Portal:Ancient Greece

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The Ancient Greece Portal

Location greek ancient.png
Greek influence in the mid 6th century BC.

Ancient Greece (Greek: Ἑλλάς, translit. Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of antiquity (c. AD 600). Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Roughly three centuries after the Late Bronze Age collapse of Mycenaean Greece, Greek urban poleis began to form in the 8th century BC, ushering in the Archaic period and colonization of the Mediterranean Basin. This was followed by the period of Classical Greece, an era that began with the Greco-Persian Wars, lasting from the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Due to the conquests by Alexander the Great of Macedon, Hellenistic civilization flourished from Central Asia to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea. The Hellenistic period came to an end with the conquests and annexations of the eastern Mediterranean world by the Roman Republic, which established the Roman province of Macedonia in Roman Greece, and later the province of Achaea during the Roman Empire.

Classical Greek culture, especially philosophy, had a powerful influence on ancient Rome, which carried a version of it to many parts of the Mediterranean Basin and Europe. For this reason, Classical Greece is generally considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of modern Western culture and is considered the cradle of Western civilization.

Classical Greek culture gave great importance to knowledge. Science and religion were not separate and getting closer to the truth meant getting closer to the gods. In this context, they understood the importance of mathematics as an instrument for obtaining more reliable ("divine") knowledge. Greek culture, in a few centuries and with a limited population, managed to explore and make progress in many fields of science, mathematics, philosophy and knowledge in general.

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The Olympic Games (Ancient Greek: τὰ Ολύμπια - ta Olympia; Modern Greek: Ὀλυμπιακοὶ Ἀγῶνες (Katharevousa), Ολυμπιακοί Αγώνες (Dimotiki) - Olympiakoi Agones) were a series of athletic competitions held for representatives of various city-states of Ancient Greece. Records indicate that they began in 776BC in Olympia, Greece. They were celebrated until 393 AD. when an earthquake destroyed Olympia.The Games were usually held every four years, or olympiad, as the unit of time came to be known. During a celebration of the Games, an Olympic Truce was enacted to enable athletes to travel from their countries to Olympia in safety. The prizes for the victors were olive wreaths, palm branches, sometimes even food for life. The ancient Olympics were rather different from the modern Games. There were fewer events, and only free men who spoke Greek could compete (even though a woman is also mentioned as a winner). Athletes from any country or city (famous athletes from as far as Rome and Armenia are mentioned) were allowed to participate. The Games were always held at Olympia, as with the Cotswold Olimpick Games, instead of moving around to different places for each separate Olympic festival as is the case in the Olympic Games

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Dardanelles map2.png

Hellespont (Greek Ἑλλήσποντοs; i.e. "Sea of Helle", variously named in classical literature Hellesponium Pelagus, Rectum Hellesponticum, and Fretum Hellesponticum) was the ancient name of a narrow strait, now known by the modern European term 'the Dardanelles'. It was so called from Helle, the daughter of Athamas, who was drowned here in the mythology of the Golden Fleece.

Did you know...

  • ... that the Greeks did not have a term for "religion"?

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Delphi Composite.jpg

Photo credit: Leonidtsvetkov

Delphi is an archaeological site and a modern town in Greece on the south-western spur of Mount Parnassus in the valley of Phocis.


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Bust of Demosthenes

Demosthenes (384–322 BCE, Greek: Δημοσθένης, Dēmosthénēs) was a prominent Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens. His orations constitute a significant expression of ancient Athenian intellectual prowess and provide a thorough insight into the politics and culture of ancient Greece during the 4th century BC. Demosthenes learned rhetoric by studying the speeches of previous great orators. He delivered his first judicial speeches at the age of twenty, in which he argued effectively to gain from his guardians what was left of his inheritance. For a time, Demosthenes made his living as a professional speech-writer (logographer) and a lawyer, writing speeches for use in private legal suits.Demosthenes grew interested in politics during his time as a logographer, and in 354 BC he gave his first public political speeches. He went on to devote his most productive years to opposing Macedon's expansion. He idealized his city and strove throughout his life to restore Athens' supremacy and motivate his compatriots against Philip II of Macedon.


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Places: Aegean Sea · Hellespont · Macedonia · Sparta · Athens · Corinth · Thebes · Thermopylae · Antioch · Alexandria · Pergamon · Miletus · Delphi · Olympia · Troy · Rhodes

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