Life in Ancient Greece

Michael Lahanas

Know yourself (gnothi seauton) [since] ... an unexamined life is not worth living, Socrates in Plato's Apology.

Whatever, in fact, is modern in our life we owe to the Greeks. Whatever is an anachronism is due to mediaevalism. Oscar Wilde

Fashion

Ancient Greek Fashion

Furniture, House

An ancient Greek table "Trapeza", usually had 3 legs (a solution to the wobbly aspect ). Recently a high-energy physicist proposed a solution to the four legs tables problem of wobbly tables. Just rotate the table and at some point, all four feet will touch the ground : PDF.

Pottery
Pottery more than 8000 years tradition in Greece

Greek Pottery Images

Family, young boy playing with a wheel, 4th century BC

Kite flying, young girl, 4th c. BC

Agriculture of Ancient Greece

Women working (bread production) with a musician playing an aulos

Greek Cuisine

Death

On this truly happy day of my life, as I am at the point of death, I write this to you ... Epicurus, Letter to Idomeneus

If you go to the Hades girl you will not find your lover. Among the living only are the delights of Aphrodite; in Acheron, girl, we will be only bones and ashes.

Music, Instruments

Harmonics is an obscure and diffuclt musical subject, particularly for those who do not know Greek letters, Vitruvius De architectura

Festivals

Ecstasy is derived from the Greek word ekstasis "standing outside oneself" (from existanai , displace ) (and existanai phrenon, drive out of one's mind)

Ancient Greek Festivals

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K -L - M

N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z

Dance

A girl dancing with a ball, from an Attica vase.

The dance also had undergone a wonderful development rhythmically; for even in Homer's time we read in “The Odyssey” of the court of Alcinoüs at Phocæa, how two princes danced before Ulysses and played with a scarlet ball, one throwing it high in the air, the other always catching it with his feet off the ground; and then changing, they flung the ball from one to the other with such rapidity that it made the onlookers dizzy. During the play, Demodocus chanted a song, and accompanied the dance with his lyre, the players never losing a step. Edward MacDowell

....The dance consisted in springing rapidly from the ground, and striking the feet behind... We are told .. that a Laconian girl had danced the bibasis a thousand times...

Image from a Corinthian Aryballos from the Apollo Temple in Corinth, first quarter of the sixth century BC. Text includes the names of Polyterpos and Pyrrhias

Sport, Olympic Games

... μηκεθ' αλίου σκόπει άλλο θαλπνότερον εν αμέρα φαεννόν άστρον ερήμας δι' αιθέρος, μηδ' Ολυμπίας αγώνα φέρτερον αυδάσομεν". ...Look no further for any star warmer than the sun, shining by day through the lonely sky, and let us not proclaim any contest greater than Olympia, Pindar 1st Olympian Ode

Last year we had the modern Olympic Games after more than 100 years again in Greece and for the first time after 393 AD again in Olympia when the ancient games were forbidden for religious reasons. The religious games of the past are now controlled by a gigantic industry and millions worldwide spent in training a considerably time of their life in order to participate and maybe win and become Olympionikes.

Δε μπορώ να ξεχάσω την ακράταγη αισιοδοξία, που μας είχε παλαβώσει όλους μας, που είχαμε πιστέψει πως την αναστήσαμε εμείς την αρχαία ομορφιά (Ολυμπιακούς Αγώνες ) και πως η Ευρώπη δε θα έκανε πια τίποτα άλλο, παρά να χάσκει μπροστά μας και να μας προσκυνά. Αφέλειες ανίδεων λαών και ξεπεσμένων". Κωστής Παλαμάς

Ephedrismos

Animals
...among which it is reported that Xanthippus, the father of Pericles, had a dog that would not endure to stay behind, but leaped into the sea, and swam along by the galley’s side till he came to the island of Salamis, where he fainted away and died, and that spot in the island, which is still called the Dog’s Grave, is said to be his. Plutarch Themistocles

Pirates transforming into dolphins. Drawing from an Etruscan Black Figure Hydria, Micali Painter, 510-500 BC

I saw this dolphin obeying his call and carrying him whenever he wanted to ride on it. Pausanias

Dolphins

Dogs in ancient and modern Greece

Theater

[Solon] went to see Thespis himself, as the ancient custom was, act: and after the play was done, he addressed him, and asked him if he was not ashamed to tell so many lies before such a number of people; and Thespis replying that it was no harm to say or do so in play, Solon vehemently struck his staff against the ground: "Ah," said he, "if we honor and commend such play as this, we shall find it some day in our business." Plutarch: The Life of Solon

One famous story of ancient Greece was that of the actor Polus performing in the Electra of Sophocles, at Athens in the 4th century BC. The plot requires Electra to carry an urn supposed to contain the ashes of Orestes. Polus brought the ashes of his dead son on stage so as to generate the requisite feelings for a cry of lamentation.

