It is no doubt impossible to overstate how profoundly ancient Greek civilization has impacted modern Western society. Providing the first known models of participatory democracy, construing philosophical concepts that have roused debate for two and a half millennia, creating masterpieces of the stage that continue to provoke discussion and demand imitation, and paying homage to a host of gods and goddesses that capture imaginations and inspire fantasy to this day, ancient Greek civilization bestows a powerful legacy. The recorded history of ancient Greece is vast; it is perhaps for this reason that the modern scholar is left with so much to ponder. And yet, it is not merely the volume of work that survives this civilization that imbues it with relevance today. It is the content of the culture and the concepts it has spawned that have allowed Greek themes and ideas to reverberate throughout the ages. The pertinence of the ancient Greeks is therefore impossible to deny.
In order to grasp this idea fully, a complete examination of the ancient Greek civilization is necessary. In this study, all aspects of ancient Greek civilization will be considered. Ancient Greece's religious dimension will be examined, its system of government described, and its geography and climate accounted for. The socio-economic structure will be fleshed out in detail, and the rise, peak and fall of the civilization will be charted. It will become clear throughout that our world today is nothing if not a product of the intellectual, architectural and philosophical explosion that exemplified·and defined·what we understand to be the culture of the ancient Greeks.
Figure 1: The Acropolis and Parthenon. Retrieved from: www.indiana.edu
It was sometime in the 13th century before Christ that Greek-speaking tribe called the Achaeans came into the Aegean peninsula and allied themselves with the ancient people they found there; of adventurous ilk, th...