Defining Myths (04:24)
Edith Hall says the myths of Ancient Greece explains how the civilization became the cornerstone of western civilization. At the dawn of the universe, there was chaos from which came the first gods defining fundamental properties of the Earth. From this first generation of gods came the more human gods of Olympus and ultimately humans.
"Prometheus Bound" (03:20)
The myth of Prometheus explains how fire lit the spark of civilization and defines the rebellious spirit of Ancient Greeks. “Prometheus Bound” tells us that humans should use their wits, wisdom, and will to try and make their lives better. When it debuted during Greece’s golden age, people knew the gift of civilization was not from the gods, but won over generations.
Neolithic Greeks (05:34)
The Alepotrypa Cave is one of the richest sites for remains of Neolithic Greek life. Greece was not blessed with great rivers or rich soil. Archeological evidence shows that the early Greeks suffered from physical stress, poor diets, and violence; most died young.
Bronze Age (04:22)
With its position and access to the sea, the Cyclades became a hub for trade, ideas, and culture. The development of a new longboat allowed Greeks to ship more goods further distances. The demand for bronze spawned a trading network from the East to the Middle East and as far as Italy.
Evidence of Trade (03:03)
The Uluburun is a ship that sunk in the Aegean 3,500 years ago. Over 2,000 Bronze Age artifacts, originally from Asia, Africa, and other European places have been recovered.
Minoan Civilization (02:59)
A new culture developed on the island of Crete. Their name comes from Greek mythology. Minoans developed the first great European civilization, building great structures and cities with paved streets and sewer systems.
Success of the Minoans (04:49)
The Minoans took over the Cycladic islands of Santorini, which became a strategic trading post. Their major export was olive oil, which bankrolled their civilization. Neil DeGrasse Tyson says that successful civilizations are those that can bestow the luxury of time to enable them to think about things other than survival.
Mycenaeans Ascending (03:53)
Minoan civilization may have collapsed by invasion from or assimilation by the Mycenaeans. The lives and stories of the Mycenaeans inspired Homer’s "Iliad" and "Odyssey."
Written Language (03:51)
The Mycenaeans appropriated the script of the Minoans, Linear A, adapting it into Linear B, which was an early form of the Greek language. Near the town of Pylos is Nestor’s palace, which is mentioned in the "Odyssey." Thousands of Linear B tablets have been found.
Discovery at Iklaina (03:44)
The oldest example of Linear B writing was found in Iklaina, a small town north of Pylos. Michael Cosmopoulis thinks this is important because it proves that writing existed outside of major capitols and the spread of writing helped the Mycenaean kingdom grow.
Dark Ages (04:02)
Upper class Mycenaeans had good lives, but prosperity did not trickle down. By 1000 BC, the Mycenaean civilization had disappeared. Most Bronze Age cultures had collapsed, leading to the first dark ages. Classical Greece would eventually rise from the ashes of these civilizations.
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