ANCH 1240 UL Characteristics of Athenian and Spartan Society Essay: History Answers 2021
ANCH 1240 UL Characteristics of Athenian and Spartan Society Essay
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Last week ? quick overview of the course;
This week ? Early Greece: prehistory through to the bronze age, including:
Explain seal: ?Pylos combat agate? ? seal stone, 3.5 cm wide, dates to about 1500
2nd revolution: metallurgy arrives from the east about 3000 BCE: Sumer ? Israel,
Syria, Lebanon ? copper from rocks, mix with tin ? bronze (harder) ? cutting tools,
weapons ? everyone wants it.
Greece: some copper. (Tin from Afghanistan, less from Anatolia, much later Cornwall).
Import Bronze ingots and tin. Increase in defensive structures (everyone has better
weapons). Larger groups for protection.
Divide Bronze age into EBA (first 1000), MBA (approx. 350-400 years), LBA (last 500
years). Fluctuation of terminology. All these cultures are in touch with one another
and using bronze.
Bronze not cheap ? if you can trade/afford to get it, you become important and
Previously ? no real signs of stratification, in that burials, houses were largely the
famine ? predominantly because of drought
Not counting women children slaves
discrete communities, but close together ? competition
Ships allow you to trade, ships allow communication with outside groups, ships and
the sea really important to the development of Greek society
Early Bronze Age Greece, with it?s pockets of cultivatable land, new Bronze
General trends: big walls, bigger houses, richer graves, long-distance trade
But, where are the seeds of the developing culture going to take hold?
Defense ? depending on topography
From the cycladic islands get a lot of marble artefacts because the island are rich in
Most distinctive artefacts: enigmatic, tall skinny women with crossed arms or seated
figures (men/women) with harps (? Bards). First symposium? ? common classical
pottery scene. Violin shaped figurines ? more abstract version of the mother goddess
(fertility)? Use? (graves, Religious contexts) Abstract, but would have been painted ?
so possibly important details missing.
Around 2100 BCE ? end of EBA, wave of destruction and a cultural change. Remains
an attractive idea that this destruction was caused by a wave of immigration by a
people who were horseriding (horses and chariots). Horses give you an advantage in
battle. Possibly skyworshipping, horse-riding, Indo-European speaking (so speakers of
an early form of Greek) from somewhere north and east of the Black and Caspian
seas that moved into these already occupied lands and integrated with the local
Not destruction ? continuity of culture
Seem historic because they are writing, but we can?t read it ? hasn?t been deciphered
? and their language is not Greek. Very advanced society ? high technology, welldeveloped trade and diplomatic links with the key centres of the Near East, Egypt,
Greek Islands, Mainland.
Later Greeks ? Minos ? Thalassocracy. In myth, Minos is the also first to demand
tribute from other Greeks (young men and women), in reality the Minoans probably
were receiving some form tribute from other sites on Crete, the islands, the mainland
(but not necessarily human tribute ? food, goods, animals?).
Don?t know what they called themselves b/c can?t read their writing
Later Greeks tended to refer to them by the names of their discrete palaces, not as a
Minos was competing for rule with his brothers ? asked Poseidon for a beautiful
white bull to show his support for Minos? claim ? Poseidon sent the bull on the
understanding Minos would sacrifice it to him ? Minos reneges because of the bull?s
beauty ?Poseidon makes Minos? wife, Pasiphae, fall desperately in love with the bull
and she has the craftsman Daedalus make a hollow wooden cow into which she
climbs in order to have intercourse with the bull ? offspring = Minotaur
A rhyton is a ritual vessel used for pouring liquids, with a hole at the top and hole in
What were Minoans really like? Creation of a very distinctive material culture based
First literate culture of ancient Greece ? lots of clay tablets apparently inscribed with
lists (found at Knossos and elsewhere) ? palace bureaucracy
Linear A ? about 90 signs ? syllabic script.
pictogram or ideogram
So Linear A, syllabic, appears around 1900 BCE, only on Crete and a few neighbouring
islands influenced by Crete.
Development of this syllabic script probably deeply influenced by Egypt (hieroglyphic
Do have Minoan hieroglyphs and here are 2 examples
Minoan hieroglyphs predate Linear A by about a century and used in conjunction with
Linear A for a while (so not in combination, but during the same time period) ? Close
contact with Egypt, and Minoan art also influenced by Egypt, many small Egyptian
imports found in Minoan palaces (e.g. scarabs), evidence of import of papyrus,
Minoan ceramics found at many Egyptian sites
Linear A Tablets ? lists ? large scale economy and bureaucracy centred on palaces.
