Ancient History: Greece : Fall of Mycenaean Civilization and the Greek Dark Ages

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for Ancient History: Greece

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Fall Of Mycenaean Civilization And The Greek Dark Ages

The Dorians did make contributions to the art, architecture and politics of Greece.  The Dorian and Ionian styles of art and architecture developed side by side but with distinct differences. The Doric style was restrained, massive and simple. The Ionic style was graceful, elegant and ornate. The Dorian style of choral lyrics also dominated Greek tragedy. Politically the Dorians followed the practice of the Mycenaeans in identifying with the locality in which they lived rather than with the homelands of their ancestors. In the mercantile cities of Corinth, Rhodes and Argos, the Dorians initial plan was to maintain political power for themselves. But they eventually merged with the conquered native populations. In contrast, in areas such as Sparta and Crete, the Dorians maintained political power and became a military ruling class. In so doing, they halted the growth of society politically and culturally to maintain dominance over the conquered people. By 750 BCE, the city state or the “polis” was the fundamental political unit in ancient Greece. The polis encompassed the city and its surrounding villages. The citizens gathered at the agora and the acropolis to discuss city government. It was not unusual for tyrants to seize power in clashes between rulers, nobles, wealthy citizens or the average citizen. These tyrants were hailed as leaders working for the interests of the ordinary period setting up building programs that provided jobs and housing for their supporters.

What form(s) of government would one expect to see in Greece during the Doric civilization?

Possible Answers:

Democratic Republic 

Plutocracy

Republic

Democracy

Monarchy

Correct answer:

Monarchy

Explanation:

During the Dorian period one would see a monarchy, aristocracy, or oligarchy in Greece. The Dorians, living under the rule of the military tyrants, would not have a Democracy or a Democratic Republic form of government. A Plutocracy is rule by the wealthy. The Dorian tyrants ruled by military power not by use of their wealth.  The concept of a Democratic Republic is a modern form of government. The Democratic Republic form of government combines the best elements of a democracy and republic allowing the citizens to govern through elected officials. Therefore, during the Dorian period when Greece was ruled by tyrants one would expect to see a monarchy.

Example Question #2 : Fall Of Mycenaean Civilization And The Greek Dark Ages

The Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations were destroyed by new arrivals from Macedonia and Epirus. This new group of Greeks, called the Dorians, settled in the war ravaged lands and developed their civilization. The Dorians had a well-developed dialect and settled into communities based on their “tribes”. They were quite different from the Ionian Greeks and are traditionally believed to have been the conquerors of the Peloponnese during the years 1100 to 1000 BCE. According to Greek tradition, their name is attributed to Doris, a small district in central Greece. Tradition holds that the sons of Heracles were driven from their homeland by the Mycenaeans. They took refuge with the king of Doris.  Many generations later, the Heraclid brothers led the Dorians back to the Peloponnese to reclaim their heritage. The actual history of the Dorians is obscure.  They swept into central Greece from Macedonia and Epirus. From central Greece they moved into the southern Aegean. Based on this tradition and their language historians believe they may have been distant relatives of the Bronze Age Greeks. Shortly after arriving in the old Mycenaean cities, the Dorian economy and trade collapsed. The civilization remained intact and grew as the Dorians expanded their empire throughout the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas and as far as mainland Anatolia, modern day southwestern Turkey.  Greek history was passed on by oral tradition from generation to generation eventually influencing Homer, the well-known Greek writer and storyteller. 

The arrival of the Dorians began a period in Greek history referred to as which of the following?

Possible Answers:

The Age of Doric Conquest

The Dorian Expansion

The New Age of Greece

The Era of the Slashing Sword

The Dark Age of Greece

Correct answer:

The Dark Age of Greece

Explanation:

The Dorians were a less developed culture than the Minoans and Mycenaeans. Their only contribution to world technology was the iron slashing sword. During their reign in Greece, the art of writing was lost. There were no written records for 400 years.  History was passed on by oral tradition. For this reason, historians often refer to the age of the Dorians as the “dark age” of Greece.

Example Question #3 : Fall Of Mycenaean Civilization And The Greek Dark Ages

The Greek Dark Ages are usually said to begin around __________.

Possible Answers:

1,350 BCE

800 BCE

1,500 BCE

1,000 BCE

650 BCE

Correct answer:

1,000 BCE

Explanation:

The Greek Dark Ages are usually said to begin around 1,000 BCE, and last until the mid-eighth century. The Greek Dark Ages began as a result of the decline of the Mycenaean civilization in the twelfth and eleventh centuries. The Mycenaeans left behind a political and cultural vacuum that remained most unfilled until the rise of the Greek city-states in the eighth century. It is worth noting that some historians consider the Dark Ages to be a misnomer and argue that this period of time was still quite prosperous and advanced. The absence of written records from this time period, however, seems to reinforce the notion of a prolonged Dark Age.

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