Ancient Greece was an amazing civilisation which continues to have an influence in our modern world today. Here are 10 intriguing facts about ancient greece you might not have known!
Ancient Greek men and women dined separately and eating lying down was considered a mark of prosperity. After dinner, people would play a game called Kottabos by flicking spots of wine from their cups – another tradition from that era.
1. It was the birthplace of democracy
Ancient Greeks created an early form of democracy – where citizens decide policy and who should represent them – but it wasn’t entirely fair: only men aged 20 or above could take part in elections, while women and slaves weren’t eligible to vote or hold public office.
The Ancient Greeks made major breakthroughs in science and astronomy. Aristarchus of Samos was the first person to propose that Earth is not an island – we know this thanks to vases with athletes’ names written on them that have survived from his day. Furthermore, they created epics, comedies, tragedies as well as inventing alphabets with vowels; all notable achievements.
2. It was the birthplace of philosophy
Ancient Greeks were known for being highly philosophical and having many theories on life. Additionally, they were gifted mathematicians and astronomers – for instance believing the planets to orbit around the sun; further theorizing that their universe was far bigger than they could ever imagine.
They introduced democracy, giving all citizens a say in how their country was run – this was revolutionary at the time! Unfortunately, slaves and women did not have voting rights.
They also devised some unique techniques to detect pregnancy. One method involved inserting an onion into a woman’s vagina; if she had onion breath when awakening the following morning, that meant she wasn’t pregnant! This led to some interesting debates; on top of which, they were extremely family-focused societies with high average life expectancies; Plato lived to 81!
3. It was the birthplace of democracy
The Greeks invented democracy, which allows citizens to choose who will represent them through voting. But this form of government was often practised unequally; only wealthy individuals were eligible to cast ballots and slaves and women couldn’t participate.
Ancient Greeks were masterminds when it came to theatre. Their creativity is evidenced in such things as bull-leaping – which consisted of performing gymnastics on top of an aggressive bull.
Greeks take great pride in their landscape and boast 10 national parks dedicated to protecting species like loggerhead sea turtles and monk seals, along with abundant beaches that feature gorgeous blue waters! Did you know that around 7% of world marble production comes from Greece – stunning marble! Did you also know that the word ‘idiot’ originated with Ancient Greeks referring to someone who didn’t get involved in politics.
4. It was the birthplace of the Olympic Games
The Greeks pioneered democracy as an innovative political system in which individuals could choose their leader freely – this groundbreaking idea proved to be one of the key turning points of human history.
Ancient Greece first hosted the Olympics and it quickly became a massive national celebration. People would compete in all sorts of sporting events and races – one popular race was called dolichos and involved running laps around a track – where those who won were considered strong and fittest athletes in society.
Greeks were well known for inventing the Olympic Games; however, they also developed several other interesting things. One such invention was the xylospongium; this sponge was used to clean themselves after visiting public toilets – often shared among several individuals!
5. It was the birthplace of the theatre
The Greeks developed a vibrant culture of drama, producing some of the greatest playwrights ever like Sophocles, Aeschylus, Euripides and Aristophane. Ancient theatre often set on hilltops with seating built into them that could be seen throughout the country.
Ancient Greece was known for its simple yet stylish clothing; most common was a plain tunic worn with sandals or leather shoes, though wealthier citizens may wear more extravagant garments with luxurious dyes such as purple which were seen as symbols of wealth and status.
Slavery was an integral component of life in ancient Greece, with people from different city-states playing different roles within slavery. Some individuals were owned by their states; such as Sparta’s Helots who worked farms while giving some of their produce back.
6. It was the birthplace of the olive tree
The olive tree has long been an integral part of Greek culture and history, serving as both a symbol of peace and a source of food, medicine, and unguent. Furthermore, olive oil is commonly burned in temples for sacred lamps as well as used at weddings and baptisms as an anointing oil.
Ancient Greece had oracles which could predict future events with great accuracy, most notably at Delphi where an oracle sat above a chasm emitting vapours that were believed to be divine messages.
Infanticide was common in Sparta due to their stringent rules! Around one third of the population in some city-states consisted of slaves known as helots who were forced to cultivate crops and give part of their produce back to the state as tax revenue. Slaves in Athens received somewhat better treatment; many even had families of their own!
7. It was the birthplace of wine
Wine lovers will find this fact about ancient Greece fascinating: They were the first people to create and consume wine by crushing grapes and fermenting them, inventing barrels to store and keep fresh the precious nectar!
Ancient Greeks were pioneers in producing olive oil. Today, Greece ranks third worldwide as a producer and produces more varieties of olives than any other country.
Ancient Greeks used sponges called xylospongia to clean themselves after using the toilet! Their culture was extremely family-centric; many Greeks still live with their parents into old age! One strange aspect of Greece is that many old people still reside with them! Additionally, Ancient Greeks relied on black broth composed of boiled pig’s legs, blood, salt and vinegar to give themselves energy boosts.
8. It was the birthplace of the olive oil
Many of us are well aware of the ancient Greeks’ lasting cultural contributions: we know they invented democracy, made ground-breaking advances in early science and mathematics, founded philosophy – all are well known achievements. But what you may not know is that ancient Greeks had an unusual phobia toward beans; any time you sneezed was seen as an omen from their gods or seen as an opportunity for divine intervention!
Yo-yo was invented in ancient Greece and is considered one of the oldest toys ever created. Additionally, marathon originated from this same region as an idea and race first implemented by Pheidippides who ran 26 miles between Marathon and Athens to announce Greek victory in battle of Marathon; today this marathon race still occurs as one of the longest footraces ever!
9. It was the birthplace of the yo-yo
We know plenty about ancient Greek literature, philosophy and theatre; their advancements in early science and mathematics; as well as the Olympic Games themselves. But there are plenty of lesser-known facts about Greece that might surprise us!
Unknown to most is the fact that Ancient Greeks invented the yo-yo! Archistarchus of Samos created it.
Ancient Greeks were unique in that they practiced eating sitting down, which was seen as a mark of wealth and status; this also served to prevent food becoming contaminated through dirty hands touching it during preparation.
Ancient Greeks also had an odd belief about wine: They believed that only God Dionysus could enjoy drinking undiluted wine without becoming drunk, so they mixed their vino with water for consumption and used stones as wipes afterward!
10. It was the birthplace of the Greek alphabet
Though many are familiar with Socrates, Aristotle, and the Olympic Games in ancient Greece, you might not know all its fascinating details. Did you know they created the Greek alphabet or that the Parthenon took 15 years to be constructed?
Ancient Greece held that only Dionysus could consume undiluted wine without becoming inebriated, which led them to dilute their wine with water in proportions of 3:1!
Ancient Greeks were notoriously superstitious. For example, they shied away from those with red hair, considered having unibrows a sign of intelligence and beauty, and used to throw their teeth against roofs as an act of luck (but this proved not so wise!). Additionally, they would often dine reclining while others served them food.