?Redistributive system? (from Egypt): everything that the territory produced was
brought to the palace, stored, and redistributed to the population. Large quantities of
oil, grain, wine
Palace built around central court, townhouses, production centres (textiles/olive oil),
storage areas. Indoor plumbing!
Centralised government, economic and religious system centred on the palace, using
surrounding city and countryside.
Where else were there palaces?
Galatas ? west of Chania
Minoan bronze-age settlement destroyed by a volcanic eruption in the 16th c. BCE?
The model for Plato?s myth of Atlantis.
Like in Pompei, the volcanic ash preserved the town and a series of elaborate
Akrotiri fisherman fresco
large Middle Bronze Age (2,100?1,550 BCE) Canaanite palace in Israel
Tel Kabri about half cm under Tyre
Snake goddess, bezel rings, seals, frescoes. ? some sort of goddess/priestess/
important high-status women. Precise religion of the Minoans remains elusive.
Other imagery ? trees, single columns (isolated columns that people give offerings
to), sets of oversized goat or bull horns, and the double axe (labrys ? labyrinth)
Lack of walls = peace? Probably not: vast trade network and reach throughout Bronze
Age Mediterranean over several centuries suggests you have to be able to hold your
not interested in showing military scenes in art.
Not just Islands, but also plains, make good places for the development of
Argive plain: showing Mycenaean centres around it.
Fertile plains of this magnitude are quite rare in Greece, so this plain is really
desirable and it is fought over a lot throughout Greek history.
So ? clusters of cities and also a number of sanctuaries that mark certain cities
dominance over sections of the plain.
Focus now on the Mycenaean culture beginning with Mycenae.
Finally moving into the historical period because we do have Mycenaean texts,
written in Linear B, which we can read.
Speak to slide. Start with Mycenae because it?s the biggest and most central, but few
Linear B finds from there, probably because the site was reused and so was regularly
occupied right up into the late-Archaic, early classical period, whereas other palaces
that do have lots of linear B were destroyed and abandoned.
First of the Mycenean Bronze age palaces to have been excavated
Site of Mycenae wasn?t really discovered ? parts of it were always visible in the
countryside, but HS was the first to excavate there
Obsessed with stories of the Trojan War (Homer?s Iliad) ? belief of truth of the stories,
that the Iliad was a record of a real war fought between Mycenae and Troy.
Dug a great big trench. Dug until he found what he wanted. ? an important Bronze
Age community in roughly the place Troy would have been.
Having found Troy, Schliemann decides the next thing to do is find Mycenae. He
wants to show that the Trojan war really happened.
Mycenae already a town in MBA, was trading with the Minoans, starts expanding building larger and larger tombs with fancy grave goods.
Last phase of the Bronze age city in the 13th c. ? building of the massive walls (see in
blue picture). Schliemann starts to dig here around 1876.
Why cyclopean? (Pausanias calls them Cyclopaean walls)
City was attacked and sacked repeatedly in the LBA, so the walls were necessary.
Always been known and always visible in the landscape. It was a small polis in Archaic
times, but destroyed by nearby Argos in the 5th c. BCE because Mycenae had aided
Sparta at Thermopylae during the Persian War and Sparta was the mortal enemy of
Massive walls with the distinctive Lion Gate (Griffin door)
Design ? double-sided attack: very different from Minoan palaces because of
Minoan palace ? no walls, built around courtyard
Mycenaean palace ? big walls, built around a central Megaron
With the Lion Gate: lions face each other and stand on a pair of altars (style =
Minoan). In between them is a Minoan-style column (thin at the bottom, thick at the
top). Resembles Minoan iconography. Influence.
Just inside the Lion Gate, he uncovered this massive circle of upright standing stones,
grave stones, some inscribed with pictures of chariots/horses.
In the centre: shaft graves (explain). At the bottom of 5 shaft graves ? unlooted
burials of men, women, children (19); gold, jewelelry, pottery, weapons, gold death
Lots of weapons: 19 dead people, 43 bronze swords -> not practical, display.
Disposable wealth. Dated by comparing style to other places ? 16th c. BCE
Schliemann apparently sent a telegram to the King of Greece, claiming he?d found the
tombs of Agamemnon, Cassandra, and those killed by Clytemnestra and Aegisthus.
