Complete Explanation of Ancient Greek Civilization (Sparta and Athens)

Complete Explanation of Ancient Greek Civilization (Sparta and Athens)

Ancient Greek Civilization

Ancient Greek Civilization (Sparta and Athens) - Before discussing Greek culture, we will briefly discuss Cretan culture. The Cretans are still part of the Indo-Germanic race. The person who investigated Cretan culture was Dr. Arthur Evans. He concluded that:

a Cretan culture lasted around 3000 BC;
b. the Cretans made round tombs;
c. there are remains in the form of beautiful stone vases, the former palace at Knosus, and the Labyrinth (winding walls for defense).

The Cretan culture ended around 1250 BC, they were pushed out and eventually spread to Palestine (called the Philistines). As the new rulers in Crete were the Greeks who became the basis of European culture.

The Greek area is located in the southern part of the Balkan Peninsula which is a collection of islands around the Eonean Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Aegean Sea. The southern regions of Greece have a hot climate and cool winters. The northern region is cold, and snowy in winter. The area is barren so that the inhabitants live in colonies, always coming from one area to another.

The regions of Northern Greece and Central Greece are connected by mountains, while Central Greece and Southern Greece are connected by the Isthmus of Chorento. The ancestors of the Greeks included the Indo-Germanic people who began to enter Greece around 1100 BC, as the original inhabitants were the Yonia people.

The Greeks were divided into three groups, viz

a. the Dorians, living on the Peloponnese Peninsula, the capital of Sparta;
b. the Jonians, living on the Attic Peninsula with capital at Athens;
c. the Aeolians, lived in Northern Greece with the capital cities Olympia and Delphi.

Even though it consists of various scattered ethnic groups, the Greek nation can be united by:

a. the existence of a single language, namely Greek;
b. both worshiped the god Zeus as the supreme god of Greece;
c. the Olympics (week of sports) every four years to honor Zeus;
d. every Greek knows the heroic stories of Homer's works, namely Ilias and Odysea;
e. the famous horoscope ritual at Delphi.

The Ancient Greeks were divided and inhabited by self-governing (merdeka) independent cities. This city-state was surrounded by a wall as a defense. The most developed centers of government were the Polis of Sparta and Athens. Each policy has the following characteristics.

a. Autonomy, that is, having its own laws.
b. Self-sufficiency (autarki), that is independent in the economic field.
c. Political independence.

The Spartan polis was outlined by Lycurgus around 900 BC who was autocratic militarism. Its legislature is called the Eklesia.

Spartan Society Consisted Of.
a. the ruling class, held by the Dorians;
b. slaves and the lower class.

The Laconia and Massina tribes are called Periciken, (peri means surround, ciken means they). So those who dwelt surrounded the Dorians.

Spartan system of government according to Lycurgus

a. government held by two kings;
b. The ecclesia (people's council) was in charge of deciding wars, approving bills and selecting members of the Ephoroi Council;
c. The Council of Ephoroi consisted of five people who served as a board of trustees, tried the king, and assisted the government if the king went to war;
d. Gerusia (Council of Elders) as adviser to the king;
e. The people of Sparta were divided into two groups, namely the Dorians as the first class, and the military class as a special class.

The Athens polis outlined by Solon in 600 BC, was a democratic oligarchy (a government held by aristocrats). To foster democracy, Clistenes created a system of "ostracism" or a pot shard system, namely if the people collected 1/5 of the population's pot shards, a king was declared tyrannical and banished to the forest for five years. If he can change his attitude, he can be returned as king in Athens. In Athens there were no castes, all people had equal rights.

In 594 BC, Solon made a Constitution which contained:

a. the people are divided into four levels (rich, rather rich, not too poor, and poor);
b. all aged males can become members of the Eklesia;
c. prohibition of slavery, export of grain, and restrictions on land property rights.

