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Readings for Ancient Greece 2 --
Unit 18, Daily Life in Classical Greece
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1. Daily Life (From olympia-greece.org)
2. "Culture" (From crystalinks.com)
3. Warfare -- the dominant paradigm (From Wikipedia)
4. Religion (From Wikipedia)
4a. Athenian Festivals (From Wikipedia)
4b. Funerals, Burial Practices (From Wikipedia)
5. Education (From Wikipedia)
6. Marriage (From Wikipedia)
6a. Marriage in Athens (From Prisoners of Eternity)
7. Women in Ancient Greece (From Women in the Ancient World)
8. Clothing (From Wikipedia)
9. Ancient Greek Cuisine (From Wikipedia)
10. Housing and the Family -- οἶκος (From Wikipedia)
11. Sports and Leisure (From Wikipedia)
1. Daily Life
From olympia-greece.org http://www.olympia-greece.org/ancient-daily-life.html
Children lived with their mothers in the women's quarter until they were 7 years old. They slept in wicker baskets or wooden cradles. The children played with balls, miniature chariots, rattles, yo-yos, rocking horses, and dolls and animals made from clay. Many had pets. They especially liked dogs. Other pets included ducks, quail, birds, goats, tortoises, mice, weasels, and grasshoppers. At age 7 the boys went to school Schools The schools varied from one city-state to the next. The Spartans were the most envied by the Greeks. They were taught to be tough from an early age.
When babies were born in Sparta, Spartan soldiers would come by the house to examine them. If the baby did not look healthy, it was taken away and left to die or trained as a slave. If the baby was healthy, it was assigned membership in a brotherhood or sisterhood.
The boys in Sparta were sent to military camps of their brotherhood when they turned 7. They learned how to read and write until they were about 14. The Spartan government wanted to make the boys tough. To do this they were given little clothing and no shoes. They slept on hard beds made of reeds and were not given any covers. They were not given enough food. They were trained in survival skills and how to be a good soldier. Reading and writing were taught as secondary skills.
Between ages 18 to 20 each boy had to pass a fitness test. If he did not pass the test, he became a perioidos. This was a person of middle class who had no political rights and was not even considered a citizen. If the boy passed he served in the military and continued to train as a soldier. Military service lasted until the boy reached age 60.
The girls were trained in the school of their sisterhood. They were taught physical education. Classes include wrestling, gymnastics, and combat training. The Spartans wanted girls to be strong so that they would have healthy children. At age 18 the Spartan girl had to pass a fitness test. She was then assigned a husband and allowed to return home. If she failed the test, she became a perioikos.
Boys were taught at home by their mothers until they were 6 or 7 years old. In Athens the education was left up to the father. Students were taught by private schoolmasters. The boys from wealthy families were taken to school by a trusted slave. The students learned to write on wax-covered tablets with a stylus. Books were very expensive, so they were rare. The students in Athens learned to add, subtract, multiply, and divide. They also learned about fractions. Students learned the words of Homer and how to play the lyre. Boys were trained in sports. Wealthy children learned to ride horseback. Other sports included wrestling, using a bow and a sling, and swimming. At age 14 boys attended a higher school for four more years. At age 18 boys went to military school. They graduated at age 20.
Roles of the Men and Women
Men In Greece the men ran the government. They spent a lot of their time out of the house while involved in politics. Men also spent time in the fields overseeing the crops. They sailed, hunted, and traded. All of these activities took the men away from home. Men enjoyed wrestling, horseback riding, and the Olympic Games. Men had parties in which the women were not allowed to attend.
Women had little freedom. Wealthy women hardly ever left the house. They sent slaves to the market. They were allowed to attend weddings, funerals, and some religious festivals. Their job was to run the house and bear children. Greek women supervised slaves who did all the cooking, cleaning, and tending of the crops. Male slaves guarded the women when the men were away. Except in Sparta girls did not go to school. They learned only the basics of reading and math at home. Girls were taught how to run a house. Women lived in a special section of the house called the gynaeceum.
The day before the wedding the girl took a bath from a sacred spring. The water was poured from a vase called a loutrophorus. The girl then worshipped the goddess Artemis. She offered the goddess symbols of her childhood such as toys and a lock of her hair.
Marriages usually took place in January. Wedding ceremonies started after dark. The bride traveled from her home to the home of her groom in a chariot, or a wagon if she was poor. Friends of the bride and groom lit the way with torches. They played music to scare away the evil spirits. The bride would eat a piece of fruit at the ceremony to show that food and other basic needs would come from the husband. Marriages were arranged by the father of the bride. The bride did not even meet her future husband until the day of the wedding. Girls married at about age 15 and her groom would be about twice her age. Grooms were given a dowry. If the husband died, the dowry and girl would return to her father.
Spartan women were not given a special celebration on their wedding day. The ceremony was brief and private. Afterwards the husband and wife would meet in secret until the husband reached the age of thirty. At that time he was allowed to live in the same house as his wife.
Divorce was quite common and allowed. The women would frequently remarry.
Greeks wore simple free-flowing clothing. Most clothes were made of wool or linen. The wool was woven into a lightweight material. The wool was often dyed using natural dyes from plants. In the fifth century B. C. cotton was imported from India. Only the rich could afford to buy it. Most families made their own clothes. They were made by the women in the family or by female slaves. They were decorated to represent the city-state in which they lived.
Tunics called chitons were formed by draping a piece of rectangle-shaped cloth around the body with belts, hooks, buttons, or brooches. Up until the sixth century the women wore a rectangle of woven wool. It was about six feet wide and about 18 inches longer that the height of the person wearing the garment. The fabric was wrapped around the wearer with the extra material folded over the top. It was pinned on both shoulders with the extra material falling free looking like a cape. The pins used for fastening the garment were open with a decorated head. During this time period the men wore similar chitons that came to the ankles. During the fifth century the men began wearing shorter chitons with one shoulder pinned.
Until the fifth century garments were white. Beginning with the sixth century the clothes were decorated with a wide range of colors. Later the tunic was replaced by thin linen or occasionally silk. At this time the fabric was much wider and could measure up to 10 feet wide. The length was measured from the wearer's shoulder to the ankle with no extra. The tunic was fastened on both sides of the neck with two long pins or metal brooches called fibulae. The fabric was pulled in at the waist with a belt. At this time the chiton sleeves were popular with the ladies. These were made by fastening the ends of the two pieces fabric many times from the shoulder to the wrist. The fabric pulled away from each clasp making oval shaped openings all along the arm. The men's tunics were wore at knee-length. The women wore their tunics to the ankles.
Both men and women wore cloaks called himation. These were also made from a rectangular piece of fabric. The men's were usually knee-length while the women's were long.
Greeks wore shoes when they went outside. Everyone had strapped sandals. Boots were made of leather. The women wore ankle length boots while the men wore heavy boots with laces.
The women wore their hair long. They arranged it in braids on top of their heads. The styles were held in place with waxes and lotions. Women tied back their hair with cloth headbands called cecryphalaes. These wrapped around the head.
Men kept their hair short. They wore beards unless they were soldiers.
The Greeks eate three meals each day. Breakfast was eaten at sunrise. They ate a small midday meal and a late afternoon snack. The main meal was eaten at the end of the day. The soil was poor along the coast. With irrigation and crop rotation the Greeks were able to raise some crops. The soil was more rich in the plains. In the plain regions the Greeks were able to raise wheat and barley. Greeks made a large variety of breads including milk bread, rye bread, wheaten bread, farmhouse bread, brown bread, braided bread, and square bread. Because wheat could only be raised on the plains, there was not enough to feed all the people in Greece.
Greeks grew olives, grapes, and figs. Other fruits that were eaten were apples, prunes, apricots, cherries, and dates. These fruits were often baked into cakes and pies which were sweeten with honey. In their gardens they raised peas, navy beans, and lentils. Green vegetables were rare and very expensive. The Greeks cultivated mushrooms beginning in the fifth century B. C. They kept goats for milk and cheese. Some kept chickens for their eggs. Many foods were cooked in olive oil.
Greeks usually drank water. Some drank goats' milk. Another drink was made with fermented honey. Homemade wine was very popular with the rich. It was thick and heavy and had to be diluted with water.
Meat was rarely eaten. It was mostly used for religious sacrifices. Greece had a lot of wild game to hunt. Hunters found pheasant, partridge, quail, and wild guinea hens. They also hunted wild boars, bear, deer, foxes, weasels, hares, moles, cats, porcupines, and hedgehogs. Greeks ate a lot of fish and seafood. Fishermen caught gilt-heads, mullets, turbot, and tuna.
Ancient Greeks didn't use napkins. Instead they wiped their hands on pieces of bread which were given to the dogs. They ate stew and porridge with spoons. They cut their meat with knives. No forks were used. Meals were served on plates made from wood, clay, or metal.
Agora (marketplace) The marketplace was for men. Young boys and women were not allowed to come until the afternoon. This large space of about 100 by 200 meters held barbershops, bathhouses, perfume vendors, drinking establishments, and brothels.
Gymnasia (gym) The gymnasia was a large exercise yard surrounded by changing rooms, practice rooms, and baths. The Greeks wanted healthy bodies. Due to this they spent a good portion of each day exercising in the gym. Wrestling, boxing, and javelin and discus throwing were enjoyed sports. Athletes wore no clothes while exercising. They oiled or dusted their bodies before and after exercising.
Theater - large open theaters were built in many cities.
Classes of People
- Freemen - divided into classes
- Lowest class were the thetes (urban craftsmen)
- Middle ranks - small farmers
- Top - aristocrats who owned large estates
- Many occupations fell between these classes.
- Metics - free non-citizens - Metics were usually Greeks from other city-states. They worked in low paying jobs.
Women - had few rights - often treated like a domestic slave.
- Highest Level - some worked as tutors and police officials
- Middle Level - domestic slaves - often considered one of the family
- Lowest slave worked in the mines
From crystalinks.com http://www.crystalinks.com/greekculture.html
The ancient Greeks were a deeply religious people. They worshipped many gods whom they believed appeared in human form and yet were endowed with superhuman strength and ageless beauty.
The Iliad and the Odyssey, our earliest surviving examples of Greek literature, record men's interactions with various gods and goddesses whose characters and appearances underwent little change in the centuries that followed.
While many sanctuaries honored more than a single god, usually one deity such as Zeus at Olympia or a closely linked pair of deities like Demeter and her daughter Persephone at Eleusis dominated the cult place.
Elsewhere in the arts, various painted scenes on vases, and stone, terracotta and bronze sculptures portray the major gods and goddesses.
The deities were depicted either by themselves or in traditional mythological situations in which they interact with humans and a broad range of minor deities, demi-gods and legendary characters.Funerary Art
The ancient Greeks did not generally leave elaborate grave goods, except for a coin in the hand to pay Charon, the ferryman to Hades, and pottery; however the epitaphios or funeral oration (from which epitaph comes) was regarded as of great importance, and animal sacrifices were made.
Those who could afford them erected stone monuments, which was one of the functions of kouros statues in the Archaic period before about 500 BCE. These were not intended as portraits, but during the Hellenistic period realistic portraiture of the deceased were introduced and family groups were often depicted in bas-relief on monuments, usually surrounded by an architectural frame.
The walls of tomb chambers were often painted in fresco, although few examples have survived in as good condition as the Tomb of the Diver from southern Italy. Almost the only surviving painted portraits in the classical Greek tradition are found in Egypt rather than Greece.
The Fayum mummy portraits, from the very end of the classical period, were portrait faces, in a Graeco-Roman style, attached to mummies.
Early Greek burials were frequently marked above ground by a large piece of pottery, and remains were also buried in urns. Pottery continued to be used extensively inside tombs and graves throughout the classical period. The larnax is a small coffin or ash-chest, usually of decorated terracotta.
The two-handled loutrophoros was primarily associated with weddings, as it was used to carry water for the nuptial bath. However, it was also placed in the tombs of the unmarried, "presumably to make up in some way for what they had missed in life."
The one-handled lekythos had many household uses, but outside the household its principal use was for decoration of tombs. Scenes of a descent to the underworld of Hades were often painted on these, with the dead depicted beside Hermes, Charon or both - though usually only with Charon.
Small pottery figurines are often found, though it is hard to decide if these were made especially for placing in tombs; in the case of the Hellenistic Tanagra figurines this seems probably not the case. But silverware is more often found around the fringes of the Greek world, as in the royal Macedonian tombs of Vergina, or in the neighbouring cultures like those of Thrace or the Scythians.Men
Men ran the government, and spent a great deal of their time away from home. When not involved in politics, the men spent time in the fields, overseeing or working the crops, sailing, hunting, in manufacturing or in trade. For fun, in addition to drinking parties, the men enjoyed wrestling, horseback riding, and the famous Olympic Games. When the men entertained their male friends, at the popular drinking parties, their wives and daughters were not allowed to attend.Women
With the exception of ancient Sparta, Greek women had very limited freedom outside the home. They could attend weddings, funerals, some religious festivals, and could visit female neighbors for brief periods of time. In their home, Greek women were in charge. Their job was to run the house and to bear children.
Most Greek women did not do housework themselves. Most Greek households had slaves. Female slaves cooked, cleaned, and worked in the fields. Male slaves watched the door, to make sure no one came in when the man of the house was away, except for female neighbors, and acted as tutors to the young male children. Wives and daughters were not allowed to watch the Olympic Games as the participants in the games did not wear clothes. Chariot racing was the only game women could win, and only then if they owned the horse. If that horse won, they received the prize.Children
The ancient Greeks considered their children to be 'youths' until they reached the age of 30! When a child was born to ancient Greek family, a naked father carried his child, in a ritual dance, around the household. Friends and relatives sent gifts. The family decorated the doorway of their home with a wreath of olives (for a boy) or a wreath of wool (for a girl).
In Athens, as in most Greek city-states, with the exception of Sparta, girls stayed at home until they were married. Like their mother, they could attend certain festivals, funerals, and visit neighbors for brief periods of time. Their job was to help their mother, and to help in the fields, if necessary.
Ancient Greek children played with many toys, including rattles, little clay animals, horses on 4 wheels that could be pulled on a string, yo-yo's, and terra-cotta dolls.Education - Military Training - Sparta
The goal of education in the Greek city-states was to prepare the child for adult activities as a citizen. The nature of the city-states varied greatly, and this was also true of the education they considered appropriate. In most Greek city-states, when young, the boys stayed at home, helping in the fields, sailing, and fishing. At age 6 or 7, they went to school. Both daily life and education were very different in Sparta [militant], than in Athens [arts and culture] or in the other ancient Greek city-states.
The goal of education in Sparta, an authoritarian, military city-state, was to produce soldier-citizens who were well-drilled, well-disciplined marching army. Spartans believed in a life of discipline, self-denial, and simplicity. Boys were very loyal to the state of Sparta.
The boys of Sparta were obliged to leave home at the age of 7 to join sternly disciplined groups under the supervision of a hierarchy of officers. From age 7 to 18, they underwent an increasingly severe course of training.
Spartan boys were sent to military school at age 6 or 7. They lived, trained and slept in their the barracks of their brotherhood. At school, they were taught survival skills and other skills necessary to be a great soldier. School courses were very hard and often painful. Although students were taught to read and write, those skills were not very important to the ancient Spartans.
