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In What Circumstances did Greeks Come into

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Introduction

In What Circumstances did Greeks Come into Contact with Eastern Peoples and Goods, and What Effects did these Contacts Have? In the past, historians have had a tendency to separate Greek Society from the rest of the world, however contemporary scholars now recognise the need to not only place Greece within a global context but to also consider the interactions between neighbouring civilisations and their consequences. Evidence suggests that after the fall of the Myceneaens, the Ionians were driven out of Greece by the returning Dorians and forced to set up colonies in the surrounding areas1. This is the first sign of Greece interacting with other countries however the scale of the colonisation never matched that of the later years. Small communities were built but in the midst of the dark ages these are mysteriously forgotten and the Greeks reverted back to the humble surroundings of their founding city states. Any contact these expanding peoples had with the east was lost until the 8th century BC when Greece once again found a need to build colonies in the eastern and western parts of the known world. The mass colonisation is one of the main methods of interaction between Greeks and Egyptians; but why did they choose to expand their already established boundaries? Greece in the 8th century was still very much a tribal society divided by an agonistic culture which resulted in competing city states. ...read more.

Middle

The Semitic model was made up of curved lettering and didn't include any vowels at all. The Greeks found this very difficult to use in conversions of everyday significance as the soundings of the letters were difficult to master. The adding of vowels made the Greek words flow easily and likewise the letters made more straight, with fluid downwards strokes10 making it easier to carve lettering on stone statues etc. Although the east did use words on their art and wrote many notices in stone they had many years experience over the Greeks and so could effortlessly inscribe their more complex script. The learning of a new language is very difficult and so it is evident that it was not traders that brought the alphabet to Greece but those living within an integrated society. To gain knowledge of anything as complex as writing means that Greek scholars would first have to be taught the Semitic language, then they would alter it and filter it through the many regions of Greece11. The regional differences in the alphabet prove that the alphabet was a device filtered slowly from east to west with each individual city state developing it for their own practicality. There is evidence showing that this filtration process followed popular trade routes suggesting some connection with the trade business, most historians consider this is because traders were selling items inscribed with Semitic lettering and they encouraged the embracing of this form of writing in order to increase demand for specific items. ...read more.

Conclusion

Copper and tin were imported along with the tales of great oriental architecture, sparking a passion for the building of majestic monuments. Less apparent changes took place with the opened trade routes such as communication between communities creating a flare for fashion trends18 which stretched the length of Greece and further to the Phoenicians. Diets also suffered the consequences of interaction and spices and oils became necessary ingredients. After the dark ages, Greece began a fresh with an emphasis on basic humble surroundings, however with a growing population and problematic natural boundaries they were quickly forced to colonise and open their doors to new ideas. With colonisation came trade with new communities and the Greeks saw a world that was fully developed and thriving in magnificence. The splendour of places such as Egypt provided Greeks with an opportunity to improve their own culture, adopting basic eastern ideals and transforming them to adhere to Greek society. But critically the integrated settlements allowed scholars to be taught the most useful but vital practicality known today, writing. The development of the alphabet, no matter where its first origin, saw a transformation in Greece allowing inscriptions to be made on temples and law codes of individual city states to be written down and displayed publicly. The effects of the contact with the east created a Greece that was superior to its neighbouring communities because of the Greeks' natural innovative qualities. ...read more.

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