Ancient Greece was a captivating ancient civilization that lasted through the turbulent Archaic period to the end of the art-filled Antiquity era. This fact makes it one of the oldest known civilizations, with a massive spread from the 12th century BC to 600 AD.
It still has a massive impact on how the world works and looks today, especially in the Mediterranean Basin. Remnants of the luscious Greek culture can be seen even today in our art museums, philosophy, and politics and if you’re willing to travel a bit, you can find traces of its presences all around Greece. Now, let’s learn more about the inventors of Democracy.
Greeks invented the Olympics
The first prototype of the games took place almost 3000 years ago, in a festival created to honor Zeus, the leader of the gods. Some of the main events have lasted to the modern era, and which can be found in our Olympics today. They include running, boxing, and wrestling.
The victorious Olympians, which were usually part of the Greek army, were crowned symbolically with an olive wreath and treated as demigods upon their arrival home. If you visit the ruins of the first stadiums, you can even sprint across the tracks like they did, although ancient athletes usually competed naked, which nowadays would be illegal.
Before starting this part of the article, you should know that between 40% and 75% of the population of Ancient Athens were slaves, even if they were treated much better than America treated its slaves. Also, Ancient Greece was a democracy, the world’s first, as a matter of fact, but it lasted for only 185 years.
In many ways, life in those times was not necessarily different from modern daily life. Most of the time was spent hanging out and fighting in public spaces, and during the Golden Age of Athens or the Democracy era, citizens participated in their democratic government. Women and slaves were not permitted to participate, and male citizens just voted yes or no on all rules, laws, and changes.
Art as a way of life
Ancient Greeks invented the theatre. Greeks loved watching plays, and almost all cities had a theatre, with some big enough to hold at least 15,000 people. But because our early societies were inherently sexist, only men were allowed to be actors, and they had to wear masks to show the audience whether their characters were happy or sad.
They also held many festivals in honor of their main gods and goddesses. To celebrate Zeus, the first Greek Olympics were held in the ancient city of Olympia. There are also thousands of sculptures scattered across their area, which shows us they loved creating not to survive, but to prove they were sophisticated people who enjoyed beautiful things.