HIS 101
Unit 4:  Classical Greece

A slightly different view of the Parthenon, showing the ongoing reconstruction efforts.  The Parthenon was the Greek temple built to honor the goddess Athena, patron of the city of Athens, on the Acropolis overlooking the city.  As you can see from this photo, there is really not that much that survives from the once fabulous temple.  The roof and most of the interior were lost in 1687 when a Turkish ammunition dump inside the building exploded during an attack by Venetian forces.  Then in the late nineteenth century, Lord Elgin removed most of the remaining sculptural friezes and took them back to England where they were (and still are) displayed in the British Museum, a surviving remnant of British imperialism.  Construction of the Parthenon began in 447 bce on the initiative of Pericles, the great leader of classical Athens, who wanted to remake Athens into a glorious city.  Over the centuries, the Parthenon has also served as a Christian church and an Islamic mosque.

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What you must do in this unit What you can do in this unit
  • Listen to some further information about this unit as a mp3 file.  You can also read the information as a txt file.  There is also information about the Ancient Hebrews, mp3 file or txt.
  • Read the remarks by Professor Blois about the fires that swept through Greece and threatened Athens in the summer of 2009.
Some videos that you can watch for this unit Extra Credit Options
  • Take the short 5-point quizzes for chapters 3 and 4. Log into Blackboard and look under "Chapter Quizzes." You have five minutes to complete each quiz (multiple-choice questions).
  • Read Plato's Allegory of the Cave and write a one-page paper (In your own words explain the allegory and indicate why it is important.) for a maximum of 50 points.
  • Read the documents associated with the Trial of Socrates, including Plato's Apology.  In a one-page paper (maybe two pages), note and explain the main points of Socrates' defense for a maximum of 50 points.
  • You may choose to do an optional, extra credit assignment on the Melian Dialogue (also at www.shsu.edu/~his_ncp/Melian.html (a long paragraph worth a maximum of 25 points).  In the "Dialogue," the Ancient Greek historian Thucydides reconstructed the negotiations that took place between the Athenians, who wanted to annex the island city-state of Melos, and the Melians, who wished to remain neutral and not get involved in the war between Athens and Sparta.  In 416 bce, after discussions failed to reach an agreement, the Athenians invaded Melos and enslaved the inhabitants of the island.  The representatives of Melos argued for neutrality; Athens asserted that neutrality was just not good enough and that Athens had a right, and duty, to assert its power.  Sound familiar?  The "Melian Dialogue" remains a stunning example of how stronger nations/countries/societies manipulate ideas of justice and natural rights to achieve their own political ends.  In a one-page paper, assess the relevance of some of the issues touched on in the "Dialogue" to recent (last 25 years) international politics.
  • You may also choose to do an optional, extra credit assignment on Thucydides (long paragraph worth a maximum of 25 points).
  • Read some of Aristotle's comments on democracy (from his Politics), and for a maximum of 25 points extra credit, summarize his views on democracy and the polis in a long paragraph.
  • For extra credit, please suggest a relevant website for this unit of the course.  Send the title of the site, the url and a brief explanation why you find the information interesting and applicable to the material being studied this unit.

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