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1. 1. The universe.

The universe appeared 13. 700 million years ago with the “Big Bang”, the explosión of a small mass which contained all the existing matter and energy.

The universe is made of:

  • Stars a celestial body which produces its own light and heat.

  • other celestial bodies:
  1. planets, a celestial body which rotates around a star and does not produces its own light and heat.

  2. satellites, a celestial body which rotates around a planet.

Jupiter and two of its satellites.
Jupiter and two of its satellites.
  • •interestelar matter (dust and gas).

1. 2. The Milky Way.

In the universe, there are millions of groups of stars called galaxies. Each one of them contains thousands of million of stars and planetary systems. One of them is the Milky Way, in which the Solar System is located.

1. 3. The Solar System.

The Solar System is the planetary system to which the Earth Belongs. It was formed about 5.000 million years ago. It consists of eight planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune) and another celestial bodies (asteroids, satellites and comets) which move around a star of average size, the Sun.

The solar system
The solar system


1. 4. Why the Earth is a living planet?

The Earth is the only planet in the Solar System, and the only known planet, where there is life. Life appeared in Earth about 2.000 million years ago. There are three characteristics that explain this:

1. Abundant supply of liquid water, in the form of oceans and seas. Because of this, it is called the Blue Planet.

The blue planet
Earth, the blue planet.

2. Moderate temperature, it is not too hot (like Venus) or cold (like Mars). It is located about the right distance from the Sun (around 150 million kilometres).

Venus ,its average temperature is 462 degrees ceslsius
Venus, its average surface temperature is 462ºC.


Mars, its average temperature is -46ºC.
Imagen del planeta marte. Dominio público.


3. The atmosphere, because:

-Contains gases which are essential for life, such as oxygen.

-The atmosphere protects the Earth from dangerous solar radiation.

The Earth: characteristics.

It was formed 4.600 million years ago. Its main characteristics are:

  • Its an imperfect sphere (geoid), wider at the Equator than at the Poles.
  • Its surface is 510 million km2, a thousand times the area of Spain.
  • Most of its surface is covered by oceans and seas.
  • Can be divided in two equal parts across the Equator.

The Earth is an imperfect Geoid, wider at the Equator than at the Poles.


External links:

The Solar System, Nasa.

2. THE EARTH'S MOVEMENTS: Rotation and Revolution.

The Earth is not still in space, it is moving around itself (rotation) and and around the Sun (revolution or translation). This two movements have important consequences for life in Earth.

2. 1. The rotation of the Earth.
Definition: The rotation of the Earth is the turning of the Earth around its imaginary axis, from west to east.
The length of this movement is about 24 hours.
This movement has important consequences:

  • Alternation of day and night. As a consequence of this movement the Sun gives light and warmth to one side of the Earth, while the other side of the Earth remains in darkness and cools down.
  • The apparent movement of the Sun. As a consequence of the rotation of the Earth from West to East, the Sun "appears" from the East and "disappears from the West. The name of the apparition of the Sun over the horizon is dawn, whereas the name of its dessaparition is dusk. Remember: it is the Earth that it is moving not the Sun.
  • Geographic coordinates. The Earth's rotation allow us to identify the cardinal points and locate the position of any point in Earth.
  • The division of the day in 24 hous and the establishment of time zones:

The Earth takes 24 hours to rotate completely, because of that we can divide the 360º of the Earth's sphere into 24 time zones that have a separation of 15º. Every place that is situated in the same time zone has the same solar time.
In order to calculate the hour in a time zone we take as a reference the Meridian 0 or Greenwich meridian. We put the clock forward one hour for every time zone we move toward the East and we put the clock back one hour for every time zone we move towards the west from the Meridian 0.

Time zones.

For example, we want to know what time is it in the point B, if in the point A (located near the Greenwich Meridian) is the 12 o'clock. The point B is located at the east of the Greenwich Meridian and there is a difference of five time zones, because of this we have to add five hours and in the point B the time is going to be the 17:00.
In the same way, the point C is located at the west of the Greenwich Meridian and there is a difference of five time zones, because of that we have to extract seven hours and in the point C, the hour is going to be the 5:00.


2. 3. The translation of the Earth (orbit).

Definition: The translation is the movement of the Earth around the Sun, from West to East.
Video: Earth orbit.
The length of this movement is about 365 days, 6 hours and 9 minutes, because of that every four years we have a year of 366 days (leap year).

This movement also has important consequences:

  • The aparition of the Seasons of the year.
  • The different duration of days and nights. During the summer the Norhtern Hemisphere is facing the Sun. As a consequence the illuminated area is bigger than the dark area and days are longer than nights. On the other hand, during the winter the Northern Hemisphere is no facing the Sun, as a consequence the illumanted area is smoller than the dark are an nights are longer than days.
  • The apparition of different climate zones. Depending on the latitude, the Sun's rays fall with a different inclination. As a consequence Earth is divided in several climate zones:
  1. One warm zone.
  2. Two temperate zones.
  3. Two cold zones.


3. THE SEASONS: Solstices and equinoxes.

The Earth's axis is gently inclined (about 23º) but always points in the same direction (in the direction of the Polar Star, because of that the Axis orientation do not change even though the Earth is rotantig around the Sun but its position in relation to the Sun does.

