Each state had its own laws, government and money but they shared the same language and religion. The two most important city states were Athens and Sparta. The influence of the Ancient Greeks are still felt by us today.
The major impact in our lives today are in the arts, in philosophy, and in science, math, literature and politics. Democracy The word 'democracy' is Greek. It means 'government by the people. We have a form of democracy in Britain, and this is a legacy of the Athenians and their assemblies and councils. Theatre The word 'theatre' is Greek. Most modern theatres follow the Greek plan. Building styles Architecture Throughout the world, buildings have been constructed in the style of Ancient Greece.
The British Museum is an example of this. Then both were ruled by small groups of powerful people oligarchies. Later Athens came to be ruled by the people as a democracy whilst Sparta remained an oligarchy.
Athens was the largest and most powerful Greek state. It was a city with lots of beautiful public buildings, shops and public baths. The people of Athens lived below the Acropolis rocky hill.
The marble Parthenon, a temple, see picture above was built on the highest part of the Acropolis. Model of the Parthenon in the British Museum. Athena was the goddess of wisdom and war and was the patron of Athens. The legend says that Athene and Poseidon had a contest to have the city named after them. Athens did not have a king, it was ruled by the people as a democracy. The people of Athens believed that no one group of people should make the laws and so citizens could choose the government officials, and vote for or against new laws.
The people of Athens chose their ruler. They held a large meeting on the slopes of a hill in Athens where any citizen could speak, and tell the government what it should be doing. This was called the Assembly, and there had to be at least 6, citizens at every Assembly. Athenian democracy was not like modern democracy. Only citizens over 18 could vote.
Women, slaves and foreigners could not become citizens. So democracy in Athens meant rule by the men of Athens. Slaves made up about a quarter of the working population on Athens. Most were people who had been captured in warfare and sold to slave dealers.
The Ancient Greece empire spread over Europe as far as France in the East. The Greek Empire was most powerful between BC and BC The ancient Greeks developed new ideas for government, science, philosophy, religion, and art.
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