Many of what the Greeks were able to bring into existence during the ancient Greek civilization is still with us today. The current forms Democratic governments owe its origin to the Greek civilization. The great architectural designs and structures draw their inspiration and teachings from the ancient Greek architects. Some of the buildings and the empire structures constructed during the period are still in existence presently.
History of the civilization
The Greek civilization began as early as the first centaury with the most notable development in the fourth and fifth centaury BCE. During this period, the Greek civilization experienced great achievements in military and governance. It is at this classical period otherwise known as “The Golden Age” in which they were able to develop and create democratic governance and great achievements in economic wellbeing. The period also saw the blossom of artistic nature of the Greeks, philosophical thinking, architecture, theater performances, and historical feats (Kuhtz & Martel 5).
The peak of the Greek civilization did not take place suddenly. Two ancient periods of civilization preceded the Golden Age. The events that occurred during this period laid a foundation for the later civilization. The Minoan civilization formed the earliest form of civilization in the ancient Greek. This civilization took place in the Crete Islands of the Mediterranean Sea at an estimated period of 2000 BCE. During this age, the Greeks under a king called Minos were able to develop their own form of written language referred to as Linear A. Organized government and form of agriculture was evident at the time. Economic trade and exchange of goods is another milestone during this period.
The Mycenaean civilization followed thereafter at an estimated period in 1450 BCE. The civilization occurred in the Greek mainland. The Mycenaeans divided the larger Greek kingdom into smaller parts. The central governance was at Citadel overseeing the larger Greece. During this period, the Greeks achieved a milestone in establishing Greek colonies and experimenting on various forms of government systems. They were able to adopt the Greek alphabet from which the current alphabet originated from the Phoenicians.
Others include the Olympic Games, artistic sculptures, drawings and art, the concept of beauty, writing, and philosophy. The Greek civilization is also famous for its contribution towards nurturing the ability to think critically, argumentatively and clear communication. Bearing such contributions in mind, the Greek civilization is perhaps the “Cradle of Western Civilization.” The following is a summary of some of the notable aspects of the Greek civilization.
"Greek Culture and Traditions - Where the West Meets the East.” – Greek Survey
“History of the Orthodox Church” - Aristeides Papadakis
The Orthodox Church in Greece forms a central part in Greek civilization and the lives of its citizens. It is the National religion of the Greek state. Even though their constitution recognizes and respects the freedom of faith in the country, it clearly indicates that the Orthodox Church Christianity as the mainstream and recognized state religion (Greek Survey 2010). The Greek citizens connect many of their National celebrations and holidays to the church and they do bear an Orthodox Christianity significance and connotation. Religious celebrations such as Easter, Good Friday, and Charismas receive a nationwide recognition by the people.
Orthodoxy forms an integral part of the Greek civilization in that it is part of the Greek’s historical past. During the Ottoman colonization of Greek, Orthodox Church ensured that the Greek culture and identity was not lost due to the influence of the Colonizers (Papadakis 2). Over the 400 years they faced colonization, the Church held them together by observing traditional Greek traditions and culture that played an important role in its civilization. The Greeks depended on the church for directions and guidance in various aspects such as governance and leadership.
Just like the current European Civilization, the Orthodox Church existed independent of the government. The Church however had a great influence on the society and Greek life, which shaped their current structures and practices. Orthodoxy religious education has had its impact in education, social life, and private life of the Greeks. This Impact is still felt in that orthodoxy Christian doctrines are part of the school curriculum presently. Private and public schools nationally teach compulsory Orthodox Christianity regardless of a student’s religious background.
"Survivor: The History of the Library" – History Magazine
The collection of written materials in some orderly and repository manner is an aspect that dates back to old civilization. Ancient Greek, Mesopotamia, and Egypt are examples of places in which archeologists have discovered many ancient tablets. Some of them date back to more than 4000 years.
In the modern civilization, the repository refers to the Library (History magazine 1). Through the history and civilization, the concept of a library has gone through building and destruction.
The period during the ancient civilization, the Greeks championed for the idea of the Library due to their interest in literacy. It is in Greek that the first forms of libraries occurred. Intellectual ability and sound reasoning constituted an important aspect of the Greek’s life. They considered education to be an important aspect of someone’s life to ignore. During this period, both private and public collection of libraries emerged. Many individuals wrote on different topics and subjects including philosophy, astronomy, and medicine.
The issue of reproducing the books in a controlled manner emerged because of the need to have genuine and authenticated books. The decree of Athens on repository books is the first example of copyright law that protected the authors work. The decree called for Trustworthy copies of books. The authors sold and kept such books in private libraries. Scholars Such as Aristotle managed to have a huge volume of book collections that formed a private library. This showed that Greek scholars were fully aware of the importance of keeping different written materials by various authors in an orderly manner for future references. It also reflects the Greeks, love for literacy.
The fourth centaury saw the emergence of the first public library. The greatest library established during the Greek Civilization was the great library of Alexandria in Egypt. This was a suggestion of Demetrius of Phalerum a student of Aristotle to create a universal Library through a collection of different types of books on different topics from all over the world. The Greek Civilization contributed a lot to the establishment of the library through contribution to the part of the materials kept in the Library of Alexandria. The Persians, Romans, and Hebrew also contributed to the early foundations and formations of the earliest library.
“Contemporary Athletics & Ancient Greek Ideals” – Daniel Dombrowski
“How much were the original Olympics like the modern Games?” – BBC News
Athletics is another example of the Greek’s legacy during the early civilizations. The Greeks believed in participation of sports as a healthy habit an important aspect of life. The current Olympic Games trace their roots to early Greek games held in Olympia. Historians estimate that the first Olympic Games to occur were in 776 B.C.E (Dombrowski 2). The great Trojan War occurred in the ancient civilization during this period.
The Greeks later added some games that occurred in different parts of Greece such as Nemea, Isthmian, and Delphi but were not part of those that took place in Olympia. The Greek culture and civilization developed alongside these games. The Greeks called them the Crown games from the Latin word “Stephanos” meaning crown.
The Greek games have had a great impact on modern games. The games carried on even after the fall of the Greek empire. The Roman colonizers turned the Greek games into an entertainment activity from which the modern sports and completion derive their model (BBC News 2012). In the 4th c CE, early Christianity ended the ancient Greek games. This was due the fact that Christians associated the games with polytheism. The Greeks dedicated each game in the ancient sports to represent certain gods in their culture.
Famous figures in the Greek civilization such as Plato who was a wrestler and King Alexander also participated in the games. Different prices ranging from gold, silver, and precious animals such as mare were up for competition. The winners however placed more importance on the glory that resulted from the win rather than the prices themselves.
BBC News Magazine. How much were the original Olympics like the modern Games? 29 June
2012 . 3 October 2012
Dombrowski, Daniel A. Contemporary Athletics & Ancient Greek Ideals. New York:
Greek Survey . "Greek Culture and Traditions - Where the West Meets the East." novinite.com
Thursday 8 April 2010.
History Magazine. "Survivor: The History of the Library." History magazine October/November
Issue 2001: pg1.
Kuhtz , Cleo & Martell, Hazel,. Ancient Greek civilization. New York: Rosen Central, 2010.
Papadakis, Aristeides. Ph.D. History of the Orthodox Church. 3 October 2012