Greek Week

Be sure to remember to set up your city-state shrines, located in the classroom of your patron scholar, by lunchtime on Friday, which is when they will be judged.

The word to remember is "sacred": what sorts of things were sacred to your city-state.  You may want to think about:

*religion/patron deities
*famous citizens in ancient times
*works of art


Scarce had the rosy Morning raised her head
Above the waves, and left her watery bed;
The pious chief, whom double cares attend
For his unburied soldiers and his friend,
Yet first to Heav'n performed a victor's vows:
He bared an ancient oak of all her boughs;
Then on a rising ground the trunk he placed,
Which with the spoils of his dead foe he graced.
The coat of arms by proud Mezentius worn,
Now on a naked snag in triumph borne,
Was hung on high, and glittered from afar,
A trophy sacred to the God of War.
Above his arms, fixed on the leafless wood,
Appeared his plumy crest, besmeared with blood:
His brazen buckler on the left was seen;
Truncheons of shivered lances hung between;
And on the right was placed his corselet, bored;
And to the neck was tied his unavailing sword.

-Virgil,  Aeneid 11.4-11


-a joyous song or hymn of praise, tribute, thanksgiving, or triumph; usually performed by a chorus instead of an individual.

Ex: In the Iliad, Achilles and the Myrmidons sing a paean after the death of Hector of Troy.

Originally a song of healing associated with the god Paean, who was an early god of healing and medicine.  Later, the act of the paean was combined with name of the god, and became a song of thanksgiving and later victory.

The Greek poet Aeschylus who took part in the Battle of Salamis, commented on the power of the paean over enemies (in this case the Persians):
“All the barbarians felt fear because they had been deprived of what they expected. The Greeks were singing the stately paean at that time not for flight, but because they were hastening into battle and were stout of heart.”  (Wikipedia)

DEBATE: Friday

Scoring system -

Speeches 30% - must be 28-32 seconds long, and provide insight to why your city-state is better than the rest; must be memorized, and have a copy to turn in.

Questions & Answers = 70%

Each "attacker" should have multiple questions ready to ask each city-state (3-4).  Try to expose their weaknesses.

Each "defender" should be ready to respond to the questions asked by opponents. 


each question and answer, together, will have 5 points up for grabs.  A question that "stumps" the opponent will get all 5 points.  A question that is only answered with a minimal, poorly constructed response will be split 4 - 1.  If a question is poorly constructed itself, and the answer not only blows away the attacker, but manages to turn the tables on the city-state asking the question, it could end up with a score of 1 - 4 or even 0 - 5.


5 - excellent question, stumps opponent completely
4 - excellent question, feeble response by opponent
3 - solid question, response is adequate
2 - it is obvious that, although it was a good question, the response was much better
1 - the question was poorly constructed, and the opponent gave an excellent, high-quality response
0 - question made no sense, or was incorrect


5 - Answer blew away the attacker, leaving him/her speechless
4 - Answer dominated the question, and turned the tables on the attacker
3 - Answer was well-constructed, and proved your city-state's case adequately
2 - Answer was insufficient to overcome the question; your opponent "won" the round
1 - You tried, and gave an answer, but you were obviously unprepared to answer this question
0 - You had no coherent response, or your information was completely incorrect.










You are one of the 20,000 citizens of Thebes, which is one of the oldest and greatest powers of ancient Greece.  Your polis was known for its famous seven gates, massive city walls, and the citadel on its legendary acropolis of Cadmea.  Thebes exists in a fertile and well-watered plain, surrounded by mountains, in the central part of Boeotia in eastern Greece. Although your typical weather is not as nice as other poleis, due to your heavy, fog-laden atmosphere (the Athenians have said your people are “as dull as their native air”), your polis is nonetheless a major center of agriculture and livestock, making your city-state proudly self-sufficient in food.  Despite the reputation for being a bit “less civilized” for being located farthest north, your proud polis still has produced such writers as the poet Pindar and the biographer Plutarch.  Additionally, Thebes was the last city-state to become the leading power in ancient Greece (before Alexander the Great) when your mighty warriors crushed the Spartans at the Battle of Leuctra, showing the world they were indeed beatable after all.  Thebes is also known for their strict property laws, traditional, “matter of fact” people, and their compassion for the rights of individuals (not practicing the Greek tradition of “exposure” of disadvantaged babies, for instance).  Despite proudly having one of Greece’s oldest monarchies, the Theban government is really an oligarchy, with a “Boeotarch” selected every year to serve as a king, with a ceremonial spear and crown.  Thebes has long been involved in intrigues with other city-states, most notably fighting against Corinth and Argos in archaic times, Athens in classical times, and has suffered from more than one Spartan plot against it in later periods.

Special rules: Theban women, who were apparently encouraged to sing in all-women choruses, will receive extra participation points every time they enthusiastically participate in a victory paean.  Also, Theban citizens may eat food in class, and may sell food to other poleis if desired.  Please avoid ALL NUTS in any food you desire to bring, eat, or sell, and be aware that you must clean up your polis after each class.


