Ancient Greece for Kids
Come meet the clever, creative, ancient Greeks, and enter a world of competition, trickery and myth. Join Herc and his friends as they solve whatever problem The Hercules Detective Agency is hired to solve - problems created by gods and monsters and everyday ancient Greek life.
But first, a little background: Over two thousand five hundred (2,500+) years ago, ancient Greece was made up of many hundreds of Greek city-states, grouped together at the southern end of a very large peninsula that jutted out from Europe into the Mediterranean Sea. Smaller peninsulas stuck out from the main Greek peninsula, forming a great deal of natural coastline and many natural harbors. It's no wonder the Greeks were great sailors and fishermen!
The ancient Greeks believed in thousands of gods, goddesses, and magical creatures. They built temples to honor their gods. They prayed at home. They prayed all the time. Honoring their gods was part of their daily life and part of just about everything they did. That's because they believed their gods controlled the heavens and earth, and could interact with humans and could, if they chose, cause a great deal of trouble. (Which they did!)
A huge mountain range ran down the middle of the Greek peninsula. The people believed that the ancient Greek mystical world was ruled by a small group of powerful gods called the 12 Olympians who lived at the top of the highest mountain, Mount Olympus, and although you could try to climb to the top, you'd never make it because the top of Mount Olympus was hidden in fog and snow and magic. When things had to be decided in the mythical world, the council of 12 gods met on Mount Olympus to discuss things, which was a very Greek thing to do - talk it over first, and then either sign a legally binding document with agreed upon terms, go to war, or get even!
The Greeks told wonderful myths about their gods. Poseidon, lord of the sea, could raise his hand and a new island would appear! Apollo brought up the sun every day, and his twin sister Artemis brought up the moon. Most of the gods avoided Ares. Nobody liked him much, not even his father, the mighty Zeus, but Ares was the god of war, so you had to keep him on your side if you could. Speaking of the mighty Zeus, king of all the gods, Zeus probably caused more trouble than any of them, even more than Aphrodite, the goddess of love. The Greeks did not limit their myths to stories about the 12 powerful Olympians. They told stories about all the gods and goddesses and the magical, mythical creatures in which they believed.
Many of their mythical beings looked like people, but some looked like monsters, because, well .. they were! Fortunately, the ancient Greeks found a way to beat monsters, nearly always with trickery and cleverness, two skills that were greatly admired by the ancient Greeks.
Ancient Greece was not a country. It was not an empire. It was a collection of over 1500 independent city-states. At one point, there were over 2,500 city-states on one peninsula, but some of them were taken over by another Greek city-state, and some combined for safety. There was no central government, no central army, and no king or queen of ancient Greece that ruled all the city-states. Rather, each city-state had its own form of government with the power to rule only that city-state, and each city-state had its own way of doing things. Some city-states, like ancient Corinth, were ruled by kings, but each king only ruled that particular city-state. Some, like the warrior city-state of Sparta, were ruled by councils. Ancient Athens, the jewel of the ancient Greek city-states, experimented with an early form of democracy.
As varied as they were in the way they governed themselves, when it came to culture and beliefs, the ancient Greek people had a great deal in common. They spoke the same language. They worshiped the same gods. They told the same myths. They believed in beauty and honor. The ancient Greeks were very loyal to their city-state. But because of their common culture, they also recognized themselves as Greeks.
The Greek city-states did, on occasion, team up against a common foe. They also went to war with each other, unless the Olympic Games were in progress. The Greeks invented the Olympics, and took the event quite seriously. Nearly all the ancient Greek city-states sent teams to participate. If two or more Greek city-states happen to be at war with each other when the game date arrived, war was halted for the duration of the games. The Greek Olympics were not the only games in ancient Greece - the Greeks loved competition of all sorts - but the Olympics were the most important. Every city-state wanted to brag that their athletics (their statues, their theatre, their fabrics) were the best!
The ancient Greeks loved to brag. To be fair, they had a great deal to brag about. The Greeks gave us so many gifts - gifts like the Olympics, democracy, the theatre, comedy, tragedy, the wheelbarrow, the alphabet, advances in medicine and science, architectural wonders like the ancient Greek columns, incredible myths, tales of legends, heroes, and fables, to name a few. Theirs was a culture envied and copied by other ancient civilizations.
Come meet the ancient Greeks. Learn how the brave Greek hero Theseus escaped the maze, a trick you might find handy some day. Discover how the king of Corinth tricked the god of the underworld and got away with it! Meet Apollo's Oracle, where things are not always as they seem. Argue with Socrates, the great teacher. Read Aesop's fables, a collection of very short stories that are still popular today. Join Hercules as he solves the many problems of the ancient Greek people.
Here we go. Like millions of people before you, going back centuries, we think you'll be amazed!
Here are some of them:
Gifts from the Greeks:
Mr. Donn's Interactive Free Quizzes with answers - TEST
With great excitement, we are pleased to announce
Our first feedback (Wow! Thank you!):
"Your units are exactly what I had hoped for
--readable, interesting topics that fit my curriculum objectives
with lots of structured activities to bring it alive.
World History will be the class we all look forward to every day."
Mr. Donn and
Maxie's Ancient History PowerPoints Series
Written by Lin & Don Donn,
illustrated by Phillip Martin, Published by Good Year Books
Mr. Donn and
Maxie's Always Something You Can Use Series
Written by Lin & Don Donn, Published by Good Year Books