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Introduction to Ancient Greece 1 Zachary Hamby © 2017 creativeenglishteacher.com THE GREEKS: INTRODUCTION As citizens of the United States of America, we owe a great debt to ancient Greece. Many of the ideals we so highly cherish aren't American; they're Greek. It was in ancient Athens that the citizens stood up and declared that they would no longer be ruled by kings. The people should rule. Americans didn't invent democracy; Greeks did. The art of storytelling was perfected in ancient Greece. The colorful myths and legends of the land gave the poet Homer plenty to work with. For the first time the plot took a back seat to characterization, language, and presentation. Literature was born in ancient Greece. Theater got its start there, too. The Greeks were the first to stage complex plays that commented on current events. Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides pushed the boundaries of drama and showed the world that the pen can be mightier than the sword. As for the Greek philosophers, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle redefined the way that human beings thought about the universe. Hippocrates founded a school dedicated to the scientific study of the body. Mathematicians such as Pythagoras developed new theories. Herodotus developed a factual approach for recording past events called history. Meanwhile, Aesop wrote his moral-driven fables, and the politician Pericles demonstrated how one man can shape a city. While all these breakthroughs were happening in Athens, the Greeks in Sparta were working on another development: the art of war. Discipline, strategy, honor were all taken to the extreme in the militaristic environment of Sparta. While the Athenians showed Greece how to think, Sparta showed Greece how to fight. All of these ideas and insights got their start in the golden age of ancient Greece roughly 2,500 years ago. As you keep this information in mind, follow the links below. They will give you an idea what ancient Greek life was like in the year 500 B.C. CITY - STATES During the golden age of Greece the term "Greece" was not yet in use. The area called Greece today was dotted with various city-states who had no desire to be united into a larger country. As their name implies, city-states were large areas of land whose inhabitants fell
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Introduction to Ancient Greece 2 Zachary Hamby © 2017 creativeenglishteacher.com under the rule of the city in the midst. Powerful lords built their castle-like keeps on the highest point of the city and surrounded them with high walls. In times of war, those who farmed the surrounding countryside would flee into the city for safety. Because of this, Athens and the Greek cities were more than just a city; they were the law and protection of the surrounding plains. The heart of every Greek city was the agora, the marketplace. It was the economic, political, and religious lifeblood of the city. Almost every agora was dotted with statues, temples, public buildings, and trees. In Athens, the agora is where the Assembly of the People met to vote on city issues. There were frequent, city-wide festivals to honor various gods.
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