Only warfare mattered. The boys were not fed well, and were told that it was fine to steal food as long as they did not get caught stealing. If they were caught, they were beaten. They walked barefoot, slept on hard beds, and worked at gymnastics and other physical activities such as running, jumping, javelin and discus throwing, swimming, and hunting. They were subjected to strict discipline and harsh physical punishment; indeed, they were taught to take pride in the amount of pain they could endure.
At 18, Spartan boys became military cadets and learned the arts of war. At 20, they joined the state militia--a standing reserve force available for duty in time of emergency--in which they served until they were 60 years old.
The typical Spartan may or may not have been able to read. But reading, writing, literature, and the arts were considered unsuitable for the soldier-citizen and were therefore not part of his education. Music and dancing were a part of that education, but only because they served military ends.
Somewhere between the age of 18-20, Spartan males had to pass a difficult test of fitness, military ability, and leadership skills. Any Spartan male who did not pass these examinations became a perioikos. (The perioikos, or the middle class, were allowed to own property, have business dealings, but had no political rights and were not citizens.)
If they passed, they became a full citizen and a Spartan soldier. Spartan citizens were not allowed to touch money. That was the job of the middle class. Spartan soldiers spent most of their lives with their fellow soldiers.
They ate, slept, and continued to train in their brotherhood barracks. Even if they were married, they did not live with their wives and families. They lived in the barracks. Military service did not end until a Spartan male reached the age of 60. At age 60, a Spartan soldier could retire and live in their home with their family.
Unlike the other Greek city-states, Sparta provided training for girls that went beyond the domestic arts. The girls were not forced to leave home, but otherwise their training was similar to that of the boys. They too learned to run, jump, throw the javelin and discus, and wrestle mightiest strangle a bull. Girls also went to school at age 6 or 7. They lived, slept and trained in their sisterhood's barracks. No one knows if their school was as cruel or as rugged as the boys school, but the girls were taught wrestling, gymnastics and combat skills.
Some historians believe the two schools were very similar, and that an attempt was made to train the girls as thoroughly as they trained the boys. In any case, the Spartans believed that strong young women would produce strong babies.
At age 18, if a Sparta girl passed her skills and fitness test, she would be assigned a husband and allowed to return home. If she failed, she would lose her rights as a citizen, and became a perioikos, a member of the middle class.
In most of the other Greek city-states, women were required to stay inside their homes most of their lives. In Sparta, citizen women were free to move around, and enjoyed a great deal of freedom, as their husbands did not live at home.Educations in Athens
The goal of education in Athens, a democratic city-state, was to produce citizens trained in the arts of both peace and war.
In ancient Athens, the purpose of education was to produce citizens trained in the arts, to prepare citizens for both peace and war. Other than requiring two years of military training that began at age 18, the state left parents to educate their sons as they saw fit. The schools were private, but the tuition was low enough so that even the poorest citizens could afford to send their children for at least a few years. Until age 6 or 7, boys generally were taught at home by their mother.
Most Athenian girls had a primarily domestic education. The most highly educated women were the hetaerae, or courtesans, who attended special schools where they learned to be interesting companions for the men who could afford to maintain them.
Boys attended elementary school from the time they were about age 6 or 7 until they were 13 or 14. Part of their training was gymnastics. Younger boys learned to move gracefully, do calisthenics, and play ball and other games. The older boys learned running, jumping, boxing, wrestling, and discus and javelin throwing. The boys also learned to play the lyre and sing, to count, and to read and write. But it was literature that was at the heart of their schooling.
The national epic poems of the Greeks - Homer's Odyssey and Iliad - were a vital part of the life of the Athenian people. As soon as their pupils could write, the teachers dictated passages from Homer for them to take down, memorize, and later act out. Teachers and pupils also discussed the feats of the Greek heroes described by Homer.
The education of mind, body, and aesthetic sense was, according to Plato, so that the boys. From age 6 to 14, they went to a neighborhood primary school or to a private school. Books were very expensive and rare, so subjects were read out-loud, and the boys had to memorize everything. To help them learn, they used writing tablets and rulers.
At 13 or 14, the formal education of the poorer boys probably ended and was followed by apprenticeship at a trade. The wealthier boys continued their education under the tutelage of philosopher-teachers.
Until about 390 BC there were no permanent schools and no formal courses for such higher education. Socrates, for example, wandered around Athens, stopping here or there to hold discussions with the people about all sorts of things pertaining to the conduct of man's life. But gradually, as groups of students attached themselves to one teacher or another, permanent schools were established. It was in such schools that Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle taught.
The boys who attended these schools fell into more or less two groups.
Those who wanted learning for its own sake studied with philosophers like Plato who taught such subjects as geometry, astronomy, harmonics (the mathematical theory of music), and arithmetic.
Those who wanted training for public life studied with philosophers like Socrates who taught primarily oratory and rhetoric. In democratic Athens such training was appropriate and necessary because power rested with the men who had the ability to persuade their fellow senators to act.Pets
Birds, dogs, goats, tortoises, and mice were all popular pets. Cats, however, were not.Homes - Courtyards
Greek houses, in the 6th and 5th century B.C., were made up of two or three rooms, built around an open air courtyard, built of stone, wood, or clay bricks. Larger homes might also have a kitchen, a room for bathing, a men's dining room, and perhaps a woman's sitting area.
Although the Greek women were allowed to leave their homes for only short periods of time, they could enjoy the open air, in the privacy of their courtyard. Much of ancient Greek family life centered around the courtyard.
The ancient Greeks loved stories and fables. One favorite family activity was to gather in the courtyard to hear these stories, told by the mother or father. In their courtyard, Greek women might relax, chat, and sew.Diet
Most meals were enjoyed in a courtyard near the home. Greek cooking equipment was small and light and could easily be set up there. On bright, sunny days, the women probably sheltered under a covered area of their courtyard, as the ancient Greeks believed a pale complexion was a sign of beauty.
Food in Ancient Greece consisted of grains, figs, wheat to make bread, barley, fruit, vegetables, breads, and cake. People in Ancient Greece also ate grapes, seafood of all kinds, and drank wine.
Along the coastline, the soil was not very fertile, but the ancient Greeks used systems of irrigation and crop rotation to help solve that problem.
They kept goats, for milk and cheese. They sometimes hunted for meat.Clothing - Accesories
Greek clothing was very simple. Men and women wore linen in the summer and wool in the winter. The ancient Greeks could buy cloth and clothes in the agora, the marketplace, but that was expensive. Most families made their own clothes, which were simple tunics and warm cloaks, made of linen or wool, dyed a bright color, or bleached white. Clothes were made by the mother, her daughters, and female slaves. They were often decorated to represent the city-state in which they lived. The ancient Greeks were very proud of their home city-state.
Now and then, they might buy jewelry from a traveling peddler, hairpins, rings, and earrings, but only the rich could afford much jewelry. Both men and women in ancient Athens, and in most of the other city-states, used perfume, made by boiling flowers and herbs.
The first real hat, the broad-brimmed petasos, was invented by the ancient Greeks. It was worn only for traveling. A chin strap held it on, so when it was not needed, as protection from the weather, it could hang down ones back.
Both men and women enjoyed using mirrors and hairbrushes. Hair was curled, arranged in interesting and carefully designed styles, and held in place with scented waxes and lotions.
Women kept their hair long, in braids, arranged on top of their head, or wore their hair in ponytails. Headbands, made of ribbon or metal, were very popular.
Blond hair was rare. Greek admired the blonde look and many tried bleaching their hair. Men cut their hair short and, unless they were soldiers, wore beards.
Barber shops first became popular in ancient Greece, and were an important part of the social life of many ancient Greek males. In the barber shop, the men exchanged political and sports news, philosophy, and gossip.Dancing - Music
Dance was very important to the ancient Greeks. They believed that dance improved both physical and emotional health. Rarely did men and women dance together. Some dances were danced by men and others by women.
There were more than 200 ancient Greek dances; comic dances, warlike dances, dances for athletes and for religious worship, plus dances for weddings, funerals, and celebrations.
Dance was accompanied by music played on lyres, flutes, and a wide variety of percussion instruments such as tambourines, cymbals and castanets.Story telling
The ancient Greeks loved stories. They created many marvelous stories, myths, and fables that we enjoy today, like Odysseus and the Terrible Sea and Circe, a beautiful but evil enchantress. Aesop's Fables, written by Aesop, an ancient Greek, are still read and enjoyed all over the world.Marriage - Weddings
In ancient Athens, wedding ceremonies started after dark. The veiled bride traveled from her home to the home of the groom while standing in a chariot. Her family followed the chariot on foot, carrying the gifts.
Friends of the bride and groom lit the way, carrying torches and playing music to scare away evil spirits. During the wedding ceremony, the bride would eat an apple, or another piece of fruit, to show that food and other basic needs would now come from her husband.
Gifts to the new couple might include baskets, furniture, jewelry, mirrors, perfume, vases filled with greenery.
In ancient Sparta, the ceremony was very simple. After a tussle, to prove his superior strength, the groom would toss his bride over his shoulder and carried her off.
In Vino Veritas: Wine Cups Tell History of Athenian Life Live Science - January 12, 2011
Over centuries, the ancient Athenian cocktail parties went full circle, from a practice reserved for the elite to one open to everyone and then, by the fourth century B.C., back to a luxurious display of consumption most could not afford.Slavery
Slavery played a major role in ancient Greek civilization. Slaves could be found everywhere. They worked not only as domestic servants, but as factory workers, shopkeepers, mineworkers, farm workers and as ship's crew members.
There may have been as many, if not more, slaves than free people in ancient Greece. It is difficult for historians to determine exactly how many slaves there were during these times, because many did not appear any different from the poorer Greek citizens.
There were many different ways in which a person could have become a slave in ancient Greece. They might have been born into slavery as the child of a slave. They might have been taken prisoner if their city was attacked in one of the many battles which took place during these times. They might have been exposed as an infant, meaning the parents abandoned their newborn baby upon a hillside or at the gates of the city to die or be claimed by a passerby.
This method was not uncommon in ancient Greece. Another possible way in which one might have become a slave was if a family needed money, they might sell one of the children into slavery. Generally it was a daughter because the male children were much needed to help out with the chores or the farm. Kidnapping was another fairly common way in which one could have been sold into slavery.
Slaves were treated differently in ancient Greece depending upon what their purpose was. If one was a household servant, they had a fairly good situation, at least as good as slavery could be. They were often treated almost as part of the family. They were even allowed to take part in the family rituals, like the sacrifice.
Slaves were always supervised by the woman of the house who was responsible for making sure that all the slaves were kept busy and didn't get out of line. This could be quite a task as most wealthy Greek households had as many as 10-20 slaves.
There were limits to what a slave could do. They could not enter the Gymnasium or the Public Assembly. They could not use their own names, but were assigned names by their master.
Not all forms of slavery in ancient Greece were as tolerable as that of the domestic servant. The life of a mineworker or ship's crew member was a life of misery and danger.
These people usually did not live long because of the grueling work and dangerous conditions of their work.
Often those forced into these conditions were those condemned to death for committing crimes because it was understood that they wouldn't live very long under these circumstances. It is surprising to note that the police force in ancient Athens was made up mainly of slaves. Many of the clerks at the treasury office were slaves.
Slavery was a very important part of ancient Greece. It played a major role in so many aspects of Greek civilization from domestic living to the infamous Athenian naval fleet.
The price one might have paid for a slave in ancient Greek times varied depending on their appearance, age and attitude. Those who were healthy, attractive, young and submissive, could sell for as much as 10 minae ($180.00). Those who were old, weak and stubborn might have sold for as little as 1/2 a mina ($9.00). If there happened to be a large supply of slaves on the market, the price automatically went down. This usually happened after winning a large battle, when there were many prisoners of war.
Traditionally, studies of Ancient Greece focus on the political, military and cultural achievements of Greek men. Unfortunately, the information we have about ancient Greek women is biased because it comes from various sources such as plays, philosophical tracts, vase paintings and sculptures which were completed by males. From these sources, we can conclude that Greek society was highly stratified in terms of class, race, and gender.
The segregation of male and female roles within ancient Greece was justified by philosophical claims of the natural superiority of males. As we shall learn, slave women were at a disadvantage in Greek society not only because of their gender but also because of their underprivileged status in the social hierarchy.
Slave labor was an essential element of the ancient world. While male slaves were assigned to agricultural and industrial work, female slaves were assigned a variety of domestic duties which included shopping, fetching water, cooking, serving food, cleaning, child-care, and wool-working. In wealthy households some of the female servants had more specialized roles to fulfill, such as housekeeper, cook or nurse.
Because female slaves were literally owned by their employers, how well slaves were treated depended upon their status in the household and the temperament of their owners. As a result of her vulnerable position within household, a female slave was often subjected to sexual exploitation and physical abuse. Any children born of master-servant liaisons were disposed of because female slaves were prohibited from rearing children.
Xenophon's Oceonomicus reveals that slaves were even prohibited from marrying, as marriage was deemed the social privilege of the elite citizens of Athens.
In addition to their official chores in the household, slave girls also performed unofficial services. For example, there is evidence that close relationships developed between female slaves and their mistresses. Given the relative seclusion of upper-class women in the private realm of their homes, many sought out confidantes in their slave girls. For example, Euripedes' tragic character of Medea confided her deepest feelings with her nurse, who both advised and comforted her in her troubled times. Furthermore, slaves always accompanied their mistresses on excursions outside of the home.
Tombstones of upstanding Athenian women often depict scenes of familiarity between the deceased and her slave companion. It is likely that a sense of their common exclusion from the masculine world of public affairs would have drawn women together, regardless of class. The only public area in which women were allowed to participate was religion.
Slave women were included in some religious affairs and could be initiated to the Eleusinian Mysteries which celebrated the myth of Persephone.
Thus, the fate of a Greek slave girl was determined by circumstance and more or less rested in the hands of her owners, who had the power to shape her existence.
3. Ancient Greek warfareFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Greek_warfare
Warfare occurred throughout the history of ancient Greece, from the Greek Dark Ages on. The Greek 'Dark Age' drew to a close as a significant increase in population allowed urbanized culture to be restored, which led to the rise of the city-states (Poleis). These developments ushered in the Archaic period (800-480 BC). They also restored the capability of organized warfare between these Poleis (as opposed to small-scale raids to acquire livestock and grain, for example). The fractious nature of Ancient Greek society seems to have made continuous conflict on this larger scale inevitable.
Along with the rise of the city-state evolved a new style of warfare: the hoplite phalanx. Hoplites were armored infantryman, armed with spear and shield, and the phalanx was a formation of these soldiers with their shields locked together and spears pointed forward. The chigi vase, dated to around 650 BC, is the earliest depiction of a hoplite in full battle array. With this evolution in warfare, battles seem to have consisted mostly of the clash of hoplite phalanxes from the city-states in conflict. Since the soldiers were citizens with other occupations, warfare was limited in distance, season and scale. Neither side could afford heavy casualties or sustained campaigns, so conflicts seem to have been resolved by a single set-piece battle.
