Ancient Greece’s Hidden History: We Didn’t Learn This in History Class

When you read history books, you’ll find many references to the ancient Greeks and their culture. Some of their norms have lasted through the ages, while others have been lost in the sands of time. We all know Greece was a staple of intelligence, brilliance, and warfare.

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But they were more impressive than the books tell us. Whether science or art, the ancient Greeks have contributed significantly to today’s world. We’ve compiled a list of some facts about the great country that will shock you. You probably didn’t learn any of these in history class.

Throwing Apples Was a Show of Affection

Throwing apples at your crush might seem really weird, so you wouldn’t want to try it. However, men in Ancient Greece used to throw apples at their loved ones to ask for the person’s hand in marriage. That’s a literal way to say, “You are the apple of my eye!”

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Apples were also thrown at married couples to wish them a lifetime of prosperity. In today’s world, someone throwing apples at another person might be considered a hostile act. So, before you go ahead and emulate the ancient Greeks, make sure you know who you’re doing this to.

Ancient Greeks Invented Handshakes

Today, handshakes are a form of greeting in most countries of the world. The Greeks, in a way, revolutionized the way people greet each other by inventing handshakes. This is proven to be true as it can be seen in various ancient Greek paintings, sculptures, and artworks.

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In Ancient Greece, shaking hands wasn’t a mere act but a practice that was given the name dexiosis. Many ancient Greek artworks uncovered in the past few decades show Hera shaking hands with Athena, the Greek Goddess of Wisdom. Handshakes at the time were, however, only done between equals.

Greek Heroes Weren’t as Heroic

Many ancient Greek heroes and figures did some pretty terrible stuff. Even the “nice” heroes and gods, as recorded by historians, ended up doing some terrible things at different times while they were alive. The heroes and gods like Uranus, Athena, Zeus, Hades, Jason, and Athena did some really horrific deeds.

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You have probably heard of Achilles or at least seen a movie about him. Well, he abandoned his group of friends after having an argument in the middle of the Trojan War. Heracles is also known to have had multiple lovers in addition to his four wives.

Ancient Greeks Valued Salt

Salt was used by the Greeks as well as the Romans as a means of exchange. Slave traders mainly used it as a payment method. They also had a popular belief in the saying, “No one should trust a man without first eating a peck of salt with him.”

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The Greeks were recorded to have originated the phrase “not worth his salt.” This clearly emphasizes how much a Greek cherished his salt. The word “alas” is a Greek word that means salt. It was also a notable ingredient, along with animal fats and ashes, for making soaps and detergents.

They Created the First Computer

Analog computers have existed for a lot longer than modern digital computers, which weren’t created until the 1970s. This may come as a surprise, but Ancient Greece was home to the first computer. The impressive hand-powered device was named after the shipwreck it was found in – the Antikythera mechanism.

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The device, estimated to have been built in the second century BC, was used to forecast eclipses and astronomical locations years in advance. It was extremely complicated for its time and used gears as well. Only in the 14th century AD did machines of this intricacy reappear. How cool is that?

The Three-Month Truce in Preparation for the Olympics

Upon the approach of the Olympics, all military wars in Ancient Greece were ended or postponed for three months. This was done as far back as 776 BC as a tradition to ensure that the host city was free from attack by enemies while the Olympics were taking place.

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It was reported that during the period of the Olympics, wars still took place in other places except for the host city. So, keeping a truce enabled the visitors to reach the site of the games without having to worry about their safety or means of transportation.

There Were Lots of Slaves in Those Days

This should come as no surprise to many people considering how the slave trade was prominent during that era. But the number of slaves in Ancient Greece was vast. In fact, between 50% and 80% of the population were slaves. Salt was commonly used as payment for slaves.

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Ancient Greek slaves had no autonomy, belonged entirely to their owners, and were called breathing properties by Aristotle. Slaves were many because of the regular wars that were fought during that time. According to a research estimate, one out of four inhabitants of Athens around 320 BC was a slave.

