What Is The Culture Of Greece

Greek Culture

  • Pride
  • sPhilotimo
  • sCautiousness
  • sReason
  • sLeisure
  • sHospitality
  • sSincerity

Greece (formally known as the Hellenic Republic) is a country located in the Mediterranean Sea, bordering Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Its area consists of thousands of islands distributed throughout the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, and Mediterranean Sea, the largest of which is Crete, which is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Greece has achieved a global reputation as a result of the heritage of its ancient origins, which can be found mainly in Western philosophy, among other things.

Many components of Greek society have had to change in response to the challenges of the twenty-first century; yet, family unity, charity, and hospitality continue to be extremely essential in people’s lives.

Demographics The Greek government does not collect statistics on the ethnic and racial variety of its residents, but rather categorizes them according to whether they are citizens or foreign migrants.

  1. There are also significant numbers of individuals who identify as Turks, Macedonians, Albanians, Bulgarians, Vlachs, and Roma, among other ethnic groups.
  2. According to tradition, this is written in an unique alphabet that goes from alpha (A) to omega (O) in length.
  3. However, the vast majority of the people that speaks a local dialect is bilingual and knows standard Greek as well as the local dialect.
  4. However, in contrast to other Eastern European nations, it is mostly linked with the Western hemisphere.
  5. (EU).
  6. Despite the fact that it has made significant contributions to political theory, philosophy, and science, it remains important to Western society.
  7. In spite of the fact that they may have strong emotions of cultural superiority and national pride, people in the United States typically show strong feelings of cultural superiority and national pride.

In addition, Greeks are extremely proud of the fact that they have always been on what has been considered as ‘the right side of history,’ having always associated with those who have fought for their rights.

Despite the fact that this is an archaic picture of modern-day Greece, the culture nonetheless places a high priority on reasonable discourse and introspection.

Decisions based on logic and reason are highly regarded in society, and a good dose of logical argumentation is encouraged.

They like testing their intelligence by seeking to persuade people who hold strongly held beliefs, sometimes ingeniously drawing on their knowledge of a wide range of disciplines to support their position.

The audience may be entertained for a short period of time by these heated debates, but the majority of the time there are no bitter sentiments or lingering emotions.

A state of pleasure, bliss, and delight experienced when a moment is so tremendously pleasurable that one is transported by it is referred to as ” Kefi “.

As a result, people may participate in or instigate debate in the hopes of being stimulated and achieving kefi.

It is, on the other hand, tightly associated with a personal drive to “do the right thing.” Philotimo is a person’s inner sense of dignity and pride that inspires them to fulfill their societal obligation and duty, even if doing so puts them at a personal disadvantage in the process.

In the case of someone operating as a ‘tzampatzis’ (free rider) who is just concerned with his or her own personal gain, their philotimo would be called into consideration.

Greeks strongly believe that the notion of philotimo is something that is unique to their community and national identity, and that it is what binds them together.

Everyone understands that, by virtue of their philotimo, they will be able to fulfill their commitment.

Interdependence Greece is an asociety in the sense that people have a strong feeling of devotion to their families and social circles.

People’s day-to-day lives are profoundly influenced by their personal interactions.

In large part, this has been motivated by need, as the government cannot always be depended upon to offer assistance.

Examples include: assisting a person bridge opportunities, get acquainted, receive information, gain access to power, or maneuver around a situation where friends and family connections might be critical to success.

Life on a Daily Basis Greeks have a tendency to organize their life around the immediate social ties that are essential to them, and they have a laid-back attitude toward time and socialization.

A more calm and tranquil pace of life is preferred by those from rural or coastal locations, as well as the elder generation, who spend more time engaging in personal relationships.

However, there are misunderstandings that arise when people believe that Greeks are sluggish because they live in a certain cultural setting.

Because a great deal of socialization takes place in the public eye, it’s possible that a stereotype about their work ethic (or lack thereof) has developed.

Among other things, outdoor cafés and coffee shops give a location for Greeks to meet without having to make a formal occasion of their presence.

Another well-known ritual is to take a leisurely stroll down the town promenade in the late afternoon or early evening – known as “volta” (slow stroll).

Informal social events, such as these, help people feel more connected to their local community.

More than a decade later, the country is still suffering the consequences of this decision.

The majority of people are aware of someone who has lost his or her job, pension, or even their home.

Because there is limited ability to project into the future, it is difficult to be proactive in one’s decision-making process.

Some people are discovering that the lessons passed down from previous generations are not always appropriate for dealing with the current social climate.

Ohaderfismos is a term used to describe the mentality of responding to problems with the carefree sentiment “Oh brother, who cares?” Many Greeks no longer have the luxury of ignoring the difficulties of the country’s precarious economic situation, as has been the case in the past.

People have become overly cautious and wary of ambiguity in recent years. Greece’s culture receives the highest possible score on Hofstede’s dimensions, which are as follows: This indicates that the Greek people are more concerned than ever with stability and security.

Greece – Daily life and social customs

During the sweltering summer months, Greeks like to spend their time outside. At dusk, the tradition of thevolta is still alive and well in small towns and villages, when a large proportion of the populace strolls up and down main streets or, on the islands, along the coast. In both the summer and winter, a significant amount of leisure time is spent in the various cafés and coffee shops, both of which have traditionally been a male-dominated environment. The presence of a single coffee shop where followers of a certain political party assemble is also not unusual in a single community.

