Legacies of Ancient Greece

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Legacies of Ancient Greece

Greek legacies are their governmental systems, culture and arts, and science and technology. Classical Greece was a time where the growth of a community held strong through times of plague, wars, and numerous breakthroughs.

A major legacy left by classical Greece was a government based on direct democracy. With a direct democracy, citizens ruled by majority vote. The citizenship was expanded to all free males, except foreigners. Those not considered citizens were women, slaves, and all foreigners. In 621 BCE, Draco, an Athenian lawmaker wrote the first legal code. In the legal code Draco dealt with contract and property ownership, it also included debt slavery. In classical Greece, citizens were also allowed to bring charges of wrong doing with a trial by jury. Direct democracy was a new innovation that not only changed the world, it also helped classical Greece become a great and powerful nation.

Another legacy left by Greece was their culture and art. With their culture they created the Greek language. The Greeks also invented their mythology, which included gods and goddesses. Through myths, Greeks tried to understand the mysteries of nature and the power of human passion. God lived forever and Greeks attributed human qualities to them. The Olympic Games were originated in Greece around 776 BCE. They were dedicated to the god Zeus, the Greeks even suspended the wars between city-states so the athletes of the Olympics could compete. Philosophers, lovers of wisdom, were determined to seek the truth. There philosophy was based on two assumptions: (1) The universe (land, sky, and sea) is put together in an orderly way, and subject to absolute and unchanging laws, and (2) people can understand these laws through logic and reason. The three main philosophers of classical Greece are Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. The arts of classical Greece had a different flair than any other civilization. The Greeks invented both drama and built the first theaters in the west. Statues in Greece depicted their gods and goddesses in idealized human form, their faces neither showed laughter or anger, only serenity. Athena, goddess of wisdom, is found in the Parthenon, dressed in full battle armor, holding a six-foot high figure of victory. The Parthenon is a masterpiece of not only craftsmanship, but also design. Artisans built the 23,000 square ft. building with the traditional style that had been used several hundred years before. Classical Greece's art and culture inspired Greeks to pursue their life as a privilege.

A final legacy left by classical Greece is their science and technology. In astronomy, Aristarchus of Samos, proposed that the earth and the other planets revolved around the sun. Other astronomers did not support Aristarchus' theory, Ptolemy, placed earth at the center of the solar system. Eratosthenes calculated that the earth's circumference was 24,662 miles and was within 1 percent of our modern calculations. Euclid, a highly regarded mathematician, wrote the Elements, which contained 465 geometry propositions and proofs. Another important scientist, Archimedes of Syracuse, accurately estimated the value of pi. He also explained the law of the lever and invented the pulley to lift heavy objects. The science and technology of this time was contemporary and revolutionized classical Greece into a civilized world.

Greece has left legacies of governmental systems, cultures and arts, and science and technology. Classical Greece broke through the harsh realities that were bequeathed upon them and created a civilization of truth and honesty to their city-states, art and culture for their people, and science and technology for their future.

The Influence of Ancient Greece

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