§3.1 How historiansuse sources

  • Written sourches
    • Private documents. These belonged to a particular person. For example: a diary, a letter.
    • Official documents. These are sources that have something to do with the government or law. For example: a person’s taxes returns, records of your local court.
    • Non official documents. To this group belongs everything that doesn’t belong to the other two groups. For example: a newspaper, adverts.
  • Oral sources are things that are recorded.
  • Non written sources
    • Archaeology is the study of things in the past that are buried in the ground or sea and it has to be excavated.
    • Landscape is for example study about a battlefield. So maybe it can help you to understand what happened.
    • Buildings are very useful. Sometimes a source can be a combination of a building and archaeology because the building has been excavateded.
    • Artefacts are things made by people. Paintings, sculptures, clothes and tools are good examples of artefacts.

§3.2 Classical Greece

Historians had reasons to think that Greece was one country but there were also thing to think that it wasn’t.

  • Uniting factors.
    • They spoke the same language.  People had different accents and they wrote their letters a bit different  but they could understand each other.
    • They had the same religion. They believed in the same gods and goddesses and worshipped them in the same way.
  • Disuniting factors
    •  People lived it city states (polis). They saw themselves belong to this city states. So they called themselves ‘Athenian’ or ‘Spartan’ but not ‘Greek’.
    • City states had their own laws, armies, taxes and money. The city states had different ways to rule a country. Some states had a king and others were run by a few powerful men. Since 462 BC the city state of Athens was a democracy. That means that the people in the country may decide or vote who has to run the country.
    • City states often fought against each other.  The armies of all city states were made up of male citizens (burgers). Smaller city states often made an alliance (verbond) with a larger state for protection. City states also set up colonies (kolonies).

§3.3 Gods and Goddesses

Worshipping the gods

The Greek people worshipped many gods and goddesses. They build temples for the gods and people had shrines (soort van altaar) in their homes and priests made sacrifices (offers)for the gods and they organized religious festivals.Greek religious festivals could last several days. Prayers, singing and dancing, sacrifices, plays and sport (The Olympic Games) were all part of festivals.Each city state chose a god to be the protector of their city.The word myth has 2 meanings:

  • Stories about the Greek gods/goddesses
  • Stories that are not true.

Oracle

Sometimes people went to a special shrine, an oracle(het is eenpersoon, geenplaats). The most famous was at Delphi. People took an offering and asked a priestess their question. The priestess went away and returned with the god’s answer.

Gods and Goddesses

Each god controlled a different aspect of life. Gods could help or harm (was important to keep them happy). Gods fell in love, had children, argued, fought, just like human beings. But they also had some special powers and they never die.The 12 most important Greek gods lived like a human family on Mount Olympus. They all had something related to Zeus. The Greek people believed that the gods could come to earth and interfere (storen, belemmeren) in what was happening.  Human women could have children by the Greek gods. A child that has a god as father and a human as mother is called a demi-god. Demi means half. These are the most important gods and goddesses:

  • Zeus – King of the gods – God of the weather, sky and thunder – Symbols: thunderbolt, eagle, oaktree, scepter (soort van staf).
  • Poseidon – God of the sea and earthquakes – Brother of Zeus – Symbols: Trident, dolphins, white horse
  • Hera – Goddess of marriage and family – Zeus’ wife – Symbols: peacock, crown, scepter.
  • Athena – Goddess of wisdom and war – Daughter of Zeus – Symbols: owl, olive tree, shield with head  of Gorgon (Medusa).
  • Artemis – Goddess of hunting, childbirth and animals – Daughter of Zeus and twin sister to Apollo – Symbols: bow and arrow, deer and the moon.
  • Apollo – God of light and darkness, music, poetry, arts, healing, archery – Son of Zeus and twin brother to Artemis – Symbols: sun, bow and arrow, lyre (soort van harp)
  • Dionysos – God of wine and celebrations – Son of Zeus – Symbols: grapes and drinking cup
  • Demeter – Goddess of fertility (vruchtbaarheid), agriculture and seasons – Sister of Zeus – Symbols: wheat and grain
  • Hermes – God of trade, games, messenger of the gods – Son of Zeus – Symbols: sandals and hat with wings
  • Aphrodite – Goddess of love and beauty –Daughter of Zeus – Symbols: swan, bird, dove, apple
  • Ares – God of war and violence (geweld) – Son of Zeus – Symbols: shield and spear, helmet
  • Hepaestus  - God of fire, blacksmith and craftsman of the gods – Son of Zeus – Symbols: fire, tools, axe and hammer

