If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:11:49

Video transcript

I am now going to give an overview of ancient Greece in future videos we're going to go into a lot more depth on a lot of these events and ideas but this one is to give you context on the big picture and just to start let's begin with the name Greece it turns out that the Greeks do not call where they live Greece neither did the ancient Greeks they called it L us L us L us and the word L us comes from Ellen so this comes from Ellen which is this legendary figure who is viewed as a progenitor of the Greek people you could kind of view him as the father of the Greek people and it's not well-established in the historical record when Ellen actually existed but this is where we get the name Ella's from and it's very important do not confuse this Ellen who was a man with Helen of Troy Helen of Troy was a different person when I was a child and I heard about Hellenic things or the Helen Hellenic period or the Helene's I was like oh maybe that's something to do with Helen of Troy no that's referring to the Greek progenitor Ellen and so that's where the word Ellis comes from and ideas like Helens which is the Greek people or Hellenic which is referring to something that is Greek or the Hellenistic period which we'll talk about many viewed videos from now which is this period of Greek influence not over not just over Greece and the Anatolian Peninsula but over Persia and over Egypt so with that out of the way let's now talk about the big the the big arc of history of ancient Greece and it's believed that the Greek Peninsula has been settled by human beings for thousands and thousands of years and as time goes on we'll hopefully understand more and more about them but my time line right over here starts with Mycenaean Greece which is or it starts with the end of Mycenaean Greece and other videos we might talk more about the Mycenaean Empire and as that Empire Falls we enter into the Greek Dark Ages and the it's called the Dark Ages is there's not a lot of historical record of this period roughly between 1100 BCE and 800 BCE now there's one event and I'll kind of say that with a slight emphasis or a question that is worth noting here I have Trojan War question mark around 1200 BCE once again there's not a strong historic record for the Trojan War but it is a famous war that was chronicled by Homer and even Homer we don't know if he really existed or whether he was an entire literary tradition but it was chronicled in the Iliad and the aftermath in the Odyssey and once again this was chronicled many hundreds of years later and even Homer is a is a semi legendary figure but when people talk about the Trojan Wars or you see movies about it we're talking about something that if it happened the way it happened it's on the order of 1,200 year 1200 BCE now as we exit the Greek Dark Ages that's when we start to have some of the institutions that really that we now identify with the ancient Greeks get established you have the Oracle at Delphi the Oracle of Delphi often known or Pythia often known as the Oracle of Delphi this is where leaders of the Greek city-states went for direction to understand what was likely to happen to get prophesies and this institution the Oracle at Delphi lasts through this entire period I have on my timeline into Roman rule for over 1,000 years where the Oracle of Delphi is a very very prominent figure in influencing Greek leaders at around the same time you also have the Olympic Games where they are held at Olympia where people compete to show their athletic prowess and this ancient Olympic Games once again it continues on for over 1,000 years our modern Olympics are you know just to kind of a flash in the pan which and it was obviously modeled after the ancient Olympics compared to how long this lasted now when most people think of Greece they're actually talking about classical Greece so this is the Classical period right over here we're going to do videos a lot of these events but it's roughly in the period between the the Persian invasions that were successfully put off and the rise of Alexander and the fall of Alexander and that's where you have all of these ideas of of Greek democracy really kind of coming to the surface Pericles the Strategos of Athens who had the influence to really help democracy flourish under his leadership or during his leadership you have the acropolis and the Parthenon these famous icons of Greek culture being established but once again this is in this period that's in this period right over here this is also the period that we associate with the famous Greek philosophers these lines right over here are the lifes of Socrates and Plato who's Socrates student established the famous academy Aristotle who was Plato's student and famous tutor of Alexander the Great now as I mentioned you had these city-states and the ones that are worth mentioning or all of them were worth mentioning but I have in this diagram the most significant city-states of ancient Greece that you'll hear a lot about we talked about the Oracle at Delphi the Olympic Games at Olympia a lot of the conversation tends to focus around Sparta and around and around Athens and then you'll also hear a lot about Corinth and Thebes Sparta is famous for its militaristic Society they it's