The structure of government of Athens
a. Heads of government are called archons (kings there are nine people).

b. Boule (a body similar to a parliament), whose job is to designate a person as an archon, hold the archon accountable, and punish the guilty archon.

c. The judiciary is held by Aeropagus which tries actions related to state treason and Haliaea which tries predetermined civil and criminal cases. Athens progressed and became the ruler of all of Greece, except for Sparta.

With the existence of Ostraca, the life of the nation is getting higher, the awareness of the leaders to serve themselves is getting bigger, and the people are participating in defending the country. Greece, especially Athens, reached its heyday during the time of Pericles when almost all of Greece was under Athens.

Advanced trade included wheat, wine, olive oil, timber, copper, gold and silver, all of which became the country's exports. Another progress was the construction of the Parthenon temple on the Acropolis hill, expanded voting rights, the Boule had to convene four times a month, and the emergence of a decree that before a law came into effect it had to be discussed first.

The Greeks worshiped many gods, including the god Zeus (the supreme god, married to the god Hera); Apollo (god of arts and sciences), Palas Athena (god of wisdom), Ares (god of war), Aprodhite (god of love and beauty), Hermes (god of commerce), and Pluto and Hades (god of death who lives in hell, guarded by dogs Cerberus).

Ancient Greek society produced many figures of science.

a. Herodotus, Greek historian who uncovered the history of Ancient Egypt and declared it the Gift of the Nile.
b. Thucydides, historian who wrote of the Peloponnesian War.
c. Pythagoras, an exact scientist with the Pythagorean theorem: the sum of the squares of the two sides of a right triangle is equal to the square of the opposite side of the right angle.
d. Archimedes, a natural scientist who put forward Archimedes' postulate: that the weight of a floating object is equal to the liquid object being displaced.
e. Hippocrates, a medical expert who wrote the book of Aphorisms and Prognoses which explained the causes of disease and how to treat it. He inherited the doctor's oath (medical code of ethics).
f. Homer, connoisseur of ancient literature with the Ilias and Odisea, narrates the life of the people in terms of native religion and superstition.

The famous Greek philosophers as follows.

a. Socrates (469 – 399 BC), taught philosophy of ethics, free and honest thinking, and habits of discussion and questioning. Because he was considered to have poisoned young people, he was sentenced to death in 399 BC.

b. Plato (427 – 346 BC), prominent student of Socrates. His most important teaching is the idea that the independent world is higher than the visible world. He wrote about his teachings about the state in the book Republica: a good state is an oligarchy, while a bad state is tyranny.

c. Aristotle (427 – 346 BC), taught the philosophy of logic. Logic provides guidance in drawing conclusions through a coherent way of thinking. A good country is a constitutional republic, published in his book Politica.

Important to know;

Greco-Persian Wars 492 – 448 BC

When Darius became king, Persia expanded its possessions into Anatolia (Asia Minor), but was prevented by Greece, assisted by Athens. King Darius declared war on Athens. To fight the Persians, Athens and Sparta formed the Dellos Confederation. In the battle of Salamis, the Persians were defeated.

Some of the consequences of the Greek victory over the Persians:

a. Persia stops its attacks on Greece;
b. policies in Asia Minor were free from Persians;
c. Athens managed to prove its leadership in Greece;
d. formed a powerful fleet with Sparta;
e. the Peloponnese War, namely the war of Sparta and Athens.

As a result of the victory with the Persians, a power struggle arose between Athens and Sparta. Sparta was afraid of being attacked by Athens so it strengthened its army and attacked Athens (Peloponnese War). In that war, Athens lost and was controlled by Sparta. This defeat was then used by King Philip of Macedonia to dominate Greece in 338 BC followed by Alexander the Great (Alexander Zulkarnaen).

Hellenism in Greece

Hellenism is a mixture of Greek culture with eastern culture (Syria, Persia, Asia Minor, Egypt and Babylon). The attempt to create Hellenism was an attempt to blend Greek culture with eastern culture which was pioneered by Alexander the Great by marrying Persian girls and encouraging his soldiers to marry Persian girls. As a result, there were mixed marriages between Westerners and Easterners (Persians, Syrians and Turks) so that Hellenism was born.