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					   Classical Greek HERITAGE
        It may readily be said that western civilization began
with the rise of the Greeks. No other single cultural and
historical group of people has had such a profound impact
on the cultures of the Mediterranean and Europe than these
various tribes that shared a common ethnic heritage...
        They were invaders who completely replaced the
older cultures they encountered in the Balkan peninsula;
they were explorers who settled throughout the
Mediterranean Sea on islands and the coastal mainlands;
they were innovators who came together and defeated the
eastern armies sent against them out of present day Iran and
Iraq; and they were the artistic and philosophical models
from which the Romans would contrive a culture of their
own, resting it firmly on the aesthetics of the classical
Greeks who believed in beauty and geometry.
        Any understanding of Western Civilization, especially
in terms of social structure, political philosophy, and
governmental organization must begin with those who began
it…the Greeks..
Classical Greek HERITAGE
Classical Greek HERITAGE
        The Greek Lands
       Classical Greek heritage
   Greek social and political structures
 In the heroic stories of the Iliad and the Odyssey, it is clear that the
  Greeks organized themselves around kings and warriors.

 The kings held little actual power compared with the pharaohs of Egypt
  or of Persia; instead, the warriors owned most of the land and thereby
  controlled the majority of the peasant farmers and herders.

 These warriors became a landed-aristocracy, that is, land-owning nobles
  with practically absolute power over the peasants living on their lands.
        • Rural Aristocrats tended to support each other as a group
        • Urban Aristocrats tended to split into factions vying for control of the city

 There arose a conflict between these two groups of aristocrats, the one
  wanting to increase their landholdings, the other to increase trade and

 Economically, the aristocrats used their wealth to secure cheaper foreign
  grain and goods in order to drive peasant farmers and skilled workers into debt
  to secure their lands and their businesses.
        Classical Greek heritage
                            Homeric epic
  The Iliad is the foundational story in Western
Civilization for the great conflict between West and
East, a conflict that during the Cold War was
defined by America and Communist Russia and that
is today seen as America and the wars in Iraq and
   In the story, the great Western hero Achilles kills
the great Eastern hero Hector. But it is clear that
there is little that is good about Achilles and much
that is truly great about Hector. He is the dutiful
son and brother, the loyal husband and caring
father, the protector of his city and of his people.
Achilles is merely a childish, spoiled brat who
throws temper tantrums when he does not get his
   The great king Agamemnon is little more than a
self-centered, egotistical, megalomaniac who
demands that others serve him and do as he says
or else suffer the might of his allied armies.
   Classical Greek HERITAGE

Can I by justice or by crooked
ways of deceit ascend a loftier
tower which may be a fortress
      to me all my days?
           - Pindar
    Classical Greek HERITAGE
              Pindar’s First Olympian Ode
  Grace, the very one who fashions every delight for mortal men, by
  lending her sheen to what is unbelievable, often makes it believed.
  Oh, but the days to come are the wisest witness. It is proper for a
        man to speak well of the gods — the blame will be less.
   Pelops, I will tell your story differently from the men of old. Your
father Tantalos had invited the gods to banquet in his beloved Sipylos,
  providing a stately feast in return for the feast they had given him.
      It was then Poseidon seized you, overwhelmed in his mind
 with desire, and swept you on golden mares to Zeus's glorious palace
  on Olympos, where, at another time, Ganymede came also for the
                           same passion in Zeus.
    But after you had disappeared and searchers again and again
   returned to your mother without you, then one of the neighbors,
invidious, whispered that the gods has sliced you limb by limb into the
   fury of boiling water, and then they passed morsels of your flesh
                      around the table, and ate them.
Classical Greek HERITAGE

             Vice may be had in abundance
               without trouble; the way is
            smooth and her dwelling-place is
            near. But before virtue the gods
                     have set toil.
                        - Hesiod
    Classical Greek heritage
          hesiod’s view of humantiy:

 The philosopher Hesiod (c. 800 BCE) argued that humans
  were the result of five separate creations by the gods, each
  generation a kind of corruption compared with those that
  came before.

 Hesiod also argued that because Zeus, the God of the
  Gods, gave us the concept of justice, we are compelled to
  avoid violence if we act justly, so we try to do good.

 If we lead just lives, Zeus will not plot wars or calamities
  against us; but if we are unjust, if we plan outrageous
  crimes, then suffering, plague, and famine will befall us and
  the women will become sterile…thus we die.
Classical Greek heritage
          Temple of zeus

     Zeus, who is the dispenser of good and evil to us.
                         - Homer
        Classical Greek heritage
Golden Age: Mortals of ease and contentment who never knew
hardship, suffering, or toil; their spirits roam the earth still as warders
or guardians of good men.

