Showing posts from March, 2018

Greek Myths and Other Videos

Here are a few great video clips from the TED-Ed organization that deal with Greek myths and other topics. Enjoy!

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 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.

The wars also led to a show of unity between the Greeks, which was essential to their success in defeating their enemy.


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:

Important people:
Themistocles (c. 525 – 460 BCE)Trireme shipsAgamemnon (c. 1200 BCE)The Iliad and the OdysseyPericles (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. …

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…

Sanctuaries, Oracles, and Theaters

In ancient Greece, people honored the gods in several ways. Throughout Greece there were special places called sanctuaries where people could offer sacrifices, perform rituals, and pray to different gods.

At Olympia, the god Zeus was honored with athletic games and competitions that took place every four years. These events were so important that all of the city-states of Greece would send their top athletes. Wars would be put on hold, and the winners would receive prizes like free food for life. The games were so important, in fact, that the ancient Greeks numbered their years according to which Olympiad had recently taken place. The first Olympic Games were in 776 BC.

Also at Olympia, The massive temple complex of Zeus, and specifically the monumental gold and ivory statue of the god, was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Rituals were performed, and animal sacrifices were made on the altar just outside and in front of the temple.

At the sites of oracles, ancient Greeks…

Ancient Greek Religious Beliefs

The ancient Greeks were polytheistic. They had many gods and goddesses that represented the forces of nature (like the sky, the sea, and death), and to represent human nature (like love, war, and wisdom). The Greeks also told many myths about their gods, their heroes, and their wars. During the Dark Ages (1100 BC - 800 BC), oral tradition kept these stories alive and helped to pass Greek culture down from earlier generations.

Early Greeks and the Geography of Greece

A few videos about the Minoans -- The earliest Greek settlements of Crete:

Maps of Ancient Greece

In class we labeled the following areas of ancient Greece:

Land Areas (black)
Cyclades Islands

City-States (red)

Seas (blue)
Aegean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
Sea of Crete
Ionian Sea

Mountains (green)
Pindus Mountains
Mt. Olympus

Now check out some resources that will help you understand the geography, location, and climate of ancient Greece. Keep in mind the similarities, and especially the differences between ancient Greece and ancient Egypt.

Take a look at this cool interactive map from the British Museum's website: Classical Greece Map

If the video above isn't working, click on the following link:

Ancient Greece Unit Vocabulary

Here are the vocabulary words and definitions for our Greece unit. Copy them into your notebook.

Minoan Art

The Minoans were an amazing civilization, the first in Europe. They developed on the island of Crete around 2500 BCE. Check out this article about the Minoans from National Geographic:

Rise and Fall of the Mighty Minoans (click here)
Here is the introductory paragraph:

In the epic poem The Odyssey, the Greek poet Homer praised an island that lies “out in the wine-dark sea . . . a rich and lovely sea-girt land, densely peopled, with 90 cities and several different languages.” This sophisticated place is not just a random spot in the Mediterranean—Homer is describing Crete, southernmost of the Greek islands and home to one of the oldest civilizations in Europe. Located some 400 miles northwest of Alexandria in Egypt, Crete has been inhabited since the Neolithic period, around 7000 B.C. The culture that developed there during the second millennium B.C. spread throughout the entire eastern Mediterranean world. Crete’s command of the seas would allow its stunning art and architecture to dee…