Portal:Ancient Greece

The Ancient Greece Portal

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

Ancient Greece (Greek: Ἑλλάς, romanizedHellás) 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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Pederastic courtship scene Athenian black-figure amphora, 5th c. BC, Painter of Cambridge; Object currently in the collection of the Staatliche Antikensammlungen und Glyptothek, Munich, Germany. The bearded man is depicted in a traditional pederastic courtship gesture known as the "up-and-down" gesture: one hand reaching to fondle the young man, the other grasping his chin so as to look him in the eye.

Greek pederasty, as idealised by the Greeks from archaic times onward, was a relationship and bond between an adolescent boy and an adult man outside of his immediate family, and was constructed initially as an aristocratic moral and educational institution. As such, it was seen by the Greeks as an essential element in their culture from the time of Homer onwards.The ancient Greeks were the first to describe, study, systematize, and establish pederasty as an institution. The origin of that tradition has been variously explained. One school of thought, articulated by Bernard Sergent, holds that the Greek pederastic model evolved from far older Indo-European rites of passage, which were grounded in a shamanic tradition with roots in the Neolithic.Foucault declared that pederasty was "problematized" in Greek culture, that it was "the object of a special — and especially intense — moral preoccupation" focusing on concern with the chastity/moderation of the erōmenos (the term used for the "beloved" youth).

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Acropolis from south-west.jpg

Athens (Greek: Αθήνα/Athina, Katharevousa: Αθήναι/Athinai), the capital and largest city in Greece, dominates the Attica periphery: as one of the world's oldest cities, its recorded history spans at least 3,000 years.In ancient Greek, the name of Athens was αἱ Ἀθῆναι Greek pronunciation: [hai̯ atʰɛ̂ːnaj], related tο ἡ Ἀθηνᾶ [hɛː atʰɛːnâː] and its dialectal variant ἡ Ἀθήνη [hɛː atʰɛ̌ːnɛː], the Attic and Ionic names respectively of the goddess Athena, the goddess of disciplined war and wisdom.

Did you know...

  • ...that Thebes, Greece played an important role in the fabric of Greek myth, being the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus, and others?
  • ...that the art of ancient Greece has exercised an enormous influence on the culture of many countries from ancient times until the present, particularly in the areas of sculpture and architecture?

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Calyx-krater Louvre CA929.jpg

Photo credit: Jastrow

A krater (from the Greek verb κεράννυμι, meaning "I mix") was a vase used to mix wine and water. At a Greek symposium, kraters were placed in the center of the room. They were quite large, so they were not easily portable when filled.

Selected biography

Thrasybulus receiving an olive crown for his successful campaign against the Thirty Tyrants.

Thrasybulus (Ancient Greek: Θρασύβουλος, brave-willed, Eng. /θræsɪ'bju:ləs/; d. 388 BC) was an Athenian general and democratic leader. In 411 BC, in the wake of an oligarchic coup at Athens, the pro-democracy sailors at Samos elected him as a general, making him a primary leader of the successful democratic resistance to that coup. As general, he was responsible for recalling the controversial nobleman Alcibiades from exile, and the two worked together extensively over the next several years. In 411 and 410, Thrasybulus commanded along with Alcibiades and others at several critical Athenian naval victories.After Athens' defeat in the Peloponnesian War, Thrasybulus led the democratic resistance to the new oligarchic government, known as the Thirty Tyrants, that the victorious Spartans imposed on Athens. In 404 BC, he commanded a small force of exiles that invaded Attica and, in successive battles, defeated first a Spartan garrison and then the forces of the oligarchy.


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