often glorified but it's also worth noting that they were significant slave owners at different parts in Spartan history they had somewhere between seven and twenty slaves for every Spartan Athens is famous for its philosophy it's famous for it's the birthplace of democracy is famous for its art it's famous for its architecture actually all of these areas are famous for its architecture but it's also worth noting that during the Golden Age you have the Athenian Empire they were also pretty brutal and putting down rebellion and in some ways subjugating different people so it depends how you want to view things and we're going to have a lot of videos on all of these things but at that time we talked about these city-states even though they shared a common language and common culture they went to the Olympic they sent folks to the Olympic Games they went to the Oracle of Delphi they were independent states and it wasn't until you have Philip of Macedonia in the fourth century right over here when he starts to really unify these Greek city-states and it culminates with his son Alexander the Great and Alexander great not only unifies Greece but he takes over the Persian Empire and and really kind of with his death and he has a very short life he ushers in the Hellenistic period where you have Greek culture influencing that entire region not only Greece not only the PERT would what was a Persian Empire the Middle East Egypt that whole region gets influenced by Greek culture and Greece at the I guess you could say at the end finally gets under Roman control and it depends which date you want to use it in the middle of the second century BCE is when Greece itself Falls to Rome but then other parts of I guess you could say the Hellenistic world finally succumb to Rome for example Ptolemaic Egypt in the first century BCE but even then even when it becomes part of the Roman Empire it influences the Roman Empire very very very heavily now other things that you will hear us talk about when we discuss the Greeks besides their the democracy in the philosophy we're going to talk a lot about Wars and it's worth it's worth noting what Greek warriors look like so this is a depiction of hoplites which are Greek citizen soldiers in ancient Greece and you'll also hear about a phalanx of failings is the formation where they walked or they they marched very tightly together and when archers came they would put all their shields up and they'd almost be like this armored Hank and it was it was a very effective method of warfare another word that you will hear associated with Sparta and those slaves is helots those were the names of those slaves and they weren't owned by individuals they were actually owned by the state now some of the other cities here Corinth will come up a lot it has a very strategic location in the Isthmus of Corinth notice to get from the mainland or I guess into the Peloponnesus the Peloponnesian Peninsula you have to go through this its --mess Thebes right here was a significant rival to Athens at different periods of Greek history it was the dominant city now the last thing I want to mention is there's just a ton of culture that comes from the Greeks and a lot of words that we even use today for example the word draconian which is used for something that's very harsh well that comes from Draco's law which came in the seventh century BCE from Athens he he composed he was a theme Ian's legislator who composed a very harsh series of laws and that's where the word draconian comes from when people say something is Spartan they kind of imagine it's something that's very basic or you you just have the necessities and it comes from the idea of Spartan culture that they really everything revolved around military necessity even the word laconic which means someone who doesn't you know says just enough to get their meaning across it comes from the region where Sparta is Laconia the Spartans were famous for their kind of very terse speech famously when philip of macedon was threatening the spartans and he's saying if you don't come on to my side i'm going to do this and that to you if you don't become part of my kingdom my empire i'm going to do this to your city i'm going to do that to your people and the spartans famous reply was if which is kind of a good example of laconic speech with that one word they were able to convey a lot so I'm going to leave you there in the next few videos we're going to go into some depth on this but it's important to realize that when people talk about ancient Greece they're talking about a large span history and most of what we associate with ancient Greece the Acropolis the Parthenon the Persian Wars these the great Greek philosophers most of that is associated with the Classical period often associated with the Golden Age which is right right around there that well before this period the Greeks weren't all you know these philosophers sitting around in togas they might have been wearing togas but at this these earlier periods they were more adventurers and conquerors and they might have been in small villages and eventually those evolved into the the city-state that especially in Athens and Sparta had their Golden Age in this period right over here
AP® is a registered trademark of the College Board, which has not reviewed this resource.