  • The Turkish influence on Greek food, notably in the form of desserts such as baklava and kataifi, may be traced back hundreds of years.
  • The traditional, healthful diet of Greek peasants in general consisted of vegetables, fruit, olives, olive oil, cheese, bread, and fish, with meat being a luxury that was only consumed on rare occasions and only in moderation.
  • Greek society is characterized by a strong family structure and a low rate of criminal activity.
  • The emergence of the middle class, which has been a characteristic of Greek society’s development since the conclusion of World War II, has had minimal impact on the family’s primacy in society.

Separate from religious marriage, civil marriage was established in parallel with religious marriage, the dowry system was abolished (though marriages are still sometimes viewed as economic alliances in theory), divorce was made more accessible, and the father’s previously dominant position in the family was curtailed.

This is especially true in the shipping sector, where tightly linked clans of families control the majority of the business.

Mesa (connections) androuspheti (connections) are still lubricating the wheels of civilization today (thereciprocaldispensation of favours).

With many people returning to their native villages for the traditional celebrations, which include the vigil in church on Saturday evening and the lighting of the Holy Fire at Midnight on Easter morning, as well as the roasting of whole lambs on spits for the Easter meal, Easter is the most important religious and family festival of the year.

The vigil in church on Saturday evening is followed by the lighting of the Holy Fire at midnight on Easter morning. August is traditionally regarded as a vacation month.

The arts

Greek artists flourish against the backdrop of its illustrious cultural legacy. Greece has made the most significant contributions to literature of any country in the world (seeGreek literature). Constantine Cavafy, an ethnic Greek who spent much of his life in Alexandria, Egypt, is widely cited as one of the great poets of the early twentieth century. He was born in Alexandria and raised there. His art is infused with a sense of anironic nostalgia for Greece’s former glory. Greek poets George Seferisin 1963 and Odyssey Elytisin 1979 shared the Nobel Prize for Literature.

  • Cretan novelist Nkos Kazantzákis is the author whose novel Zorba the Greek (1946) was adapted into a successful film, making him the most well-known author outside of Greece (1964).
  • Dimitris Lyacos, Nina Rapi, Eleni Vakalo, Ersi Sotiropoulos, and Miltos Sachtouris are some of the more modern authors and poets in the field.
  • Nicolas Ghika, Yannis Tsarouchis, Yannis Moralis, Spyros Vassiliou, and Photis Kontoglou are just a few of the well-known Greek painters and sculptors to name a few.
  • As a result of competition from television and other forms of entertainment, the traditional shadow puppet theater, Karaghiozis, has almost completely disappeared from the scene.
  • One of the most major influences on later Western art and literature has undoubtedly been the huge effect of ancient Greek art (seeWestern sculpture;Western architecture;Western painting;Greek pottery) and Greek mythology on later Western art and literature.

Such Greek statuary as thekore and thekouros—which, in turn, reflect interaction with other cultures (particularly Egyptian culture)—as well as later developments represented by works such as theLouvre’sWinged Victory of Samothrace—provide a significant chapter in the history of European and North American civilizations, respectively.

Ancient Greek tragedies (such asEuripides’Medea) and comedies (such asAristophanes’Lysistrata) were performed in a variety of forms far into the twenty-first century, including modern adaptations.

Another resonant tale, Homer’sOdyssey (from the 8th or 9th century BCE), served as the inspiration for Irishman James Joyce’s masterworkUlysses, which was published in the 20th century. A little period of contemplation can elicit a plethora of paradigms to come to mind.

Greece — History and Culture

The ancient history of Greece symbolizes, in many respects, the beginning of Europe as a center for the arts, architecture, sciences, and a variety of other pursuits and activities. The vestiges of Classical Greece, still alive and well at prominent locations visited by millions of people every year and immortalized in poetry, theatre, and myth, demonstrate its international significance as a unique cultural inheritance, as well as a firm foundation for current Greek culture.


Greece’s history must be one of the most well-known in the world since its creative city state, at its zenith more than 2,000 years ago, laid the groundwork for the development of the entire modern European civilization as a whole. But great civilisation in the region did not begin with Classical Greece; rather, it began in the Cycladic Islands, progressed on Crete with the Minoan civilization, and finally reached the Peloponnese mainland at Mycenae in roughly 1900 BC. Writing was carried out using the Minoan Linear A script, which has yet to be deciphered, and the Mycenaean Linear B script, which was an early version of Classical Greek.

  1. In Athens, in 508 BC, the world’s first democratic government was established, and enormous structures and landmarks began to take shape in ways that had never previously been witnessed.
  2. The Peloponnesian War, which took place between 431 and 404 BC, weakened the Athenian Empire and caused it to lose its dominant position in the area as a consequence of rising tensions amongst the non-unified Greek kingdoms that had formed.
  3. Christianity gained ground quickly, despite the fact that certain districts remained pagan for another thousand years.
  4. As early as the 15th century, the nation had become a part of the Ottoman Empire, and the Dark Ages had begun, despite the fact that Venice had captured a few islands.
  5. The Greek War of Independence began in 1821 and lasted until 1830, during which time there was violent combat and participation by Russia, England, and France.
  6. The country’s conflict with fascist Italy in 1940 served as a prelude to the German invasion of World War II, and after liberation, the country went into a vicious civil war against its own home-grown Communist organization that lasted for more than two decades.
  7. Tourism quickly grew in importance as a source of money, but an army coup in 1967 wreaked havoc on the economy, resulting in a dramatic reduction in revenue from travels as a result of the country’s unsettling instability.
  8. After the first democratic election was held, and a referendum was held, it was decided that the monarchy would not be reinstated.