The scale and scope of warfare in Ancient Greece changed dramatically as a result of the Greco-Persian Wars. To fight the enormous armies of the Achaemenid Empire was effectively beyond the capabilities of a single city-state. The eventual triumph of the Greeks was achieved by alliances of many city-states, on a scale never seen before. The rise of Athens and Sparta during this conflict led directly to the Peloponnesian War, which saw diversification of warfare. Emphasis shifted to naval battles and strategies of attrition such as blockades and sieges. Following the defeat of the Athenians in 404 BC, and the disbandment of the Athenian-dominated Delian League, Ancient Greece fell under the Spartan hegemony. But this was unstable, and the Persian Empire sponsored a rebellion by the combined powers of Athens, Thebes, Corinth and Argos, resulting in the Corinthian War (395-387 BC). Persia switched sides, which ended the war, in return for the cities of Ionia and Spartan non-interference in Asia Minor. The Spartan hegemony would last another 16 years, until, at the Battle of Leuctra (371) the Spartans were decisively defeated by the Theban general Epaminondas.
The Thebans acted with alacrity to establish a hegemony of their own over Greece. However, Thebes lacked sufficient manpower and resources, and became overstretched. Following the death of Epaminondas and loss of manpower at the Battle of Mantinea, the Theban hegemony ceased. The losses in the ten years of the Theban hegemony left all the Greek city-states weakened and divided. The city-states of southern Greece were too weak to resist the rise of the Macedonian kingdom in the north. With revolutionary tactics, King Phillip II brought most of Greece under his sway, paving the way for the conquest of "the known world" by his son Alexander the Great. The rise of the Macedonian Kingdom is generally taken to signal the end of the Greek Classical period, and certainly marked the end of the distinctive hoplite battle in Ancient Greece.
- 1 Military structure and methods in ancient Greece
- 2 The economics of ancient warfare
- 3 Ancient Greek military campaigns
- 4 See also
- 5 Bibliography
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Military structure and methods in ancient Greece
HopliteMain article: Hoplite
Along with the rise of the city-state evolved a new style of warfare and the emergence of the hoplite. The hoplite was an infantryman, the central element of warfare in Ancient Greece. The word hoplite (Greek ὁπλίτης, hoplitēs) derives from hoplon (ὅπλον, plural hopla, ὅπλα) meaning an item of armor or equipment, thus 'hoplite' may approximate to 'armored man'. Hoplites were the citizen-soldiers of the Ancient Greek City-states. They were primarily armed as spear-men and fought in a phalanx (see below).
Hoplite armor was extremely expensive for the average citizen, so it was commonly passed down from the soldier's father or relative. Alexander’s Macedonian army had spears called sarissas that were 18 feet long, far longer than the 6–9 foot Greek dory. The secondary weapon of a hoplite was the xiphos, a short sword used when the soldier's spear was broken or lost while fighting.
The origins of the hoplite are obscure, and no small matter of contention amongst historians. Traditionally, this has been dated to the 8th century BC, and attributed to Sparta; but more recent views suggest a later date, towards the 7th century BC. Certainly, by approximately 650 BC, as dated by the 'Chigi vase', the 'hoplite revolution' was complete. The major innovation in the development of the hoplite seems to have been the characteristic circular shield (Hoplon), roughly 1 m (3.3 ft) in diameter, and made of wood faced with bronze. Although very heavy (8–15 kg or 18–33 lb), the design of this shield was such that it could be supported on the shoulder. More importantly, it permitted the formation of a shield-wall by an army, an impenetrable mass of men and shields. Men were also equipped with metal greaves and also a breast plate made of bronze, leather, or stiff cloth. When this was combined with the primary weapon of the hoplite, 2–3 m (6.6–9.8 ft) long spear (the doru), it gave both offensive and defensive capabilities.
Regardless of where it developed, the model for the hoplite army evidently quickly spread throughout Greece. The persuasive qualities of the phalanx were probably its relative simplicity (allowing its use by a citizen militia), low fatality rate (important for small city-states), and relatively low cost (enough for each hoplite to provide their own equipment). The Phalanx also became a source of political influence because men had to provide their own equipment in order to be a part of the army.
The Hoplite PhalanxMain article: Phalanx formation
The ancient Greek city-states developed a military formation called the phalanx, which were rows of shoulder-to-shoulder hoplites. The Hoplites would lock their shields together, and the first few ranks of soldiers would project their spears out over the first rank of shields. The Phalanx therefore presented a shield wall and a mass of spear points to the enemy, making frontal assaults much more difficult. It also allowed a higher proportion of the soldiers to be actively engaged in combat at a given time (rather than just those in the front rank).
The phalanx formed the core of ancient Greek militaries. Because hoplites were all protected by their own shield and others’ shields and spears, they were relatively safe as long as the formation didn't break. When advancing towards an enemy, the phalanx would break into a run that was sufficient to create momentum but not too much as to lose cohesion. The opposing sides would collide viciously, possibly terrifying many of the hoplites of the front row. The battle would then rely on the valour of the men in the front line, while those in the rear maintained forward pressure on the front ranks with their shields. When in combat, the whole formation would consistently press forward trying to break the enemy formation; thus, when two phalanx formations engaged, the struggle essentially became a pushing match,[dubious ] in which, as a rule, the deeper phalanx would almost always win, with few recorded exceptions.
When exactly the phalanx developed is uncertain, but it is thought to have been developed by the Spartans. The chigi vase, dated to around 650 BC, is the earliest depiction of a hoplite in full battle array. The hoplite was a well-armed and armored citizen-soldier primarily drawn from the middle classes. Every man had to serve at least two years in the army. Fighting in the tight phalanx formation maximised the effectiveness of his armor, large shield and long spear, presenting a wall of armor and spearpoints to the enemy. They were a force to be reckoned with.
At least in the Archaic Period, the fragmentary nature of Ancient Greece, with many competing city-states, increased the frequency of conflict, but conversely limited the scale of warfare. Unable to maintain professional armies, the city-states relied on their own citizens to fight. This inevitably reduced the potential duration of campaigns, as citizens would need to return to the own professions (especially in the case of farmers). Campaigns would therefore often be restricted to summer. Armies marched directly to their target, possibly agreed on by the protagonists.
If battle was refused by one side, they would retreat to the city, in which case the attackers generally had to content themselves with ravaging the countryside around, since siegecraft was undeveloped. When battles occurred, they were usually set piece and intended to be decisive. The battlefield would be flat and open, reducing the possibilities for complex tactical maneuvers. These battles were short, bloody, and brutal, and thus required a high degree of discipline. At least in the early classical period, other troops were less important; (cavalry) generally protected the flanks, when present at all; and both light infantry and missile troops were negligible.
The strength of hoplites was shock combat. The two phalanxes would smash into each other in hopes of breaking or encircling the enemy force's line. Failing that, a battle degenerated into a pushing match, with the men in the rear trying to force the front lines through those of the enemy.[dubious ] This maneuver was known as the Othismos. Battles rarely lasted more than an hour.[dubious ] Once one of the lines broke, the troops would generally flee from the field, sometimes chased by peltasts or light cavalry. If a hoplite escaped, he would sometimes be forced to drop his cumbersome aspis, thereby disgracing himself to his friends and family. Casualties were slight compared to later battles, rarely amounting to more than 5% of the losing side, but the slain often included the most prominent citizens and generals who led from the front. Thus, the whole war could be decided by a single field battle; victory was enforced by ransoming the fallen back to the defeated, called the 'Custom of the Dead Greeks'.[clarification needed].
Other elements of Greek armies
Greek armies also included light infantry, including simple javelin throwers, the more armored peltasts, and cavalry to scout and drive off skirmishers. However, the rarity of horses made them far more expensive than armor, limiting cavalrymen to nobles and the very wealthy. Perhaps the most famous type of Greek cavalry was Tarantine cavalry, originating from the city-state of Taras in Magna Graecia. Some city-states also employed tactics using slingers and archers for longer-range skirmishing power.
The economics of ancient warfare
Campaigns were often timed with the agricultural season so as to impact the enemies or enemies' crops and harvest. The timing had to be very carefully arranged so that the invaders' enemy's harvest would be disrupted but the invaders' harvest would not be affected. Late invasions were also possible in the hopes that the sowing season would be affected but this at best would have minimal effects on the harvest.
One alternative to disrupting the harvest was to ravage the countryside by uprooting trees, burning houses and crops and killing all who were not safe behind the walls of the city. Ravaging the countryside cost much effort and was also dependent on the season because green crops do not burn as well as those nearer to harvest which are more dry.
War also led to acquisition of land and slaves which would lead to a greater harvest, which could support a larger army. Plunder was also a large part of war and this allowed for pressure to be taken off of the government finances and allowed for investments to be made that would strengthen the polis. War also stimulated production because of the sudden increase in demand for weapons and armor. Ship builders would also experience sudden increases in their production demands.
Ancient Greek military campaigns
The Greco-Persian WarsMain article: Greco-Persian Wars
The scale and scope of warfare in Ancient Greece changed dramatically as a result of the Greco-Persian Wars. To fight the enormous armies of the Achaemenid Empire was effectively beyond the capabilities of a single city-state. The eventual triumph of the Greeks was achieved by alliances of many city-states (the exact composition changing over time), allowing the pooling of resources and division of labour. Although alliances between city states occurred before this time, nothing on this scale had been seen before.
The Greco-Persian Wars (499-448 BC) were the result of attempts by the Persian Emperor Darius the Great, and then his successor Xerxes I to subjugate Ancient Greece. Darius was already ruler of the cities of Ionia, and the wars are taken to start when they rebelled in 499 BC. The revolt was crushed by 494 BC, but Darius resolved to bring mainland Greece under his dominion. Many city-states made their submission to him, but others did not, notably including Athens and Sparta. Darius thus sent his commanders Datis and Artaphernes to attack Attica, to punish Athens for her intransigence. After burning Eretria, the Persians landed at Marathon.
An Athenian army of c. 10,000 hoplites marched to meet the Persian army of about 25,000 troopers. The Athenians were at a significant disadvantage both strategically and tactically. Raising such a large army had denuded Athens of defenders, and thus any attack in the Athenian rear would cut off the Army from the City. Tactically, the hoplites were very vulnerable to attacks by cavalry, and the Athenians had no cavalry to defend the flanks. After several days of stalemate at Marathon, the Persian commanders attempted to take strategic advantage by sending their cavalry (by ship) to raid Athens itself. This gave the Athenian army a small window of opportunity to attack the remainder of the Persian Army.
This was the first true engagement between a hoplite army and a non-Greek army. The Persians had acquired a reputation for invincibility, but the Athenian hoplites proved crushingly superior in the ensuing infantry battle. To counter the massive numbers of Persians, the Greek general Miltiades ordered the troops to be spread across an unusually wide front, leaving the centre of the Greek line undermanned. However, the lightly armored Persian infantry proved no match for the heavily armored hoplites, and the Persian wings were quickly routed. The Greek wings then turned against the elite troops in the Persian centre, which had held the Greek centre until then. Marathon demonstrated to the Greeks the lethal potential of the hoplite, and firmly demonstrated that the Persians were not, after all, invincible.
The revenge of the Persians was postponed 10 years by internal conflicts in the Persian Empire, until Darius's son Xerxes returned to Greece in 480 BC with a staggeringly large army (modern estimates suggest between 150,000-250,000 men). Many Greeks city-states, having had plenty of warning of the forthcoming invasion, formed an anti-Persian league; though as before, other city-states remained neutral or allied with Persia. Although alliances between city-states were commonplace, the scale of this league was a novelty, and the first time that the Greeks had united in such a way to face an external threat.
This allowed diversification of the allied armed forces, rather than simply mustering a very large hoplite army. The visionary Athenian politician Themistocles had successfully persuaded his fellow citizens to build a huge fleet in 483/82 BC to combat the Persian threat (and thus to effectively abandon their hoplite army, since there were not men enough for both). Amongst the allies therefore, Athens was able to form the core of a navy, whilst other cities, including of course Sparta, provided the army. This alliance thus removed the constraints on the type of armed forces that the Greeks could use. The use of such a large navy was also a novelty to the Greeks.
The second Persian invasion is famous for the battles of Thermopylae and Salamis. As the massive Persian army moved south through Greece, the allies sent a small holding force (c. 10,000) men under the Spartan king Leonidas, to block the pass of Thermopylae whilst the main allied army could be assembled. The allied navy extended this blockade at sea, blocking the nearby straits of Artemisium, to prevent the huge Persian navy landing troops in Leonidas's rear. Famously, Leonidas's men held the much larger Persian army at the pass (where their numbers counted for nothing) for three days, the hoplites again proving their superiority.
Only when a Persian force managed to outflank them by means of a mountain track was the allied army overcome; but by then Leonidas dismissed the majority of the troops, remaining with 300 Spartans (and perhaps 2000 other troops) to guard the pass, in the process making one of history's great last stands. The Greek navy, despite their lack of experience, also proved their worth holding back the Persian fleet whilst the army still held the pass.
Thermopylae provided the Greeks with time to arrange their defences, and they dug in across the Isthmus of Corinth, an impregnable position; although an evacuated Athens was thereby sacrificed to the advancing Persians. In order to outflank the isthmus, Xerxes needed to use this fleet, and in turn therefore needed to defeat the Greek fleet; similarly, the Greeks needed to neutralise the Persian fleet to ensure their safety. To this end, the Greeks were able to lure the Persian fleet into the straits of Salamis; and, in a battleground where Persian numbers again counted for nothing, they won a decisive victory, justifying Themistocles' decision to build the Athenian fleet. Demoralised, Xerxes returned to Asia Minor with much of his army, leaving his general Mardonius to campaign in Greece the following year (479 BC).
However, a united Greek army of c. 40,000 hoplites decisively defeated Mardonius at the Battle of Plataea, effectively ending the invasion. Almost simultaneously, the allied fleet defeated the remnants of the Persian navy at Mycale, thus destroying the Persian hold on the islands of the Aegean.
The remainder of the wars saw the Greeks take the fight to the Persians. The Athenian dominated Delian League of cities and islands extirpated Persian garrisons from Macedon and Thrace, before eventually freeing the Ionian cities from Persian rule. At one point, the Greeks even attempted an invasion of Cyprus and Egypt (which proved disastrous), demonstrating a major legacy of the Persian Wars: warfare in Greece had moved beyond the seasonal squabbles between city-states, to coordinated international actions involving huge armies. After the war, ambitions of many Greek states dramatically increased. Tensions resulting from this, and the rise of Athens and Sparta as pre-eminent powers during the war led directly to the Peloponnesian War, which saw further development of the nature of warfare, strategy and tactics.
The Peloponnesian WarMain article: Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC), was fought between the Athenian dominated Delian League and the Spartan dominated Peloponnesian League. The increased manpower and financial resources increased the scale, and allowed the diversification of warfare. Set-piece battles during this war proved indecisive and instead there was increased reliance on naval warfare, and strategies of attrition such as blockades and sieges. These changes greatly increased the number of casualties and the disruption of Greek society.
