10 Characteristics Of Greek Civilization


The Greek civilization was located on the island of Crete, southeast of the Peloponnese. Near the year 2100 BC the Achaeans, a traditionally warrior town, invaded and subdued the Cretans (original people of this island). Thus the Minoan civilization began to develop.

Later Achaeans spread throughout the peninsula. Later the civilization expands towards the south of Italy and western coast of Asia minor. These two places are known as Magna Grecia. The inhabitants of this ancient civilization called themselves Hellenes.


The Greek civilization stood out for its great development of architecture and sculpture. It is considered as the base culture of Western civilization given that the democratic structure as we know it today is part of it. This culture had a great influence on the Roman Empire. Next, and in summary form of the Greek civilization, we expose the main characteristics.

10 Characteristics Of Greek Civilization

Characteristics Of Greek Civilization

1. Geographic location

The area where they were located was mountainous and arid, nevertheless the Greeks chose to settle in the valleys of this region. Given these characteristics they had to master navigation for their survival.


2. Political-social organization

The Greek civilization was composed of small villages that later transformed into polis (city-state). Among the most important polis is Athens and Sparta. Each polis possessed its own laws and internal organization. The democratic system is born here. However, all these cops had several things in common:

They all spoke the same language: the Greek
They shared the same religious beliefs
They shared a feeling for the preservation of panhellenic games. That is where the Olympic Games of today are born.

3. Education

As for education, this civilization was a pioneer with respect to other ancient cultures. Although education was private, there were also public education centers where men could access to learn to read and write. The girls also had access to a type of education based on arithmetic, a science that this civilization remarked as of great importance.

10 Characteristics Of Greek Civilization


4. Feeding

Their diet was based on legumes, olives and their derivatives. They also ate onions, apples, figs, fish, squid and seafood.

5. Art

The art begins with small sculptures made of wood. Then they began to work the marble, and later its evolution with both materials stands out.

6. Medicine

Hippocrates is considered the father of medicine. He rejected religious interpretations about diseases, and had an analytical and intuitive vision for the discovery and advances of medicine, one of the many contributions of Greek civilization.

7. Writing

This civilization places great emphasis on writing, from which it derives that there is much information about them. Anyway (and paradoxically) it should be noted that the type of cultural transmission of that civilization was not written but rather verbal.


8. Religion

The Greeks were polytheists, that is, they believed in the existence of many gods. These gods lived on Mount Olympus. They could marry human women and thus create semi-mortal beings. In this way the gods constantly intervened in the daily life of the Greeks creating friendships or enmities with mortals.

9. The legend of the Minotaur and the labyrinth

It is believed that the name of this civilization (monoecious civilization) derives from King Minos. Minos was the son of the goddess Europa and Zeus. In an opportunity Minos receives a gift of Poseidón (God of the sea and brother of Zeus). This gift was a beautiful white bull. Poseidon’s goal was for Minos to offer him as a sacrifice for him. But Minos decides to stay with the beautiful animal and offers in sacrifice to another bull.

When Poseidón finds out what happened, he becomes enraged and decides to punish Minos, bewitching his wife, Pasífae. After the spell Pasiphae began to have uncontrollable sexual desires for the bull. She, in her excessive desire to be possessed by the bull, goes to Daedalus, Greek inventor who makes a cow-shaped armor. From this union is born a creature with a human body and head of a cow that gave rise to the minotaur.

By this legend in Crete and other areas of Greek civilization they worshiped bulls and minotaurs.


10 Characteristics Of Greek Civilization

10. Philosophical thought

Along with sculpture and architecture, another of the great contributions of this civilization was philosophical thought. It began approximately in the 6th century BC and ended in 30 BC. It is divided into 4 stages. This thought was based on the exaltation of the role of reason and knowledge.

Cosmological period It was based on rational thinking or logos. Thales of Miletus is the representative of this period and is considered by Aristotle as the first philosopher.
Anthropological period Here the contribution of Socrates was highlighted. For him, knowledge does not serve as a simple accumulation of information. Socrates is known for his oratorical power. They will focus on ethics, politics, rules, laws and society.
Methodological period. Here the great representatives were: Plato and Aristotle. To this period the conception of the great philosophical contributions is attributed to him.
Hellenistic period. Your concern is basically ethical issues.


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