The Ancient Greece was a civilization that flourished and centered around the Greek City-States known as the “Polis'” from about 1200 BC to around 323 BC.
Ancient Greece was known as the period of City-States, where political, social, religious, and intellectual activities thrived. These City-States were independent from one another because most of them developed a unique system of administration and also were located in a separate island, but, they all agreed to be the Greeks and were usually helping each other from any external threats.
The most important thing about the Ancient Greece was the fact that, it was the period when the foundation of the Western political, philosophical, and scientific knowledge were set up.
The Foundation of Ancient Greece
The Civilization of the Ancient Greece has started when a Greek speaking tribe called Dorian came from the north to Aegean Island where a Mycenaean Civilization have already developed. They conquered the Mycenaean and established small settlements which later developed into what we called Greek City-States.
Greek City-States of Athens and Sparta
Athens is the Greek City-State known historically as the center where intellectual activities took place.
Athens a city, rise to greatness when Pisistratus became its ruler in 560 BC. He initiated some reforms like giving estates or lands to the free citizens who have no land. He also gave importance to culture by inviting poets, sculptors, and painters to his palace for competition.
Political system in Athens
Politically, Athens became the first state in the history of the world to practiced democracy. Athenian ruler who first practiced the democracy was Cleisthenes who came to power in 506. He was a statesman that allowed the practiced of democracy among the Athenians, which gave them the right to participate in the process of governance.
In the Athenian democracy, which was the first from which other democracies developed, have allowed free male citizens aged 18 to vote and hold office.
In the administration of the Athens, the real power was exercised by the Assembly of five hundred representatives who came from all social classes. The representatives were chosen by all free citizens with the right to vote.
Intellectual Activities in Athens
Athens earned it recognition for being the first center of intellectual brilliance in the history of the world. And this was possible as a result of the democracy that gave Athenians the right to use their brain and think, and also questioned everything in all matters of life.
From the period of a ruler called Pericles onwards, intellectual activities were encouraged more, that gave the Athenians scholars an opportunity of gathering at the Athens city center and debate on different issues of life.
During this period of intellectualism, famous scholars called philosophers have lived and theorized different ideas on different fields of knowledge from which modern science and philosophy took shape.
Famous thinkers of the period were like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Aristophanes.
Sparta was an important Greek City-State famously known as the center of military strength, because every Spartan was a soldier.
Sparta was never a walled city, and this was due to its citizens’s belief that every man should be a soldier. This was why they have a slogan which says ” a wall of men is more better than a wall of brick “.
Government in Sparta
Spartan like the Athenians, have developed a political system based on democracy in which the Spartans free citizens aged 30 have the right of voting and participation in some process of governance.
In the Spartan administration, there were two bodies of representatives elected by the Spartans eligible voters. There two Assemblies were as follows :
- The Council of Elders which consisted of senior citizens aged 60, and were responsible for making laws.
- The Council of Ephors which comprised 5 officials who were elected by the Council of Elders in order to carried out the laws they made.
Military System in Sparta
Sparta was the center of the Greeks military, because every Spartans were soldiers who learn the art and craft of fighting in any kind of situation. This was why, the Spartans were defeated less in the war.
As part of maintaining its strength, the Athenian constitution provided that every Spartan boy should left home when he reached seven years of age, and underwent military training and participation in wars, until he reached 60 years of age.
Religion in Ancient Greece
The religion practiced in all the Greek City-States was polytheistic in which people worshipped different gods. The leader of the Greek gods was Zeus, who was regarded as the King of the other gods.
Also, each City-State have their god which they conceived as the protector of their city. For example, the Spartans believed Ares the god of war as their protector, while in Athens, their protector was believed to be the goddess of wisdom called Athena.
As far as the above work is concerned, the Ancient Greece Civilization was among the second set of civilizations in the history of the world, after the first set of Civilizations such as the Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, and China.