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Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece

The Parthenon (top) in Athens, built in 432 BCThe Parthenon (top) in Athens, built in 432 BC About 2500 years ago, Greece enjoyed a time of wealth, discovery and invention. It was known as the “Golden Age” of Greece. The country was divided into small states, each normally consisting of a city or town and its surrounding villages. The city-state of Athens was the most powerful of all. It was full of beautiful temples and theatres, and the Athenian people lived well. Health and fitness fanatics, the Greeks held a festival of sport every four years at Olympia. (Today, we have our own version, called the Olympic Games.) The Greeks also prized freedom of speech. Political speeches were often made in the city marketplace.

A map of Greece in about 500 BCA map of Greece in about 500 BC

Greek city-states

Greece civilization grew up around the shores and islands of the Aegean Sea after around 800 BC. It was divided into many small states. By the 6th century BC several cities had emerged as dominant powers, including Athens, Sparta and Corinth. Each controlled the surrounding towns and countryside to become city-states. Ever since the 8th century BC, people had emigrated to establish Greek-speaking colonies in southern Italy, Asia Minor (modern Turkey) and further afield. 

The first two letters of the Greek alphabet, alpha and beta, have given us the word "alphabet".

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