Greek Period Essay

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After suffering through 350 years of depopulation, poverty, and backwardness, ancient Greece entered an era that is perhaps the richest and most complicated in Greek history. Historians refer to this era as the Archaic Period (800-480 BCE), a period that witnessed colonization and a new age of intellectual ideas (Lloyd). Marking the end of the Archaic Period was the Persian Wars, in which Greek triumph ensured the survival of Greek culture and political structures. As Greece shifted toward diplomacy, it entered a Classical Period (480-323 BCE). The Classical Period marked a time when thinkers began to reject traditional religious conceptions and began to seek rational explanations for events in nature. The Classical Period was an era of unprecedented political and cultural achievements, influenced by western politics, scientific thought,…show more content…
Athens was governed by democracy whereas Sparta was governed by oligarchy. Thucydides depicts Athenian politics as the interaction of a vocal political elite with a silent and undifferentiated mass audience. In History of the Peloponnesian War, Pericles stood before the assembled demos and when they were “arrogantly confident” he “shocked them into a state of fear.” When they were “unreasonably afraid,” he “restored them to confidence.” This shows that he was able to “domesticate” the crowd (65). Thucydides shows no real interest in the apparent lack of actual political voice among the vast majority of individual Athenians. The silence of contending voices renders democracy as merely nominal. During the Classical Period, democracy was in its beginning forms, and the practice of representation was not as democratic as it is today. Regardless, democracy was in effect during the years of Pericles’ dominance, and Thucydides was reluctant to acknowledge that any greatness was due to democracy (Zumbrunnen,
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