The Persian Wars and Greek Society

A look at how the Persian Wars acted as a fulcrum and incentive for change within Greek society.

This paper explores how the Persian Wars changed the society of the Greeks, with a special focus on Athens. It attempts to compare the Archaic and Classical periods socially and culturally by using the Persian War as the fulcrum between Archaic and Classical. It also addresses the Persian War as the instigator of resistance that prompted changes within the classical period. It examines the changes in politics, art, literature, economics and intra-poleis relations.

Outline
Democratic Expansion
‘Poliscentrism’ vs. Imperialism ” The Athenian Empire
Economics ” Money, Money Makes a Man
The Progression of the Arts: The “Explosive” Archaic and the “Golden Age”
“There is No Growth Without Resistance ” A Conclusion
“The reforms of Solon did little to advance democratic rights for the Athenians, whilst he certainly took the first step in ending debt-bondage, it can hardly be considered a leaping bound for democracy. In 508 BC, Cleisthenes reorganized political groupings into a great number of tribes so as to break the strength of the clans. Cleisthenes then set about embedding main constitutional power in the Assembly; in spite of this the check of power was still held by elected archons and those of the Areopagus who were almost always of the aristocratic elite. The limitation on how far democracy was allowed to go was always in place. The Archaic Period in regards to the fulfillment or expansion of democracy, and certainly in comparison to the changes to be made in the Classical Period was more the planting of a seed – that would be later cultivated by Pericles.”

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