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.
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Ancient Greece had two main cities called Sparta and Athens. S