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Old 02-13-2010, 01:25 PM
 
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I'm pondering here as to why the ancient Greeks starting from around 800 b.c. to about 150 b.c. were so advanced over other european and asia minor cultures as they thrived in medicine, astronomy and philosophy etc. and yet europe had so many different waves of Paleo, Meso and Neolithic cultures invading it starting with the technologically advanced Aurignacian culture some 30,000 years ago.

Was it trade with the advanced Egyptians or Mesopotamia? Possibly do to advances in agriculture or abundance of mines/metal ore in the region? Why not the Hallstatt Celts (central), La Tiene Celts (north) Iberians (west) or the Scythians (east) during the same era?

So why Greece??
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Old 02-13-2010, 03:26 PM
 
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My answer to this might be a bit plain but here it goes. I think all it takes for a civilization to be superior technologically is plain luck. A couple of great minds, combined with good leadership and open mind society gives you the right tools to succeed in medicine, astronomy, philosophy or whatever area.

If Albert Einstein would have been born in Nevada back in 300 b.c. would he have made a difference? Civilization would not have benefited as much form a great mind back then, but given the right political settings that Greece had at the time, it was easier for it to flourish technologically.
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Old 02-13-2010, 03:30 PM
 
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I would think that their geographical location might have something to do with it. Mild climate..not having to spend so much time finding and growing food. And being able to interact with other advanced cultures in the region..
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Old 02-13-2010, 04:04 PM
 
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They weren't. The persians, before their kindgom was destroyed achieved signficant gains as well. The romans achieved far more practical advancements, notably in engineering and governance. Hebrews created the modern value and ethics system we still live by in the West.

The greeks made signficant gains in areas of science and philosophy that others did not in large part because no one thought they were very important.

Its like asking why the Incas did not invent the wheel. Its because they saw no need for it.
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Old 02-13-2010, 04:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Trudy Rose View Post
I would think that their geographical location might have something to do with it. Mild climate..not having to spend so much time finding and growing food. And being able to interact with other advanced cultures in the region..
Was there much agriculture there? I thinking the land was poor for growing cereal grains as that's why they were always migrating westward as nomads and also later on the Romans were importing most of their food from Mauretania and lastly europe has some of the highest rates of celiac disease in the world as they haven't evolved very well to consume wheat
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Old 02-13-2010, 05:10 PM
 
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One has to be cautious as well when talking about the Greeks. Athens generated a wide range of brillant scientists and philosophers as did cities it influenced. Sparta generated essentially nothing intellectually that was lasting. Most fell somewhere in between.
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Old 02-13-2010, 05:21 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Scientific, political and social thinking are the products of leisure time. The Greeks were very good at capturing and maintaining slaves to perform the most laborious and time consuming tasks, thus freeing up additional leisure time for many Greeks.


All of the great ancient empires depended heavily upon slave labor and Greece took special pains to organize and sustain its supply of bonded persons. They crafted their laws so that slavery was the most frequent sentence handed down by their judges, even those condemned to death could trade it for a life sentence into slavery. It was legal to sell one or more of your children into slavery to pay off a debt.


Greeks gained slaves through their war victories, as did all such socities, but they were also a a naval power and they employed straight out piracy to snatch them from the seas. A quick way to wealth for any Greek sea captain was to sell captured merchant crews at the slave markets.


And if supplies ran low, the Greek city governments themselves would accept the importation of a slave force as payment for trade goods.

Further, the Greeks were such effective controllers of their slaves that they were able to put them into positions of responsibility. The majority of ship's crews were slaves, the majority of the local police forces were slaves. Slaves were entrusted with running shops and businesses. Governmental clerical workers were often slaves. They did the farming, they worked the mines, they supplied the muscle for erecting the architectural marvels.


What modern machinery and electrical power do for us these days, in ancient time had to be done by human beings. The freedom to devote one's life to political thinking, poetry, the theater, the sciences, came at the expense of thousands whose entire lives were dedicated to providing leisure time for others.
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Old 02-13-2010, 05:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by noetsi View Post
One has to be cautious as well when talking about the Greeks. Athens generated a wide range of brillant scientists and philosophers as did cities it influenced. Sparta generated essentially nothing intellectually that was lasting. Most fell somewhere in between.
I'm wondering just how much influence the advanced Minoan culture on Crete 2,700 b.c. to 1,400 b.c. had on them as the Mycenaean Greeks replaced them to about 1,000 bc. as i wonder if the Minoan/Mycenaean culture spread northward for several hundred years to have an influence on the whole region?
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Old 02-13-2010, 07:02 PM
 
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Was there much agriculture there? I thinking the land was poor for growing cereal grains as that's why they were always migrating westward as nomads and also later on the Romans were importing most of their food from Mauretania and lastly europe has some of the highest rates of celiac disease in the world as they haven't evolved very well to consume wheat
Yes, the Greeks had a thriving agricultural society:Agriculture in ancient Greece - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
But as Grandstander points out, they relied on slave labor.
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Old 02-13-2010, 08:02 PM
 
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Slaves made leisure possible, but it was used for different things. The Romans for example had huge numbers of slaves, but never developed the intellectual traditions of the Greeks. The Spartans enslaved the entire population of their region - the healots and produced nothing at all intellectually. Slaves made it possible to develop science, but did not insure it developed.

As in statistics, neccessary, but not sufficient
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