click here for a Brainpop on Athens , Brainpop on Greek gods , Brainpop on Democracy

Monday, April 6, 2015

Great Greek Project Selection!

For Great Greek Day, you will choose and research an ancient Greek (real or mythological). You will create a project to present your research, and you will "become" that Greek on Great Greek Day. During the week, you will receive the project description, requirements, scoring rubric, and instructions.

For now, your first step is to choose your Greek. In this post, you will find a list of suggestions. Please use a website like Wikipedia or one of the High Rock Media Center databases to find a general overview of each person that sounds interesting to you. Don't dismiss a name just because you've never heard about that person! You might find a great selection just by keeping an open mind.

Write down your top 3 choices and be ready to enter them on a Google Form in class this week

**AT LEAST one of your selections must be a REAL ancient Greek.**
Bonus points will be awarded to any student that chooses a real person to research.

Real Great Greeks
Alexander the Great at the Battle of Issus


Alexander the Great

Phillip II (father of Alexander, king of Macedon)

Pericles (greatest leader of Athens)

Hippias (last tyrant of Athens)

Themistocles (Athenian admiral)

Solon (founding father of Athenian democracy)

Leonidas of Sparta (fought against Persia)

Demosthenes (famous Athenian politician)

Ptolemy (general of Alexander, ruler of Egypt)

Seleucus I (general of Alexander)

Lysimachus (general of Alexander)

Cleopatra VII (last pharaoh/queen of Egypt)

Cleisthenes (Athenian leader)

Draco (leader famous for harsh law code)

Lycurgus (Spartan leader)

Darius the Great (king of Persia)

Xerxes the Great (king of Persia)

2,000 year old papyrus page of Euclid's geometry

Pythagoras (philosopher and mathematician)

Euclid (invented geometry)

Archimedes (inventor)

Eratosthenes (cartographer)

Hipparchus of Nicaea (astronomer)


Hippocrates (doctor)

Hipparchus (astronomer)

Claudius Ptolemy (measured the earth)

Aristarchus of Samos (astronomer)

Galen of Pergamon (doctor/surgeon)

Hero of Alexandria (inventor, engineer)

Hypatia of Alexandria (female mathematician and teacher)


Homer (traditional "author" of Iliad and Odyssey)

Hesiod (poet of origin myth of Greek gods)

Aesop (author of fables)

Sappho (poet)

Aeschylus (playwright of tragic plays including Agamemnon)

Sophocles (playwright of tragic plays)

Euripides (playwright of satires)

Aristophanes (comedy writer)

Pausanias (travel writer)

Plutarch (famous biographer of Greeks and Romans)

Strabo (ancient geographer and travel writer)
Aeschylus wrote about King Agamemnon's murder by his wife and her bf






Thales of Miletus

Phidias designed the Parthenon scenes of Greeks fighting centaurs

Thucydides (wrote about the Peloponnesian War)

Herodotus (started the modern study of History)

Xenophon (described military campaigns)


Phidias (sculptor)


General People
Athenian woman

Spartan woman

helot (slave of Sparta)

hoplite (Greek soldier) 

Persian immortal (soldier)

Mythological Great Greeks

Gods and Goddesses

Kronos (time)

Rhea (mother of Zeus, gave Kronos a rock to swallow)

Gaea (earth)

Oeranos (orginal sky god)

Zeus (king of the gods)

Hera (queen of the gods)

Poseidon (god of the sea)

Hades (god of the underworld)

Demeter (earth goddess)

Persephone (queen of the underworld)

Apollo (god of light and music)

Artemis (goddess of the hunt)

Aphrodite (goddess of love)

Hephaestus (blacksmith of the gods)

Ares (god of war)

Hestia (goddess of the home)

Hermes (messenger god)

Athena (goddess of wisdom)

Dionysus (god of wine and parties)

Iris (Rainbow)

Eos (Dawn)

Thetis (Sea-nymph, mother of Achilles)

Helios (the Sun)

Atlas (holds up the Earth)

Eros (god of love, original Cupid)

Proteus (shape-shifting god of the deep sea)

The Muses (goddesses of the Arts)

Hypnos (embodiment of Sleep)

Thanatos (embodiment of Death)

Hecate (goddess of black magic)

Nike (goddess of victory)

Aeolus (god of the four winds)

Pan (satyr god of the wilderness)

