Athens City Life in the Classical World (Unit A351) Exhaustive Revision Notes

These are my exhaustive revision notes on Ancient Athens for Unit A351 of the J280/J080 syllabus of OCR GCSE Classical Civilisation.

I have compiled the notes using multiple sources (including, in special acknowledgement, the textbook published by OCR and several resources previously published on Get Revising) in full compliance with the specification.

I hope that you find these revision notes useful. Although I'd like to think that these notes should contain everything, please beware that, being human, it's not impossible that I've made mistakes or left parts out.

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I. The Importance of Religion in Ancient Athens

The gods were an important part of Ancient Athenian civilisation. Ancient Athenians saw their fates in this life and
in the afterlife as in control of the gods; this is because Ancient Athenians believed that a good relationship with a
god would…

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Queen of the gods Diadem
Hera Goddess of marriage Cow The Heraean Games
Goddess of women and birth Lily

Goddess of fertility Cake
Demeter The Thesmophoria
Goddess of agriculture Grain

God of the sea Fish
God of storms Dolphin
Poseidon White…

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Ares God of war and destruction Chariot Sacrifices before battle

Messenger of the gods Talaria
Guide to the Underworld Tortoise
God of commerce Lyre
God of thieves Rooster
Hermes God of travellers Snake The Day of the Pots
God of…

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seeds. During the festival, which succeeded days of sexual abstinence and abstinence from certain foods, women
were also known to hurl insults and abuse known as aischrologia at one another in order to improve fertility.

Poseidon, god of the sea and brother of Zeus, was particularly important to Ancient Athenians…

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Gods were worshipped in temples built for them in and around Ancient Greek cities. It was common for Athenians
to spend their money on funding temples honouring their favourite gods, therefore enabling temples to have
sophisticated architectures.

Each temple was part of a sanctuary ( temenos ), which was regarded…

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o Everyone in the procession would be in their smartest clothes and crowned with a garland of twigs.
o If the animal moved hesitantly, it was seen as a bad omen and the sacrifice would be called off.

3. At the sanctuary, a fire was lit at the altar. The…

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V. Libations and Votive Offerings

Libations were liquid offerings often performed in supplication for a favour from the god or goddess of the
temple. Sailors and soldiers were known to form libations before voyages and battles respectively.

There were two types of libations in Ancient Greece: choê libations were dedicated…

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The order of procession was the following:

1. Arrephoroi (the four young girls)
2. Priestesses
3. Sacrificial animals
4. Wealthy metoikoi
5. Bearers of holy water, flautists and lyre players
6. The peplos
7. Old men, charioteers, infantrymen, cavalrymen, games visitors
8. Ancient Athenian citizens by deme.

The 12mhigh gold…

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The Parthenon Frieze adorned the upper part of the Parthenon 's naos and has depictions of the Great
Panathenaia on it. Scenes depicted on it are sometimes mythological, but it provides some insight as to what took
place during the Great Panathenaia .

VII. The Ancient Athenian Theatre

The Theatre…

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Only three main actors could be in a play, so in order to act our various different characters, actors wore masks
covering the entirety of their heads. These masks were made of linen, cork or wood and often had some hair at
the top.

Different characters, masks, garments and additional…




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