Whatever the proximal causes of the war, it was in essence a conflict between Athens and Sparta for supremacy in Greece. The war (or wars, since it is often divided into three periods) was for much of the time a stalemate, punctuated with occasional bouts of activity. Tactically the Peloponnesian war represents something of a stagnation; the strategic elements were most important as the two sides tried to break the deadlock, something of a novelty in Greek warfare.
Building on the experience of the Persian Wars, the diversification from core hoplite warfare, permitted by increased resources, continued. There was increased emphasis on navies, sieges, mercenaries and economic warfare. Far from the previously limited and formalized form of conflict, the Peloponnesian War transformed into an all-out struggle between city-states, complete with atrocities on a large scale; shattering religious and cultural taboos, devastating vast swathes of countryside and destroying whole cities.
From the start, the mismatch in the opposing forces was clear. The Delian League (hereafter 'Athenians') were primarily a naval powers, whereas the Peloponnesian League (hereafter 'Spartans') consisted of primarily land-based powers. The Athenians thus avoided battle on land, since they could not possibly win, and instead dominated the sea, blockading the Peloponnesus whilst maintaining their own trade. Conversely, the Spartans repeatedly invaded Attica, but only for a few weeks at a time; they remained wedded to the idea of hoplite-as-citizen. Although both sides suffered setbacks and victories, the first phase essentially ended in stalemate, as neither league had the power to neutralise the other. The second phase, an Athenian expedition to attack Syracuse in Sicily achieved no tangible result other than a large loss of Athenian ships and men.
In the third phase of the war however the use of more sophisticated stratagems eventually allowed the Spartans to force Athens to surrender. Firstly, the Spartans permanently garrisoned a part of Attica, removing from Athenian control the silver mine which funded the war effort. Forced to squeeze even more money from her allies, the Athenian league thus became heavily strained. After the loss of Athenian ships and men in the Sicilian expedition, Sparta was able to foment rebellion amongst the Athenian league, which therefore massively reduced the ability of the Athenians to continue the war.
Athens in fact partially recovered from this setback between 410-406 BC, but a further act of economic war finally forced her defeat. Having developed a navy that was capable of taking on the much-weakened Athenian navy, the Spartan general Lysander seized the Hellespont, the source of Athens' grain. The remaining Athenian fleet was thereby forced to confront the Spartans, and were decisively defeated. Athens had little choice but to surrender; and was stripped of her city walls, overseas possessions and navy. In the aftermath, the Spartans were able to establish themselves as the dominant force in Greece for three decades.
Mercenaries and light infantry
Although tactically there was little innovation in the Peloponessian War, there does appear to have been an increase in the use of light infantry, such as peltasts (javelin throwers) and archers. Many of these would have been mercenary troops, hired from outlying regions of Greece. For instance, the Agrianes from Thrace were well-renowned peltasts, whilst Crete was famous for its archers. Since there were no decisive land-battles in the Peloponnesian War, the presence or absence of these troops was unlikely to have affected the course of the war. Nevertheless, it was an important innovation, one which was developed much further in later conflicts.
Spartan & Theban hegemonies
Following the eventual defeat of the Athenians in 404 BC, and the disbandment of the Athenian-dominated Delian League, Ancient Greece fell under the hegemony of Sparta. The peace treaty which ended the Peloponnesian War left Sparta as the de facto ruler of Greece (hegemon). Although the Spartans did not attempt to rule all of Greece directly, they prevented alliances of other Greek cities, and forced the city-states to accept governments deemed suitable by Sparta.
However, from the very beginning, it was clear that the Spartan hegemony was shaky; the Athenians, despite their crushing defeat, restored their democracy but just one year later, ejecting the Sparta-approved oligarchy. The Spartans did not feel strong enough to impose their will on a shattered Athens. Undoubtedly part of the reason for the weakness of the hegemony was a decline in the Spartan population.
This did not go unnoticed by the Persian Empire, which sponsored a rebellion by the combined powers of Athens, Thebes, Corinth and Argos, resulting in the Corinthian War (395-387 BC). This was the first major challenge Sparta faced.
The early encounters, at Nemea and Coronea were typical engagements of hoplite phalanxes, resulting in Spartan victories. However, the Spartans suffered a large setback when their fleet was wiped out by a Persian Fleet at the Battle of Cnidus, undermining the Spartan presence in Ionia. The war petered out after 394 BC, with a stalemate punctuated with minor engagements. One of these is particularly notable however; at the Battle of Lechaeum, an Athenian force composed mostly of light troops (e.g. peltasts) defeated a Spartan regiment...
The Athenian general Iphicrates had his troops make repeated hit and run attacks on the Spartans, who, having neither peltasts nor cavalry, could not respond effectively. The defeat of a hoplite army in this way demonstrates the changes in both troops and tactic which had occurred in Greek Warfare.
The war ended when the Persians, worried by the allies' successes, switched to supporting the Spartans, in return for the cities of Ionia and Spartan non-interference in Asia Minor. This brought the rebels to terms, and restored the Spartan hegemony on a more stable footing. The peace treaty which ended the war, effectively restored the status quo ante bellum, although Athens was permitted to retain some of the territory it had regained during the war. The Spartan hegemony would last another 16 years...
The second major challenge Sparta faced was fatal to its hegemony, and even to its position as a first-rate power in Greece. As the Thebans attempted to expand their influence over Boeotia, they inevitably incurred the ire of Sparta. After they refused to disband their army, an army of approximately 10,000 Spartans and Pelopennesians marched north to challenge the Thebans. At the decisive Battle of Leuctra (371 BC), the Thebans routed the allied army. The battle is famous for the tactical innovations of the Theban general Epaminondas.
Defying convention, he strengthened the left flank of the phalanx to an unheard of depth of 50 ranks, at the expense of the centre and the right. The centre and right were staggered backwards from the left (an 'echelon' formation), so that the phalanx advanced obliquely. The Theban left wing was thus able to crush the elite Spartan forces on the allied right, whilst the Theban centre and left avoided engagement; after the defeat of the Spartans and the death of the Spartan king, the rest of the allied army routed. This is one of the first known examples of both the tactic of local concentration of force, and the tactic of 'refusing a flank'.
Following this victory, the Thebans first secured their power-base in Boeotia, before marching on Sparta. As the Thebans were joined by many erstwhile Spartan allies, the Spartans were powerless to resist this invasion. The Thebans marched into Messenia, and freed it from Sparta; this was a fatal blow to Sparta, since Messenia had provided most of the helots which supported the Spartan warrior society. These events permanently reduced Spartan power and prestige, and replaced the Spartan hegemony with a Theban one. The Theban hegemony would be short-lived however.
Opposition to it throughout the period 369-362 BC caused numerous clashes. In an attempt to bolster the Thebans' position, Epaminondas again marched on the Pelopennese in 362 BC. At the Battle of Mantinea, the largest battle ever fought between the Greek city-states occurred; most states were represented on one side or the other. Epaminondas deployed tactics similar to those at Leuctra, and again the Thebans, positioned on the left, routed the Spartans, and thereby won the battle. However, such were the losses of Theban manpower, including Epaminondas himself, that Thebes was thereafter unable to sustain its hegemony. Conversely, another defeat and loss of prestige meant that Sparta was unable to regain its primary position in Greece. Ultimately, Mantinea, and the preceding decade, severely weakened many Greek states, and left them divided and without the leadership of a dominant power.
The rise of Macedon and the end of the hoplite era
Although by the end of the Theban hegemony the cities of Greece were severely weakened, they might have risen again had it not been for the ascent to power of the Macedonian kingdom in the north of Greece. Unlike the fiercely independent (and small) city-states, Macedon was a tribal kingdom, ruled by an autocratic king, and importantly, covering a larger area. Once firmly unified, and then expanded, by Phillip II, Macedon possessed the resources that enabled it to dominate the weakened and divided states in southern Greece. Between 356 and 342 BC Phillip conquered all city states in the vicinity of Macedon, then Thessaly and then Thrace.
Finally Phillip sought to establish his own hegemony over the southern Greek city-states, and after defeating the combined forces of Athens and Thebes, the two most powerful states, at the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC, succeeded. Now unable to resist him, Phillip compelled most of the city states of southern Greece (including Athens, Thebes, Corinth and Argos; but not Sparta) to join the Corinthian League, and therefore become allied to him.
This established a lasting Macedonian hegemony over Greece, and allowed Phillip the resources and security to launch a war against the Persian Empire. After his assassination, this war was prosecuted by his son Alexander the Great, and resulted in the takeover of the whole Achaemenid Empire by the Macedonians. A united Macedonian empire did not long survive Alexander's death, and soon split into the Hellenistic kingdoms of the Diadochi (Alexander's generals). However, these kingdoms were still enormous states, and continued to fight in the same manner as Phillip and Alexander's armies had. The rise of Macedon and her successors thus sounded the death knell for the distinctive way of war found in Ancient Greece; and instead contributed to the 'superpower' warfare which would dominate the ancient world between 350 and 150 BC.
The innovations of Phillip IIMain article: Ancient Macedonian army
One major reason for Phillip's success in conquering Greece was the break with Hellenic military traditions that he made. With more resources available, he was able to assemble a more diverse army, including strong cavalry components. He took the development of the phalanx to its logical completion, arming his 'phalangites' (for they were assuredly not hoplites) with a fearsome 6 m (20 ft) pike, the 'sarissa'. Much more lightly armored, the Macedonian phalanx was not so much a shield-wall as a spear-wall. The Macedonian phalanx was a supreme defensive formation, but was not intended to be decisive offensively; instead, it was used to pin down the enemy infantry, whilst more mobile forces (such as cavalry) outflanked them. This 'combined arms' approach was furthered by the extensive use of skirmishers, such as peltasts.
Tactically, Phillip absorbed the lessons of centuries of warfare in Greece. He echoed the tactics of Epaminondas at Chaeronea, by not engaging his right wing against the Thebans until his left wing had routed the Athenians; thus in course outnumbering and outflanking the Thebans, and securing victory. Alexander's fame is in no small part due to his success as a battlefield tactician; the unorthodox gambits he used at the battles of Issus and Gaugamela were unlike anything seen in Ancient Greece before.
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- Lazenby, John F., Spartan Army, Warminster, Wiltshire: Aris & Phillips, 1985.
- Lazenby, John F., The Peloponnesian War: A Military Study, London : Routledge, 2004.
- Parke, Herbert W., Greek Mercenary Soldiers: From the Earliest Times to the Battle of Ipsus, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970.
- Pritchett, Kendrick W., The Greek State at War, 5 Vols., Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1975-1991.
- Rawlings, Louis, "Alternative Agonies: Hoplite Martial and Combat Experiences beyond the Phalanx," in Hans van Wees, War and Violence in Ancient Greece, London and Swansea: Duckworth and the Classical Press of Wales, 2000, pp. 233–260.
- Sekunda, Nick, Elite 7: The Ancient Greeks, Oxford: Osprey, 1986.
- Sekunda, Nick, Elite 66: The Spartan Army, Oxford: Osprey, 1998.
- Sekunda, Nick, Warrior 27: Greek Hoplite 480-323 BC, Oxford: Osprey, 2000.
- Snodgrass, A., "The Hoplite Reform and History," Journal of Hellenic Studies, Vol. 85, 1965, pp. 110–122.
- Van Crefeld, Martin, Technology and War: From 2000 B.C. to the Present, New York, NY: Free Press, 1989.
- Van der Heyden, A. A. M. and Scullard, H. H., (eds.), Atlas of the Classical World, London: Nelson, 1959.
- Van Wees, Hans, Greek Warfare: Myths and Realities, London: Duckworth, 2005.
- Van Wees, Hans, "The Development of the Hoplite Phalanx: Iconography Reality in the Seventh Century," in Hans van Wees, War and Violence in Ancient Greece, London and Swansea: Duckworth and the Classical Press of Wales, 2000, pp. 125–166.
- Wheeler, E., "The General as Hoplite," in Hanson, Victor D., (ed.), Hoplites, London: 1991, pp.
- Holland, T. Persian Fire. pp. 69–70. ISBN 978-0-349-11717-1.
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- Holland, Tom (2005). Persian Fire. Abacus. pp. 178–9. ISBN 9780349117171.
- Holland, Tom (2005). Persian Fire. Abacus. p. 192. ISBN 9780349117171.
- Kagan. The Peloponnesian War. pp. XXIII–XXIV.
- The Place of Archery in Greek Warfare
- The Five Great Battles of Antiquity by David L. Smith, Symposion Lectures, 30 June 2006.
Category: Military history of Ancient GreeceFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Military_history_of_Ancient_Greece
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4. Ancient Greek religionFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Greek_religion
Part of a series on Ancient Greek religion
Ancient Greek religion encompasses the collection of beliefs, rituals, and mythology originating in ancient Greece in the form of both popular public religion and cult practices. These different groups varied enough for it to be possible to speak of Greek religions or "cults" in the plural, though most of them shared similarities.
Many of the ancient Greek people recognized the major (Olympian) gods and goddesses (Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Apollo, Artemis, Aphrodite, Ares, Dionysus, Hephaestus, Athena, Hermes, Demeter, Hestia, and Hera), although philosophies such as Stoicism and some forms of Platonism used language that seems to posit a transcendent single deity. Different cities often worshiped the same deities, sometimes with epithets that distinguished them and specified their local nature.
The religious practices of the Greeks extended beyond mainland Greece, to the islands and coasts of Ionia in Asia Minor, to Magna Graecia (Sicily and southern Italy), and to scattered Greek colonies in the Western Mediterranean, such as Massalia (Marseille). Greek religion was tempered by Etruscan cult and belief to form much of the later ancient Roman religion.
- 1 Beliefs
- 2 Practices
- 3 Mystery religions
- 4 History
- 5 See also
- 6 Notes
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
While there were few concepts universal to all the Greek peoples, there were common beliefs shared by many.
Ancient Greek theology was polytheistic, based on the assumption that there were many gods and goddesses. There was a hierarchy of deities, with Zeus, the king of the gods, having a level of control over all the others, although he was not omnipotent. Some deities had dominion over certain aspects of nature. For instance, Zeus was the sky-god, sending thunder and lightning, Poseidon ruled over the sea and earthquakes, Hades projected his remarkable power throughout the realms of death and the Underworld, and Helios controlled the sun. Other deities ruled over an abstract concept; for instance Aphrodite controlled love.
While being immortal, the gods were certainly not all-good or even all-powerful. They had to obey fate, which overrode any of their divine powers or wills. For instance, in mythology, it was Odysseus' fate to return home to Ithaca after the Trojan War, and the gods could only lengthen his journey and make it harder for him, but they could not stop him.
The gods acted like humans, and had human vices. They would interact with humans, sometimes even spawning children with them. At times certain gods would be opposed to others, and they would try to outdo each other. In the Iliad, Aphrodite, Ares and Apollo support the Trojan side in the Trojan War, while Hera, Athena and Poseidon support the Greeks (see theomachy).
Some gods were specifically associated with a certain city. Athena was associated with the city of Athens, Apollo with Delphi and Delos, Zeus with Olympia and Aphrodite with Corinth. Other deities were associated with nations outside of Greece; Poseidon was associated with Ethiopia and Troy, and Ares with Thrace.