3. 1. The seasons of the year.
As a consequence, during different moments of the year the quantity of light and heat that the different parts of the Earth receive from the Sun is going to change during the year:

During summer and winter, the rays of Sun falls directly on one hemisphere while the others reveives them with a strong inclination, making it winter. Nevertheless, during spring and autumn, the rays fall on both hemispheres wiht the same inclination.

When the rays of the Sun are inclined, the same amount of heat is projected onto a larger area, and there is less concentration of heat.


3. 2. Equinox and solstice.

Equinox: is the time of the year when the Sun's rays falls perpendicular to the Equator. The Sun iluminates the North Pole and the South Pole for the same number of hours. There are two equinox:

The spring equinox (March 21), it is spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.
The autumn equinox (September 21). it is autum in the Southern Hemisphere and spring in the Southern Hemisphere.

During the equinox the light of the Sun falls directly on the equator and the Northern and Southern Hemispheres receive the same amount of light and heat.

Solstice: is the time of the year when the Sun's rays fall perpendicular to one of the tropics.

There are two solstices:

The Summer solstice (June 21): the Sun is facing the Tropic of Cancer. It is summer in the Northern Hemisphere and winter in the Southern Hemisphere.

During the Summer Solstice the light of the Sun falls directly on the Tropic of Cancer and the Northern Hemisphere receives more light and heat.
Summer solstice

The Winter solstice (december 21): the Sun is facing the Tropic of Capricorn. It is summer in the Southern Hemisphere and winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

During the Winter Solstice the light ot he Sun falls directly on the Tropic of Capricorn and the Southern Hemisphere receives more light and heat.
Earth lighting during the winter solstice



4. 1. The geographic grid.
The Geographic grid is the system of coordinates that we use in order to locate any point in the Earth’s surface.
Both extremes of the Earth´s axis are connected to two fixed points: the poles
From these points we trace imaginary lines that cross with others to form a grid.

4. 2. Parallels and meridians.
This system is based in two types of imaginary lines: parallels and meridians:
Parallels: Imaginary lines that encircle the Earth, perpendicular to its axes.

The main line of latitude is the Equator which divides the Earth into two halves. Another important parallels are the Tropic of Cancer, located in the Northern Hemisphere and the Tropic of Capricorn, located in the Southern Hemisphere.

Meridians: Imaginary semicircles traced from pole to pole.
The most important meridian is the meridian 0º or Greenwich meridian, which runs through Greenwich, near London.

4. 3. Latitude and longitude.
We use this imaginary lines in order to establish the latitude and the longitude of a point located in the Earth’s surface.Latitude: The distance, measured in degrees, from any given point to parallel oº or the equator
The maximum latitude is 90º and can be either north or south.

Latitude: The distance, measured in degrees, from any given point to parallel oº or the equator
The maximum latitude is 90º and can be either north or south.


Longitude: The distance, measured in degrees, from any given point to meridian 0º or Greenwich
The maximum longitude is 180º and can be either east or west.



Remember: every degree (º) can be divided into 60 minutes (') and every minute can be divided into 60 seconds (''), the same way than an a hour. For example, the geographic coordinantes of the IES Cervantes High School are: 40º 24' and 12" N and 3º 42' 8" W.

REPRESENTING THE EARTH: maps and systems of projection.

It is imposible to translate a sphere into a flat surface without change it, the same way that is impossible to flatten the skin of an orange without breaking it, because a flat surface and an sphere have different characteristics.

On a flat surface, the sum of the angles of a triangle is always 180º, on a sphere, the sum of the angles is always bigger.

Because of this a map never is going to be a perfect representation of the Earth's surface.


4. 1. Maps and their elements.

A map is a simplified representation of the Earth's spherical surface, or a part of it, depicted on a flat surface.

In order to make a map, cartographers need three elements:a system of projection, a scale and set of standard sings or legend.

System of projection.

-A system of projection is a system that allow us to represent a spherical surface on a flat surface, translating the network of parallels and meridians.There are three main types of systems of projection:

  • cylindrical projection, transfers the grid of parallels and meridians into a cylinder. It is the best method to represent the low latitudes the low latitudes between the Equator and the tropics.


  • Conic or conical projection, transfers the grid of parallels and meridians into a cone. It is the best method to represent the mid-latitudes.

Conical projection
  • Azimuthal or plane projection, transfers the grid of parallels and meridians into a flat surface. It is the most appropiate method to represent the polar areas.


-Scale is the method that we use to indicate the relation between a distance drawn on the map and the same distance on the ground. There are two types of scale:

  • Numerical scale. It is indicates the relationship between the unit used to make the map and the reality. Usually a fraction is used. the numerator indicates the distance on the map and the denominator its equivalent on the ground.

Numerical scale


  • Graphic scale. It consists of a straigh line divided into segments. Every segment is equivalent to a real distance in the ground.

Legend or key of the map: is a set of colours, standar signs or symbols used to represent reality in the map in a simplified form.

Types of maps:

There are two types of maps:

Topographic or basic maps: represent in detail the physical and human aspects of the territory.
Thematic maps: represent a specific geographica aspect.



