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Image depicting The Influence of Ancient Greece: A Deeper Look

The Influence of Ancient Greece: A Deeper Look

Image depicting The Influence of Ancient Greece: A Deeper Look

Hi there!

We’ve all grown up hearing mythological stories, like those of Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, and many other gods from Hindu culture. But there are countless cultures around the world, some of which have deeply impacted our lives, even if we don’t know them or believe in them. In this article, I’ll delve into one such culture: Ancient Greece.

Let’s explore the significance of Greek mythology and why it’s important to understand its influence on our modern world.

A Foundation for Modernity

The Ancient Greek civilization, which flourished on the shores of the Aegean Sea nearly 4,000 years ago, has made immense contributions to the modern world. All the advanced European nations trace their roots back to Ancient Greece. Even the term “Europe” has two etymological meanings derived from Greek:

  1. Erebus: meaning “where the sun sets” or “dark.”
  2. Europa: a character in Greek mythology, also meaning “broad face,” perhaps referencing the continent’s wide expanse.

Intellectual Giants

Greece gifted the world with some of the greatest thinkers, scientists, and mathematicians:

  • Archimedes: who gave us the value of π.
  • Pythagoras: famous for the Pythagorean theorem.
  • Eratosthenes: the first to calculate the Earth’s circumference.
  • Socrates, Plato, Aristotle: influential philosophers.
  • Xenophanes, Diogenes, Anaximander, Thales: more notable thinkers.
  • Homer, Hesiod: legendary poets.

And many more!

The Birthplace of Democracy

Another significant gift from the Greeks is democracy. Ancient Greeks were the first to embrace this political system, electing their kings. All citizens had the right to participate in elections, although officials were chosen by lottery, unlike modern democratic elections. In some regions, however, power-hungry kings rejected democracy and established monarchies.

Other Enduring Contributions

Other important Greek gifts to the world include:

  • Theatre
  • The Olympic Games
  • The English alphabet (derived from the Greek alphabet)
  • Trial by jury
  • Architecture

Military Might and Architectural Marvels

Ancient Greece was renowned for its military prowess. Their soldiers were the greatest warriors of their time, often inspiring tales of legendary heroes. Before being overtaken by the Roman Empire, the Greeks occupied much of Europe and controlled the Mediterranean Sea. Their military formations were nearly impenetrable. Even Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, once said, “Hence, we will not say that Greeks fight like heroes, but that heroes fight like Greeks.”

Perhaps the most enduring Greek contribution is their architecture. Their important buildings were vast, adorned with numerous pillars or columns. These pillars were fundamental to Greek architecture, but instead of centrally supporting the roof, they were placed along the edges. This left the middle of the ceiling vulnerable, which is why many Greek temple ruins have collapsed roofs but still standing pillars.

There were many varieties of Greek pillars, but three were most commonly used:

  1. Doric: Plain square-shaped tops (e.g., the Parliament House of India).
  2. Ionic: Two curves on top of each pillar (e.g., the White House).
  3. Corinthian: Unique, decorative design on top (e.g., the Capitol Building).

These Greek pillars and architectural styles have profoundly influenced modern architecture worldwide.

Greek Mythology: The Heart of Greek Culture

These magnificent pillars and architectural feats were often found in temples dedicated to Greek deities. The Greeks constructed beautiful shrines to Zeus and the other Olympians, showcasing the central role of mythology in their culture.

While the Sumerian civilization may have been older and the Indus Valley civilization larger, Ancient Greece stands out as the most influential. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand this culture that has so profoundly impacted our lives.

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Shivansh Singh

7, DLDAV Model School, Shalimar Bagh

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