Ancient Greece Facts - History, Geography, Ancient Greeks, Philosopers (2022)

Table of Contents

  • The ancient Greeks were a culture that lived thousands of years ago.
  • They were one of the first civilizations to produce great works in art, mathematics, literature, and philosophy.

Ancient Greece was an astounding culture that developed throughout the centuries. They developed a complex culture throughout the centuries. The Cyclades, the Minoans, and the Mycenae were the precursors of the ancient Greeks.Keep reading to learn more Ancient Greece facts.

Beginnings

The Cyclades

The Cycladic people, from the islands around Greece, started to develop their own culture a long time ago. Cycladic people became experts at carving statues into the pure white marble that they found on the islands of Paros and Naxos.

Then a change in the population of the Cyclades happened. Communities near the coast moved into the middle of islands and built citadels so they were less vulnerable to attack.

Cycladic people lived in homes usually two or three stories high. The narrow streets of their city even had a system to take away sewage. Some houses had large jars for storing food like grain, vegetables, dried fish, wine, or oil.

The Minoans

The Minoan culture was one of the first major cultures to appear in Europe. Their people lived on the island of Crete.

They built great palaces at places such as Knossos and Phaistos. These palaces were a complex of several buildings.

The Minoans used pictures to write. They used a system of hieroglyphs or pictographs with pictures of animals and objects. The idea might have been from the Egyptians.

(Video) Ancient Greece 101 | National Geographic

The Minotaur

In Greek mythology, there was a story where the god Poseidon sent a snow-white bull to King Minos of Crete to sacrifice. But when the king refused to sacrifice the bull, Poseidon made the queen fall in love with it.

She had a child with a human body and a bull’s head that was called the Minotaur. King Minos built a maze so complex that nobody could find their way through it. The Minotaur lived inside so he could not escape.

The Mycenae

This culture had a lot of cities in mainland Greece. Each city was a unique kingdom.

The cities shared a common language and way of life. The great centers of this society were Athens, Thebes, and Sparta.

The Ancient Greeks

Ancient Greece had two main cities: Sparta and Athens. Each was a different kingdom in itself.

Sparta

In the city of Sparta, the army was very important. Boys had to go through a lot of training.

At birth, if they were not fit, they were left to die on the mountain. When boys turned 7 years old, they left home to live in groups with other boys.

Spartan girls were taught how to exercise alongside the boys.

In the Spartan society, everything was about maintaining a powerful army. The government was more important than any person’s individual needs.

Many admired Sparta for its military strength and for teaching its citizens to be virtuous, honest, and loyal.

Read about Sparta Facts

Athens

In Athens, there were three social classes. All of them were considered citizens and could vote.

  • The aristocrats were rich and had the most land. They owned servants.
  • Next came the farmers who owned a yoke of oxen, making enough money to live on their own.
  • Finally, the poor worked as day laborers for other people.

Unlike Spartan women, Athenian women had very low status. Some women were citizens, but they couldn’t vote.

Women mostly stayed in their homes and did chores such as sewing clothes for the family and cleaning.

(Video) Ancient Greece for Kids | Learn all Ancient Greek history with this fun overview

Politics

In Athens, the system of government was a democracy. This meant that all citizens were allowed to decide which government they wanted.

The most important part of the government was the ecclesia, which was like a meeting where all citizens came together to talk about political decisions. The representatives were chosen by lot.

Greek religion

The Greeks worshiped many gods. They believed that these deities had a lot of influence on life on earth.

Most of the gods were believed to have human form and, although they were immortal, they had many mortal defects and needs.

The main gods were twelve: Zeus, king of the gods, Hera, Poseidon, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Aphrodite, Hermes, Demeter, Dionysus, Hephaestus, and Ares.

To please the gods, the Greeks offered prayers, sacrifices, and festivals to win divine help.

The Greeks would consult oracles for answers. Oracles were people who could speak for the gods.

Mount Olympus

The highest mountain in mainland Greece is Mount Olympus.

In the old days, people thought that the most important gods lived there because they were all family.

The Greek alphabet

The word alphabet comes from the first two letters in the Greek alphabet: alpha and beta. It is a writing system where each letter represents one sound.

The Greek alphabet is still in use today.

Greek literature

The Iliad and the Odyssey

These epic poems by Homer tell us about a 10-year war in Greece to conquer the city of Troy. The reason for the war was that Paris, prince of Troy, has kidnapped Helen, the king of Sparta’s wife. When the king found out his wife was gone, he started a ten-year war.

When Troy fell, one of the warriors, Odysseus, went back home. His journey is told in the Odyssey, and it is full of adventures.

These poems have been thought of for a long time to be fiction. Now historians know that they can give us information about the Mycenaean and Greek civilizations.