1. 1. The founding of Rome.

Rome was founded in 753 BC in the centre of the Italian Peninsula, a strategic territory between the eastern and the western Mediterranean area.

At the beginning of the eighth century BC this territory was inhabited by different people:

  • The Etruscan in the north and centre.
  • The Latins in Latium, in the centre.
  • The Greeks in the south, in Magna Graecia.

According to the legend Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus in the place where they were born. They were taken and nursed by a wolf. In fact, in the mid-eighth century some tribes of Latin origin settled around the hills near the river Tiber because of:

  • protection provided by the river and the hills.
  • strategic location for trade, which linked the peninsula's northern and southern territories.

We can distingish three periods into the Roman history:

  • Monarchy (753 BC-509 BC)
  • Republic (509 BC-27 BC)
  • Empire (27 BC-476 AD)

1. 2. The monarchy:

In the beginning Rome was an absolute monarchy, but the king was given advice buy the senate an assembly composed of representatives of the patrician families.

There were seven kings: four Latins kings and three Etruscans. Etruscans occupied Rome during the sixth century BC. Etruscan domination ended in 509 BC when Tarquin the Proud was expelled after a revolt.

Economy: agriculture and cattle-raising.

Society was divided into two groups:

patricians, descendants of the first inhabitants of the city. They were considered citizens and controled most of the land.

plebeians, free people. Had no political rights but had to pay taxes and fight in the army.

Italy circa 400 BC

2. THE REPUBLIC (509-27 BC).

2. 1. The republican form of government:

  • Comitia or voting assemblies:
  1. Members:Roman citizens
  2. Duties: Passed laws, elected magistrates and decided about war and peace.
  • Senate:
  1. Members:300 members, who were former magistrates.
  2. Duties: Approved laws, Controlled magistrates, Decided on foreign policy.
  • Magistrates:
  1. Members: They were elected each year. There were praetors, censors and quaestors.
  2. Duties: Controlled the government.Roman political system

2. 2. The fight over political rights:

Roman society was divided into two groups:

  • Patricians: the oligarchy.
  • Plebeians: The common people.

Origin of the conflict:

At the beginning of the Republic the plebeians paid taxes but had no access to political post, just the patricians could have them.

The conflict: for more than 200 years the plebeians fought to have equal political rights, they finally succeeded un the third century BC.

2. 3. Major conquests during the Republic:

During the Republic, Rome began to expand territorially with the help of a very well disciplined and organised army.

Phases of this expansion:

    • Domination of the Italian Peninsula: completed by the mid-third century BC.
    • Control over the western Mediterranean: Figthings against Carthage, the three Punic Wars.
    • Control over the eastern Mediterranean: They confronted Greece and the Hellenistic monarchies.
    • Control over all the Mediterranean area: Conquest of Egypt, 30 BC. They call it Mare Nostrum.

Consequences of the expansion:

  1. Positive: The conquests provided raw materials, land and people.
  2. Negatives:
  • Social crisis:
  1. The powerful class profited most from the conquests, receiving large plots of land and buying slaves.
  2. Peasants farmers were ruined because they had no serve in the army and could not compete with large landowners.
  • Political crisis: Civil wars started between the generals who wanted power. In 48 BC Julius Caesar was made dictator for life.
    Julius Caesar


The Republican Army:

  1. The basis of the Roman army, the legions. Formed from between 4,200 and 6,000 soldiers and 400 on horseback. The backbone of the legion was the foot soldier, the legionaries.
  2. The evolution of the army:
  • During the Republic, all Roman citizens had to serve in the army. The soldiers receive no salary and had to take their own weapons.
  • In later times, there was a permanent army with professional soldiers. The state pay them and provide them with weapons.
    Roman legionaries
    Roman legionaries (modern reconstruction).

    Roman legionary.
    Roman legionarie.


3. 1. The Empire´s system of government:

After Julius Caesar´s death there was a civil war that ended with the triumph of Octavio Augusto, his nephew. In 27 BC the Senate granted him practically complete power, instituting a new form of government, the Empire. The institutions of the Republic and the Senate continued to exist but under the control of the emperor.

3. 2. The Pax Romana.

The Pax Romana was the period between the first and the second Century AD. The Empire reached its maximum expansion and enjoyed peace inside its borders. The Romans divided the Empire into provinces under the rule of a governor. Under emperor Trajanus the fronters reached the British Isles, the rivers Rhine and Danube, the Caucasus and the Tigris, and the Sahara desert.

Roman Empire in 117 A. D.

3. 3. Romanization:

As the Romans conquered, they introduced Romanisation, the process through which the conquered people, the barbarians, assimilated the culture of the conquerors. The instruments of Romanisation were: the towns, The Latin language and the roads.


Roman roads in Hispania.

3. 4. The crisis of the third century:

During the thrid century took place a political, economic and social crisis that almost destroyed the empire:

  • Political crisis:
  1. The Roman legions suffered their first defeats by the Barbarians, the frontiers were no longer safe.
  2. The military chiefs began to have control over the emperor.
  • Economic crisis: As the conquest ended there were fewer slaves to work and agricultural and mineral production, and commerce dropped, as a consequence the Empire became poorer.
  • Social crisis: Taxes increase and this caused migration from the towns to the country, as a consequence the Empire became ruralised.
    In 260 AD, the roman army was defeated by the persians who captured the roman emperor Valerian
    Emperor valerian captured by the persian emperor Valerian.

