We've spoken about the enormous changes that occurred after the collapse of Mycenaean civilization, the three centuries that constituted the Dark Ages. For these next few sessions, we're going to be talking about another three century period called the Archaic Age. Lasting roughly from 800 to 500 BCE. For a very long time, this had been sort of eclipsed by the glory of the classical period in the 5th century with it's temples and it's plays, etc. But now, the Archaic Age has come to be recognized as one of the most important formative periods in Greek history. It's also just so complicated, so interesting, there's so much going on. The Greek world saw enormous changes in economy, military practice, agriculture, social values, law, it goes on and on and on. We'll try to summarize the most parts of it. This is the time that we can see the formation of a uniquely Greek cultural identity. And we'll have to figure out what are the components that made that up, but we can start with a start date, not 800 but actually 776 BCE. This was the date of the first Olympic games. This was one of the few genuine dating methods that went across all of the Greek world. You could do account, say in the third year of the 15th Olympiad. You do a little bit of math and you can figure it out no matter what your local calendars were. But, this brings me back to what I was just talking about a second ago, which is the fact that this is the time that Greek identity separated itself out, became distinct from the other Eastern Mediterranean communities. So, what were some of the elements? We've already talked about one, which is Homer. Homer is a cultural possession as a defining cultural entity for the Greeks. Another was The Polis. This is the sort of community that the Greeks adopted. In Homer, Odysseus we're told at the beginning of the Odyssey, saw the towns and learned the minds of many different men. The different kinds of community in the Odyssey. But, one of the things that Homeric society has in common that is both in the Iliad and the Odyssey is a sort of three part division of king, council and assembly. The king is the leader in battle, can be the high priest and chief judge. The Council, often made up of elders, serves as ad, advisers to the King, and the assembly is generally made up of the army. This is sort of the base for the development of the polis. I've put up here our old familiar map showing you a number of the polis , which is the plural. Both on the mainland, on the islands, on the coast of Asia Minor. We'll talk much more about these as we go on. You've read, I hope, a little bit of Aristotle's politics. Aristotle lived and wrote in the 4th Century BCE, in a time when the polis was already as an institution in decline. But the way he writes about it is it's where we can start. We can start with his analysis. And to do that, we'll look at a few terms. Top is polis, which is in English, usually translated slightly clumsily as city state. Polis had two principle features. One is, a kind of internal unity. And secondly, a, an independence, sometimes just nominal, from other communities nearby. Along with that is it's definition by its politeia. This is a word that is incredibly complicated. It can mean, as you can see here, the constitution. That is how a community defines itself. It can mean the citizen body as a whole. It can mean citizenship abstractly defined, and that is then the word here that is for citizen which is a polites. Someone who participates who is an actor in the polis. It's worth noting here. And at the outset, it's something we're going to come back to again and again. That no matter what the political structure of a polis was, a citizen was always and only a native-born, free, adult, male. Democracy certainly existed. But, women, foreigners, children, slaves were excluded from full participation in political life. This is one of the ways that polis defined itself. We can start thinking a little bit about these communities by thinking about Aristotle's first criteria, in which is community of place. The polis varied enormously in size. Here, I've given you just a little map of central Greece. This is Attica, which was very large for a polis. So, it was about 1,000 square miles. Sparta in the south, with it's huge possessions in the area called Messini had about 3,300 square miles. But Corinth, an enormously important polis for the entire period that we're going to be studying, it was about 340 square miles. And some of the island communities, which were also polis, were smaller yet. So, place is one thing, but this sort of definition by constitution, by politeia is much more important. This leads me to one other essential fact of the polis, which is that it always included both the urban center, called the Astu, and the landscape around it, the farmland, the agricultural area. No matter if you were living in downtown Athens, or out here in Dhekelia, you were equally a citizen of Athens. Aristotle defines the first association of human beings as the household. And then, he says that households agglomerate into villages. And then, by a process of what the