When looking through history we stumble upon the same concept over and over again. The concept of good and evil. Right and wrong. Them and us. People are obsessed with these distinctions. But this, again, is a manmade concept, same as the concept of time and borders are made to benefit the people administering these beliefs.
Now imagine a lake… Your house is located on one side of the lake and there is another house located on the other side. To you, the other house is unfamiliar and far to get too. For the person living in the other house, it is familiar and close. He gets all of the good fish because there are more fish near his house. He doesn’t share because he feels that he has just enough to feed his family and make them happy. He also kills deer in his forest and wears their hides, and this is barbaric to you because you like the deer. Your children love to play with deer.
So you think “He is a monster; he does not deserve all of the good fish”. You attack his house and take over. You destroy his livelihood so that you can feed you little children. Otherwise they would starve from the lack of food and horrible winters on your side of the lake (Plus he killed deers).
Now living under your rule he realizes that you are a monster and attacks you, because he fears for his family’s well being. Even though you treat him well, you feed him, clothe him, and basically provide everything at your own cost.
He attacks you and destroys your family and sends you packing back to your house. Destroying your boats so you have to travel all the way around the lake back home. Now who is the evil one? Or even whose actions were more evil. It’s probably possible to quantify if you use some kind of basis for your assumptions… religion. But even in that case it would be bias.
Now imagine that there are hundred or thousands of houses all around this lake, some are closer to you some are further. Try to figure out then who is good and who is evil then. The reason I brought this up is because of the Greeks. Were they the good guys in the war with Persia? The west seems to think so, because democracy and stuff. Or would it have been better if Persia won. The Persians were nice too in their own right. Donno… Just shaking things up a bit.
NOW FOR A COMMERCIAL BREAK:
From the people that brought you cave painting, hunting and gathering. Comes a new civilization. You guys all know it as… drum roll…
(They call themselves the Hellas)
THE LINE UP:
Best Known best for being the father of philosophy, morality, the Socratic method and being sentenced to death by drinking Hemlock it’s Socrates!
Best known as the student of socrates, for his dialogues (prose literary works), Atlantis, and of course the platonic relationship! Plato!
Best know for pacing back and forth, Lyceum (his own school), studying in Plato’s academy and teaching Alexander the Great it’s Aristotle!
He is the great poet, he wrote Iliad and the Odyssey he is Homer!
Triangles are his life he is Pythagoras!
Shapes, sizes and geometry are his world it’s Euclid!
He is the father of history : Herodotus!
Don’t forget the engineer Archimedes!
He wrote Oedipus the King (you know the whole mother thing… ) it’s Sophocles!
and many many more!
“They bring you democracy”
“They bring you the Olympic games”
“They bring you the latin alphabet”
The Persians and Spartans are no match for them!
Come join us in the Parthenon and see Athen our goddess
Check out the Acropolis!
Visit Athens there is lots to see and explore.
Disclaimer: Visit only if you are a free male over the age of 20.
That’s what we imagine ancient greece to be like, but that is just Athens after the Persian war, not everything was so super. There were slaves, women were not considered citizens and Greece was not as peaceful as it is usually portrayed, especially Athens to the city states.
Greece is surrounded by the mediterranean sea, so the people in that area logically.. duh.. used the sea for their survival. So they started to build their homes along the coast of Anatolia and the surrounding islands.
“Anatolia… is that made up?”
Well yes, like everything else was made up by someone at one point or another. If you are asking what this area is it part of today, it’s part of modern day Turkey… Is that it?
“No… also why did the Greeks call themselves Hellas? Is that made up?”
That is actually an interesting question. The name comes from a story about a flood, not unlike Noah’s story. You know: People mean; God mad; make flood; man save some poeple on big boat; flood stops; make new world. Except in the case of the Greeks, it was Deucalion and Pyrrha who survived and threw stones onto the land which apparently turned into people. The first person was Hellen, thus the name Hellas.
The first civilization in that area started on the island called Crete. The people were called Minoans. They came up with Linear A (a type of writing), they also made cool ships. They all died out due to a volcano. Then came the Mycenaean Civilization, they came up with Linear B (also writing). We don’t know that much about those 2 civilizations because just like the indus valley civilization, a lot of the texts were not deciphered. We don’t really know why the Mycenaean Civilization came to an end, probably by the Greeks from Anatolia.
“Finally! I want to hear about the Greeks… I don’t care about the other guys”
The Greeks started to settle all over the place and introduced the republic, laws and city states. Athens was awesome, pottery, sculptures, and fine arts, they were having the time of their lives.
Demos kratos (people power), gave people an ability to choose their government by popular vote.
“See, sometimes I don’t even know what you are talking about. Demos Kratos?”
Really? Try to make the connection… Democracy!
But there were always problems with the Persians. Yep, it’s those cat hating Persians again. (Side note: The Persians were actually pretty cool, but more on that later).
Enter the Spartans. Sparta was a city state of Greece which united protected it from the persians. The Persians still managed to attack Greece and conquered much of it even with Leonidas and his 300 spartans at his side (all died).
“Sooo, that’s it?”
Nope, the Greeks beat the persians at sea, because remember they were really good at sea stuff. Athens became the head of the city states and created the Delian League.
“Like the justice league?”
Kind off, except with no superpowers. It was created to protect Greece from invaders.
So with the Persians out of the way Athens became super powerful, maybe too powerful. Great advances were made during that time in art, literature and everything else we know of greece today. It was a great time…If you were in Athens.
Athens was a bit of a bully to the other city states, demanded tribute and pushed her will unto them.
Now, Sparta was not going to put up with her crap, and started to push back. As you know, if you push hard enough a war will start. So it did: the Peloponnesian war. Which sparta won in the end but was left broke. That’s when Philip II of Macedon (Greek city state) took over.
By the way guess who his son was.
“Ummm… Erik the red?”
Why?…really? how is that even.. Whatever, it was Alexander the great!
“Ooooh, yay, I like that guy”
So after his father’s assassination Alexander the Great ruled over Greece. He was not letting things go, he had a bone to pick with the Persians. So he stormed through Egypt, Persia and India spreading the greek culture, like butter over warm toast, everywhere.
When he died and the empire was divided between his generals, which did not do a very good job keeping it together. It soon came under the full control of the Roman empire.
The Greek culture was so wonderful that Rome absorbed a lot of their traditions and kept the Greek spirit alive.
One more thing: The Olympic games, first 776 BC. Awesome. That’s it.