Silver Age: Mortals of folly, sin, and wrongfulness; they spent 100
years as dependent simpletons at their mother’s sides, then lived a
short and sorrowful life.

Bronze Age: Mortals who were dreadful and mighty, who sprang from
shafts of ash; death delivered them to eternal darkness in Hades,
never to see the sun’s brilliance again.

Heroic Age: Immortals, god-like, just and noble; some died in wars,
the rest taken away from us by Zeus to live out eternity.

Iron Age: Mortals of corruption, toil, and bitter sorrow; we are the iron
men who will one day be swept away by Zeus.
 Classical Greek heritage

hesiod believed there would be signs
 heralding the end of the world:

• When babies are born with gray hair,
• When fathers and children are opposed,
• When guest with host or friend with friend do
  not agree,
• When brotherly love is dead,
• Then Right shall depend on Might and piety
  will cease to be.
Classical Greek heritage

            Into that from which things take
             their rise they pass away once
              more, as is ordained, for they
                   make reparation and
             satisfaction to one another for
             their injustice according to the
                     ordering of time.
                     - Anaximander
     Classical Greek heritage
     anaximander’s view of humantiy:

Anaximander (612-546 BCE) argued for the development of
humanity through a natural process of growth and adaptation --
akin to but not identical with Darwinism.

Anaximander’s argument involves six postulates or parts that all
fit together into a larger and more complex process of growth and

Thus, civilizations arise, mature, and fall to be succeeded by
others because there is no single “civilization” persisting, instead
many competing to survive in a vortex of motion wherein wrongs
must be paid for (this is why we have wars, capitalism, slavery,
kings, revolutions, etc.).
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        anaximander’s six postulates:

• I - The Infinite Divine: the infinite is first and foremost;
  that out of which existing things arise can have neither a
  beginning nor an ending for it is infinite; this is the
  deathless, imperishable “divine”.

• II - Separation and Opposition: the opposites are present
  in the infinite, are separated out from it, making what we
  call the elements of fire, air, water, and earth; this gives
  rise to two basic properties in nature: mass and position;
  the four elements are constantly mixed by the vortex of
  opposition, the vortex of motion, thus there is difference
  in the world.
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        anaximander’s six postulates:

• III - Human Dependency: human children are dependent
  on their parents for a long period of time, thus they need
  the stability of a family in order to survive within the
  vortex of motion - stable families make stable societies,
  so society is essential to human survival.

• IV - Injustice and Reparation: just as the four seasons mix
  one into the next, so too is injustice dealt with; for each
  injustice suffered, reparation is needed (a hot summer
  must be paid for with a cold winter; a mild winter with a
  stormy spring, etc.).
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        anaximander’s six postulates:

• V - Assumption of Intelligence: although now a natural
  process, the restitution of injustice obtains a sense of
  intelligence because it inherits bits of the gods whose
  quarrels and whims once explained human suffering;
  something is intelligible if we examine it intelligently…it
  shares in our intelligence.

• VI - Death and Rebirth of Order: just as humans grow,
  mature, and perish, so too does the world order as the
  vortex of motion constantly reshuffles the elements;
  thus, there is only a local sense of beginning and end,
  universally, the vortex is infinite.
     Classical Greek HERITAGE
The Three Great Philosophers: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle

“I know only that                        “When we study
 I do not know.”                         nature, we study
                      “We see only
                    shadows of what
                        is true.”
    Classical Greek HERITAGE
                           plato’s meno

Socrates: And will not virtue, as virtue, be the same, whether in a child
  or in a grown-up person, in a woman or in a man?
Meno: I cannot help feeling, Socrates, that this case is different from
  the others.
Socrates: But why? Were you not saying that the virtue of a man was
  to order a state, and the virtue of a woman was to order a house?
Meno: I did say so.
Socrates: And can either a house or state or anything be well ordered
  without temperance and without justice?
Meno: Certainly not.
Socrates: Then they who order a state or a house temperately or justly
  order them with temperance and justice?
Meno: Certainly.
Socrates: Then both men and women, if they are to be good men and
  women, must have the same virtues of temperance and justice?
Meno: True.
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                      plato’s Republic, Book I
Thrasymachus: Listen, then, I proclaim that justice is nothing else than the
   interest of the stronger. And now why do you not praise me? But of
   course you won’t.
Socrates: I wish that you would be a little clearer.
Thrasymachus: Well, have you never heard that forms of government differ;
   there are tyrannies, and there are democracies, and there are
Socrates: Yes, I know.
Thrasymachus: And the government is the ruling power in each state?
Socrates: Certainly.
Thrasymachus: And the different forms of government make laws
   democratical, aristocratical, tyrannical, with a view to their several
   interests; and these laws, which are made by them for their own
   interests, are the justice which they deliver to their subjects, and him
   who transgresses them they punish as a breaker of the law, and unjust.
   And that is what I mean when I say that in all states there is the same
   principle of justice, which is the interest of the government; and as the
   government must be supposed to have power, the only reasonable
   conclusion is that everywhere there is one principle of justice, which is
   the interest of the stronger.
     Classical Greek HERITAGE
 The preceding excerpts from the Socratic dialogue Meno and The
  Republic are examples of what is now called “The Socratic
  Method” of argument.
 What Socrates does is ask questions instead of making
  statements, forcing the other person to think through the ideas
  and terms being discussed to come up with some kind of a
  definition or relationship between the ideas or terms.
 This method is criticized by many who feel that there should be
  black and white, yes or no, true or false answers to everything;
  what Socrates demonstrates is that for the most part, we do not
  always understand what we are talking about, so our prejudices
  about how things should be are often based on our own ignorance
  of ideas and terms we take for granted.
 One of Socrates’ most famous sayings is that “I only know that I
  do not know.” Thus, from this admission of ignorance, Socrates
  seeks to understand things by discussing ideas with others and
  reasoning through those discussions to come up with reasonable
    Classical Greek HERITAGE

