The Trojan War
The Trojan War started after an
incident at the wedding feast of Peleus, the king of Thessaly, and
Thetis, a sea goddess. All the gods and goddesses of Mt. Olympus had
been invited except Eris, the goddess of discord. Eris was offended and
tried to stir up trouble among the guests at the feast. She sent a
golden apple inscribed “For the most beautiful.” Hera, Athena, and
Aphrodite each claimed the apple as their own. Paris judged the quarrel
and awarded the apple to Aphrodite because she had promised him Helen,
the most beautiful woman in the world. Helen was already married to Kin
Menelaus of Sparta but when visited by Paris, she fled with Paris to
Troy. Menelaus organized Greek war against Troy to get Helen back. The
Greeks battled for ten years but could not defeat Troy. The fall of Troy
occurred when the Greeks built a large hollow horse and placed it
outside the walls of Troy. The Trojans took the horse inside and thought
the had won the war and the horse was a gift from the Greeks. Later that
night, the Greeks stormed from the horse and opened the gates to allow
their fellow warriors in and the Greeks conquered the City of Troy.
Ancient Greece was the birthplace of Western civilization about 2500
years ago. Greek civilization consisted mainly of small city-states. A
city-state consisted of a city or town and the surrounding villages and
farmland. The Greek city-states were independent and quarreled often
with one-another. These city states established the world’s first
democratic government. The Greeks believed that certain gods and
goddesses watched over them and directed their daily lives. Families
would try to please these gods by offering sacrifices, gifts, and
ceremonies. Greeks flocked to oracles to consult priests and priestesses
to answer questions and fore-tell the future. Greek men enjoyed
drinking, talking, and dancing at parties. They also like sports and
religious festivals Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle are the most
important Greek philosophers. Socrates taught by carefully questioning
his listeners to expose the weaknesses of their ideas and arguments.
Plato explored such subjects as beauty, justice, and good government.
Aristotle summed up the achievements of Greek philosophy and science.
His authority on many topics remained unquestioned for more than 100
years Most Ancient Greeks were suspicious of philosophers and their
theories. They continued to believe in superstitions and in myths. In
399 BC, an Athens jury sentenced Socrates to death for showing
disrespect to the gods. Greek architects, sculptors, and painters made
great contributions to the arts. They were trying to create ideal beauty
based on equal proportions. Greek sculptors portrayed figures of gods,
goddesses, and human beings. The most famous Greek sculptors were
Phidais, Praxiteles, Lysippus, and Myron. Music often was played with
Greek plays. Melody was common and harmony was not. The government of
Athens was headed by Pericles for most of the Golden Age. An assembly of
all male citizens would pass the laws, at the height of its power,
Athens had the most advanced democracy in Greece. The Parthenon in
Athens is a Greek Temple. Athena was the goddess of wisdom and warfare.
Apollo the god of the sun and of poetry represented the ideal young man.
The ancient Greeks built Athens upon a great plateau upon a great hill.
The flat hill covers about ten acres. Athens became known as the
Acropolis. The Greek words akro and polis mean high city. The Athenians
built temples and public buildings on the Acropolis. By 1200 BC the
Athenians had built a wall around most of the city. The Athenians built
a temple to Athena on the hill. Pericles also began the Propylaea in
addition tot he Parthenon. The Propylaea was never completed. All
citizens except those of the city’s poorest class were eligible for the
council and for all other offices. Women were not citizens and could not
vote or hold office. All public officials were chosen annually by
drawing lots. Generals were elected. Unpopular government officials
could be banished for ten years by vote of the people.
The Coliseum is one of the chief landmarks of Rome. Romans watched
gladiators fight each other or animals. Forums were the center of public
life in he city. Public meetings were held here and many important
buildings and statues stood there.
The Parthenon is an ancient Greek temple in the city of Athens. It
stands on a hill called the Acropolis overlooking the city of Athens.
The Parthenon is dedicated to the goddess Athena. The best Greek
sculptors and designers erected the Parthenon between 447 and 432 BC
When the Turkish people owned the Parthenon, they filled it with
gunpowder which exploded and destroyed the central part of the building.
The Parthenon was built entirely of Pentelic marble. One room in the
Parthenon contained a huge gold and ivory statue of Athena. Around the
top of the outer wall above the columns of the Parthenon was a set of
small sculptured panels called metopes.
Athens was a city known to protect people from the Athenians. The Greeks
living in Athens were people with a passion for perfection. Artists
excelled in beautiful works of love, beauty, and passion. Pericles was
leader of the Athenians and built Acropolis to honor Athena. 39 foot
high statue of Athena sits in the town. Many people and small countries
looked to Athens for protection. Athens was completed in 50 years.
Sculptors such as the great Fidius designed statues to display in
Athens. We as Americans took so much from the Greeks. Politics,
Rhetoric, biology, geology, first to calculate atom, position of
heavenly bodies, all were first done by the Greeks. Great Philosophers
included Socrates, Plato, Hypocrates, Pythagorean, Pindler, Escelus.
Athens had the worlds first democracy. The citizens participated males
only in the government. We took the Greek form of Government and applied
it to American Government. Our founding fathers knew Latin and Greek and
realized the importance of the language. The Greeks erected many statues
to honor their gods and one was found in 1928 by divers. The found
statue, one dedicated to Poseidon, god of the sea was probably stolen by
the Romans but the ship sunk and the statue was under water for hundreds
of years. Sea at Sunneam was the name of a temple built in honor for
Poseidon. Zeus, the father and leader of the Gods liven on Mt. Olympus.
Delphi was an important Greek Temple for Apollo.
The Greek people were highly educated and built stadiums and offered
sacrifices to uphold their high religion. The oracle of Delphi, was a
well known oracle. The theater originated as a place for religious
festivals. Amphitheater was for plays about woman. The Olympics were
every four years. The competitors competed naked and their were cheering
sections along the side of the competition area. 770 BC was the first
Olympic Games played. Physical Beauty was a great thing for Greeks.
Sculptors tried to capture great eye-pleasing physiques for their
statues. Homosexual activity was accepted between men and boys. A plague
in Athens wiped out Pericles and many Greek people.
The Greek people inspired cultures and countries for years to come and
we are all in debt to the Greek people for the knowledge and wisdom they
showed to invent new theories, laws, ideas, and ways of life. The Greek
people were very advanced for their time and without them we would not
know many of the things we know now. Pythagorean helped us to develop
math skills and Socrates as well as other philosophers taught us
theories of science and evolution.
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