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GreekCities
ThefollowingarerawresearchnotesonthedevelopmentofGreekCitiesduringtheAncientGreek
period.

Athensdevelopedassmallfarmingvillagesaroundadefendedhilltopfortification.(9C)
Greeksoilwasnotgoodforgrowingexcesscrops.TheGreeksdevelopedastrongexportindustryof
pottery,metalworkandwine.(5C)
"Atremendousstimulustothiscommercewastheinventionof
coinage,notonlytheuseofmetalasastandofvalue,longfamiliarin
theMiddleandNearEast,butthepracticeofstampingthepiecesof
metalofficially,toguaranteenotonlytheirweightbuttheirpurity."(pg.
166)(5C)
Moneyallowedthemtoaccumulatewealthonagreaterscale.Nowa
traderdidnothavetotradeforbulkygoodswhichwouldneedtobestored.Insteadhecouldtradefor
coinagewhichiseasilystoredandaccumulated.(5C)
TheNearEastcitieswereruledfromthetopdown.InGreecetheassemblies,whichwereelectedby
thepopulationiswherethepowerwasderived.Thereisnotraceofapopularsovereigntypeof
governmentbeforetheGreeks.(5C)
MostGreekcitieswereisolatedgeographically.Theirgrowthcameintheformoftrade,especiallysea
borntrade.(5C)
AthenshadalargecitadelontheAcropolis.Italsohadameetingplaceandmarketknownasthe
Agora.TheAgorawasthecenterofcitylifewhereallpolitical,socialandeconomicformscenteredon.
(5C)
Greeksdevelopedcoloniestoexpandtheirpoliticalaswellasgainsupportformuchneededsurplus
foodsupplies.Asecondwaytoextendinfluencewasthatofconqueringothercities.(5C)
"Thecitywassynonymouswithcivilizationandinoppositiontobarbarityandchaos.Twoofthe
accusationswhichHomerlevelsattheuncivilizedCyclopeswerethattheyhadnoassembliesfor
makinglawsandthattheyhadnosenseofcommunitybeyondtheirimmediatefamily.Bothofthese
qualitieswereconsideredcrucialfororderlyurbanlife.Thucydidesequatedurbanlifewithstability,
securityandprosperity."(pg.1)(10C)
"Furthermore,thecitywastheagencythoughwhichtheGrecoRomanwayoflifewasdisseminated
throughouttheMediterranean,EuropeandtheNearEast."(pg.1)(10C)
"TotheGreeksthepolisneedednotdefinition.Thecitywasessentiallyacommunityofcitizens
sharingcommonpolitical,religiousandsocialtraditions."(pg.1)(10C)
"WhenafterthesackofAthens,theGreekcommandersmettodecidewheretoopposethePersian
fleet,ThemistoclesarguedvehementlythattheyshouldfightatSalamisandnotattheIsthmusof
Corinth.DuringthedebatetheCorinthiangeneral,Adeimantos,tauntinglyrepliedthatapeoplewithout
acityhadnorighttovoteandevensuggestthatThemistoclesshouldnotparticipateinthediscussion
untilhehadregainedhiscity.InreplyThemistoclessaidthattheAthenianshadafargreatercitythan
theCorinthiansintwohundredfullymannedwarships."(pg.2)(10C)
"Whenconsideringtownplanningitisusualtothinkintermsofthe'Hippodiamiangridedcitieswhich
wereawidespreadfeatureoftheGreacoRomanworld."(pg.6)(10C)
StatementaboutRomeandAthens:"Bothcitieswerecharacterizedbycramped,overcrowded
conditions.Thestreetswerenarrow,insinuatingthemselvesbetweenirregularblocksofhousedand
publicbuildings.AnancienttravelertoAthenswasamazedthatsuchabadlyarrangedcitywithits

