Archeology Awareness Culture

10 Interesting Facts About Ancient Greece You Didn’t Know

“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less” — Socrates

Greece was one of the most significant places in the ancient world around 2500 years ago. The Greeks were known as great writers, actors, thinkers, artists, architects, and warriors. The ancient Greeks called themselves as ‘Hellenes,” and their land was called as “Hellas.” The Romans named the people of Greece as Greeks; who have perhaps contributed immensely to the modern civilization in many fields like science, philosophy, art and much more. However, the legacy of the Greeks does not end here!

The mythology of Greece is quite mystical and has many famous names attached to it like the Hercules, Achilles, Prometheus, Zeus and more. Greeks were intensely religious, and their world was filled with a host of benevolent and malevolent creatures. The Greeks believed that these beings could have an impact on their lives.

10 Interesting Facts About Ancient Greece You Didn't KnowOne of the most enduring things about ancient Greece is the mythology.

It was essential for them to pacify and placate these agitated and capricious spirits to solicit the support of deities who would assist them in carrying out a military assignment, getting an abundant crop or for undertaking some grueling task. However, many real facts surround the Greek myths.

Here are top 10 interesting facts about ancient Greece you may not know.

1.    Alexander the Great, Was Not That Great

Alexander, who was known as the Alexander the Great is not entirely correct. The renowned military leader of Greece was short in stature and was known for his indiscipline.

10 Interesting Facts About Ancient Greece You Didn't KnowThe meeting between Alexander and Diogenes (Image Source)

Although, his military prowess is legendary and accurate, his stature was short and Alexander was not known for being disciplined. He drank and had a bad temper, and there are plenty of his companions that wound up on the receiving end of his tantrums. Later in life, he became paranoid. However, his legacy as a famous military leader remains untouched.

2.    The Trojan Horse Didn’t Really Exist

Most of us are familiar with the story of the Trojan horse from Homer’s Odyssey. However, it turns out that the famous wooden horse that sneaked into Troy is a myth!

10 Interesting Facts About Ancient Greece You Didn't KnowThe Procession of the Trojan Horse in Troy (Image Source)

Although Troy is a real city which was burned by the Greeks, there is no evidence that proves the existence of the Trojan horse. In fact, most of the armies were using damp horse skin to protect themselves from the flaming arrows during battles.

3.    Pythagoras May Not Have Invented the Theorem

There is no written proof to indicate that Pythagoras invented the famous equation. However, there is evidence that many centuries ago, the Babylonians were using the theorem to calculate.

10 Interesting Facts About Ancient Greece You Didn't KnowBabylonian tablet listing pythagorean triples (Image Source)

Pythagoras was certainly a great mathematician and the first person to use ratios to explain the music intervals.

4.  No Proof of Homer’s Existence

While some of the epics revolving around Homer is considered a myth, the existence of Homer himself has not been proven. The Greek stories and legends were passed on orally for decades but there are no written documents to prove any of them or for that matter, even Homer’s existence.

10 Interesting Facts About Ancient Greece You Didn't Knowacques-Louis David - Homer Reciting his Verses to the Greeks

5.  Greek Alphabets Had Many Inventors

The first works that have been drafted using the Greek alphabet was Homeric epics which date back to the 8th century BC. The Greek letters use Phoenician alphabet as the base. The first two letters of the letters are aleph and bet which got it its name! As per the ancient Greeks, Palamedes invented the Greek version, however Pythagoras was, the person who actually gave the geometric shapes to the letters.

10 Interesting Facts About Ancient Greece You Didn't KnowAccording to ancient Greeks, Palamedes was the one who invented the Greek version, but surprisingly, it was the Pythagoras who gave the letters their distinct geometrical shapes they are famous for.

6.  Spartans Didn’t Use Iron Currency

Spartans are known as hardened warriors in Spartan mythology. Spartans never used iron as currency. In fact, coins were never made in Sparta. Spartans used foreign silver instead.

10 Interesting Facts About Ancient Greece You Didn't KnowSilver coin of Damastion, 4th Century BC

Besides this there was no other import of luxury goods in Sparta as they believed that the products would alter their lives. The Spartans led their lives by indulging in war, rigorous training regimes, dieting and using their famous Iaconic expressions. (very short or terse statement).

7.  Theatres Were a Part of the Cult of Dionysus

The great Greek tragedies and comedies performed at the Acropolis were certainly a part of the cult of Dionysus. However, there have been arguments regarding the origin of theatre itself.

10 Interesting Facts About Ancient Greece You Didn't KnowThe half-mask over the eyes and nose identifies the figure as an actor. He wears a man's conical cap but female garments, following the Greek custom of men playing the roles of women. (Image Source)

According to sources, the actor Thespis (the person who name has been used to coin the word thespian) performed his roles standing on a cart almost a century before.

8.    The Secrets of Greek Cults Are a Mystery

As mentioned before, there were no other cults except the cult of Demeter, who was the goddess of agriculture.

10 Interesting Facts About Ancient Greece You Didn't KnowDemeter, enthroned and extending her hand in a benediction toward the kneeling Metaneira who offers the triune wheat that is a recurring symbol of the mysteries. The cult of Demeter was just one mysterious group in ancient Greece. (Image Source)

Although not much is known about what was practiced in the ceremonies, it is speculated that the initiations included wearing of ritual clothing and worshipping different objects to get a glimpse of the afterlife.

9.  Greeks Used Money Because of Their Psyche

Money certainly made things easier for the Greeks. Trade was not the only reason why Greeks started using currency in the 5th century BC. They used money, because the sentiment of obligation and reciprocation to their fellow men is deeply rooted in their society and psyche.

10.  Socrates Was a Warrior

Socrates has always been looked upon as a thinker and a philosopher. However, he was an experienced soldier who has survived many grueling military campaigns.

10 Interesting Facts About Ancient Greece You Didn't KnowStatue of Socrates by Leonidas Drosis, Athens - Academy of Athens. (Image Source)

His experience in the army actually made him think about life following which he spent the rest of his life in educating his fellow men and got them to think about their lives.


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