Greek Cultural Contributions

Jacob Stouffer

Architecture

Greek architecture is known for its columns. There are three types of columns: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. Other types of Greek art include pottery, sculptures, and paintings. Every city-state had a temple that was dedicated to a specific god. They went there to worship and make sacrifices. Some leaders like Pericles and Alexander the Great spread the Greek architecture through Europe.

We see Greek influence in architecture today in important buildings. The White House, Capital Building, Supreme Court, and the Lincoln Memorial all have columns that show Greek influences.

Government

The government in ancient Greece was usually a direct democracy which is when everyone could voice their opinion and vote on laws. A council was chosen by a lottery (they drew names out of something like a hat) and were limited to one year of service. You had to be eighteen to vote and participate. You also had to be free and a citizen. All white male citizens over eighteen, that had trained in the army, and had taxes could be leader. People were expected to participate. The leaders were changed originally at ten years, then six years, and then finally one year. The leaders were chosen from a hat. There was slavery in Greece. Some of the wars in Greek history were the Peloponnesian War and the First Persian War.

Some ways we see Greek influence in our government today is that we have a democracy, we have term limits today in which presidents can only stay in office four years and can only run twice, and citizens are expected to participate in the government once they are eighteen.

Mythology

They used mythology to explain natural event and modern science. Some of the mythological heroes of Greece were Jason, Hercules, Achilles, Odysseus, Perseus, Theseus, Atlanta, and Bellerphon. The Greek gods each stood for different things in life. Zeus stood for lightning, Hera was marriage, Hades was the underworld, Poseidon was water, Apollo was the sun, Artemis was the moon and hunting, Aphrodite was love and beauty, Athena was strategy and wisdom, Ares was war, Hephaestus was fire and crafts, Hermes was traveling, trade and language, Hestia was the hearth and home, Dionysus was wine and parties, and Demeter was agriculture. There are many others but these are the main gods. Some of the famous writers of mythology are Homer and Aesop. When people died in Greece their souls went to the underworld and live as spirits-like forms for all eternity.

We see Greek mythology in modern times in books like Percy Jackson, movies such as Hercules, and we still study mythology today.

Philosophy

There are many great Greek philosophers in Greece. So were well known and respected like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras, Herodotus, Hippocrates, Archimedes, and Euclid. Some even made things we use today such as Archimedes who invented Pi and many different war machines, Pythagoras invented the pythagorem theorem, Hippocrates had many ideas in medicine and made the Hippocratic Oath, and Euclid made discoveries in geometry. Some of the books Greek philosophers wrote are The Republic, The Nicomachean Ethics, Complete Works, Meno, The Symposium, The Trial and Death of Socrates, Apology, and Gorgias. They tried to answer questions like what exists, does the universe have a purpose, what is the world made out of, what makes up a person, how people should live their lives, and many more. Even though they did a lot of good people feared them, because they made others question the government. Some like Socrates were executed because they thought he was committing treason.

We still see the Greek philosophers influence today by doctors using the Hippocratic Oath, we use math skills today like Pi, and we study geometry and have the Pythagorem Theorem.

Sports

In Greece all free male Greek citizens could play sports. They boxed, raced chariots, ran, threw the discus, wrestled, and used the javelins. People such as the leaders, families of the athletes, unmarried women (government officials), and the gods. They played to honor the gods but Zeus mainly. Athletes were honored if they won competitions, they got free meals for a year, parades, had statues made for them, and were considered heroes.

We see evidence of Greek sports today with the Olympics, some of the same events we have today they had in Greece like the discus, javelin, long jump, running, and shot put, and we have horse races at our local fairs.