5.3 democracy and greece's golden age

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Transcript of 5.3 democracy and greece's golden age

The Golden Age of Athens

The Golden Age of Athens

The Persian Wars are over with Persia abandoning its designs on Greece in about 477 BCThe after effects of this lead to what the book calls the golden age of Greece, but it was more the golden age of Athens

The Greeks didnt know if the Persians were going to try another invasion some years down the road. In case an invasion did come, they wanted to be ready.Some of the city-states banded together in 477 BC to form the Delian League

The Delian LeagueSo called because it was founded on the holy island of Delos (was thought to be the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis) and because thats where the Leagues treasury was located.

Was composed of multiple poleis, but Athens was the main one and held the equivalent of the presidency of the councilEach city-state had to contribute ships, troops, weapons, or money to the common defense. Most gave money because they had neither the wealth nor the capacity to do the rest in large numbers, especially the expensive triremes.The League not only operated against remaining Persian forces in the Aegean but also squashed piracy.As time went on, the Leagues protective role became more ominous. It, under Athens influence, used force to make poleis join or prevent others from leaving.The working logic was that these city-states were enjoying the protection the League provided and so they needed to contribute instead of mooching.

Several city-states were conquered and their populations enslaved.Eventually, the treasury is moved from Delos to Athens in order to keep it safe from the Persians.Riiiiiight.That and Athens starts to only accept money and not materiel. This increases Athens feeling that other city-states are obligated to pay into the League because theyre the ones risking their lives for them.Athens then starts using the money not just for the joint defense of Greece, but puts it towards its own building projects and other non-military items that contribute to Athens own glory.Athens thus began to look more like the head of an empire.

PericlesAthens leading citizen.495-429 BCPolitician, orator, generalWas also stoic, aloof, handsome, and engaging.Also had a large, oddly shaped head, which is why all his portrayals have that helmet on.

Pushed through several reforms that expanded and strengthened Athens democratic institutionsLowered property requirement to be an archon (one of nine judges).Raised the pay for citizens participating in the court.This meant that more citizens could afford to be away from their duties or jobs and so more could participate.Stripped the areopagus of its remaining powers, thus taking away the last vestiges of the noble aristocratsMakes it so that only those who are children of Athenian citizens can be citizens themselves. This further breaks the power of the old aristocracy, but creates its own problems.

All the power was held in the Assembly, which was composed of all of Athens free-born citizens.This was actually a small minority of Athens overall populace since women, slaves, freed slaves, and those without two Athenian parents were ineligible to participate. Out of a population of nearly 300,000 only about 30,000 could participate.Any citizen could participate; they just had to show up. This made it a direct democracy, not a representative one.Met about 10 times a year. More as needed.Had almost absolute power. They passed laws, installed, removed, and prosecuted public officials. They decided when to go to war and with whom.The Boule (Council of 500) was still around, but acted as a steering committee for the Assembly.

Pericles funneled a great deal of money into the glorification of AthensTheatreIt was during the golden age that the great playwrights livedThe tragedians:SophoclesMost known for Oedipus Rex and AntigoneWe know he wrote 123 plays. Only seven currently exist in their entirety and we have fragments of another 17.

AeschylusBest known for the Oresteia trilogy.We know he wrote 76 plays, but only 6 currently exist in their entirety.EuripidesBest known for The Bacchae, Electra, and MedeaWe know he wrote 92 plays, but only 18 currently exist in their entirety.There were dramatic competitions in Athens every year, the Dionysia, in which playwrights would submit their plays. Aeschylus won 13 times, Sophocles 18, and Euripides just 3 (although he later became the most popular).They didnt all compete at the same time Aeschylus, for example, died before Eurs first one.

First play presented at a Dionysia was by Thespis, hence thespian.

AeschylusSophoclesEuripides

The comicsMain one was Aristophanes Wrote 40 plays, seven surviveHe satirized almost everyone: Pericles, Euripides, Socrates, and others.Can sometimes to be hard to translate for effect since comedy tends to involve a lot of period knowledge and idioms that may be hilarious in the native culture and/or language, but leave others scratching their heads about why its supposed to be funny.