3. 5. Division of the empire and fall.

In order to improve the administration, Theodosius I divided the empire in two parts:

  • the Western Roman Empire with capital in Rome
  • the Eastern Roman Empire wih capital in ConstantinOple, richer and with more population.

Finally, in the 5th century, the germanic peoples invaded the Western Empire and in 476 AD, the last roman emperor, Romulus Augustulus was deposed.

Partition of the Roman Empire, 395 AD


4. 1. Slavery:

The Roman economy was built on slaves, on the generalised use of slaves to work in agricultural and urban activities.


4. 2. Agriculture.

  • Agriculture was the main economic activity and it was based on the farming of the three Mediterranean crops: cereals, vines and olive trees.
  • The Romans introduce the “aratrum” or crooked plough throughout the Empire.Roman plough
  • Division of the land:
  • Small properties cultivated by their owners
  • Large estates, “villas”, worked by slaves which were divided into two parts:
  1. The lord house in the centre of the estate, luxurious and richly decorated, with mosaics and statues.Roman Villa
  2. Storehouse, barns, furnaces and all kind of workshops to cover the needs of the large agricultural landowner

4. 3. Farming: Based on sheep, goats, donkeys and horses

4. 4. The mining industry and crafts:

  • Mining was an important activity in the Empire. Many minerals were found; gold, silver, iron, coal and tin. The mines belonged to the state, which rented them out to individuals. The workforce was all salves.
  • Craftwork developed considerably. There  were large workshops with slaves, or in smaller workshops where the members formed associations to defend their own interests
  • Food processing was very important: oil, wine and salted fish.


The roman society was divide into two main categories:

  • The citizens:

According to the political rights were divided into two groups during the Monarchy and the Republic: plebeian and patrician.

Later during the Empire they were divided according to their wealth:

  1. Honestiores that were the wealthiest.
  2. Humiliores, plebeians with a low social status, both in the city and the country.
  • The non-citizens: people who had no right to citizenship:
  1. Conquered populations until 212 AD, when they were granted citizenship.
  2. Foreigners that came from outside the Empire. Most of them were traders or artisans.
  3. Freedmen, slaves that had been freed by their owners.
  4. Slaves, they had no rights. They were war prisoners, people who could not pay their debts and slave's children.


6. 1. Roman gods and worship.

There were two kinds of religion.

  • Private religion:

Took place within the family. They worshipped:

  1. The Lares and the Penates, household gods
  2. Manes, the spirits of ancestors.

In every house there was a Lararium: a domestic altar, where the head of the house, the “pater familia”, made offering.

Lares' altar.


  • Official religion:

Based on the worship of the gods and, from the first century AD onwards, on the worship of the Emperor. After the conquest of Greece the Roman gods were assimilated with the Greek gods. Romans were very tolerant, they incorporated the gods of the conquered people into the Roman pantheon.

6. 2. Birth and expansion of Christianity:

The birth of Christianity:

It had its origin in the first century in Palestine. It was a new religion preached by Jesus of Nazareth:

  • A Jew born in Bethlehem in the time of Augustus.
  • He claimed to be the son of God.
  • With his disciples, the apostles, he preached around Palestine a message of equality and love for one´s neighbour.

The expansion of Christianity in the Empire:

Christians persecution:

In the early years they were persecuted by the authorities because they refused to worship the Emperor due to their monotheism. Christians had to practice their rituals secretly.

Edict of Milan, 313: the Emperor Constantine authorized Christians to practice their religion.

Edict of Thessalonica, 380: The Emperor Theodosius declared Christianity the official religion of the Empire

Ficheros adicionales





Pre-roman Iberian Peninsula.

At the start of the 1st millenium a number of colonising peoples sttled in the eastern coasts of the Iberian Peninsula, where the founded cities. The most important were: the phoenicians, the greeks and the carthaginians.

6. 1. Phoenicians.

Chronology: about the 9th century.

Colonies: Gadir (Cadiz), Malaca (Málaga), Sexi (Almuñecar) and Abdera (Adra).

Cultural innovations: the potter's wheel, and the alphabetic writing.

6. 2. Greeks.

Chronology: about the 8th century.

Colonies: Emporion (Ampurias), Rhode (Rosas), Mainake (Torre del Mar).

Cultural innovations: money, the cultivation of olive trees, Art.

6. 3. Carthaginians.

Carthago was a colony of Tyre.

Chronology: 7th century Balearic islands, 6th century Iberian Peninsula.

Colonies: Ebussus (Eivissa), Carthago Nova (Cartagena), Mago (Mahon).

6. 4. Tartessos.

As a consequence of the cultural influence colonising peoples appear a indigenous urban culture: Tartessos, located in the region of Huelva between the 8th and the 6th centuries. It was caractherised by:

  • An economy based on agriculture and the exploitation of the metals in the region.
  • Apparition of writing.
  • A refined form of art.
    Colonird in the Pre-roman Iberian Peninsula.


