Geography• Athens is the capital and largest city in Greece• Athens is surrounded by mountains• Most are of limestone or marble, from which thebuildings of the city were constructed• The city is on the Ilissus River, which is dry for most of theyear and carries a lot of water only after winter storms• It rarely snows (usually every 3-4 years) and somerainfalls might occur in Autumn• Athens has a typical Mediterranean climate, with hot, drySummers and mild Winters
Demographic Information• Population of about 3.5 million people• The ancient people believed in polytheism, orthe belief in more than one god or goddess,and each god mixed in importance and power• Women had no rights at all and were onlythere to reproduce and to clean up after themen and manage the home
Trade and Economy• Food, raw materials, and manufactured goods werenot only made available to them for the first time butthe export of wine, olives, and pottery helped tospread Greek culture to the wider world• As trading grew, Athenians reached markets all overthe Mediterranean as well as in the far east, Egypt andLydia• A large part of the Athenian economy focused on cashcrops for export and crafts; it had become a center ofart and literature and the city became architecturallyrich
Types of Government• Ancient Athens was the first knownDemocracy• The greatest and longest lasting democraticleader was Pericles• Only in Athens, “rule by many” meant that allcitizens had to be willing to take an active partin the government• Women, children, and slaves were notcitizens, and so could not vote
Cultural Elements• Sports: Boxing, chariot riding, discus, javelin,jumping, running, wrestling• Food: Olives, grapes, cheese, wheat, donkey,and fish• Music was used for religious festivals,marriages, funerals, and banquet gathering
Key Attractions• Temple of Zeus: The Temple of the Olympian Zeus was the largesttemple in Greece. It took almost seven centuries to complete themassive temple.• Theater of Dionysus: As early as in 534 BC famous Greek tragediesand comedies were performed here• First Cemetery of Athens: It was created in the early 19th centuryand contains the graves and tombs of some of the most notableGreek citizens• Panathenaic Stadium: Originally built in the fourth century BC. Afterit had fallen into decay, it was rebuilt at the end of the nineteenthcentury as the main stadium for the first modern Olympic Games• Acropolis: The temples on the sacred rock of the Acropolis, built atthe end of the fifth century BC, are some of the worlds mostimportant buildings. They would influence the architecture of theWestern World for more than two millennia.