Ancient Greece had two main cities called Sparta and Athens. Spartan babies were left on a mountain to die. Spartan boys started going to army camp at the age of 7.Athenien girls didn’t got to school, they stayed at home to learn how to sew and cook. Although every Spartan man had a farm, he spent a lot of time preparing for war. He became a soldier when he was 2O. However, a boy’s training began much earlier, when he left his family home at the age of 7, and went to live in an army school. Discipline was tough. He was allowed only one tunic, and had to walk barefoot even in cold weather. He was taught how to live rough and steal food. He was warned it was foolish to get drunk, like some other Greeks did. Men lived in army camps even after they got married. Ancient Greece had a warm, dry climate, as Greece does today. People lived by farming, fishing, and trade. Some were soldiers. Others were scholars, scientists or artists. Most Greeks lived in villages or in small cities. There were beautiful temples with stone columns and statues, and open-air theatres where people sat to watch plays. Many Greeks were poor. Life was hard because farmland, water and timber for building were all scarce. That's why many Greeks sailed off to find new lands to settle. 3000 BC 1200 BC 1100 BC 800 BC 776 BC The Minoan civilization begins. The Greeks fight Troy. The end of the Mycenaean Age. The Greeks set off to by sea to set up colonies. The first Olympic games are held. The Trojans lived in the city of Troy, in what is now Turkey. The story of their war with the Greeks is told in the Iliad, a long poem dating from the 700s BC, and said to be by a storyteller named Homer. The Odyssey, also by Homer, is the tale of the adventures of a Greek soldier named Odysseus, after the war. The Trojan War began when Paris, Prince of Troy, ran away with Helen, wife of King Menelaus of Sparta. The Greeks sent a fleet of ships, with an army, to get her back. The war lasted for 10 years. In single combat, the greatest Greek warrior, Achilles, killed the Trojan leader Hector. In the end the Greeks won, by a clever trick using a wooden horse. Athens had yearly festivals for athletics, drama and religious occasions. The city taxes paid some of the cost, but rich citizens had to pay extra. Important people in Athens were the strategoi, who were ten generals chosen from each of the ten "tribes" of citizens. There were also nine archons. Their jobs were mostly ceremonial, to do with festivals and family matters. One of the archons had to organize the Dionysia Festival, for the god Dionysos, every year. It was a time for fun, winedrinking, parties and plays. Every man aged 20 to 50 or more could be "called up" for military service. A rich man might have to serve as captain of a warship for a year. He paid the crew and made repairs. It was tough being a Spartan. Sickly babies were killed. Children ran around naked. Boys practised fighting and did athletics. Girls also did physical exercises. Spartan women had more freedom than other Greek women - a wife ran the family farm and gave orders to the helots or slaves. Old people too were shown more respect in Sparta than in other Greek states. Spartan mothers told their sons before they left for battle, "Come back with your shield, or on it." Dead Spartans were carried home on their shields. Only a coward would drop his shield and run away. Sparta's most famous battle was Thermopylae. The year was 480 BC. A huge Persian army was trying to invade Greece. Barring the way at the mountain pass of Thermopylae were 300 Spartan soldiers led by King Leonidas, along with a few hundred other Greeks. The Spartans' brave fight lasted three days. One story says that after they broke their swords, the Spartans fought the Persians with their bare hands and teeth! In the end, Leonidas and his Spartans lay dead. The Persians marched on to capture Athens. But soon afterwards the Greeks defeated the Persian fleet at the sea battle of Salamis. The Spartans did not use coins like other Greeks. They used iron bars as money. The Spartans practised night-fighting by creeping about in the darkness hunting helots (slaves). The Spartans were proud of their long hair. They combed it before going into battle. Spartans wore red cloaks, so bloodstains from wounds would not show.