In response to budget cuts to deal with Greece’s debt, recent riots in Athens have remained contained inside the city’s borders.


Greek culture today is a wonderful amalgam of tremendous classical and maritime heritage, music and dance, myth and legend, as well as a way of life that has evolved over many centuries in the country. Indeed, even the ultra-modern, urbanite Athenians remain fundamentally Greek, and the local way of life in rural regions and less-touristy islands is as laid back as it was at the beginning of the century. In spite of the fact that Greece has been greatly impacted by other cultures, it should be remembered that Western civilizations have also been significantly influenced by the Classical Greek period, particularly in the domains of literature, art, and architecture.

  • These dances date back to the Mycenaean period and were performed in religious rites to commemorate special anniversaries, as part of a belief that the gods were the first people to dance.
  • The Katharevousa type of Modern Greek, which is situated halfway between the classical language and the daily Demotiki speech, has continued to have an impact on Greek culture.
  • Because the religion is so prominent in this country, the happy festivals of Greek Orthodox Christianity are intimately associated with the culture.
  • The family is at the center of Greece’s social structure, and it is constantly supportive of its members, with family links frequently extending into the world of business as well.
  • Small presents are typical to provide, and they are usually returned in kind.
  • Currently, Greece is situated at the nexus of East and West, with its current culture drawing on the best of its ancient traditions, religion, food, language, and music, while also incorporating elements of contemporary influences from the twenty-first century.
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Introduction to Ancient Greece

The history of Ancient Greek culture stretches back over a thousand years, from the oldest civilizations to the cultures that evolved into the Greeks themselves.

Learning Objectives

Create a chronology of ancient Greece, from the Bronze Age through the Hellenistic period, and illustrate it.

Key Takeaways

  • Its governance, art, architecture, philosophy, and athletics are all notable features of ancient Greek culture, all of which served as foundations for contemporary western society. Others, such as Alexander the Great and the Romans, adored and accepted it, and as a result, Greek civilization expanded over the world with their assistance. Early civilizations flourished on the Greek mainland and in the Aegean Islands before Greek culture established itself in the country. The fall of these civilizations and the ensuing period, known as the Dark Age, is thought to have coincided with the first recitation of the Homeric epics
  • Greek culture began to develop during the Geometric, Orientalizing, and Archaic periods, which lasted from 900 to 480 BCE and were characterized by geometric patterns and orientalizing elements. At the beginning of this period, the population of city-states began to rise, Panhellenic traditions began to emerge, and art and architecture began to represent Greek cultural ideals. Early, High, and Late Classical eras in Greece lasted from 480 to 323 BCE, and were divided into three parts. Greece prospered during these centuries, and the city-state of Athens saw its Golden Age under the leadership of Pericles during this time. City-state disputes, however, resulted in conflicts, and Greece was never fully stable until it was overrun. The Hellenistic era in Greece is the final time before Greek civilization is reduced to a subset of Roman dominion. This period spans the years 323 BCE to 30 BCE, and it begins with Alexander the Great’s death and ends with the Greek loss in the Battle of Actium. It commemorates the expansion of Greek civilization throughout the Mediterranean.

Key Terms

  • Polis is a city or a city-state in the Greek language. Poleis is the plural form of the word.

Ancient Greek Culture

Ancient Greek culture spans more than a thousand years of history, beginning with the oldest civilizations in the area and progressing to the cultures that would eventually become the Ancient Greeks themselves. Having emerged from a period of relative obscurity, Greece once more flourished and blossomed into the ancient civilisation that we know and love today. Greek Classical History: A Map of Ancient Greece Greek culture is founded on a set of common ideals that linked autonomous city-states throughout the area and spread as far north as Mount Olympus.

  • Greek culture was insular, and one’s allegiances were centered on one’s polis (community) (city-state).
  • While Greek everyday life and loyalties were concentrated on one’s polis, the Greeks did form leagues that competed for control of the peninsula and were able to band together in the face of a shared enemy (such as the Persians).
  • Athens was extremely proud of its role in the founding of democracy, and residents from all poleis (city-states) were encouraged to participate in civic activities.
  • Greek philosophers, mathematicians, and intellectuals continue to be revered and recognized in modern civilization.

Bronze Age and Proto-Greek Civilizations

Over the course of the Bronze Age, a number of diverse cultures arose in and around the Aegean. From 3,000 to 2,000 BCE, the Cycladic civilisation flourished in the area surrounding the Cyclades Islands. Because the Cycladic culture did not leave any written documents, very little is known about them. The majority of their material culture has been discovered at tomb sites, and it reveals that the people created one-of-a-kind geometric marble figurines.

