Ancient History & Civilisation


Ten Little Known Facts about Ancient Greece

Barbers in Ancient Greece

Today, a barber doesn’t have as much prominence as that of a doctor, a scientist or a professor. But in ancient Greece a barber was the esteemed individual that was greeted with a bow.

Yes, barbers in ancient Greece were very important. And that was because Greek men were obsessed with their beards. Just like how we today assert our stand in society by the wardrobes we wear or the cars we drive; Greek men used to parade their beards to turn eyes.

The barbers were quite rich then.

Medicine in Ancient Greece

The torpedo or the electric ray, which is a type of fish that can emit a strong electric discharge from its organs, were put to great use in ancient Greece.

The Greeks used theses fishes, or the electricity they discharge for medical purposes. Much like how in the Emergency Room today, doctors use electric shock to revive the pulse of a silenced heart, the Greeks would place the fish on the thorax of a sick person to stimulate the reflexes of vital organs.

The parentage of the toasting culture

Making a toast at weddings, dinner parties, graduations, birthdays is no oddity. It has actually become a world custom now. Ever wonder as to where this renowned tradition came from?

Yes, well don’t wander far; it was from the ancient Greeks!

In ancient Greece, it was a custom for the hosts of dinner parties to take the first sip of wine and utter the phrase ‘Drinking to one’s health.’ This was to ensure the guests that the wine wasn’t poisoned.

What the Greeks Never Knew About

Today, oranges, lemons, tomatoes and potatoes are amongst the most heavily consumed vegetables and fruits in the world. In ancient Greece though, not one person had a taste of these delectable plants.

And it wasn’t that these vegetable and fruits were forbidden, it was simply because they were unknown at that time. Yes, unknown!

Ancient Greeks Used to Build Pyramids

It so happens that pyramids weren’t just an Egyptian thing. Around 500 B.C. the Greeks used to build pyramids out of porous rocks in arid areas and use them to conserve water.

Experts say that the movement of the wind through the porous stones combined with the alternating temperatures of the day would cause condensation, which is believed to stream down and feed a system of pipes.

Incredible, huh?

The Greeks Were the First to Build a Tunnel

Of course, skillful engineers and tunnels like the channel-tunnel deserve all kinds of adulation. But ancient Greeks also need to be well acclaimed for being the first in the world to build a tunnel.

In the 6th century B.C., the Greeks dug a half a mile tunnel on the Aegean island of Samos. The construction began on both ends and the two halves were joined in the middle.

This tunnel was supervised by the renowned Greek architect Eupalinus.

Ancient Greeks and Meat

For the majority of society today, life without meat is unimaginable. But for ancient Greeks it meant nothing.

It was forbidden, against all principles and spiritual beliefs, for the Greeks to eat meat. But if the animal has been sacrificed to a god, then indulgence was surly permitted.

Origin of Feta cheese

Feta cheese, which is a dairy product made out of goat and sheep milk, is Greek’s national cheese and currently one of the world’s most favored dairy product.

And guess what? Its origin dates back to the glorious days of Ancient Greece. And that fact is evidenced by the mention of feta cheese in Homer’s epic poem ‘The Odyssey.”

The Greeks Were the First to Host the Olympic Games

Yes, it’s true. And not much to your surprise, the Greeks weren’t just the first in the world to host the Olympic Games, but they were also the ones who created it.

Today, the Olympic Games are purposed to promote international good will. In ancient Greece though, it had a rather profound religious sentiment. It was a festival held at Olympia, hence the name Olympic Games, in honor of the mighty god Zeus.

It hosted athletic, musical and literary contests and participants hailed from every part of Greece. And just like today’s Olympic Games, it was held every four years.

The first Olympic Game in ancient Greece was held in 776 B.C. and the champion was a Cook named Coroebus who came first in the sprint race.  

What great innovators, those Greeks.

Slaves in Ancient Greece

In ancient Greece those who were condemned to thralldom were criminals, abandoned children, war prisoners and children of slaves. But what is fascinating about the slaves in ancient Greece was that they constituted 40% – 80% of the population.

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