The great acropolis is built up during the golden ageHeres what it looks like today.

What it would have looked like then.

Placement of stuff on the acropolis.

We could spend a semester talking about everything on the acropolis, but lets focus in on its most famous structure, the Parthenon.

Contrary to what your books says, the Parthenon WAS novel in style. Though it followed from temple-building traditions that had been around for a long while, it was unique and an odd duck as far as ancient Greek temples go.Somewhat ironic since its considers the epitome of Greek architecture

The Parthenon was expensive. It cost around 469 talents of gold. Though difficult to compare, this would be roughly equivalent to $1 billion - $3 billion in todays money.

The most expensive building on the acropolis was actually the Propylaeom, the grand entrance to the acropolisIt cost 2,012 talentsOne talent was equal to 60,000 drachmas. One drachma was the standard wage for one days work.Built on top of the site of pre-Periclean ParthenonRemember that the Persians razed the acropolis and destroyed everything on it. It must have taken years to clean up everything.A lot of stone from destroyed temples were converted into being part of the city walls. The walls were seen as the most important things to rebuild, so they were first and they used whatever was at hand, including statues.

2 views of the floor planThe frontStatue of AthenaTreasury

It was Doric in style, which refers especially to the style of columns used.

Also had beautiful sculptures on the pediments and around the outside.

The frieze was one long continuous scene that ran around the entire temple.

Another interesting feature is that the Parthenon didnt have a single straight line.This was actually done on purpose. Why, you ask? Optical illusion. If they had been straight, they would have appeared curved. By making them curved, they appeared straight. Its called entasis.ExaggeratedView

It was made entirely of pure white, high quality marble shipped in from a quarry on Mt. Pentelicus, 16 km away. This was the most expensive part of building the Parthenon.The stones were cut so precisely and fit together so precisely that you cant even see the seem between themModern tolerance is 1 inch error in 250 inches. The Parthenons was 1 inch error in 2,000 inches.

Its main function was to house the grand statue of Athena Parthenos

It was made of gold and ivory. It would have been quite intimidating and awe inspiring to walk in and see it looming over, shining in the shadows.Was made by the master sculptor PhidiasWas 12 m tall and took 9 years to make

The Parthenon stood for another 2,100 years.It was used as a church (AD 450) and then as a mosque (1458) and was in varying levels of preservation.

In 1687, the Venetians were fighting the Ottoman Empire in Athens.Unsurprisingly, the Ottomans had fortified the acropolis and were holding out there.They used the Parthenon to store gunpowder (great idea!). A Venetian cannonball hit the Parthenon, detonated the gunpowder, and blew up a good chunk of the temple.Most of the temple lay in ruins.In 1806, Lord Elgin brought many of the sculptures to London (he sawed them off). Theyre now known as the Elgin Marbles.

Places on Parthenon columns and walls that were stuck by Venetian cannonballs.

1920s era recreation of Parthenon in Nashville, TN

For the philosophers, just look at your book. Im loathe to give such general characterizations of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, especially without doing philosophy.

So, as we have established, Athens has been exploiting the League and oppressing its neighborsNot only this, but theyre coming into increasing conflict with the Spartans who dont like Athens increasing influence in Greek affairs.Both sides agitated for war. Finally, it happens. Athens declares war on Sparta.

Pericles decides on a particular tactic. He doesnt want to get into a land war with the Spartans. The Spartan army is better, but Athens rules the seas. Instead, Athens will abandon the land around the city and stay behind the city walls. The long walls that connect Athens to its port, Piraeus, would protect Athens supply lines. It didnt need the land as long as it could receive goods by sea. The navy would then launch sneak attacks on Spartas allies and weaken it until it was defeated.This is one of the reasons the wars lasted nearly 30 years. Sparta couldnt fight Athens on the sea and Athens couldnt fight Sparta on land. They couldnt really confront each other in decisive battles.

It was a good plan, but three things happened.First, in 430 BC, a plague swept through Athens and killed about 30,000 people, including Pericles himself. Second, in 415 BC,