1. Architecture.


  • They designed buildings to a human scale.
  • They used stone and marble.
  • They had columns and a double-sloped roof.
  • They introduced orders, column arrangements, that aimed for proportion and ideal beauty. There were three: doric, jonic and corinthian.Greek orders

  • There were two main types of buildings:
  1. Temples: The house of a particular god. Inside, there is a statue of the god. The parts of the greek temple were:
  • pronaos, a vestibule.
  • naos, the main room where the god's statue was located.
  • opisthodomos, another room where the offerings made to the god were kept.GREEK TEMPLE PARTS

The most important were built in the 5th century in the Acropolis of Athens: the Partenon and the Erecteion.ParthenonErecteion, Athens

  1. Theatre:was used for the performance of theatre plays and was built to the advantage of mountain slopes.
    Delphi theatre

2. Sculpture:


  • About the materials, first the used wood, later polychrome marble, bronze and sometimes, ivory and gold.
  • Tried to achieve idealised beauty, using a canon, a set of proportions applied to the human body.
  • Great variety of subjects: gods, heroes, athletles, religious scenes and battles.
  • We can distinguish several periods:
  1. Archaic: Rigid figures and almond-shaped eyes: Kouroi, Male naked athletes; Kouroai: Dressed females.kouroi
  2. Classical period: Figures in movement, more realistic but still idealised. Examples: Dyscobolus, Myron, Relief of The Parthenon and Athena, Phidias.Dyscobolus, Miron
  3. Hellenistic period: They represented movement and expressions of feelings in faces and bodies. Examples: Laocoön and Winged Victory of Samothrace.Laocoon

Winged victory of Samothrace

3. Pottery.

Characterised by a great variety of forms for every sort of use: storing grain, transporting water and mixing wine and water, etc.

In Athens there were two types according its decoration:

  • red figures painted on a black background.
  • black figures painted on a red background.



Archaic period:

Oligarchy: Power was held by a few privileged men who called themselves aristoi, “the best”. The word aristocracy comes from aristoi.

Classical period:

  • Athens established a democratic form of government (only adult males could vote). The cause was the colonization process which increased the wealth of less privileged groups (traders, artisans and peasants) who demanded political rights.

The main institutions of the Athenian democratic system were:

  • The Assembly (Ecclesia) which made up of free men aged over 18 who were sons of Athenian fathers and mothers. Its main duties were to discuss and vote on laws, decide about war and peace and chose magistrates.
  • The Council of 500 (Boule), propossed annualy by lot among the members of the Assembly. Its main function was to draft the laws to be discussed by the Assembly.
  • The Magistrates, elected annualy by the Assembly. Its main function was to rule: 9 arcons (civil functions) and strategos (military).
  • The People's tribunals (Helalia), its members were propossed annualy by lot.

The athenian political system excluded women, foreigners (metics) and slaves. Only 40.000 out of 250.000 inhabitants took part in the political life.

  • Sparta kept the oligarchical system. Sparta was a dual monarchy (two kings), but they only had honorific and military responsabilities.

The main political institutions of Sparta were:

  • The Assembly (Apella) which was made up of men who were sons of Spartan fathers aged over thirty. Its only function was to vote yes or no to the laws.
  • The Council of Elders (Gerosusia) which was made up of 28 aristocrasts aged over 60. Its function was to draw up the laws and present them to the Assembly.
  • Five Magristrates (Ephors) ellected by the Assembly. Its function was to monitor citizens' private life and the kings' decisions.Sparta, political organization.



The main economic activities were:

  • Agriculture: It was the basis of Greek economy. The main crops were that of the Mediterranean triad: vines, olives and cereals.
  • Farming: Goats and sheep
  • Crafwork: Pottery, glass and high quality textiles
  • Comerce: Manufactured and agricultural products.


In ancient Greece people was divided into two categories:

  • Citizens, free males whose parents, or just one of them (Sparta), had been born in the polis:
  1. They could take part in political life.
  2. They have to pay taxes and serve in the army.
  • Non-citizens, could not participe in political life. Consisted of:
  1. Foreigners or metics, they were freemen who worked in trade of manufacture.
  2. Slaves, prisoners of war and individuals who could not pay their debts.
  3. Women, they had no political rigths.


3. 1. Olimpic gods:

  • Ancient Greeks were polytheistic: they had many gods.
  • Gods had the same appearance and sentiments as humans, but they were inmortal and had exceptional powers.
  • They also believed in heroes: born of a deity and a mortal that could do incredible deeds.
  • The tales of gods and heroes are known as mythology.
  • Greek religion was adopted by the Romans, who changed gods’ names.
  • The main gods were:
  1. Zeus/Jupiter (roman name): The ruler of Mount Olympus.
  2. Hera/Juno: Goddess of the home.
  3. Hades/Pluto: God of Hell.
  4. Demeter/Ceres: Goddess of agriculture and fertility
  5. Ares/Mars: God of war.
  6. Artemis/Diana: Goddess of hunting
  7. Apollo: God of love, poetry and beauty
  8. Athena/Minerva: Goddess of wisdom
  9. Hermes/Mercury: God of travel and routes. The mesenger of the gods
  10. Dionysus/Bacchus: God of wine
  11. Aphrodite/Venus: God of love and beauty.

