Greek Influences today
The Lighthouse of Alexandria
There are many Greek influences that still affect us today such as
Democracy: The Greeks created the world’s first democracy. Athens started out as a monarchy and then advanced to and oligarchy until it finally reached a democracy. The government consisted of over 6,000 assembly members all of whom were adult male citizens. The assembly voted on issues throughout Athens, and passed laws. The required number of votes to pass a law was simply the majority but in order to banish or exile someone 6,000 votes were needed. Today we still use a democracy but now instead of using a direct democracy we use a representative democracy where the citizens democratically vote on who should make the decisions in the country, while in Greece a direct democracy was used and the citizens actually voted on the decision rather than choosing which people to make the decision.
The Alphabet: The Greeks were the first civilization to use an alphabet. The Alphabet was developed after the Dark Age when the Greeks stopped using their previous written language. The Greek alphabet had 24 letters and believe it or not the word "alphabet" originates from the first 2 letters of the Greek alphabet; alpha, and beta. Today many letters of our modern alphabet originate from the Greek alphabet such as the letters A, B, E, and O.
Libraries: The first library in the world, the library of Alexandria was actually built in Egypt, however Egypt was pretty much Greeks because after Egypt submitted to Alexander’s rule the Macedonians started spreading the Greek way of life to all of the lands he conquered including Egypt. After Alexander’s death and the power struggle of the Kingdom Egypt came under the rule of Alexander’s Greek Generals, Ptolemy. Ptolemy ordered the construction of the Library which contained over 700,000 scrolls of work. Also all ships that went into the Alexandrian harbor had to declare if they had any works of science or philosophy. If they did the work was copied and placed in the library and the captain would receive the original copy back. Many great discoveries happened in the library such as when Eratosthenes calculated the circumference of the earth and when Hero drew up plans for steam power. Today we have many libraries all over the world with billions of works of literature but the first library in the world was the library of Alexandria.
The Olympics: The Olympic Games started in ancient Greece. The participants were the city-states of Ancient Greece and their colonies. The Olympic Games were held every 4 years in honor of Zeus, the king god. There were also other games such as the Ptythian games which were held in honor of Apollo the sun god and the isthmian games which were held in honor of Poseidon, the sea god. The prizes for winning the Olympic Games in Greece were fame, and glory along with having statues of the winners erected and sometimes even having the winners faces put on coins. Today we still celebrate the Olympic Games, and many things are similar such as the olive leaf crowns and opening and closing celebrations.
Mathematics: The ancient Greeks excelled in mathematics, particularly geometry. Some famous Greek Mathematicians are Pythagoras, Archimedes, Euclid, and Aristotle. An example of a theory developed by one of hem would be the Pythagorean Theorem which was developed by Pythagoras. The Pythagorean theorem is a theory that states in a right triangle the hypotenuse of a triangle squared equals the other 2 sides of the triangle squared or as it is better known "a^2+b^2=c^2". Other famous math achievements by Greek Mathematicians would be the accurate calculation of pi by Archimedes and proof that all right angles were equal by Euclid.
Science: Along with being the birthplace of many great mathematicians Greece was also the mother country of many famous scientists. Some scientists include Eratosthenes who calculated the circumference of the earth and was off by less than 1% and Aristarchus who theorized the earth revolved around the sun instead of the other way around. More famous Greek scientists include Archimedes who was able to explain levers and pulleys making his famous quote "give me a lever long enough and I will move the Earth!", and Hipparchus who created a system to explain how all the planets and stars move.
Architecture: We still use Greek-style architecture today. A type of Greek Architecture that is used today would be pillars. In Greece a building which pillars were used would be the Parthenon located in Athens. Today pillars are also used in many public buildings such as churches and libraries. There are also pillars in many buildings in WashingtonD.C., including the White House!
Mythology: Today many of us still read Greek myths. Some famous include the tales of Peruses, Theseus and of course, Heracles. The Greeks often used these myths to explain things but today we mostly read the Greek myths for entertainment. Many Greek myths have been altered a bit in order to write novels and movies based on them. Some well known adaptations of Greek Myths are Disney’s: Hercules and the bestselling novel Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
Lighthouses: Like the first library the first lighthouse in the world was located in the Greek/Egyptian kingdom of Alexandria. The lighthouse was huge, comparable to the statue of liberty and was the second tallest structure of its day, as only the great pyramid of Giza was taller than it. The lighthouse had three layers, the base which was square shaped, the middle which was octagonal, and the round beacon on top. The lighthouse signaled itself through smoke and fire burning in the beacon. Sadly the lighthouse was destroyed due to earthquakes but it set the model for all future lighthouses.
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