(not just drawing on Iliad, but also tragedies, so really influenced by the literature he?s
If TW happened, it would have happened in the 13th century, and these artefacts are
16th c., so they are way too early to be associated with the TW in any way.
Besides the weapons and the death mask Schliemann identified as Agamemnon,
there were other death masks. And, because unlooted, there was a lot of gold ? cups,
boxes, daggers, swords, amber (Baltic sea), ostrich eggs (nth Africa), minoan and
Egyptian inspired art. ? Luxury goods ? lots of influence ? ?diplomatic goods?
Box -> example of how Mycenaeans are imitating Near Eastern Artistic themes (Lion
hunt), but they?re doing it a bit differently ? with their own style.
Incredibly wealthy people ? you don?t bury all your possessions ? must have been
For approx 100 years, elite buried in shaft graves (Circle A & B; B just outside the walls
Glorification of the dead grew, probably with increasing wealth (trade, raiding), and
Mycenaeans started to create more spectacular tombs: Tholos tomb
For about 200 years we get tholos tombs of increasing size.
Chamber dug into side of hill, lined with stone, create a corbelled vault. The entrance
decorated with coloured red (pediment) and green marble (columns) ? columns and
a pediment (British museum/Athens).
Family burials ? wanax and his family. ? grave reopened for new burials
visible in antiquity and so looted.
Other tholos tombs unlooted ? hidden well enough that not discovered until now.
Corinth, about 10 years ago ? no gold, but plenty of pottery.
Sparta ? Vapheio tomb. Mostly unlooted ? lots of gold and silver (kings of Sparta):
Bulls, style ? combination of Minoan style and Mycenaean interests ? violence.
2 partially looted tholos tombs at Pylos (VI and VII) ? lots of gold leaf, some gold
trinkets that come from Egypt (e.g. a head of the goddess Hathor) and from the Near
East (trade/diplomacy!), also amber from the Baltic, amethyst from Egypt, and
carnelian that is not local to Greece.
All these things deposited with the burial and some kind of ritual ? sacrifice, feasting,
ritual wailing (linear B, later epic). Graves visited later ? ancestor cult (cf.
Major exports: oil, wine, hides, leather, textiles, fine pottery, maybe timber;
In trading and diplomatic contact with Near East, Egypt, and communities in the West
in Italy and Spain. Known and engaging with the Hittites (Anatolia & Syria) ? referred
to in documents as he Ahhiyawans, probably the Achaeans (Homer, greeks who
Other population would have been slaves, about which we know very little, but a
Linear B tablet from Pylos records over 600 captive women working with their
children as attendants, weavers, grinders of grain, etc.
Megaron ? centre of all the excavated palaces. ? Room with a hearth (surrounded by
4 columns), fronted by an entrance room and a porch
What was it? Palace, Temple? Both?
Mycenaean religion ? sacrifice and communal feasting, probably some kind of
procession in honour of Greek and Minoan gods
Epic poetry: megaron is seat of the king with a throne, hearth, where feasts are held
Archaic temple shape
Not a lot of room in the Megaron to feast etc. So, maybe in epic you have a conflation
of the remembrance of epic feasting and the present experience of religious ritual
and temple building conflation of the two?
Religious artefacts are found away from the megaron and closer to ancestor graves.
So, the use of the Megaron remains an open question.
Mycenaeans were in contact with Crete during the 16th c. BCE ? material culture
exchange. Around 15th c. Mycenaeans conquered Crete. ? Mycenaean figure-8 shield
decoration, boar tusk helmets, clay tablets are now inscribed with Linear B (Greek
written with a Minoan script). Deciphered by a number of linguists and cryptologists,
most famously Michael Ventris in 1950s.
clay was meant to me moistened and reused ? ephemeral, but may have been
copied to more permanent form (papyrus).
Snapshot of palace admin ? what was happening when the palace burnt down. What
do they tell us?
Administrative, economic, political religious records:
Military in the sense of distribution of equipment ? armour or weapons to specific
individuals ? or of counting of supplies of weapons and armour.
Mycenaeans definitely celebrated war vociferously, doesn?t necessarily mean they
were fighting more than the Minoans.
Do get a lot of representation of war
13th c. Mycenaean vase
c. 1400 from Dendra near Argos
Suits of armour found in graves.
Also tell you about social structure ? Pylos
Not riveting stuff
Human sacrifice? Debated. (Slave dedicated to service, person to take the offering to
Secure things ? gods worshipped, interest in gold, specialised priest/priestess class
Insecure ? human sacrifice?