3. 2. Religious worship.

The main elements of the religious worship were:

  • Prayers, offerings, and animal sacifices in the temples.
  • Oracles which gave the answers of the God's to human questions.
  • Games of sporting competitions, festivals dedicates to the gods. The most important took place in Olympia in honour of Zeus.


Greek culture has been the fundation of Western culture. The most important cultural figures were:

  • Science: Pythagoras (maths), Archimedes (physics) and Hypocrates (medicine).
  • History: Herodotus.
  • Philosophy: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle.


1. General Characteristics.

1. 1. Chronology.

Between the 8th and first century BC.

1. 2. Location.

From the south of the Balkan Peninsula to the western coast of Asia Minor, including some islands in the Egean and Ionian seas. This territoy was called Helas.Map of Ancient Greek

1. 3. Natural enviroment.

The Balkan Peninsula and Asia Menor has some phisical caractheristics that had a big influence in the greek civilisation:

  1. Proximity to the sea: Greece developed important commercial activities throughout the Mediterranea region
  2. Mountanious territory and innumerable islands: Greece were organised in poleis or city-states which never became a unifies states.

1. 4. A common culture.

Despite their differences all greeks shared several common feautres:

  1. A common geographical space, Hellas: Its inhabitants called themselves Hellenes.
  2. A common culture: they spoke Greek and they had the same religion.

1. 5. Timeline.

We can divide the history of the Greek civilisation in several periods of time:

  • Minoic civilization 2.000 B. C.-1.600 B. C.
  • Mycenian civilization: 1.600 B. C.-1.200 B. C.
  • Dark Ages: 1.200 B. C.-800 B. C.
  • Archaic Period: 800 B. C.-500 B. C.
  • Classic Period: 500 B. C.-336 B. C.
  • Hellenistic Period: 336 B. C.-31 B. C.

2. Greek history: the Archaic Period (800 B. C.-500 B. C.)

2. 1. Poleis became organized:

Their main characteristics were:

  • A polis consisted of an urban center and the farming land, forest and pastureland that surrounded it.
  • Each one had their own laws, government, army and currency.
  • They were economically selfsufficient, but some participated in important commercial activities.
  • There were more than 200 poleis, the most important ones were Athens and Sparta.
  • We can distinguish two main parts in a poleis:
  1. Agora or main square was located In the lower part, where the population lived.
  2. The acropolis:Upper city, with numerous temples. It was a safe place against an invasion.

2. .2. The colonization.

During the Archaic period greeks migrated migrated away from their original city-states, metropolis, to the coasts of Black Sea and the Mediterranean sea. The most important colonies were:

  • Italy: Syracuse, Tarentum
  • France: Massalia.
  • Iberian Peninsula: Emporion

Greek colonization


  • The poor distribution of land and their limited capacity.
  • There was not enough food for all the population


  • Colonies were located at advantageous sites for trade and agriculture.
  • Were organised according the Greek social structure and customs.
  • Maintained close relationships with the city of origin of the colonisers (metropolis).


As a consequence greek culture spreaded and some technological advances:

  • Use of iron
  • Money
  • The alphabet
  • Its art and architecture

3. Greek history: the Classic Period (500 B. C.-338 B. C.).

Its main characteristics were:

  • The greatest period for the Greek poleis.
  • Sparta and Athens were the most important polis.
  • The 5th century is known as the Age of Pericles, the politician that governed Athens for 31 years, and one of the fathers of democracy. During his goverment Athens produced very important thinkers and artists such as: Socrates (philosoper), Dramatists (Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides) and artists (Phidias).

3. 1. Median Wars, or Greco-Persian war:

Chronology:Beginning of the 5th C

Cause:The Persians tried to gain control of the Greek poleis of Asia Minor and continental Greece.

As a consequences of these wars, Athens became the most powerful polis because its army was essential in defeating the Persians in the battles of Marathon (490 BC) and Salamis (480 BC).

Furthemore, The Delian League was created (478 BC) was created by Athens, a military alliance between poleis led by Athens to prevent Persians attacks.



3. 2. Peloponesian War (431-404 BC):

Causes; conflicts between Greek poleis:

  • The dominant position of Athens threatened other poleis and led to wars between them.
  • Athens made other poleis that belonged to the Delian League pay high taxes and took the League’s treasure.
  • Sparta was against this control.


  • After years of war Sparta dominated over the rest of the poleis.
  • While the poleis were fighting, king Philip II of Macedon organised a great army.
  • By 338 BC, Philip II dominated all the Greek, except for Sparta.

4. Hellenistic period.

4. 1. The Empire of Alexander the Great.

Origin:The son of Philip II, Alexander the Great, (356-323 BC), continued the territorial expansion:

  • He unified the Greek poleis to confront a common enemy,: the Persian empire.
  • He created a great empire from the Mediterranean to the Indian frontier.Alexander the great empire.

4. 2. Hellenistic monarchies.

When Alexander died, his generals divided the empire among themselves and created the Hellenistic monarchies

  • Were absolute monarchies: the king had all the powers.
  • Spreaded the Greek culture and art throughout the East: Hellenism.