Potbelly Was Really Attractive

Most people today find washboard abs, iron-pumped bodies, and visible muscles attractive. If you were born in Ancient Greece, you would have thought differently. Having a potbelly was the best body type and not dismissed as having excess fat. A man with a potbelly was not labeled a glutton.

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The truth is, having a potbelly had an entirely different meaning. In fact, no one used to get body shamed or disregarded for having a big belly. Those with potbellies were thought to be exemplary leaders. To be frank, we wouldn’t mind borrowing this standard!

Women Were Objectified in Ancient Greece

In Ancient Greece, women were utterly disregarded. They had literally no rights and were subjected to the reign of men. Each woman had to depend heavily on her husband. In Athens, a woman was regarded as an object of a man’s household. Women were often denied their personhood and entity.

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Women were denied mobility and encouraged to remain within the four walls of their households. They were not expected to go out alone. It was also considered a profane act to mention a married woman’s name in public areas. These were the rigid rules women had to live by.

Red Lipstick Meant Something Different

In Ancient Greece, red lipstick was meant strictly for certain kinds of women. Their red lipstick was made out of red pigments and crocodile feces. The women who were allowed to wear red lipstick legally were prostitutes. Later on, this shade was adopted by slave traders.

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In accordance with Greek law, any woman apart from prostitutes found wearing a red shade in public could be punished. It was generally considered indecent. Also, the hookers were only allowed to wear the designated shade of their profession, and anyone found wearing other colors could be punished.

The Word “Idiot” Originated in Greece

The English word “idiot” is derived from the Greek word idiotes, which means a private person. This is completely different from what it means to us today. The term idiotes was used to refer to anyone who chose to seclude themselves or distance themselves from politics.

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This makes sense because politics was practiced by virtually every rightful citizen in Ancient Greece. Today, the word is used to describe someone possessing a low level of intelligence. However, it isn’t hard to trace the relationship between the modern and former meaning of the word.

They Had No Toilet Paper

Not only the Greeks but clearly no other nation in the world at the time had anything like the triple-ply toilet paper we use today. What most cultures had were similar alternatives to toilet paper. However, the ancient Greeks had an unusual tool for the same task.

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Most other nations of the ancient world used leaves, wool, sponges, and other similarly soft materials for their private functions. Guess what? The ancient Greeks used stones, ceramic pieces, and pebbles. Well, we can’t blame them! Nobody gets to choose when nature calls.

Why Dionysus Is Highly Regarded

The stories of Greek mythology are some of the most talked about today, and they mainly revolve around the Greek gods and goddesses. Dionysus, also called Bacchus, was one of the most popular and worshipped gods in Greek mythology. Alongside Demeter, he was considered to be the supreme deity on Earth.

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Dionysus was said to have taken birth out of the fire and is affectionately known as the god of wine. He was regarded as the god of grape, harvest, and fertility. Playwrights use his character in tragic and comic plays even today, and several plays at the time were organized in his honor.

What a Spartan Kid’s Childhood Looked Like

The Spartans were known to be quite hard on their children. Their parenting style bordered on authoritative and controlling. And the boys bore the full brunt of this parenting style. A Spartan boy would be sent to a special military camp once he clocked seven years of age.

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Spartan boys were not allowed to wear clothes, so they had to survive naked until they were 12 years old. That’s a bit extreme, right? But that’s not all. They were also expected to provide their own meals and be proficient in physical fitness, swordsmanship, and spear throwing.

Women Were Banned from the Olympics

In a patriarchal society such as Ancient Greece, it’s unsurprising that women were not allowed to attend or participate in the Olympics. The Olympics was strictly for men. Historians have listed a bunch of possible reasons why women were not allowed to participate in any Olympics event.

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Some of the possible reasons listed for banning women include the second-class status of women in Ancient Greek culture and the long duration of training. Among other reasons, up to ten months was required to prepare for the Olympics, and women were deemed unfit for that.