"Οταν βρεθώ στο κοχύλι ενός αρχαίου θεάτρου κοιτάζω το τοπίο, πέρα, πάντα τόσο καλά διαλεγμένο και αμέσως έπειτα ψάχνω τριγύρω μου τους θεατές, προσπαθώ να δω τα μάτια τους, χιλιάδες μάτια, σειρές. Καρφωμένα σε μία λεπτομέρεια, σε μία στιγμή που δεν κληρονομιέται. Όχι σε μία συγκεκριμένη δράση που θα μπορούσα εύκολα να υποθέσω... Τα μάτια σβήνουν μαζί με τη συγκίνησή τους, όπως πεθαίνουν τα άστρα και μένει τούτο το άδειο Διάστημα, τόση ερημιά!..." Γ. Σεφέρης, "Μέρες", Δευτέρα 26 Ιουνίου 1950 Στρατονίκεια Αντιόχου Σωτήρος (from a Greek Website): When I find myself in the shell of an ancient theatre I look at the landscape, beyond, always so much well chosen and immediately then I look around the spectators. I try to see their eyes, thousands eyes in line. Looking at a detail, at a a moment which cannot be transmitted to others. Not at a concrete action that I could easily suppose... The eyes extinguish with their emotions, as stars die and what remains is the empty space, so much desertness. G. Seferis

Greek Theater, Ancient Greek Theaters (Click the Points on the Map of Greece) , Images of masks, actors , VRML model of the Epidaurus Theater

Even if slavery in Greece existed it is even today a problem. The number of slaves transported to the United Stated is 10 - 12 millions. Many more died before and during the transport (some assume this number to be 60 millions).

Slaves in ancient Greece, modern Greece and in the United States today ,

Η δουλεία - μια σύντομη ιστορική αναδρομή

Near the well is a hall of Dionysus and a sanctuary of Black Aphrodite. This surname of the goddess is
simply due to the fact that men do not, as the beasts do, have sex always by day, but in most cases by night.
Pausanias

Hetaera

Life in ancient Greece was not so easy. Even Plato and Socrates had to fight and Socrates even was a war Hero. Only for short periods it was a peaceful life possible. Answers to questions such as how much did a house cost in Athens, did the Greeks learn foreign languages, etc. The word for dance is orcheomai, coming orchos or orchatos, i.e. trees in a row, which the row of dancers resembled. The place where they danced was the orchestra, later the location of good seats close to the stage and where musical accompaniment was placed when necessary. This gave its name to the musicians themselves, which are now known as the orchestra. About Slavery Greeks use two different words doulos and sklabos and douleia in modern Greek means slavery but also work. There are many reports that stress the difference between douloi in Greece and slaves in Rome, and there is a truth in this. When Telemachos, the son of Odysseus, returns to Ithaca the slave girls are happy to see him and they kiss him, but Demosthenes says also that slaves are more likely punished physically than free men. The authors of Who killed Homer even say that America with Lincoln stopped slavery but replaced it with a system that treats many even worse than slaves. I would not go so far but I would say that slaves are slaves and that as Euripides says: A free man?—There is no such thing! All men are slaves; some, slaves of money; some, of chance; others are forced, either by mass opinion, or the threatening law, to act against their nature.

Sexuality in Fifth-Century Athens

Socrates: The fact is, as we said at the beginning of our discussion, that the aspiring speaker needs no knowledge of the truth about what is right or good... In courts of justice no attention is paid whatever to the truth about such topics; all that matters is plausibility... There are even some occasions when both prosecution and defense should positively suppress the facts in favor of probability, if the facts are improbable. Never mind the truth -- pursue probability through thick and thin in every kind of speech; the whole secret of the art of speaking lies in consistent adherence to this principle.
Phaedrus: That is what those who claim to be professional teachers of rhetoric actually say, Socrates. Plato, Phaedrus, 272

Athenian Lawcourts , Athenian Law : Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies , Bibliography on Ancient Greek Law

Athenian Cookery and the Symposium

Diet of Ancient Greece

Ancient Greek Humour, Alfred Guy Kingan L'Estrange

Relatives and friends of a person who died

Transport of a person who died

Ancient Greece

Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire

Modern Greece

Science, Technology , Medicine , Warfare
, Biographies , Life , Cities/Places/Maps , Arts , Literature , Philosophy ,Olympics, Mythology , History , Images

Science, Technology, Arts
, Warfare , Literature, Biographies
Icons, History

Cities, Islands, Regions, Fauna/Flora ,
Biographies , History , Warfare
Science/Technology, Literature, Music , Arts , Film/Actors , Sport , Fashion

Cyprus

Greek-Library - Scientific Library