Greek civilization

by: Ana Mills, Dalton Hare, Candice Taylor

Greek Culture

The ancient Greeks were a deeply religious people. They worshipped many gods whom they believed appeared in human form and yet were endowed with superhuman strength and ageless beauty.

The Iliad and the Odyssey, our earliest surviving examples of Greek literature, record men's interactions with various gods and goddesses whose characters and appearances underwent little change in the centuries that followed.

While many sanctuaries honored more than a single god, usually one deity such as Zeus at Olympia or a closely linked pair of deities like Demeter and her daughter Persephone at Eleusis dominated the cult place.

Elsewhere in the arts, various painted scenes on vases, and stone, terracotta and bronze sculptures portray the major gods and goddesses.

The deities were depicted either by themselves or in traditional mythological situations in which they interact with humans and a broad range of minor deities, demi-gods and legendary characters.

The Greek Mind

Socrates was born circa 470 BC, in Athens, Greece. We know of his life through the writings of his students, including Plato and Xenophon. His "Socratic method," laid the groundwork for Western systems of logic and philosophy. When the political climate of Greece turned, Socrates was sentenced to death by hemlock poisoning in 399 BC. He accepted this judgment rather than fleeing into exile.

Alexander's Empire

Do you think that Alexander was great? In 13 short years he amassed the largest empire in the entire ancient world — an empire that covered over 3,000 miles. Alexander did this without the benefit of modern technology and weaponry.Most of Alexander's accomplishments were made possible by his father, Philip of Macedon. Macedon, which existed roughly where the modern country of Macedonia rest today,This was a kingdom located that lay geographically north of the Greek city-states.In 338 B.C.E., King Philip of Macedon invaded and conquered the Greek city-states. Philip took advantage of the fact that the Greek city-states were divided by years of squabbling and infighting. Philip succeeded in doing what years of fighting between city-states had not done.

Hellenistic Culture

The Hellenistic world is that world that was created after the conquests of the near east by Alexander the Great at the end of the fourth century B.C. And his conquest, which extended from India all the way through Egypt, [was] divided into three main areas within 20 years after his death. And the two major areas that survived down to the first century B.C. would have been the Syrian kingdom, the Seleucid kingdom, and the Ptolemaic kingdom which survived in Egypt, which was finally taken over by Rome in 31 B.C.


Jewish culture and civilization during the Hellenistic period was in intense dialogue with Hellenistic culture and civilization, beginning with the translation of Hebrew scriptures into Greek, a translation which survives and which we know as the Septuagint. That's certainly an example of the way in which Greek literary forms and Greek language impacted Jewish civilization and literary traditions.