Minoan Civilization

The Minoan civilisation existed from 3700 BCE to 1200 BCE and flourished during their Neopalatial period (from 1700 to 1400 BCE), which was marked by the construction of large-scale community palaces on a vast scale. A large number of archives have been unearthed at Minoan sites, but its language, Linear A, has yet to be decoded by scientists. The Minoans had a society that was oriented on commerce and industry, and they were excellent navigators in the Mediterranean Sea.

Mycenaean Civilization

The Mycenaeans were a proto-Greek society that grew and prospered on the Greek mainland before conquering the Aegean Islands and Crete, where the Minoan civilization was concentrated. The Mycenaeans established a turbulent, warlike civilization that was based on the power of a single monarch, which was characterized by a lack of respect for authority.

Many of their citadel sites were inhabited through the Greek Dark Age and rebuilt as Greek city states, despite the final demise of their society.

The Dark Age

Beginning approximately 1200 BCE, the palace centers and outlying communities of the Mycenaean civilisation began to be abandoned or destroyed, resulting in the extinction of the culture. It was 1050 BCE when the recognized characteristics of Mycenaean civilisation were no longer present. The collapse of Mycenaean civilization and the beginning of the Bronze Age have been attributed to various causes, including natural disasters and invasions by the Dorians or Sea Peoples, as well as the widespread availability of iron-edged weapons, but no single explanation can be found to explain everything that has been discovered so far.

Some think that it was about this time that the Homeric epics The Iliad and The Odyssey were first recited in public.

The Geometric and Orientalizing Periods

The Geometric period (c. 900–700 BCE), which gets its name from the proliferation of geometric forms and renderings of figures in art, saw the rise of a new civilization on the Greek mainland, which was characterized by the use of geometric designs and renderings of figures. The shift in language, adaption of the Phoenician alphabet, as well as new funeral customs and material culture, all show that the ethnic population of the island has changed since the Mycenaeans, who were the island’s prior residents, were expelled.

During this time period, there was an increase in population as well as a rebirth of commerce.

700–600 BCE), the time has been designated as the Orientalizing period.

Art during this time period demonstrates communication with places like as Egypt, Syria, Assyria, Phoenicia, and Israel, as well as with other cultures.

Archaic Greece

The Archaic period in Greece, which spanned from 600 to 480 BCE, was a period of expansion for Greek civilization. It was at this time that the Greek population began to grow, and the Greeks began to colonize the countries along the coastlines of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. At this period, the poleis were normally controlled by a single monarch who exercised absolute authority over the city by force. In the case of the city of Athens, this resulted in the establishment of democracy. Athens, Sparta, Corinth, and Thebes were among the city-states that rose to become great powers during this period.

The invasion of Greece by the Persians in 480 BCE signaled the end of the Archaic period in Greece.

Classical Greece

The sacking of Athens by the Persians signaled the beginning of the Classical period in Greece in 480 BCE. The Persian invasion of Greece, commanded first by Darius I and subsequently by his son Xerxes, brought the Greek people together in the face of a common foe. With the defeat of the Persian menace, Athens rose to become the most powerful polis in the world, a position that lasted until the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War in 431 BC. These conflicts raged on and off until 400 BCE, when they finally ended.

However, it was not until Macedonia invaded and unified Greece under the leadership of Philip II and Alexander the Great in the mid-third century BCE that peace and stability were finally attained in the country of Greece.

Hellenistic Greece

The Hellenistic era started with Alexander the Great’s death in 323 BCE and concluded with the Roman victory in the Battle of Actium in 30 BCE, marking the end of the Hellenistic era. Greece poleis was under to the dominion of foreign rulers, first the Macedonians and later the Romans, from 146 BCE onwards, throughout this time period. New hubs of Hellenic civilization sprung up all throughout Greece and on foreign land, notably the towns of Pergamon, Antioch, and Alexandria, which served as the capitals of the Attalids, Seleucids, and Ptolemies, respectively, and spread throughout the world.

The Ancient Greek Gods and Their Temples

Religion had an important and everyday role in the lives of ancient Greeks, with communal worship concentrated on temples and cult sites serving as the focal point.

Learning Objectives

Greek religion played an important and everyday part in the lives of ancient Greeks, and collective devotion was concentrated on the temples and cult sites of the ancient world.

Key Takeaways

  • The Titans are the progenitors of the Greek pantheon, who were descended from the primordial deities Gaia and Uranus and their children. In addition to the twelve Olympian gods, there were a number of other important and lesser gods and goddesses that made up the pantheon of Greek deities. The gods possessed human features and personalities, and the mythology that were recounted about them provided extensive accounts of their lives. The gods had an important part in the daily lives of the Greeks. Throughout history, they have been consulted, criticized, and praised for a variety of causes, including natural phenomena (ranging from earthquakes to rain), as well as for matters concerning the polis and its citizens. The mythology of heroes, as well as their cult devotion, played an essential role in Greek religion and ritual as well. Artistic representations of heroes, particularly of Perseus, Hercules, Theseus, and others participating in the Trojan War, were commonplace. The locations of their exploits became cult sites. The temple was supposed to be the god’s residence, and it was frequently a costly and beautifully designed structure. The temple had a naos, which was the main chamber where the cult statue was housed. Leaving offerings and dedications for the gods was customary, and sacrifices were performed in the open air
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Key Terms

