The legacyof Ancient Greece to the modern world

Ancient Greece and its cultural heritage significantly influenced not only modern Greek culture, but also European and world culture. The designation ancient Greece refers not only to the areas of the modern Greek state, but also to where Greek populations settled and lived in ancient times, including Ionia, Cyprus, Greater Greece (coasts of Sicily and southern Italy) and the scattered Greek settlements in coasts of the Mediterranean, but even the Black Sea.

After the collapse of the Mycenaean palace centers in the 12th century, the Greek tribes entered the phase of the “dark ages” about which we have little knowledge, hence the name of this period. Population pressure led the Greek tribes of mainland Greece to migrate to the islands and the opposite coast of the Aegean.

In the following period, the intensifying contacts of the Greek sexes with the East contributed to the creation of the alphabet and the development of temple building and sculpture. With the Polin as its unit of organization, the establishment of colonies on the shores of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea from 750 to 550 was organized. This period was characterized by intense social and political processes within the cities, which in Athens resulted in the establishment of democracy. At the beginning of the 5th century, a coalition of Greek cities repulsed the attack of the Persian Empire.

The Greeks developed astronomy, which they treated as a branch of mathematics. The first geometric, three-dimensional models that explained the motion of the planets were developed in the 4th century BC. from Eudoxus from Cnidus and Callipus from Cyzicus. Heraclides the Mouse expressed the view that the earth moves around its axis. during the 3rd century BC. Aristarchus Samius was the first to mention the heliocentric system. Archimedes in his treatise “Sandstone” revives Aristarchus’ hypothesis that “the stars and the Sun remain motionless, while the Earth revolves around the Sun in a circular orbit”. Eratosthenes calculated the orbit of the Earth with great accuracy.

The Antikythera mechanism, a device for calculating the motion of the planets, dates back to 80 BC. about and is considered the ancestor of the astronomical computer. It was discovered in an ancient shipwreck on the Greek island of Antikythera, between Kythira and Crete. This mechanism became famous for the use of the differential gear as well as for the reduction and complexity of its parts. The original mechanism is exhibited at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens and is accompanied by a copy.

The Greeks also made great discoveries in the medical field. Hippocrates was a physicist of the Classical era and is considered one of the most prominent figures in the history of medicine. He is called “the father of medicine”. He founded the Hippocratic Medical School. This school revolutionized medicine in ancient Greece, as it established medicine as a separate scientific field and made it a profession.


The ancient Athenian Republic is the basis of the Republic of modern societies. For the first time in the history of mankind, in ancient Greece a state was created with laws, for which the citizens participate in their formation. In a democracy, all adult citizens have the right to vote, and laws are for the common good, not just the few.

Ancient Greece and Philosophy

The ancient Greeks, through philosophy, tried to approach various issues, concerning life, the world, ethics, etc. Ancient Greek philosophy greatly influenced Western culture and perception and played an important role in the development of the European Renaissance and Enlightenment.
Olympic Games: The first recorded Olympic Games took place in 776 BC. in Olympia. In Ancient Greece, the Olympic Games were held in honor of the god Zeus. Nowadays, the Olympic Games are a global sports organization, which through the ideals of sports, praises the equality and peace of all states and all peoples.

Theater In Ancient Greece

every city had at least one theater. The importance of the theater was great and so was the competition. The theater was of great value to the ancient Greeks and everyone was allowed to enter, even the prisoners, as the theater, in addition to entertainment, was also a school and often had a strong socio-political character.

Ancient Greek architecture

The rhythms, structure and decoration of Ancient Greek architecture influenced that of ancient Rome, which continues to exist to this day and in turn has influenced the architecture of other European countries.


The theories and proofs of Thales and Pythagoras, number theory, geometric algebra, analysis, geometry are based on ancient Greek thought. Ancient Greece was the cradle of mathematical thought and all sciences.
Establishment of courts: Already in mythology there is the original concept of the establishment of a court by the Olympian gods, who administered justice. Also, in Ancient Greece we observe the first criminal courts, such as the Parliament of the Supreme Court, Palladio, Ilia.
Medicine: Hippocrates is the father of Medicine. His studies demystified the notions that the disease was a punishment, as he explained that the cause of the disease lies in the sick person and the doctor must constantly examine him until he finds the cause, so that he can cure him. Hippocrates proceeded to innovative methods for the treatment of diseases with herbs, decoctions, etc. and also dealt with anatomy.The contribution of the ancient Greeks was great in the field of mathematics, with more typical examples of the basic rules of geometry, discoveries in number theory, mathematical analysis and applied mathematics. The discoveries of several Greek mathematicians, such as Pythagoras, Euclid and Archimedes, are used in the teaching of mathematics to this day.


Herodotus is the father of history, the first man to record historical events. He wrote about the Greco-Persian wars, his work “History” and is considered to have founded the historical analysis.
Mythology: Ancient Greek mythology does not consist of simple narratives with fantastic elements. Greek myths are allegorical stories and are a global cultural phenomenon associated with religion, society, politics, literature, philosophy and art. Mythology to this day inspires the arts, cultivates the human imagination and its myths hide unspoken truths about man, self-knowledge, ethics, virtues, values ​​and the good.

There is no doubt that the modern western world developed based, to a large extent, on the timeless values created by the Ancient Greeks – philosophers, writers and poets. The Greek philosophers and thinkers were the first to talk about the most important issues for humanity: those of freedom, human dignity, truth, faith, true virtue.

The fundamental principles and values of justice and democracy, which were first born in the Greek mind, support the European Union today and contribute to maintaining a stable and peaceful atmosphere in the Balkans. And today Greece is making enormous efforts to strengthen human rights and to preserve the culture of Europe.

Liberalism and patriotism have always been the characteristics that distinguished the Greeks and which did not leave them even at the most critical moments in their centuries-long history. All over the world, Greece proved its courage when it dared to claim its independence and with superhuman efforts and many sacrifices it freed itself from the Ottoman rule.

Undoubtedly, the rich cultural heritage of Greece has always been and still is a rational core that promotes the western civilization. One should not forget the role played by Greece in the consolidation of Orthodox values: the strength of the faith of the Greeks, maintained over centuries, makes Greece a pillar of Orthodoxy throughout the world.

It is impossible to imagine modern Western civilization without the Greek language. The language of Europe’s oldest literature, philosophical thought, medicine and theoretical science has in many key respects determined the temperament of European humanity. For Orthodox Christians it is the language of the Gospel, in which the Apostles announced to the world the coming of Jesus Christ and preached His teaching. The greatest monuments of Orthodox thought were created in the Greek language – inexhaustible sources of spiritual wealth.

The contribution of the Greek language to the development and enrichment of many other languages of the world is invaluable. One of the oldest written languages in the world and the oldest written language of the European area, Greek over the centuries has directly and indirectly influenced and continues to influence even today almost all European languages and through them many languages of the world.

Another important contribution of Greece to the treasury of world culture is the Olympic Games, which have always been a symbol of friendship, respect and noble rivalry. The fundamental principles of the Olympic movement still express the concepts of the Ancient Greeks, and the Olympic flame, lit every four years, emphasizes the greatness of the Greek spirit.

Today Greece is an important member of many international organizations that seek development in all areas of human activity and contribute substantially to the maintenance and consolidation of world peace. And just as the ancient Greeks defended the principles of freedom and democracy, so modern Greece defends the spirit of friendship and tolerance between peoples, the spirit of optimism for a dignified life, respect, harmony.