Greece is in the Mediterranean and it has rocky islands with some forests. Greece has a lot of beaches and beautiful landscapes. Most buildings were made of stone but there is also an abundance of marble that is used for architecture today.
Ancient Greece can be broken down into 3 main periods. The Archaic Period, The Classical period, and the Hellenistic Period.
The Archaic Period
The Archaic Period was the earliest period of Ancient Greece. (800 BC to 480 BC) The first greek language was found on mud tablets, explaining why we can trace a lot of word origins back to Greek culture. The Greek language has the longest history of any Ino-European language. Which is as long as 34 centuries.
In the Archaic and some of the Classical Periods, Greeks believed and worshipped Greek gods. Some of the Greek gods were Zeus, the most powerful of all gods, Athena, the god of wisdom and war, Poseidon, the god of the sea, and many more. They worshipped the gods by giving them animal sacrifices and celebrating religious festivals that honored them. These are the names of the celebrations; Chalceia was for Athena and Haloa was for Demeter, the god of grain and agriculture. People even traded their sculptures of gods for riches.
The Olympics were made in the Archaic Period too! The Olympics were originally made to worship the gods more. The games started in 776 BC in honor of Zeus.
Wonderful poetry also developed in this period too. Homer is one of the greatest epic poets in Greece. He is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey.
The mathematician Pythagoras was born in this period. He created the theory called the Pythagorean theorem which is the formula of the hypotenuse in a right-angle triangle.
New governments were also developed in the Archaic Period. First, there was a monarchy where the only people who ruled were kings and queens. This was from 2000BC to 800BC. Then, there was an oligarchy where the only people who ruled were 2 or 3 rich men. Oligarchy means few rule. This government was from 800 BC to about 650 BC. The next government is tyranny. Tyranny is when decision making is made by 1 person. Tyranny was Greeks government from 650 BC to 500 BC. Finally, the last government ancient greek developed was democracy. Democracy is decision making by all the people. Democracy means people power. Although, back then no women, slaves, or foreigners could vote democracy, lets people get a say in decisions that involve their cities and it’s still in use today. That’s amazing!
The Classical Period
Now for the most popular period of Ancient Greece, the Classical Period. (480 BC to 323 BC) This is where the cities Athens and Sparta were at their strongest. Athens was developing in arts and philosophy. It is said the Greek made the first intellectual civilization. There were skilled philosophers like Aristotle, Socrates and Plato. They helped challenge the mind in Greece and most of their theories traveled all across the world.
Greeks and some Greek philosophers also believed in reincarnation. Greeks performed death rituals so the dead can’t haunt the underworld.
The classical period was when Greece developed comedy, melancholy and joyful poetry.
Sparta was skilled at fighting. They taught their men heavily about war. Sometimes Sparta and Athens were allies sometimes but had different priorities, which made them fight a lot. It took 27 years for Sparta to finally beat Athens.
A lot of pottery also took place in the classic period. Most of it was inspired by the Greek gods. They traded some pottery and kept some for decoration in temples. Details on more pottery evolved overtime.
At the end of the Classical Period the most famous leader of greek history, Alexander the Great died. Alexander was Aristotle’s student and he united and stretched the Greek empire all the way to India and Egypt. He never lost a battle.
The Hellenistic Period
The final period is the Hellenistic Period. (323 BC to 146 BC) During this period Greece really evolved into a great country.
Since Greece is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, there was more trade. Greece traded things like pottery, oils and wine. They were worth a lot during that time.
During the Hellenistic period, the Old Testament was translated into Greek.
There was a lot of new architecture in Greek during this period. Some examples are the Temple of Olympian, for Zeus. Parthenon, which is unfinished and shows the Hellenistic victory over the Persians. The Temple of Artemis, which according to the New York Times, “ The pediments are one of the finest examples of the Archaic temple sculpture extant!” Erechtheion was named after the Greek hero Ericthronus. And the process of building it took several years. From 421 BC to 406 BC. The end of the Hellenistic Period was when Rome took over Greece and made it a Roman territory.
Most people don’t realize just how much Greece has affected our lives. Greeks invented the biggest sporting event around the world. The Olympics. It’s an honor for any country to host the Olympics because it’s that special. We would live in a dictatorship if it wasn’t for Greece. We wouldn’t have democracy. We wouldn’t be able to vote on the next presidency or to elect a new mayor. If it weren’t for some of the greatest philosophers we wouldn’t be challenging our minds and asking questions that sometimes defy the rules. We wouldn’t have found the Pythagorean theorem and we wouldn’t have complex religions. Greece is phenomenal and we have to respect it for the ample gifts of equality, justice, sports, and education it gave the world.