Ancient Greeks

Ancient Greece

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Greeks lived very differently thousands of years ago than they do today. About 2,500 years ago, Greece did not have any one king ruling it. Instead, it was divided into the small city states. Each city states were lead by a government. The two most powerful city states were Athens and Sparta. Most of the times the city states fought with each other to gain control of each others territory. Some time it was over some other issues. Remember the Helen of Troy and the Trojan horse? The city states only got together to fight a bigger enemy when it threatened to invade the country. When Persia attacked Greece, Athens and Sparta got together to defeat it under the leadership of Alexander the great.

Greeks were God fearing people. They believed that God watched over them all the time. The king of all Gods was God Zeus who lived on Mount Olympus above the clouds. The Greek Gods had superpowers and were immortal, but they were like humans as they also made mistakes. There are many stories about how Greek Gods made blunders.

Greeks were very good architects. They made elaborate temples with huge statues and intricate decorations.

Greeks were also great Scholars, philosophers and artists. Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, and Archimedes are few amongst many famous Greek philosophers and scholars. Greek artists built open air theatres for performances.

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There was a tradition of keeping slaves in Greece. Many people were kept as slaves. These people were either born to slave parents or were prisoners from the battles. Slaves worked in the farms and homes of rich people. Sadly, human slaves could be sold and bought in the market.

The climate then was much like how it is today – hot, warm and dry. People wore tunics made from a piece of cotton to keep them comfortable. Women wore long tunic, called a chiton. It usually reached their ankles. They wore a cloak, called a himation over the chiton. This cloak was thin for summer and thick for winter. Men just wore short tunics.

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Did you know that Olympic Games originated in Greece? The Games were part of a religious festival. The Games were held in honour of Zeus, king of the gods and were held every four years in Olympia. People from all over Greece came to watch and take part. In the beginning of Olympic games, there was only a sprint event but the games got elaborate by the year, and more sports like Javelin, long jump, discus throw, wrestling, chariot race got added. Winners were presented a wreath of leaves as +a trophy. The word ‘marathon’ in marathon races has originated from the famous battle of Marathon that Athens and Sparta fought against Persia, and also from the heroism of a Greek named Pheidippides. Before the battle, he ran for over 150 miles (240 km) – from Athens to Sparta to fetch help. Then he fought the battle of Marathon which Greeks won.

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