Ancient GreeceO Background information and history.
Where Westerncivilization beganAncient Greece is called the birthplace ofWestern civilization. About 2500 years ago, theGreeks created a way of life that other peopleadmired and copied. The Romans copied Greekart and Greek gods, for example. The AncientGreeks tried out democracy, started the OlympicGames and left new ideas in science, art andphilosophy (thinking about life).
O The Ancient Greeks lived in mainlandGreece and the Greek islands, but also inwhat is now Turkey, and in coloniesscattered around the Mediterranean seacoast. There were Greeks in Italy, Sicily,North Africa and as far west as France.Sailing the sea to trade and find new land,Greeks took their way of life to manyplaces.
What was ancient Greecelike?O Ancient Greece had a warm, dry climate,as Greece does today. People lived byfarming, fishing, and trade. Some weresoldiers. Others were scholars, scientistsor artists. Most Greeks lived in villages orin small cities. There were beautifultemples with stone columns and statues,and open-air theatres where people sat towatch plays.
O Many Greeks were poor. Life was hardbecause farmland, water and timber forbuilding were all scarce. Thats why manyGreeks sailed off to find new lands tosettle.
The TriremeO The masterpiece of ancient Greekshipbuilding was, undoubtedly, a shipcalled the Trireme.
How Greece was ruledO There was not one country called "AncientGreece." Instead, there were small city-states. Each city-state had its owngovernment. Sometimes the city-statesfought one another, sometimes theyjoined together against a bigger enemy,the Persian Empire. Athens, Sparta,Corinth and Olympia were four of thesecity-states
O Only a very powerful ruler could control allGreece. One man did in the 300s BC. Hewas Alexander the Great, fromMacedonia. Alexander led his army toconquer not just Greece but an empirethat reached as far as Afghanistan andIndia.
When did Greek civilisationbegin?O About 3000 BC, there lived on the islandof Crete a people now called Minoans.The name comes from their King Minos.Minos and other Minoan kings grew richfrom trade, and built fine palaces. TheMinoan civilization ended about 1450 BC.
O After the Minoans came the Myceneans.They were soldiers from mainlandGreece, and were the Greeks who foughtTroy in the 1200s BC. After the Myceneanage ended, about 1100 BC, Greeceentered a "Dark Age". This lasted until the800s BC when the Greeks set off by seato explore and set up colonies.
O The Olympic Games begun in 776 BC. Thiswas the start of "Archaic" Greek civilization.O Around 480 BC the "golden age" of Greecebegan. This is what historians call "Classical"Greece.O The Greek Legend says the Olympic Gameswere founded by Heracles. The first recordswe have of the games were in 776 BCE but, itis believed the games had been going on formany years before that.