great historian Lewis Mumford called an urban implosion, called Synoecism, the villages come together to form a polis. I mentioned just a moment ago that there was a sort of urban core called the Astu, which was the site of the administrative buildings. The central shrine, the gathering place called the Agora, which also becomes a market certainly in Athens. But to repeat, this was always just one part of the polis conceived as a whole. In Athens, of course, everything is centered around the Acropolis, we'll see that in a few moments. We'll talk much more about Athens as we go on, it's our best documented polis. The citizen body, the constitution, the right of a community to decide who belongs. These are essential to the polis. And there is also underlying this all a kind of ideology of equlaity. By which, I mean, that citizens were thought to be equal. It's not that they all had equal rights in terms of, say holding office. There are certain communities in which you had to have a certain amount of property, a certain degree of wealth in order to hold office. This was the case in Athens early on and then changed as we'll see. But, there was an idea that somehow every citizen shared equally in, belonging to and in having responsibilities toward the community in which he lived. Aristotle sees the polis as the natural habitat for a human being. He says, the polis is the highest and best form of association. Well, maybe so, maybe not. We'll see that and we'll have reason to critique that as we go on. But the combination of rights and responsibilities, of belonging, of serving in the military, if necessary, of holding public office, when called on, etc. These are all defining features of this kind of community. And, of course, polis gives us all of the Western roots for politics, politician, even police as we go on. So, the influence of this kind of community structure is enormous and long lasting. I'm going to come back to all of these different points as we go on, but I'd like to take a quick look at the story of Theseus, the mythical king of Athens. Because his story, especially is told by Plutarch and by other writers, is a kind of myth for the creation of the polis of Athens. We see him here about to depart on an adventure, he's leaving his mother. And there are famous parts of the Theseus story. Probably the most famous of which is his visit to Crete, where he slays the Minotaur, the bestial bull-man who has been kept in the labyrinth by King Minos. he gets assistance from Minos' lovely daughter Ariadne whom he then dumps. Oh well, that's what happens. But, when he comes back to Athens, and on this wonderful red figure vase, we have him being greeted. This is Theseus, and it's Athena, the patron deity who is welcoming him back. And Plutarch tells us that when Theseus got back to Athens, he had a great idea. He was going to bring all of the villages together and make one community. This is Synoecism. This is the idea of communities combining. What did this involve? Well, as in the Theseus' story, it involves a common shrine. We're told that Theseus sets up a temple where everyone can come and worship Athena. In addition, he sets up games. Sounds almost trivial, doesn't it? But it's not. Because as a marker of community identity, these sorts of competitions, which we saw in Homer as well, we talked about the agnostic quality of Homeric life. But these sorts of competitions created a sense of civic identity. He also welcomed in foreigners, this is part of Athenian ideology. It was thought to be an open city. We'll see that it wasn't really, but this is one of the ways the Athenians tried to define themselves. And altogether then, he sets up a polity. He sets up a community that comes to be called Athens, the citizens of Athena. When Aristotle is writing in the 4th century, as I said earlier, the polis was in decline. But for Aristotle, the polis is a location where human beings are meant to live. He has the famous phrase that man is a political animal, a Zoon Politikon. And what this means is, as I said a moment ago, that the polis is the natural habitat for a human being. And Aristotle goes on to say, that someone who lives outside of a polis is not human. He's either a beast or a god. Because to be fully human, one has to reside in this kind of community. For the Greeks, polis identity becomes part of personal identity. You can see this at the beginning of the two great histories that we have been reading. When Herodotus sets out in his great, great exploration of the Persian wars, it's the first thing he says. He says, Herodotus of Halicarnassus. This is his polis. Thucydides, his great successor, begins Thucydides the Athenian. The intensity of the identification between citizen and city state is something that I think is difficult for us to imagine. But we have to imagine it if we're going to understand how the Greeks understood their place in the world. What we're also going to see is that the polis as an ideal travels well. Because another factor, in the Archaic Age, is that the polis starts to be diffused. And that's what we'll talk about in our next lecture.