Greek Legacy Essay
The Greek culture of 2000 BC through 146 BC was one of the most sophisticated, intellectual, and had some of the great thinkers of their time. Their architecture, writing, military tactics, lifestyle and philosophy were copied by countless civilizations to come. Even though (civil) war raged often among the Greeks they prospered to find a place in history.
Starting in 1650 BC with the arrival of Minoans to the island of Crete, architecture was already a major part of the Greek culture. The Minoans built beautiful palaces at Mallia, Kato Zakro and the biggest and best palace in Cnossus. The palaces at Crete were eventually destroyed by the Mycenaeans but even though Civil War was rampant and kingdom after kingdom fell palaces on the mainland became grand. The palaces would often be protected by walls. This idea stayed for centuries as a means of protection. During the city-state period of Greek time cities were surrounded by walls. Inside the city there would be an acropolis, a point usually elevated, and an agora or marketplace. In the later half of the fifth century the Greek city flourished with grand buildings. One of the most famous buildings the Parthenon was considered to be the perfect temple. It was a monument to Athena and her city. Most of the grand buildings including the Parthenon were in Athens.
The early cultures of Crete developed a form of writing still yet undeciphered called Linear A. The Mycenaeans made their own writing of off Linear A now called Linear B. This just shows how the Greeks were smart enough to develop a language and it is still yet to be deciphered.
During the Archaic Age the Spartans made a military machine out of their men. As soon as the boys turned 12 they were off to training. They were put through enduring tasks and grew very strong. When Spartans went out to battle they either were victorious or would die. As time passed and made its ways to the Classical Period and by now the Athenians had grown to a dominating presence. The Spartans alarmed by this started a feud, which grew into the Peloponnesian war. This brought plague and famine to the Greeks. This is a good lesson to cultures coming up that if you get to big your going to be getting into conflicts with those whom you least expect.
In early Greek society the people lived good lives. The Minoans had a king govern over the people with help of his nobles. During the Polis time the people elected their ruler for limited office time. Unlike other dynasties the ruler was seen by his people. A monarchy, aristocracy, oligarchy, democracy or tyranny governed the Polis. During the Archaic Age in Sparta the Lycurgan system was put into effect. It gave equal rights to all citizens. In this system all men were in military training and the slaves did all the work. The women in this way of life were given much more freedom then any other Greek culture. Equal rights among all people is very hard to do even today 2000 years later. The Spartans were able to accomplish this. Also during this time the Athenians used Democracy as their political government. They had a system of councils and people to make laws and other things. The nobles did have more say but the non-nobles did have rights. This is the start of a great political system still used today. As Greek culture evolved households had running water and other amenities never given before in a city. Women's role was diminished as time went on and it would take a lot of time before that would be changed.
Unlike other cultures the Greeks have no historical documents. But in the 10th Century they had some prolific poem writers. Homer wrote two great epic poems entitled the Iliad and Odyssey. Through these poems people can learn about Greek history and way of life. Another author from this period gave us the Theogony a history of the Gods. This author Hesiod also wrote the Cosmogony, Hesiod's take on the universe. Much can be learned about the Greeks from these writings.
Before the most important Greek philosopher Socrates there were a number of great thinkers. One of them Democritus came up with the atomic theory. His theory stated that the universe is made up of all indivisible and indestructible particles. This is a huge prophecy saying there is in no way he could have any proof of this. Once Socrates came along he only thought out the truth and would continually question what was thought true. One of Socrates students Plato carried on his work but wrote it down. Then another famous Greek Aristotle came up. Everything in the universe that could be thought of Aristotle knew about and wrote about. Trough these and other Greeks ideas that are still true today were thought of. The Greeks intelligence is uncanny to any other civilization of the time.
The Greeks were a very influential society affecting numerous civilizations to copy their ideas. Once the Romans conquered them, the Greek lifestyle was still prominent because it was so ahead of its time. The Greeks will always be remembered as one of the greatest legacies.