The worksheets below look at all aspects of Ancient Greek culture including art, philosophy, religion, Capital Cities, government and even the advent of the Olympics. We will examine the culture in great detail. The mindset set in motion by this civilization eventually circled the world and helped many great thinkers realize their gifts. We will look at the religion and artists of this culture. You cannot discuss this culture without spending a fair amount on the concepts brought about mythology. This section is filled with reading worksheets that are accompanied by multiple choice and free response worksheets.
The word philosophy means "love of wisdom." Ancient Greek philosophy was characterized largely by reason and rational thought, and laid the foundation for Western intellectual thinking. The Greek philosophers often challenged the status quo, and their ideas were not always welcome during their time.
Aristotle, a student of Plato, studied with Plato for 20 years. Aristotle wrote treatises, not dialogues. His thoughts on ethics, politics, science, art, and metaphysics dominated Western thought for centuries after his death.
Ancient Greek artists never portrayed human imperfection. While we associate Greek art the most with sculpture, they also frequently painted on the sides of buildings, though few examples have survived.
Which period of Greek art was characterized by the cultures of the people that the Greeks had conquered?
The temples of Ancient Greece were places where people went to pray to their gods. Every city had one particular god or goddess that they believed protected the city.
The most famous of the temples built by Pericles' project was the Parthenon, honoring the patron goddess of Athena. It sits on the Acropolis, a naturally-formed pedestal of rock which was the site of the first settlement in Athens.
Athens and Sparta were both city states in ancient Greece. They were similar in their forms of government, in that both cities had an Assembly whose members were elected by the people.
The Underworld had three different areas that can roughly be compared to our ideas of heaven, hell, and purgatory.
Hades had a wife called Persephone. Persephone was the daughter of the goddess of nature, Demeter.
The Greeks believed that their lives were influenced by the twelve gods and goddesses who lived on a high mountain called Mount Olympus, the top of which was hidden by clouds.
What is an example of how the Greeks thought their gods and goddesses intervened in human affairs?
A democracy is a system of government in which the power is vested in the people, and they use that power either directly, through voting, or via representatives that they vote for. In ancient Greek democracies, every male citizen had equal political rights, freedom of speech, and the opportunity to directly participate in the making of political decisions which influenced their daily lives.
Men sang songs to welcome Dionysus, and plays were presented. Early Greek plays included dancing and music, and it was this rhythmic and musical element of Greek drama that eventually became the chorus.
A Greek playwright named Aeschylus made changes to this earlier, more primitive style of drama, and his plays were the first to resemble drama as we know it today.
The Olympic Games were the most important sporting event in Ancient Greece, and can be traced back to 776 BC. They originated in Olympia, in southwest Greece, and were a religious festival in honor of Zeus.
As the Olympic Games were a religious festival, many people also visited the temple of Zeus at this time, and the climactic event of the festival was the sacrifice of 100 oxen on the Altar of Zeus.
Elements codified geometry as we know it today. It was written by Euclid, who founded a school of mathematics in the Greek city of Alexandria in Egypt around 300 BC.
Euclidean geometry is a synthetic geometry, which means that it proceeds logically from axioms describing the basic properties of things like points and lines to propositions about them, without the use of coordinates on a grid.
The Story of Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece, the cornerstone of modern Western civilization, is known for its innovations in culture, politics, education, arts and architecture, and other fields. However, there is much more to the story of Ancient Greece than that.
The Ancient Greece era came in 800 BC after the three-centuries-long Greek Dark Ages and the fall of Mycenaean Greece. The era saw its peak under Alexander the Great and is known as one of the most prolific periods in the history of the world.
Historians like to break Ancient Greece into three main periods, each of which has its defining characteristics and cultural advancements. However, the differences didn’t take away their shared identity. This article will tell you the highlights of each period.