Identity of names was not a guarantee of a similar cultus; the Greeks themselves were well aware that the Artemis worshipped at Sparta, the virgin huntress, was a very different deity from the Artemis who was a many-breasted fertility goddess at Ephesus. When literary works such as the Iliad related conflicts among the gods these conflicts were because their followers were at war on earth and were a celestial reflection of the earthly pattern of local deities. Though the worship of the major deities spread from one locality to another, and though most larger cities boasted temples to several major gods, the identification of different gods with different places remained strong to the end.
AfterlifeFurther information: Greek Underworld
The Greeks believed in an underworld where the spirits of the dead went after death. It was commonly supposed that unless the proper funeral rituals were performed, the deceased person's spirit would never reach the underworld and so would haunt the upper world as a ghost forever. There were various views of the underworld, and the idea changed over time.
One of the most widespread areas of the underworld was known as Hades. This was ruled over by a god, a brother of Zeus, who was called Hades (his realm was originally called 'the place of Hades'). Another realm, called Tartarus, was the place where the damned were thought to go, a place of torment. A third realm, Elysium, was a pleasant place where the virtuous dead and initiates in the mystery cults were said to dwell. In the early Mycenean religion all the dead went to Hades, just as in early Judaism all the dead went to Sheol. When Odysseus visits Hades in Odyssey 11, Achilles tells him he would rather be a farmer's servant on the face of the earth than king of Hades. The rise of mystery cults in the Archaic age led to the development of places such as Tartarus and Elysium.
A few, like Achilles, Alcmene, Amphiaraus Ganymede, Ino, Melicertes, Menelaus, Peleus, and a great number of those who fought in the Trojan and Theban wars, were considered to have been physically immortalized and brought to live forever in either Elysium, the Islands of the Blessed, heaven, the ocean, or literally right under the ground. Such beliefs are found in the most ancient Greek sources, such as Homer and Hesiod. This belief held strong even into the Christian era. For most people at the moment of death there was, however, no hope of anything but continued existence as a disembodied soul.
Some Greeks, such as the philosophers Pythagoras and Plato, also espoused the idea of reincarnation, though this was only accepted by a few. Epicurus taught that the soul was simply atoms which dissolved at death, so there was no existence after death.
MythologyFurther information: Greek mythology
Greek religion had an extensive mythology. It consisted largely of stories of the gods and of how they affected humans on Earth. Myths often revolved around heroes and their actions, such as Heracles and his twelve labors, Odysseus and his voyage home, Jason and the quest for the Golden Fleece and Theseus and the Minotaur.
Many different species existed in Greek mythology. Chief among these were the gods and humans, though the Titans also frequently appeared in Greek myths. They predated the Olympian gods, and were hated by them. Lesser species included the half-man, half-horse centaurs, the nature based nymphs (tree nymphs were dryads, sea nymphs were Nereids) and the half man, half goat satyrs. Some creatures in Greek mythology were monstrous, such as the one-eyed giant Cyclopes, the sea beast Scylla, whirlpool Charybdis, Gorgons, and the half-man, half-bull Minotaur.
Many of the myths revolved around the Trojan War between Greece and Troy. For instance, the epic poem, the Iliad, by Homer, is based on the war. Many other tales are based on the aftermath of the war, such as the murder of King Agamemnon of Argos, and the adventures of Odysseus on his return to Ithaca.
There was no one set Greek cosmogony, or creation myth. Different religious groups believed that the world had been created in different ways. One Greek creation myth was told in Hesiod's Theogony. It stated that at first there was only a primordial deity called Chaos, who gave birth to various other primordial gods, such as Gaia, Tartarus and Eros, who then gave birth to more gods, the Titans, who then gave birth to the first Olympians.
The mythology largely survived and was added to in order to form the later Roman mythology. The Greeks and Romans had been literate societies, and much mythology was written down in the forms of epic poetry (such as the Iliad, the Odyssey and the Argonautica) and plays (such as Euripides' The Bacchae and Aristophanes' The Frogs). The mythology became popular in Christian post-Renaissance Europe, where it was often used as a basis for the works of artists like Botticelli, Michelangelo and Rubens.
Various religious festivals were held in ancient Greece. Many were specific only to a particular deity or city-state. For example, the festival of Lycaea was celebrated in Arcadia in Greece, which was dedicated to the pastoral god Pan. There were also the Games held each year in different locations, culminating in the Olympic Games, which were held every 4 years. These celebrated Zeus.
One of the most important moral concepts to the Greeks was a fear of committing hubris, which constituted many things, from rape to desecration of a corpse. It was a crime in the city-state of Athens. Although pride and vanity were not considered sins themselves, the Greeks emphasized moderation. Pride only became hubris when it went to extremes, like any other vice. The same was thought of eating and drinking. Anything done to excess was not considered proper. Ancient Greeks placed, for example, importance on athletics and intellect equally. In fact many of their competitions included both. Pride was not evil until it became all-consuming or hurtful to others.
Hesiod's Theogony and Works and Days, Homer's Iliad and Odyssey and Pindar's Odes are included as sacred texts as are other works of classical antiquity. These are the core texts that were considered inspired and usually include an invocation to the Muses for inspiration at the beginning of the work. Such texts, however, were not considered inspired in the sense that they had to be believed by everyone. Plato even wanted to exclude the myths from his ideal state described in the Republic because of their low moral tone.
Greek ceremonies and rituals were mainly performed at altars. These were typically devoted to one or a few gods, and supported a statue of the particular deity. Votive deposits would be left at the altar, such as food, drinks, as well as precious objects. Sometimes animal sacrifices would be performed here, with most of the flesh eaten, and the offal burnt as an offering to the gods. Libations, often of wine, would be offered to the gods as well, not only at shrines, but also in everyday life, such as during a symposium.
One ceremony was pharmakos, a ritual involving expelling a symbolic scapegoat such as a slave or an animal, from a city or village in a time of hardship. It was hoped that by casting out the ritual scapegoat, the hardship would go with it.
Worship in Greece typically consisted of sacrificing domestic animals at the altar with hymn and prayer. Parts of the animal were then burned for the gods; the worshippers would eat the rest. The evidence of the existence of such practices is clear in some ancient Greek literature, especially in Homer's epics. Throughout the poems, the use of the ritual is apparent at banquets where meat is served, in times of danger or before some important endeavor to gain the favor of the gods. For example, in Homer's the Odyssey Eumaeus sacrifices a pig with prayer for his unrecognizable master Odysseus. In Homer's the Iliad, which may describe Greek civilization centuries earlier, every banquet of the princes begins with a sacrifice and prayer. These sacrificial practices, described in these pre-Homeric eras, share commonalities to the 8th century forms of sacrificial rituals. Furthermore, throughout the poem, special banquets are held whenever gods indicated their presence by some sign or success in war. Before setting out for Troy, this type of animal sacrifice is offered. Odysseus offers Zeus a sacrificial ram in vain. The occasions of sacrifice in Homer's epic poems may shed some light onto the view of the gods as members of society, rather than as external entities, indicating social ties. Sacrificial rituals played a major role in forming the relationship between humans and the divine.
Rites of passage
Here, they could find religious consolations that traditional religion could not provide: a chance at mystical awakening, a systematic religious doctrine, a map to the afterlife, a communal worship, and a band of spiritual fellowship.
Some of these mysteries, like the mysteries of Eleusis and Samothrace, were ancient and local. Others were spread from place to place, like the mysteries of Dionysus. During the Hellenistic period and the Roman Empire, exotic mystery religions became widespread, not only in Greece, but all across the empire. Some of these were new creations, such as Mithras, while others had been practiced for hundreds of years before, like the Egyptian mysteries of Osiris.
Mainstream Greek religion appears to have developed out of Proto-Indo-European religion and most immediately evolved from the earlier Mycenaean religion of the Mycenaean civilization of Bronze Age Greece. The Mycenaeans, according to archaeological discoveries, seemed to treat Poseidon as the chief deity. It may also have absorbed the beliefs and practices of earlier, nearby cultures, such as Minoan religion. Herodotus traced many Greek religious practices to Egypt.
The mainstream religion of the Greeks did not go unchallenged within Greece. Several notable philosophers criticised a belief in the gods. The earliest of these was Xenophanes, who chastised the human vices of the gods as well as their anthropomorphic depiction. Plato did not believe in many deities, but instead believed that there was one supreme god, whom he called the Form of the good, and which he believed was the emanation of perfection in the universe. Plato's disciple, Aristotle, also disagreed that polytheistic deities existed, because he could not find enough empirical evidence for it. He believed in a Prime Mover, which had set creation going, but was not connected to or interested in the universe.
When the Roman Republic conquered Greece in 146 BC, it took much of Greek religion (along with many other aspects of Greek culture such as literary and architectural styles) and incorporated it into its own. The Greek gods were equated with the ancient Roman deities; Zeus with Jupiter, Hera with Juno, Poseidon with Neptune, Aphrodite with Venus, Ares with Mars, Artemis with Diana, Athena with Minerva, Hermes with Mercury, Hephaestus with Vulcan, Hestia with Vesta, Demeter with Ceres, Hades with Pluto, Tyche with Fortuna, and Pan with Faunus. Some of the gods, such as Apollo and Bacchus, had earlier been adopted by the Romans. There were also many deities that existed in the Roman religion before its interaction with Greece that weren't associated with a Greek deity, including Janus and Quirinus.
Hellenism's revivalsMain article: Hellenism (religion)
Greek religion and philosophy have experienced a number of revivals, most notably in the arts, humanities and spirituality of the Renaissance. More recently, a revival has begun with the contemporary Hellenism, as it is often called (a term first used by the last pagan Roman emperor Julian). In Greece, the term used is Hellene ethnic religion (Greek: Ελληνική Εθνική Θρησκεία).
Modern Hellenism reflects Neoplatonic/Platonic speculation (which is represented in Porphyry, Libanius, Proclus, and Julian), as well as classical cult practice. However, there are many fewer followers than Greek Orthodox Christianity. According to estimates reported by the U.S. State Department, there are perhaps as many as 2,000 followers of the ancient Greek religion out of a total Greek population of 11 million; however, Hellenism's leaders place that figure at 100,000 followers.
- List of Ancient Greek temples
- Ancient Greek temple
- Hellenistic religion
- Erwin Rohde Psyche: The Cult of Souls and Belief in Immortality among the Greeks. New York: Harper & Row 1925 
- Hellenic Religion today: Polytheism in modern Greece. YouTube (2009-09-22). Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
- Omitowoju, P.36
- Cartledge, Millet & Todd, P.126
- Religions of the ancient world: a guide
- Meuli 1946
- Greece. State.gov. Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
- Albertus Bernabé (ed.), Orphicorum et Orphicis similium testimonia et fragmenta. Poetae Epici Graeci. Pars II. Fasc. 1. Bibliotheca Teubneriana, München/Leipzig: K.G. Saur, 2004. ISBN 3-598-71707-5. review of this book
- Walter Burkert, Greek Religion. Boston: Harvard University Press, 1987. ISBN 0-674-36281-0. Widely regarded as the standard modern account.
- Walter Burkert, Homo necans, 1972.
- Cook, Arthur Bernard, Zeus: A Study in Ancient Religion, (3 volume set), (1914–1925). New York, Bibilo & Tannen: 1964. ASIN B0006BMDNA
- Volume 1: Zeus, God of the Bright Sky, Biblo-Moser, June 1, 1964, ISBN 0-8196-0148-9 (reprint)
- Volume 2: Zeus, God of the Dark Sky (Thunder and Lightning), Biblo-Moser, June 1, 1964, ISBN 0-8196-0156-X
- Volume 3: Zeus, God of the Dark Sky (earthquakes, clouds, wind, dew, rain, meteorites)
- Dodds, Eric Robertson, The Greeks and the Irrational, 1951.
- Mircea Eliade, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, 1951.
- Lewis Richard Farnell, Cults of the Greek States 5 vols. Oxford; Clarendon 1896-1909. Still the standard reference.
- Lewis Richard Farnell, Greek Hero Cults and Ideas of Immortality, 1921.
- Jack Finegan, Myth and Mystery: An Introduction to the Pagan Religions of the Biblical World, 1989. ISBN 0-8010-2160-X
- George Grote, A History of Greece: From the earliest period to the close of the generation contemporary with Alexander the Great, 1846.
- Jane Ellen Harrison, Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion, 1903. An early classic, against which many modern accounts have reacted.
- Jane Ellen Harrison, Themis: A Study of the Social Origins of Greek Religion, 1912.
- Jane Ellen Harrison, Epilegomena to the Study of Greek Religion, 1921.
- Karl Kerényi, The Gods of the Greeks
- Karl Kerényi, Dionysus: Archetypical Image of Indestructible Life
- Karl Kerényi, Eleusis: Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter. The central modern accounting of the Eleusinian Mysteries.
- Jennifer Larson, Ancient Greek Cults:A Guide New York: Routledge, 2007. ISBN 978-0-415-32448-9
- Karl Meuli, Griechische Opferbräuche, 1946,
- Karl Meuli, Scythica, 1935.
- Jon D. Mikalson, Athenian Popular Religion. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983. ISBN 0-8078-4194-3.
- William Mitford, The History of Greece, 1784. Cf. v.1, Chapter II, Religion of the Early Greeks
- Clifford H. Moore, The Religious Thought of the Greeks, 1916.
- Martin P. Nilsson, Greek Popular Religion, 1940.
- Martin P. Nilsson, History of Greek Religion, 1949.
- Robert Parker, Athenian Religion: A History Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996. ISBN 0-19-815240-X.
- Andrea Purvis, Singular Dedications: Founders and Innovators of Private Cults in Classical Greece, 2003.
- William Ridgeway, The Dramas and Dramatic Dances of non-European Races in special Reference to the Origin of Greek Tragedy, with an Appendix on the Origin of Greek Comedy, 1915.
- William Ridgeway, Origin of Tragedy with Special Reference to the Greek Tragedians, 1910.
- Xavier Riu, Dionysism and Comedy, Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 1999. ISBN 0-8476-9442-9.
- Erwin Rohde, Psyche: The Cult of Souls and Belief in Immortality among the Greeks, 1925 .
- William Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, 1870.
- William Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, 1870.
- Martin Litchfield West, The Orphic Poems, 1983.
- Martin Litchfield West, Early Greek philosophy and the Orient, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1971.
- Martin Litchfield West, The East Face of Helicon: west Asiatic elements in Greek poetry and myth, Oxford [England] ; New York: Clarendon Press, 1997.
- Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Greek Religion.
- Padilla, Mark William (editor), "Rites of Passage in Ancient Greece: Literature, Religion, Society", Bucknell University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-8387-5418-X
4a. Athenian festivals
The festival calendar of Classical Athens involved the staging of a large number of festivals each year
The Panathenaea (Ancient Greek: Παναθήναια, "all-Athenian festival") was the most important festival for Athens and one of the grandest in the entire ancient Greek world. Except for slaves, all inhabitants of the polis could take part in the festival. This holiday of great antiquity is believed to have been the observance of Athena's birthday and honoured the goddess as the city's patron divinity, Athena Polias ('Athena of the city'). A procession assembled before dawn at the Dipylon gate in the northern sector of the city. The procession, led by the Kanephoros, made its way were offered on the Areopagus and in front of the Temple of Athena Nike next to the Propylaea. Only Athenian citizens were allowed to pass through the Propylaea and enter the Acropolis. The procession passed the Parthenon and stopped at the great altar of Athena in front of the Erechtheum. Every four years a newly woven peplos was dedicated to Athena.