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haphazardandirregularstreets,itslackofwateranditsmeanhousescouldbethemostfamoustown
inGreece."(pg.11)(10C)
Attimestheirregularpatternofcitieswasanadvantageduringtimesofwar.InArgosanattackwas
defeatedwhentheattackercavalrybecamedisorientedandconfusedinthecity'sirregularstreet
patterns.Whenthekingcalledforsupporttheadditionaltroopsaddedtotheconfusionandcongestion
andmadeitdifficulttomaneuver.Theattackingkingwaskilledandtheattackfailedevenafterithad
breachedthewallsofthecity'sdefenses.(10C)
"UndoubtedlytheNearEastremainsthemostlikelyareafromwhichtheGreeksdevelopedregular
townplanning.Certainlytherewasalong,ifnotwidespread,traditionofregularplanningthere."(pg.
31)(10C)
"ByfarthemostimportantareaofaGreekcitywastheAgora,whichservedasthepolitical,religious,
socialandeconomicfocalpointofthecommunity."(pg.153)(10C)
Athenswasalsolocatedinageographicadvantageousplace.Ithadsteepslopestothenorth,east
andsouth,allowingonlythewesttobeagoodsideforaninvadingarmytoattempttoattack.There
wasavailablewaterandnearbyagriculturallandwhichsupportedlargeolivegroves.Inthemiddleof
thecitywasafortifiedcitadel,theAcropolis.(pg.45)(14C)
Greekcitieswereforagoodpartoftheirhistoryindependentandcompetitivewitheachother.Athens
wonanunexpectedbattleagainstthePersiansatMarathon.AfterthatbattletheGreeksrealizedthat
thePersianEmpirewouldlaunchanalloutattackonthepeninsulasotheyformedanallianceto
defeattheseforeigninvaders.InpreparationAthensdevelopedaverylargewarfleettocounterthe
Persianattack.TheAtheniansabandonedthecitywiththeexceptionofasmallsuicidalforceonthe
Acropolisforreligiousreasons.AfterdefeatingthePersians,firstonwaterthenonland,theAthenians
returnedtotheircitytorebuild.Theyrebuiltthecityinmuchthesamemanor,notimposingaplanned
grid,butinsteadfollowingtheorganicplanthathaddevelopedovertheages.(14C)
Athens,afteritsdefeatbySpartaandconsequentialtakeoverbyAlexanderTheGreat,stoppedany
majordevelopmentandwasputonthebackburneroftheempiresplans.Withtheemergenceofthe
Romanempirethecityonceagainwasinthelimelight.Notwithbuildings,orindevelopmentbutit
becameacenterforlearning.ManyrichRomanaristocratssenttheirchildrentoAthenstobe
educatedanditbecameameccaforphilosophicalthoughtandeducation.(14C)
Greekcitiesbenefitedbyaveryclosesupplyofmarbletobuilditspublicbuildings.Incomparison,
theirprivatehouseswereverybasicrudimentarystructures.(8C)
"ThesupremeperiodinAthenianhistoryisknowasthePericleanAge,aftertheirmostfamousleader,
Pericles,whodominatedtheassemblyfrom461tohisdeathin429.HispolicymadeAthensthe
undisputedartisticcenterofGreece."(pg.23)(8C)
Greeksweredefeatedin338byPhilipIIofMacedonia.HissonAlexanderTheGreatsecuredthe
GreekpeninsulaandthenusedtheGreekconceptofcitiestotrytoexpandhisempiredowninto
Egypt.AlexanderincludedinallthenewcolonieswhichhedevelopedanAgoraandanAcropolis.(8C)
"Asmallstate,aboutthesizeofYorkshireofConnecticut,withapopulationofsome200,000freemen,
madecontributionstothought,literature,andthefineartsonanunprecedentedscalewithsosurea
touchthatmuchofithasneverbeenreplacedorsurpassed."(pg.10)(3C)
"TheSociallifewastherealbasisofAthenianDemocracyandofitstwogreatideals,equallawsand
freespeech."(pg.13)(3C)
MycenaewasoneoftheearliestmajorGreekcities.Itwasbuiltonahilltopwithgoodgeographical
defenses.TotheSouththehillwassteepwithadeepravineforgoodprotection.Thecitydeveloped
largewallstoprotectitsmoreexposedNorthernside.Thecityhadnaturalspringwateraccessible
fromwithinthewallsfortimesoftrouble.(14C)

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