A DICTIONARY OF ANCIENT GREECE
By Tim Lambert
Acropolis The Acropolis was a rocky outcrop above Athens
Aglaonike Aglaonike was a woman astronomer
Agora The agora was marketplace in the center of a city. There were rows of shops around it.
Architecture Greek architecture is usually divided into 3 styles called orders. They are Doric, Ionic and Corinthian.
Doric columns were relatively short and broad. Their height was six times the diameter of the their base. They were also quite plain and simple although they did have fluting (vertical indentations) for decoration.
Ionic and Corinthian columns were 9 times the diameter of the their base in height. Both had tops called capitals. Ionic columns had capitals carved like scrolls while Corinthian columns had columns carved like leaves.
Aristophanes Aristophanes (448-380 BC) was a famous playwright
Aristotle Aristotle (384-322 BC) was a famous philosopher
Athens Athens was a powerful city state
Colony The Greeks founded colonies in southern Italy and southern France. They also began colonies on the Turkish coast and around the Black Sea and on the coast of North Africa.
Democracy Our word democracy comes from the Greek words demos, meaning people and kratos meaning rule. Democracy was introduced in Athens 508 BC. However only men were allowed to vote. Women, slaves and foreigners were not.
Euripides Euripides (480-406 BC) was a famous playwright
Food Ordinary Greeks lived on a staple diet of bread (made from barley or, if you could afford it, wheat) and goats cheese. Meat was a luxury but fish and vegetables were plentiful. Rich Greeks ate a much more varied and interesting diet such as roasted hare, peacocks eggs or iris bulbs in vinegar.
Furniture Even in a big house furniture was basic. The Ancient Greeks stored things in wooden chests or hung them from wooden pegs on the walls. A rich home would also have a dresser to display expensive cups. People reclined on couches (which could also act as beds).
Gynaecium A gynaecium was a room in a big house reserved for women
Heraen Games Greek women were not allowed to participate in the Olympic Games. However women had their own games dedicated to the goddess Hera (wife of Zeus). The Heraen games were held once every 4 years.
Herodotus Herodotus (484-424 BC) was a great historian. He has been called the Father of history.
Houses Ancient Greek houses were usually made of mud bricks covered in plaster. Roofs were made of pottery tiles. Windows did not have glass and were just holes in the wall. Poor people lived in just one, two or three rooms. Rich Greeks lived in large houses with several rooms. Usually they were arranged around a courtyard and had they often an upper story.
Louterion A louterion was a basin for washing
Marriage Marriages were often arranged. However Ancient Greek women could divorce their husbands
Olympic Games The Olympic Games began in Olympia in 776 BC in honor of Zeus. People came from all over Greece and the Greek colonies to take part in them.
Parthenon The Parthenon was a temple in Athens dedicated to the goddess Athena
Pentathlon The pentathlon was a contest of five events at the Olympic Games
Plato Plato (428-348 BC) was a great philosopher
Polis A polis was an Ancient Greek city state
Sappho Sappho (6th century BC) was a famous Greek woman poet
Slavery Slavery was common in Ancient Greece. Prisoners of war were made slaves and any child born to a slave was automatically a slave.
Socrates Socrates (469-399 BC) was a famous philosopher
Soldiers Ancient Greek armies were based on infantry called hoplites. The hoplite had to buy his own armor and weapons so he usually came from the middle class. Only the rich could afford horses so they provided the cavalry. Cavalrymen carried two throwing spears and a sword. Poor men became archers or were armed with slings. They did not wear armor.
Sparta Sparta was a powerful city state in Ancient Greece
Stoa A stoa was a colonnaded walkway
Temple Every city had many temples. People went to the temple to pray. Outside them were altars were offerings were made and animals were sacrificed.
Theano Theano of Crotona (born c.546 BC) was a famous woman mathematician
Theatre Ina Greek theatre the audience sat in tiers of seats in a semi-circle. All actors were male and they wore masks. The Ancient Greeks invented tragedy in which some great person is destroyed not by wickedness but through error. They also wrote comedies.
Thebes Thebes was a city state
Toys Ancient Greek children played with spinning tops, dolls, model horses with wheels, hoops and rocking horses. They also played games with knuckle bones and inflated pig's bladders.
Triremes Triremes were a type of ship. They had three rows of oars. Two rows poked out of portholes. The third row was on the top deck. Ships were armed with a ram at the prow.
An A to Z of Greek Mythology