Each god controlled a different aspect of life. Gods could help or harm (was important to keep them happy). Gods fell in love, had children, argued, fought, just like human beings. But they also had some special powers and they never die.The 12 most important Greek gods lived like a human family on Mount Olympus. They all had something related to Zeus. The Greek people believed that the gods could come to earth and interfere (storen, belemmeren) in what was happening.  Human women could have children by the Greek gods. A child that has a god as father and a human as mother is called a demi-god. Demi means half. These are the most important gods and goddesses:

  • Zeus – King of the gods – God of the weather, sky and thunder – Symbols: thunderbolt, eagle, oaktree, scepter (soort van staf).
  • Poseidon – God of the sea and earthquakes – Brother of Zeus – Symbols: Trident, dolphins, white horse
  • Hera – Goddess of marriage and family – Zeus’ wife – Symbols: peacock, crown, scepter.
  • Athena – Goddess of wisdom and war – Daughter of Zeus – Symbols: owl, olive tree, shield with head  of Gorgon (Medusa).
  • Artemis – Goddess of hunting, childbirth and animals – Daughter of Zeus and twin sister to Apollo – Symbols: bow and arrow, deer and the moon.
  • Apollo – God of light and darkness, music, poetry, arts, healing, archery – Son of Zeus and twin brother to Artemis – Symbols: sun, bow and arrow, lyre (soort van harp)
  • Dionysos – God of wine and celebrations – Son of Zeus – Symbols: grapes and drinking cup
  • Demeter – Goddess of fertility (vruchtbaarheid), agriculture and seasons – Sister of Zeus – Symbols: wheat and grain
  • Hermes – God of trade, games, messenger of the gods – Son of Zeus – Symbols: sandals and hat with wings
  • Aphrodite – Goddess of love and beauty –Daughter of Zeus – Symbols: swan, bird, dove, apple
  • Ares – God of war and violence (geweld) – Son of Zeus – Symbols: shield and spear, helmet
  • Hepaestus  - God of fire, blacksmith and craftsman of the gods – Son of Zeus – Symbols: fire, tools, axe and hammer

These 2 other gods didn’t live on mount Olympus but they were also important

  • Hades – God of the underworld – Brother of Zeus and Poseidon – Symbols:Cerburus his dog with 3 heads
  • Asclepius – God of medicine – Appollo’s son, grandson of Zeus – Symbols: staff with snake around it.

§3.4 Worshipping at a temple

Temples were homes for the gods. They were build out of stone because they had to last forever (gods never die).  Only priests were allowed to enter the temple. Ordinary people could not enter the temple. They went onto the land around the temple for festivals or to bring offers at the altar. The altar was outside the temple. The biggest temple on the acropolis (a hill in Athens were temples are built on) is the Parthenon. It was built by thepeople of Athens between 448-432 BC to thank the goddess Athena for their victory over the Persians at the Battle of Marathon in procession (optocht, stoet) to the temple to give the god offerings. Other ways to worship the gods are: sport or music competitions, plays.

 

§3.5 The cult of Asclepios

Classical Greece had 2 sorts of medicine: physical (associated to Hippocrates) and supernatural (associated to Asclepios). Asclepios is usually shown with a stick with a snake around it. Snakes formed a important part of the cult (a group who have beliefs that focus on a thing or person with religious importance). The daughter of Asclepios, Panecea looked after the sick. The temples that were built to worship Asclepios were also used for treating the sick. It was a kind of hospital and a health spa at the same time. The most important place for treating the sick was the abaton. This was a long, thin building open to the air on both sides. When people arrived at an Asclepion they usually did each of the following things:

  • made an offering (sometimes in the form of the sick part of the body) or a sacrifice to the god
  • washed in the sea to clean and purify themselves
  • slept for at least one night in the abaton.

We can’t be sure what happened that night in the abaton. Historians think that people may have been hypnotized. Many sources talk about a god and snakes. The Asclepion in Rome on the island Tiber became a monastery (klooster) when Christianity became the religion. Medieval pilgrims (pelgrims) went to shrines to be cured.

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