Until philosophers are kings, or
the kings and princes of this
world have the spirit and power
of philosophy, and political
greatness and wisdom meet in
one, and those commoner
natures who pursue either to the
exclusion of the other are
compelled to stand aside, cities
will never have rest from their
evils – no, nor the human race,
as I believe – and then only will
this our State have a possibility
of life and behold the light of
             - Plato
      Classical Greek heritage
       aristotle’s views of Government
 The state is the highest form of community and aims at the
  highest good…The state aims at satisfying all the needs of
  men…the ultimate object of the state is the good life.

 [The State] consists of villages which consist of households.
  The household is founded upon the two relations of male and
  female, of master and slave; it exists to satisfy man’s daily needs.

 The slave is a piece of property which is animate, and useful for
  action rather than for production. Slavery is natural; in every
  department of the natural universe we find the relation of ruler to
  subject. There are human beings who, without possessing
  reason, understand it. These are natural slaves.

 Plato…desires to abolish private property and the family, but the
  differentiation of functions is a law of nature…The abolition of
  property will produce, not remove, dissension. Communism of
  wives and children will destroy natural affection.
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presidential views of plato’s Government
 President Thomas Jefferson detested and denounced Plato’s
  Republic: "While wading through the whimsies, the puerilities
  and unintelligible jargon of this work, I laid it down often to ask
  myself how it could have been, that the world should have so
  long consented to give reputation to such nonsense as this?”

 Jefferson went on to add that “Fashion and authority apart, and
  bringing Plato to the test of reason, take from him his sophisms,
  futilities and incomprehensibilities, and what remains?“

 President John Adams in a similar vein recalled the “tedious toil”
  of reading Plato’s works, declaring that his “disappointment was
  very great, my astonishment was greater, and my disgust

 Indeed, Adams believed that Plato’s defense of communal
  property (including a community of wives) was “destructive of
  human happiness” and was “contrived to transform men and
  women into brutes, Yahoos, or demons."
    Classical Greek heritage
     aristotle’s views of Government
 A good citizen may not be a good man; the good citizen is
  one who does good service to his state, and this state may
  be bad in principle.
 Constitutions are bad or good according as the common
  welfare is, or is not, their aim. Of good Constitutions there
  are three: Monarchy, Aristocracy, and Polity. Of bad there
  are also three: Tyranny, Oligarchy, Extreme Democracy.
  The bad are perversions of the good.
 For the average city-state the best constitution will be a
  mean between the rule of the rich and poor; the middle-
  class will be supreme. No state will be well administered
  unless the middle-class holds sway.
 Whatever form of constitution be adopted there are
  expedients to be noted which may help in preserving it:
   – The Deliberative Assembly
   – The Executive
   – The Courts of Law
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             The american solution
 The United States’ Constitution is neither good nor bad
  because it has within it the process of being changed – the
  Amendment Process.

 Following from Aristotle’s view of breaking a government up
  into three basic parts, the U.S. Constitution follows the
  concept of the “separation of powers” in order to fulfill the
  principle of “checks and balances.”

 All three parts as outlined by Aristotle are reproduced and
  defined in the U.S. Constitution in Articles I, II, and III as the
  foundations of our Federal Government:

        - The Deliberative Assembly = Congress
        - The Executive = The Presidency
        - The Courts of Law = The Supreme Court and the
                              Lower Federal Courts
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     aristotle’s views of revolution

 Ordinary states are founded on erroneous ideas of justice,
  which lead to discontent and revolution. Of revolutions
  some are made to introduce a new Constitution, others to
  modify the old, others to put the working of the Constitution
  in new hands.

