Geography / Cities: Ancient Greece was a country that was made up of a mainland and several small islands. Mainland Greece has a lot of mountains and is also surrounded on three sides by water - forming what is known as a peninsula. The geography had a negative impact on the settlement of Ancient Greece because the mountains and ocean waters created barriers and therefore divided the people. Most of the early cities were located near the ocean and because of this many of the people became fishers, sailors, and traders. People that lived more towards the mountains encounter rocky soil that was not good for farming so they had to find other ways to make a living.
Class divisions: Greek citizenship meant that in most of city-states during that time only free native-born men who owned land could be citizens. They believed it was their land and their responsibility to run it. Not all people could have citizenship. People born in other countries and slaves could never become a citizen. Women and children could be called citizens but they did not get any rights like the men. Some of the rights of Greek citizens include choosing their leaders and making laws. They also had the right to vote and own property. They were expected to defend their land and government as soldiers if threatened. Compared to other ancient civilizations like Mesopotamia or Egypt, Greek citizens had more freedoms. Unlike Greece, these two civilizations had rulers that made all the decisions and their people had no rights and could not participate in government. Also they would be punished if they did not obey.
Art: The people of Ancient Greece were very smart and creative. They were responsible for many styles of art. They were very good at composing literature such as poems, fables, and stories. Next, they enjoyed telling stories by acting - and this was called drama. Third, they loved to paint murals and pottery. Some Greek artists also created sculpture. They seemed to really like making sculptures of the human body. One last form of art they enjoyed was designing and building structures (Architecture). One of the greatest impacts that art had on Greece was that beautiful and useful structures such as the Parthenon were built. Also, the main goal of Greek fables was to teach the people about good values. Greek ideas have spread all over the world throughout history. For example, Aesop's fables were first passed between people by word of mouth, but then they were written down - and now have been rewritten all over the world in many languages.
Organized Government: Direct Democracy: All citizens can share in running the government. Representative Democracy: Citizens pick people to make government decisions for all. Tyranny: Government power is done with force. Oligarchy: A few people run the government. The advantage of a direct democracy is that it truly represents the people. A disadvantage of this is that not everyone has the skills. An advantage of the Representative Democracy is that people can vote for a qualified person to make decisions. The disadvantage is that the elected representative can do what they want if they choose. The advantage of a tyranny is fast decision making. The disadvantage is that the person can misuse their power. The advantage of an oligarchy is a decision can be made quickly while a disadvantage is that the laws may not benefit many people. Ancient Athens is an example of a direct democracy. The United States is an example of a representative democracy. An example of Tyranny is when Hitler ruled over Germany. Ancient Sparta is an example of Oligarchy.
Religion: The Greeks believed that gods and goddesses controlled the world around them. They created stories, or myths - that express the beliefs of the Greek people. For example Zeus controlled the sky and Apollo was the God of light. There were many others that were important. They believed that even though these gods/goddesses had special powers, they looked just like normal Greek people. As a result of their religious beliefs, they followed many rituals like prayer and offering the gods gifts. They also had many religious festivals to honor their many gods/goddesses. One last thing the Greeks believed in is prophecy, witch is a prediction about the future. They believed that they needed to listen to the gods for warnings about the future and what they can do to prevent bad things from happening.
Writing Systems: The Greek alphabet was based on the Phoenician alphabet and had 24 letters in it that stood for different sounds. It was very useful to use when the Greek people started reading and writing down their ideas. Here is a sentence translated from English to Greek. English: It is a sunny day. Greek: είναι ηλιόλουστη σήμερα.