Greeks were known as the pioneers of democracy, theatre and the Olympic Games – but there’s so much more to them than this!
Are You aware that the phrase ‘taking the bull by its horns’ originates in ancient Greece? Or did you know they had a unique way of dispelling evil through spitting without actually doing it!?
1. Athens was named after Athena
Athens was named for Athena following a competition amongst gods to name the city after her. Athena won because she was smart and helpful to her citizens as well as a lover of poetry and music, while Poseidon, god of the sea, became upset that he didn’t win and cursed Athens with never enough water – but ultimately Athenians accepted the decision of their creators and accepted it wholeheartedly.
Ancient Greece prized art and culture highly. Greeks were great writers, musicians, sculptors, scientists and mathematicians – for instance Homer was known for penning epic poems such as Iliad and Odyssey as well as Archaic period sculptors creating statues called Korai and Koroi depicting human figures with intricate proportions crafted during this period of their culture. Furthermore they built world-class theatres boasting fantastic acoustics.
The Greeks had an abundant mythology. Some of their gods could be harsh; Zeus was known for adultery with Hera; Hades, the god of death with a temperament to cause earthquakes was another favorite amongst Greeks. Additionally, many venerated Hestia, goddess of home and hearth; she was popular amongst women. Many believed she could protect them from bad luck. They also respected oracles with the power to communicate with Apollo himself.
2. The Greek language dates back 3,000 years
Greek is the oldest Indo-European language and was the first written to include vowels. Furthermore, Greek was one of the earliest written languages to be written from right to left; later it transitioned through an unstable phase called “boustrophedon,” when both sides alternated in being inscribed; today it’s solely transcribed from left to right.
The Greeks invented many amazing things, from philosophy and theatre to theatre masks and intricate sculptures. Additionally, they invented several sports such as the Olympic games; its first Olympic Games were held to honor Zeus, God of Sky and Thunder.
Greek influence was immense throughout history, as evidenced by their numerous literary works and plays as well as scientific innovations in science, mathematics, astronomy, law and medicine. Aristarchus of Samos even beat Copernicus and Galileo with their theory that the sun revolves around earth!
The Archaic Period marked the dawn of Greece’s golden age, when Homer wrote his epic poems Iliad and Odyssey and sculptors created their distinctive korai and kouroi human statues crafted to exact proportions by master artisans. Science made significant strides forward as Anaximandros wrote his theory of gravity while Xenophanes discovered fossils while Pythagoras advanced his famed Pythagorean theorem.
Ancient Greeks would eat lying down – also known as “almost-lying down” or “on your stomach.” This practice became especially common during extremely hot weather in summer; siestas would also often occur throughout the day.
3. The Greeks were divided into city-states
Ancient Greece saw each city-state establish their own government. There were various political systems available to each town; each found what worked best for itself – for instance some began as monarchies (MAHN*uhr*kee), while others evolved into aristocracies or explored alternative types of governance models. Each town experimented with other kinds of governments as well.
One of the great things about ancient Greece was their experimentation in social organization; many of their ideas eventually spread throughout the globe.
Romans copied many Greek ways, such as their custom of lying down while eating! Additionally, ancient Greeks are widely recognized for inventing theatre – which remains an incredibly popular form of entertainment today – and were even responsible for inventing yo-yos!
Ancient Greeks were notoriously superstitious, believing there to be twelve gods living atop Mount Olympus and fearing they might offend these divine beings by cutting down trees or crossing rivers at certain times of year; to avoid doing this they would often say prayers or take other precautions such as saying an amen instead.
Ancient Greeks were also wise and philosophical people, pioneering a unique way of looking at the universe that offered an explanation for why things occurred rather than just something told or believed about it. This important development can be considered the starting point of philosophy as we know it today. Additionally, these ancient Greeks developed storytelling to convey emotions and convey messages.
4. The Greeks ate lying down
Greek philosophers were among the first to propose that our solar system revolves around its sun. By centuries! Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo would come later.
Ancient Greeks loved taking siestas during the heat of summer as a way of relaxing and resting up for battle! Siestas would last two to three hours during midday!
Ancient Greeks loved drinking ouzo and tsikoudia, both distilled beverages with high alcohol contents that can taste similar to licorice! These beverages were highly popular during their heyday.
Archaic Greeks began to excel at both art and science during this period. Homer was one of the earliest poets, producing both The Iliad and Odyssey while sculptors created kouroi and korai statues; mathematicians made advancements such as Anaximandros’ theory of gravity, Xenophanes writing about fossils and Pythagoras proposing his The Pythagorean Theorem.
Ancient Greeks invented theatre. They employed masks with facial expressions that alternated from happy to sad in order to show emotions. Additionally, they devised an unique method for dispelling evil: they would simulate spitting while not actually doing it! This practice served to protect themselves against harmful spirits while they believed beans contained the souls of those who had died – thus they wouldn’t eat them!
5. The Greeks had slaves
Ancient Greece incorporated slaves as integral members of society; they provided essential tasks that Greek citizens avoided doing themselves, like housework and field work. According to Nige Tassell, slaves’ involuntary service to others formed an essential part of Greek ethos and identity.
Slavery was an extremely common practice throughout ancient Greece, with most families possessing at least one slave. Some individuals were born into slavery – for instance when parents could no longer afford to raise them themselves – while others may have been captured during wartime and sold into servitude.
Some slave owners would set free their slaves through “manumission”, often with religious significance; temples would receive part of any financial transaction resulting from this type of “emancipation”, while at other times civil means allowed slaves to save up and buy their freedom themselves.
Slaves were treated as property in all aspects of society and had minimal rights; they could not participate in politics and, except in Sparta where Helots were permitted, could not even speak freely in public.
Tortured when they broke the rules and their owners could beat them at will, these animals also experienced sexual abuse and when required as witnesses in legal matters they were tortured into confessing crimes they hadn’t committed or incriminating someone else.
6. The Greeks did bull-leaping
Though Greek civilization is widely revered, its history includes some dark and bizarre episodes. Pederasty became common, while others hunted and killed slaves as entertainment.
One of the more surprising Greek facts is their practice of bull-leaping. This involved jumping over a charging bull in an controlled fashion, such as seen on wall paintings from Knossos Palace on Crete where an image depicts someone somersaulting over one. Scholars debate whether this practice actually occurred among Minoans; nevertheless they were fascinated with bulls, creating drinking horns named Rhyta that featured their heads!
Greeks have an intriguing tradition for dispelling evil: they spit! No offense taken if someone at your next party spits at you – they are simply protecting against any harm! Spitting is especially effective with ouzo, a strong distilled beverage with flavors similar to licorice that should be enjoyed cold!