  • Primordial refers to something that existed at or before the beginning of time. the offspring of a divinity and a mortal
  • Sometimes known as a demi-god or a demi-hero
  • To libate is to pour a liquid or liquor, generally wine, on the ground or onto a victim in sacrifice, usually to honor a god. Nos: The center chamber of a god’s temple, where the god’s statue is raised as a symbol of worship. A polytheistic religious system is one in which followers worship a large number of deities. Votive: A little religious contribution that is left at a temple with no intention of being displayed or retrieved
  • Votive:

Greek religious traditions had a wide pantheon of gods, intricate myths, rituals, and cult activities, all of which were intertwined with one another. Greece was a polytheistic civilization that turned to its gods and mythology to provide explanations for natural mysteries as well as contemporary happenings in the world around them. Religion-related celebrations and rites were conducted throughout the year, with animal sacrifice and votive offerings being common methods of appeasing and worshiping the gods in ancient times.

The following are the most important religious sites in the Greek Aegean: This map displays the locations of the major Greek gods’ religious sanctuaries across the Greek Aegean area, as well as the names of the gods’ important religious sanctuaries.

Greek Gods

Greek gods were eternal creatures that exhibited human-like characteristics and were shown in visual art as being entirely human in their appearance. They were both moral and immoral, petty and just, and frequently vain in their pursuits. The gods were called upon to intervene and aid in a variety of situations, major and little, personal and public. Individual gods and goddesses were claimed as patrons by individual city-states. Every city was adorned with temples and sanctuaries dedicated to the gods.

For example, the city of Delphi was famous for its oracle and Apollo sanctuary since it was thought that Apollo was responsible for the death of a dragon that resided in the city.

There were a total of twelve Titans, six of them were men and six of whom were girls.

  • The men were given the names Oceanus, Hyperion, Coeus, Crius, Iapetus, and Kronos
  • The females were given the names Themis, Mnemosyne, Tethys, Theia, Phoebe, and Rhea
  • And the children were given the names Oceanus, Hyperion, Coeus, Crius, Iapetus, and Kronos.

At some point, Kronos succeeded in overthrowing Uranus and reigning during a fabled Golden Age. Over the course of time, he and Rhea produced twelve offspring, all of whom went on to become Olympian gods. Kronos, on the other hand, received a prophesy that his son would overthrow him, just as he had done to Uranus. In an attempt to prevent fate, he commanded Rhea to enable him to consume each of the offspring as soon as they were born, which she agreed to do. Themis: Themis, one of the first 12 Titans, was the personification of heavenly law, as opposed to human ordinance, and she was one of the first 12 Titans.

The Olympian Gods

The twelve Olympian gods and goddesses, who dwelt on Mount Olympus in northern Greece, are the most well-known members of the pantheon. Instead of being consumed by his father, Zeus, the youngest son of Rhea and Kronos, was kept from him by his mother. With the passage of time, he rebelled against his father’s authority, compelling Kronos to vomit the remainder of his digested offspring. Zeus’ siblings, these offspring defeated Kronos and elevated Zeus to the position of deity and father of all mankind.

The classic pantheon of Greek gods consists of the following figures:

  • A group of gods that included Zeus, the king of gods and lord of the sky
  • Zeus’ two brothers, Poseidon (who presided over the sea) and Hades (who governed the underworld)
  • And other gods that included Zeus’ two brothers, Poseidon and Hades. His sister and wife, Hera, the goddess of marriage, who is frequently envious and resentful of Zeus’ other lovers
  • Zeus’ other lovers
  • Hera’s other lovers
  • Their sisters, Hestia, the goddess of the hearth, and Demeter, the goddess of grain and culture, were also important figures. Among Zeus’s children were Athena (goddess of battle and knowledge), Hermes (god of trade and messenger), the twins Apollo and Artemis (gods of the sun, music, and prophecy), Dionysos (god of wine and theater), and Aphrodite, who was married to Hephaestus (deformed god of the forge). Ares (god of battle and lover of Aphrodite) and other conventional gods are included in the pantheon. Depending on whose mythology you read, Hephaestus was the son of Zeus, but in others he was the fatherless son of Hera.

Praxiteles’ Hermes with the Infant Dionysos depicts Hermes caring for the infant Dionysos, who is now without a mother. The original depiction of Hermes had him holding a cluster of grapes, with which he taunted the baby deity of wine. Approximately the 4th century BCE.


Heroes, who were frequently demigods, played an essential role in Greek mythology as well as other cultures. Perseus and Hercules are the two most prominent heroes in Greek mythology.


Perseus is renowned for his victory over the Gorgon, Medusa. In order to kill her, he received assistance from the gods: Athena equipped him with armor and a reflecting shield, while Hermes endowed Perseus with winged shoes that allowed him to fly.


Hercules was a powerful but nasty guy, an alcoholic who committed massive misdemeanors and made a number of social faux pas. As a penance for his faults, Hercules was sentenced to twelve labors to atone for his sins, which he completed. Art depictions of these actions, as well as numerous other legends, were frequently seen on clay pots and temple metopes. Severing the Nemean Lion and the Hydra, as well as capturing Cerberus (the underworld’s hound), and acquiring the apples of the Hesperides are among his most celebrated exploits.