The Dionysia was a large religious festival in ancient Athens in honor of the god Dionysus, the central event of which was the performance of tragedies and, from 487 BCE, comedies. It was the second-most important festival after the Panathenaia. The Dionysia actually comprised two related festivals, the Rural Dionysia and the City Dionysia, which took place in different parts of the year. They were also an essential part of the Dionysian Mysteries.
The Lenaia (Ancient Greek: Λήναια) was an annual festival with a dramatic competition but one of the lesser festivals of Athens and Ionia in ancient Greece. The Lenaia took place (in Athens) in the month of Gamelion, roughly corresponding to January. The festival was in honour of Dionysus Lenaius. Lenaia probably comes from lenai, another name for the Maenads, the female worshippers of Dionysus.
The Anthesteria, one of the four Athenian festivals in honour of Dionysus (collectively the Dionysia), was held annually for three days, the eleventh to thirteenth of the month of Anthesterion (the January/February full moon); it was preceded by the Lenaia. At the centre of this wine-drinking festival was the celebration of the maturing of the wine stored at the previous vintage, whose pithoi were now ceremoniously opened, and the beginning of spring. Athenians of the Classical age were aware that the festival was of great antiquity; Walter Burkert points out that the mythic reflection of this is the Attic founder-king Theseus' release of Ariadne to Dionysus, but this is no longer considered a dependable sign that the festival had been celebrated in the Minoan period. Since the festival was celebrated by Athens and all the Ionian cities, it is assumed that it must have preceded the Ionian migration of the late eleventh or early tenth century BCE.
Apollo and Artemis
The Boedromia (Ancient Greek: Βοηδρόμια) was an ancient Greek festival held at Athens on the 7th of Boedromion (summer) in the honour of Apollo Boedromios (the helper in distress). The festival had a military connotation, and thanks the god for his assistance to the Athenians during wars. It could also commemorate a specific intervention at the origin of the festival. The event in question, according to the ancient writers, could be the help brought to Theseus in his war against the Amazons, or the assistance provided to the king Erechtheus during his struggle against Eumolpus. During the event, sacrifices were also made to Artemis Agrotera.
The Thargelia (Ancient Greek: Θαργήλια) was one of the chief Athenian festivals in honour of the Delian Apollo and Artemis, held on their birthdays, the 6th and 7th of the month Thargelion (about 24 and 25 May). Essentially an agricultural festival, the Thargelia included a purifying and expiatory ceremony. While the people offered the first-fruits of the earth to the god in token of thankfulness, it was at the same time necessary to propitiate him, lest he might ruin the harvest by excessive heat, possibly accompanied by pestilence. The purificatory preceded the thanksgiving service. On the 6th a sheep was sacrificed to Demeter Chloe on the Acropolis, and perhaps a swine to the Fates, but the most important ritual was the following: Two men, the ugliest that could be found (the Pharmakoi) were chosen to die, one for the men, the other (according to some, a woman) for the women. On the day of the sacrifice they were led round with strings of figs on their necks, and whipped on the genitals with rods of figwood and squills. When they reached the place of sacrifice on the shore, they were stoned to death, their bodies burnt, and the ashes thrown into the sea (or over the land, to act as a fertilizing influence).
Aphrodite and Adonis
The Adonia (Ἀδώνια), or Adonic feasts, were ancient feasts instituted in honour of Aphrodite and Adonis, and observed with great solemnity among the Greeks, Egyptians, etc. It lasted two days, and was celebrated by women exclusively. On the first day, they brought into the streets statues of Adonis, which were laid out as corpses; and they observed all the rites customary at funerals, beating themselves and uttering lamentations, in imitation of the cries of Venus for the death of her paramour. The second day was spent in merriment and feasting; because Adonis was allowed to return to life, and spend half of the year with Aphrodite.
Demeter and Persephone
The Thesmophoria was a festival held in Greek cities, in honour of the goddesses Demeter and her daughter Persephone. The name derives from thesmoi, or laws by which men must work the land. The Thesmophoria were the most widespread festivals and the main expression of the cult of Demeter, aside from the Eleusinian Mysteries. The Thesmophoria commemorated the third of the year when Demeter abstained from her role of goddess of the harvest and growth; spending the harsh summer months of Greece, when vegetation dies and lacks rain, in mourning for her daughter who was in the realm of the Underworld. Their distinctive feature was the sacrifice of pigs.
The festival of the Skira or Skirophoria in the calendar of ancient Athens, closely associated with the Thesmophoria, marked the dissolution of the old year in May/June. At Athens, the last month of the year was Skirophorion, after the festival. Its most prominent feature was the procession that led out of Athens to a place called Skiron near Eleusis, in which the priestess of Athena and the priest of Poseidon took part, under a ceremonial canopy called the skiron, which was held up by the Eteoboutadai. Their joint temple on the Acropolis was the Erechtheum, where Poseidon embodied as Erechtheus remained a numinous presence.
The Hermaea (Ancient Greek: Ἔρμαια) were ancient Greek festivals held annually in honour of Hermes, notably at Pheneos at the foot of Mt Cyllene in Arcadia. Usually the Hermaea honoured Hermes as patron of sport and gymnastics, often in conjunction with Heracles. They included athletic contests of various kinds and were normally held in gymnasia and palaestrae. The Athenian Hermaea were an occasion for relatively unrestrained and rowdy competitions for the ephebes, and Solon tried to prohibit adults from attending. In the Cretan city of Cydonia, the festival had a more Saturnalian character, as the social order was inverted and masters waited on their slaves.
The Heracleia were ancient festivals honouring the divine hero Heracles. The ancient Athenians celebrated the festival, which commemorated the death of Heracles, on the second day of the month of Metageitnion (which would fall in late July or early August), at the Κυνοσαργες (Kynosarges) gymnasium at the demos Diomeia outside the walls of Athens, in a sanctuary dedicated to Heracles. His priests were drawn from the list of boys who were not full Athenian citizens (nothoi).
The Apaturia (Greek: Ἀπατούρια) were Ancient Greek festivals held annually by all the Ionian towns, except Ephesus and Colophon. At Athens the Apaturia took place on the 11th, 12th and 13th days of the month Pyanepsion (mid-October to mid-November), on which occasion the various phratries, or clans, of Attica met to discuss their affairs.
The Amphidromia was a ceremonial feast celebrated on the fifth or seventh day after the birth of a child. It was a family festival of the Athenians, at which the newly born child was introduced into the family, and children of poorer families received its name. Children of wealthier families held a naming ceremony on the tenth day called dekate. This ceremony, unlike the Amphidromia, was open to the public by invitation. No particular day was fixed for this solemnity; but it did not take place very soon after the birth of the child, for it was believed that most children died before the seventh day, and the solemnity was therefore generally deferred till after that period, that there might be at least some probability of the child remaining alive.
- Thucydides (ii.15) noted that "the more ancient Dionysia were celebrated on the twelfth day of the month of Anthesterion in the temple of Dionysus Limnaios ("Dionysus in the Marshes").
- Walter Burkert, Greek Religion 1985 §V.2.4, pp 237-42, offers a concise assessment, with full bibliography.
- Burkert 1985: §II.7.7, p 109.
- For a fuller discussion of the name considering multiple interpretations, cf. A.B. Stallsmith's article "Interpreting the Thesmophoria" in Classical Bulletin.
- "Pig bones, votive pigs, and terracottas, which show a votary or the goddess herself holding the piglet in her arms, are the archaeological signs of Demeter sanctuaries everywhere."(Burkert p 242).
- The festival is analysed by Walter Burkert, in Homo Necans (1972, tr. 1983:143-49), with bibliography p 143, note 33.
- L. Deubner, Attische Feste (Berlin 1932:49-50); their accompanier in late descriptions, the priest of Helios, Walter Burkert regards as a Hellenistic innovation rather than an archaic survival (Burkert 1983:)
- See Poseidon#The foundation of Athens; the connection was an early one: in the Odyssey (vii.81), Athena was said to have "entered the house of Erechtheus" (noted by Burkert 1983:144).
- William Smith (editor). "Hermaea", Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1870), p.604.
- C. Daremberg & E. Saglio. "Hermaia", Dictionnaire des antiquités grecques et romaines (1900), tome III, volume 1, pp.134-5.
- Herodotus i. 147.
Attic calendarFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Attic calendar is the calendar that was in use in ancient Attica, the ancestral territory of the Athenian polis. This article focuses on the 5th and 4th centuries BC, the classical period that produced some of the most significant works of ancient Greek literature. Because of the relative wealth of evidence from Athens, it is the best understood of all the Hellenic calendars. Viewed from the standpoint of the modern Gregorian calendar, the ancient system has many peculiar features, which is a part of its appeal: as a cultural artifact, it opens a window to the mentality of its users.
Although relatively abundant, the evidence for the Attic calendar is still patchy and often contested. As it was obvious to ancient Athenians, no contemporary source set out to describe the system as a whole. Further, during the period in question the calendar underwent changes, not all perfectly understood. As such, any account given of it must be a tentative reconstruction. In this context, the terms Athenian and Attic are largely interchangeable.
The Attic calendar was an exclusively local phenomenon, used to regulate the internal affairs of the Athenians, with little relevance to the outside world. For example, just across the border in Boeotia, the months had different names, and the year even began in mid-winter. In Athens, the year began six months later, just after mid-summer. Furthermore, while Greek months were supposed to begin with the first sighting of the new moon, it was determined locally and with a degree of variability. In many years, the months in the two communities would have more or less coincided, but there is no sign that they tried to keep the days of the month exactly aligned, as they would have seen no reason to do so.
The divide between these neighbouring calendars perhaps reflected the traditional hostility between the two communities. Had the Boeotians been speakers of an Ionic dialect, like the one spoken in Athens, there would have been overlap in the names of months. An example is the Ionian island of Delos, where the calendar shared four out of twelve month names with Athens, but not in the same places in the year. There, even though the island was under some degree of Athenian control from around 479 to 314 BC, the year started, as with the Boeotians, at midwinter.
More than one calendar
Athenians lived under a number of simultaneous calendars that were used to fix days for different purposes. How much each calendar meant to an individual must have depended on how they lived. They may be set out as follows:
- A festival calendar of 12 months based on the cycle of the moon
- A democratic state calendar of 10 arbitrary months
- An agricultural calendar of seasons using star risings to fix points in time
List of months
No complete list survives anywhere with all twelve months set out in order, but the following reconstruction is certain. The correlation suggested here between the Athenian months and those of the modern (Gregorian) calendar is loose, and, in some years, it might have been out by over a month.
Summer (Θέρος) 1 Hekatombaion (Ἑκατομβαιών) July/August 2 Metageitnion (Μεταγειτνιών) August/September 3 Boedromion (Βοηδρομιών) September/October Autumn (Φθινόπωρον) 4 Pyanepsion (Πυανεψιών) October/November 5 Maimakterion (Μαιμακτηριών) November/December 6 Poseideon (Ποσειδεών) December/January Winter (Χεῖμα) 7 Gamelion (Γαμηλιών) January/February 8 Anthesterion (Ἀνθεστηριών) February/March 9 Elaphebolion (Ἑλαφηβολιών) March/April Spring (Ἔαρ) 10 Mounichion (Μουνιχιών) April/May 11 Thargelion (Θαργηλιών) May/June 12 Skirophorion (Σκιροφοριών) June/July
The year was meant to begin with the first sighting of the new moon after the summer solstice. The solstice is the rising and setting points of the sun on the horizon, which have been creeping north over the past half-year, appearing to remain in the same place for a few days before they begin their drift back toward the south. Ideally, the solstice was to occur in the last month of the year. Then, on the day after the evening when the first sliver of the new moon had been seen (or presumed to have been seen), the new year was to begin. Because the relation of these two events, solstice and new moon, is variable, the new year would have moved (in relation to a Gregorian date) by up to a month.
The linking of the sun and the moon meant that the calendar was lunisolar. Twelve lunar months total about 354 days, eleven days or so shorter than the solar year. Under a purely lunar calendar, such as the Islamic one, the months creep backwards over the years, with no relation between the months and the seasons. Greece has pronounced seasons and so that had to be prevented. By tying the start of their year to the solstice, the Athenians allowed the months to relate, with some elasticity, to the seasons.
That still left the problem that twelve lunar months fall eleven days short of the solar year so an extra month had to be inserted ("intercalated") about every third year, leading to a leap year of about 384 days. Normal years contained 12 lunar cycles, but when it was judged that the months had slid back enough, a year of 13 cycles was used to realign the lunar and solar years. The extra month was achieved by repeating an existing month so the same month name was used twice in a row. Handbooks usually refer to the sixth month, Poseideon, as the month that was repeated, but months 1, 2, 6, 7 and 8 are all attested as being doubled (Hannah 2005: 43).
Various cycles were in existence for working out exactly the years that needed to take a thirteen month. A nineteen-year cycle, the Metonic cycle was developed at Athens by the astronomers Meton and Euctemon (known to be active in 432 BC), could have been used to pattern the insertion of leap years to keep the lunar and solar years aligned with some accuracy. There is, however, no sign that any such system was in fact used at Athens, whose calendar seems to have been administered on an ad hoc basis.
Names of months
The first function of this calendar was to set the days for the religious festivals. In a county fair role, they encompassed a much broader range of activities than the word "religious" suggests and were central to the life of the city.
The Athenian months were named after gods and festivals. In this the calendar differed from the Mesopotamian models that lie behind all Greek lunar calendars. In the Sumerian and Babylonian prototypes, for instance, the months were named after the main agricultural activity practised in that month. Many Athenian festivals had links with different stages of the agricultural cycle, such as festivals of planting or harvest. It perhaps added to the need to keep lunar and solar calendars roughly aligned, though this was not always achieved. The year of farmers, however, was not the primary focus of the calendar.
Jane Ellen Harrison, in treating the Attic festivals in Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion (1903), noted at the outset that some, but not all of the festivals gave their name to the month in which they were celebrated, and with one exception of the Dionysia, no festival was directly named for Olympians, or indeed, for any divinities (Harrison, p 30).
At Athens month 6, Poseideon, took its name directly from the god Poseidon. More commonly, the god appears in the form of a cult title. (A cult title is the name or aspect under which a god was worshipped at a particular festival.) Examples are Maimakterion, named after Zeus ("the rager") and Metageitnion, after Apollo as helper of colonists.
Of all of the months, only the eighth, Anthesterion, was named directly after the major festival celebrated in its month, the Anthesteria. While the month-naming festivals of Pyanepsia, Thargelia and Skira were relatively important, some of the grandest celebrations in the life of the city are not recognised in the name of the month. Examples are the Great Dionysia held in Elaphebolion (month 9) and the Panathenaia are only indirectly recognised in Hekatombaion (month 1), named after the hekatombe, the sacrifice of a "hundred oxen" held on the final night of the Panathenaia. More often than not, the festival providing the month name is minor or obsolete. For instance, the second month, Metageitnion, is named after a cult title of the god Apollo, but there is no trace of a festival bearing the name. The same goes for months 5 and 6, Maimakterion and Poseideon.
