10 Fun Facts About Ancient Greece

Have you heard that ancient Greece was once known as the birthplace of Western civilization, home to democracy, theatre and Olympic Games? But did you also know anything else about them?

The Ancient Greeks achieved much, from inventing theater to devising an anti-corruption system – here are 10 amazing facts about Ancient Greece!

1. They invented democracy

Before the Greeks created democracy, people in Greece didn’t enjoy much freedom. Their lives were controlled by monarchs or other wealthy elite members of society who dictated unfair treatment for everyone else.

But in 514 BCE, two men managed to kill one of Athens’ tyrants and draft laws that established democracy. Under this kind of democracy, every male citizen aged 20 or more would head downtown and vote on proposed laws from high hills; suggesting new ones or even blocking existing ones was possible; women and slaves however remained outside politics.

As part of their effort to fight tyranny, citizens could vote to ostracise politicians, with those selected having to leave Athens for 10 years if voted upon – similar to how it works today in America! This system helped Athens to grow into what it is today.

2. They invented theatre

Each city had a theatre that could accommodate 15,000 spectators, featuring only male actors wearing masks that shifted between happy and sad expressions to suit each character they played.

Greek art aimed for an artificially unrealistic form of beauty that was often enhanced through artistic conventions such as foreshortening and perspective. Women would pay particular attention to their appearance by wearing gold jewellery and ivory combs; additionally they used bronze mirrors, tweezers and creams.

Ancient Greeks made tremendous contributions to human civilisation in various fields such as philosophy, literature, theatre, architecture, science and sports – as well as superstitions such as forgoing beans altogether and believing farts were sent by deceased relatives attempting to communicate. Furthermore, some days were considered auspicious so extra precautions were taken on these days in order to avoid any bad luck that may come their way.

3. They invented the word idiot

Ancient Greece gave the word idiot (idios) a different connotation than today: it was used to refer to someone who avoided civil matters such as politics or war, rather than someone with poor judgement who became involved with civic affairs like politics or warfare.

Greek democracy was characterized by direct democracy wherein citizens directly cast votes on every decision taken within their city-state or polis. Plato asserted that those refusing to take part were “idiots”.

The Greeks believed that education was integral for both personal and social advancement, so they created the school system where children were taught by specialists in different fields in groups. If a child proved lazy or disobedient, slaves would remove his/her teeth by means of the clepsydra (similar to the guillotine), causing public humiliation and serving as a form of torture; leading eventually to expressions such as “time’s up” and putting an end to any further learning attempts.

4. They invented bull-leaping

Ancient Greek culture revered bulls as symbols of strength and power, depicting them in paintings and sculptures as fierce beasts that represented strength. Bull-leaping combined beauty and beastliness while holding religious significance for Greeks.

The inaugural Olympic Games were first staged in 776 BC, with winners praying to goddess Nike for victory! So important were these competitions that even when Greek city-states were at war with one another, a truce was called just so the Olympic Games could proceed uninterrupted.

The ancient Greeks also invented theatre! They enjoyed watching plays, with most cities boasting at least one theatre! Most plays were performed by men or boys wearing masks to represent their characters’ faces on stage. Additionally, Greek innovators invented water mills which made food grinding simpler; clocks which provided alarm clocks; as well as watermills which helped grind food more effectively; they even invented water wheels which made transport easier when moving goods between locations!

5. They invented public toilets

The ancient Greeks were an illuminating civilization, making enormous contributions in areas as diverse as politics, art, philosophy and science.

Ancient Greeks also had some odd habits. For instance, some refused to eat beans due to belief they contained souls of those who had passed. Additionally, some believed sneezing was a divine sign.

Ancient Greeks devised a device known as a clepsydra to prevent public sneezing by writing names of enemies on large pessoi (rounded stones) or fragments of ceramic, then placing these objects in their mouth to avoid sneezing and also help clean their teeth. This also helped avoid embarrassing situations in public.

Greek inventions also included the odometer for measuring distance, and the first water mill. Furthermore, Greeks had an impactful influence on language: some believe the term idiot originates in Greek; it originally described people who were either uninformed or silly.

6. They invented the chiton

Ancient Greece favored chitons – simple garments made from one large piece of fabric worn by both men and women – as popular fashion pieces due to their ease of construction, light weight, cool temperature-regulating features, ability to be dyed or decorated to demonstrate wealth or status, dyeing or embroidery capabilities and easy maintenance requirements. This fashion trend quickly gained popularity throughout ancient Greece due to its simplicity.

Ancient Greeks also invented cheesecake! This tasty treat, composed of flour, honey and cheese was often included as part of wedding ceremonies or given out at Olympic games to provide energy boosts for athletes competing.

The ancient Greeks were an intriguing and ground-breaking civilization, known for their epic mythology which inspired many writers, including JK Rowling (whose multi-dog Fluffy is named after Cerberus of the underworld!) In addition to this fascinating culture, their fierce warriors followed some ruthless rules such as throwing criminals into deep wells for punishment; broad beans (fava beans in ancient Greece) were seen as symbols that contained souls of deceased individuals!

7. They invented the marathon

Ancient Greeks were one of the world’s first civilizations and pioneered theatre – where actors would perform roles before an audience of up to 15,000! Some theatres even contained enough seating capacity for that many visitors!

They were also the pioneers of marathon running; according to legend, Phidippides ran 26 miles between Marathon and Athens to inform its inhabitants about a great victory at Battle of Marathon.

Slavery was an integral component of Ancient Greek life. Most city-states, including Sparta with its militaristic society, employed slave labor; up to one third of their inhabitants in some cities were considered slaves.

Women in ancient Greece took great care in maintaining their appearance, dying their hair and using bronze mirrors for makeup and shaving. Additionally, special pots were designed for carrying water from nearby fountains, keeping perfume cool in storage containers or even cooling wine before use in cooking or chilling operations.

8. They invented the first water mill

Ancient Greeks were famously revered for many accomplishments: democracy, science and mathematics advancements, philosophy and art creation – yet many are unaware that they also held an odd fear of beans, believing sneezing was a divine omen?

The water mill was an astounding technological advance that changed agricultural output dramatically. Utilizing flowing water power to grind grains into flour, this invention enabled more farming land to be farmed than ever before. Modern water mills draw inspiration from Perachora wheels invented during antiquity; one such wheel existed as early as 3rd Century BC!

Ancient Greeks were deeply fascinated with astronomy, inventing instruments like the astrolabe to measure distances from stars. Additionally, they created something called Antikythera mechanism, considered the world’s first computer! Furthermore, theatre became one of their preferred outlets to express emotions and athletic competitions which may have inspired our modern Olympic Games.

9. They invented the alarm clock

Alarm clocks have long been one of the most essential inventions, yet their roots date all the way back to ancient Greece. There, water clocks were invented that used pebbles dropped into drums as timekeepers to mark off time signals – this was the precursor to today’s alarm clocks.

The ancient Greeks also invented many other crucial innovations for our modern world, including cheesecake, theater performances and democracy. Furthermore, they are known for instituting stringent laws against criminals including throwing them down deep wells as punishment.

The Ancient Greeks were an amazing and innovative civilization. Their contributions in many fields such as astronomy and geography, early mathematical concepts development, as well as some remarkable discoveries are truly mind-boggling! Take a look at these awesome facts about them that might just impress your teacher (they might even make her jealous!). Check them out now:

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