Minoan gods/goddesses listed
Lots of potniai (ladies); prob become Aphrodite, Demeter, etc. (b/c not named in the
texts and shown in the countryside with flowers and animals ? fertility)
Mycenaeans were also actively constructing infrastructure: large technological
project ? building bridges (this one between Argos and Mycenae), draining lakes
(lake Copais, near thebes), building cisterns and forts.
Building other palaces; Knossos, Chania, Mycenae, Sparta, Pylos, Patras, Athens,
Thebes, Thessaly ? connect to epic heroes
Cyclopaean fortification walls.
Long search for the palace.
Recent Linear B tablets at Agios Vasileios
Pylos ? Megaron, huge storage (oil) including Linear B archive.
Just outside the palace in 2015 (Uni of Cincinnati) Unlooted shaft grave (like at
Mycenae), 1 man, died in his 30s. Griffin Warrior Tomb ? huge number of grave
goods, weapons, seals, jewellery, ivories (griffen), and semi-precious stones, many
Minoan artefacts. Burial dates from approx. 1500 BCE. Some debate about whether
he was a Minoan or a Mycenaean.
Enormous amounts of storage: linear B and food, produce.
500 hundred or so wine cups, spits for roasting meat, lyre ? shows Homeric
representation of wandering bards not so off the mark.
In 12th c. BCE, All palaces destroyed by fire and violence:
? Exact classification of hetaira is uncertain and how she differed from a porne
(another word for prostitute) if at all.
N.B. These are just estimates. The number of citizens is a backward projection based
on better data for the 4th c. by M. H. Hansen.
2.5 children per citizen
? Main sources: Lysias 1 (On the Murder of Eratosthenes); Xenophon?s Oeconomicus
9; Vitruvius (Roman-period; layout of houses) 6.7.1-2; Law court speeches;
dramatic texts, poetry ? picture of segregation, suppression, exclusion.
? Socrates is really saying that your wife is your best confidant and the person who is
most likely to have homonoia with you or ?oneness of mind?
4th c. BC law court prosecution speech.
Deixiosis ? gesture of farewell
Naiskos ? small temple frame.
Strong connection between husband and wife
? D. Sanders, ?Behavioral Conventions and Archaeology: Methods for the Analysis of
Ancient Architecture,? in S. Kent, ed., Domestic Architecture and the Use of Space
(Cambridge 1990) 43-72.
? Andronitis and Gynaikonitis as social spheres rather than fixed spaces.
? ?Behavior is the result of expectations, as much as the result of the structuring of
space by architecture? (Carla Antonaccio).
Most of our evidence for the lives of Spartan women comes from outside Sparta and,
indeed, a lot of it is from Athens or from much later writers like Plutarch.
? Jenifer Neils,?Spartan Girls and the Athenian Gaze? [on Blackboard]
? Athenian depictions of Spartan women tend to be stereotypes that likely reflect
more on Athenian men than the real lives of Spartan women.
? Pausanias (5.16.2?6) says that at Olympia there were races for three age
categories (like for the men). He describes the women runners as follows: ?They
run in the following manner: their hair hangs loose, a chiton reaches to a little
above the knee, and the right shoulder is bared as far as the breast.? Short chitons
associated with running.
? None of these statues have survived, but this marble Roman statue has been
identified as a possible copy of a bronze original dating to around 460 BC, mostly
based on it being severe style (the style in fashion during the early classical
? Next lot of images are Athenian in origin ? how did Athenians represent Spartan
? One interpreted as Peleus and Atalanta (
Hetairai or Spartan women?
? Note lavar (wash basins) and the strigil in the image on the right ? these are clearly
female athletes, so probably Spartans.
? Kraters ? wine-mixing bowls designed for the Athenian symposium.
Spartan women were also famous for their horsemanship
? Kyniska, whose team of horses won the 4-horse chariot race in 396 and 392 BC at
Olympia. She was the first woman to win the race. She dedicated a statue of
herself, the chariot and charioteer in the sanctuary at Olympia. The statues do not
? Inscription on the base reads: ?Kings of Sparta were my fathers and brothers, and I,
Kyniska, winning the race with my chariot of swift-footed horses, erected this
statue. I assert that I am the only woman in all Greece who won this crown?.
? This Attic kylix (drinking cup) shows 2 women as charioteers of 3-horse chariots.
They are most likely competitors in a chariot race at the Festival of the Hyakinthia.
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