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The Earth and Its Peoples: A Global History, Second Edition
Richard W. Bulliet, Pamela Kyle Crossley, Daniel R. Headrick, Steven W. Hirsch, Lyman L. Johnson, David Northrup
History WIRED

Chapter 5: Greece and Iran, 1000-30 B.C.E.


Early Distribution of Indo-European Languages

IndoEuropean Languages Today

Central Asia/Persia

The Empire of Cyrus II

The Mediterranean Basis

Mediterranean: A View from Above

IAM Map Index

The Aegean Region


Index of Maps of the Ancient Greek World

Greek Colonies

The Persian Wars

Alexander the Great Web Site Information

Alexander in the East

The Hellenistic World after the Breakup of Alexander's Empire, 310 B.C.E.

Perseus Project Atlas

Historical and Cultural Atlas Resource


Cyrus the Great
This site includes images of Persian ruins as well as contemporary artists' reconstruction of Persian army regalia.

The Splendor of Persia
The links at "The Great Kings" and "Persepolis: The Sacred City" offer images from the Achaemenid period.

The Detroit Institute of Arts: Persepolis/Ancient Iran
This site offers a few images from this museum's collection of Persian art.

University of Chicago Oriental Institute: Persepolis and Iran
This site contains 999 black and white photos of ancient Persian ruins.

Images from History: Median and Achaemenid Empire
This site provides numerous examples of Persian art and ruins from Persian cities.

This site contains a nice image of the "Gate of all Nations" from the ruins of this famous Persian city.

Iran Photo Album
Use the frames on the left-hand side and the bottom to navigate this site.  By clicking on "Album" at the bottom and then "People" and "Places" in the left frame, you can access images of Cyrus, Darius, and Persepolis.

Greek Art and Architecture
This comprehensive site includes artwork representing a broad period of time and from various places in the ancient Greek World.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greek and Roman Art
Another fantastic collection from this famous museum.  Be sure to limit your exploration to the images from ancient Greece.

Images from History: Classical Greece
Numerous images from the Archaic and Classical periods.

Dr J's Illustrated Athenian Acropolis
Explore this famous Greek ruin using the wide array of images at this site.

Ships of the Ancient Greek on the World Wide Web
This unique site provides images of a variety of nautical vessels used by the ancient Greeks.

The Coins of Macedonia
The images of Greek coins here range from the Archaic to the Hellenistic Period.

Alexander the Great Web Site Information
Within this site are many images from the world of Alexander.

Activity One:

A major theme in this chapter on Greece and Iran is the development of sustained contact between the Mediterranean world, the Middle East, and Persia between 1000-30 B.C.E.  One way to demonstrate this development is through the use of Maps.  Click on and study the Maps at The Hellenistic World after the Breakup of Alexander's Empire, 310 B.C.E.  Explain how these Maps demonstrate the growth of contact and exchanges between the Mediterranean world, the Middle East, and Persia from 650 B.C.E. to 310 B.C.E.  What developments led to this sustained contact?  For example, what role did trade play in uniting these regions? What role did military clashes and conquest play?  According to these Maps, who were the dominant political forces in this broad region during this time period?  According to Chapter 5, "Greece and Iran, 1000-30 B.C.E." in The Earth and Its Peoples (Second Edition), what were the attitudes of these dominant political powers toward contact and exposure to other cultures?

Activity Two:

While ancient Greeks and Persians were guilty of ethnocentrism, or believing that their culture was superior to their neighbors, their policy and practices between 1000 and 30 B.C.E. encouraged the exchange of goods, peoples, and ideas in this part of the world.  The Achaemenid (or ancient Persian) Empire, for example, developed and help to spread Zoroastrianism, one of the first world religions. A world religion refers to a theology that is not exclusive to one ethnic group.  Any person, in theory, can convert to the religion without losing their ethnic identity.  To find out more about Zoroastrianism, read the first chapter from  Exploring Ancient World Cultures: The Selections of Zadspram.   Who is Ohrmazd?  Who is Ahriman?  Which one created mankind? Why?  Locate and review verse fourteen.  What role did human beings play in the conflict between Ohrmazd and Ahriman?  What was their reward for following Ohrmazd? What was their punishment for following Ahriman?  Zorastrianism was a religion in which all human beings faced the same demands.  It influenced many peoples in the Middle East during the time period covered in this chapter and beyond.  Indeed, Zoroastrianism remained a major religious force in Persia and Central Asia until the rise of Islam (See Chapter 9 "The Sasanid Empire and the Rise of Islam, 200-1200).  A small minority of people in this area still practice it today.  Even though its presence today is small, Zorastrianism had a strong influence on Western Asian and world history.  Go to Babylon, Persia and Judaism and read the section "Persia, Zoroastrianism and the Jews."  How did Zoroastrianism influence Judaism (and indirectly Christianity and Islam - two monotheistic religions that sprung from the Judaic tradition)?  One of the legacies of this time period in this part of the world is the continued development of monotheism as a religious force.

Activity Three:

The Greek philosophical tradition also profoundly influenced this part of the world during this time period.  Many intellectual achievements occurred during the Classical period of Greek history (480-323 B.C.E.).  Two of the more famous philosophers of this era were Plato and Aristotle.  Read the essays at Philosophy of the Greeks: Plato and Aristotle and Aristotle.  How did Plato and Aristotle attempt to explain how the universe operated?  (Hint: Don't think about their specific works, but their overall approach.)  Review "New Intellectual Currents" on pages 128-129 of The Earth and Its Peoples (Second Edition).  Why did Greek philosophers abandon religion as an explanation for how the universe operated?  For the impact of this approach on the broader world, continue to the next activity.

Activity Four:

Review the material at Britannica.com: Hellenistic Age, Science and Medicine (scroll down for this section).  Also review "The Hellenistic Synthesis" on pages 136-139 of your textbook.  How did Hellenistic achievements in science and medicine reflect what your textbook calls "a great multicultural experiment ... as Greek and Middle Eastern cultural traits clashed and merged" (page 139).  Summarize your response  in two to three paragraphs.  To help answer this question, first review Activity Three to understand the Hellenic approach to science.  Then go to History of Mathematics: Topics Index and read the first five topics.