 Both Democracy and Oligarchy contain inherent flaws
  which lead to revolution, but Democracy is the more stable
  of the two types.

 In Democracies revolutions may arise from persecution of
  the rich; or when a demagogue becomes a general, or when
  politicians compete for the favor of the mob.
     Classical Greek heritage
aristotle’s advice to avoid revolution:

•   Avoid illegality and frauds upon the unprivileged
•   Maintain good feeling between rulers and ruled
•   Watch destructive agencies
•   Alter property qualifications from time to time
•   Let no individual or class become too powerful
•   Do not let magistracies be a source of gain
•   Beware of class-oppression
Classical Greek heritage
      Classical Greek heritage
   Greek social and political structures
 The Greek city-states avoided all-out rebellion and revolution
  through a series of political reforms.
 Tyrants were the first means of dealing with the power of the landed
  aristocracy: as an aristocrat himself, a tyrant would make use of his
  personal charm and vague promises to secure enough support
  from the citizenry to become a dictator – that is, a ruler whose word
  became law.
 Tyrants, however, never gained a true popular appeal, because the
  average Greek citizen, used to individual responsibility and dignity,
  distrusted any one man holding total power.
 Law-givers were the second means of dealing with the power of the
  aristocracy, especially the urban aristocrats: beginning with severe,
  strict laws, over time Greek laws became more socialistic, like
  lowering the burdens of debt and making slavery in exchange for
  debt illegal.
 Eventually, though, revolution would come and with it, under the
  guidance of the leader Cleisthenes, a new form of government
  called democracy in which all free men had a say.
 Thus, Greeks came to hold dear the “rule of law, not of men.”
      Classical Greek heritage
           The Greek city-state or polis
 The pinnacle of Greek social order came with the full realization
  of the polis, a territory about the size of an American county with
  a city at its center; the city contained the market, the citadel, and
  the chief temple(s).

       • The American equivalents are the downtown (now the mall), the
         town hall, and the local church(es).

 Citizens knew each other and democracy became commonplace
  as men voted to resolve disputes and solve pending problems;
  however, there was a definite lack of privacy, as it was seen as
  bad citizenship to conduct any business in private – merchant
  shops opened out onto the streets, theaters were open-air
  facilities, teachers taught in public gardens, and politicians
  argued in the public square.
      Classical Greek heritage
            The Greek city-state or polis
 Politically, most city-states were organized around the general
  assembly of the citizens, which elected the Governing Council of the
  polis and which focused on three key aims:

        • To increase the power of the General Assembly
        • To increase the number of citizens in the General Assembly
        • To increase the number of men eligible for public office

 Socially, Greek society was very class oriented, with the following
  general rights for each group:

        • Slaves, who were numerous, had no rights
        • Immigrants from other city-states could not vote
        • Aristocrats held most power and enjoyed virtually unlimited rights

 Slavery posed an interesting dilemma in this birthplace of individual
  freedom and social democracy: on the one hand, it was the chief means
  of labor; on the other hand it therefore was the most practical way to
  free up citizens from regular work so they could concentrate on
       Classical Greek heritage
   Immigration and The Greek city-state
 Following the Persian Wars of 499-478 BCE, the polis of Athens gained
  dominance over many of the other Greek city-states, forming the Delian
  League as a defense against Persian Empire.
 Consequently, as Athens gained more power, more and more Greeks
  began to move to Athens.
 Immigration had a profound impact on the economy of Athens: artists,
  artisans, merchants, teachers, philosophers, all sorts of new and skilled
  workers contributed to what became known as the Golden Age of
 In addition to skilled professionals, there was also a major influx of new
  slaves in the form of prisoner’s of war to assist this new professional
 As a consequence of this new increase in slavery, almost all male
  citizens were free to exercise political power in the General Assembly
  and the Governing Council.
 Thus, the boom in post-war slavery and the immigration of
  professionals produced democracy.
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            Religion and the Greek polis
 Greek religion promoted two things: the drawing together of the Greeks
  as a people and the encouragement of local patriotic feelings for one’s
 Each city-state honored all of the gods, but would single out one god
  for special attention:
        • Athens revered the goddess Athena
        • Sparta revered the goddess Artemis
        • Taras revered the god Poseidon

 There was one god whom all of the city-states held in special
  regard and that was Apollo, the god of prophecy.
 Apollo’s chief temple was on the island of Delos in the polis of
  Delphi wherein his oracle (a young virgin hidden behind a carved
  image in a wall) would commune with the spirit of the god in
  order to answer a pilgrim’s question about the future.

 For the masses, however, the Olympic gods did not hold much
  attraction; instead, the peasants held to the ancient rituals for the
  cults of Dionysus and Demeter who promised immortality.
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