Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece

The civilization of Ancient Greece emerged in the 8th century BC, a sophisticated period of history. Before the archaic period and during the Greek Dark Ages, people of Greece lived in small villages, where farming was their main source of livelihood. As the population grew in number and people became wiser, these villages evolved too. Gradually, proper houses with walls began to be constructed. Marketplaces known as the agora were also built. The government, with laws and constitutions, were set up along with Greek armies that had to protect god and goddess of the state. With the emergence of the archaic period in the 7th century B.C., the city-state had powerful economies based on agriculture. With time, the Greek population began the production of consumer goods like cloth, wine, pottery, and metalwork.

The kings were overthrown by wealthy aristocrats, who took over the best farmlands. Classical Greece prospered during the 5th to 4th centuries BC. In the classical period, political reforms were brought in which gave rise to the “demokratia” system which means “rule by the people”. The archaic period had the most significant impact on the art and literature of that time. Different Greek styles were spread far and wide. The era witnessed a drastic creative revolution. Homer – the epic poet – produced his widely-famous Iliad and Odyssey. Sculptors formed kouroi and korai – sculptures of human figures for memorial purposes. Mathematicians and astronomers contributed to the field of science as well. Xenophanes produced his work on fossils while Anaximandros proposed a theory of gravity.

In the next few centuries, the Greek civilization reached new heights of advancement. Since most Greek city-states were by the sea, they started to engage in trade businesses for their livelihood. Groups of citizens were sent out to find colonies on shores of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. In this way, trading ties with different colonies were established, transforming many Greek cities into prosperous trading centers. The main occupation and livelihood of people living in Athens – the largest Greek city – was trade. Olives grew on the soil of Athens. The fruit was later used for generating export revenue.

Alexander the Great – the conqueror of ancient Greek – occupied many lands and civilizations and spread the Greek culture in the process. After his death in 323 BC, his army fell apart and the men returned back to their homes. In 146 BC, the ancient Romans defeated the ancient Greek in the battle of Corinth. Thus, the ancient Romans were able to replace the ancient Greek civilization and eventually rose to European power.

Other articles by Amita Vadlamudi’s may be found at the following web sites: