21 Ancient Greece History Facts That Historians Will Absolutely Adore | Kidadl


21 Ancient Greece History Facts That Historians Will Absolutely Adore

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Thousands of years ago, the civilization that dominated most of the Mediterranian was ancient Greece under Alexander the Great.

Much of Europe and western Asia was ruled by Alexander the Great when ancient Greece was at its peak. Romans rose after the Greeks and much of the Roman culture that we see and talk about today was influenced heavily by the Greek culture.

Ancient Greeks built a foundation for the current Western culture and the ways of making a proper civilization have been learned from the ancient Greeks. Philosophy, government, mathematics, science, literature, and even sports were actually imparted to modern society by ancient Greeks. The history of ancient Greece is divided into three parts or periods. The first is the archaic period, which ran from the start of the civilization in 800 BC to the start of Democracy in 508 BC. Homer's writing of the Odyssey and the Illiad can be traced back to the archaic period. The Olympic games are also from this period. The second is the classical period. When we usually think of ancient Greece, this is the period we usually talk about. The classical age was seen when Athens began being governed by a democracy. Philosophers like Plato and Socrates arose in this classical period. The wars between Athens and Sparta, as portrayed in the film, '300', were fought in this period too. With the rise and death of Alexander the Great, the classical period ended in 323 BC. The third and last period of ancient Greek history is the Hellenistic period. This period was said to have lasted from the death of Alexander the Great, in 323 BC, until 31 BC. It lasted until Egypt was defeated by the Roman Empire at the Battle of Actium. The name of the period, Hellenistic, comes from the Greek word 'Hellas' which actually means Greece.

Much of ancient Greece was run by Athens and Sparta. These were the two main cities during those times that not just ruled ancient Greece, but also shaped the ancient world with their power and dominance. However, these two cities were often rivals and even fought against each other in the Peloponnesian Wars. But when they were not fighting, they were always on alert, united, and scaring intruders trying to invade Greece, away. The philosophies of ruling Greece were entirely different in both cities, with Athens focusing on arts and learning, while Sparta focused on fights and war.

The ancient Greek empire was divided into many city-states, with some famous ones like Athens, Sparta, and Olympia. Each city of Greek civilization had its own laws, governments, and even their own armies to defend themselves. The splitting of the land into city-states only came into being in 800 BC. Greek history shows that the empire spread through Europe from Greece. Ancient Greeks were also known to have funny and strange superstitions when it came to food. As an example, the ancient Greeks believed that the beans we eat contained the souls of the dead.

There are many things that have come from Greek mythology to western civilization. Did you know the marathon has come from ancient Greece? A man named Pheidippides ran 26 miles (42 km) in ancient Greece from Marathon to Athens. To announce the news of victory in the Battle of Marathon, he ran all the way. This is the reason for the name of the race and why it is this long. The concept of juries has come from ancient Greece. Juries of up to 500 people have also been used in courtrooms in ancient Greek history. These numbers are much more than what is used in the present generation. There are many Greek gods and goddesses in the ancient Greek culture and they made temples of worship. Romans copied most of the things ancient Greece had, including the gods and goddesses.

The lost city of Atlantis may have been located on the Greek island of Santorini. Herodotus is considered the father of history in ancient Greece. His work, The Histories, became the focal point of the history of ancient Greece for modern scholars.

If you enjoyed this article, why not also read about Haiti history facts and Ghana history facts, here on Kidadl.

The Birth Of The City-state

Some of the examples of city-states in ancient Greece include Athens and Sparta, but those were not the only city-states in the civilization. In fact, ancient Greece had around 1000 city-states.

City-states are part of the ancient Greek culture and each city-state had its own beliefs, own government, and own army. There was never a single country called Greece in ancient times, but only different city-states like Athens, Thebes, and Olympia with their own politics. All these city-states often fought among themselves.

Ancient Greece depicts the time between 800-500 BC. This period was also known as the archaic period. Ancient greeks made a lot of advances during this period as they excelled in art, science, and writing. City-states were also invented during this period in ancient Greece. This concept was unique as the city-states were not controlled by any particular government or country, but by their own. A Greek city-state is also known by the name of the polis. For hundreds of years, this was the center of Greek life. Before the archaic period, the time also known as the Greek Dark Age, Greeks used to live scattered across the area in small villages. However, as time passed by, the villages developed with new markets and walls surrounding them. In no time, governments were formed and all citizens of the city-state had particular rules to follow. The system of taxes came into being and each city-state was known to be protected by a Greek god or a Greek goddess. Athena protected Athens, and so on. Most city-states overthrew their kings and were later run by rich nobles. They had all the power to dictate the government and the people. City-states grew in size and soon populations moved from the main places to less populated areas. Between 750-600 BC, colonies in ancient Greece came up in the Mediterranean sea, North Africa, and the coast of the Black sea. There were around 1500 colonial city-states at the end of the seventh century BC.

