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The Life of the Ancient Greeks

Ancient Greeks

All the areas covering the Mediterranean region in antiquity are known as Ancient Greece. The population of these areas spoke the ancient Greek language and called themselves Hellenes. The Ancient Greeks also ruled the coastal areas of today's Asia Minor, Cyprus, Sicily, some areas of the Apennines and around the Black Sea, where they established their colonies.

Organization of society in ancient Greece

Old Hellas consisted of separate city-states, called polises. Some of them were almost the size of a village, but others, like Athens and Sparta, were large cities. Their laws, customs and way of life differed and they often waged wars among themselves. Due to the continuous need for more land, the ancient Greeks colonized many neighboring areas and brought their culture there.

A smaller unit in the structure of the life of the ancient Greeks than the polis is the oikos. The name oikos denoted any domestic community, including the owner's family and the slaves working for them. For many of the ancient Greeks, the oikos was their whole cosmos, the center of their lives. Aristotle says that the oikos is the smallest unit of the state.

In ancient Hellas society is already stratified. Tribal chiefs were at the head and enjoyed universal respect. In time of war, a commander-in-chief was chosen from among them and all obeyed him completely. However, the important decisions were made at a meeting of all the elders, they had a decisive role in the life of the society. Prominent were the soothsayers, who are mediators between the people and the will of the gods, which the soothsayers interpreted.

Device of the everyday life of the ancient Greek

The existence of the ancient Greek moved between two main spheres - war and peace. War was a way for the ancients to acquire goods - lands, slaves and foreign riches in the sack of conquered cities, as well as captives released for ransom. War is also the arena where men display their strength and bravery and gained recognition and place in society.

ancient greek goddess and ancient greek woman

In times of peace, the ancient Greeks lived simply and in absolute harmony with nature. They cultivated the land, raised herds, developed crafts such as pottery, blacksmithing, goldsmithing and others, which they made a living with. In terms of labor there was no division. Masters and laborers toiled together in the fields and royal wives and daughters engaged in weaving alongside their slave women.

An important place in life was occupied by holidays and gaiety, which reflected the pleasure of life. In the Hellenic polises, symposia were often organized, where they reveled until dawn. They read poems, played various instruments and danced all night and finally a procession was organized. Only men participated in these celebrations. Their wives and daughters stayed at home. The only female presence there was that of the Heteris, ancient priestesses of paid love who were allowed to frolic with men.

An important part of the life of the ancient Greeks was the worship of the gods, to whom the Greeks regularly inquired, because it was believed that the gods watched the lives of people and guided them from the divine mountain Olympus. Sacrifices were offered to the gods as a mark of respect and celebrations were again organized, often accompanied by competitions.