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What is Civilization?

The great mystery is not that we should have been thrown down here at random between the profusion of matter and that of the stars; it is that from our very prison we should draw, from our own selves, images powerful enough to deny our nothingness. Andr Malraux, Man's Fate (1933) Up to about the year 1860, man's history had been conveniently divided into three distinct epochs: ancient, medieval and modern. After 1860, however, a new expression came into general use to describe the cultures of the distant past. Prehistory was the name given to that period of man's history before written documents appeared. We can now study man's pre-history through the field of archeology. Archeological remains can illuminate how and where early cultures lived, stored food and produced tools. We can learn of their religious practices, political organization and what type of relationships may have existed between man and woman, husband and wife, parent and child. Human artifacts uncovered by archeologists also reveal the existence of kings, plagues, famine, good harvests, wars and class structure. Of course, the history we obtain from archeological digs is by no means complete, especially when compared with man's more recent history (the past 500 years or so). For example, in 1945, the U.S. First Army captured 485 tons of records of the German Foreign Office just as these records were about to be burned on orders from Berlin. 485 tons of written records! And these records pertained only to the German Foreign Office. The point is that since the 15th century (and the development of movable type) the sheer number of written records has drastically increased and so too has the work of the historian become more complicated as a result. When we think of the ancient world, we may perhaps think of the Hebrews, Greeks and Romans. The Hebrews gave us faith and morality; Greece gave us reason, philosophy and science; and Rome gave us law and government. This is, of course, a crude oversimplification, and the reason is obvious. Western civilization developed before Greece or Rome. For instance, 3000 years before the greatest era of Greek history, civilizations flourished in Mesopotamia (see Lecture 2) and in Egypt (see Lecture 3). These civilizations were urban, productive, religious and law abiding and in all meanings of the word, civilized. A solid working definition of civilization is difficult and depends upon your own judgment. Here are a few textbook definitions:

Civilization is a form of human culture in which many people live in urban centers, have mastered the art of smelting metals, and have developed a method of writing. The first civilizations began in cities, which were larger, more populated, and more complex in their political, economic and social structure than Neolithic villages. One definition of civilization requires that a civilized people have a sense of history -meaning that the past counts in the present. The Oxford English Dictionary defines civilization as "the action or process of civilizing or of being civilized; a developed or advanced state of human society." Such a definition is fraught with difficulties. For instance, how might we correctly identify a "developed or advanced state of human society"? Developed or advanced compared to what? The OED defines the verb "to civilize" in the following way: "to make civil; to bring out of a state of barbarism; to instruct in the arts of life; to enlighten; to refine and polish." Are we any closer to a working definition? In 1936, the archeologist V. Gordon Childe published his book Man Makes Himself. Childe identified several elements which he believed were essential for a civilization to exist. He included: the plow, wheeled cart and draft animals, sailing ships, the smelting of copper and bronze, a solar calendar, writing, standards of measurement, irrigation ditches, specialized craftsmen, urban centers and a surplus of food necessary to support non-agricultural workers who lived within the walls of the city. Childe's list concerns human achievements and pays less attention to human organization. Another historian agreed with Childe but added that a true definition of civilization should also include money collected through taxes, a privileged ruling class, a centralized government and a national religious or priestly class. Such a list, unlike Childe's, highlights human organization. In 1955, Clyde Kluckhohn argued that there were three essential criteria for civilization: towns containing more than 5000 people, writing, and monumental ceremonial centers. Finally, the archeologist and anthropologist Robert M. Adams argued for a definition of civilization as a society with functionally interrelated sets of social institutions: class stratification based on the ownership and control of production, political and religious hierarchies complementing each other in the central administration of territorially organized states and lastly, a complex division of labor, with skilled workers, soldiers and officials existing alongside the great mass of peasant producers. As historians have often remarked, civilization is a word easier to describe than it is to define. As implied by the above discussion, the word itself comes from the Latin adjective civilis, a reference to a citizen. Citizens willingly bring themselves together in political, social, economic, and religious organizations -- they merge together, that

is, in the interests of the larger community. Over time, the word civilization has come to imply something beyond organization -- it refers to a particular shared way of thinking about the world as well as a reflection on that world in art, literature, drama and a host of other cultural happenings. To understand this idea better it is necessary to investigate the origins of western civilization. The historian's task is not an easy one and this is especially the case when dealing with ancient civilizations that rose and fell more than five thousand years ago. Since history is specifically the story of man's written records, the historian of ancient culture must piece together the past from fragments of human endeavor and human achievement. True enough, having 485 tons of written material at your disposal provides the historian with a daunting task. But trying to piece together the past of a culture whose written documents are scarce, makes the historian's task that much more difficult.

Ancient Western Asia and the Civilization of Mesopotamia

What is good in a man's sight is evil for a god, What is evil to a man's mind is good for his god. Who can comprehend the counsel of the gods in heaven? The plan of a god is deep waters, who can fathom of it? Where has befuddled mankind ever learned what is a god's conduct?

Before Civilization
Between 9000 B.C. and the beginning of the Christian era, western civilization came into being in Egypt and in what historians call Ancient Western Asia (modern-day Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Turkey, southwestern Russia, Iraq and Iran). The earliest permanent settlements occurred between 9000-6000 B.C. and were accompanied by the domestication of plants and animals. Between 4000-3000 B.C., the first cities appeared in response to the pressures of population growth, the organizational requirements of irrigation and the demands of more complex trade patterns. According to our previous definitions, these societies of Egypt and Ancient Western Asia correspond to what we would call civilization (see Lecture 1). Around 10,000 B.C., many hunter-gatherers living along the coastal plains of modern Syria and Israel and in the valleys and hills near the Zagros Mountains between Iran and Iraq began to develop special strategies that led to a transformation in the human community. Rather than constantly traveling in search of food, people stayed in one region and exploited the seasonal sources of food, including fish, grain, fruits and game. At a community such as Jericho, people built and rebuilt their mud brick and stone huts rather than moving on as had their ancestors. In general, these communities

began to focus on seasonal food sources and so were less likely to leave in search of new sources. Just why hunters and gatherers in this region of the ancient world turned to agriculture is difficult to say. And there are a variety of problems associated with this transformation. For one thing, specialization in a relatively small number of plants or animals could spell disaster during times of famine. Some scholars have argued that agriculture developed out of an increased population and the development of a political hierarchy. In settled communities, infant mortality decreased and life expectancy rose. This change may have occurred since life in a fixed community was less demanding. The practice of infanticide decreased since children could now be used in rudimentary agricultural tasks. And as population growth put pressure on the local food supply, gathering activities required more coordination and organization and led eventually to the development of political leadership. Settlements began to encourage the growth of plants such as barley and lentils and the domestication of pigs, sheep and goats. People no longer looked for their favorite food sources where they occurred naturally. Now they introduced them into other locations. An agricultural revolution had begun. The ability to domesticate goats, pigs, sheep and cattle and to cultivate grains and vegetables changed human communities from passive harvesters of nature to active partners with it. The ability to expand the food supply in one area allowed the development of permanent settlements of greater size and complexity. The people of the Neolithic or New Stone Age (8000-5000 B.C.) organized fairly large villages. Jericho grew into a fortified town complete with ditches, stone walls, and towers and contained perhaps 2000 residents. Catal Hyk in southern Turkey may have been substantially larger. Although agriculture resulted in a stable food supply for permanent communities, the revolutionary aspect of this development was that the community could bring what they needed (natural resources plus their tool kit) to make a new site inhabitable. This development made it possible to create larger communities and also helped to spread the practice of agriculture to a wider area. Farmers in Catal Hyk cultivated plants that came from hundreds of miles away. The presence of tools and statues made of stone not available locally indicates that there was also some trading with distant regions. Agricultural society brought changes in the organization of religious practices as well. Sanctuary rooms decorated with frescoes and sculptures of the heads of bulls and bears shows us that structured religious rites were important to the inhabitants of these early communities. At Jericho, human skulls were covered with clay in an attempt to

make them look as they had in life suggesting that they practiced a form of ancestor worship. Bonds of kinship that had united hunters and gatherers were being supplemented by religious organization, which helped to regulate the social behavior of the community. Around 1500 B.C., a new theme appears on the cliff walls at Tassili-n-Ajjer. We see men herding horses and driving horse-drawn chariots. These practices had emerged more than fifteen hundred years earlier in Mesopotamia, a desert plain stretching to the marshes near the mouths of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Chariots symbolized a dynamic and expansive phase in western culture. Constructed of wood and bronze and used for transport as well as for warfare, the chariot is symbolic of the culture of early river civilizations, the first civilizations in Ancient Western Asia.

Mesopotamian Civilization
The history and culture of Mesopotamian civilization is inextricably connected to the ebb and flow of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (see map). The earliest communities developed to the north but since rainfall in that area was so unpredictable, by 5000 B.C. communities had spread south to the rich alluvial plain. The economy of these communities was primarily agricultural and approximately 100-200 people lived in these permanently established villages. The alluvial plain in southern Mesopotamia ("land between the rivers") was far more fertile than the north but because there was little rainfall, irrigation ditches had to be constructed. Furthermore, the river beds of the Tigris and Euphrates rise and fall with the seasons and they change their course unpredictably. Southern Mesopotamia also had its share of flash floods which could destroy crops, livestock and village homes. Floods and torrential rains were a significant theme in Mesopotamian literature as depicted in the EPIC OF GILGAMESH. The rampant flood which no man can oppose, Which shakes the heavens and causes earth to tremble, In an appalling blanket folds mother and child, Beats down the canebrake's full luxuriant greenery, And drowns the harvest in its time of ripeness. Rising waters, grievous to eyes of man, All-powerful flood, which forces the embankments And mows down mighty trees, Frenzied storm, tearing all things in massed confusion With it in hurling speed.

Civilization emerged in Mesopotamia because the soil provided a surplus of food. With this surplus, people could settle down to village life and with these new settlements, towns and cities began to make their appearance, a process known as urbanization. With settlements and a surplus of food came an increase in the population, a well-defined division of labor, organization, cooperation and kingship. The emergence of cities involved interaction between people. Most cities evolved from smaller farming villages and with the practice of irrigation, which was necessary for villages distant from the Tigris and Euphrates, a stable food supply was produced. This, in turn, allowed increases in the number of people who inhabited each settlement. Because the land closest to the river was the most fertile, there was a variation in terms of the wealth of these early farmers, which led to distinct social classes. At the same time, the construction of canals, ditches and dikes essential to irrigation demanded cooperation between different social groups. Decision-making, regulation and control of all food production and herding meant cooperation. And because more food could be produced by less people, some people gave up farming and became craftsmen, laborers, merchants and officials and this too required cooperation. The Mesopotamians built massive temples or ziggurats which housed the priestly class, the human representatives of the gods. The priests controlled the religious life of the community, the economy, land ownership, the employment of workers as well as the management of long distance trade. Mesopotamian villages and towns eventually evolved into independent and nearly self-sufficient city-states. Although largely economically dependent on one another, these city-states were independent political entities and retained very strong isolationist tendencies. This isolationism hindered the unification of the Mesopotamian city-states, which eventually grew to twelve in number. By 3000 B.C., Mesopotamian civilization had made contact with other cultures of the Fertile Crescent (a term first coined by James Breasted in 1916), an extensive trade network connecting Mesopotamia with the rest of Ancient Western Asia. Again, it was the two rivers which served as both trade and transportation routes. The achievements of Mesopotamian civilization were numerous. Agriculture, thanks to the construction of irrigation ditches, became the primary method of subsistence. Farming was further simplified by the introduction of the plow. We also find the use of wheel-made pottery. Between 3000 and 2900 B.C. craft specialization and industries began to emerge (ceramic pottery, metallurgy and textiles). Evidence for this exists in the careful planning and construction of the monumental buildings such

as the temples and ziggurats. During this period (roughly 3000 B.C.), cylinder seals became common. These cylindrical stone seals were five inches in height and engraved with images. These images were reproduced by rolling the cylinder over wet clay. The language of these seals remained unknown until to 20th century. But, scholars now agree that the language of these tablets was Sumerian.

Ancient Sumer
The Sumerians inhabited southern Mesopotamia from 3000-2000 B.C. The origins of the Sumerians is unclear -- what is clear is that Sumerian civilization dominated Mesopotamian law, religion, art, literature and science for nearly seven centuries. The greatest achievement of Sumerian civilization was their CUNEIFORM ("wedge-shaped") system of writing. Using a reed stylus, they made wedge-shaped impressions on wet clay tablets which were then baked in the sun. Once dried, these tablets were virtually indestructible and the several hundred thousand tablets which have been found tell us a great deal about the Sumerians. Originally, Sumerian writing was pictographic, that is, scribes drew pictures of representations of objects. Each sign represented a word identical in meaning to the object pictured, although pictures could often represent more than the actual object. The pictographic system proved cumbersome and the characters were gradually simplified and their pictographic nature gave way to conventional signs that represented ideas. For instance, the sign for a star could also be used to mean heaven, sky or god. The next major step in simplification was the development of phonetization in which characters or signs were used to represent sounds. So, the character for water was also used to mean "in," since the Sumerian words for "water" and "in" sounded similar. With a phonetic system, scribes could now represent words for which there were no images (signs), thus making possible the written expression of abstract ideas. The Sumerians used writing primarily as a form of record keeping. The most common cuneiform tablets record transactions of daily life: tallies of cattle kept by herdsmen for their owners, production figures, lists of taxes, accounts, contracts and other facets of organizational life in the community. Another large category of cuneiform writing included a large number of basic texts which were used for the purpose of teaching future generations of scribes. By 2500 B.C. there were schools built just for his purpose.

The city-state was Sumer's most important political entity. The city-states were a loose collection of territorially small cities which lacked unity with one another. Each city-state consisted of an urban center and its surrounding farmland. The city-states were isolated from one another geographically and so the independence of each city-state became a cultural norm with important consequences. For instance, it was held that each city-state was the estate of a particular god: Nannar (moon) was said to have watched over the city-state of Ur; Uruk had An (sky), Sippar had Utu (sun) and Enki (earth) could be found at Eridu. Nippur, the earliest center of Sumerian religion, was dedicated to Enlil, god of wind (Enlil was supplanted by Marduk at Babylon). Each city-state was sacred since it was carefully guarded by and linked to a specific god or goddess. Located near the center of each city-state was a temple. Occupying several acres, this sacred area consisted of a ziggurat with a temple at the top dedicated to the god or goddess who "owned" the city. The temple complex was the true center of the community. The main god or goddess dwelt there symbolically in the form of a statue, and the ceremony of dedication included a ritual that linked the statue to the god or goddess and thus harnessed the power of the deity for the benefit of the city-state. Considerable wealth was poured into the construction of temples as well as other buildings used for the residences of priests and priestesses who attended to the needs of the gods. The priests also controlled all economic activities since the economy was "redistributive." Farmers would bring their produce to the the priests at the ziggurat. The priests would "feed" and "clothe" the gods and then redistribute the remainder to the people of the community. With its rather large pantheon of gods and goddesses animating all aspects of life, Sumerian religion was polytheistic in nature. By far, the most important deities were An, Enlil, Enki and Ninhursaga. An was the god of the sky and hence the most important force in the universe. He was also viewed as the source of all authority including the earthly power of rulers and fathers alike. In one myth, the gods address them in the following manner: What you have ordered comes true! The utterance of Prince and Lord is but what you have ordered, do agree with. O An! your great command takes precedence, who could gainsay it? O father of the gods, your command, the very foundations of heaven and earth, what god could spurn it? Enlil, god of wind, was considered the second greatest power of the universe and became the symbol of the proper use of force and authority on earth. As the god of wind, Enlil controlled both the fertility of the soil and destructive storms. This dual nature of Enlil inspired a justifiable fear of him:

What has he planned? . . . What is in my father's heart? What is in Enlil's holy mind? What has he planned against me in his holy mind? A net he spread: the net of an enemy; a snare he set: the snare of an enemy. He has stirred up the waters and will catch the fishes, he has cast his net, and will bring down the birds too. Enki was god of the earth. Since the earth was the source of life-giving waters, Enki was also god of rivers, wells, and canals. He also represented the waters of creativity and was responsible for inventions and crafts. Ninhursaga began as a goddess associated with soil, mountains, and vegetation. Eventually she was worshipped as a mother goddess, a "mother of all children," who manifested her power by giving birth to kings. Although these four deities were supreme, there were numerous gods and goddesses below them. One group included the astral deities, who were all grandchildren and great-grandchildren of An. These included Utu, god of the sun, the moon god Nannar, and Inanna, goddess of the morning and evening star as well as of war and rain. Unlike humans, these gods and goddesses were divine and immortal. But they were not all-powerful since no one god had control over the entire universe. Furthermore, humans were capable of devising ways to discover the will of the gods and to influence them as well. The relationship of human beings to the gods was based on subservience since, according to Sumerian myth, human beings were created to do the manual labor the gods were unwilling to do for themselves. As a consequence, humans were insecure since they could never be sure of the god's actions. But humans did make attempts to circumvent or relieve their anxiety by discovering the intentions of the gods; these efforts gave rise to the development of the arts of divination, which took a variety of forms. A common form, at least for kings and priests who could afford it, involved killing animals, such as sheep or goats, and examining their livers or other organs. Supposedly, features seen in the organs of the sacrificed animals foretold of events to come. Private individuals relied on cheaper divinatory techniques. These included interpreting patterns of smoke from burning incense or the pattern formed when oil was poured into water. The Sumerian art of divination arose from a desire to discover the purpose of the gods. If people could decipher the signs that foretold events, the events would be predictable and humans could act wisely. But the Sumerians also developed cultic arts to influence good powers (gods and goddesses) whose decisions could determine human destiny and to ward off evil powers (demons). These cultic arts included

ritualistic formulas, such as spells against evil spirits, or prayers or hymns to the gods to win their positive influence. Since only the priests knew the precise rituals, it is not difficult to understand the important role they exercised in a society dominated by a belief in the reality of spiritual powers.

