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10 Incredible Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece denotes the period three centuries before the classical age between 500 B.C. and 800 B.C. this was a sophisticated period in world history. The ancient Greece period experienced significant advancement in literature, art, technology, and poetry; however, the most outstanding thing that occurred during this age is the invention of the polis or city-states. These and other things make the ancient Greeks fascinating even in modern times. The ancient Greece art, literature, poetry, and studies are at the center of the essential things that the contemporary age know about archaic Greece because they portrayed their daily life scenes. Further, the archeological endeavors reveal more about the Greeks of the ancient era about their lives, religious activities, and practices like worships. By filtering through the scholarly works and archeological digs, a great list is developed covering incredible and amazing things and mysteries of ancient Greece. The article covers the top 10 incredible things you probably did not about ancient Greece.

Ankle Deep in Waste

Ancient Greece there was no public bathrooms and indoor dumping or plumbing places. The effort and thoughts of Hesiod concerning toilet habits were widely disregarded, and the streets were used as dumping sites for wastes. The absence of toilets, bathrooms, and plumbing meant that the people had a deal with the waste in their ways and the streets emerged as the less complicated option for the ancient Greeks. Various scholars highlight that people in classical era threw wastes through their doors and windows littering the streets with wastes.

In crowded cities like ancient Athens, the streets were a terrible sight as some researchers indicate that human fecal matter was ankle-deep in some places of the Athens city streets! It sounds Disgusting; I can’t imagine how it looked like. The people and livestock sloshing through the waste in the roads dragged the mess at their homes, contaminating food and drinking water. The environment favored rats, hordes of flies, mosquitoes among other dirty attracted living organisms. This explains the facts contained in many ancient Greece literature that disease and epidemics were rampant in the urban centers and cities of ancient Greece.[1]

Beer Was a Woman’s Drink

In ancient Greece, drinking beer was associated with women because it was not strong enough to be a man’s drink. Interestingly, men of ancient Greece were not even interested in beer. They attributed the drink to be effeminate and cared most about their wine with meals. The interesting fact about the ancient Greece wine that contradicts the modern-day wine was that most potent drink compared to beer. The wine had higher alcohol content, and it was also much sweeter than accustomed to drinking wine. The undiluted wine was regarded as unhealthy to drink while watered-down wine was perceived to contain medicinal value mainly when mixed with honey or aromatic herbs.[2]

Chamber Pots & Outdoor Etiquette

According to ancient Greece literature, the men and women used different chambers pots within their homes and houses. The women use a boat-shaped pot whereas the men used to the chamber pot with an opening in the front for urination purposes. The content of the pot after use dumbed on the streets, though it sounds disgusting, it is a terrible truth because during those times there were no toilets or dumping sites for that matter. The ancient Greeks are known for innovativeness, creativity, and inventions; the chamber pot was designed to serve particular gender, age, and people with special needs. For instance, there was a chamber pot specially meant for kids and babies with two holes for their legs and a hole in the seat so that the baby is held in place while relieving themselves.

Statistics, however, indicates that few of this design of potties were used, mostly among the rich folks of the city used them. Primarily, the kids were held in an open window until their business is over on the streets. Based on the great Greek poet Hesiod, there were rules when it comes to urinating outdoors; for instance, men are not supposed to relieve themselves outside while facing the sun. Because this was an outright offensive gesture to the sun god. Further, Hesiod holds that good-mannered men sit or use the wall away from the road because it was believed that gods in ancient Greece walked among people and they may be offended by the sight of a man urinating.[3]

The Education of Girls

The girls were not given any formal education in ancient Greece as compared to the boys who were academically educated in schools. The girls received free training on how to be housewives from their mothers. Wealthier families hired private tutors to teach their girls how to read and write, but this was rare cases. However, in Spartan city-state, girls were treated uniquely distinct from the rest of the country. The girls were given a public education philosophy, mythology, literature, art, and music as well as dancing and were encouraged and empowered to express themselves.

The boys are sent off at the age of seven into the military barracks to become soldiers. While other city-states such as Athens women were secluded, the Spartan women were making a public presence and avoid living in seclusion. The slaves performed household chores to allow women time to endeavor in strenuous sports and athletic training. The Spartans believed that strong and energetic women produced equally healthy and energetic offspring, sons, in particular, to serve in the military.[4]

Military Service

Ancient Greece most acceptable and acknowledge profession for women was motherhood, while men were supposed to serve in the military as soldiers, it was mandatory for all males. For instance, the Athens city males had two-year compulsory military service, while in the Spartan city-state serving as a soldier was the only occupation for its male citizens. The Spartan boys lived in the barracks where life was brutal in the name of military training as early as at the age of seven. The training entailed starvation for the boys and encouraged to still food if they are hungry if got they were punished for being got rather than for stealing.