Heroes and Heroines


Pythia (the Oracle of Delphi)

Theseus (killed the Minotaur)

Perseus (killed Medusa)

Heracles (Hercules)

Jason (found the Golden Fleece)

Daedalus (built a labyrinth, fake wings)

Icarus (flew too close to the sun)

Hector (Trojan warrior)

Paris Alexander (Trojan prince, stole away Helen)

Aeneas (Trojan hero, legendary founder of Romans)


King Priam (king of Troy)

Bellerophon (flew on Pegasus, killed chimera)

Achilles (greatest Greek warrior)

Orpheus (greatest musician in myth)

Atalanta (great athlete)

Andromeda (chained to a rock, rescued by Perseus)

Helen of Troy

Electra (daughter of Agamemnon)

Daphne (nymph, turned into a laurel tree by Apollo)

Agamemnon (Greek king, killed by wife after returning home)

Menelaus (king of Sparta, husband of Helen)

Oedipus (killed the Sphinx)

Penelope (brilliant wife of Odysseus)


Calypso (witch, original clingy girlfriend)

Medea (witch, wife of Jason)

Penthesilea (queen of the Amazons)

Pentheus (prince, torn apart by followers of Dionysus)

Tiresias (blind prophet, tells the future)

Monsters and Others

Medusa (gorgon, turns men into stone)

Arachne (turned into a spider by Athena)

Circe (witch, turns men into animals)

Minotaur (half bull, half human)

The Chimera (part lion, part goat, part snake)


Centaur (half human, half horse)

Pegasus (winged horse)

Hydra (multi-headed reptile monster)

Io (changed by Zeus into a cow)

Scylla (monster with woman's torso and dogs for legs)

Charybdis (giant whirlpool)


The Harpies (hybrid women/birds that torment men)

The Three Furies (the Avenger, the Jealous, the Unresting)

The Three Fates (the Spinner, the Caster of Lots, the Unbending)

The Graeae (three witches, share one eye and one tooth)

Geryon (three-headed giant)

Cerberus (Hades's three-headed dog)

Polyphemus (the Cyclops)

Ancient Greece and the Persian Wars

From the British Museum's website:

The wars between Persia and Greece took place in the early part of the 5th century BC. Persia had a huge empire and had every intention of adding Greece to it.

The Persian king Darius first attacked Greece in 490 BC, but was defeated at the Battle of Marathon by a mainly Athenian force.

This map shows the routes of the Persian invasion forces and major battle sites of the Wars.
This humiliation led to the attempt to conquer Greece in 480-479 BC. The invasion was led by Xerxes, Darius's son. After initial Persian victories, the Persians were eventually defeated, both at sea and on land. The wars with the Persians had a great effect on ancient Greeks.

The Athenian Acropolis was destroyed by the Persians, but the Athenian response was to build the beautiful buildings whose ruins we can still see today. In Greek art, there are many depictions of Greeks fighting Persians and Greek plays also feature the Persian enemy.

This depiction on pottery shows a Greek soldier fighting a Persian. Notice the Persian's distinctive cap and pants.
The wars also led to a show of unity between the Greeks, which was essential to their success in defeating their enemy.

Here's a History Channel summary of the Battle of Marathon:

Here's a History Channel overview of the Battle of Thermopylae (the famous "Battle of the 300")

Here's a longer documentary (although it looks like a graphic novel and is overly dramatic) about the Persian Wars:

Here's a goofy (but informative) explanation of the Persian Wars:

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Iliad and the Odyssey

The two most important texts of the ancient Greeks were the Iliad, the story of the Trojan War, and the Odyssey, the story of Odysseus's journey home and the adventures he has along the way.

Originally, these stories developed as oral tradition and were meant to be shared among a group of people by a storyteller, usually after a large meal.

Around 800 BC, when the Dark Ages were ending and the Phoenician alphabet was adopted by the Greeks, the stories of the Iliad and the Odyssey began to be written down.

Many people, even in ancient times, considered the author of these two epics to be a man named Homer, a blind storyteller who lived around 800 BC. The truth is that the word Homer come from the Greek word meaning storyteller. There wasn't one single Homer, but generations of storytellers from the late Bronze Age of Greece that told the same epics, but with many different variations.