The Code of Hammurabi

Mesopotamian men and women viewed themselves as subservient to the gods and believed humans were at the mercy of the god's arbitrary decisions. To counter their insecurity, the Mesopotamians not only developed the arts of divination in order to understand the wishes of their gods, but also relieved some anxiety by establishing codes that regulated their relationships with one another. These law codes became an integral part of Mesopotamian society. Although there were early Sumerian law codes, the best-preserved Mesopotamian collection of law codes was that of Hammurabi (fl.18th century B.C.). The CODE OF HAMMURABI reveals a society of strict justice. Penalties for criminal offenses were severe and varied according to the wealth of the individual. According to the code, there were three social classes in Babylonia: an upper class of nobles (government officials, priests, and warriors), the class of freemen (merchants, artisans, professionals, and wealthy farmers), and a lower class of slaves. An offense against a member of the upper class was punished with more severity than the same offense against a member of a lower class. The principle of retaliation ("an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth") was fundamental. It was applied in cases where members of the upper class committed criminal offenses against their own social equals. But for offenses against members of the lower classes, a money payment was made instead. Mesopotamian society, like any other society, had its share of crime. Burglary was common. If a person stole goods belonging to the temples, he was put to death, and so was the person who received the stolen goods. If the private property of an individual was stolen, the thief had to make a tenfold restitution. If he could not do so he was put to death. An offender caught attempting to loot a burning house was to be "thrown into that fire." Private individuals were often responsible for bringing charges before a court of law. To insure that accusations were not brought lightly, the accuser in cases of murder was responsible for proving his case against the defendant. If the accuser could not, he was put to death. Providing false testimony in a murder case meant the same fate.

Hammurabi's code took seriously the responsibilities of all public officials. The governor of an area and city officials were expected to catch burglars. If they failed to do so, public officials in which the crime took place had to replace the lost property. If murderers were not found, the officials had to pay a fine to the relatives of the murdered person. Soldiers were also expected to fill their duties. If a soldier hired a substitute to fight for him, he was put to death, and a substitute was given control of his estate. The law code also extended into the daily life of the ordinary citizen. Builders were held responsible for the buildings they constructed. If a house collapsed and caused the death of its owner, the builder was put to death. Goods destroyed by the collapsed must also be replaced and the house itself rebuilt at the builder's expense. Slavery was a common feature of Mesopotamian society. Slaves were obtained by war; others were criminals. Crimes such as striking one's older brother and kicking one's mother were punished by condemnation to slavery. A man could pay his debts by selling both his children and wife into slavery for a specified length of time. One could become a slave simply by going into debt. Slaves were used in temples, in public buildings, and in the homes of private individuals. Most temple slaves were women who did domestic chores. Royal slaves were used to construct buildings and fortifications. Slaves owned by private citizens performed domestic chores. The laws were harsh for those slaves who tried to escape or who were disobedient. "If a male slave has said to his master, 'You are now my master,' his master shall prove him to be his slave and cut off his ear." Despite such harsh measures, slaves did possess a number of privileges: they could hold property, participate in business, marry free man or women, and eventually purchased their own freedom. The number of laws in Hammurabi's code dedicated to land and commerce reveal the importance of agriculture and trade in Mesopotamian society. Numerous laws dealt with questions of landholding, such as the establishment of conditions for renting farmland. Tenant farming was the basis of Mesopotamian agriculture. Ten farmers paid their annual rent in crops rather than money. Laws concerning land-use and irrigation were especially strict. If a landowner or tenant failed to keep dikes in good repair he was required to pay for the grain that was destroyed. If he could not pay he was sold into slavery and his goods sold, the proceeds of which were divided among the injured parties. Rates of interest on loans were watched carefully. If the lender raised his rate of interest after a loan was made, he lost the entire amount of the loan. The Code of Hammurabi also specified the precise wages of laborers and artisans.

The largest number of laws in the Code of Hammurabi were dedicated to marriage and family. Parents arranged marriages for their children. After marriage, the party signed a marriage contract. Without this contract, no one was considered legally married. While the husband provided a bridal payment, the woman's parents were responsible for a dowry to the husband. Dowries were carefully monitored and governed by regulations. Mesopotamian society was a patriarchal society, and so women possessed far fewer privileges and rights in their marriage. A woman's place was at home and failure to fulfill her duties was grounds for divorce. If she was not able to bear children, her husband could divorce her but he had to repay the dowry. If his wife tried to leave the home in order to engage in business, her husband could divorce her and did not have to repay the dowry. Furthermore, if his wife was a "gadabout, . . . neglecting her house [and] humiliating her husband," she could be drowned. Women were guaranteed some rights, however. If a woman was divorced without good reason she received the dowry back. A woman could seek divorce and get her dowry back if her husband was unable to show that she had done anything wrong. The mother also chose a son to whom an inheritance would be passed. Sexual relations were strictly regulated as well. Husbands, but not wives, were permitted sexual activity outside marriage. A wife caught committing adultery was pitched into the river. Incest was strictly forbidden. If a father committed incestuous relations with his daughter, he would be banished. Incest between a son and his mother resulted in both being burned. Fathers ruled their children as well as their wives. Obedience was expected: "If a son has struck his father, they shall cut off his hand." If a son committed a serious enough offense, his father could disinherit him. It should be clear that the Code of Hammurabi covered virtually every aspect of an individual's life. Although scholars have questioned the extent to which these laws were actually employed in Babylonian society, the Code of Hammurabi provides us an important glimpse into the values of Mesopotamian civilization.

Egyptian Civilization Overview

The basic element in the lengthy history of Egyptian civilization is geography. The Nile River rises from the lakes of central Africa as the White Nile and from the mountains of Ethiopia as the Blue Nile. The White and Blue Nile meet at Khartoum

and flow together northward to the Nile delta, where the 4000 mile course of this river spills into the Mediterranean Sea (see map). Less than two inches of rain per year falls in the delta and rain is relatively unknown in other parts of Egypt. Most of the land is uninhabitable. These geographical factors have determined the character of Egyptian civilization. People could farm only along the banks of the Nile, where arid sand meets the fertile soil. Of course, each summer the Nile swells as the rains pour down and the snow melts on the mountains. The river overflows its banks and floods the land with fresh water and deposits a thick layer of rich alluvial soil. The land would then yield two harvests before winter. This yearly flood determined more than just the agricultural needs of early Egypt. It also determined the lifecycle of society and helped to create the world view of ancient Egyptian civilization. The basic source of Egyptian history is a list of rulers compiled in c.280 B.C. by Manetho for the Macedonians who ruled Egypt. Manetho divided Egyptian kings into thirty dynasties (a 31st was added later) in the following manner.
NAME Archaic Period Old Kingdom Intermediate Period Middle Kingdom Intermediate Period New Kingdom Post-Empire DYNASTY 1-2 3-6 7-10 11-12 13-17 18-20 21-31 YEARS 3100-2700 B.C. 2700-2200 B.C. 2200-2050 B.C. 2050-1800 B.C. 1800-1570 B.C. 1570-1085 B.C. 1085-332 B.C.

Early Egypt was divided into two kingdoms, one in Upper Egypt (Nile Valley), and one in Lower Egypt (Nile delta). Remember, the Nile flows from south to north.

Egyptian Dynasties
Menes (or Narmer) unified Upper and Lower Egypt and established his capital at Memphis around 3000 B.C.. By the time of the Old Kingdom, the land had been consolidated under the central power of a king, who was also the "owner" of all Egypt. Considered to be divine, he stood above the priests and was the only individual who had direct contact with the gods. The economy was a royal monopoly and so there was no word in Egyptian for "trader." Under the king was a carefully graded hierarchy of officials, ranging from the governors of provinces down through local mayors and tax collectors. The entire system was supported by the work of slaves, peasants and artisans.

The Old Kingdom reached its highest stage of development in the Fourth Dynasty. The most tangible symbols of this period of greatness are the three enormous pyramids built as the tombs of kings at Giza between 2600 and 2500. The largest, Khufu (called Cheops by the Greeks), was originally 481 feet high and 756 feet long on each side. Khufu was made up of 2.3 million stone blocks averaging 2.5 tons each. In the 5th century B.C. the Greek historian Herodotus tells us that the pyramid took 100,000 men and twenty years to build. The pyramids are remarkable not only for their technical engineering expertise, but also for what they tell us about royal power at the time. They are evidence that Egyptian kings had enormous wealth as well as the power to concentrate so much energy on a personal project. The priests, an important body within the ruling caste, were a social force working to modify the king's supremacy. Yielding to the demands of the priests of Re, a sun god, kings began to call themselves "sons of Re," adding his name as a suffix to their own. Re was also worshipped in temples that were sometimes larger than the pyramids of later kings. In the Old Kingdom, royal power was absolute. The pharaoh (the term originally meant "great house" or "palace"), governed his kingdom through his family and appointed officials. The lives of the peasants and artisans was carefully regulated: their movement was limited and they were taxed heavily. Luxury accompanied the pharaoh in life and in death and he was raised to an exalted level by his people. The Egyptians worked for the pharaoh and obeyed him because he was a living god on whom the entire fabric of social life depended. No codes of law were needed since the pharaoh was the direct source of all law. In such a world, government was merely one aspect of religion and religion dominated Egyptian life. The gods of Egypt came in many forms: animals, humans and natural forces. Over time, Re, the sun god, came to assume a dominant place in Egyptian religion. The Egyptians had a very clear idea of the afterlife. They took great care to bury their dead according to convention and supplied the grave with things that the departed would need for a pleasant life after death. The pharaoh and some nobles had their bodies preserved in a process of mummification. Their tombs were decorated with paintings, food was provided at burial and after. Some tombs even included full sized sailing vessels for the voyage to heaven and beyond. At first, only pharaohs were thought to achieve eternal life, however, nobles were eventually included, and finally all Egyptians could hope for immortality. The Egyptians also developed a system of writing. Although the idea may have come from Mesopotamia, the script was independent of the cuneiform. Egyptian writing

began as pictographic and was later combined with sound signs to produce a difficult and complicated script that the Greeks called hieroglyphics ("sacred carvings"). Though much of what we have today is preserved on wall paintings and carvings, most of Egyptian writing was done with pen and ink on fine paper (papyrus). In 1798 Napoleon invaded Egypt as part of his Grand Empire. He brought with a Commission of Science and Arts composed of more than one hundred scientists, engineers and mathematicians. In 1799 the Commission discovered a basalt fragment on the west bank of the Nile at Rachid. The fragment is now known by its English name, the Rosetta Stone. The Egyptian hieroglyphics found on the Rosetta Stone were eventually deciphered in 1822 by Jean Franois Champollion (1790-1832), a French scholar who had mastered Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, Ethiopic, Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit and Coptic. The Rosetta Stone contains three inscriptions. The uppermost is written in hieroglyphics; the second in what is now called demotic, the common script of ancient Egypt; and the third in Greek. Champollion guessed that the three inscriptions contained the same text and so he spent the next fourteen years (18081822) working from the Greek to the demotic and finally to the hieroglyphics until he had deciphered the whole text. The Rosetta Stone is now on display at the British Museum in London. During the period of the Middle Kingdom (2050-1800 B.C.) the power of the pharaohs of the Old Kingdom waned as priests and nobles gained more independence and influence. The governors of the regions of Egypt (nomes) gained hereditary claim to their offices and subsequently their families acquired large estates. About 2200 B.C. the Old Kingdom collapsed and gave way to the decentralization of the First Intermediate Period (2200-2050 B.C.). Finally, the nomarchs of Thebes in Upper Egypt gained control of the country and established the Middle Kingdom. The rulers of the Twelfth Dynasty restored the power of the pharaoh over the whole of Egypt although they could not control the nomarchs. They brought order and peace to Egypt and encouraged trade northward toward Palestine and south toward Ethiopia. They moved the capital back to Memphis and gave great prominence to Amon, a god connected with the city of Thebes. He became identified with Re, emerging as AmonRe. The Middle Kingdom disintegrated in the Thirteenth Dynasty with the resurgence of the power of the nomarchs. Around 1700 B.C. Egypt suffered an invasion by the Hyksos who came from the east (perhaps Palestine or Syria) and conquered the Nile Delta. In 1575 B.C., a Thebian dynasty drove out the Hyksos and reunited the kingdom. In reaction to the humiliation of the Second Intermediate Period, the pharaohs of the Eighteenth Dynasty, most notably Thutmose III (1490-1436 B.C.), created an absolute government based on a powerful army and an Egyptian empire extending far beyond the Nile Valley.

One of the results of these imperialistic ventures of the pharaohs was the growth in power of the priests of Amon and the threat it posed to the pharaoh. When young Amenhotep IV (1367-1350 B.C.) came to the throne he was apparently determined to resist the priesthood of Amon. Supported by his family he ultimately made a clean break with the worship of Amon-Re. He moved his capital from Thebes (the center of Amon worship) to a city three hundred miles to the north at a place now called El Amarna. Its god was Aton, the physical disk of the sun, and the new city was called Akhenaton. The pharaoh changed his name to Akhenaton ("it pleases Aton"). The new god was different from any that had come before him, for he was believed to be universal, not merely Egyptian. The universal claims for Aton led to religious intolerance of the worshippers of other gods. Their temples were closed and the name of Amon-Re was removed from all monuments. The old priests were deprived of their posts and privileges. The new religion was more remote than the old. Only the pharaoh and his family worshipped Aton directly and the people worshipped the pharaoh. Akhenaton's interest in religious reform proved disastrous in the long run. The Asian possessions fell away and the economy crumbled as a result. When the pharaoh died, a strong reaction swept away his life's work. His chosen successor was put aside and replaced by Tutankhamon (1347-1339 B.C.), the husband of one of the daughters of Akhenaton and his wife, Nefertiti. The new pharaoh restored the old religion and wiped out as much as he could of the memory of the worship of Aton. He restored Amon to the center of the Egyptian pantheon, abandoned El Amarna, and returned the capital to Thebes. His magnificent tomb remained intact until its discovery in 1922. The end of the El Amarna age restored power to the priests of Amon and to the military officers. Horemhab, a general, restored order and recovered much of the lost empire. He referred to Akhenaton as "the criminal of Akheton" and erased his name from the records. Akhenaton's city and memory disappeared for over 3000 years to be rediscovered by accident about a century ago.

Egyptian Religion
Religion was integral to Egyptian life. Religious beliefs formed the basis of Egyptian art, medicine, astronomy, literature and government. The great pyramids were burial tombs for the pharaohs who were revered as gods on earth. Magical utterances pervaded medical practices since disease was attributed to the gods. Astronomy evolved to determine the correct time to perform religious rites and sacrifices. The earliest examples of literature dealt almost entirely with religious themes. The pharaoh was a sacrosanct monarch who served as the intermediary between the gods and man.