Theseus, the third hero, was an Athenian hero who was renowned for slaying King Minos’s Minotaur. Some of the other great heroes in Greek mythology include fighters and participants in the Trojan War, such as Achilles, Ajax, Odysseus, and Agamemnon, as well as Paris, Hector, and Helen, among others. Hero cults were yet another prominent kind of Greek worship that entailed the veneration of the dead, notably the deceased heroes of the Trojan War, and were practiced across the ancient world. Hero worship sites were often ancient Bronze Age monuments or tombs that the ancient Greeks regarded as important or sacred, and which they subsequently linked to their own mythology and myths, as described in the Odyssey.

Hercules and Cerberus: Hercules returns Cerberus to King Eurystheus after a long journey. Hydra with a black figure, around 525 BCE.

Sacred Spaces

The temple served as the focal point of Greek religious life. As the god’s residence, the temple would be decked up with a cult statue of him, which would be placed in the temple’s center room, known as the naos. Starting in the Classical period, temples typically had the same basic rectangular design, while certain places had spherical temples known as tholos, which were employed at certain locations. Temples were built with their faces to the east, facing the rising sun. Patrons would leave sacrifices for the gods, such as little votives, big sculptures, libations, or expensive commodities, which the gods would accept and bless.

  • Greek temples would be lavishly ornamented, and their building would be a time-consuming and expensive undertaking.
  • It was common for huge groups of people to participate in rituals, and sacrifice was a dirty process that was better performed outside.
  • The scene of a sacrifice is referred to as a sacrifice scene.
  • Around the year 430–420 BCE.

Greek Culture

It was the Mycenaean civilization (c. 1600 – 1200 BCE) that established the first advanced culture on the Greek mainland, and it was from there that Greek culture spread to islands in the Aegean, the lower Balkans, across the Aegean to the western coast of Anatolia, to Sicily and Italy, to parts of North Africa, and to southern France. The Mycenaean civilization was the first advanced culture on the Greek mainland (Marseilles was a colony of the Greek city-state of Phocaea). The wars of Alexander of Macedon resulted in a significant expansion of Greek civilization, which was established in central Anatolia, the Levant, Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia all the way to the Indian subcontinent.

  • Illustration of Athens as seen from the harbor of Piraeus, around 430 BCEE Due to the fact that ancient Greece was a collection of city-states, there was no one capital for any of the several ancient Greek civilizations, while particular city-states held dominating positions at various times.
  • During the Archaic and Classical periods, the cities of Athens (the cultural center and most powerful sea power) and Sparta (the most powerful military force on land) competed for supremacy in the Mediterranean world.
  • c.
  • Pella was the capital of the Antigonid Dynasty, who controlled Greece and Macedonia.
  • The Ptolemaic Dynasty administered Egypt from Alexandria, which was also a freshly constructed metropolis at the time.

The Lion Gate of Mycenae is located in Argolis, Greece (mid 13th century BCE) It is possible to divide the history of ancient Greek civilization into various periods: the Bronze Age (2100 to 1200 BCE), the Dark Age (1200 to 800 BCE), the Archaic Period (800 to 500 BCE), the Classical Age (500 to 336 BCE), and the Hellenistic Period (300 to 336 BCE) (336 to 30 BCE).

  1. The majority of these were fortified palaces perched on hilltops.
  2. The Mycenaean civilisation was extinguished approximately 1200 BCE as a result of invasions from the outside world.
  3. As previously established, the calamity of 1200 BCE decimated the economy of Greece and heralded the beginning of the Dark Age, which lasted around 400 years.
  4. By 800 BCE, the city-states of the mainland had risen to the status of economic and military superpowers, respectively.
  5. The Archaic Period came to an end when the rising eastern power of Persia came into battle with the Greeks over control of the Anatolian coast, thereby bringing the period to a conclusion.
  6. The Classical Age in Greece was defined by the battles with Persia, followed by the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, which lasted from 500 BCE to 336 BCE.
  7. In 331 BCE, Alexander the Great was defeated at the Battle of Gaugamela in Persia.

When Alexander was installed as Macedonian king in Macedonia following his father’s assassination, it marked the beginning of the Hellenistic era.

Ano Vouves, Crete, Greece, with an olive tree in the background (estimated to be between 2,000 and 4,000 years old) Grains and bread were staples of the Greek diet, but they could only be farmed in a few fertile places, which limited their availability.

Farmers planted fruits and vegetables on fields that had been cleared by other farmers.

Horses were mostly grown in Thessaly and Macedonia, where there were large tracts of open grassland to pasture them.

Cattle were raised primarily for milk production, pigs and fowl for meat production, and sheep for leather and meat production.

Porcelain piece with black-figure decoration, close-up The Greeks were well-known for producing pottery that was both useful and aesthetically pleasing.

In order to participate in commerce, the Greeks took use of their geographical location between the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas.

Horses, for example, were exported by Thessaly and Macedonia, while honey and silver were sold by Athens.

Lydia, a minor kingdom in northeastern Anatolia, was the first place where ECoins were used, around the end of the seventh century BCE.

