Map Link: Europe in the 4th Millennium BC:
Mediterranean Basin
City-states, living off land, fishing, trade
Climate: generally temperate. Much of life led
outdoors. Market as major meeting-place
Soil: Light and dry, supporting agriculture,
but trees only on mountains. Buildings of
stone or brick
Livestock: Mainly sheep and goats
Northern Region
Plain from France to Russian steppes. Hills,
mountains, plateaus, rivers
Climate: wet
Soil: Fertile areas, forests cleared by slash-andburn. Small settlements of timber and clay
Livestock: Main source of subsistence. Cattle
(also measure of wealth) and fishing
Earliest humans in Europe c. 30,000 years ago.
First evidence of farming in 7th millennium BC
Fertility-based religion, cult of mother goddess
c. 3000 BC Appearance of solar cult
c. 2000 BC W Europe dominated by speakers of
Indo-European languages
Map Link: Overview of the Celtic-speaking areas:
The Celts
Economic Life: trade, agriculture, crafts
Warfare: inter-tribal, plus vs. external
The Celts
Oral Culture:
No written texts
Esteem for eloquence and bards
Oral teaching: emphasis on memorisation.
Astronomy, nature/greatness of earth,
power of gods, natural and moral
philosophy, immortality of soul.
Knowledge as spiritual possession
The Celts
Concern for hygiene
Legal system
No towns: hill forts as meeting-points, markets
No coinage: fines assessed in cattle
Caste system: king, warrior aristocracy,
intelligentsia, commoners, slaves. Women
subordinated to male authority
The Celts
Warrior prestige derived from prowess in battle
or sports
Other activities: story-telling, feasting, drinking
The Celts
Buildings: mostly wood, some stone.
Fortifications incl. ditch, bank, palisade
Religion: polytheistic, multifunctional
deities, some of them zoomorphic.
Minimal evidence of temples for
worship. Sacrificial offerings in form of
treasures buried or, esp., deposited in
The Celts
Priesthood: druids. Secretive oral tradition.
Info. comes from biased classical observers
Educators and lawyers
Excommunication as
most powerful sentence.
Human sacrifice?
Map Link: Greece - Greek and Phoenician Settlements in the
Mediterranean Basin, about 550 B.C.:
Hellenic Culture
Economic Life: trade, agriculture, crafts,
natural resources
Warfare: as collective endeavour for good
of city-state
Hellenic Culture
Intellectual Culture: Esteem for written word
Know names of various playwrights,
philosophers, historians etc.
Widespread schooling and literacy
Legal system: established laws and procedures.
Fines usually paid in coin
Hellenic Culture
Society: arrangement varied by city-state, but
male-dominated. Women generally had
few rights and often secluded
Buildings: brick or stone. Monumental building
Hellenic Culture
Religion: polytheistic and pantheistic. Attempts
to win divine favour through sacrifices of
food and drink. Deities as patrons of cities,
but also associated with concepts
Other activities: symposia, theatre, gymnasia,
public festivals
The Mediaeval Worldview
Time: perception of time fluid. No uniform
system for measuring time of day,
counting years. Starting point of year
Time as gift from God. Objection to usury
The point: perceptions of time in the Middle
Ages were not standard. Makes dating
The Mediaeval Worldview
History: monotheistic religions are
God and the supernatural as active in history
and current events
The point: people were less skeptical about
supernatural involvement in life than
we are today
The Mediaeval Worldview
Space: light and vision with spiritual dimension
The earth was spherical. What was on the other
side was undecided…
The point: (again) strong supernatural and
spiritual element was an accepted part
of the world that people saw around
The Mediaeval Worldview
The Body: Soul (anima) lodged in heart. Spirit
(breath of God) mediating between body
and soul via blood. Blood used in digestion
Balance of humours: blood (hot and moist),
phlegm (cold and moist), black bile
(hot and dry), yellow bile (cold and
Tailoring treatments to patients, incl. diet,
herbs, surgery, magic, astrology
The Mediaeval Worldview
The point: understanding of the body, and
medicine, also accepted a mix of earthly
and supernatural elements
The overall point: to understand the mediaeval
mindset we must accept that to people at
the time, anything could be affected by
the supernatural and/or have spiritual
significance, a belief that had a major
impact on their worldview