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Ancient Greece Carl Lim Dixon Chia
Ancient People of Greece <ul><li>Archimedes was born in 287 B.C. in the port of Syracuse, Sicily in the colony of Magna Graecia. His father was Phidias, who was an astronomer about whom nothing is known. We derive this information about Archimedes from his work "The Sand Reckoner". In those times, in the absence of paper or blackboards, Archimedes used dust, ashes or any other available surface to draw his geometric figures. He used to get so engrossed in his work that sometimes he forgot to eat. It is alleged that he drew figures on his body after bathing and applying olive oil. According to the Greek historian John Tzetzes, who was famous for his research on Byzantinne Greek era, Archimedes lived for 75 years. Except for the period of his life where he attended school in Alexandria at Euclid's, Archimedes spent all his life at Syracuse. Ancient Greek biographer Plutarch, relates Archimedes to King Hiero II of Syracuse. He says Archimedes achieved so much fame because of his relation to King Hiero II and Gelon (son of King Hiero II). He was a close friend of Gelon and helped Hiero solve complex problem with extreme ease, utterly amazing his friend. Archimedes died in 212 B.C. during the Second Punic war, when Syracuse was captured by the Roman forces after a two year siege. According to Plutarch, Archimedes was researching a mathematical diagram, when a Roman soldier ordered him to meet General Marcus (who was engaged in the siege of Syracuse). But Archimedes declined saying that he had to finish his diagram. Furious, the Roman soldier killed Archimedes. General Marcus was angered by the death of Archimedes, because he didn't wish him any harm. Another popular theory regarding Archimedes' death is that he was killed while actually surrendering to the Romans </li></ul>
Olympics <ul><li>The Greeks invented athletic contests and held them in honour of their gods. The Isthmos game were staged every two years at the Isthmos of Corinth. The Pythian games took place every four years near Delphi. The most famous games held at Olympia, South- West of Greece, which took place every four years. The ancient Olympics seem to have begun in the early 700 BC, in honour of Zeus. No women were allowed to watch the games and only Greek nationals could participate. One of the ancient wonders was a statue of Zeus at Olympia, made of gold and ivory by a Greek sculptor Pheidias. This was placed inside a Temple, although it was a towering 42 feet high. </li></ul><ul><li>The games at Olympia were greatly expanded from a one-day festival of athletics and wrestling to, in 472 BC, five days with many events. The order of the events is not precisely known, but the first day of the festival was devoted to sacrifices. On the Middle Day of the festival 100 oxen were sacrificed in honor of a God. Athletes also often prayed and made small sacrifices themselves.. </li></ul><ul><li>On the second day, the foot-race, the main event of the games, took place in the stadium, an oblong area enclosed by sloping banks of earth. At Olympia there were 4 different types of races; The first was stadion, the oldest event of the Games, where runners sprinted for 1 stade, the length of the stadium(192m). The other races were a 2-stade race (384 m.), and a long-distance run which ranged from 7 to 24 stades (1,344 m. to 4,608 m.).The fourth type of race involved runners wearing full amor, which was 2-4 stade race (384 m. to 768 m.), used to build up speed and stamina for military purposes. </li></ul><ul><li>On other days, wrestling, boxing, and the pancratium, a combination of the two, were held. In wrestling, the aim was to throw the opponent to the ground three times, on either his hip, back or shoulder. In ancient Greek wrestling biting and genital holds were illegal. </li></ul><ul><li>Boxing became more and more brutal; at first the pugilists wound straps of soft leather over their fingers as a means of deadening the blows, but in later times hard leather, sometimes weighted with metal, was used. In the pancratium, the most rigorous of the sports, the contest continued until one or the other of the participants acknowledged defeat. </li></ul><ul><li>Horse-racing, in which each entrant owned his horse, was confined to the wealthy but was nevertheless a popular attraction. The course was 6 laps of the track, with separate races for whereupon the rider would have no stirrups. It was only wealthy people that could pay for such training, equipment, and feed of both the rider and the horses. So whichever horse won it was not the rider who was awarded the Olive wreath but the owner. There were also Chariot races, that consisted of both 2-horse and 4-horse chariot races, with separate races for chariots drawn by foals. There was also a race was between carts drawn by a team of 2 mules, which was 12 laps of the stadium track. </li></ul>
Wars of Greece <ul><li>The First Persian War </li></ul><ul><li>After the Ionian revolt ended, Darius decided to expand his empire's territories. In 493 BC the Persians defeated the remains of the Ionian revolt. This was a very good chance for Darius to extend his empire and he did so by acquiring the islands of East Aegean and the Propontis. After the revolt Darius selected his son-in-law Mardonius for resettlement of the cities destroyed in the revolt. This change was shockingly civil compared to the known cruel Persian rulers. Democracy was introduced, tax system was more liberal, and prisoners were released and sent back to hometowns. Darius civil attitude was a calculatory move to pressurize the Greek states to surrender, which did so. But Athens and Sparta were exceptions. In 492 BC Mardonius tried to control as many Hellenic cities as he could. While the army was sent to capture Hellespont, he along with his navy took over Ionia. From there he joined his army in Hellespont, capturing Thrace and Macedon on his way. While Thrace surrendered without revolting, Macedon was reduced from an ally to a city-state. He then moved to Thassos but luck would have it, he faced a powerful storm where nearly 20,000 men of his army were killed. Datis and Artaphernes gathered force to teach Attica and Eretria a lesson for supporting Ionia. Traveling from Cilicia to Rhodes, they moved upto Samos and then to Naxos. The residents there surrendered themselves to Eretria. Eretria was captured and looted and then surrendered the city back. </li></ul>
Mythology <ul><li>Orestes, Electra and Hermes at the tomb of Agamemnon, lucanian red-figure pelike, ca. 380 - 370 BC, Louvre </li></ul><ul><li>Electra was the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, the king and queen of Mycenae. When Electra's father returned from the Trojan war, her mother, Clytemnestra and her lover, Aegisthus killed him. They also killed Cassandra, a concubine of Agamemnon from the Trojan war. Electra managed to save her brother Orestes from Aegisthus. She sent him to the King Strophius. After that, Electra lived with a feeling of taking revenge, dreaming only of vengence on them for killing her father. Delphic oracle ordered Orestes to return home and take revange of his father's death. Electra and Orestes returned to Mycenae, their home. According to Aeschylus, they met each other before the tomb of Agamemnon, where both had gone to perform rites to the dead. Orestes with the help of Pylades, the son of King Strophius of Phocis (who had cared for Orestes while he hid from his mother and her lover), killed Clytemnestra and Aegisthus. Electra supported and helped Orestes to take revenge of their father. Pylades and Electra fell in love and married. She was the mother of Medon and Strophius. </li></ul>
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