Ancient Greece Legacies constitutes all the traditions, skills and knowledge of a particular culture which get passed on to the people in the future. As is reiterated time and again by various scholars, Greek culture which lasted for nearly 4000 years is truly one of the rich civilizations ever to have existed.
Hence even after doing such an intensive research and finding out vast information about the ancient Greek culture, the curiosity to know more is undying even today.
Spread of Greek ideas
There have been numerous ancient civilizations which had witnessed enormous growth in the economy, science, art and architecture like the Egyptian civilization, Mesopotamia civilization, Indus valley civilization, etc. They have all been a subject of awe by the modern people but none of them has left such a lasting impact on modern society as the Ancient Greek civilization.
The main reason for this worldwide impact was initially the conquests of Alexander the Great across the Mediterranean, Africa, and Central Asia up to the Indian subcontinent carrying with him the ideas of the Greek way of life. It left marks of the Greek ideas across the world before getting buried in the flow of time.
It was then unearthed by the renaissance thinkers of Europe who wanted to equate the western civilization to the ancient Greek civilization rejecting the middle ages as a period of ignorance. They studied with great enthusiasm the Greek texts, books, and treaties and even tried to implicate them in their society.
This tide of Greek ideas was even carried to the third-world countries by the waves of imperialism. We can even see renaissance statues inspired by the Greek statues of the nude body even in Indian states.
Legacies of Ancient Greece
The word Democracy is derived from a Greek term which implies a power of the people. It was the city-state of Athens which witnessed the emergence of democracy. As a matter of fact, Athens also boasts of the first democratic constitution which laid down rules on how a state should conduct its affairs.
In the Assembly which was the lawmaking body, every individual who was above the age of 20years could participate. Additionally, every year the names of as many as 500 people were drawn for the Council of Five Hundred who carried on the daily business of Athens. The form of democracy which is carried on in the US is just like the one which was carried on in the ancient Athens.
Trial by Jury
The Trial by Jury was another such Ancient Greece Legacies. The concept of Trial by Jury is when a group of people decides the fate that is the innocence or guilt of an accused. For every such trial, there were about 500 jurors. A duty was imposed upon each and every citizen to serve the jury at some point or the other. Moreover, the jurors who sat for a trial were paid for their services. This has been adopted in the modern judicial systems across the world especially in the Democracies and is considered a essential clause in democratic practices.
Epics and Dramas
The epics written by the ancient Greeks were also well known. There is evidence of long poems being written in the praise of different Gods, Heroes and also the history of their culture. To name a few, Homer was one such great epic poet. His work which is called Illiad in which he has written about the Trojan wars is extremely popular even today.
The concept of the theatre was first devised in ancient Greece and their dramas and epics are still performed even today. Modern western dramas are derived from Homer, Sophocles, etc whose plays have been immortalized. Theater also constituted an integral of the Ancient Greece Legacies. Theater became a popular art emerged during festivals which were dedicated to Dionysus in which the stories which were so developed were acted out. Subsequently, competitions were also organized. While performing, actors could wear masks to depict different age, gender, and moods.
Theaters became so popular that even a theatre was carved on a hillside in Miletus. One thing which needs to be remembered that women could only come to watch as only men could perform in it. The Greeks were the first ones to develop plays as well. Plays depicted two major emotions namely; tragedies of Aeschylus were famous while the famous comedy play writers were Aristophanes.
These plays form the foundation of western theatre and many experiments and post modernist approaches are still conducted on this plays with considerable interest from artistic circles.
Greek city-state of Olympia
The Olympic Games also came to be commenced in the Greek city-state of Olympia in 776BC. The different sports which were played during the Olympic Games were: Foot Races, Javelin Throw, Boxing, Discus, Wrestling, Warriors Race, Messengers and Trumpeters, Pancratium and lastly Pentathlon.
The footrace was of 26miles and 385 yards long. Records show that the Greeks defeated the Persians at Marathon. Pheidippides ran to Athens which is about 26miles just to declare his victory. When he reached Athens, he cried out Nike which meant goddess of victory and subsequently fell over dead.
The modern Olympics which is one of the most if not the most prestigious sporting events was inspired by the ancient Olympics which took place in Olympia in honour of Zeus from about 776 BC.
The Olympic flame which is lit before the start of the Olympic games is a reference to the sacred flame which burnt at the altar of Hestia throughout the ancient Olympic games.
Art and Architecture
The ancient Greeks have left a lasting effect on modern society and modern science. Greeks adtronomers like Eratosthenes was the first to calculate the circumference of the earth and similarly, Aristarchus created a model of the universe in which the sun was placed at the center with the planets revolving around them including the earth which inspired Copernicus to build his heliocentric theory.
Famous mathematicians like Archimedes made great contributions to the field of geometry and calculus. Even models depicting the movement of the sun and moon were created by Hipparchus which included solar eclipse too.
Philosophy is the love of wisdom and the art of trying to figure out things through self-learning and reasoning. Ancient Greek philosophy has always enlightened the world. Socrates who was Plato’s mentor believed that the urge for people to ask questions will lead them to the discovery of truth.
Aristotle developed the method of classifying living things depending on the similar characteristics which they possess. Such classification is used till today as it helps the scientists to easily manage huge data. Additionally, the scientific method of collecting information, forming a hypothesis and then applying different tests to check if such hypothesis is valid or not is also a gift of the ancient Greeks.
Ancient Greece and especially the classical period was known as the ‘Golden Age of Philosophy’ and ancient Greek philosophical texts formed the foundation of western thoughts. Famous personalities like Aristotle, Socrates, Plato have influenced philosophy on an enormous level and we still have different schools of thought based on their theories. The influence of ancient Greek philosophers is evident in many fields like law, psychology, logic, etc.
Lastly, Hippocrates who was regarded as the Father of Scientific Medicine believed that diseases came from natural causes rather than from evil spirits. His prescribed ways of treating patients are still followed today and form a part of medical studies. He even laid down an oath for all those who practiced medicine which is taken by today’s doctors as well. This oath is called by a Hippocratic oath. Under this oath, the following rules were laid down:
- Honor their teachers;
- Do their best for the sick;
- Never give poisons, and lastly,
- Keep the secrets of patients.
The influence of the Ancient Greeks can be still felt by us today. The major impact of the Greek culture in our lives today can be seen in the fields of arts, in philosophy, and in science, math, literature, and politics.