Compare Greek History

Abstract

This paper is about the three important civilizations in history, the Mycenaean, the Hellenic, and the Hellenistic periods, and the contributions that the people who lived during these times have made to the world - Compare Greek History introduction. The paper will detail the geographic area in which the civilization was set, the prominent people who lived at the time, and some of their major achievements. The main points and the sub points to be included for the essay will be detailed.

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Compare Greek History

    It is an interesting fact that the origin of the word ‘Greek’ according to Aristotle is ‘Graikoi’, which was the term applied in reference to the ‘Hellenes’. The Hellenes are actually Greeks, and the ‘Hellas’ or the people of the Hellenes are Greeks. (Barrett, Matt (n.d.) Greek history has a great many surprises for a person interested in history and facts, and the Mycenaean, the Hellenic, and the Hellenistic periods of Greek history form a major part of this grand ancient culture. Take for example the Mycenaean civilization; this is the art and culture of Greece from ca.1600 to 1100 BC. The geographic focus of this civilization is Mycenae in the Pelopponese, which was once the seat of the great Agamemnon, one of the famed figures of the time. One of the big events of this period is the Trojan War. Historians generally prefer to us Homer’s descriptions of the time, and relate them to Heinrich Schliemann’s excavations carried out during the mid-1870s, which showed the world the extraordinarily wealthy and opulent artifacts and objects of art that were used by the people of the time.  The outline of the paper must contain examples of these artifacts and also delve into the history of the period, with special mention of the famed Trojan War.

    It was during the Mycenaean period that the Greek mainland that the Greeks maintained contact with the Minoan Cretes, and the influence spread through Greece, including Mycenae, Tiryns, Thebes, and Athens displayed immense prosperity and riches, and these are evident in the pottery of the time, the bronze artifacts, and also in the carved gems and jewelry, and in the glass ornaments of the time. The architectural splendor of the Mycenaean period was displayed in the forts, bridges, their tombs, and in the sophisticated drainage and irrigation systems. Historians believe that the influence of the Minoans on the Mycenaean people was great and fruitful; it was this influence that shaped this period and transformed it into a civilization as we define the term today. The essay must contain as sub points certain relevant data pertaining to the Minoans and their influence on the Mycenaean civilization.   (“Timeline of art history” 2008)

   The Hellenic Period of Greek history is referred to as the ‘classic period’ of Greek culture, perhaps because of the undeniable fact that it was at this time that the Greeks enjoyed a cultural blossoming and a great and unrivalled economic prosperity at  this time. The outline of the essay can delve into these topics, and the sub topics can emphasize on the refinements in various areas like drama, philosophy and in sculpture that took place as a result of the cultural changes. The primary point of focus of the Hellenic period is in Macedonia, which was where Alexander the Great, the son of Philip of Macedon and Olympias of Epirus was born, in the year 356 BC. Aristotle’s influence on the young Alexander can form the basis for part of this portion of the essay, because historians acknowledge the fact that it was Aristotle the great philosopher that Alexander learnt the Greek way of life and of the ideals of his own great civilization, and also inspired in the boy an everlasting love for literature.  (Koeller, David (1999)

   Alexander is acknowledged as the individual who brought Greek ideas and culture to the countries that he conquered through his brave exploits. Apparently, the young boy was fascinated with the story of the Iliad, and adopted Achilles as his role model. In his attempt to conquer Persia, Alexander captured Asia Minor, after which he marched on to Syria. These exploits, namely Alexander’s campaigns in Turkey, Phoenicia, Israel, Egypt and then in India can form the sub topics of this essay. When he went on to capture Egypt, he found that he was welcomed there, and he named the area between Lake Mareotis and the Mediterranean Sea ‘Alexandria’. The Battle of Arbela in Babylon, often stated to be one of the most decisive battles in history, was launched by Alexander during the Hellenic period. After capturing Persepolis, he set the city on fire, but not before taking all the vast wealth of silver and gold that he found there. Alexander’s exploits continued, and he reached the shores of India where he defeated Porus. Alexander is credited for bringing Greek culture, laws and customs to all the places that he conquered.  (“Alexander the Great” 1997)

   It was after Alexander’s death in 323 BCE that the period in Greek history known as the ‘Hellenistic period’ began. This was the age when the many and several generals of Alexander fought with each other for wealth, glory and fame. As a matter of fact, it was this in fighting that weakened the Hellenistic kingdoms, and which eventually led to the absorption of these kingdoms by the first Parthian Kings and later by the Romans. In fact, the decline of the Hellenic Empire had begun in the aftermath of the Peloponnesian War and this continued. The prominent figures of this period in Greek history are Socrates, and his student Plato. Set in three main parts, namely Egypt, ruled by Ptolemy, Seleucia, which includes modern Israel, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Syria, ruled by Seleucus, Macedon, and Greece. The Hellenistic period saw the creation of a great University of learning at Alexandria, Egypt. There was an exchange of wise people between India and West Asia at this time in history, and several philosophers and scientists traveled between India and Greece at the time to share knowledge and learn new things. Historians feel that it was because of this sharing that the Hellenistic period saw great advances in science, philosophy and art. These can form the sub topics for this portion, and the essay can delve into the specific achievements made in each category. (“Hellenistic Period” (2006)

   One must remember that the history of Greece can in effect be traced back to the Stone Ages, after which the Mycenaean civilization came into being. The Dark Ages followed, after which there was a dawning of civilization during the Hellenic and the Hellenistic periods. These three periods in Greek history showcase to the world the various achievements in the fields of art, architecture, sculpture, literature, philosophy and also in the advances made in science and technology. The various philosophical leaders of the time were to have a great and long lasting influence on the world at the time, and this is probably why one tends to attribute the term ‘advances in art and literature and philosophy’ to these ancient Greeks. All the three periods, namely the Mycenaean, the Hellenic, and the Hellenistic periods of Greek history are closely inter related, and can be put together as being typically ‘Greek’ and indicative of the advances made during that time in history.  (“Time Periods” 2008)

   The essay must cover all the main points detailed above, and include the sub topics explained, so that a comprehensive treatise on the Mycenaean, the Hellenic, and the Hellenistic periods could be made, and a conclusion reached.

References

“Alexander the Great” (1997) Alexander the Great Retrieved on March 10, 2008 from http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/8740/Alexander.htm

Koeller, David (1999) “The Hellenic Period” The Web Chronology Project Retrieved on March 10, 2008 from http://www.thenagain.info/webchron/Mediterranean/Hellenic.html

Barrett, Matt (n.d.) “History of Greece” Greektravel.com Retrieved on March 10, 2008 from http://www.ahistoryofgreece.com/

“Hellenistic Period” (2006) Anatolia retrieved on March 10, 2008 from http://www.ancientanatolia.com/historical/hellenistic_period.htm

 “Timeline of art history” (2008) Mycenaean Civilization Retrieved on March 10, 2008 from http://www.metmuseum.org/TOAH/HD/myce/hd_myce.htm

 “Time Periods” (2008) Ancient Greece, University Press Inc Retrieved on March 10, 2008 from http://www.ancientgreece.com/s/History/

 

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