Silver coins were the most widely used currency at the time. The silver tetradrachm coins of Athens were known as glaukes (), which translates as “owls,” because they featured an image of the bird that served as the goddess Athena’s emblem.

religion and culture

Athens, Greece’s Temple of Hephaestus (finished in 415 BCE), is a landmark. The Greeks held several gods in high regard, each of whom was responsible for both the living and the dead. Their gods were quite human in that they were married, had children, felt love and jealousy, and sought vengeance on anyone who wronged them. The gods’ legends taught mankind what pleased them and what enraged them, and how to behave accordingly. The primary gods were the twelve Olympians, who were believed to reside on Mount Olympus and were commanded by Zeus, the deity of the sky.

  • A good example of this is the Parthenon in Athens, which was dedicated to the goddess Athena.
  • Before embarking on a major undertaking, an oracle or soothsayer was called in order to ascertain the will of the gods and divine guidance.
  • The most renowned of these was the Oracle of Delphi, where a priestess known as the Pythia would speak for Apollo on behalf of the people.
  • Greek culture was characterized by the importance of music, poetry, and theater.
  • Free people and slaves were the two primary categories in society at the time.
  • Slaves were bought and sold on worldwide slave markets, or they were captured as POWs.
  • Both categories were obligated to serve in the army, but only citizens were permitted to hold positions of government authority or serve on juries.
  • 2nd century BCE.
  • It is based on a Roman copy.
  • This bust of the famed Athenian politician Pericles is part of the collection of the Vatican Museum in Rome.
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Pericles is seen with his Corinthian helm pushed to the back of his head in the style of an astrategos (general); nevertheless, it is possible that he was instructed to wear it this way in order to conceal his notably elongated and bald skull (he was known as “Leek-head” by his contemporaries).

  • The Parthenon, a marvel of Greek architecture, could never have been completed if it had not been for Pericles’ imaginative construction plans.
  • Athens, with a land area of around one thousand square miles, was the most populous of these cities.
  • These were thearistoi, which literally translates as “best people,” or aristocrats.
  • Beginning approximately 650 BCE, persons known as tyrants were given the authority to rule in order to maintain peace.
  • In 508 BCE, the city of Athens instituted a new system known as democracy, in which all male citizens were given the opportunity to participate in their administration.
  • Interestingly, in the dual-monarchy of Sparta, freeborn women were permitted many more privileges than free female Athenians, such as the power to inherit property.

440 BCEOne of the most prominent architectural forms to emerge from ancient Greece is the temple ornaos(Ναός) meaning “dwelling of a god.” The first temples were basic post-and-lintel structures made from delicate materials like as wood and bricks (like the initial temple on the Acropolis that was demolished by the Persians in the fall of Athens in 480 BCE) (like the original temple on the Acropolis that was burned by the Persians in the sack of Athens in 480 BCE).

  • Greek temples grew into spectacular monuments fashioned from finely carved stone.
  • The temple’s limestone foundations support columns and pediments made of marble quarried from nearby Mount Pentelicus.
  • A 40-foot-tall gold and ivory statue of the goddess Athena adorned the inside of the Parthenon, providing a breathtaking focal point.
  • Aside from the architecture of Greek theaters, one of the most notable architectural legacies of Hellenic culture is the design of Greek temples.
  • They developed into complex open-air stone auditoriums cut into the sides of hills, such as the Theatre of Epidaurus (late 4th century BCE), which could accommodate up to 14,000 people and still has virtually perfect acoustic characteristics today.
  • The Romans eventually termed these machines deus ex machinaor “God in the Machine,” which means “God in the Machine.” c.
  • In the throbbing core of a citadel, this centralized and public area served as a center of activity—an open place where merchants, philosophers, public speakers, and artisans could all come together to do business.

Building designs all throughout the world have been influenced by ancient Greek architecture, including Greek revival constructions such as the British Museum, which was completed in the early 20th century (built nearly 2,300 years after the Parthenon).

Among the ruins he visited were the Parthenon; he was awestruck by the structure, and he sent a letter to his father extolling the temple’s “grandeur and majesty” in praise of it.

2100 – 1200 BCE), the wealthiest people of Greece rode war chariots to combat over the country’s plains.

As cavalry units, aristocratic families dominated the army throughout the Archaic Age (800 – 500 BCE), mostly because they were the only ones who could afford horses.

In the end, trade and prosperity rose, but the cost of new weapons manufactured of iron decreased.

Each city had its own mechanism for recruiting an army, which was unique to that city.

In order to participate, each of the ten Athenian tribes was required to supply enough soldiers for one regiment and one leader, known as an astrategos.

Spartan hoplites battling Persians at the Battle of Plataea in 479 BC, depicted in a vintage etching.

They wore bronze helmets, which were occasionally topped with a horsehair crest to give the appearance of a taller and more powerful warrior.

It was a long spear and a short iron sword that they used as weapons.

It was critical that the phalanx moved and fought as a cohesive group.

The horrific hand-to-hand combat between opposing phalanxes necessitated the use of extraordinary courage and discipline.

The Greeks despised the use of cavalry and skirmish soldiers armed with bows, slings, or javelins, as well as the usage of muskets.

During the Persian Wars, they came into extensive contact with various military systems, which finally convinced them that the phalanx needed to be sustained.

