Greek Cultural Periods > Geometric Period

Geometric Period

Background

The Geometric Period was the first major style of art and pottery design that appeared after the onset of the Greek Dark Ages following the Late Bronze Age Collapse. During this period there was the development of alphabetic writing that is slightly different but still similar to Linear B showing continuity from the Myceneans. For example during this time would be when the famous epics the Iliad and the Odyssey were composed by Homer and give us one of the only primary source documents from the Greek perspective on this period in history.

Another major development during this time was the rise of the polis or city-state which would come to characterize Greek civilization. This shows a great departure from the previous era of kings as suggested by Homer’s epics. It would be during this period that settlements such as Athens and Sparta would become major city-states with a competing rivalry. Despite the competing city-states there developed Pan-Hellenic sanctuaries of the same style all across Greece and the Mediterranean colonies to the Black Sea and into North Africa and Asia Minor.

However, another unique feature of this time period was the departure from the total warfare as suggested in the Late Bronze Age Collapse. While there would still be regional rivalries between Greek city-states that would erupt into wars and conflicts and even destroyed cities there would never be the complete collapse of Greek civilization. The Olympic Games, may have served as a healthy outlet for those tensions as well which appear during this time period in 776 BC.

Going along with these changes in warfare was the rise of the Hoplite citizen militias which may have developed in response to the raid and plunder based economies of the Mycenaean kings and their chariot based forces. In fact, the Hoplites when working as intended served in their phalanx formation as a bronze clad wall tipped with spears that could break any cavalry or infantry charge the enemy threw at them, which the Persians found out about later.

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