The geographical locations of mountains, islands, and seas helped create the natural barriers needed for the city-states and made them settle along the coast.

The Rise Of The Tyrants

With the increase of the colonies, the population grew at the same pace, and almost all of these agricultural city-states started producing goods for sales like metal, pottery, cloth, and wine. Trades were made and many became extremely rich.

The rich ancient Greeks that traded in these goods were not happy with the nobles running the place. Coups were seen and new leaders were put in place by overthrowing the old ones, sometimes even with brute force. These new leaders of the city-states were called tyrants. Some were brilliant and did a lot for ancient Greece like bringing water to the place, and others were as unjust as the previous nobles.

However, as the tyrants rose to power, they fell with the same intensity too. With the emergence of the classical time period in ancient Greece, a lot of changes were made to the archaic period. Rule by the people was established, which was known by the name of demokratia (democracy of today). Tyrants were replaced and that was the end of the system.

Ancient Greek Art

Ancient Greeks were well known for their perfection in art and during the classical time period, the Greeks developed their own method that was called the Severe Style.

During the archaic period, Greek architecture was limited to structures of men and women called Kouroi and Korai respectively. Both statues of men and women looked similar and had similar features with stiff bodies and arms at the sides.

During the classical era, sculptors began to make the statues more relaxed with relaxed postures. If you have not seen a Greek statue from this period, check out the statue of Athena at Parthenos and the statue of the god Zeus in Olympia.

During the Hellenistic period, the statues were seen influenced by the people and cultures of the places Alexander the Great conquered. Greek art during this time included women, children, and common people. The Winged Victory of Samothrace, the Venus de Milo, and the Dying Gaul are some famous works from this time period.

Greeks were known for their perfection and wanted their sculptures to depict the same emotions too. They made lifelike images of perfect humans. It is different from the Romans, as the Romans added flaws in their art.

Greek columns are still used even after 2500 years. There were three kinds - Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. Greeks were also very talented when it came to art and painting. Although many of their art did not survive as they were painted on wooden structures and walls, the paintings on pottery survived.

It is believed that the ancient Greek civilizations were formed 4000 years ago by the Mycenaeans of Crete.

Ancient Greek Mathematics 

There are many breakthroughs as all subjects during those times were influenced by science and architecture involving geometry and engineering.

Greek mathematicians even had the breakthrough of Pythagoras' theory of right-angled triangles that became a base for most of their problem-solving, known as Pythagoras' Theorum. The Greeks also benefitted from astronomical knowledge of Babylonian and Chaldean culture after the conquest of Alexander the Great. Discoveries and findings by Pythagoras, Euclid, and Archimedes are still valuable and still taught in schools today.

Ancient Greece Gods

Many gods and goddesses were worshipped by the Greeks.

Aphrodite is the goddess of love and fertility, Apollo the god of the sun and music, Athena the goddess of war, Hermes the messenger of the gods, Zeus the king of the gods, and many others. 12 of the Greek gods lived on Mount Olympus. However, some important gods like Hades, the god of the underworld, are not usually considered Olympian gods.

The ancient Olympics were a series of games in athletics that was started to honor Zeus. As the games had religious significance, there was a rule that no wars would be allowed before the games. There was always a ceasefire for three months prior to the games.

Did You Know...

The marble temple called the Parthenon sits atop a limestone hill above the Ilissos Valley in Athens. The goddess Athena was worshipped here. The building materials used make it such an impressive structure as it still stands.

Cleopatra, even though she was the queen of Egypt, influenced politics in Greece and Rome due to her relationship with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.

Women had similar rights in both Rome and Greece. Women gained more freedom during the 500 years of the Roman Empire where they could own lands, businesses, free slaves, and get a job.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for ancient Greece history facts, then why not take a look at ancient civilizations facts or ancient Egypt history for kids.

Written By
Ritwik Bhuyan

<p>A skilled content writer, Ritwik holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Delhi University. He has refined his writing abilities through his past experience at PenVelope and his current role at Kidadl. In addition to his proficiency in writing, Ritwik has pursued his passion for flying by achieving CPL training and becoming a licensed commercial pilot. This diverse skill set highlights his commitment to exploring multiple fields. Ritwik's experience in the aviation industry has provided him with a unique perspective and attention to detail, which he brings to his writing.</p>

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