Spartans Weren’t Fans of Epicurean Meals

The ancient Spartans kept their choice of food simple and even banned any complex meals. There was no room for delicacies or assorted foods. The lentils with beef blood were pretty much the norm. A Spartan meal was expected to be a humble affair without any fanfare.

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A regular Spartan meal would consist of a lentil soup or gruel of barley with cabbage and turnips. Spartans, according to Homer, loved grain-based meals and often used to eat barley with wine and goat’s cheese. This could be why they were considered physically fit and great in battle.

The Word “Lesbian” Originated in Greece

Greece is known to be the forerunner of many things today. The island of Lesbos is Greece’s third largest island, and the name comes from the Greek word for woody or forested. But that isn’t the only thing the island is known for. The word “lesbian” also originated from the island.

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It’s all because of Sappho, the island-born Greek poet. Sappho was a very well-known poet at the time; Plato famously referred to her as the “Tenth Muse.” Even today, her poetry about a female lover is still read and appreciated. Also, she is the origin of the expression “sapphic love.”

Who Were the Hetaeras in Greece?

In ancient Greece, like most ancient societies, women were considered second-class citizens. They had few to no rights and enjoyed a low status when compared to men. There was an exception, though. There were certain women who were independent in their own right, called Hetaeras.

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The Hetaeras were basically high-profile escorts who dabbled in the art of intellectual stimulation. The other category of escorts was the Pornai (where the word “porn” originated from). To become a Hetaera, a woman had to study at a special school starting in childhood.

Their Special Way of Eating Food

Today, it is not proper to maintain any other posture asides from sitting while you eat. The ancient Greeks, however, preferred to recline while eating. This may not be completely true, though. This manner of eating first began in the 7th century BC and was later adopted by Romans.

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The ancient Greeks loved to eat like that because eating while lying down signified power and status in society. Except only the men were allowed to do this. Women, in general, were barred from banquets, and if they were allowed, they were expected to sit and eat. Good!

The Greeks Were Very Messy

The ancient Greeks were godly, but they didn’t believe “cleanliness is next to godliness.” The Greeks liked to keep their spaces as dirty as possible. They allowed the walls of their home to be darkened by the soot smoke that emerged every time they cooked meat for their meals.

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One of the popular Greek writers, Homer, in one poem describes how the smoke soot ruins the weapons on the walls of an average Greek household. So black walls as a result of smoke from cooking were a common occurrence in an average Greek household.

Spartan Women Had More Freedom

As opposed to the women in Ancient Greece, the women of Sparta were a little more liberated. The women of Ancient Greece were basically treated terribly. However, Spartan women enjoyed a small degree of privileges and freedom, which were not extended to the rest of the woman folk.

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In Sparta, women had ownership rights. A woman in Sparta could own land, and women were allowed to play sports. They also had an opportunity to be educated. Though they were spared from performing domestic roles, they had their share of freedom, unlike the women in Greece.

The Marital Norms in Sparta

Arranged marriage was pretty much the norm among the ancient Spartans. Love marriage was hardly a thing to be found. So, most of the marriages were untrue because the men often had multiple wives and could end up paying little or no attention to some.

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Apparently, cheating on a spouse was a common practice. Spartans were heavily punished if they chose to remain single. There was a legal process to teach young folks about marriage and help them get married upon attaining a set age. The ones who choose to marry late were not spared.

The No-Woman Rule of the Olympics

In Ancient Greece, women were generally not allowed to play sports, and there was a law that banned women from participating in or attending the Olympic games as spectators. But like modern laws, there was a minor loophole that allowed women’s entry on horses in equestrian games.

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This loophole was created when Cynisca, a Spartan princess, set a historic moment in women’s history by winning an event without even participating in it. Cynisca’s horses participated and finished first in the games twice in 396 and 392 BC, which made her the winner of the games.

