The Greek Civilization first emerged around 1200 BCE, and reached its height in about 500 BCE. The Greeks were the first to introduce democracy, when men in Athens were given the vote. Many people were farmers, but a middle class of merchants and craftspeople emerged in the towns. The Greeks developed forms of philosophy, art and architecture that have endured through the centuries.
Greek houses were made from mud bricks and wood. They were usually built around a courtyard, which contained an altar. There were separate quarters for men, women and slaves.
Greece is surrounded by the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. The Greek empire included city – states in Greece itself, such as Athens (the largest) and Sparta, and many islands.
On land, wealthy citizens travelled on horseback. Others walked. People often slept outside or in the porch of a public building when away from home.
Women married at around 15. They looked after the household, and used a loom to spin and weave fabric. A single rectangle of cloth made a basic woman’s dress, called a chiton.
Greeks believed in many different gods, who represented every aspect of their lives; from music (Apollo) to love (Aphrodite); from the sea (Poseidon) to the home (Hestia). The gods were said to live on Mount Olympus, on teh mainland of Greece.
The Olympics were held every four years at Olympia to honour Zeus, the ruler of the gods. Events included running and chariot races. The winner of each event was rewarded with a crown of live leaves.
Troy was a city in what we now call Turkey. The Greeks wanted to capture Troy, so they presented the Trojans with a large wooden horse, in which Greek soldiers were hiding. After nightfall, the soldiers left the horse and capture the city.