Justice too, was conceived in religious terms, something bestowed upon man by the creator-god. Finally, the Egyptians developed an ethical code which they believed the gods had approved. J. A. Wilson once remarked that if one were to ask an ancient Egyptian whether the sky was supported by posts or held up by a god, the Egyptian would answer: "Yes, it is supported by posts or held up by a god -- or it rests on walls, or it is a cow, or it is a goddess whose arms and feet touch the earth" (The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man, 1943). The ancient Egyptian was ready to accept any and all gods and goddesses that seemed appropriate. For instance, if a new area was incorporated into the Egyptian state, its gods and goddesses would be added to the pantheon of those already worshipped. From its earliest beginnings, Egyptian religious cults included animals. It is no accident that sheep, bulls, gazelles and cats have been found carefully buried and preserved in their own graves. As time passed, the figures of Egyptian gods became human (anthropomorphism) although they often retained the animal's head or body. Osiris, the the Egyptian god who judged the dead, first emerged as a local deity of the Nile Delta in Lower Egypt. It was Osiris who taught the Egyptian agriculture. Isis was his wife, and animal-headed Seth, his brother and rival. Seth killed Osiris. Isis persuaded the gods to bring him back to life, but thereafter he ruled below. Osiris was identified with the life-giving, fertilizing power of the Nile, and Isis with with the fertile earth of Egypt.Horus, the god of the sky, defeated the evil Seth after a long struggle. But Horus was only one kind of sky god. There was also Re, the sun god, later conjoined with Amen, and still later Aten. The moon god was the baboon-headed Thoth, who was the god of wisdom, magic and numbers. In the great temple cities such as Heliopolis ("city of the sun"), priests worked out and wrote down hierarchies of divinities. In the small communities of villages, all the forces of nature were deified and worshipped. One local god was part crocodile, part hippopotamus, and part lion. Despite the ever-increasing number of deities which could be added to this hierarchy of deities, one thing is certain: Egyptian religion, unlike the religion of Mesopotamia, was centralized. In Sumer, the temple was the focus of political, economic and religious organization. Indeed, it was often difficult to know where one aspect began and another ended. By contrast, the function of an Egyptian temple was focused on religion. We are certain that ancient Egyptians were preoccupied with life after death. They believed that after death each human being would appear before Osiris and recount all the evil that had been committed during one's earthly existence: "I have not done evil

to men. I have not ill-treated animals," and so on. This was a negative confession and justification for admittance into the blessed afterlife. Osiris would then have the heart of the person weighed in order to determine the truth of their confession. The Egyptians believed not only in body and soul, but in ka, the indestructible vital principle of each person, which left the body at death but which could also return at other times. This explains why the Egyptians mummified the dead: so that the ka, on its return, would find the body not decomposed. And this also explains why tombs were filled with wine, grain, weapons, sailing ships and so on -- ka would find everything it needed, otherwise it might come back to haunt the living.

The Akkadians, Egyptians and the Hebrews

The Akkadian Kingdom The Sumerians were not the only people to inhabit the Fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia (see Lecture 2). There were other groups of people who lived in permanent communities and who interacted with the Sumerians in times of peace and in war. By 2350 B.C., Semitic-speaking people united northern Mesopotamia with the Sumerian city-states and a new capital was set up at Akkad (see map). The result was a centralized government under the authority of the king, his royal court, and the high class of priests. The man most responsible for this development is assumed to be SARGON OF AKKAD. Sargon, whose name is taken to mean "the king is legitimate," carried out more than thirty battles against the Sumerian city-states and eventually, these citystates were incorporated into the Akkadian kingdom. The foundation of the Akkadian state was economic. Sargon and his royal court served as the focal point of all economic activity. Remember, at Sumer, this task was assumed by the priests of the temple. Sargon brought vast amounts of wealth to the capital city he also brought a huge number of royal servants and administrators, thus creating a bureaucratic organization to help rule his kingdom. The Akkadian kingdom, like most Ancient Near Eastern kingdoms, also embraced a polytheistic religion. Their gods were anthropomorphic, that is, the gods took human form. And because the gods took human form, they also had human qualities: the gods could be foolish, intelligent, shy, humorous, jealous, angry or silly. Among themselves, the gods also had unequal status. The gods were derived from the world of nature for the simple reason that life in Mesopotamia was controlled or conditioned by the seasons. Theirs was a world of nature and in order to understand nature, the Mesopotamians gave human shape to the forces of nature. So, we encounter An, the

sky god, Enlil, the god of air, Nanna, the moon god and Utu, the sun god. The Mesopotamians believed these gods were responsible for creating the universe and everything it contained, including humankind. The gods were also responsible for the smooth running of that world. The gods ruled the world of men through their earthly representatives, and in the case of the Akkadian kingdom, this meant Sargon. Hopefully, you can already notice the decreased status of the temple priests at Akkad. Although they still exist, and continue to serve a vital role, the mediator between the gods and ordinary men and women, is now Sargon. Men and women were created by the gods to serve the gods to feed and clothe them, to honor and obey them. One thing absent from this religion, however, was that the gods did not specify any code of ethics or morality. Issues of good and evil were left to men and women to discover on their own. In the end, the gods gave the inhabitants of these early river civilizations an answer to the basic question why are we here? what is our role? And the answer was equally simple to serve the gods. Ancient Egypt While the Sumerians, Babylonians, Akkadians and other groups were busy creating a Mesopotamian civilization in the Fertile Crescent of the Ancient Near East, another civilization had appeared to the west. Again, this civilization depended entirely upon geography (see map). It was the fertile valley of the Nile River that allowed Egyptian civilization to flourish over the course of many centuries. It is an area of the world in which much needed natural resources were abundant. Furthermore, the climate of Egypt is very dry and almost changeless. Because of this static, changeless quality, the Egyptians obtained a sense of security from their environment. For centuries ancient Egyptian civilization flourished in isolation from the rest of the Ancient Near East (see Lecture 3). Just the same, although Egypt was isolated, it was not unified. Geographically, it was divided between the Black Land and the Red Land, and politically, between Upper and Lower Egypt. Around 3100 B.C., various political factions struggled to gain control. Victory eventually fell to Menes in Upper Egypt. Menes is also known as Narmer. The Egyptians considered the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt as the most important event in their history. Like Sargon, a king like Narmer ruled as a mediator between men and the gods. But Narmer was also pharaoh. He was not only the mediator between men and the gods, but was himself divine. Pharaoh's rule was eternal and absolute he ruled not just for the gods, but as a god himself. In assuming the position of king and chief priest, pharaoh shed his human qualities and assumed an unchanging, fixed and divine position. And this was the role that Narmer assumed in 3100 B.C.

The new state also derived authority and stability from the concept of ma'at, a quality or behavior which translates as truth, justice, order and righteousness. Ma'at implied a divine force for harmony and stability which emanated from the beginning of time itself. Good rule by pharaoh signified the presence of ma'at. Egyptian religion, like that of Mesopotamia, was polytheistic and each region had its own patron deity. Some of these local or regional gods gained notoriety throughout Egypt. For instance, the god Ptah gained power when the city of Memphis became the capital of Egypt. Later, the god Re of Heliopolis eclipsed that of Ptah. Finally, the god Amon rose to supremacy in Thebes in connection with the political authority of the Thebian pharaoh. As a rule, whenever a new capital was founded, a new supreme god was chosen. Egyptian gods were often represented as animals as falcons, vultures, a cobra, dog, cat or crocodile. For the Egyptians, because animals were non-human, they must have possessed religious significance. Other gods, such as Ptah and Amon, were given human representation, but the most important god Re, was not represented at all. The gods created the cosmos they created order out of chaos. The Sumerians had a similar belief. But the life of the Sumerian was filled with anxiety and pessimism because the gods themselves were unstable and the idea of an afterlife was unknown. Egyptian religion inspired confidence and optimism in the external order and stability of the world. The gods guided the rhythms of life and death. And what really distinguished Egyptian religion from that of Mesopotamia, was that any man or woman could share in the benefits of an afterlife. As one historian has put it: "death meant a continuation of one's life on earth, a continuation that, with the appropriate precautions of proper burial, prayer, and ritual, would include only the best parts of life on earth nothing to fear, but on the other hand, nothing to want to hurry out of this world for." Religion was the unifying agent in ancient Egypt. Pharaoh indicated his concern for his people by worshipping the local deities in public ceremonies. The gods protected the living and guaranteed them an afterlife. The Egyptians believed they were living in a fixed, static or unchanging universe in which life and death were part of a continuous, rhythmic cycle. Certain patterns came to be expected grain had to be harvested, irrigation canals had to be built and pyramids had to be built. Just as the sun rose in the east and set in the west, so too all human life and death passed through regular and predictable patterns. The first pyramids, built around 2900 B.C., were little more than mudbrick structures built over the burial pits of nobles. These structures protected the body from exposure and also provided a secure place for the personal belongings of the dead noble. By

2600 B.C., mudbrick structures were replaced by the familiar stone pyramid. The pyramids were completely inaccessible structures once pharaoh was buried, hallways and passages were sealed and obliterated. In this way, the pyramids would stand eternal, unchanged, and fixed, as they stand today. The pyramid symbolizes much of what we know about ancient Egypt. They reflect the extreme centralization of the Egyptian government as well as rule by pharaoh. The great pyramids of Giza, built more than 4500 years ago, expressed pharaoh's immortality and divinity. The earliest built of the Giza pyramids is that of Khufu, better known as Cheops, the Greek name given to it by the Greek historian Herodotus, when he visited the pyramids around 480 B.C.. Cheops covers 13 acres and contains two million stone blocks, each weighing 5000 pounds. It's height originally stood at 481 feet. One of the most compelling features of the pyramids, in addition to the architectural feat of just building them, was their mortuary art. Inside the pyramids was the royal burial chamber. The walls of the chamber are covered with hieroglyphics, which detail the life of pharaoh. We find art detailing people fishing and hunting. We also see people seated at banquets. Representations of food and wine were included as well. Jars of wine, grain, fruits and other foods were included, as well as boats, bows, arrows and other objects from the real world. Slaves were often entombed as well. Why? Very simple. Pharaoh would need these things in the afterlife, since death was not final, but an extension of this worldly life. The emphasis on mortuary art was not death but life. Like the seasons, man lives and dies. Death was nothing final but the beginning of yet another cycle. In the next life there would be birds, people, oceans, rivers, desert, food and wine. From what we have said so far it should be obvious that religion gave the river civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt their distinctive character. But this religion was not a religion of comfort or morality. Instead, these polytheistic religions were MYTHOPOEIC. Whereas our world view may be scientific or rational, these river civilizations adopted a world view based on myth. The construction of myths was the first manner in which western civilization attempted to explain life and the universe. Myths explained the creation of the universe as well as the role men and women would play in that universe. Nature, for these earliest river civilizations, was not an inanimate "it." Instead, nature, the world of nature, had a life, will and vitality all its own. The myth-makers of the Ancient Near East and of Egypt did not seek to rationally or logically explain nature. Instead of natural laws or systematic explanations, these people resorted to divine powers and myths. Although these civilizations certainly exercised their minds to build ziggurats and pyramids, irrigation canals and pottery wheels, cuneiforms and hieroglyphics, they did not advance to the creation of science. They did not deduce abstractions, nor did they make hypotheses or establish general

laws of the nature world. These efforts science and philosophy were the product of another culture, located in another time and place: the Greeks. Hebrew Civilization Dwarfed by the great empires of the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians and Egyptians, were the Hebrews. Of all the ancient civilizations, it was the Hebrews who exerted perhaps the greatest influence on western society as well as the western intellectual tradition. The Hebrews, a Semitic-speaking people, first appeared in Mesopotamia. For instance, Abraham's family were native to Sumer. But between 1900 and 1500 B.C., the Hebrews migrated from Mesopotamia to Canaan and then into Egypt. At this time, a tribe of Hebrews who claimed to be the descendants of Abraham began to call themselves Israelites ("soldiers of God"). The Hebrews were enslaved by the Egyptian pharaohs until 1250 B.C. when their leader, Moses, led them on an exodus out of Egypt to the Sinai peninsula. Moses persuaded his followers to become worshippers of Yahweh or Jehovah. The Hebrews who wandered into the Sinai with Moses decided to return to Canaan. The move was not easy and the Hebrews were faced with constant threats from the Philistines who occupied the coastal region. Twelve Hebrew tribes united first under Saul and then his successor, David. By the 10th century, David and his son Solomon had created an Israelite kingdom. Economic progress was made as Israeli people began to trade with neighboring states. New cities were built and one in particular, Jerusalem, was built by Solomon to honor God. In 586, the region of Judah was destroyed and several thousand Hebrews were deported to Babylon. (200 years earlier the northern country of Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians. The 586 destruction completed the destruction of the two regions.) The prophets Isaiah, Ezekiel and Jeremiah declared that the Babylonian captivity was God's punishment. The Hebrews, in other words, had brought upon their own captivity because they had violated God's laws. Despite this calamity, the Hebrews survived as people. In the 4th century, Alexander the Great conquered nearly all of the Near East and Palestine was annexed to Egypt and fell under Greek control. And by the 1st and 2nd centuries B.C., the Hebrews lost near total independence under the Romans. But the Hebrews would never give up their faith or their religion. The Hebrews were, as a people, committed to the worship of one God and His Law as it was presented in the Old Testament. The Old Testament represents an oral history of the Jews and was written, in Hebrew, between 1250 and 150 B.C. The Old Testament was written by religious devotees and not by historians it therefore contains factual errors, discrepancies and imprecise statements. Still, much of the 39

books of the Old Testament are also reliable as history. No historian who wishes to understand the religious faith of the Jews can do so without mastering the Old Testament. There is only one god in the Old Testament although the books of the Old Testament emphasize the values of human experience. Its heroes are not gods and goddesses but men and women, both strong and weak. What separates the religious beliefs of the Hebrews from the belief systems of Egypt or Mesopotamia was clearly their monotheism. The Hebrews regarded God as fully sovereign He ruled all and was subject to no laws Himself. Unlike Near Eastern gods, Jehovah was not created God is eternal and the source of all creation in the universe. He created and governed the world and shaped the moral laws that govern humanity. God was transcendent that is, He is above nature and not part of nature. In this sort of religion, there is no place for a sun god or moon god. Nature was demystified it was no longer super-natural, but natural. That is, the Hebrews conceived nature as an example of God's handiwork. This is very important because once nature was demystified scientific thought could begin. However, the Hebrews were neither philosophers nor were they scientists. They were concerned with God's will and not with man's capacity to explain away or understand nature. In other words, God's existence was based not on Reason or rational investigation, but on religious conviction or faith alone. Not Reason but Revelation was the cornerstone of the Hebrew faith. This monotheism made possible for a new awareness of the individual. In God, the Hebrews developed an awareness of the Self or the "I" the individual was selfconscious and aware of his own moral autonomy and worth. With this in mind, the Hebrews believed that man was a free agent man had the capacity to choose between good and evil. Although God was omnipotent He was also just and merciful. He did not want His followers to be slaves. Instead, men and women were to fulfill their morality by freely making the choice to do good or evil. God does not control mankind rather, men must have the freedom to choose. There is only one God and the Hebrews believed that the worship of idols would deprive people of the freedom God had given them. This belief was opposed to Near Eastern polytheism which used images to represent their gods and goddesses. For the Hebrews, God is incapable of being represented in any form whatsoever. Because God was the center of all life only He was worthy of worship. Therefore, the Hebrews would give no ultimate loyalty to kings or generals. To do so would be to violate God's law to have "no other God but me." So, the Hebrews were morally free. But, this freedom came with one solemn condition. Freedom did not mean, do as you

please. Instead, it meant voluntary obedience to those moral commands which God had given to the Hebrews through Moses. For the Hebrews, to know God did not mean to understand him with the intellect, nor did it mean to rationally prove his existence, something which preoccupied medieval Christian theologians for five hundred years. To know God, one just had to be righteous, moral, loving, merciful and just. When men and women loved God, they were improved. One of the central religious principles of the Hebrew faith is that God had made a special agreement with his people. This agreement is called the Covenant. From the book of Exodus we read: "Now therefore, if ye will hearken unto My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be Mine own treasure from all peoples; for all the earth is Mine; and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." The Hebrews, then, were conscious of themselves as God's chosen people. They did not believe they were better than anyone else instead, they believed that God had rescued them from Egyptian bondage and selected them to receive his laws. This was a pretty heavy responsibility to say the very least. Moses received the 10 Commandment a code of moral "oughts." To violate the laws of God would mean the covenant their special agreement with God would be broken. This could lead to national disaster and the destruction of the Hebrew nation. The bottom line is this: Hebrew society had the moral obligation to make justice prevail at the same time, evil had to be eradicated. This sense of moral obligation (the ought) was written into Hebrew law. The poor, widows, children and the sick were all protected by law and rich and poor were to be treated under the same laws, something unheard of in the Code of Hammurabi. The significance of all this is clearly ethical and moral. The individual was clearly more important than his or her private property. Lastly, the Hebrews were perhaps the first culture of the ancient western world to show any awareness of historical time. The events of their past were carefully celebrated. They also envisioned a great day in the future when God would establish peace on earth, prosperity, happiness and brotherhood. History was conceived as a vast drama, a drama just full of moral significance. Through history, God's presence is made known. History, then, had a purpose and meaning. And this kind of awareness would soon become part of the western intellectual tradition itself.