During the fifth to the fourth centuries B.C. the classical Greek culture set a footprint that provided a huge influence of the development of the Western world. Ancient Greece was the first to establish a democracy which is very interesting because Classical Athens was composed of a population of mostly slaves. At the age of seven Greek boys were either headed to learn or be warriors. This civilization not only understood the importance of mentorship, but really built the future of their culture on it. The Greek alphabet was the first Western world form of the alphabet. It consisted of distinct vowel sounds and consonants. The Greeks were credited for pushing mathematics and science further than thought possible. This culture lead to the concept of standardized medicine that built upon the scientific method. The process of diagnosis and treatment that exists even today in your doctor's office originated from the Greeks.
The Three Periods of Ancient Greece
The three main periods of Ancient Greece are:
Let's look at them in detail:
The Archaic Period
The Archaic period spans more than two centuries and is commonly known as the renaissance of Greeks. It brought on the culmination of the Dark Ages, during which Greeks were plagued by lawlessness, illiteracy, lack of art and culture, and political and economic instability.
During this period, the previously dwindling Greek population increased again. The era also significantly improved trade and the onset of colonization.
The law became important under Draco, who handed out death penalties for trivial and grave crimes. To this day, we use the term "Draconian Law" for harsh and severe laws. However, there was an improvement in the situation after Draco, and the lawmakers gave fair punishments.
The Archaic period also saw the foundation of the first city-state, Polis, where eventually, the old aristocratic rule was demolished and replaced by the Tyrants. However, Tyranny also ended, and the world's first democracy was born in Athens after constant political reforms.
Art and Culture
Art and culture also saw significant changes during the Archaic era. New pottery and architectural designs were introduced and became the period's trademark.
Temples became important religious and architectural landmarks. They were made using stone entablature and contained emblems and religious statues.
The Olympic games also started in the Archaic period in Southern Greece. The games were a homage to Zeus, and the victors thanked the king of gods for their success.
Many city-states were not on friendly terms during the Archaic period; however, a truce between the cities enabled a peaceful event every four years.
The Classical Period
Ancient Greece saw its peak during the Classical period under Alexander the Great. A decade of military campaigns from Greece to India resulted in one of history's biggest empires.
Alexander the Great
Alexander's conquests resulted in the widespread dissemination of Greek culture, art and architectural techniques, language, philosophy, etc., across different continents. That led to his more recognized title of Alexander ‘the Great.’ His death marked the onset of the Hellenistic period.
The Classical Period Highlights
The other significant highlights of these eras were:
- The main highlights were a well-established democracy and the end of the Achaemenid empire.
- The period is also known for its intellectual prowess due to two of the most celebrated philosophers in history, Plato and Socrates.
- Athena and Sparta engaged in two major wars, the Peloponnesian Wars and the Corinthian Wars. Sparta came out as the victor in both wars.
- Some of the leading architectural achievements of the era were the Olympia, The Temple of Zeus, and the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena.
- The making of coins and their usage in trade is another significant highlight of the Classical Period.
The Hellenistic Period
This period started after Alexander's demise and ended with the arrival of the Roman Empire.
With the extension of Greek civilization as far as the Middle East, the Hellenistic Period absorbed many local traditions and customs of the conquered regions.
This blending of cultures brought changes in Greek art and culture, philosophy, science, politics, education, etc., during this period.
Alexander's death started disputes among his generals, who began fighting for power. The empire was split and turned into separate dynasties.
Highlights of the Hellenistic Period
- The Hellenistic Period is known for advancements in art and architecture.
- Each new dynasty had a king who started importing riches in gold, pearls, sugar, ivory, glass, metals, olive oil, etc., from all over the world.
- The show of wealth by the kings through splendid palaces, jewels, and commissioned arts became common.
- The period is significant for its educational advancements. Each dynasty didn't hold back funds for museums, universities, and libraries. Some of the greatest mathematicians, including Archimedes and Euclid, lived in the Hellenistic Period.
Despite being overtaken by the Roman Empire, Ancient Greece still left an impression evident in modern literature, art, education, and science. The Greeks also revolutionized warfare and introduced the concept of cities and the first-ever democracy.