(Video) Ancient Greece in 18 minutes

Theatre and acting

Drama as we know it started in ancient Greece. Comedies and tragedies were presented on a stage.

Actors wore masks and shoes with very high heels. Plays were presented in festivals, and awards were given to the best playwriters.

Greek tragedy started with Aeschylus. He wrote around 90 plays that were performed as part of the Dionysian festival. Only 7 have survived because he wrote them on papyrus.

Aeschylus’ successor was Sophocles. He was almost 30 years younger. Sophocles won the drama festival 18 times, but only seven of his 123 tragedies have survived.

The Persian Wars

Greece went to war with the biggest empire of its time: Persia. They fought three important battles: Thermopylae, Marathon, and Salamis.

Marathons

After the Athenian victory over the Persians at the Battle of Marathon, a Greek runner was dispatched to run to Athens with good news.

Because he was so tired, he died when he got there. Years later, this story inspired the marathon race.

The age of Pericles

The Athenians had a good life when Pericles ruled them. Under his guidance, Athens became a very important city.

It was an unmatched center for culture and learning. This led to the construction of the Parthenon on Acropolis.

For the first time, Athens became a place where many people came to think about new ideas in philosophy. They found a warm welcome among the richer citizens. Some of these people were Socrates and Plato.

Greek philosophy

The Greeks began putting order to human thoughts in a system we call philosophy. Three Greek philosophers remain important to this day: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

Socrates

Socrates was important to Western thought. He would use logic in his arguments and words from everyday life.

Socrates said that only good can guide men. He thought that people should try to find out what good is. When they have found it, they will always do what is right.

The way Socrates talked about this was in a conversation or dialogue. He created a school where students walked around a garden talking to their teacher.

(Video) Ancient Greece | Educational Videos for Kids

Plato

Socrates’ student Plato went on to become a good philosopher, too.

He was the founder of a famous academy. He thought that only ideas were real.

Aristotle

Aristotle was Plato’s most important student. His philosophy developed in a different direction from Plato’s.

Aristotle preferred an experimental approach, insisting that the observation of the visible was very important.

His major contribution to philosophy was to establish a system of logic that we used for more than two thousand years.

Greek science

The Greeks learned science from the Egyptians and Babylonians. They knew that math could be put together like a puzzle. They found out that math has rules, and they used logic to figure these out.

To understand how the planets move in space, Greek astronomers said that the universe is like a big ball. They said that Earth is at the center of this ball. And then they explained that every planet has its path across this sphere.

Hippocrates was the Greek father of medicine. People used to think that illness was caused by magic. Hippocrates taught that doctors must examine a patient to find out what is wrong with his body.

Alexander the Great

Ancient Greece Facts - History, Geography, Ancient Greeks, Philosopers (1)

Alexander the Great was one of the best military leaders that the world has ever known.

He was a Greek king that created an empire in the eastern Mediterranean. His empire reached all across Asia to India.

When Alexander was barely 22, he crossed over to Persia and conquered it. He then moved east to India, where he subdued millions of people.

After the death of Alexander, different empires rose to power. The Ptolemaic dynasty took control of Egypt, and the Seleucids took over the area that had belonged to the Persians.

The death of Alexander the Great was the end of ancient Greece.

But Greek discoveries and culture were copied by other people, like the Romans. In many ways, Greeks set the foundations of who were are and how we think today.

(Video) Ancient Greece | Learn the History and Facts about Ancient Greece for Kids

Read about Roman Empire Facts

Sources

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FAQs

Who is the 5 Greek philosophers? ›

Though our list highlights 5 key ancient Greek philosophers, a number of key thinkers such as Zeno, Empedocles, Anaximander, Anaxagoras, Eratosthenes and Parmenides also deserve mention for their contributions to modern philosophy.

What did Ancient Greece philosophers do? ›

Socrates and Plato are two famous Greek philosopher's whose ideas still impact society today. In ancient Greece, philosophers contemplated and theorized about many different ideas such as human nature, ethics, and moral dilemmas.

Who were the 3 main philosophers that emerged from Ancient Greece? ›

Some of the most famous and influential philosophers of all time were from the ancient Greek world, including Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.

Who is the founder of Greek history geography? ›

Herodotus has been called the “father of history.” An engaging narrator with a deep interest in the customs of the people he described, he remains the leading source of original historical information not only for Greece between 550 and 479 BCE but also for much of western Asia and Egypt at that time.

Who is the 1st philosopher? ›

The first philosopher is usually said to have been Thales. Raymond Geuss has recently suggested that it was not Thales but Oedipus (and the Sphinx), on the grounds that 'It takes two' for philosophy to exist.

What are the 7 philosophers? ›

Seven thinkers and how they grew: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz; Locke, Berkeley, Hume; Kant (Chapter 6) - Philosophy in History.

