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Epicurean philosophy – ancient Greece

By |2019-05-30T08:55:42-07:00August 16th, 2017|Greeks, Philosophy|

A statue of the philosopher Epicurus, carved later, long after he died - Epicurean philosophy When did Epicurus live? Another philosophical group which developed in the Hellenistic period, around the same time as the Skeptics, was the Epicureans. Epicureans were named after their founder, Epicurus, who lived around 300 BC. Who were the Skeptics? More Greek philosophy All [...]

Cynic philosophy – ancient Greece

By |2019-04-30T10:14:12-07:00August 16th, 2017|Greeks, Philosophy|

Diogenes the Cynic with his lamp (Roman sculpture, once in the Villa Albani) - the Cynics Who started Cynic philosophy? One of Socrates' students, Antisthenes, started his own group of philosophers called the Cynics in the late 400s BC. He argued - like Buddhists in India a little earlier - that a simple life without possessions [...]

War in ancient Greece

By |2018-04-23T14:26:48-07:00July 19th, 2017|Greeks, War|

Greek warfare: hoplite soldiers (Chigi Vase, ca. 650 BC) Wars were very common in ancient Greece. The Greeks lived in little city-states, each one like a small town in the United States today, with no more than about 100,000 people in each city-state. These city-states - Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Thebes - were always fighting each other over their borders. [...]

Greek hoplites and democracy – Classical Greece

By |2019-08-20T23:19:17-07:00July 19th, 2017|Greeks, War|

Greek hoplites and democracy - a Corinthian helmet from the 600s BC Hoplites needed armor When the Greek city-states turned to this new hoplite way of fighting, it meant that each man had to have the right armor. Nobody could fight without a shield, and a helmet, and all that. So you could only be a [...]

Cargo ships in ancient Greece

By |2018-04-22T11:11:32-07:00July 18th, 2017|Economy, Greeks|

Reconstruction of the Antikythera trading ship Many Greek men were traders, who sold things from one place to people who lived some place else. Greek traders sailed all around the Mediterranean Sea, from Spain to Phoenicia and from Carthage to  Egypt and Italy, and to Greece of course. These traders travelled in cargo ships. Cargo ships could [...]

Oracles in ancient Greece – definition of a Greek oracle

By |2018-05-31T23:37:52-07:00July 16th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

What is an oracle? The Greek oracle at Dodona in northern Greece Greek oracle definition: What is an oracle? The definition of the word oracle is actually pretty tricky. The word oracle in Greek can mean several related things, because Greek had fewer words than English does. An oracle means a god who predicts the [...]

Iphigeneia in Aulis – Euripides – ancient Greece

By |2019-09-24T05:02:20-07:00July 15th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

Iphigeneia brought to the sacrifice (Pompeii, ca. 79 AD) Menelaus, Agamemnon, and their oath When Helen ran off with Paris, her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta, was very upset. He went to visit his older brother, Agamemnon (ag-a-MEM-non), the king of Mycenae. Menelaus reminded Agamemnon about the oath that all the suitors swore when they were fighting over who would marry Helen. Who [...]

Greek mystery cults – ancient Greece

By |2018-04-23T10:04:50-07:00July 13th, 2017|Greeks, Religion|

Torchlight parade (this one is actually in India) Most Greek religious rituals were about sacrifice to the gods. But there was another form of religious activity also, which we call the mystery cults. People who wanted to participate in the mystery cults also kept on doing the usual sacrifices. You didn't have to choose. It's like [...]

Greek religion – ancient Greece

By |2019-09-14T06:45:42-07:00July 13th, 2017|Greeks|

Greek religion: Athena protects her worshippers (Andokides Painter, ca. 520 BC)W Where did Greek religion come from? Greek religion was a mixture of old Minoan beliefs, Central Asian gods that the Yamnaya brought to Greece, West Asian ideas and African ideas they got from their neighbors. Who were the Minoans? Central Asian religion West Asian gods and goddesses Egyptian [...]

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