The second training entailed ritual beatings for the young boys the beatings was to harden them and discourage pain feelings. The harden takes around 13 years because the male starts serving in the Spartan military at the age of twenty years. The men served in the military as the primary profession; the slaves were the workers and grew crops, built, and engaged in trade work for their masters. In reality, the slaves performed the tasked that contributed to the prosperity of the Spartan city-state, and they were captured during wars mainly.[5]

Different Types of Sacrifices & Offerings

At the heart of ancient Greece were religious practices expressed through celebrations, festivals, feasts, and various competitions. Sacrifice and offerings was a primal feature of worship; the sacrifice entailed blood sacrifice and ritual killing of animals than feeding on their flesh. The gender of the animals used in sacrifices and offerings reflects the gender of the gods they are offered to, where the portion of the animal meat is eaten while the rest offered to the gods. The bloodless sacrifice revolved around grains; vegetables offered to the gods as burned sacrifices at the altar. The offerings were left in the open where birds and animals can reach the offered items. The offering included anything ranging from food to childhood toys.[6]

Marriage & Having Children Was a Duty

The marriages of ancient Greece were not driven on love; they were instead considered a duty for every freeborn of the country to marry. The parents were in charge of arranging a marriage for their daughters and sons; the daughters are primarily betrothed when they are still infants and assumed wife husband roles as young as 15 years of age while sons were around 30 years. The role of marriages was to produce as many children as possible because married couples must produce children.

The kids are raised to become workers, soldiers, and parents for future generations. Incest was a common practice in ancient Greece especially among rich and royal families who are motivated to keep the wealth or power within the family. It was majorly among cousins, however, in Sparta, the law allowed blood sisters and brothers from the same mother to marry each other, the best way to retain wealth and property in the family undivided.[7]

Almost Every Family Had a Slave

The ancient Greece families reared slaves as a sign of social status. Therefore, every family was most likely to have at least one slave. The families without slaves were the poorest of the low-income families of Greece back then. Poor to average family owned at least one slave; the middle class and wealthy families owned as many as twelve slaves depending on the source of income and accommodation or the place they lived. The modern age is fascinated and intrigued by these habits, but why own slave in ancient Greece?

The number of slaves a family had was a representative of wealth for the families. The primary objective and goal of Greek families were to own slaves that are obedient, compliant and docile and they served as a symbol of social status and sign of wealthy family status. Secondly, slaves were servants of the Greeks; they worked around the family to make the Greeks lives comfortable and enjoyable. The Greek slaves were rare; many slaves were foreigners abducted from their families or captured during the war. The Greek slaves exist because abandoned Greek kids were adopted into slavery.[8]

Slaves Tortured in Court

The ancient Greece population constituted of free citizens and slaves. Slaves were in the same league as livestock while free citizens were considered a high class of the human population. The freemen were perceived by the law courts as superior and could comfortably lie to save their little skins. On the contrary, slaves, treated like livestock were believed to be unable to lie under torture. To retrieve the truth from slaves in both civil and supreme court cases the Greek slaves were tortured as a means to discover the truth. The torment encompassed whipping, putting slaves on the wheel, and rack because according to the Greeks, the truth is hidden within the salve’s bodies.

Because it was believed that slaves knew and saw everything regarding the family and their master, the truth included hidden wealth as well as the master’s secrets. The injustice system out-rightly favored the free citizens as the court and laws acknowledged that free citizens possessed a gift of logic naturally and torturing a free citizen was inconceivable. Therefore, the testimony of the free man carried little weight while the slaves will be compelled to tell the whole truth without knowing they are doing so through torture. Slave torture in ancient Greece, therefore, was atypical practice recognized by the law.[9]

Divorce Was Allowed

Ancient Greece divorce was legal, and people were free to terminate their marriages through a divorce. There were three legal ways to get a divorce in ancient Greece which were generally easy to undertake. For one, the husband had the right to dismiss his wife from his home by sending her back to her families along with her dowry, and the marriage is complete. Secondly, the wife could leave a marriage upon receiving the approval of archon, an official. Although if the wife left her husband went back to her family’s home, she was associated with disloyalty.

Finally, ancient Greece divorce could be enacted by the wife’s brothers or father. The reasons that cause the woman’s family intervention encompass the absence of children in a marriage. The husband can ask her family to retrieve her. Also, her family may choose to take the woman back and marry her to another man if no child is forthcoming in her first marriage. In all the types of divorce during ancient Greece, all children produced were perceived and treated as the husband’s property. It was rare to witness divorce initiated with the wives because of the issue of children remaining behind.[10]

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