Who is the most famous philosopher? ›

Aristotle (384–322 BCE), who follows Socrates and Plato as the third member of the great triumvirate of ancient Greek philosophers, is arguably the most important thinker who ever lived.

Who is the oldest Greek philosopher? ›

Thales. The earliest person who is cited by ancient sources as a philosopher is Thales, who lived in the city of Miletus in Asia Minor around the late 7th or early 6th century BCE.

Who started philosophy? ›

Philosophy as we know it today developed in ancient Greece in the 6th century BC. Thales was the first philosopher. Ancient Greek philosophy reached its peak in the classical period because of philosophers such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

When did Greek philosophers live? ›

Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, marking the end of the Greek Dark Ages. Greek philosophy continued throughout the Hellenistic period and the period in which Greece and most Greek-inhabited lands were part of the Roman Empire.

Who was the best ancient philosopher? ›

Socrates (c.

The most well-known ancient Greek Philosopher of all time, Socrates, was a master stonemason and social critic. He never wrote anything and most of his philosophical contributions come through his students, mainly Plato.

Who is the most famous Greek philosopher? ›

Socrates is one of the most famous Greek philosophers in history, and his thirst for knowledge changed the course of philosophy forever. Socrates was born in 469 BC and he served in the Peloponnesian War.

Who was the first geographer? ›

Eratosthenes of Cyrene (c. 276 BCE–192 or 194 BCE) was an ancient Greek mathematician, poet, and astronomer who is known as the father of geography.

Who were the first people to study geography? ›

Geography was first systematically studied by the ancient Greeks, who also developed a philosophy of geography; Thales of Miletus, Herodotus, Eratosthenes, Aristotle, Strabo, and Ptolemy made major contributions to geography.

Who Founded history? ›

Herodotus (c. 484 – 425/413 BCE) was a Greek writer who invented the field of study known today as `history'.

Who are 5 greatest philosophers? ›

Top 10 Philosophers
  • Aristotle. Aristotle, one of the most famous Greek philosophers, was also a polymath who lived in Ancient Greece in 384-322 BC. ...
  • Lao-Tzu. ...
  • John Locke. ...
  • Karl Marx. ...
  • Confucius. ...
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson. ...
  • Immanuel Kant. ...
  • Epicurus.
Nov 25, 2021

Do philosophers believe in God? ›

You might say, “But that doesn't have anything to do with replacing God?” and that's Jensen's point. “To be honest, most of philosophy isn't concerned in any direct sense with God or God's existence,” Jensen said. “It is one part of philosophy that we study, but we're not obsessed with it.

Is philosopher a job? ›

A philosopher salary can range depending on the field they specialize in. Some philosophy careers may pay around $50,000 while others can exceed upwards of $100,000.

Who is the greatest Greek philosopher? ›

The most well-known ancient Greek Philosopher of all time, Socrates, was a master stonemason and social critic. He never wrote anything and most of his philosophical contributions come through his students, mainly Plato.

Who is the most famous philosopher? ›

Aristotle (384–322 BCE), who follows Socrates and Plato as the third member of the great triumvirate of ancient Greek philosophers, is arguably the most important thinker who ever lived.

Who is the oldest Greek philosopher? ›

Thales. The earliest person who is cited by ancient sources as a philosopher is Thales, who lived in the city of Miletus in Asia Minor around the late 7th or early 6th century BCE.

What are the five school of thought in philosophy? ›

These schools of thought are: Idealism, Realism, Pragmatism, and Existentialism. It is important to note that idealism and realism, otherwise known as general or world philosophies, have their roots in the work of the ancient Greek philosophers: Plato and Aristotle.

Who are 5 greatest philosophers? ›

Top 10 Philosophers
  • Aristotle. Aristotle, one of the most famous Greek philosophers, was also a polymath who lived in Ancient Greece in 384-322 BC. ...
  • Lao-Tzu. ...
  • John Locke. ...
  • Karl Marx. ...
  • Confucius. ...
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson. ...
  • Immanuel Kant. ...
  • Epicurus.
Nov 25, 2021

Do philosophers believe in God? ›

You might say, “But that doesn't have anything to do with replacing God?” and that's Jensen's point. “To be honest, most of philosophy isn't concerned in any direct sense with God or God's existence,” Jensen said. “It is one part of philosophy that we study, but we're not obsessed with it.

Is philosopher a job? ›

A philosopher salary can range depending on the field they specialize in. Some philosophy careers may pay around $50,000 while others can exceed upwards of $100,000.

Videos

1. TOP 5 Ancient Greek Inventions we use everyday
(HistoryLeaks)
2. Interesting facts about the geography of ancient Greece story for kids
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3. A day in the life of an ancient Athenian - Robert Garland
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4. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle: Global History Review
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5. Ancient Greece for Kids | History Learning Video
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6. Discovery Ed - Ancient Greece Philosophy
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