Homer and the Greek Renaissance, 900-600BC

Throughout the past 2500 years of western history there has been a tendency on the part of one age after another to go back in time to find something of itself in the past.

The quest for collective identity has often taken scholars, artists, intellectuals, philosophers, scientists and others back to that historical point in time in which it all began. For us moderns of the past 500 years, that tendency is strong and it is no accident that we have often found our identity in the world of Classical Greece. There is something about the word "classical" that is indeed appealing. We speak about classical music, a classic film or even classic Coke. By calling something classic we mean that it stands the test of time, or that it is number one, or that in all times and all places it is somehow good. The ancient Greeks seemed to have placed western society as well as the western intellectual tradition on a footing or groundwork that remains to this day. We take this foundation for granted, for the simple reason that the Greeks of the classical age seemed to have discovered so many things which today matter a great deal. So, although our voyage into the ancient past has begun with the Ancient Near East we now find ourselves on the Attic peninsula, in the heart of the ancient Mediterranean world. Greek history itself can be broken down into many distinct eras historians break down the past for the simple reason that these eras provide focal points for study and dialogue. In general Greek history can be broken down in the following way:
Archaic Greece Mycenaen Greece Dark Ages Greek Renaissance Classical or Hellenic Greece Hellenistic Greece 3000-1600 B.C. 1600-1200 B.C. 1200-800 B.C. 800-600 B.C. 600-323 B.C. 323-31 B.C.

In this lecture I shall devote my attention to a rather broad expanse of historical time, beginning with Archaic Greece and ending with the creation of Athenian direct democracy during the Greek Renaissance. Before we begin, we have to ask ourselves a few fundamental questions. If we are about to discuss the Greek Renaissance, then we must first ask ourselves what is meant by the expression "Renaissance." As we all know, the word "renaissance" simply means rebirth a new birth, something perhaps entirely new, a watershed, a turning point, a point at which things changed. For the historian looking at the western intellectual tradition it means primarily a revival of the arts and letters and is usually associated with that period of European history between 1300 and 1500 when scholars and artists in northern Italian city states, Holland, France and England witnessed the

rebirth of a golden age. The golden age was, of course, classical Greece. But the term "renaissance," which Renaissance humanists created to describe their own period of light, is a value-charged expression. What this means is that calling something a renaissance implies a value judgment. On the one hand it implies that something before the Renaissance must have died. And Renaissance scholars gave that something a name they called it the media aetis a middle age. Middle of what? Well obviously, middle between the Renaissance and the classical world. The Middle Ages have always gotten a bad rap why do you think they are usually referred to as the Dark Ages? Simple. Renaissance artists were so conceited that they called their own age "like a golden age" anything that came immediately before it must have been somehow bad or dark. Of course, there has been more than one Renaissance in the past. For instance, we have the Greek Renaissance. And then there's the Carolingian Renaissance of the 8th and 9th centuries and the 12th century Renaissance. The first important society in the Greek world developed on the large island of Crete, just south of the Aegean Sea. The people of Crete were not Greek but probably came from western Asia Minor well before 3000 B.C. In 1900, the English archeologist, Arthur Evans (1851-1941), excavated Knossos, the greatest city of ancient Crete. There he discovered the remains of a magnificent palace which he named the Palace of Minos, the mythical king of Crete (and so, Cretan civilization is also known as Minoan). The palace bureaucrats of Crete wrote in a script called Linear A and although their language has not been fully deciphered, it is assumed that they may have been a member of the Indo-European family of languages, which includes Greek and Latin. With an estimated population of 250,000 people (40,000 in Knossos alone), the Minoans traded with the people of the Fertile Crescent. Their palaces became the centers of economic activity and political power. The palaces themselves were constructed with rooms of varying sizes and functions and it seemed as if there were no apparent design (the Greeks later called them labyrinths). Although the Minoans were remarkable for their trade networks, architecture and the arts, their civilization eventually declined. Although historians have not agreed on an exact cause, it has been suggested that a large earthquake on the island of Thera may have created a tidal wave that engulfed the island of Crete. Whatever the cause of their decline, Minoan society was transformed by invaders from the Greek mainland. How the Greeks settled on the Greek mainland is significant for their future development (see map). Greece is a mountainous country and full of valleys. Greece is also nearly surrounded by water. Hopefully the geographical differences between Greek civilization and that of Sumer or Egypt are apparent to you. Because of their

geography, the Greeks were encouraged to settle the land in independent political communities. These communities would soon come to be known as city-states. Each city state or polis had its own political organization and thus was truly independent. The largest and most powerful of all the city-states in the period 1600-1100 was that of Mycenae and this period of time has come to be called the Mycenaean Age. By the 16th century, MYCENAE was an extremely wealthy, prosperous and powerful state. Archeological discoveries of the area have uncovered swords, weapons and the remains of well-fortified city walls showing that this city-state was indeed a community of warriors. Each city-state in the Mycenaean period was independent and under the rule of its own king. The only time the city-states may have united was during the war with Troy in Asia Minor. By 1300, the Greek mainland was under attack by ships from Asia Minor and by 1100, Mycenae was completely destroyed. This invasion is known as the Dorian Invasion the Doric Greeks were supposedly tribes who had left Greece at an earlier time and then returned by 1200 B.C. Following theDorian Invasion Greece fell into its own period of the Dark Ages. For the most part, Greek culture began to go into decline pottery became less elegant, burials were less ornate and the building of large structures and public buildings came to an abrupt halt. However, the invasion and subsequent Dark Age did not mark the end of Greek civilization. Some technological skills survived and the Greek language was preserved by those people who settled in areas unaffected by the Dorian Invasion. After 800 B.C. a new spirit of optimism and adventure began to appear in Greece. This spirit became so intensified that historians have called the period from 800-600 the Greek Renaissance. For instance, in literature, this is the age of the great epic poets, poets who wrote of the deeds of mortal men as well as of immortal gods. It is also the period of the first Olympic games, held in 776 B.C. The best though sometimes unreliable source of Greek civilization in this period is HOMER, and in particular, two epic poems usually attributed to him. We don't really know much about Homer. His place of birth is doubtful although Smyrna, Rhodes, Colophon, Salamis, Chios, Argos and Athens have all contended for the honor of having been his birthplace. His date of birth has been assumed to be as far back as 1200 B.C. but, based on the style of his two epic poems, 850-800 B.C. seems more likely. It

has been said that Homer was blind, but even that is a matter of conjecture. And lastly, we are not even sure that Homer wrote those two classics of the western literary canon, the Iliad and the Odyssey. The confusion arises from the fact that the world of Homer was a world of oral tradition and oral history. There is evidence to show that Homer's epics were really ballads and were chanted and altered for centuries until they were finally digested into the form we know today 540 B.C. by Pisistratus, a man we shall meet again but in a very different context. We shall assume, as generations before us have done, that Homer was the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey. In twenty-four books of dactylic hexameter verse, the Iliad narrates the events of the last year of the Trojan War, and focuses on the withdrawal of Achilles from the contest and the disastrous effects of this act on the Greek campaign. The Trojan War was fought between Greek invaders and the defenders of Troy, probably near the beginning of the 12 th century B.C. Archeological evidence gathered in our own century shows that the war did indeed take place and was based on the struggle for control of important trade routes across the Hellespont, which were dominated by the city of Troy (see map). About this war there grew a body of myth that was recounted by Homer in the Iliad, the Odyssey and a number of now-lost epics. According to the more familiar versions of this complex myth, the cause of the war was the episode of the golden apple which resulted in the abduction by the Trojan prince Paris of Helen, the wife of Menelaus, king of Sparta. Earlier, most of the rulers of Greece had been suitors for the Hand of Helen and her father, Tyndareus, had made them swear to support the one chosen. So, they joined Menelaus and prepared to move against Troy under the leadership of Agamemnon, king of Mycenae. After forcing Agamemnon to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia to insure fair weather, they set sail for Troy. In the tenth and final year of the war with Troy, Achilles withdrew from the fight in an argument with Agamemnon over possession of a female captive, however, grieved by the death of his friend Patroclus, he rejoined the battle and killed the Trojan leader, Hector. That, in brief, is the action of the Iliad. The characters we encounter are warriors through and through not just warriors, but aristocratic warriors who considered greatness in battle to be the highest virtue a man could attain. This HEROIC OUTLOOK was composed of courage, bravery and glory in battle and was necessary for a strong city-state in Greek civilization. But these were not self-interested goals

alone. Instead, the warrior fought bravely in service to his city-state. We are not talking about patriotism here. Virtue was what made man a good citizen, and good citizens made a great city-state. We shall encounter virtue a great deal in conjunction with the Athenian city-state. The world of Homer is a world of war, conflict, life and death. In fact, when I think of all the descriptions of war that I have managed to read over the years, none have drawn so clear a picture or image as has Homer. From Book 4 of the Iliad we experience the following: At last the armies clashed at one strategic point, they slammed their shields together, pike scraped pike with the grappling strength of fighters armed in bronze and their round shields pounded, boss on welded boss, and the sound of struggle roared and rocked the earth. Screams of men and cries of triumph breaking in one breath, fighters killing, fighters killed, and the ground streamed blood. Wildly as two winter torrents raging down from the mountains, swirling into a valley, hurl their great waters together, flash floods from the wellsprings plunging down in a gorge and miles away in the hills a shepherd hears the thunder so from the grinding armies broke the cries and crash of war. Antilochus was the first to kill a Trojan captain, tough on the front lines, Thalysias' son Echepolus. Antilochus thrust first, speared the horsehair helmet right at the ridge, and the bronze spearpoint lodged in the man's forehead, smashing through his skull and the dark came whirling down across his eyes he toppled down like a tower in the rough assault. As he fell the enormous Elephenor grabbed his feet, Chalcodon's son, lord of the brave-hearted Abantes, dragged him out from under the spears, rushing madly to strip his gear but his rush was short-lived. Just as he dragged that corpse the brave Agenor spied his ribs, bared by his shield as he bent low Agenor stabbed with a bronze spear and loosed his limbs, his life spirit left him and over his dead body now the savage work went on, Achaeans and Trojans mauling each other there like wolves, leaping, hurtling into each other, man throttling man.

In the Homeric world of war, men do not have rights, but only duties. By serving the city-state with their virtuous behavior, they are also serving themselves. Indeed, there was nothing higher or more sublime in the Homeric world than virtue. And Homer's epic poems served as the Bible of ancient Greece right down to the time of Alexander the Great in the 4th century B.C. In fact, an education in the classical world meant the rote memorization of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. Homer's world is a closed and finite world. This is completely unlike our own world which is a mechanical world, governed by mathematics and fixed physical laws. Homer's world is a living world the earth, man, animals and plants are all endowed with personality, emotion and wills of their own. Even the gods and goddesses were endowed with these qualities. The gods themselves could appear at any time and at any place. Although the gods had no permanent relations with the world of men and women, they were interested in their welfare. They also intervened in the affairs of life, as Homer's Iliad makes abundantly clear. In general, the gods were the guides and councilors of mortal men and women. Still, the gods and goddesses often deceived men by offering them delusion rather than reality. For Homer, the world was not governed by caprice, whim or chance what governed the world was "Moira" (fate, fortune, destiny). Fate was a system of regulations that control the unfolding of all life, all men and women, all things of the natural world, and all gods and goddesses. Fate was not only a system of regulations but a fundamental law that maintained the world. It is Moira that gives men and women their place and function in Greek society. That is, it is Moira that determines who shall be slave or master, peasant or warrior, citizen or non-citizen, Greek or barbarian. It is Moira that fixed the rhythm of human life from childhood through youth to old age and finally death, it was Fate that regulated the personal growth of the individual. Even the gods had their destinies determined by Moira. From the Iliad, the goddess Athena expounds on this principle of Fate to Telemachus when she says the gods may help mortals but "Death is the law for all: the gods themselves/Cannot avert it from the man they cherish when baneful Moira has pronounced his doom." Given all this, it should be obvious that Greek religion was polytheistic. Homer endowed his gods with a personality and the gods differed from men only (1) in their physical perfection and (2) in their immortality. In other words, gods and goddesses, like men and women, could be good, bad honest, devious, jealous, vengeful, calm, sober, quick-witted or dim. The gods assisted their favorite mortals and punished those who defied their will. Most gods were common to all Greeks but each city-state also had their own patron deity. Gods and goddesses were worshipped in public. But there were also household gods the gods of the hearth specific to each family or clan. The general acceptance of these gods is a sign of a specific culture that arose during the Greek Renaissance, a culture we can identify as "Panhellenic."

The Athenian Origins of Direct Democracy

One of the hallmarks of GREEK CIVILIZATION was the polis, or city-state. The city-states were small, independent communities which were male-dominated and bound together by race. What this means is that membership in the polis was hereditary and could not be passed on to someone outside the citizen family. The citizens of any given polis were an elite group of people slaves, peasants, women and resident aliens were not part of the body of citizens. Originally the polis referred to a defensible area to which farmers of a particular area could retreat in the event of an attack. The Acropolis in Athens is one such example. Over time, towns grew around these defensible areas. The growth of these towns was unplanned and unlike the city-states we encounter at Sumer, they were not placed for commercial convenience near rivers or seas. In fact, the poleis were situated well inland to avoid raids by sea. With time, the agora or marketplace began to appear within the polis. The agora was not only a marketplace but the heart of Greek intellectual life and discourse. The scale of the polis was indeed small. When the philosopher Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) came to discuss the origins of the polis in his book POLITICS in the early 4thcentury B.C. he suggested that "it is necessary for the citizens to be of such a number that they knew each other's personal qualities and thus can elect their officials and judge their fellows in a court of law sensibly." Before Aristotle, Plato fixed the number of citizens in an ideal state at 5040 adult males. For Plato (c.427-c.347 B.C.), as it was for Aristotle, the one true criteria of the size of the polis was that all the citizens know one another. The issue at stake here is between public and private worlds. The ancient Greeks did not really see two distinct worlds in the lives of the citizenry. Instead, the public world was to be joined with the private world. The citizens in any given polis were related to one another by blood and so family ties were very strong. As boys, they grew up together in schools, and as men, they served side by side during times of war. They debated one another in public assemblies they elected one another as magistrates they cast their votes as jurors for or against their fellow citizens. In such a society the society of the polis all citizens were intimately and directly involved in politics, justice, military service, religious ceremonies, intellectual discussion, athletics and artistic pursuits. To shirk one's responsibilities was not only rare but reprehensible in the eyes of the Greek citizen. Greek citizens did not have rights, but duties. A citizen who did not fulfill his duties was socially disruptive. At the polis of Sparta, such a citizen was called "an Inferior." At Athens, a citizen who held no official position or who was not a habitual orator in the Assembly was branded as idiotai.

