The Archaic and Classical Periods continued the worship of the dead. Central to all of the periods was that honor was of central importance in burial (Morris 49). Valor on the battlefield and the ability to produce offspring were more valued than anything else in the Greek society, since they provided continuity to the ancient Greek bloodlines and society.
Greek territory is located at the Aegean sea, and spread across many islands (Martin 1). Mainland is covered by mountains (Martin 1). Only 20 – 30 percent of Greek mainland and a few islands were arable in the time of ancient Greece (Martin 2). Sea was their main transport route (Martin 2). Greeks traded with merchants from the Near East, Egypt and other eastern Mediterranean parts (Martin 2).
Despite the shared culture, Greeks never constituted one state. Ancient Greeks lived in different communities, ranging from oligarchies to monarchies and tyrannies, with some such as Athens reaching democracy (Martin). However, they all shared “a cultural identity because they spoke dialects of the same language” (Martin 4). They worshipped the same gods and gathered at celebrations of their gods (Martin 4).
Two prominent cultures in the Bronze Age were the Mycenaean on the mainland and Minoan on Crete. Around 2,200 B.C., the Minoan culture developed (Martin 24). Palaces sprang up in the Minoan culture. Females were highly valued as represented on the palace frescoes and figurines of “bosomy goddesses”, but burial customs reveal that males held highest positions in running the society (Martin 26). Martial prowess was highly valued, as the wealth of weaponry found in graves of Minoan males indicated (Martin 26). It is safe to assume than Minoan palaces were run by male kings or princes, and that the society was already highly specialized (Martin 26).
The first Greek speaking culture whose burial grounds have been uncovered come from the Mycenaean ...