Heavy and light cavalry, light infantry, and skirmishers were employed in support of the ultimate Greek army’s heavy hoplite infantry, which was composed primarily of hoplites.

decline and fall

In Athens, Greece, you may see the Temple of Hephaestus, which was finished in 415 BCE. They believed in a large number of gods who were both accountable for the living and those who had passed away. Unlike other gods, theirs were highly human in that they married, had children, experienced love, jealousy, and sought vengeance. What delighted the gods and what enraged them were taught to mankind via the stories of their legends. The twelve Olympians, who were believed to reside on Mount Olympus and were led by Zeus, the god of the sky, were the primary gods in Greek mythology.

  1. To provide an example, the goddess Athena was honored in the Parthenon in Athens, Greece.
  2. In order to determine the intent of the gods before to beginning a major endeavor, an oracle or soothsayer was sought.
  3. A priestess named Pythia would speak on behalf of Apollo at the Oracle of Delphi, the most well-known of these structures.
  4. A significant aspect of Greek culture was the arts of music, poetry, and theater.
  5. Slavery and free people were the two most important categories in society at the time.
  6. They were either bought on foreign slave markets or were captured as prisoners of war in other countries.
  7. However, only citizens were eligible to serve as government officials or as jurors, although both classes were obligated to do so in the army.

2nd century BCE) marble bust of Pericles at the Vatican Museum The Vatican Museum’s collection includes this bust of the famed Athenian statesman Pericles.

More information may be found by clicking here.

A Roman duplicate of a lost Greek original carved by the sculptor Kresilas, who erected the monument shortly after Pericles’ death from the plague in 429 BCE, the monument is based on the original’s lost Greek carving.

The Parthenon, a masterwork of architecture, could never have been completed if not for Pericles’ imaginative construction plans.

This included Athens, which had a land area of around one thousand square miles.

“Thearistoi,” which means “best people,” or “aristocrats” was the term used to describe these individuals.

Tyrants were those who were permitted to reign in order to maintain peace beginning around 650 BCE.

A new type of administration known as democracy was established in Athens in 508 BCE, in which all male citizens were given the opportunity to participate in the governance of their city-states.

Contrary to popular belief, freeborn women in the dual-monarchy of Sparta were granted far greater privileges than free female Athenians, including the power to inherit property, among other things.

Ancient temples were made of delicate materials such as wood and bricks, and their designs were as simple as post-and-lintel construction (like the original temple on the Acropolis that was burned by the Persians in the sack of Athens in 480 BCE).

Vintage etching depicts the old interior of the Parthenon, with the statue of Athena at the center of the image.

The limestone foundations of the temple support columns and pediments built of marble mined from Mount Pentelicus, which is located nearby.

In total, 469 Attic talents (more than 25,000 pounds of silver) were spent on the Parthenon, with the architect Phidias supervising the construction process (the designers were Ictinus and Callicrates).

Epidaurus’s ancient theatre, located in Greece.

When we say “theatre,” we are referring to the ancient Greek wordtheatron(o), which literally means “viewing area.” Those who attended the first performances in ancient Greece may have sat on a hillside, watching performers below them perform on a stage formed of trodden dirt or a circular threshing floor, or they might have stood on the edge of the stage.

Dramatic moments written by Greek playwrights of the 5th century, such as the genius Euripides, necessitated the first special effects: cranes that transported performers playing gods onto the stage in order to bring about dramatic resolutions to the stories.

There was a lot going on in this public area, which was a hub of activity—a place where merchants, philosophers, public speakers, and artisans could all congregate in the center of a citadel to do business.

Building designs all around the world have been influenced by ancient Greek architecture, including Greek revival constructions such as the British Museum, which was created in the early nineteenth century (built nearly 2,300 years after the Parthenon).

Among the ruins he visited were the Parthenon; he was awestruck by the structure, and he sent a letter to his father extolling the temple’s “grandeur and majesty” in praise of the temple.

While the Bronze Age was in progress (c.

Around 1200 BCE, invasions wiped off the Mycenaean people, plunging Greece into a period of obscurity (1200 to 800 BCE).

Soldiers on foot were drawn from the lower socioeconomic levels, guys who could not afford horses or more sophisticated weaponry and armor.

Classical Age (500-336 BCE): During the Classical Period (500-336 BCE), cavalry was supplanted by a new breed of well-equipped foot soldiers known as ahoplites, which is derived from the Greek word for the round shield (hoplon) that they carried.

In Athens, during times of war, every free man between the ages of 18 and 60 may be summoned.

When male children reached the age of seven in Sparta, they were sent off to live in military formations known as “herds,” where they received training for war and battle.

A horsehair crest was occasionally placed on top of their bronze helmets to give the appearance of a taller and more powerful warrior to the onlookers.

One long spear and one short iron sword were the only weapons they possessed, according to legend.

We needed to make sure that the phalanx was moving and fighting as a unit.

It took extraordinary guts and discipline to survive the horrific hand-to-hand combat between opposing phalanxes.

This was not an issue as long as they battled amongst themselves or were fortunate.

Heavy and light cavalry, light infantry, and skirmishers were utilized in support of the final Greek army’s heavy hoplite infantry, which was comprised of heavy hoplites.

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