Every polis was different from another. For example, some poleis had different names for the months of the year. Although there were similarities and differences between the city-states, they all made the effort to preserve their own unique identity. What we call the ancient Greek world was really hundreds of independent city-states or poleis. No one polis was a replica of another. Those who lived within the confines of a city state considered everyone else to be inferior. Furthermore, those people who did not speak Greek were referred to as barbar, the root of our word barbarian. Sparta There were two city-states that were indicative of Greek city-states as a whole: Sparta and Athens. At Sparta, located on the Peloponnesus, five Dorian villages combined to form the Spartan state. In the 8th century, this state conquered all the other peoples of Laconia, one of the most fertile plains in Greece. Although the Spartans extended their territory, they did not extend their citizenship. The new subjects ( perioikoi) were residents of Lacedaemonia, but citizens remained limited to those native born at Sparta. From Lycurgus (no one knows who this man was or why his name carried so much significance for the Spartans), we learn that boys left home at the age of seven. They were organized into troops and played competitive games until their 18th year, when they underwent four years of military training. From the ages of 18 to 28 they lived together in barracks. At the age of 30, they became citizens in their own right. Amongst themselves they were called "Equals" in the eyes of everyone else, they were Spartans. There was state education for girls who lived at home but who were also organized into troops. Boys and girls met together to learn basic studies as well as to dance, sing and play musical instruments. Relations between the sexes was much more free than anywhere else in the Greek world. However, after marriage (usually at 30 for men, 16 for women), the husband ate at the men's club until the age of 60 while his wife remained at home. The Spartan state arranged for a basic equality in land holding and provided the citizens with laborers, called helots (conquered people such as the Messenians who became Spartan serfs). In other words, the economy was based on the idea that slaves would labor to supply the Spartan armies with food, drink and clothing. As a result, the slave population of Sparta was enormous, thus necessitating the sort of militaristic state that Sparta indeed became. The Spartan constitution allowed for two kings and was therefore a dual monarchy. As the highest magistrates in the city-state, these kings decided issues of war and peace. The Spartan constitution was mixed, containing elements of monarchy, oligarchy and democracy. The oligarchic element was represented by a Council (gerousia) of elders consisting of twenty-eight men over the age of sixty who were held office for life. The

elders had important judicial functions and were also consulted before any proposal was put before the Assembly of Spartan citizens. The Assembly (apella) consisted of all male citizens over thirty years of age. In theory, it was the Assembly who was the final authority but in practice the real function of the Assembly was to ratify decisions already decided upon by the elders and kings For the Greeks, citizenship that is, the active participation of all citizens in politics was considered to be the supreme creative art. In essence, the city-state was synonymous with its citizenry. Like a sculptor, the citizen molded a fully rounded society to his preconceived notion of what that society ought to be. The system developed by the Spartan state by the late 6th century B.C. was deliberate and purposeful. It was created not just to keep the ever-growing population of helots in check but rather to realize man's full ideal within the society of the polis. The Spartan ideal was austere, severe and limited according to our standards. But when political thinkers such as Plato decided to create their own ideal society on paper, they turned to Sparta for examples and not to Athens. I imagine the real reason for this is that the Spartans created a world in both theory and practice, while the Athenians almost always seemed lost in what might come to be. Although we may find the Spartan world to be repressive or indeed oppressive, this is not the way the Spartans saw it. After all, they had equality in education, training and opportunity. They also enjoyed a large income as well as pride and glory. Athens While Sparta developed their control over the Peloponnesus, the city-state of Athens controlled the area of the Attic Peninsula, to the east and northeast of Sparta. Athens was similar to other city-states of the period of the Greek Renaissance with two important differences: (1) it was larger both geographically and in terms of its population and (2) those people it conquered were not reduced to servitude this was the rule at Sparta. So, Athens never faced the problem of trying to control a large population of angry and sometimes violent subjects. This also explains why Sparta had to remain an intensely militaristic state. Around the year 600 B.C., and while Lycurgus was reforming the legal system of the Spartan state, Athens faced a deepening political crisis. Those farmers who supplied the city-state with food could not keep up with demand because the Athenian population had grown too quickly. Farmers began to trade their land to obtain food and quickly went bankrupt as they traded away their last piece of land. The crisis was solved in 594 B.C. when the Athenians gave control over to Solon (c.640-c.559 B.C.), a former high official. In his role as archon, Solon cancelled all agricultural debts and announced that all slaves were free. He also passed constitutional reforms that divided

Athenian subjects into four classes based on their annual agricultural production rather than birth. Members of the three highest orders could hold public office. Solon's system excluded all those people who did not own any productive land women, children, slaves, resident aliens, artisans and merchants. However, with the constitutional reforms of Solon, men from newer and less-established families could work their way up economically and achieve positions of political leadership. Solon did not end the agricultural crisis in Greece and so factional strife remained. In 561, the former military leader Pisistratus (c.600-527 B.C.) appeared at Athens and seized the Acropolis and began to rule as a tyrant in place of Solon. Down to 527, the year of his death, he rewarded dispossessed peasants with land confiscated from wealthier families. He also encouraged trade and industry and engaged in great public works programs. Temples were built and religious centers improved. New religious festivals were also introduced by Pisistratus, such as the one devoted to the god Dionysis, the god of fertility. By the middle of the 6th century, the city had grown in size and in wealth. Furthermore, the common people had become more sure of themselves -- they had a high standard of living, more leisure time at their disposal and were far-better informed than their ancestors had been. Since a tyrant like Pisistratus wanted to give his power over to a more popular base of support, it was during his reign that the average citizen obtained his political experience. Furthermore, because men continued to qualify for office on the basis of wealth, and since incomes were rising in the 6th century, there was a greater number of citizens being included in the operation of the government. Pisistratus was succeeded by his eldest son, Hippias, whose rule was somewhat similar to that of his father. In 514 B.C., his brother Hipparchus was murdered and Hippias became nervous and suspicious. Finally, one of the noble clans exiled by the sons of Pisistratus, the Alemaeonids, won favor with the oracle at Delphi and used its support to persuade Sparta to attack the Athenian tyranny. Led by Cleomenes I, the Spartans marched into Athenian territory in 510 B.C. Hippias was deposed and fled to Persia. Cleomenes' friend Isagoras held the leading position in Athens after the withdrawal of the Spartan troops, but he was not unopposed. Cleisthenes, of the restored Alemaeonid clan was his chief rival. Isagoras tried to restore a version of the preSolonian aristocratic state by purifying the citizen lists Cleisthenes took an unprecedented action by turning to the people for political support and won with it a program of great popular appeal. In 508 B.C., Cleisthenes instituted

a new political organization whereby the citizens would take a more forceful and more direct role in running the city-state. He called this new political organization demokratia, or democracy rule by the entire body of citizens. He created a Council of Five Hundred which planned the business of the public assemblies. All male citizens over the age of thirty could serve for a term of one year on the Council and no one could serve more than two terms in a lifetime. Such an organization was necessary, thought Cleisthenes, so that every citizen would learn from direct political experience. With such a personal interest in his democracy, Cleisthenes believed that there would be no citizens to conspire and attempt to abolish the system. Cleisthenes also divided all Athenians into ten tribes (replacing the original four). The composition of each tribe guaranteed that no region would dominate any of them. Because the tribes had common religious activities and fought as regimental units, the new organization would also increase devotion to the polis and diminish regional division. Each tribe would send fifty men to serve on the Council of Five Hundred (thus replacing Solon's Council of 400). Each set of fifty men would serve as a presiding committee for a period of thirty-five days. The Council convened the Assembly an Assembly which, as of the year 450 B.C. consisted of approximately 21,000 citizens. Of this number, perhaps 12-15000 were absent as they were serving in the army, navy or were simply away from Athens on business or otherwise. The Council scrutinized the qualifications of officials and the allocation of funds. They looked after the construction of docks and surveyed public buildings. They collected rent on public land and oversaw the redistribution of confiscated property. Members of the Council were also responsible for examining the horses of the cavalry, administering state pensions and receiving foreign delegations. In other words, the Council was responsible for the smooth running of the daily operations of the Athenian city-state. Membership on the Council was for one year but it was possible to serve a second term. A minimum of 250 new members had to be chosen every year and it has been suggested that 35-45% of all Athenian citizens had experience on the Council. Serving on the Council of Five Hundred was a full time job and those who did serve were paid a fee. Every year 500 Council members and 550 Guards were chosen by lot from the villages of the Athenian polis. These men were scrutinized by the Council before they were chosen so that alternates were always available. The rapid turnover in the Council ensured (1) that a large number of Athenians held some political position in their lifetime and that (2) the Assembly would contain a larger and more sophisticated membership. The Assembly contained all those citizens who were not serving on the

Council of 500 or who were not serving as public officials. The Assembly had forty regular meetings per year there were four meetings in each 35 day period into which the Council's year was divided. The first meeting discussed the corn supply, the qualifications of officials, questions of defense and ostracisms. The second meeting was open to any issue, while the third and fourth meetings were given over to debates on religion and foreign and secular affairs. Special meetings or emergency sessions could be called at any time. Around 460 B.C., Pericles (c.490-429 B.C.) used the power of the people in the law courts and the Assembly to break up the Council of Five Hundred. Under Pericles, ATHENIAN DEMOCRACY came to mean the equality of justice and the equality of opportunity. The equality of justice was secured by the jury system, which ensured that slaves and resident aliens were represented through their patrons. The equality of opportunity did not mean that every man has the right to everything. What it did mean is that the criteria for choosing citizens for office was merit and efficiency and not wealth. Whereas Solon had used the criterion of birth for his officials and Cleisthenes had used wealth, Pericles now used merit. This was the ideal for Pericles. What indeed happened in practice was quite different. The Greek historian Thucydides (c.460-c.400 B.C.) commented on the reality of democracy under Pericles when he wrote: "It was in theory, a democracy but in fact it became the rule of the first Athenian." And the historian Herodotus (c.485-425 B.C.) added that "nothing could be found better than the one man, the best." This "one man, the best," was the aristoi, the word from which we get the expression aristocracy. So, what began as Greek democracy under Cleisthenes around 500 B.C., became an aristocracy under Pericles by 430 B.C. The Council of Five Hundred and the Assembly met often and what they discussed focused on decidedly local issues. But they also discussed what we could only call democratic theory that is, they constantly debated questions like what is the good life? and what is the best form of government? But perhaps the most important of all were discussions and debates over the issues of war. And this is important to grasp for the 5th century, the classical age of Greece, is an age of near constant warfare. Between 490 and 474 B.C., the Greeks fought the Persians and at the end of the century (431-404 B.C.), a war between Sparta and Athens not only spelled the end of Athenian dominance, but also the death of Athenian direct democracy.

Classical Greece, 500-323BC

When we think of ancient Greece and the ancient Greeks, it is usually the 5th century which commands our undivided attention. This is the age of the great historians Herodotus and Thucydides, great dramatists like Sophocles, Euripides and Aeschylus,

and the brilliant philosopher Socrates. The 5th century is also regarded as the age when the Greeks embraced their brilliant experiment in direct democracy. Amazing monuments to human achievement were constructed in Athens and other Hellenic city-states. It is an age of human discovery and achievement an age which proudly bears the name classical. The Persian Invasion of Greece However, the 5th century was also an age of war and conflict. Between 490 and 479 B.C., Greece was invaded by the army and naval fleet of the Persian Empire. By about 500 B.C. the Greek city states had lost their kings (with the exception of Sparta) and had embraced a new form of government through councils of citizens. Almost immediately, however, these states were confronted by an invasion of the Persian Empire. King Darius (548-486 B.C.) managed to build up the Persian Empire and now controlled Asia Minor, including Greek poleis on the west coast. In 499 B.C., some of the these poleis rebelled from the Persians (an episode called the Ionian Revolt). The Athenians lent their support but the revolt ultimately collapsed in 493 B.C. Darius proposed now to invade mainland Greece his prime target was Athens. Darius sent his fleet across the Aegean in 490 and awaited news of victory. The Persians landed at Marathon, a village just north of Athens. Commanded by Militiades, the Greek forces totaled only 10,000 men the Persian force was perhaps 20-25,000 strong. The Greek forces charged and trapped the Persians and won the battle. The remainder of the Persians attempted to attack Athens but the Greek army rushed back and the Persians were forced to return to Asia Minor. The victory at MARATHON was won by superior timing and discipline. Darius prepared a second invasion but died (486 B.C.) before his plans could be carried out. The task was taken up by Xerxes (c.519-465 B.C.) who prepared a huge force that would attack by land and sea. In 483 B.C., the Athenian statesman Themistocles (c.523-c.458 B.C.) persuaded his fellow Athenians to build a navy of one hundred triremes. He also oversaw the fortification of the harbor at Piraeus. Fearing destruction at the hands of the Persians, in 480 B.C. thirty poleis formed an alliance. Athens, Sparta and Corinth were the most powerful members. In 480 B.C., Xerxes sent a force of 60,000 men and 600 ships to Greece. The Greeks made their stand at Thermopylae. Five thousand men took up their positions to defend the pass at Thermopylae. The Greeks held the pass but eventually a traitorous Greek led a Persian force through the hills to the rear of the Greek forces, who were subsequently massacred. Meanwhile, the Greek navy tried to hold off the Persian ships at Artemisium. The Athenians eventually abandoned Athens ahead of the

Persian army. The Persians marched across the Attic peninsula and burned Athens. Themistocles then sent a false message to Xerxes, telling him to strike at once. The Persians were taken in and sent their navy into the narrow strait between Athens and the island of Salamis. More than three hundred Greek ships rammed the Persians and heavily armed Greek soldiers boarded the ships. The Greek victory at Salamis was a decisive one. However, Persian forces remained in Greece. Their final expulsion came in 479 B.C. at the village of Plataea. By 479 B.C., the Greek forces had all conquered the Persian army and navy. After the Persian Wars, Athens emerged as the most dominant political and economic force in the Greek world. The Athenian polis, buttressed by the strength of its Council of Five Hundred and Assembly of citizens, managed to gain control of a confederation of city-states which gradually became the Athenian Empire. The Athenians not only had a political leadership based on the principles of direct democracy as set in motion by Cleisthenes (see Lecture 6), they also had wide trading and commercial interests in the Mediterranean world. These trading interests spread throughout the area of the Aegean Sea including Asia Minor, an area known as the Aegean Basin. Greek victories against the Persians secured mainland Greece from further invasion. There was a great sense of relief on the part of all Greeks that they had now conquered the conquerors. But, there were some citizens who argued in the Assembly that a true Greek victory would only follow from total defeat of the Persians, and this meant taking the war to Persia itself. And this is precisely what would happen in the 5thcentury. Meanwhile, dozens of Greek city-states joined together to form a permanent union for the war. Delegates met on the island of Delos in 478 B.C. The allies swore oaths of alliance which were to last until lumps of iron, thrown into the sea, rose again. The Delian League policy was to be established by an assembly of representatives but was to be administered by an admiral and ten treasurers appointed by Athens. It fell upon the Athenian leader, Aristides the Just, to assign an assessment of 460 talents per year, which member states paid in cash or in the form of manned ships. Right from the start, the Delian League was dominated by Athenian authority and leadership. The Delian League had its precedents: the Spartan League, the Ionian League of 499-494 B.C. and the League of 481-478 B.C. Eventually, the Greeks liberated the cities of Asia Minor and by 450 B.C., the war with the Persians came to an end. It was at this time that the power of Athens was being felt throughout the Greek world. And as the power of Athens reached new limits, its political influence began to be extended as well. The Athenians forced city-states to join the Delian league against their will. They refused to allow city-states to withdraw from the League. And other city-states they simply refused entry into the League. Athens stationed garrisons in

other city-states to keep the peace and to make sure that Athens would receive their support, both politically and in terms of paying tribute to the League. By 454 B.C., Athenian domination of the Delian League was clear the proof is that the League's treasury was moved from the temple of Apollo on the island of Delos to the temple of Athena at Athens. Payments to the Delian League now became payments to the treasury of Athens. The Age of Pericles It was around this time, 450-430 B.C., that Athens enjoyed its greatest period of success. The period itself was dominated by the figure of Pericles and so the era has often been called the Age of Pericles. The Athenian statesman, Pericles (c.490-429 B.C.), was born of a distinguished family, was carefully educated, and rapidly rose to the highest power as leader of the Athenian democracy. Although a member of the aristoi, Pericles offered many benefits to the common people of Athens and as a result, he earned their total support. Oddly enough, the benefits he conferred upon the common people had the result of weakening the aristocracy, the social class from which he came. As the historian Thucydides pointed out, "he controlled the masses, rather than letting them control him." Pericles was a man of forceful character. He was an outstanding orator, something which, as we have already seen, was absolutely necessary in the political world of the Athenian Assembly. He was also honest in his control of Athenian financial affairs. Pericles first rose to political prominence in the 450s. At this time, the Athenian leadership was convinced of two things: (1) the continuation of the war with the Persians and (2) maintaining cordial relationships with Sparta. The strategy of Pericles was the exact opposite. In the Assembly he argued convincingly that the affair with Persia was in the past. He decided to concentrate instead on Sparta, which he saw as a direct threat to the vitality of the Athenian Empire. As would be evident by the end of the century, Sparta was a major threat. The reason for this is quite simple. On the one hand, Sparta chose to isolate itself from the affairs of other Greek city-states. On the other hand, Spartan isolationism appeared as a direct threat to Athens. Whether or not the threat was real, the bottom line is that Sparta and Athens were destined to become enemies. From the 450s onward, Pericles rebuilt the city of Athens, a city ravaged by years of wars with the Persians. He used the public money from the Delian League to build several masterpieces of 5th century Greek architecture, the Parthenon and the Propylaea.. This, of course, outraged many of his fellow citizens who attacked him in the Assembly on more than one occasion. The common people, however, were quick to support Pericles for the simple matter that he gave them jobs and an income.