They were conquered by the Roman empire, and with the conquest of the Ptolemaic Egypt (30 B. C.), ended the Greek civilization.

Hellenistic kingdoms, 303 B. C.

 5. Activities.

1. Complete these timeline with the following events:

a). First Olympic games (776 B. C.)

b). Conquest of Greece by Alexander the Great (338 B. C.)

c). Battle of Salamis (480 B. C.)

d) Roman conquest of the Ptolemaic Egypt (30 B. C.)

e). End of the War of the Peloponnesian war (404 B. C.).



Some activities related to Mesopotamia and Egypt.


The river civilisations.

The first civilisations, which used writing language appeared 5.000 years ago. They are called river civilisations, because they grew up along the banks of some of the largest rivers when neolithic peoples started to use water to irrigate their fields. As a consequence there were:

  • an increase in production.
  • a population growth
  • the apparition of cities.

The most important river citilizations were:

  • the Mesopotamian, located between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates.
  • the Egyptian, on the banks of the Nile valley.Nile river from space
  • the Indian, along the river Indus.
  • the Chinese, along the Huang He.


Polticial changes.

  • The first states appeared, because it was necessary to develop a political power in order to organise the distribution of water, the upkeep of the irrigation canals and the defence of the cities.
  • Power was held by princes or kings who controlled political and religious power. They were considered gods or intermediaries between gods and human beigns. They were helped by:
  1. civil servants
  2. armies

Some kings conquered other peoples forming empires.

Economic, social and cultural changes.


Was still mainly agricultural, but the abundant harverst allowed two important changes:

  • the development of other trades: pottery, weaving, silver produciton, stonemasonry, etc.
  • the growth of trade, first between regions, later between different states, using large rivers and canals.


Became more complex and we can distinguish different groups according to their wealth or prestige:

  • a minority group, which included the king, priests and high-ranking civil servants and held political power.
  • the mayority of the population which were obliged to pay high taxes.



1. Geography.

Egyptian Civilization developed between 3,100 and 31 BC along a narrow fringe on the banks of the fertile Nile River.

Environmental conditions influenced the historical development of Egypt:

  • The desert isolated it from enemies.
  • The Nile, with its floods, provided fertile lands.

An urban civilisation developed in two independent kingdoms:

  • Lower Egypt, in the delta areas
  • Upper Egypt, in the valley

2. History.

Circa 5.000 B. C., the Neolithic populations along the Nile valley learnt to control the annual flooding of the river, by drying out the boggy marshes, building irrigation canals and increasing the crop growing areas.

Then, independent city-states, ruled nomarcs appeared and in 3.100 B. C., a legendary king Menes which unified the territories of Upper and Lower Egypt.

We can divide the history of Ancient Egypt into several periods of time separated by periods of decline:

  • Old Kingdom (3.100 B. C.-XX century B. C.). The capital city was Memphis and the pyramids were built.
  • Middle Kingdom (XI century B. C.-XVIII B. C.). The capital city was Thebes and they conquered Nubia in the south.
  • New Kingdom (XVI century B. C.-XI B. C.). They conquered Syria and Palestine and appeared important pharaons as Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) and Ramesses II.
  • Ptolemaic Kingdom (715 B. C.-30 B. C.). Egypt entered a period of decline and was dominated by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians and Greeks. In 31 B. C. was conquered by the Romans.

3. Political organization.

The Pharaohs had control over everything:

  • They were the political and military rulers
  • They owned all the state's land.
  • They imposed law and justice.
  • They controlled water regulation.
  • They commanded the army.
  • They were considered living gods.

The Pharaoh ruled with the aid of other people:

  • Governors.Nomarch.
  • Clerks and administrators, the most important the scribes.
  • A very organized army.

4. Society.

We can divide egyptian society intr three main groups:

  • The upper strata, owners of most of the land, that included:
    1. The pharaoh and his family.
    2. The nobles such as gobernors (nomarchs), ministers and
    3. The priests that maintained the temples and managed their propierties.
  • The intermediate strata, that included:
  1. wealthy merchants
  2. specialised artisans.
  3. scribes, almost the only people who knew how to read and write, they rote documents and kept accounts.
  • The lower strata, that included all the free people, among them:
  1. peasants who farmed the lands of the pharaon and the nobility.
  2. small merchants.
  3. small artisans.

5. Economic organization.

It was based on:

  • irrigated agriculture. They produced: Wheat, barley, legumes, figs, cotton. Bread and beer were the basics of their diet.
  • Farm animals:
  1. For food: pigs, sheep and poultry
  2. For work: oxen and donkeys.
  • Craft:Very advanced.
  • Trade: Trade with other territories was controlled by the pharaoh.

6. Culture.

6. 1. Religion and beliefs:

  • Egyptians were polytheistic.
  • Some of the gods had a zoomorphic aspect.
  • They considered some animals sacred: Crocodile, Hippopotamus, Beetle, cat.
  • The most important gods were:
  1. Amun, god of the city of Thebes. He was identified with Ra god of the Sun.
  2. Thoth, god of wisdom.
  3.  Anubis, god of the tombs and mummification.
  4. Osiris,god of the dead.
  5. Isis, wife of Osiris and goodess of love.
  6. Horus. god of sky and war.
  • Egyptians believed in life after death:

-The soul (ba) needed a body to stay in, because of that they practised mummification in order to preserve the body.