The calendars of the Ionian cities of Asia Minor (along the western coastline of modern Turkey) often share month names with Athens. For instance, at Miletos four of the same month names were in use, namely Thargelion, Metageitnion, Boedromion and Pyanepsion, and the last of these even occupied the same position as month four in both communities. Traditionally, these Ionian cities were founded by colonists from Attica (perhaps around 1050 BC). It may be then that the Athenian month names refer to a festival schedule some hundreds of years out of date.
Athenian festivals were divided between the 80 or so annually recurring celebrations and a set of monthly holy days clustered around the beginning of each month. They were often the birthdays of gods, the Greeks thinking of birthdays as a monthly rather than a yearly recurrence. Every month, days 1-4 and 6-8 were all sacred to particular gods or divine entities, amounting to some 60 days a year:
- Day 1: New Moon, Noumenia.
- Day 2: Agathos Daimon
- Day 3: Athena's Birthday
- Day 4: Heracles, Hermes, Aphrodite and Eros
- Day 6: Artemis' Birthday
- Day 7: Apollo's Birthday
- Day 8: Poseidon and Theseus (Mikalson 1975: 24)
Monthly and annual festivals were not usually allowed to fall on the same days so every festival month had an opening phase with exactly recurrent practices and celebrations while in the body of each month was a unique schedule of festival days.
A parallel function of this calendar was the positioning of the perhaps 15 or so forbidden days on which business should not be transacted.
Days of the month
The months were 29 or 30 days in length, loosely in alternation, since the moon orbits the earth in roughly 29.5 days. However, rather than following a set scheme (along the lines of "Thirty days hath September..."), the duration of each month was declared just before month's end in an attempt to latch the first of the following month onto the upcoming new moon. The short months of 29 days were known as "hollow" and the ones with 30 days as "full".
Each month was divided into three phases of ten days associated with the waxing moon, the full moon and the waning moon. The naming of the days was complex. The first day of the month was simply noumenia or new moon, a name used in virtually every Greek calendar. From there the days were numbered up to the 20th day. For the final third of the month the numbering turned around to do a countdown from ten to the last day. Only the middle phase had numbers for the days running higher than 10 and even these were often phrased as "the third over ten" and so forth. In the wings of the month, the numbered days ran 2-10 and then 10-2. Days in these sections were distinguished from each other by adding the participle "rising" and "waning" to the month name. In the centre of the month with its unambiguous numbering there was no need for this, though later the term "of the middling month" was used. The final day of the month was called henē kai nea, "the old and the new". Peculiar to Athens, this name presents the day as bridging the two moons or months. Elsewhere in Greece this day was usually called the thirtieth.
Rather than considering the month as a simple duration of thirty days, the three-part numbering scheme focuses on the moon itself. In particular the waning days 10-2 and the waxing days 2-10 frame the crucial moment where the moon vanishes and then reappears.
A date under this scheme might be "the third (day) of Thargelion waning," meaning day 28 of the month Thargelion.
Moon waxing Moon full Moon waning New Moon 11th later 10th 2nd rising 12th 9th waning 3rd rising 13th 8th waning 4th rising 14th 7th waning 5th rising 15th 6th waning 6th rising 16th 5th waning 7th rising 17th 4th waning 8th rising 18th 3rd waning 9th rising 19th 2nd waning 10th rising earlier 10th Old and New
To summarise the days with special names.
- The first day: noumenia, or new moon.
- The last day: henē kai nea, the 'old and the new'.
- The 20th day: "the later 10th". The Attic month had three days named the 10th (equivalent in a straight sequence to the 10th, 19th, and 20th days). These were distinguished as
- day 10: the 10th of the rising month
- day 19: the earlier 10th
- day 20: the later 10th
This strange juxtapositioning of the two days called the tenth, the earlier and the later, further highlighted the shift into the moon's waning phase.
When a month was to last 29 instead of 30 days (a 'hollow' month), the last day of the month ("the old and new") was pulled back by one day. That is to say, the "second day of the waning month" (day 29 in straight sequence) was renamed as month's end.
As Ionians, the Athenians had always been divided into four tribes. Although the tribes were never abolished, one of the key reforms at the creation of democracy after 506 BC was to distribute citizens under a new system of ten tribes to try to ensure even participation across the whole community. From then on, ten became a kind of hallmark number for the democracy, as so much citizen activity was done through the ten tribes. (For instance, the 10 generals leading the 10 regiments, the 10 sets of public arbitrators, the 10 treasurers of the Delian league and so on.)
This decimal ordering extended to the creation of a supplementary calendar with ten months. Each year, each tribe contributed 50 members to the council of 500 (boule), which played an important role in the administration of the city. For one tenth of the year, each tribal fifty was on duty, with a third of them in the council chamber at all times as an executive committee for the state. Their period of office was known as a 'prytany' or state month.
In the 5th century, thecalendar was solar-based by using a year of 365 or 366 days and paying no attention at all to the phases of the moon. One likely arrangement is that the ten prytanies were divided between six months of 37 days followed by four months of 36 days. That would be parallel to the arrangement in the 4th century explained below.
From several synchronised datings that survive, it is evident that the political and the festival years did not have to begin or end on the same days. The political new year is attested 15 days either way from the start of the festival year. The system is known from the 420s; whether it had been in place from the beginning of the ten-month system is not clear.
However, in 407 BC the two calendars were synchronised to start and end on the same days. Hereafter as described in the 4th century Constitution of the Athenians the civic year was arranged as follows:
- Months 1-4 lasted 36 days (39 in leap years?)
- Months 5-10 lasted 35 days (38 in leap years?)
In years with an extra month intercalated into the festival calendar, the political months were probably lengthened to 39 and 38 days, a method that would have maintained the balance between the tribes. Evidence, however, is lacking.
In the Macedonian period (307/306 – 224/223 BC), with twelve tribes (and the prytanies), evidence shows that the month and the prytany were not coterminous and that, in general, the six first prytanies had 30 days and the last six had 29 days and that in an intercalary year, the 384 days are equally subdivided. (Meritt, 1961: Ch.VI)
In the Thirteen Phylai period (224/223 – 201/200 BC), it would be expected that in an intercalary year prytanies and months must have been fairly evenly matched and that in an ordinary year, the conciliar year was made up of three prytanies of 28 days followed by ten prytanies of 27 days, but there is strong evidence that the first prytany had usually 27 days. (Meritt, 1961: Ch.VII)
The political months had no name but were numbered and given in conjunction with the name of the presiding tribe (which, as determined by lot at the expiry of their predecessors' term, gave no clue as to the time of year). The days were numbered with a straightforward sequence, running from 1 to the total number of days for that month.
One of the main roles of the civic calendar was to position the four assembly meetings to be held each prytany. If possible, assembly meetings were not held on festival days, including the monthly festival days clustered at the start of each month. As a result, the meetings were bunched slightly toward the end of the month and made to dodge especially the larger festivals.
A date under this calendar might run "the 33rd day in the 3rd prytany, that of the tribe Erechtheis", the style used in Athenian state documents (surviving only as inscriptions). Sometimes, however, a dating in terms of the festival calendar is added as well.
The Attic calendar was determined on the ground, month by month and year by year, in the light of immediate concerns, political or military. It was in the control of magistrates, who were not astronomers. How heavyhanded the interference was is controversial. Some scholars believe that if a festival date fell on a day needed for an assembly meeting, an extra day could be inserted by simply repeating the same day name twice.
There is clear evidence that it was done later. In Athens in 271 BC, just before the Great Dionysia, four days were inserted between Elaphebolion 9 and 10, putting the calendar on hold. Presumably, it was to gain extra rehearsal time for the festival with its performances of tragedy and comedy. A similar story comes from the 5th century BC but at Argos: the Argives, launching a punitive expedition in the shadow of the holy month of Karneios when fighting was banned, decided to freeze the calendar to add some extra days of war. However, their allies rejected the rearrangement and went home.
Aristophanes' Clouds, a comedy from 423 BC, contains a speech whose complaint is brought from the moon: the Athenians have been playing round with the months, "running them up and down" so that human activity and the divine order are completely out of kilter: "When you should be holding sacrifices, instead you are torturing and judging." A situation is known to have applied in the 2nd century BC, when the festival calendar was so out of sync with the actual cycles of the moon that the lunisolar date was sometimes given under two headings, one "according to the god", apparently the moon, and the other "according to the archon", the festival calendar itself.
The modern calendar, as well as regulating the immediate year, is part of a system of chronology that allows events to be dated far into the future and the past so a given date includes day, month and year.
By contrast, the Attic calendar had little interest in ordering the sequence of years. As in other Greek cities, the name of one of the yearly magistrates, at Athens known as the eponymous archon, was used to identify the year in relation to others. The sequence of years was matched to a list of names that could be consulted. Instead of citing a numbered year, one could locate a year in time by saying that some event occurred "when X. was archon". That allowed the years to be ordered back in time for a number of generations into the past, but there was no way of dating forward beyond ordinary human reckoning (as in expressions such as "ten years from now").
There was, for instance, no use of a century divided into decades. A four-year cycle was important, which must have helped structure a sense of the passing years: at Athens, the festival of the Panathenaia was celebrated on a grander scale every fourth year as the Great Panathenaia, but that was not used as the basis of a dating system.
As both narrowly local and cyclical in focus then, the calendar did not provide a means for dating events in a comprehensible way between cities. A dating system using the four-yearly Olympiads was devised by the Greek Sicilian historian Timaeus (born c. 350 BC) as a tool for the historical research, but it was probably never important on a local level.
A third calendar regulating Athenian lives was solar or seasonal. As such, it was fundamental for seasonal activities like farming and sailing. Within the broad divisions of the seasons, it relied on star risings and settings to mark more precise points in time. Star risings are the days when particular stars or constellations that have been below the horizon during hours of darkness first appear after sunset. Different star risings were keyed to various farm tasks, such as when to harvest: Hesiod in the Works and Days urges the farmer to harvest when the Pleiades rises (an event which elsewhere is set to mark the end of spring). Such a system was part of general Greek tradition, but fitted to local geography and conditions. Hesiod also uses the rising of Arcturus to mark the ending of winter and marks the start of Spring with the coming of the sparrows.
The seasons were not viewed by Greeks as dividing the year into four even blocks but rather spring and autumn were shorter tail sections of the overarching seasons, summer and winter. The divisions could be formalised by using star risings or settings in relation to the equinoxes: for instance, winter is defined in one medical text as the period between the setting of the Pleiades and the spring.
The older tradition as seen in Hesiod's Works and Days was extended by astronomical research to the creation of star calendars known as parapegmas. They were stone or wooden tablets listing a sequence of astronomical events, each with a peg hole beside it. Lines of bare peg holes were used to count the 'empty days' between what were taken as the significant celestial events. Often set up in town squares (agoras), the tablets put the progression of the year on public display.
This system would have been fundamental to an individual's sense of the advancing year, but it barely intersected with the festival or state calendars. They were more civic in character and required managing to maintain their coherence with the year of the seasons. The seasonal and sidereal calendar, on the other hand, was immune to interference so Thucydides could date by the rising of Arcturus without having to wade into the confusion of disconnected city-state calendars.
- Thucydides, 5.54.
- Aristophanes. Clouds, 615-626.
- Denis Feeney (1 December 2008). Caesar's Calendar: Ancient Time and the Beginnings of History. University of California Press. p. 195. ISBN 978-0-520-25801-3. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
- Hippocrates. On the Regimen, 3.68.2.
- Thucydides, 2.78.2.
- Burkert, W. Greek Religion. Oxford, 1985.
- Dunn, F. M. Tampering with the Calendar (Zeitschrift fur Papyrologie und Epigraphik), 1999, p. 123, 213-231.
- Hannah, R. Greek and Roman Calendars: Constructions of Time in the Ancient World. London, 2005.
- Meritt, B. D. The Athenian Year. Berkeley, 1961.
- Mikalson, J. D. The Sacred and Civil Calendar of the Athenian Year. Princeton, 1975.
- Pritchett, W. K. and O. Neugebauer. The Calendars of Athens. Athens, 1947.
- Samuel, Alan E. Greek and Roman Chronology, Muenchen: Beck'sche, 1972
- Oxford Classical Dictionary, 2nd edition, 1996: Calendar, Meton, Euctemon, Time reckoning, Birthday.
4b. Ancient Greek funeral and burial practicesFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Greek_funeral_and_burial_practices
Ancient Greek funerary practices are attested widely in the literature, the archaeological record, and the art of ancient Greece. Finds associated with burials are an important source for ancient Greek culture, though Greek funerals are not as well documented as those of the ancient Romans.
The Greeks knew about how to bury their dead. The body of the deceased was prepared to lie in state, followed by a procession to the resting place, either a single grave or a family tomb. Processions and ritual laments are depicted on burial chests (larnakes) from Tanagra. Grave goods such as jewelry, weapons, and vessels were arranged around the body on the floor of the tomb. Graveside rituals probably included libations and a meal, since food and broken cups are also found at tombs. A tomb at Marathon contained the remains of horses that may have been sacrificed at the site after drawing the funeral cart there. The Mycenaeans seems to have practiced secondary burial, when the deceased and associated grave goods were rearranged in the tomb to make room for new burials. Until about 1100 BC, group burials in chamber tombs predominated among Bronze Age Greeks.
Mycenaean cemeteries were located near population centers, with single graves for people of modest means and chamber tombs for elite families. The tholos is characteristic of Mycenaean elite tomb construction. The royal burials uncovered by Heinrich Schliemann in 1874 remain the most famous of the Mycenaean tombs. With grave goods indicating they were in use from about 1550 to 1500 BC, these were enclosed by walls almost two and a half centuries later—an indication that these ancestral dead continued to be honored. An exemplary stele depicting a man driving a chariot suggests the esteem in which physical prowess was held in this culture.
Archaic and Classical Greece
After 1100 BC, Greeks began to bury their dead in individual graves rather than group tombs. Athens, however, was a major exception; the Athenians normally cremated their dead and placed their ashes in an urn. During the early Archaic period, Greek cemeteries became larger, but grave goods decreased. This greater simplicity in burial coincided with the rise of democracy and the egalitarian military of the hoplite phalanx, and became pronounced during the early Classical period (5th century BC). During the 4th century, the decline of democracy and the return of aristocratic dominance was accompanied by more magnificent tombs that announced the occupants' status—most notably, the vaulted tombs of the Macedonians, with painted walls and rich grave goods, the best example of which is the tomb at Vergina thought to belong to Philip II of Macedon.
A dying person might prepare by arranging future care for the children, praying, and assembling family members for a farewell. Many funerary steles show the deceased, usually sitting or sometimes standing, clasping the hand of a standing survivor, often the spouse. When a third onlooker is present, the figure may be their adult child.
