Ancient Greece

See also: European history

Ancient Greece or Classical Greece was a civilization which emerged around the 8th century BCE, and was annexed by the Roman Empire in the second century BCE.

Ancient Greece is remembered for its architecture, philosophy and other ideas, which became the foundation of modern Europe. The Olympic Games are originally an ancient Greek tradition.


Greek language and culture stretched far beyond the territory of modern Greece; especially across Asia Minor (today's Turkey). Starting with the conquests of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC, the Greek culture spread as far east as modern day Afghanistan, and Egypt (see Ancient Egypt) was ruled for three centuries by the Greek Ptolemaic dynasty, which was founded by one of Alexander's generals. This late bloom of Greek culture, which was later partially supplanted by the Roman Empire, is known as the Hellenic era. Some elements of Greek culture endured for centuries after the last Greek polity had disappeared. For instance Coptic, the language that Ancient Egyptian evolved into, was written in Greek-derived letters until it died out in the 17th century. Other examples include Greek authors and philosophers, such as Homer and Socrates, that were and are still widely read among a certain subset of Europeans. Greek terms have even entered the general lexicon of the English language, mostly relating to things the Greeks were known for (Theater, Politics, Democracy) or scientific terms. Sometimes Greek and Latin terms have been mixed, most notably in the case of "automobile" which derives from Greek "autos" (~self) and Latin "mobilis" (~movable, moving). For these reasons and the fact that the Christian New Testament was written in Ancient Greek, Ancient Greek is still taught in many secondary schools and universities throughout Europe.


Mainland Greece

Greek Islands







See also

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