The ancient Greeks were polytheistic and believed in a pantheon of Gods, some of whom were more powerful than others. Though Zeus was the king of the gods, he was not omnipotent, and other deities controlled specific aspects of nature and human endeavor.Know More
Religion was prevalent in community life in ancient Greece, and ritualistic observance was deemed more important than private individual worship. Theatrical performances, festivals and athletic events all were held in honor of special deities. Different cities had their own protectors. For example, Athens takes its name from the goddess who protected it, Athena, and worshippers built the Parthenon on the Acropolis to honor the virgin goddess.
One aspect of the gods and goddesses ancient Greeks considered dangerous was their human-like behavior. The Greeks believed that the gods were offended if they were slighted by honoring one and not another or if humans boasted of godlike abilities. To appease the gods, priests sacrificed animals. However, because the gods did not need human food, the priests would burn certain entrails ritualistically and then offer the rest of the animal to the people for a feast. Priestesses also appeased the wrath of the gods by pouring libations of various liquids upon flaming altars. According to the ancient Greeks, the gods were anthropomorphic enough to have sex with humans. This gave rise to legends of half-mortal demigods with extraordinary powers. One of the most famous of these demigods was Hercules.Learn More
Most people in ancient Greece wore tunics, or chiton. It was a simple style of tunic worn by people of all ages and genders, consisting of a rectangular tube of material, usually linen, secured along the upper arms and shoulders by several fasteners.Full Answer >
The Ancient Greeks spoke Ancient Greek with three different major dialects: Aeolic, Doric and Ionic. They were the first Europeans to both read and write with an alphabet. This alphabet eventually led to the development of all modern European languages.Full Answer >
Ancient Greeks used ships, wagons and walking as transportation methods. The citizen’s social class and wealth as well as the terrain often determined what form of transportation was used.Full Answer >
Athens and Sparta were the two most powerful city-states in ancient Greece;also known as polis, the ancient Greek city-states were individual, autonomous cities that were self-governing and independent from other governments in their local areas. Because these two powerful city-states were so autonomous, they had many cultural differences and Athenians and Spartans, while having many similarities as Greeks including religion and language, were culturally different as people. For instance, the Spartans were renowned for their fierce warriors and militaristic culture while the Athenians were known for their academic pursuits, creating much of the art and academic enlightenment that is still associated with ancient Greek people as a whole.Full Answer >