Answer to Question #158437 in History for Alexis Opsal

Question #158437
  • What impact did the Persian Wars have on Greece? Why did the Greeks win? What military advantages did they have?

  • Why is this period called a "golden" age of Greece? Is the name appropriate or an exaggeration?

  • What was the role of women in Greek society? the role of slaves? What did "hetaira" do compared to wives and mothers?

  • How did the Greek city-states become involved in the Peloponnesian War and what was it impact on them?
Expert's answer

·      The war with the Persians united the Greek city-states, which typically used to fight each other. Triumph by Greece preserved the Greek civilization. It ensured the survival of Greek culture and political structures long after the end of the Persian Empire.

He Persian army had light arrows that proved ineffective against heavy-armored hoplites. The Greek hoplites won a great victory against the Persians because they had longer spears, heavier swords, were armored in bronze and their phalanx formation had rigid discipline.

·   It’s called a golden age of Greece due to the strengths of the two Greek societies, Athens and Sparta, as shown by a defeat of the Persians in warfare and by heights in art and culture. The name is appropriate as the period gave the world art, philosophy, architecture, great monuments and literature; which the Western societies used as building blocks of their own civilization.

·  The women in ancient Greece were deemed inferior compared to men. Though their status differed among city-states, women in ancient Greece could not vote or become citizens. Their primary purpose was extending species.

Slaves were divided into classes and performed various roles that were considered degrading by Greeks. They did domestic chores, acted as messengers, accompanied their masters, worked on farms, mines and quarries etc. Their level of independence depended on class whereas freed slaves were allowed to become citizens.

‘Hetairas’ were higher-class prostitutes in the Greek society. Unlike other women, they were educated in culture and music. This class of women entertained men in social occasions and often formed lasting relationships with married men.

·   The Peloponnesian War happened because: the two Greek powers could not agree on their respective spheres of influence, Sparta was afraid of Athens’ growing power and influence, Athens was overly ambitious causing increasing instability in Greece and the two societies had profoundly different ideologies.

The war marked the end of the golden age of Greece. Athens lost its prewar prosperity and was reduced to a state of near-complete subjection. Sparta became the leading power in Greece. Greece also experienced widespread poverty and war became a common occurrence in the Greek world.

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