The Hallways of Merriment in Ancient Greece

Generally, ancient Greeks were known to enjoy the good life. Symposiums in Ancient Greece were the hallways of merriment. They were mostly dominated by men who drank and partied extremely in these arenas. These banquets were usually accompanied by music, dance, and other forms of celebration.

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The symposiums were presided over by a symposiarch, and this was their main job. It was also a place to hold a lot of competition-based games. Of course, the meaning of the word “symposium” has changed over time. It is now usually used to denote an academic congregation.

Olympiad Was the Game of the Year

Olympiad was the most graced event in Ancient Greek culture. People always looked forward to it, and it was attended by virtually every man in the country. The ancient Greeks loved the Olympics so much that their social calendars were designed around the Olympic events.

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Olympic games were held once every four years, in July or August. As noted earlier, in order to ensure the event would be successful, an Olympic truce was held in advance. The truce was basically a peace declaration to postpone war in the host nation for three months.

A Little Bit About the Greek Gods

Zeus is probably the most talked about god in Greek mythology, as seen in today’s movies. He is believed to be the head god of the Greek Pantheon. But this is only partially correct! Why? Ancient Greece was divided into different independent states, with each polis having its separate cult.

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The ancient Greeks were known to worship only one god at a time, but they practiced henotheism. This practice allowed worshipping one god from the pantheon of gods while not denying the existence of others. This made various sects respect one another and not necessarily engage in any conflict.

Greek Women Were Fashionable

Not only were the ancient Greeks more economically advanced than the rest of the world, but their women were also fashionistas. Some of the fashion trends today were known to the women of Greece. For instance, the statement brows and unibrows that are prevalent today were already a thing in Ancient Greece.

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The unibrow was considered a mark of intellect in Ancient Greece culture. Greek women without natural unibrows used to draw them using makeup. They used soot and black powder and went as far as sticking goat hair in the middle of their eyebrows to make it appear like a unibrow.

Greeks Believed in Siestas

An afternoon nap is said to have therapeutic benefits and is thus a common tradition in some countries today. Well, the ancient Greeks believed in this same notion and had adopted the practice of getting an afternoon siesta. It was customary to do this especially during the summer.

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The ancient Greeks believed napping in the afternoon could prevent the body from drying out. After a nap, the Greeks made sure they ate something before carrying on with their daily tasks. We strongly resonate with this belief and think it should be made mandatory by law. Haha.

The Yo-Yo Was Invented in Ancient Greece

Greek is the third oldest language in the world, but it is not the only thing about Ancient Greece to boast of. There are other inventions, such as the yo-yo. Believed to have been invented in 440 BC, it is considered one of the oldest toys on earth.

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In Ancient Greece, yo-yos would be found in virtually every household, mainly as an object for kids to play with. Made of wood, metal, or painted terracotta disks, yo-yos used to be decorated with images of gods from the Greek Pantheon.

They Introduced Music to the World

Clearly, the ancient Greeks had a deep love for the arts. They are known for painting and sculpting, and for some reason, music is also linked to the ancient Greeks. The word “music” is derived from the Greek word Muse. The Muses, according to the Greek mythos, were the goddesses of arts.

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Although Westerners are widely known for inventing modern music, it was the music of Ancient Greece that laid the foundation for western music both in theory and composition. Music was also studied by prominent Greek philosophers like Pythagoras to gain insights into other spheres of life.

The Sacred Band of Thebes

The Spartans are historically known to have great courage, endurance, and discipline. These traits are portrayed in all the movies about Spartans. The 300 Spartans, which is now immortalized in popular culture, has a movie of the same name and was based on the Battle of Thermopylae.

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This battle is remarkable because the “undefeatable” Spartans were defeated by the Sacred Band of Thebes. The band was comprised of a hundred and fifty lovers who put an end to Spartan’s reign of superiority. The Battle of Leuctra made Thebes the leading military power in 371 BC.