Under Pericles, Athens became the city of Aeschylus, Socrates and Phidias, the man in charge of all public buildings and statues. At this time Pericles also embarked on the path of aggressive imperialism. He put down rebellions and sent his Athenian armies to colonize other areas of Asia Minor. And while he was doing this, he was also trying to foster the intellectual improvement of the Athenian citizen by encouraged music and drama. Industry and commerce flourished. In 452/1 B.C., Pericles introduced pay for jurors and magistrates so that no one could be barred by poverty from service to the polis. Indeed, under Pericles, Athens was rebuilt and the population greeted him as their hero. But, there were problems on the not-too-distant horizon. The Peloponnesian War These problems came to a head during the Peloponnesian Wars of 431-404 B.C. As we've already seen, Sparta feared Athenian power they believed that Athens had grown too quickly both in terms of population and military power. And Athens, of course, feared the Spartans because of their isolationist position. What we have then, is a cold war turned hot. The Peloponnesian War was a catastrophe for Athens. The chief result of the War was that the Athenian Empire was divided, the subject states of the Delian league were liberated, direct democracy failed and Pericles was ostracized. The Athenians also suffered a loss of nerve as their democracy gave way to the Reign of the Thirty Tyrants. The major result, however, was that the destruction of Athenian power made it possible for the Macedonian conquest of Greece (see Lecture 9). By mid-century there had been several clashes between Athens and Sparta and their respective allies. In 446 B.C. a treaty of non-aggression was signed that would be valid for thirty years (a form of dtente, if you will). The peace did not last. In 435 B.C., a quarrel developed between Corinth, an ally of Sparta, and Corcyra. In 433, Corcyra appealed to Athens to form an alliance. The Corinthians knew that such an alliance would make war inevitable. The combined naval power of Athens and Corcyra was the largest in Greece, and Sparta viewed such an alliance as a direct threat. The same year, the Athenians demanded that the town of Potidaea should dismantle its defensive walls and banish its magistrates, a demand which further infuriated the Corinthians. Athens besieged the town. An assembly of the Peloponnesian league met and the Corinthians managed to convince the Spartans that war with Athens was the only solution. Fighting began in 431 B.C. Sparta wanted to break Athenian morale by attacking Attica annually, but the Athenians merely retreated behind their fortifications until the Spartan forces retired. Pericles refused to send the Athenian infantry to the field. Instead he relied on raids on the Peloponnesus by sea. More damaging than any

offensive by the Spartans was a PLAGUE that raged in Athens in 430. And the following year, Pericles died. Over the next few years Athens and Sparta suffered so many losses that both sides were prepared to end the conflict. The Peace of Nicias was signed in 421 B.C. Hostilities were renewed in 415 when the people of Segesta (a city in Sicily) appealed to Athens for help. It was Alcibiades (c.450-404 B.C.) who persuaded the Athenian Assembly to raise a large fleet and sail to Sicily. But it was the Athenian campaign against Syracuse that eventually brought disaster. In 413 the Athenian navy lost a crucial battle. As they retreated they were cut off and destroyed. Thucydides reported that "few out of many returned home." The war dragged on for another eight years. Sparta sought decisive help by gaining the assistance of Persia. In 405 a Spartan admiral captured the Athenian fleet at Aegospotami, on the shores of the Hellespont. The following year, beaten into submission, Athens gave up control of its empire and had to demolish its defensive walls. By 404 B.C., Sparta had "liberated" Greece and imposed on oligarchic regime (the Thirty Tyrants), that lasted until the following year. After the death of Pericles and the disorder of a century of warfare, the Greek citystates and direct democracy went into decline. The reason is that first one polis, then another, rose up, withdrew from the Delian League and began to assume control of their own affairs, without falling under the sphere of Athenian influence. Sparta assumed leadership of the city-states. Then it was the turn of Thebes, then Corcyra, then Corinth, the Sparta again. This fragmentation and political disorder left the door open for political power to come from an entirely different area of Greece Macedonia. Under Philip II, Macedonia flourished through diplomacy and military aggression. Philip took advantage of the general disorder on the Attic peninsula, and extended his control into central Greece. His armies defeated a weakened Athens. In fact, Philip gained control of all the important Greek city-states with the exception of Sparta. Philip was murdered in 336 B.C. and was succeeded by his son, Alexander III. Under Alexander, the Macedonian Empire grew to become the largest empire in the ancient world larger even than the Roman Empire at its height. Alexander the Great invaded what remained of the Persian Empire and gained control of Asia Minor. Most of Egypt fell under his armies. His armies marched as far east as the Indus River on the western border of India before he died of fever in 323 B.C. at the age of thirtythree (see Lecture 9). Greek Culture in the Classical Age The period from 500-323 B.C. is the Classical or Hellenic age of Greek civilization. The brilliance of the Classical Greek world rested on a blend of the old and the new. From the past came a profound religious belief in the just action of the gods and the

attainment of virtue in the polis. Such a history helped develop a specific Greek "mind" in which the importance of the individual and a rationalistic spirit were paramount. The Classical Greek world was, in essence, a skillful combination of these qualities. Athens never united all Greece. However, its culture was unchallenged. The trade routes from the Aegean brought men and their ideas from everywhere to the great cultural center of Athens. Thanks to its economic initiative, the Athenian polis was quite wealthy, and Pericles generously distributed that wealth to the Athenian citizen in a variety of forms. For instance, the Athenian polis sponsored the production of dramas and required that wealthy citizens pay the expenses of production. At the beginning of every year, dramatists submitted their plays to the archon, or chief magistrate. Each comedian presented one play for review; those who wrote tragedy had to submit a set of three plays, plus an afterpiece called a satyr play. It was the archon who chose those dramas he considered best. The archon allotted to each tragedian his actors, paid at state expense, and a producer (choregus). On the appointed day the Athenian public would gather at the theatre of Dionysus on the south slope of the Acropolis, paid their admission of two obols, and witnessed a series of plays. Judges drawn by lot awarded prizes to the poet (crown of ivy), the actor (an inscription on a state list in the agora) and to the choregus (a triumphal tablet). The Athenian dramatists were the first artists in Western society to examine such basic questions as the rights of the individual, the demands of society upon the individual and the nature of good and evil. Conflict, the basic stuff of life, is the constant element in Athenian drama. AESCHYLUS (525-456 B.C.), the first of the great Athenian dramatists, was also the first to express the agony of the individual caught in conflict. In his trilogy of plays,The Oresteia, he deals with the themes of betrayal, murder and reconciliation. The first play, The Agamemnon, depicts Agamemnon's return from the Trojan War and his murder by his wife, Clytemnestra, and her lover. In the second play, The Libation Bearers, Orestes, the son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, avenges his father's death by killing his mother and her lover. The last play, The Eumenides, works out the atonement of Orestes. The Furies, goddesses who avenged murder, demand Orestes' death. When the jury at Orestes' trial casts six votes to condemn and six to acquit, Athena cast the deciding vote in favor of mercy. Aeschylus used The Eumenides to urge reason and justice to reconcile fundamental human conflicts. Like Solon, Aeschylus believed that the world was governed by

divine justice which could not be violated with impunity. When men exhibited hubris (pride or arrogance), which led them to go beyond moderation, they must be punished. Another common theme was that through suffering came knowledge. To act in accordance with the divine order meant caution and moderation. SOPHOCLES (496-406 B.C.), the premier playwright of the second generation, also dealt with personal and political matters. In his Antigone he examined the relationship between the individual and the state by exploring conflict between the ties of kinship and the demands of the polis. Almost all of the plays of Sophocles stand for the precedence of divine law over human defects. In other words, human beings should do the will of the gods, even without fully understanding it, for the gods stand for justice and order. However, whereas Aeschylus concentrated on religious matters, Sophocles dealt with the perennial problem of well-meaning men struggling, unwisely and vainly, against their own fate. The characters in the tragedies of Sophocles resist all warnings and inescapably meet with disaster. In Oedipus Rex, Oedipus is warned not to pursue the mystery of his birth but he insists on searching for the truth about himself (that he unwittingly killed his father and married his mother). Events do not turn out as Oedipus had planned -- the individual is incapable of affecting the universal laws of human existence. EURIPIDES (c.480-406 B.C.), the last of the three great Greek tragic dramatists, also explored the theme of personal conflict within the polis and the depths of the individual. With Euripides drama enters a new, more personal phase the gods were far less important than human beings. Euripides viewed the human soul as a place where opposing forces struggle, where strong passions such as hatred and jealousy conflict with reason. The essence of Euripides' tragedy is the flawed character men and women who bring disaster on themselves and their loved ones because their passions overwhelm their reason. It is the rationalist spirit of 5th century Greek philosophic thought that permeates the tragedies of Euripides. He subjected the problems of human life to critical analysis and challenged Athenian conventions. Aristophanes would criticize Euripides for introducing the art of reasoning into drama

The Greeks of the classical age not only perfected the art of drama, but of comedy as well. ARISTOPHANES (c.448-c.380 B.C.) was an ardent lover of the city and a ruthless critic of cranks and quacks. He lampooned eminent generals, at times depicting them as little more than morons. He commented snidely on Pericles, and poked fun at Socrates and Euripides. Even at the height of the Peloponnesian War, Aristophanes proclaimed that peace was preferable to war. Like Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, Aristophanes used his art to dramatize his ideas on the right conduct of the citizen and the value of the polis. The experience of the Persian and Peloponnesian wars also helped develop the beginnings of historical writing. It is in the classical age then, that we meet the father of history, HERODOTUS (c.485-425 B.C.). Born at Halicarnassus in Asia Minor, Herodotus traveled widely before settling in the Athens, the intellectual center of the Greek world. In his book, The History, Herodotus chronicled the rise of the Persian Empire, the origins of both Athens and Sparta, and then described the laws and customs of the Egyptians. The scope of The History is awesome. Lacking newspapers, any sort of communications, or ease of travel, Herodotus wrote a history that covered all the major events of the Ancient Near East, Egypt and Greece. The outbreak of the Peloponnesian War prompted THUCYDIDES (c.460-c.400 B.C.) to write a history of its course in the belief that it would be the greatest war in Greek history. An Athenian politician and general, Thucydides saw action in the war until he was exiled for a defeat. Exile gave him the time and opportunity to question eye-witnesses about the details of events and to visit the actual battlefields. Since he was an aristocrat an aristoi he had access to the inner circles, the men who made the decisions. Thucydides saw the Peloponnesian War as highly destructive to Greek character. He noted that the old, the noble, and the simple fell before ambition and lust for power. He firmly rejected any notion that the gods intervened in human affairs. In his view, the fate of men and women was entirely in their own hands. It has been said that the Greeks are the first ancient society with which modern western society (since the Renaissance, that is) feels some sort of affinity. The ancient Greeks were clearly a people who warred and enslaved people. They often did not live up to their own ideals. However, their achievements in the areas of art, architecture, poetry, tragedy, science, mathematics, history, philosophy and government were of the highest order and worthy of emulation by the Romans and others. Western thought begins with the Greeks, who first defined man as an individual with the capacity to use his reason. Rising above magic and superstition, by the end of the fifth century,

the Greeks had discovered the means to give rational order to nature and to human society. The Greeks also created the concept (if not quite the reality) of political freedom. The state was conceived as a community of free citizens who made laws in their own interest. As a direct democracy, for example, the Athenian citizen discussed, debated and voted on issues that affected him directly. The Greek discovery that man (the citizen) is capable of governing himself was a profound one. Underlying the Greek achievement was humanism. The Greeks expressed a belief in the worth, significance, and dignity of the individual. Man should develop his personality fully in the city-state, a development which would, in turn, create a sound city-state as well. The pursuit of excellence -- arete -- was paramount. Such an aspiration required effort, discipline and intelligence. Man was master of himself.

Greek Thought: Socrates, Plato and Aristotle

The political and social upheaval caused by the Persian Wars as well as continued strife between Athens and Sparta (see Lecture 7) had at least one unintended consequence . In the 5th century, a flood of new ideas poured into Athens. In general, these new ideas came as a result of an influx of Ionian thinkers into the Attic peninsula. Athens had become the intellectual and artistic center of the Greek world. Furthermore, by the mid-5th century, it had become more common for advanced thinkers to reject traditional explanations of the world of nature. As a result of the experience of a century of war, religious beliefs declined. Gods and goddesses were no longer held in the same regard as they had been a century earlier. I suppose we could generalize and say that the Persian and Peloponnesian Wars taught that the actions of men and women determine their own destiny, and not "Moira." Meanwhile, more traditional notions of right and wrong were called into question, and all of this was expressed in Hellenic tragedy and comedy. The Greeks used their creative energies to explain experience by recourse to history, tragedy, comedy, art and architecture. But their creative energies were also used to "invent" philosophy, defined as "the love of wisdom." In general, philosophy came into existence when the Greeks discovered their dissatisfaction with supernatural and mythical explanations of reality. Over time, Greek thinkers began to suspect that there was a rational or logical order to the universe. The Pre-Socratic Philosophers The PRE-SOCRATIC philosophers came from the city of

Miletus in the region of Ionia. Miletus was a prominent trading depot and its people had direct contact with the ideas of the Near East. Around 600 B.C., Milesian thinkers "discovered" speculation after asking a simple but profound question: "what exists?" It was the Ionian natural philosopher, Thales of Miletus (c.624-548 B.C.), who answered that everything in the universe was made of water and resolves itself into water. What was so revolutionary about Thales was that he omitted the gods from his account of the origins of nature. It is also necessary to point out that Thales committed none of his views to writing. Anaximander of Miletus (c.611-c.547 B.C.), another Milesian thinker, rejected Thales, and argued instead that an indefinite substance -the Boundless -- was the source of all things. According to Anaximander, the cold and wet condensed to form the earth while the hot and dry formed the moon, sun and stars. The heat from the fire in the skies dried the earth and shrank the seas. It's a rather fantastic scheme, but at least Anaximander sought natural explanations for the origin of the natural world. Thales and Anaximander were "matter" philosophers -- they believed that everything had its origin in a material substance. Pythagoras of Samos (c.580-507 B.C.) did not find that nature of things in material substances but in mathematical relationships. The Pythagoreans, who lived in Greek cities in southern Italy, discovered that the intervals in the musical scale could be expressed mathematically and that this principle could be extended to the universe. In other words, the universe contained an inherent mathematical order. What we witness in the Pythagoreans is the emphasis on form rather than matter, and here we move from sense perception to the logic of mathematics. Parmenides of Elea (c.515-450 B.C.), also challenged the fundamental views of the Ionian philosophers that all things emerged from one substance. What Parmenides did was to apply logic to the arguments of the Pythagoreans, thus setting the groundwork of formal logic. He argued that reality is one, eternal and unchanging. We "know" reality not by the senses, which are capable of deception, but through the human mind, not through experience, but through reason. As we shall see, this concept shall become central to the philosophic thought of Plato. Perhaps the most important of all the Pre-Socratic philosophers was Heraclitus of Ephesus (fl. 500 B.C.). Known as "the weeping philosopher" because of his pessimistic view of human nature and "the dark one" because of the mystical obscurity of his thought, Heraclitus wrote On Nature, fragments of which we still possess. Whereas the Pythagoreans had emphasized harmony, Heraclitus suggested that life was maintained by a tension of opposites, fighting a continuous battle in which neither side could win a final victory. Movement and the flux of change were unceasing for individuals, but the structure of the cosmos constant. This law of individual flux within a permanent universal framework was guaranteed by the Logos,

an intelligent governing principle materially embodied as fire, and identified with soul or life. Fire is the primordial element out of which all else has arisen -- change (becoming) is the first principle of the universe. Cratylus, a follower of Heraclitus, once made the remark that "You cannot step twice into the same river." The water will be different water the second time, and if we call the river the same, it is because we see its reality in its form. The logical conclusion of this is the opposite of flux, that is, a belief in an absolute, unchanging reality of which the world of change and movement is only a quasi-existing phantom, phenomenal, not real. Democritus of Abdera (c.460-370 B.C.) argued that knowledge was derived through sense perception -- the senses illustrate to us that change does occur in nature. However, Democritus also retained Parmenides' confidence in human reason. His universe consisted of empty space and an infinite number of atoms (a-tomos, the "uncuttable"). Eternal and indivisible, these atoms moved in the void of space. An atomic theory to the core, Democritus saw all matter constructed of atoms which accounted for all change in the natural world. What the Pre-Socratic thinkers from Thales to Democritus had done was nothing less than amazing -- they had given to nature a rational and non-mythical foundation. This new approach allowed a critical analysis of theories, whereas mythical explanations relied on blind faith alone. Such a spirit even found its way into medicine, where the Greek physician Hippocrates of Cos (c.460-c.377 B.C.) was able to distinguish between magic and medicine. Physicians observed ill patients, classified symptoms and then made predictions about the course of a disease. For instance, of epilepsy, he wrote: "It is not, in my opinion, any more divine or more scared than other diseases, but has a natural cause, and its supposed divine origin is due to men's inexperience, and to their wonder at its peculiar character." The Sophists Into such an atmosphere of change came the traveling teachers, the Sophists. The Sophists were a motley bunch some hailed from the Athenian polis or other citystates, but the majority came from Ionia, in Asia Minor. The Sophists were men whose responsibility it was to train and educate the sons of Athenian citizens. There were no formal school as we know them today. Instead, these were peripatetic schools, meaning that the instructor would walk with students and talk with them for a fee, of course. The Sophists taught the skills (sophia) of rhetoric and oratory. Both of these arts were essential for the education of the Athenian citizenry. After all, it was the sons of the citizens who would eventually find themselves debating important issues in the Assembly and the Council of Five Hundred. Rhetoric can be described as the art of composition, while oratory was the art of public speaking.