Women played a major role in funeral rites. They were in charge of preparing the body, which was washed, anointed and adorned with a wreath. The mouth was sometimes sealed with a token or talisman, referred to as "Charon's obol" if a coin was used, and explained as payment for the ferryman of the dead to convey the soul from the world of the living to the world of the dead. Initiates into mystery religions might be furnished with a gold tablet, sometimes placed on the lips or otherwise positioned with the body, that offered instructions for navigating the afterlife and addressing the rulers of the underworld, Hades and Persephone; the German term Totenpass, "passport for the dead," is sometimes used in modern scholarship for these.
After the body was prepared, it was laid out for viewing on the second day. Kinswomen, wrapped in dark robes, stood round the bier, the chief mourner, either mother or wife, was at the head, and others behind. This part of the funeral rites was called the prothesis. Women led the mourning by chanting dirges, tearing at their hair and clothing, and striking their torso, particularly their breasts. This excessive grief was but a species of empty pageantry that must be regarded as a necessary form than as a genuine expression of woe. The Próthesis may have previously been an outdoor ceremony, but a law later passed by Solon decreed that the ceremony take place outdoors. Before dawn on the third day, the funeral procession (ekphora) formed to carry the body to its resting place.
At the time of the funeral, offerings were made to the deceased by only a relative. The choai, or libation, and the haimacouria, or blood propitiation were two types of offerings. The mourner first dedicated a lock of hair, along with choai, which were libations of honey, milk, water, wine, perfumes, and oils mixed in varying amounts. A prayer then followed these libations. Then came the enagismata, which were offerings to the dead that included milk, honey, water, wine, celery, pelanon (a mixture of meal, honey, and oil) and kollyba (the first fruits of the crops and dried fresh fruits).  Once the burial was complete, the house and household objects were thoroughly cleansed with seawater and hyssop, and the women most closely related to the dead took part in the ritual washing in clean water. Afterwards, there was a funeral feast called the perideipnom. The dead man was the host, and this feast was a sign of gratitude towards those who took part in burying him.
Scenes from funerary steles
Commemoration and afterlife
Although the Greeks developed an elaborate mythology of the underworld, its topography and inhabitants, they and the Romans were unusual in lacking myths that explained how death and rituals for the dead came to exist. The ruler of the underworld was Hades, not the embodiment of death/personification of death, Thanatos, who was a relatively minor figure.
Performing the correct rituals for the dead was essential, however, for assuring their successful passage into the afterlife, and unhappy revenants could be provoked by failures of the living to attend properly to either the rite of passage or continued maintenance through graveside libations and offerings, including hair clippings from the closest survivors. The dead were commemorated at certain times of the year, such as Genesia. Exceptional individuals might continue to receive cult maintenance in perpetuity as heroes, but most individuals faded after a few generations into the collective dead, in some areas of Greece referred to as "thrice-ancestors" (tritopatores), who also had annual festivals devoted to them.
- Wikimedia Commons has media related to Death in Ancient Greece
- Funeral oration (ancient Greece)
- Greek underworld
- Kerameikos, site of an extensive cemetery at Athens
- Lekythos, a type of vessel holding oils or liquids often used in connection with death rites
- Roman funerals and burial
- Sit tibi terra levis
- Seikilos epitaph
- Peter Toohey, "Death and Burial in the Ancient World," in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome (Oxford University Press, 2010), vol. 1, p. 364.
- Unless otherwise indicated, information in this section comes from Linda Maria Gigante, entry on "Funerary Art," in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome, vol. 1, p. 245.
- Toohey, "Death and Burial in the Ancient World," in p. 365.
- Toohey, "Death and Burial in the Ancient World," p. 365.
- Robert Garland, "Death in Greek Literature," in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome, vol. 1, p. 371.
- Toohey, "Death and Burial in the Ancient World," p. 363.
- Alexiou,"The Ritual Lament In Greek Tradition," pp.6-7
- Graves,"The Burial Customs of the Ancient Greeks...,"p.36.
- Johnston, "Restless Dead: Encounters Between the Living and the Dead in Ancient Greece," p.40.
- Toohey, "Death and Burial in the Ancient World," p. 364.
- Toohey, "Death and Burial in the Ancient World," p. 367.
- Toohey, "Death and Burial in the Ancient World," p. 368.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The ancient Greek word oikos (ancient Greek: οἶκος, plural: οἶκοι; English prefix: eco- for ecology and economics) refers to three related but distinct concepts: the family, the family's property, and the house. Its meaning shifts even within texts, which can lead to confusion.
The oikos was the basic unit of society in most Greek city-states. In normal Attic usage the oikos, in the context of families, referred to a line of descent from father to son from generation to generation. Alternatively, as Aristotle used it in his Politics, the term was sometimes used to refer to everybody living in a given house. Thus, the head of the oikos, along with his immediate family and his slaves, would all be encompassed. Large oikoi also had farms that were usually tended by the slaves, which were also the basic agricultural unit of the ancient economy.
Traditional interpretations of the layout of the oikos in Classical Athens have divided into men's and women's spaces, with an area known as the gynaikon or gynaikonitis associated with women's activities such as cooking and textiles work, and an area restricted to men called the andron. In Lysias' speech On the Murder of Eratosthenes, the women's rooms were said to be situated above the men's quarters, while in Xenophon the women's and men's quarters are next to one another.
More recent scholarship from historians such as Lisa Nevett and Lin Foxhall has argued for a more flexible approach to household space, with rooms not simply having a single fixed function, and gendering of space not being as simple as some rooms being for men and others for women. It has been argued that instead of dividing the household space into "male" and "female" areas, it is more accurate to look at areas as being private or public. In this model, private areas were restricted to the family, while public areas were open to visitors but not to the women of the household.
In Olynthos and Halieis, street plans in the classical city were rectilinear, and thus houses were of regular shapes and sizes. By contrast, in Athens houses appear to have varied much more in size and shape.
In the classical period, houses excavated from Olynthos were "invariably" organised around a colonnaded courtyard. Likewise, of the houses excavated at Halieis in the Argolid, most of the houses seem to have had a single entrance which gave access to a court, and Nevett also cites three buildings excavated on Thasos as being similarly arranged around a courtyard.
Only a minority of the houses had evidence of staircases survive, demonstrating that they definitely had upper storeys, while for the remainder of Olynthian houses the evidence is inconclusive. On the Murder of Erastothenes demonstrates that at least some Athenian houses also had an upper storey. Entranceways at Olynthos were designed for privacy, preventing passers-by from seeing inside the house.
Historians have identified a "hearth-room" in ancient Greek houses as a centre of female activity. However, Lin Foxhall has argued that Greek houses often had no permanent kitchens. For example, a house in Attica known as the Vari House had multiple possible places which may have been used for cooking, but no fixed fireplace, and no one place was used for the entire lifetime of the house. Lisa Nevett points out that houses frequently had a "complex pattern of spatial usage", with rooms being used for multiple purposes.
A man was the head (kyrios, κύριος) of the household. The kyrios was responsible for representing the interests of his oikos to the wider polis and providing legal protection to the women and minors with whom he shared his household. Initially the kyrios of an oikos would have been the husband and father of offspring. However, when any legitimate sons reached adulthood the role of kyrios could, in many instances, be transferred from the father to the next male generation. When a son was given his portion of the inheritance, either before or after his father had died, he was said to have formed a new oikos. Therefore, new oikoi were formed every generation and would continue to be perpetuated through marriage and childbirth.
The relationship between father and son was bound intrinsically to the transfer of family property: a legitimate son could expect to inherit the property of his father and, in return, was legally obligated to provide for his father in his old age. If a son failed to care for his parents he could be prosecuted and a conviction would result in the loss of his citizen rights. However, sons were not compelled to maintain their fathers in their old age if they had not provided them with a skill. Furthermore, the heir to an inheritance would also be required to perform burial rites at the deceased's funeral and continue to provide annual commemorative rites. This would have been an extremely important consideration for the Athenians, who were notoriously pious.
Although men were part of both the polis and oikos, women had a role only in the oikos. In Athens, women of citizen status did not have many of the rights citizen men had. They had no political rights and could take no part in government. They could conduct only limited business and hold and inherit limited property. All business was conducted on a woman's behalf by her husband or father.
Athenian inheritance laws prioritised men over equally closely related women, and daughters in the absence of sons did not inherit at all, but came along with the estate as epikleroi. Instead of automatic inheritance rights, daughters were given dowries to support. As late as the fourth century, Athenian inheritance law forbade the disposal of property by testament away from legitimate children.
At Sparta women were able to own and inherit property. Marriage was arranged for a woman by her father or male guardian.
In the home women were kept segregated in their own quarters, called gynaikonitis, and were virtually unseen. They were responsible only for their oikos, which included providing for slaves and children, caring for the sick, and cooking, cleaning and making clothes. Much of this work, at least in wealthy families, would have been done by slaves, with the Athenian women largely taking a supervisory role.
Women rarely left the house, and even then would be accompanied by female slaves. Women did go shopping and to the wells to fetch water, but this was done mainly by slaves and by poorer women without slaves. Older women and widows had more freedom, as did Spartan wives. Wives in Sparta were also permitted to drink alcohol, which was forbidden in most other city-states, as well as exercise more authority in the oikos. However, as evidenced in the literature of the time, this standard was rarely observed. Poorer women undertook work, including selling goods in the market, spinning, making bread, agricultural laboring, acting as wet nurses or working alongside their husbands. It was not possible in such households to segregate men from women. Poorer widows often had to work, if they had no means of financial support.
Within religion women did play an important role, such as a dominant role at funerals, weddings, and a large number of public festivals. There were many priestesses, and women also had their own festivals. At some festivals, though, it is believed that women were not present; nor may they have attended associated performances at theaters.
Childbirth took place at home, with all the women of the household in attendance. A female midwife (maia, μαῖα) may have been present, and a male doctor called in if complications arose, but virtually no information on midwifery exists. Childbirth was regarded as polluting so was not allowed to take place on sacred ground. At birth the guardian (usually the father) had to decide whether to keep the child or expose it. If it was kept a purification ceremony took place on the fifth or seventh day after birth.
It was the mother's duty to breast-feed her children, but wet nurses were employed, and pottery feeding bottles are also known. There is evidence from vase paintings for cradles of wickerwork or wood. From the 4th century BCE children appear much more in artistic representations. Children played a number of games, and evidence of toys comes from literature, vase paintings and surviving examples of the actual toys.
It was customary at various festivals to give children toys. When girls were about to marry and when boys reached adolescence, it was customary for them to dedicate their playthings to deities.
Male children were favored for many reasons. They perpetuated the family and family cult, cared for parents in old age and arranged a proper funeral for deceased parents. In addition sons could inherit their mothers' dowry. Boys were raised in the female quarters until about the age of six, when they were educated in schools, but girls remained under the close supervision of their mothers until they married. They rarely went out of the women's section of the house and were taught domestic skills at home, though they did attend some religious festivals. In Sparta boys were removed from their families at the age of seven to be reared by the state.
In order to continue the family it was possible for a man to adopt a son. The earliest references to Greek adoption are in the Gortyn Code, where an adopted son had fewer inheritance rights than a son by birth. By the 4th century BCE in Athens, there were three forms of adoption: firstly, while a man was still alive; secondly, in his will; and thirdly, if a man died without a male heir and without providing for the adoption of a son in his will, he could have a son assigned to carry on his family.
An adopted son was no longer a member of his original oikos, but was transferred to the oikos of his adopter. If he wished to return to his original oikos, he had to leave a son of his own in his adoptive oikos in order that it might continue.
Some animals were kept in the home from at least the time of Homer, who mentions dogs. The most popular pet was a small dog, often represented on 5th-century BCE Attic gravestones and vases.
[Judging from ancient Greek frescoes, monkeys were also sometimes kept as pets. Some images have been identified as those of African guenon monkeys which are known carriers of Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers - VHF (e.g. Ebola/Marburg). Thucydides descriptions of the symptoms of the plague that killed 25+ percent of the persons in the Athens urban area in the second year of the Second Peloponnesian War appear to match the symptoms of VHF. (ref.: http://www.liquisearch.com/plague_of_athens/cause_of_the_plague/viral_hemorrhagic_fever )--- tkw]
See also: Adultery in Classical Athens
If a married woman was caught committing adultery, her husband was required to divorce her. Additionally, any woman found with a moichos was barred from public religious practices, as well as from wearing any ornament.
Lysias' speech On the Murder of Eratosthenes offers two possible reasons for the concern of Athenian men with moicheia: firstly, that the seducer not only damages a woman's chastity, but also corrupts her mind, and secondly that a clandestine relationship brings into question the paternity of the woman's children. Christopher Carey considers that the second reason given, the bringing into doubt of the paternity of children, was the more important consideration, as not only was the paternity of children important for inheritance, in ancient Athens this inheritance involved the cult of the family's ancestors, making the purity of the blood even more important than it might otherwise be. Finally, adultery was feared because through seduction, unlike through rape, an adulterer might gain access to the household and its possessions.
The term oikos is contemporarily used to describe social groups. Several dozen to several hundred people may be known, but the quality time spent with others is extremely limited: only those to whom quality (face-to-face) time is devoted can be said to be a part of an oikos. Each individual has a primary group that includes relatives and friends who relate to the individual through work, recreation, hobbies, or by being neighbors. The modern oikos, however, includes people that share some sort of social interaction, be it through conversation or simple relation, for at least a total of one hour per week.
The term oikophobia is used to refer to fear of the home or of household appliances. It has been extended by the philosopher Roger Scruton to mean rejection of one's home culture.
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- MacDowell, D.M. (1989). "The Oikos in Athenian Law". The Classical Quarterly 39 (1): 15.
- Cox, Cheryl Anne (1998). Household Interests: Property, Marriage Strategies, and Family Dynamics in ancient Athens. p. 190.
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- Lysias, I.9
- Xenophon, Oeconomus, ix.5
- Foxhall, Lin (2007). "House Clearing: Unpacking the 'kitchen' in Classical Greece". British School at Athens Studies 15: 234–235.
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- Nevett, Lisa (1995). "Gender Relations in the Classical Greek Household: the Archaeological Evidence". The Annual of the British School at Athens 90: 375.
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- Foxhall, Lin (2007). "House Clearing: Unpacking the 'kitchen' in Classical Greece". British School at Athens Studies 15: 233–234.
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- Carey, Christopher (1995). "Rape and Adultery in Athenian Law". The Classical Quarterly 45 (2): 416.
- moichos is usually translated in English as "adulterer", but its definition is broader than the English term, encompassing someone who had illegitimate consensual sex with any Athenian woman, regardless of her marital status. The infraction committed by the moichos was called moicheia.
- Carey, Christopher (1995). "Rape and Adultery in Athenian Law". The Classical Quarterly 45 (2): 414.
- Lysias, 1.33, quoted in Carey, Christopher (1995). "Rape and Adultery in Athenian Law". The Classical Quarterly 45 (2): 415.
- Carey, Christopher (1995). "Rape and Adultery in Athenian Law". The Classical Quarterly 45 (2): 416.
- Pomeroy, Sarah (1994). Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves: Women in Classical Antiquity. London: Pimlico. pp. 86–87.
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