Lesson 1: How was the Athenian Empire established?


Lesson Objectives:

  • Students will be able to describe the role of Greek men and women
  • Students will be able to describe how Athens flourished under the rule of Pericles
  • Students will be able to escribe the ways that Greeks developed the ideas of citizenship and democracy
  • Students will be able to compare and contrast the meanings of citizenship and democracy in ancient Greece and in America today

Key Terms to Know

Directions: Look up each term in your textbook (pages 138-140) and define each in your Social Studies Notebook.

  • direct democracy
  • Pericles
  • Delos


The Athenian Empire

After the end of the Persian invasions, Athens and other Greek city-states decided to join together to face the lingering threat of Persia. They joined to form the Delian League. The Delian League was headquartered on the island of Delos. Delian League:

  • Promised to defend members from Persian attacks
  • Worked to drive Persians out of Greek territories in Asia Minor
  • Most of the chief officials in charge of the treasury (money) were Athenians

Using their power and influence in the Delian League, Athens slowly began to take control over the other city-states. The focus was no longer protecting city-states from Persians, but taking over the member city-states. Eventually the Delian League became the Athenian Empire. The headquarters were moved to Athens.

Government of the Athenian Empire

Direct Democracy

  • Citizens gathered at mass meetings to vote on laws and policies and to elect officials
  • About 48,000 men 18 years and older made up the assembly
  • Meetings were held every 10 days- fewer than 6,000 attended
  • 10 officials enforced the laws and policies

Ask Yourself

  • Why did Greek city-states unite after years of existing separately?
  • Why were Greek city-states experiencing the take-over from one empire after another?
  • Why did the Athenians want to create an empire after they had just defeated one?


  • Use the chart below to write a 3 paragraph compare and contrast essay about the differences between Athenian and American democracy.
  • Which government gave its citizens more say in how the government is run?
  • Which type of democracy would you prefer to live under and why?


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Lesson 2: What role did Pericles play in the development of the Athenian Empire?

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It's All Greek To Me!