The Sophists abandoned science, philosophy, mathematics and ethics. What they taught was the subtle art of persuasion. A Sophist was a person who could argue eloquently and could prove a position whether that position was correct or incorrect. In other words, what mattered was persuasion and not truth. The Sophists were also relativists. They believed that there was no such thing as a universal or absolute truth, valid at all times. According to Protagoras (c.485-c.411 B.C.), "Man is the measure of all things." Everything is relative and there are no values because man, individual man, is the measure of all things. Nothing is good or bad since everything depends on the individual. Gorgias of Leontini (c.485-c.380 B.C.), who visited Athens in 427, was a well-paid teacher of rhetoric and famous for his saying that a man could not know anything. And if he could, he could not describe it and if he could describe it, no one would understand him. The Sophistic movement of the fifth century B.C. has been the subject of much discussion and there is no single view about their significance. Plato's treatment of the Sophists in his late dialogue, the Sophist, is hardly flattering. He does not treat them as real seekers after truth but as men whose only concern was making money and teaching their students success in argument by whatever means. Aristotle said that a Sophist was "one who made money by sham wisdom." At their very best, the Sophists challenged the accepted values of the fifth century. They wanted the freedom to sweep away old conventions as a way of finding a better understanding of the universe, the gods and man. The Sophists have been compared with the philosophes of the 18th century Enlightenment who also used criticism and reason to wipe out anything they deemed was contrary to human reason. Regardless of what we think of the Sophists as a group or individually, they certainly did have the cumulative effect of further degrading a mythical understanding of the universe and of man. Socrates From the ranks of the Sophists came SOCRATES (c.469399 B.C.), perhaps the most noble and wisest Athenian to have ever lived. He was born sometime in 469, we don't know for sure. What we do know is that his father was Sophroniscus, a stone cutter, and his mother, Phaenarete, was a midwife. Sophroniscus was a close friend of the son of Aristides the Just (c.550-468 B.C.), and the young Socrates was familiar with members of the circle of Pericles. In his youth he fought as a hoplite at Potidaea (432-429), Delium (424) and Amphipolis (422) during the Peloponnesian Wars. To be sure, his later absorption in philosophy made him neglect his private affairs and he

eventually fell to a level of comparative poverty. He was perhaps more in love with the study of philosophy than with his family -- that his wife Xanthippe was shrew is a later tale. In Plato's dialogue, the Crito, we meet a Socrates concerned with the future of his three sons. Just the same, his entire life was subordinated to "the supreme art of philosophy." He was a good citizen but held political office only once he was elected to the Council of Five Hundred in 406 B.C. In Plato's Apology, Socrates remarks that: The true champion if justice, if he intends to survive even for a short time, must necessarily confine himself to private life and leave politics alone. What we can be sure about Socrates was that he was remarkable for living the life he preached. Taking no fees, Socrates started and dominated an argument wherever the young and intelligent would listen, and people asked his advice on matters of practical conduct and educational problems. Socrates was not an attractive man -- he was snub-nosed, prematurely bald, and overweight. But, he was strong in body and the intellectual master of every one with whom he came into contact. The Athenian youth flocked to his side as he walked the paths of the agora. They clung to his every word and gesture. He was not a Sophist himself, but a philosopher, a lover of wisdom. In 399 B.C., Socrates was charged with impiety by a jury of five hundred of his fellow citizens. His most famous student, Plato, tells us, that he was charged "as an evil-doer and curious person, searching into things under the earth and above the heavens; and making the worse appear the better cause, and teaching all this to others." He was convicted to death by a margin of six votes. Oddly enough, the jury offered Socrates the chance to pay a small fine for his impiety. He rejected it. He also rejected the pleas of Plato and other students who had a boat waiting for him at Piraeus that would take him to freedom. But Socrates refused to break the law. What kind of citizen would he be if he refused to accept the judgment of the jury? No citizen at all. He spent his last days with his friends before he drank the fatal dose of hemlock. The charge made against Socrates -- disbelief in the state's gods -- implied unAthenian activities which would corrupt the young and the state if preached publicly. Meletus, the citizen who brought the indictment, sought precedents in the impiety trials of Pericles' friends. Although Socrates was neither a heretic nor an agnostic, there was prejudice against him. He also managed to provoke hostility. For instance, the Delphic oracle is said to have told Chaerephon that no man was wiser than Socrates. During his trial Socrates had the audacity to use this as a justification of his examination of the conduct of all Athenians, claiming that in exposing their falsehoods, he had proved the god right -- he at least knew that he knew nothing.

Although this episode smacks of Socrates' well-known irony, he clearly did believe that his mission was divinely inspired. Socrates has been described as a gadfly -- a first-class pain. The reason why this charge is somewhat justified is that he challenged his students to think for themselves to use their minds to answer questions. He did not reveal answers. He did not reveal truth. Many of his questions were, on the surface, quite simple: what is courage? what is virtue? what is duty? But what Socrates discovered, and what he taught his students to discover, was that most people could not answer these fundamental questions to his satisfaction, yet all of them claimed to be courageous, virtuous and dutiful. So, what Socrates knew, was that he knew nothing, upon this sole fact lay the source of his wisdom. Socrates was not necessarily an intelligent man but he was a wise man. And there is a difference between the two. Plato Socrates wrote nothing himself. What we know of him comes from the writings of two of his closest friends, Xenophon and Plato. Although Xenophon (c.430-c.354 B.C.) did write four short portraits of Socrates, it is almost to Plato alone that we know anything of Socrates. PLATO (c.427-347 B.C.) came from a family of aristoi, served in the Peloponnesian War, and was perhaps Socrates' most famous student. He was twenty-eight years old when Socrates was put to death. At the age of forty, Plato established a school at Athens for the education of Athenian youth. The Academy, as it was called, remained in existence from 387 B.C. to A.D. 529, when it was closed by Justinian, the Byzantine emperor. Our knowledge of Socrates comes to us from numerous dialogues which Plato wrote after 399. In nearly every dialogue and there are more than thirty that we know about Socrates is the main speaker. The style of the Plato's dialogue is important it is the Socratic style that he employs throughout. A Socratic dialogue takes the form of question-answer, question-answer, question-answer. It is a dialectical style as well. Socrates would argue both sides of a question in order to arrive at a conclusion. Then that conclusion is argued against another assumption and so on. Perhaps it is not that difficult to understand why Socrates was considered a gadfly! There is a reason why Socrates employed this style, as well as why Plato recorded his experience with Socrates in the form of a dialogue. Socrates taught Plato a great many things, but one of the things Plato more or less discovered on his own was that mankind is born with knowledge. That is, knowledge is present in the human mind at birth. It is not so much that we "learn" things in our daily experience, but that we

"recollect" them. In other words, this knowledge is already there. This may explain why Socrates did not give his students answers, but only questions. His job was not to teach truth but to show his students how they could "pull" truth out of their own minds (it is for this reason that Socrates often considered himself a midwife in the labor of knowledge). And this is the point of the dialogues. For only in conversation, only in dialogue, can truth and wisdom come to the surface. Plato's greatest and most enduring work was his lengthy dialogue, The Republic. This dialogue has often been regarded as Plato's blueprint for a future society of perfection. I do not accept this opinion. Instead, I would like to suggest that The Republic is not a blueprint for a future society, but rather, is a dialogue which discusses the education necessary to produce such a society. It is an education of a strange sort he called it paideia. Nearly impossible to translate into modern idiom, paideia refers to the process whereby the physical, mental and spiritual development of the individual is of paramount importance. It is the education of the total individual. The Republic discusses a number of topics including the nature of justice, statesmanship, ethics and the nature of politics. It is in The Republic that Plato suggests that democracy was little more than a "charming form of government." And this he is writing less than one hundred years after the brilliant age of Periclean democracy. So much for democracy. After all, it was Athenian democracy that convicted Socrates. For Plato, the citizens are the least desirable participants in government. Instead, a philosopher-king or guardian should hold the reigns of power. An aristocracy if you will an aristocracy of the very best the best of the aristoi. Plato's Republic also embodies one of the clearest expressions of his theory of knowledge. In The Republic, Plato asks what is knowledge? what is illusion? what is reality? how do we know? what makes a thing, a thing? what can we know? These are epistemological questions that is, they are questions about knowledge itself. He distinguishes between the reality presented to us by our senses sight, touch, taste, sound and smell and the essence or Form of that reality. In other words, reality is always changing knowledge of reality is individual, it is particular, it is knowledge only to the individual knower, it is not universal. Building upon the wisdom of Socrates and Parmenides, Plato argued that reality is known only through the mind. There is a higher world, independent of the world we may experience through our senses. Because the senses may deceive us, it is necessary that this higher world exist, a world of Ideas or Forms -- of what is unchanging, absolute and universal. In other words, although there may be something from the phenomenal world which we consider beautiful or good or just, Plato postulates that there is a higher unchanging reality of the beautiful, goodness or

justice. To live in accordance with these universal standards is the good life -- to grasp the Forms is to grasp ultimate truth. The unphilosophical man that is, all of us is at the mercy of sense impressions and unfortunately, our sense impressions oftentimes fail us. Our senses deceive us. But because we trust our senses, we are like prisoners in a cave we mistake shadows on a wall for reality. This is the central argument of Plato's ALLEGORY OF THE CAVE which appears in Book VII of The Republic. Plato realized that the Athenian state, and along with it, Athenian direct democracy, had failed to realize its lofty ideals. Instead, the citizens sent Socrates to his death and direct democracy had failed. The purpose of The Republic was something of a warning to all Athenians that without respect for law, leadership and a sound education for the young, their city would continue to decay. Plato wanted to rescue Athens from degeneration by reviving that sense of community that had at one time made the polis great. The only way to do this, Plato argued, was to give control over to the Philosopher-Kings, men who had philosophical knowledge, and to give little more than "noble lies" to everyone else. The problem as Plato saw it was that power and wisdom had traveled divergent paths -- his solution was to unite them in the guise of the Philosopher-King. Aristotle Plato's most famous student was ARISTOTLE (384-322 B.C.). His father was the personal physician to Philip of Macedon and Aristotle was, for a time at least, the personal tutor of Alexander the Great. Aristotle styled himself a biologist he is said to have spent his honeymoon collecting specimens at the seashore. He too was charged with impiety, but fled rather than face the charges I suppose that tells you something about Aristotle. At the age of eighteen, Aristotle became the student at the Academy of Plato (who was then sixty years of age). Aristotle also started his own school, the Lyceum in 335 B.C. It too was closed by Justinian in A.D. 529. Aristotle was a "polymath" he knew a great deal about nearly everything. Very little of Aristotle's writings remain extant. But his students recorded nearly everything he discussed at the Lyceum. In fact, the books to which Aristotle's name is attributed are really little more than student notebooks. This may account for the fact that Aristotle's philosophy is one of the more difficult to digest. Regardless, Aristotle lectured on astronomy, physics, logic, aesthetics, music, drama, tragedy, poetry, zoology, ethics and politics. The one field in which he did not excel was mathematics. Plato, on the other hand, was a master of geometry.

As a scientist, Aristotle's epistemology is perhaps closer to our own. For Aristotle did not agree with Plato that there is an essence or Form or Absolute behind every object in the phenomenal world. I suppose you could argue that Aristotle came from the Jack Webb school of epistemology "nothing but the facts, Mam." Or, as one historian has put it: "The point is, that an elephant, when present, is noticed." In other words, whereas Plato suggested that man was born with knowledge, Aristotle argued that knowledge comes from experience. And there, in the space of just a few decades, we have the essence of those two philosophical traditions which have occupied the western intellectual tradition for the past 2500 years. Rationalism knowledge is a priori(comes before experience) and Empiricism knowledge is a posteriori (comes after experience). It is almost fitting that one of Plato's greatest students ought to have also been his greatest critics. Like Democritus, Aristotle had confidence in sense perception. As a result, he had little patience with Plato's higher world of the Forms. However, Aristotle argued that there were universal principles but that they are derived from experience. He could not accept, as had Plato, that there was a world of Forms beyond space and time. Aristotle argued that that there were Forms and Absolutes, but that they resided in the thing itself. From our experience with horses, for instance, we can deduce the essence of "horseness." This universal, as it had been for Plato, was the true object of human knowledge. It perhaps goes without saying that the western intellectual tradition, as well as the history of western philosophy, must begin with an investigation of ancient Greek thought. From Thales and the matter philosophers to the empiricism of Aristotle, the Greeks passed on to the west a spirit of rational inquiry that is very much our own intellectual property. And while we may never think of Plato or Aristotle as we carry on in our daily lives, it was their inquiry into knowledge that has served as the foundation for all subsequent inquiries. Indeed, many have argued with W. H. Auden that "had Greek civilization never existed we would never have become fully conscious, which is to say that we would never have become, for better or worse, fully human."

The Continents of the World Africa, the Americas, Antarctica, Asia, Australia together with Oceania, and Europe are considered to be Continents. The term continent is used to differentiate between the various large areas of the earth into which the land surface is divided. So, a continent is "a large, continuous area of land on Earth". All continents together constitute less than one-third of the earth's surface, that means more than two-thirds of the earth's surface are covered with water. Two-thirds of the continental land mass is located in the Northern Hemisphere.
The roots of the continents name.

A 17th Century Map of the World by Pieter van den Keere. (click on the map to enlarge) Continents From Latin "continere" for "to hold together", terra continens, the "continuous land". Africa A Roman term Africa terra "African land", the land of Africus, the northern part of Africa, a part of the Roman Empire. The Roman name has possibly its roots in the Phoenician term Afryqah, meaning "colony", as translitered into Roman Latin. America The name America was first used in 1507 by the Cartographer Martin Waldseemller in its treatise "Cosmographiae Introductio" to name the New World, after Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian navigator who made two (or four) trips to America with Spanish and Portuguese expeditions, it was Vespucci who first recognized that America was a new continent, and not part of Asia. Asia Latin and Greek origin - the "Eastern Land", it is speculated to be from the word asu "to go out, to rise," in reference to the sun, thus "the land of the sunrise."


