Greek philosophy, architecture, and culture have influenced not just Europe, but the entire world. Movies like 300 (of course) and the idea that people can choose their leaders in the democratic system. Ancient Greece mostly focuses on the city-state of Athens because this was the center of the Classical Period (part of Ancient Greece) just like the city of Florence in Italy was the center of the Renaissance. Despite this, it is guaranteed there is a section about the Spartans and how people lived in Ancient Greece. And who can forget the Greek gods and its mythology?
Due to Greece beening a peninsula with small islands and many mountains, the geography of Greece made people live in a city-state rather than a large country. Other than having the same gods and speaking the same language, most of these city-states or poleis ruled themselves because the country of Greece didn't exist yet. There were hundreds of Greek poleis with a variety size and population. Each city-state also had its own form of government that ranged from totally democratic to completely dictatorial. Some examples of these Greek city-states were Olympia, Marathon, Thebes, Mycenae, Argos, Athens, and Sparta.
One of the most well know Greek city-states was (probably because of the movie 300) was Sparta. This military state was governed by 2 kings but was mostly ruled by a 28-member council. Spartan society was based on the military, with top ranking officials at the top. Below them was a middle class made up of artisans or merchants. At the bottom (like always) were the slaves who did farming and other jobs men didn't do because they served in the military. Surprisingly, Spartan women had more rights than any other women in Greece. Women were formally educated, could own land, participate in athletic events, and even sometimes had little political influence over politics! Men on the other hand, were raised by their mother till age 7, at which point they were sent to train for the military until they became soldiers at age 30. Between ages 20-30, men were expected to already be married. After becoming warriors, Spartan men were required to remain in the military until the age of 60 (or at least until they died in battle).
slide source- slideplayer.com
picture source- www.ancientmilitary.com
Perhaps the most famous of all Greek poleis was Athens (it's so important that today it's the capital of Greece). This city-state was the center of the Greek Classical Period, where philosophy, math, science, architecture and culture flourished. This period of ancient Greek history was lead by one of Athens most famous political figures, Pericles. Many of the ideas Athens came up with: from mathematical equations to democracy are still used worldwide. And of course, voting in Athens was denied to slaves and women. But for these reasons, historians call ancient Greece the base for Western civilization. Education was very broad in Athens to boys, while girls were prepared to become housewives.
Left, top- Statue cs
Left, bottom- Ruins of Athens
picture source- www.ancient.eu
The Persian Wars
The Persian Wars, also known as the Persian Invasions, or the Greco-Persian Wars were made up of two invasions of Greece by the Persian Empire. The conflicts began to the East of the Aegean Sea, were a group of Greeks that had been conquered by the Persians revolted. The Greek city-states on the Greek mainland helped the rebelling Greeks until the rebellion collapse. Angered by the assisting the rebels, the king of Persia invaded Greece with the goal of destroying Athens. This invasion ended in failure around 490 BC thanks to many of the Greek city-states that joined Athens and helped them fight off the Persians. But the trouble with the Persians wasn't over. With the son of the past king in power, Xerxes I launched another invasion in 480 BC. This invasion was even shorter than the first one because it failed as well. This decisive Greek victory lead to a Greek Golden Age (mainly in Athens).
Right, top- Map of the first Persian Invasion
Right, top- One of the battles of the Persian Invasions
picture source- www.wikipedia.org
picture source- historyofwars.net
The Peloponnesian War
picture source- www.pinteres.com
The Peloponnesian War was a conflict as devastating and as long as it is trying to pronounce it. It was fought for 30 years soon after the Persian Wars between the two most powerful city-states: Athens and Sparta. The war began in 460 BC with Athens having advantage over the seas because of their Navy. Then in 445 BC, a truce called the "Thirty Years Peace" was signed. That was until the conflict resumed in 431 BC, nearly only half of the 30 years of peace that were promised. But decisive battles that were won by the Spartans began hurtling the Athenian Navy. Finally, Sparta emerged as victor in 404 BC.... or so it seemed. The truth was that those 3 decades of fighting had a huge impact on all of Greece. Sparta's military might dropped while Athens was left bankrupt do to all the money put into the war. This would lead to Greece's conquest by the father of Alexander the Great and later on, fall under Roman rule.
Left, bottom-Map of the war towards the end, yellow is Athens and its allies while red is Sparta and its allies.
picture source- http://webwork.math.cwu.edu/
Despite Greek mythology been used today for making books and movies (Hercules in New York), the Ancient Greeks took their polytheistic religion very seriously. If they hadn't been serious, they would had not executed Socrates for more than just "corrupting the youth" or threatened Aristotle with death. Besides this, Greek city-states had a protective god/goddesses. For example, Athens had Athena as their patron goddess while Sparta had Ares, the god of war, as their patron god. According to Greek mythology, the gods lived on Mt. Olympus, but everyone knows that! The following are some of the most important and well-known gods and goddesses:
Right- Statues of the gods
picture(s) source- www.wikipedia.org