Your most notable enemy is nearby Athens, whom you desire to defeat at all costs.  Your citizens have a strong literary background, religious with a strong connection to Greek mythology, and are cautious and skeptical of other poleis, especially Athens and Sparta.  As a more agricultural community, you enjoy harvest festivals, pray for continued fertility, and are much more practical and introspective than most city-states.



You are one of the 12,000 citizens of Corinth, one of the most cosmopolitan and forward-thinking cities in ancient Greece.  Although often overshadowed by its sometimes rival, sometimes ally Athens, the city-state of Corinth used its favorable location on a major land and water crossroads to its commercial advantage.  Located on seaside cliffs at the entrance to the Peloponnese, Corinth has long been known as a luxurious Greek polis that is the most accepting of foreigners, and incorporating the (sometimes scandalous) customs of others into your city-state for the simple reason that it is good for business; for example, even WOMEN are allowed to conduct business, and own land!  Originally known for its successful bronze and pottery industries, Corinth’s wealth is second only to Athens, due to some very innovative decisions made in earlier times, such as the “diolkos”, which connected the Saronic and Corinthian gulfs.  Corinth is run by an oligarchy of an 80-member council made up of successful businessmen, who continue to make decisions that impact the considerable amount of trade that flows through the city.  Corinth is a city of large public-works projects to improve their productivity, amazing architecture, and continues to be the most well-connected polis and one of the financial centers of not only Greece, but the entire eastern Mediterranean.  Additionally, Corinth is very interested in expanding to the west, and establishing far-flung colonies to export raw materials to Greece.
Special rules:  Corinth will receive a pottery competition advantage, and will continue to receive coins (and therefore points) by charging a toll throughout the week.


Your most notable enemies are Athens, of whom you are jealous, and Sparta, with whom you are completely incompatible. Your citizens are well rounded, most notably in commerce and the arts, although your city-state also possesses an excellent navy.  As forward-thinkers, you aren’t afraid to try new things, or utilize all possible ways to solve a problem, including more relaxed views on foreigners and women.  Obviously, you pray to the god of the seas, and are much more worldly than other city-states.



You are one of the 20,000 citizens of Argos, one of the oldest and most innovative and artistic city-states in the Peloponnese.  Argives, as you are called, have long been known for their distinctive style and imagery, despite being overshadowed by other city-states during the age of Classical Greece.  Although very traditional in some ways, your true gifts to the Hellenes are your artistic abilities, which are rivaled only by Athens.  Your sculptures, plays, poetry, literature, and music are idolized throughout the Greek world, including your massive outdoor theater, one of the largest in all of Greece.  Although your army has a reputation for performing well on the battlefield, you are usually manipulated by Athens (also one of your traditional allies) or treacherously attacked by Sparta, your biggest rival.  Argos was the first Greek city-state to utilize coins for exchange, which stimulated the Greek economy.  It shouldn’t surprise you, then, to learn that Argos was also known for its silver, its standardized weights and measures, and excellence at math.  Argos, though located on a coastal plain, didn’t always choose to grow enough food to support itself; instead, Argives realized that they could make more profits by growing specialized crops that could be traded at nearby Corinth for more produce and other goods.  Argos also established colonies in overseas areas to the east that grew grains, knowing that grains could be transported easily back to Argos to feed the population.

Personification:  Although you would rather not have to choose, your allies in these games are Athens and maybe Corinth, and your traditional enemies are Thebes (in archaic times) and Sparta (classical times).  You consider yourselves artistically superior, even though people still think of Athens as the center of Greek culture.  Your citizens have a deep connection to the goddess Hera, and although you aren’t known for your education or science, like Athens, you are proud of your artistic, military, and economic heritage that made you one of the most powerful and traditional poleis in the Bronze Age. 

Special rules:  On Wednesday, to honor the leadership of Telesilla, the Hybristica festival will be re-enacted, and Argive males and females will exchange roles as the opposite gender during social studies class.  Argos will get participation points based on their level of enthusiasm for this Argive festival.  Argives also get a tiebreaker bonus in matters of art and mathematics.



You are one of 8,000 citizens of Sparta, the smallest yet most militarily powerful of the city-states.  Your military-based society is very traditional yet very different from other city-states of Classical Greece.  The strength of your economy, and what makes your small population able to maintain such an impressive army, is the helot (slave) class of people that do the farming and menial labor for you (oddly reminiscent of the southern US during the early part of American history).  Sparta was also an ancient city-state, one that flourished in the arts and sciences before changes transformed it into a military society for which it is now famous.  Their soldiers were second to none in the Greek world, at least until their defeat at the hands of the Thebans at Leuctra in 371 BCE.  Spartans were very conservative, compared to the enlightened nature of other Greek city-states, and didn’t believe in the value of being an artisan, incorporating foreigners into their community, or individual human rights: everything was done for the greater good of the city-state.