Cinderella Drew Inspiration from Rhodopis

The story of Rhodopis inspired one of the most popular fairy tales, Cinderella. Rhodopis was a famous Hetaera in Ancient Greek culture. According to folklore, Rhodopis was having a bath when an eagle carried her slippers and dropped them on the lap of an Egyptian pharaoh.

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The pharaoh was deeply fascinated by the slippers and decided to launch a search party to discover the owner. The search was fruitful, and he found Rhodopis. She eventually married the pharaoh and became the queen of Egypt. That’s such a nice story, isn’t it?

Greeks Brought Spiked Dog Collars

Here’s a bit of history on dogs. The ancient Greeks invented spiked dog collars. However, they had another thing in mind when they made it, as it served an entirely different purpose. Though the Egyptians made the first prototype of dog collars, the Greeks perfected them for practical purposes.

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The initial use for the collars was to protect their sheepdogs’ necks from a wolf attack as they defended the herd of sheep. These collars were often made with iron and had pointed spikes. It was a need-based invention to combat the regular wolf attacks on their farm animals.

They Lived Long Lives

Many ancient Greeks lived long lives, many making it to a full century. Their long lifespan was mainly due to their healthy lifestyle. Their meals were comprised of a healthy Mediterranean diet. They also engaged in daily physical activities and had a superlative sanitation mechanism.

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The ancient Greeks’ Mediterranean diet involved a heavy consumption of olive oil, vegetables, and fruits. Olive oil, also called the elixir of life, today is said to have countless benefits for the human body, including reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s, increased longevity, and a reduced risk of Parkinson’s.

Ancient Greeks Earned Good Salaries

Ancient Greek workers were recorded to earn good wages compared to other civilizations. This shows how good their economy was compared to that of other nations. It even became the world’s most developed country during its economic development era around the 4th and 5th centuries BCE.

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Ancient Greece’s economic advancement was reflected in the salaries of common people. An average citizen would earn 12kg of wheat monthly during that period. This was almost four times higher than that of an average Roman worker, who earned around 3.75kg of wheat in a month.

The Boustrophedon Text and Other Ways of Writing

The ancient Greeks had different manners of writing from what is known today. It was a common practice to write manuscripts in a bidirectional fashion. This means that while a line of the manuscript was written from left to right, the next line would be written from right to left.

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For both the author and especially the reader, this manner of writing seems obviously hard and confusing. It also involved mirroring letters from one line to another. For instance, “I love all things about Greece” would be written as “Greece about things all love I.”

They Invented the Vending Machine

Ancient Greece saw several inventions. Speaking of one of these inventions, ancient Greeks invented the world’s first vending machine. Clearly, the old type of vending machines didn’t dispense sodas or chips. What was it used for? It was a coin-based vending system to dispense holy water.

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Researchers also discovered that Ancient Greece was one of the foremost civilizations to adopt the system of using coins as a means of payment. This vending machine obviously goes a long way in proving that. The Greeks’ vending machines became the blueprint for modern vending machines.

Melon Was Not Just Any Fruit

Melon in Ancient Greece was a generic term to describe all the fruits that were foreign or considered foreign. While the ancient Greeks described fruits as melons, the funny thing was that melon was used as a code word to refer to a certain part of women’s anatomy.

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The Greeks had an ancient term, “melopepon,” also known as gourd-apple, which was a term for various gourd-bearing fruit. So, if you lived in Ancient Greece, you’d consider melon a generic term. Basically, this word had different meanings depending on the context it was used in.

The Citizens Had More Power

The citizens of Ancient Greece had a strong civil responsibility. They had a system that allowed them to rally together to form a cohort just to exile a politician for a decade. The practice was called ostrakismos, and it was put in place to safeguard the principles of democracy.

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This was a clear form of checks and balances in the country’s governmental system. Ostrakismos was a disciplinary measure against all the politicians who were thought to be a real and potential danger to the type of democracy being practiced in Ancient Greece. Who else thinks we need something similar?

