things like competition, shame, literature, warfare, politics, religion, values, philosophies, social structures, and gender
roles. How do these cultural characteristics compare to modern society?
2. What were some of the main aspects of the polis and how did they develop? How did the polis and culture of the
Greeks act as a unifying force for the many independent cities? How did this compare to other Iron Age societies?
3. How and why did higher education develop in the Greek world? What was the purpose of higher education in
Classical Greece? How does this compare to modern university education (particularly in western countries)?
4. What were some of the differences in the causes of the Persian Wars and Peloponnesian War? How did the conflict
itself (including fighting) differ based on the causes? In general, what can this tell us about how the cause of a conflict
affects how that conflict is fought?
5. The Greeks defended themselves from the external threat of the Persian invasions, but destroyed themselves in the
Peloponnesian War. What does this say about the stability and success of democratic governments compared to
monarchies? How does protection and freedom influence this comparison? Would you rather live under a democracy
of the Greeks or the monarchy of Persia? Why?
6. Herodotus wrote in his Histories that when a Persian and Greek met the Greek derided the Persian by stating he preferred freedom in Greece to the protective slavery under the Persians. The Greek’s value of freedom thus became a core foundation of western civilization. The German professor of Medieval History Gerd Tellenbach wrote in 1936:
“Freedom has always been regarded as something supremely worthy of human contemplation and endeavor. But wherever deeper thought has been given to the matter, the conclusion has always been reached that this is to miss the essential point that freedom from something always goes with dependence on something else, and that this dependence forms the positive content of freedom. The attempt, therefore, to discover what freedom in its highest sense really is, involves deciding what we are ultimately dependent on.”
Tellenbach argued that in order to be free from X one must be dependent on Y. For example, to be free from external invasion one is dependent on a military to protect them. What are we free from and subsequently dependent on in our modern society? Which is more important, what we are free from or what we are dependent on? How does this influence your concept of freedom and its value in society?