Latin - Terra Australis incognita the "Unknown Southern Land", an imaginary, hypothetical continent, a large landmass in the south of the Indian Ocean, the supposed counterpart of the Northern Hemisphere (see: Map of the World by Pieter van den Keere). Europe Latin and Greek origin. Europa, Europe, often explained as "broad face," from eurys "wide" and ops "face." Some suggests a possible semantic origin by the Sumerian term erebu with the meaning of "darkness" and "to go down, set" (in reference to the sun) which would parallel Orient. Oceania From the French Term Ocanie, the southern Pacific Islands and Australia, conceived as a continent". Antarctic Old French: antartique, in Modern Latin: antarcticus, in Greek: antarktikos, from anti: "opposite" + arktikos: "of the north". The Continent of Africa

Africa Facts
Africa is the second-largest continent in the world in both area and population. Area: about 30 244 000 km (11 700 000 mi ) including its adjacent islands it covers about 20 percent of Earth's total land area. Population: 1,072 million human inhabitants, about 14 percent of the world's population. Highest Point: Mount Kilimanjaro - Uhuru Peak on the volcano Kibo, 5 895 m (19 340 ft) in Tanzania. Largest Lake: Lake Victoria or Victoria Nyanza; 68 870 sq. km. Longest River: Nile; 6 695 km. Languages of Africa: about thousand languages classified in four major language families: Afro-Asiatic (e.g. Berber lang), Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Congo (Bantu), and Khoi-San.
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List of African Countries

Eastern Africa

Country Burundi Comoros Djibouti

Population 8,500,000 727,000 900,000

Map Burundi Map Comoros Map Djibouti Map

Capital City Bujumbura Moroni Djibouti

Eritrea Ethiopia Kenya Madagascar Malawi Mauritius Mozambique Runion Rwanda Seychelles Somalia Tanzania Uganda Zambia Zimbabwe

5,200,000 85,000,000 40,000,000

Eritrea Map Ethiopia Map Kenya Map

Asmara Addis Ababa Nairobi

20,100,000 Madagascar Map Antananarivo 15,400,000 1,300,000 Malawi Map Lilongwe Port Louis

23,400,000 Mozambique Map Maputo 800,000 10,400,000 100,000 9,400,000 45,000,000 33,800,000 13,300,000 12,600,000 Somalia Map Tanzania Map Uganda Map Zambia Map Zimbabwe Map Rwanda Map Saint-Denis Kigali Victoria Mogadishu Dodoma, Dar es Salaam Kampala Lusaka Harare

Central Africa (Middle Africa)

Country Angola Cameroon

Population 19,000,000 20,000,000

Map Angola Map Cameroon Map

Capital City Luanda Yaound

Central African Republic


Central African Republic Bangui Map Chad Map N'Djamena



Congo, Rep. (Brazzaville) Congo, Dem. Rep. (Kinshasa) Equatorial Guinea Gabon So Tom and Prncipe

3,900,000 67,800,000 700,000 1,500,000 200,000

Congo, Rep. Map Congo, Dem. Rep. Map Equatorial Guinea Map Gabon Map

Brazzaville Kinshasa Malabo Libreville So Tom

Northern Africa

Country Algeria Egypt Libya Morocco South Sudan Sudan Tunisia

Population 36,000,000 80,400,000 6,500,000 31,900,000 9,000,000 36,000,000 10,500,000

Map Algeria Map Egypt Map Libya Map Morocco Map see: Sudan Map Sudan Map Tunisia Map see: Mauritania Map

Capital City Algiers Cairo Tripoli Rabat Juba Khartoum Tunis

Western Sahara



Southern Africa

Country Botswana Lesotho

Population 1,800,000 1,900,000

Map Botswana Map

Capital City Gaborone Maseru

Namibia South Africa Swaziland


Namibia Map


49,900,000 South Africa Map Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Cape Town 1,200,000 Swaziland Map Mbabane, Lobamba

Western Africa

Country Benin Burkina Faso Cape Verde Cte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) Gambia, The Ghana Guinea

Population 9,800,000

Map Benin Map

Capital City Porto-Novo, Cotonou

16,200,000 Burkina Faso Map Ouagadougou 500,000 22,000,000 Cape Verde Map Ivory Coast Map Praia Yamoussoukro, Abidjan

1,800,000 see: Senegal Map Banjul 24,000,000 10,800,000 Ghana Map Guinea Map Guinea-Bissau Map Liberia Map Mali Map Mauritania Map Niger Map Nigeria Map Accra Conakry




Liberia Mali Mauritania Niger Nigeria Saint Helena Senegal Sierra Leone

4,100,000 15,200,000 3,400,000 15,900,000 158,300,000 6,000 12,500,000

Monrovia Bamako Nouakchott Niamey Abuja Jamestown

Senegal Map


5,800,000 Sierra Leone Map Freetown



Togo Map


The Continent of the Americas

Countries of the Americas and the Caribbean

Area: North America (Canada, USA): 20,000,000 km (7,700,000 mi ); 2 2 Central America and the Caribbean: 20,720,000 km (8,000,000 mi ); 2 2 South America: 17,900,000 km (6,900,000 mi ) Population: 942 million North America: 346 million (Canada and USA); Central America and the Caribbean (incl. Mexico): 200 million; South America: 396 million. Highest Point: Aconcagua, 6,959 m (22,831 ft), Mendoza, Argentina. Largest Lake: Lake Superior, surface area 82,000 km (32,000 mi ), larger than Panama. Longest River: Rio Amazonas (Amazon river), 6,296 km (3,912 mi), South America. Languages of the Americas: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, various native Indian languages, French patois, and Creole.
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States and Territories of the Americas and the Caribbean


Country Anguilla Antigua and Barbuda Aruba Bahamas Barbados Bermuda

Population 13,000 100,000 103,000 300,000 300,000 65,000

Capital City The Valley Saint John's Oranjestad Nassau Bridgetown Hamilton

British Virgin Islands Cayman Islands Cuba Dominica Dominican Republic Grenada Guadeloupe Haiti Jamaica Martinique Montserrat Netherlands Antilles Puerto Rico Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Trinidad and Tobago US Virgin Islands

22,000 38,000 11,200,000 100,000 9,900,000 100,000 400,000 9,800,000 2,700,000 400,000 5,000 220,000 3,900,000 100,000 200,000 100,000 1,300,000 93,000

Road Town George Town Havana Roseau Santo Domingo Saint George's Basse-Terre Port-au-Prince Kingston Fort-de-France Plymouth Willemstad San Juan Basseterre Castries Kingstown Port-of-Spain Charlotte Amalie

Central America

Country Belize

Population 300,000

Capital City Belmopan

Costa Rica El Salvador Guatemala Honduras Nicaragua Panama

4,600,000 6,200,000 14,400,000 7,600,000 6,000,000 3,500,000

San Jos San Salvador Guatemala (City) Tegucigalpa Managua Panama (City)

South America

Country Argentina Bolivia Brazil Chile Colombia Ecuador French Guiana Guyana Paraguay Peru Suriname Uruguay Venezuela

Population 40,500,000 10,400,000 193,300,000 17,100,000 45,500,000 14,200,000 200,000 800,000 6,500,000 29,500,000 500,000 3,400,000 28,800,000

Capital City - Largest City Buenos Aires La Paz, Sucre Brasilia - So Paulo Santiago Bogot D.C. Quito Cayenne Georgetown Asuncin Lima Paramaribo Montevideo Caracas

North America

Country Canada Mexico United States

Population 34,00,000 112,000,000 313,000,000

Capital City - Largest City Ottawa - Toronto Mexico (City) Washington - New York

The Continent of Asia

Countries of Asia
Asia is the largest continent in the world in both, area and population, constituting nearly one-third of the landmass, lying entirely north of the equator except for some Southeast Asian islands. It is connected to Africa by the Isthmus of Suez and borders Europe (part of the same landmass) along the Ural Mountains and across the Caspian Sea. Area: about 49 700,000 km (19,189,277 sq mi) it covers about 60 percent of Earth's total land area. Population: more than 4 billion human inhabitants (4,157 million), about 60 percent of the world's population. 1,33 billion of these people live in China. Seven out of ten of the most populated countries are in Asia (2010). Highest Point: Sagarmatha (Chomolungma; known as Mount Everest) 8,848m (29,028 ft) Nepal. Largest Lake: Caspian Sea (salt lake) 371 000 km (143 250 sq mi), Ozero Baykal, Lake Baikal 31 500 km in Siberia is the world's largest freshwater lake by volume. Longest River: Yangtze (Yngz Jiang, or Chang Jiang (simplified Chinese: ) China, 6,380 km (3,964 mi). Languages of Asia: Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Russian, Thai, Turkic, Vietnamese and other.

Countries and Areas of Asia

Eastern Asia

Country China

Population 1,338,100,000

Maps Map of China

Capital City Beijing

China, Hong Kong SAR China, Macau SAR China Tibet Japan Korea (North) Korea (South) Mongolia Taiwan (Republic of China)

7,000,000 500,000 2 620 000 127,400,000 22,800,000 48,900,000 2,800,000 Map of Japan Map of North Korea Map of South Korea Map of Mongolia

Macau City Lhasa Tokyo P'yongyang Seoul Ulaanbaatar



Northern Asia

Country Russian Federation

Population 141,900,000

Capital City Moscow

South-Central Asia

Country Afghanistan Bangladesh Bhutan India Iran

Population 29,100,000 164,400,000 700,000 1,188,800,000 75,100,000

Maps Map of Afghanistan Map of Bangladesh Map of Bhutan Map of India Map of Iran

Capital City Kabul Dhaka Thimphu New Delhi Tehran

Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Maldives Nepal Pakistan Sri Lanka Tajikistan Turkmenistan Uzbekistan

16,300,000 5,300,000 300,000 28,000,000 184,800,000 20,700,000 7,600,000 5,200,000 28,100,000

Map of Kazakhstan Map of Kyrgyzstan

Astana Bishkek Male

Map of Nepal Map of Pakistan Map of Sri Lanka Map of Tajikistan Map of Turkmenistan Map of Uzbekistan

Kathmandu Islamabad Colombo Dushanbe Ashgabat Tashkent

South-East Asia

Country Brunei Darussalam Cambodia Indonesia Lao PDR Malaysia Myanmar (Burma) Philippines Singapore Thailand Timor-Leste (East

Population 400,000 15,100,000 235,500,000 6,400,000 29,000,000 53,400,000 94,000,000 5,100,000 68,100,000 1,200,000


Capital City Bandar Seri Begawan

Map of Cambodia Map of Indonesia Map of Laos Map of Malaysia Map of Myanmar Map of Philippines Map of Singapore Map of Thailand

Phnom Penh Jakarta Vientiane Kuala Lumpur Yangon (Rangoon) Manila Singapore Bangkok Dili

Timor) Vietnam 89,000,000 Map of Vietnam Hanoi

Western Asia and Middle East

Country Armenia Azerbaijan Bahrain Cyprus Georgia Iraq Israel Jordan Kuwait Lebanon Oman Palestinian territories Qatar Saudi Arabia Syria Turkey United Arab Emirates

Population 3,100,000 9,000,000 1,300,000 1,100,000 4,600,000 31,500,000 7,600,000 6,500,000 3,100,000 4,300,000 3,100,000 4,000,000 1,700,000 29,200,000 22,500,000 73,600,000

Maps Map of Armenia Map of Azerbaijan Map of Bahrain Map of Cyprus Map of Georgia Map of Iraq Map of Israel Map of Jordan

Capital City Yerevan Baku Manama Nicosia (Lefkosia) T'bilisi Baghdad Jerusalem (claimed) Amman Kuwait (City)

Map of Lebanon Map of Oman see: Map of Israel Map of Qatar Map of Saudi Arabia Map of Syria Map of Turkey

Beirut Muscat Jerusalem (claimed) Doha (Al-Dawhah) Riyadh Damascus Ankara Abu Dhabi

5,400,000 Map of United Arab Emirates



Map of Yemen


The Continent of Australia and Oceania

Countries of Australia and Oceania

The "continent" of Australia/Oceania is a somewhat artifical construct, designed to link together the continental landmass of Australia with the huge number of widely scattered islands across the Pacific Ocean. Area: 8 600,000 km (3 300,000 mi ) Population: 37 million Highest Point: Puncak Jaya (Carstensz Pyramid 4884 m/16 023 ft), Papua Province, Indonesia Largest Lake: Lake Eyre, Australia (if there is some water) Longest River: Murray-Darling river system 3750 km (2300 mi) Languages of Oceania: Melanesian pidgin, Melanesian-Polynesian Languages, English, French.
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States of Australia and Oceania

Australia/New Zealand

Country Australia New Zealand

Population 22,400,000 4,400,000

Map Map of Australia Map of New Zealand

Capital City - Largest City Canberra - Sydney Wellington - Auckland

Melanesia - the islands in the southwestern part of Oceania.

Country Fiji New Caledonia Papua New Guinea

Population 900,000 300,000


Capital City Suva Nouma

6,800,000 Map of Papua New Guinea Port Moresby

Solomon Islands Vanuatu

500,000 200,000

Honiara Port-Vila

Map of Melanesia Reference Map of Melanesia.

Micronesia, the islands in the northwestern part of Oceania.

Country Guam Hawaii Kiribati Marshall Islands Micronesia (Federated States of) Nauru Northern Mariana Islands Palau

Population 200,000 1,300,000 100,000 100,000 100,000 12,000 78 000 20 000


Capital City Hagta (Agana)

Map of Hawaii

Honolulu Tarawa Majuro Palikir --Saipan Ngerulmud, Melekeok

Map of Micronesia Reference Map of Micronesia.

Polynesia, the islands in the eastern part of Oceania.

Country American Samoa Cook Islands

Population 68 000 20 000

Map Tutuila Map

Capital City Pago Pago Avarua

French Polynesia (Tahiti) Niue Pitcairn Samoa Tonga Tuvalu

300,000 2 000 >100 200,000 100,000 10,000 Map of Samoa

Papeete Alofi Adamstown Apia Nuku'alofa Funafuti

The Continent of Europe

Countries of Europe
Area: 23 million km (8 876 000 mi ) Population: 739 million people live in Europe. Highest Point: 1. El'brus in Russia, (5 642 m/18 510 ft.); 2. Mont Blanc, France-Italy: 4 807m (15 771 ft.). Largest Lake: Lake Balaton, Hungary, largest lake of Central Europe, 592 km . Longest Rivers: 1. Volga (3,690 km (2,293 miles), 2. Danube 2850 km (1770 miles) Languages of Europe: English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Nordic Languages, East European languages.
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States and Territories of Europe

(as used by the United Nations when categorizing geographic subregions)

Eastern Europe

Country Belarus * Bulgaria * Czech Republic

Population 9,500,000 7,500,000 10,500,000

Capital City - Largest City Minsk Sofia Prague

* Hungary Moldova * Poland * Romania Russian Federation * Slovakia Ukraine

10,000,000 4,100,000 38,200,000 21,500,000 141,900,000 5,400,000 46,000,000

Budapest Chisinau Warsaw Bucharest Moscow Bratislava Kiev

Northern Europe

Country * Denmark * Estonia Faroe Islands (Denmark) * Finland Greenland (Denmark)


Population 5,500,000 1,300,000 43 000 5,400,000 56 854 300,000 4,500,000 2,200,000 3,300,000 1 690 000 4,900,000 5 200,000

Capital City - Largest City Copenhagen Tallinn Trshavn Helsinki Nuuk (Godthab, Godthb) Reykjavik Dublin (City) Riga Vilnius Belfast Oslo Edinburgh - Glasgow


* Ireland * Latvia * Lithuania Northern Ireland (UK)


Norway Scotland (UK)

* Sweden * United Kingdom Wales (UK)

9,400,000 62,200,000 2 750 000

Stockholm London Cardiff

Southern Europe

Albania Andorra Bosnia and Herzegovina Croatia (Hrvatska) * Cyprus Gibraltar (UK) * Greece Holy See (Vatican City State) * Italy Macedonia, Rep. of * Malta Montenegro * Portugal San Marino Serbia * Slovenia * Spain

3,200,000 100,000 3,800,000 4,400,000 1,100,000 25 000 11,300,000 1 000 60,500,000 2,100,000 400,000 600,000 10,700,000 30,000 7,300,000 2,100,000 47,100,000

Tirana Andorra la Vella Sarajevo Zagreb Nicosia (Lefkosia) Gibraltar Athens Vatican City Rome - Milan (Metro) Skopje Valletta Podgorica Lisbon San Marino Belgrade Ljubljana Madrid



Ankara - Istanbul

Western Europe

Country * Austria * Belgium * France * Germany


Population 8,400,000 10,800,000 63,000,000 81,600,000 40,000 500,000 40,000 16,600,000 7,800,000

Capital City - Largest City Vienna (Wien) Brussels Paris Berlin Vaduz Luxembourg Monaco Amsterdam Bern - Zrich


* Luxembourg Monaco * Netherlands

+ Switzerland

The Continent of Antarctica

Physical Map of Antarctica

Map is showing the Antarctic circle and the continent of Antarctica with a land area of 14 million km (280,000 km ice-free, 13.72 million km ice-covered), so Antarctica is almost twice the size of Australia (7,617,930 km), it is the world's fifth-largest continent in area, after Asia, Africa, North America, and South America (see the Americas). Not quite in the center of Antarctica is the South Pole, by convention it is the southernmost point on the surface of the Earth (wherever you would go from here you would go north, somehow). The South Pole is also one of the endpoints of Earth's rotation axis. The South Pole is not really a fixed point, simply because Earth is rotating slightly off-center, our planet 'wobbles' a tiny little bit, scientists call this behavior the Polar motion, it is the movement of Earth's rotational axis across its 'surface', and - the deflection is just a few meters. The nearest countries to Antarctica are South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina.

On Antarctica there are no cities or villages, 98% of the continent is covered by ice.