The Iliad

In the Iliad, the Greeks and Trojans are fighting at the city of Troy. The prince of Troy, Paris, has stolen away Helen, the daughter of Zeus and queen of Sparta. The Greeks are led by King Agamemnon of Mycenae, who is an arrogant leader that wants to destroy Troy. The greatest of all Greek warriors, and the main character of the Iliad is Achilles. Achilles is also a king, coming from the area of Phthia in Greece. Achilles is famous among Greeks and Trojans for his speed and deadly fighting skills.

The actual story of the Iliad begins with an argument between Achilles and Agamemnon. Agamemnon is forced to give back on of his prizes, a captured Trojan girl, and so he takes Achilles's prize girl to make up for his loss. Achilles refuses to fight after such unfair treatment, and without him the Greeks start losing, badly.

Later, Achilles's best friend Patroclus begs Achilles to let him use his armor to scare the Trojans and help the Greeks win again. When Patroclus goes into battle in Achilles's armor, Greeks and Trojans both think it's Achilles. The Trojan prince Hector, greatest warrior of Troy, kills Patroclus and thinks that he has killed Achilles. When word of the death of Patroclus reaches Achilles, he goes into a murderous rage! He plows through the Trojan army like a lawnmower and kills every Trojan he sees, though he really wants to kill Hector. At one most, he even fights a river when that river is angry at Achilles for clogging it with so many dead Trojans.

Hector and Achilles meet outside of the walls of Troy, with the entire royal family watching, including Hector's father, King Priam, and the two warriors engage in single combat. The fighting is intense, but Achilles kills Hector. He then proceeds to drag Hector's dead body around the city of Troy three times to get his revenge.

After a few nights, King Priam sneaks into the Greek camp and meets privately with Achilles. He begs Achilles to return the body of Hector so the King can give his son a proper burial. Achilles agrees because King Priam reminds him of his own father, and he learns to let go of his rage.

At the end of the Iliad, the city of Troy still stands, although both Greeks and Trojans know that the gods have destined for Troy to fall.

Later myths speak about the Trojan horse and the Greek destruction of the city of Troy.

On this ancient vase, you can see the Greek soldiers hiding inside of the legendary Trojan Horse

Here's what the beginning of the Iliad would have sounded like in the original Greek:

Here is a scene from the movie Troy in which Hector and Achilles fight in front of the walls of Troy. Warning/Spoiler Alert: it shows Hector dying. Notice that when Hector dies, the Trojans know that this means their city will be defeated.

  The Odyssey

The Odyssey is the journey home of the Greek king of Ithaka, Odysseus. Because he angers Poseidon by blinding the Cyclops, Poseidon's son, his journey is long and difficult.

Finally, I want to share with you my favorite translation of both the Iliad and the Odyssey from Stanley Lombardo. These are the translations that I read from during class:

The Iliad translated by Stanley Lombardo

The Odyssey translated by Stanley Lombardo

Monday, March 30, 2015

Greece: Engineering an Empire

On the History Channel's Engineering an Empire: Greece, some major engineering and building achievements are described. Students are responsible for finding the answers to the following questions:

The Parthenon
Important people:
  • Themistocles (c. 525 – 460 BCE)
    • Trireme ships
  • Agamemnon (c. 1200 BCE)
    • The Iliad and the Odyssey
  • Pericles (c. 495 – 429 BCE)
    • The Parthenon
Mycenaean Civilization
1. What group of people dominates large portions of mainland Greece in 1300 BCE? Who led these people in their capital city (see map at 11:13)?

2. What was the Iliad, and who supposedly wrote it? How was it really meant to be shared?

3. What was the Lion’s Gate, and what did it symbolize about Mycenae? What architectural building technique did this structure introduce?

*What was a “tholos” tomb? Feel free to draw a sketch of one:

War with Persia
4. In September 480 BCE, what civilization tried to add Greece to their empire?

5. Briefly describe who Themistocles was.

6. How did Themistocles win the battle at Salamis?

7. In 471 BCE, Themistocles was ostracized. Why? What does being ostracized mean?

8. Briefly describe who Pericles was.

9. What was the alliance called that joined Athens together with other city-states in 478 BCE?

10. How did Athens get its name (29:15)?

The Parthenon
11. What was the Parthenon’s main function?

12. Why did many Athenians, including Plato, dislike the Parthenon?

13. Why did the Golden Age of Athens end?