Leaving a legacy that rivals the 1,000-year Roman reign, the Greeks,
thriving for less than two centuries on a small peninsula in southeastern Europe, made
more contributions to Western culture than nearly any other peoples. The Greeks
championed the individual in their religion, their government, their architecture and
their art. Beginning as traders in and around the Mediterranean, The Greeks
built there culture around the Mycaneans, Minoans and Dorians that preceded them.
The Greeks built their city-states around an acropolis and allowing citizen involvement
the government, the Greeks. Rivalry between these individual states kept a Greek
empire from ever forming and war between the two main ones, Athens and Sparta, spelled
their mutual demise.
Arete - The Greek Way
Pericles and Lincoln -
Pillars of Democracy
Alexander the Great -
"I will make those who stay the envy
of those who return." - Speech by
Alexander the Great
| With a history steeped in the writings of Homer,
The Greek lives were filled with the range of human emotion, tragedy and triumph.
With a prime location on the sea, the Greeks
prospered with trade in the Mediterranean. Without the burdens of agricultural, the
Greeks were free to pursue leisure time. Above, bull jumping. These spectator
sports set the stage for the Olympics.
|| Greek society was structured around an Acropolis, a
defensive, religious and administrative plateau of land in the center of the city-state.
| The Greeks are best known for their architectural
legacy, particularly the columns and the pediment, features
found in nearly every civic
building in America. Above, The Parthenon.
|| Like the architecture, the art of Greece celebrated
the human form. Here, Discobolos, caught at the moment he is about to swing a
release the disc, is in ideal form, perfect in proportion, shape and detail.
The greatest of the Greek democratic leaders was
Pericles, an Athenian reformer who, like Solon and Cleisthenes before him, brought rights
and privileges into the hands of the many.
| The great menace to Athens was Sparta, a military
society that valued physical abilities over mental prowess. Sparta, isolated in the
mountains, built their culture around discipline and obedience.
When Athens and Sparta drained each others
resources in the Peloponnesian Wars, a young Macedonian saw his chance to conquer
Greece...in order to save it.
|| Tutored by Aristotle, Alexander appreciated the
Greek ways and sought to preserve it from destruction at the hands of the Persians, an
enemy of both Greece and the Macedonians.