Overview of Ancient Athens, Greece
Athens was the largest city in Greece, and was also the capital. Athens controlled an area called Attica, which was an ideal place for many things. It was the cultural center of Greece in ancient times. This is obvious through analysis of art, religion, military, technology, recreation, etc.
- Meals were usually eaten in a courtyard near the home
- Cooking equipment was easily small, light and easy to set up
- Popular ingredients were wheat, grain and figs to make breads, cakes, and barley
- Soil wasn't very fertile along coastline but irrigation and crop rotation was used to solve this problem
- Goats were kept for milk and cheese
- Sometimes animals were hunted for meat
Art, Architecture, & Sculptures
- Proportion and perspective became a large part of art in Athens
- Architects used geometry when designing buildings
- Sculptures were made to look natural and realistic during this time period
- Ancient Athens was in a democracy; the first official democracy in the world
- Athenian democracy developed in 5th century BC
- All citizens of Athens had equal rights
- Citizens could actively serve in institutions that governed them, so they controlled the parts of government that they had to follow
- Athenians were very religious people; they were part of a polytheistic religion, meaning belief in more than one god
- Religion was often incorporated with art
- Many gods were discussed in two of the earliest forms of Greek literature, the Iliad and the Odyssey
- Slavery was a large part of Greek, or more specifically, Athenian society
- Slaves could be born into slavery or captured when their home was conquered
- There were more slaves than free people in Athens, and all of Greece
Geography & Climate
- Athens is in Attica
- The city-state is pretty secluded as it is surrounded by mountains
- It is almost 3,000 square km of land
- Athens has hot summers and mild winters
- The climate in Athens is pretty temperate
Recreation & Sports
- Hunting and fishing were both popular activities in Ancient Athens, although fishing was seen as more of a job
- Aquatic sports were recreational; not competitive
- Acrobatics were popular and used as entertainment for children
- People raced chariots as a sport
- There were many games and toys for children in Ancient Athens
- Men ran the government and were away from the home most of the time
- Women had limited freedom outside the home
- Women didn't do much housework, slaves did chores around the house
- Children, like their mothers, also had limited freedom outside the house
- Athenian men had to go through some military training
- Athens had an extremely strong navy, but the other branches of military weren't as strong
- Athens was more known for its art and philosophers than its military
- Goal of education in Athens was to teach about peace and war to its citizens
- Tuition for school was cheap enough that even the poor could send their students to school
- The education of the mind and body were very important
- Much literature was produced in Ancient Athens
Inventions of Athens
- Athens invented democracy
- The water clock was also invented in Athens and was very helpful to Athenians
- People began creating public works during this time
- Architecture began to bloom and develop; became a large part of society during this era
- There are still a few of the ancient structures standing in Athens today
- Although some of the structures are in ruins, Athens is still a beautiful city full of history
- Athens also consists of beaches, hills, mountains, etc.; the geographical position of Athens is close to perfect
- Birds, dogs, goats, and tortoises were all popular pets in Athens
- Dancing was important to Athenians; it was believed to be healthy physically, spiritually, and mentally
- Most wedding ceremonies took place at night, after dark
- Clothing was very simple; mostly consisted of simple tunics and warm cloaks that were made at home
Athens was an important asset to Ancient Greek society. Many inventions and ideas came out of Athens. Art, architecture, technology, and government were all improved upon during this time period. It was a very important city-state to Greece, and without it we may not have the art or architecture that we do today.
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