Ancient Greece Reading HW.docx - ANCIENT GREECE Name Date...

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ANCIENT GREECE Name: __________________________________ Date: _____________ Prd: __________ Greek legend tells that the Aegean Sea was named after the king of Athens, Aegeus. His son Theseus was one of the great heroes of ancient Greece. He was going to fight the Minotaur, a monster of Crete that had the body of a man and the head of a bull. Theseus promised his father, Aegeus, that on the way home he would replace the black sail on his ship with the white one if the journey were successful. But he forgot his promise; Aegeus saw the black sail far out in the sea and threw himself off a cliff. Washed by the waters of three seas—the Aegean, Ionian, and Mediterranean--Greece was a crossroads for different cultures. Its history began on the island of Crete about 6,000 years ago. Major seaways, power, religion, and law were the basis for Crete's developed commerce and trade. At the heart of that civilization was a huge palace at Knossos--a city in ancient Crete. Knossos was the capital of the legendary King Minos. This civilization of Crete is also called the Minoan civilization because of him. The history and culture of ancient Greece is closely tied to the seas and natural forces. Around 1,500 BC, a terrible earthquake happened not far from Crete and destroyed much of the island. Scientists supposed that was one the main causes of the end of the great Crete civilization. It was not completely gone, though. Art, culture, and traditions of Crete had a very strong influence on those of mainland Greece. The first important civilization on mainland Greece developed around 1,400 BC in the northeastern part of the Peloponnese. Many small kingdoms and fortresses were built, and the most important of them was the city of Mycenae. Mycenaeans were very strong and powerful. They learned to sail as far as Egypt, developed the cult of Olympic gods and the basics of the culture that was later known as the culture of ancient Greece.
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