Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece is the era in Greek history that stretched for about a thousand years. Historians believe that this culture was responsible for the underpinning of Western Civilization. So much so that it made commanding influence in the Roman Empire to say the least. Now, ancient Greece not only formed the geographical peninsula of contemporary Greece but also plugged in areas of Hellenic culture that matured at those times in the hands of the Greek.

Conventionally, you will find that the Greek period is traced back with the date of the earliest Olympic Games in 776 BC. But several historians beg to differ as they have now lengthened the term back to about 1000 BC. On the other hand, end of the ancient Greek era came into effect with the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC. However, Hellenistic or the incorporation of Greece into the Roman Republic in 146 BC followed soon.

Throwing light on Greek history, you will know that the Greeks had actually migrated southward into the Balkan peninsula owing to influences initiated in the late 3rd millennium BC. The period from 1600 BC to 1100 BC speaks of the sovereignty of King Agamemnon and not to mention the wars in opposition to Troy as reflected in the epics of Homer. Inscriptions and writings by historians along with writers like Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, Demosthenes, Plato and Aristotle have survived to tell the tales of these times.

Monarchy was prevalent in ancient Greece. The coercion of the monarchs led a small class of landowners to shape a warrior aristocracy that took to small inter-city wars to cast out the monarch. This gave rise to a mercantile class in about 680 BC. Greek politics was highlighted in the face of Athens and Sparta’s rivalry. However, Sparta formed a permanent militarist regime under a dual monarchy while in Athens monarchy was abolished in 683 BC, which gave way to a moderate system of aristocratic government.

The Persians made war and it wasn’t long before they established control over Ionia that consisted of eminent centers like Miletus and Halicarnassus. The Ionian Revolt followed in 499 BC much with the help from Athens and some of the other Greek cities. It was the Greeks, under the Spartan Pausanius that eventually crushed the Persian army at Plataea. Winning battles and wiping out the Persians, Athens regained overall power. 

As regards the Greek society, there were two kinds -the free and the slave. Unlike the slaves the free people had protection of the law under their belt. The slaves were the most deprived bunch of people. They were ripped of any power or status and not even the right to have a family and possess property. As a matter of fact by the 5th century BC, the slaves constituted about one-third of the sum inhabitants in a number of city-states. Four social classes on the basis of wealth existed in Athens while in Sparta the male citizens earned the title of “equal” once they were through with their education.

In the face of architecture, the Greeks excelled enormously. Low apartment buildings or single-family homes featured in the city lives of ancient Greece. There were residences, public buildings, and temples next to the agora. The male members of the house were responsible for sustaining the family by earning while the women were more or less engaged in household work. Agriculture was the chief means of livelihood for the Greeks.

As regards the clothing, these men and women were dressed in loose Peplos and Chitons. Multihued designs formed a part of the tunics and these were sported with a belt. Cloaks, hats and leather boots in wintry weather and sandals in summers are what the Greeks wore.

Ornaments and cosmetics were also common amongst the ladies. Religion played quite a role in Greek civilization. The Greeks were very religious people and they worshipped many Gods. Truth be told, their God were in the likes of the different elements of nature. What’s more these Gods were honored by means of contests in music, drama, and poetry. Festivals were also prevalent like for instance the huge Panhellenic festivals, which were held at Olympia, Delphi, Nemea, and Isthmia.

Education was under wraps except for Sparta. Public schools sprouted during the Hellenistic period in more than a few city-states. Besides formal education, they were also trained in singing and playing instruments. Not just that, they were also qualified as athletes in favor of military service.

Ancient Greece has indeed made great strides on all fronts and it well remains as a standing example for all of us.

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