Personification:  Since Spartan males were trained for war almost from birth, the “Spartan way” is one filled with hardship, and doing whatever it takes to win.  Spartans are allowed, within reason of course, to lie, cheat, and steal; please be advised that there are HEAVY point value penalties for getting caught, but to replicate Spartan society, it is within the rules of Greek Week to do so.  Discipline, self-control, and uniformity are of utmost importance to Spartans, who are the enemies of Athens, usually allied with Thebes, Corinth, or both, and usually find themselves against Argos.  Naturally, Spartans should showcase their physical abilities, march in unison, and share the workload as evenly as possible.  Remember, Spartans tended to view things in a very “black and white” manner: Spartans were forbidden to use anything other than the axe and saw to build their houses, land was divided equally, and their lawmakers were not allowed to debate issues, only vote yes or no.

Special rules:  Spartan citizens will get extra participation points for each time they act, march, speak, or cheer in unison.  Spartans may not ever ally with Athens.



You are one of 40,000 citizens of Athens, which is obviously the most populous, famous, successful, and well-known city-state in ancient Greece.  Athenians felt enormous pride in following the leadership of their goddess and namesake, Athena, and transforming their polis into a worldly center of knowledge, science, literature, democracy, and power unlike anything the world had ever seen.  Athenians considered themselves the superior city-state of a superior culture; this probably explains why Athens eventually caused the downfall of the Classical Age of Greece, due to the fact that they grew too large and powerful.  Generations of Greeks fought Persians, and one another, because of the expansionist attitude of the Athenians, who never seemed to be quite satisfied with "just" being number one. 

Personification:  As an Athenian, act superior in every possible way to your fellow Greeks.  You are more civilized than the Thebans and Spartans, more well-educated than the Argives and Corinthians, and are the one that people always remember when discussing ancient Greece.  Your excellence knows no bounds, but it is likely to make enemies.  Everybody wants to bring you down, so be sure you are friendly with everyone possible, except Sparta.  With the help of "the little people" from the other city-states, you will run away with victory.  You are balanced, well-rounded, and superior, so you will get some key advantages in games and activities.   

Special rules:  Athenian citizens get several competition advantages, and will receive the most coinage on day one.  Athens may not ever ally with Sparta.

Rules:  Classroom Expectations, Gender, Economy, Totems and Geography

Classroom Expectations:  Points will be taken off for trash, litter, books, etc. left behind.  Points will be taken off for tardy students.  Points will be given freely to those who embrace their role as citizens of their city-states.  If historical background can be given, certain rules may be changed to reflect your research, and extra participation points may be given out as well.

Gender:  To simulate the limited freedoms of Greek women (despite the notion of being the “birthplace of democracy”), the following restrictions will be placed upon women during Greek Week:

Sparta: none, other than that women may not leave the polis unescorted.  May take their own notes during instruction portion of class.

Corinth:  women were free to conduct business, so Corinthian women may speak across ADJACENT polis lines, and may participate freely in all games and simulations.  Corinthian women are not allowed to leave the polis at all.  They may not carry anything to or from the polis.  During the instruction portion of class, women may take notes for the first five minutes only.

Thebes:  women may not talk across the polis lines, and may not leave the polis at all.  They may assist the males in all games and simulations.  They may not carry anything to or from the polis.  During the instruction portion of class, women may not take notes for themselves.

Argos:  women are only allowed to assist men in matters of art & math; they may not speak across polis lines, and may not carry anything to or from the polis.  During the instruction portion of class, women may not take notes for themselves.

Athens:  Athenian males considered it their utmost privilege to be able to protect their wives from the outside world.  Therefore, the Athenians have the following restrictions:

-Women may not carry anything to or from the polis.
-Women may not write anything, at all, during Greek Week (unless otherwise notified)
-Women may not speak across polis lines.
-Women must not touch the door, and must have their seats pushed in by Athenian males
-During the instruction portion of class, women may not take notes for themselves.

All infractions will cost their polis one point, each time.


All poleis, except for Sparta, will be issued coins on day one.  All coins may be turned in at the end of the week for points, one point per coin.  Coins must be used to pay the Corinthian tolls, and may be used for other things as designated by future rules.  They may not be replicated at home (copied, etc.).  Sparta, instead of paying tolls with coins, will perform manual labor at the discretion of the Corinthians (within reason, of course).  As for the tolls, one coin per group or individual, per trip, must be paid.


All members of each poleis will report immediately to their city-state area within the class every day.  If no Corinthian is present to take tolls, then no coins are required for entry.  Women are not allowed to address anyone across city-state lines, unless otherwise stated above (Sparta/Corinth).  Students are not allowed to cross into other poleis at any time during the simulation, unless first authorized by the citizens of that city-state.


Each city state will be expected to create / bring in a “totem” for their city state.  A totem is a 3 dimensional physical symbol of the city state. The group should decide on a totem and make sure that it is passed from team mate to team mate throughout the day so that it is brought to your social studies teachers’ classroom each class period of each day.  The totem cannot be “left” in the classroom between classes or will be confiscated for the day by the teacher and no points will be awarded.

Tentative After School Activities

Counterwall Tournament.
Bull Leaping
Marathon Relay Race
Distance Frisbee Toss
Hoplitodromos (Full Armor Run)
Dodge Ball
Useful links
Last updated  2019/06/07 08:31:28 EDTHits  1561