-To enter the afterlife the soul had to pass the Judgement of Osiris.

-The Book of Dead was a guide on how to pass this judgment.

Egyptian religion6. 2. Cultural aspects:

  • Hieroglyphic writing:
  1. Consisted of a succession of symbols and drawings.
  2. They commonly used papyrus: A thick paper-like material produced from the pith of the papyrus plant.
  • They developed sciences in order to control floods:

Algebra, Geometry, A calendar of 365 days divided into 24 periods, Astronomy.

7. Art.



  • Buildings made of stone.
  • They used flat roofs and columns.
  • They were two types of buildings:
  1. Temples. the house of a specific god. The most important were Karnak, Luxor and Abu Simbel.
  2. Tombs, there were several types:
  • First, mastabas and pyramids, contained many corridors and a funerary chamber.pyramid of keopsmastaba
  • Later, hypogea, tombs carved into the rocks.


Relief: Decoration of temple and tomb walls.

Free-standing sculptures: gods, pharaohs, nobles, clercks.


They decorated the interior of tombs and temples.

They represented everyday life and religious topics.


The territory.

Mesopotamia, comes from Greek and it means, the land between two rivers: Euphrates and Tigris. Both of them share several characteristics:

  • Their source is located in the Armenian mountains.
  • They flow parallel for a large part of their course.
  • Both flow in the Persian Gulf.
  • During the spring its water overflows their banks and fertilise the land.

We can distinguish two large regions:

  • Lower Mesopotamia or Chaldea, located in the south and was occupied by the Sumer and Akkadian civilisations.
  • Upper Mesopotamia or Assiria, located in the north.Mesopotamia

Historical evolution.

Chronology: from 3.500 B. C. with the apparition of the first city-states to 539 B. C. with the conquest of Babylon by the Persian Empire.

We can divide its history into periods of time defined by the people which controlled the region. We can distinguish two stages:

The first city-states.

The mesopotamian civilisation started around 3.500 B. C, when a people of unknown origin, the sumerians established themselves in Lower Mesopotamia.

The sumerians extended the crop growing areas with irrigation thanks to:

  • the use of irrigation canals
  • the use of dykes and walls to control the rivers periodic rises.

As a consequence, a group of independent city-states appeared (Ur, Uruk, Lagash and Eridu). A city-state is a city which controls its surrounding territory and is politicaly and economicaly independent. These cities fought against each other.

The first empires.

From 2.300 B. C., Mesopotamia was dominated by other peoples:

  • The Akkadians (XXIV-XXIII B. C) invaded the sumerian cities and a empire was established by its king Sargon I. Its capital was Akkad.
  • The Babylonians (XVIII-XVI B. C.) established a empire with capital in Babylon, located between sumer and Akkad. Its most important king was Hammurabi who created the first legal code.
  • The Assyrians (XVI-XIII B. C. and X-VII B. C.) a warlike people from upper Mesopotamia. Its capital cities were Assur and Niniveh. The most important king was Ashunasirpal II (IX century B. C.).Map of Assirian empire
  • The Persians who conquered Mesopotamia in 539 B. C., turning it into one province of their empire.


1. Politics.

During the sumerian period, every city-state was led by an ensi or prince-priest, who held the politic and religious power.

Later, the ensi became a king who only had political power.
2. Economy.

The main economic activity was the irrigation-based agriculture and most of the lands belonged to the palace or the temples.

The other main economic activity was foreing trade in order to obtain wood, stone and metals.
3. Society.

Mesopotamian society was divided into three social groups:

  • The nobility, consisted of the ensi and his family, high-ranking civil servants and priests. They had extensive possesions and collected taxes.
  • The people, free citizens that had their own property. It consisted of traders, civil servants, scribes, peasants and artisans.
  • Slaves, they were prisoners of war or free citizens that had been slaves for not paying their debts. They had no rights and were consider things.

4. Religion.

The mesopotamian religion was polytheistic, they had many gods, among them, Anu, god of heaven; Enlil, god of the wind; Marduk, lord of the gods; and Ishtar, the goddess of love.

Temples were considered the houses of the gods on Earth.

5. Culture.

Writing appeared in Mesopotamia circa 3.250 BC and is known as cuneiform script. Was done on soft wax tablets with a stylus that left wedge-shaped marks. The wax tablets were left to dry in the Sun.Cuneiform writing

Sumerians also developed a number of sciences such as astrology, astronomy and mathematics.
6. Art.

6. 1. Architecture.

Their main characteristics were:

  • Use of poor quality materials such as adobe, which is clay mixed with straw and rectangular baked clay bricks.
  • Use of the arch and the vault to roof the buildings.
  • The main types of buildings were:
  1. Temples, which included a stepped tower that was the link between gods and men and used as astronomical observatory.Ziggurat
  2. Palaces that were surrounded by walls fitted with large gateways and many rooms.

6. 2. Sculpture.

They were two types:

Statues of noble individuals such as the king Gudea de Lagash.
Reliefs which represented figures of winged bulls with human heads, scenes of war and hunting.

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