11/21/2012 World History Chapter 7 notes

World History- Chapter 7 Summary

Lesson 1- Rise of Greek Civilization

• Greek civilization began on a mountainous peninsula 

surrounded by seas with many islands. As a result, Greek 

communities were often isolated. The Greeks created many 

independent city-states. This lack of unity weakened Greece, 

making it easier to be conquered.

• The Minoan civilization began on the island of Crete and 

influenced the Mycenaean civilization that arose on the 

Greek mainland. The Mycenaeans outlasted the Minoans and 

may have conquered them.

• Wars and earthquakes helped cause the fall of the 

Mycenaean civilization around 1100 b.c., followed by a “dark 

age .” During that time, the Dorians, a people known for 

making iron weapons and tools, invaded and drove the 

Greeks off the mainland. The Greeks also adopted the 

Phoenician alphabet.

• Greeks returned to the mainland and the “dark age” ended. 

The Greek population grew. This led the Greeks to establish 

colonies around the Mediterranean Sea, in places such as 

Italy, North Africa, and western Asia. The colonies increased 

trade and spread Greek culture. 

• The Greeks developed the modern concept of citizenship. 

Each city-state was called a polis. Free, land-owning men 

could become citizens. Citizens could vote, hold public office, 

and defend themselves in court. Citizens were also 

responsible for serving in the government and defending the 

polis by serving as hoplites, or soldiers, in the army of the 


LESSON 2 Sparta and Athens: City-State Rivals

• In the 600s b.c., there were many political changes in 

Greece. Farmers, merchants, and artisans wanted reforms. 

The unrest led to the rise of rulers with total power, called 


• Although many tyrants were fair rulers, by the 500s b.c. 

most city-states had replaced them with either an oligarchy 

or a democracy. An oligarchy is a government in which a 

few wealthy people hold power over the larger group of 

citizens. In a democracy, all citizens share in running the 


• The city-state of Sparta created a military oligarchy with a 

very strong army. Spartans boys trained for war from an 

early age. Sparta's economy was based on farming and the 

Spartans had many slaves. Sparta’s currency was iron bars which made trading very difficult.

• The Spartan government resisted change. Citizens were 

prevented from traveling and there was little trade. Spartan 

women did have more rights than other Greek women, such 

as the right to own property.

• Athens developed from a city-state ruled by fair tyrants to a 

democracy. In the 500s b.c., the tyrants Solon, Peisistratus, 

and Cleisthenes made reforms that gave citizenship to all 

free men and helped the poor. Under Cleisthenes, every male citizen had a chance to be a member of the city council.

• An assembly of all male citizens became the main governing 

body of Athens. The assembly was aided by a council of 500 

citizens, who introduced laws and helped run the daily 

affairs of the city-state.

LESSON 3-Greece and Persia

• The Persians built a powerful empire in Southwest Asia. This 

empire was so large that its rulers divided it into provinces 

called satrapies. Persia had a large, permanent army and a 

vast network of roads. Persians believed that their kings 

ruled by the power of the god Ahura Mazda.

• In the 400s b.c., Persia tried to expand into Europe and took 

control of some Greek colonies in the Mediterranean area. 

This led to war between Athens and Persia.

• Persia invaded Greece, but the Athenians defeated a much 

larger Persian army at the Battle of Marathon in 490 b.c. The 

Persian king Xerxes led another invasion in 480 b.c. and won 

a costly victory over the Greeks at Thermopylae. Later in 

480 b.c., the Greeks destroyed a huge Persian fleet at the 

Battle of Salamis. 

• The Persians lost a final battle at Plataea in 479 b.c. against 

a combined army of Greeks from many city-states. After this 

defeat, the Persian Empire weakened and became 

defenseless against outside attacks.

LESSON 4- Glory, War, and Decline

• After the Persian wars, Athens entered a golden age of 

prosperity and achievement led by Pericles. He rebuilt 

Athens and formed a group of city-states called the Delian 

League. Pericles also expanded democratic government and 

encouraged trade.

• Athens was a direct democracy. All citizens met to debate 

and vote on government issues. This worked in Athens 

because the city-state did not have many citizens. Women 

had no political rights and there were many enslaved people 

in Athens who helped build its prosperous economy.

• Sparta did not join the Delian League. Instead, it became 

the leader of a group of city-states opposed to Athens. 

When Athens tried to interfere with Spartan alliances, war 

broke out in 431 b.c. Historians called the war the 

Peloponnesian War because Sparta was located in the 


• Sparta had a stronger army, while Athens had a stronger 

navy. Sparta surrounded Athens but could not capture it. 

Then the Spartans joined with the Persians and built a navy. 

They conquered Athens in 404 b.c. 

• Sparta ruled its newly acquired empire much as Athens had 

ruled its empire before. For 30 years, city-states rebelled 

unsuccessfully. Then, in 371 b.c.  the city-state of Thebes 

overthrew the Spartan empire. The Greeks were so busy 

fighting each other that they failed to notice the growth of 

the powerful Macedonians to the north.