The Invention of Kettlebells Came from Greece

The ancient Greeks have become popular in today’s history as inventors. The kettlebell is another object traced to be first used by the ancient Greeks. In the 5th century, a prototype of the kettlebell known as the Greek Haltere was found to be used to propel athletes in the long jump.

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Based on several research studies, the kettlebells used by the ancient Greeks weighed between two and nine kilograms and were used mainly in the Olympic games. A particular kettlebell at the Archaeological Museum of Olympia in Athens, Greece, weighs around 144 kg. Just imagine how big and heavy it is!

They Wrote One of the World’s Oldest Scripts

Greek is distinctly one of the oldest languages, so their alphabet, the Greek alphabet, was invented at the beginning of the 8th century B.C. Also, important works and seminal texts such as poems like the Iliad and the works of Aristotle and Plato were originally written in Greek.

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The Greek language is said to be a source and known to influence other ancient world languages like Latin, Armenian, Coptic and Cyrillic. The Greek letters were also the first alphabet script in the world to have clear-cut letters for vowels as well as consonants.

They Had a Colorful World

The ancient Greeks seemed to think of colors differently than we do today. Based on the writings of the time and particularly the account of the legendary author Homer, who wrote the Iliad and Odyssey, it sounds like they perceived and talked about color differently.

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According to Mark Bradly, a professor of Ancient History at the University of Nottingham, to the Greeks, color was the visible outermost shell of an object. So basically, color wasn’t used to describe things. The fire was fire-colored, the skin was skin-colored, and the sky was sky-colored. So simple!

Time Was of Utmost Importance

This may sound really weird to us today, but the ancient Greeks actually had two different words to describe aspects of time. The first ancient description of time was Chronos, which is similar to what we have today. It basically refers to measured time like a clock.

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The second was Kairos, which measures moments rather than seconds. To be clear, it refers to a time when the condition is right for something to be accomplished. Basically, the ancient Greeks believed there was a “fixed” or “appointed” time for everything to be done.

Hair Was a Status Symbol

In Ancient Greece, hair wasn’t considered important for women only but for men too. The men took great pride in how magnificent their facial hair was. The men groomed and took great care of their hair as well. The Greeks would compete to see whose facial hair was the most well-groomed.

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Men who had long, well-maintained beards were considered wise and also represented strong masculinity. Also, losing the hair on their head was considered to be a good thing as it was equated with age and wisdom. Most Greek philosophers thus tend to be bald with big beards.

They Were Big Fans of Cheesecake

Although this may sound impossible, especially due to their strange bean stew, the ancient Greeks loved sweet foods. In fact, they were the first to make cheesecake! The cake may have changed over the years, but their version was made of wheat, flour, honey, and, of course, cheese.

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And they used the delicacy at important events. The rich, sugary cakes were used in wedding ceremonies to celebrate in style. The fact that the cheesy cakes were served to athletes as energy snacks during the Olympics is even more intriguing. We should absolutely revive that tradition!

Ancient Greek Statues Were Colorful

Beautiful Greek statues have long served as status symbols for the wealthy and distinguished. Due to their exquisite white stone, they are widely viewed as the height of aesthetic expression. In fact, they were so admired that Renaissance sculptors tried to imitate the style.

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However, we now know that sculptures in ancient Greece were actually richly painted with vivid colors and elaborate designs, thanks to contemporary imaging technology. Most of the artists had great eyes for color. Researchers and archaeologists’ reconstructions let us see how brilliantly colored these statues actually were.

Spartans Went to War in Style

Spartans considered warfare a major event and took it upon themselves to dress well. They carried lots of equipment and protective gear for war. Hoplites (another name for Spartan soldiers) typically donned a breastplate, ankle guard, and gigantic bronze helmet before going to battle.

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Also, they would carry a round shield primarily made of bronze and wood, a long spear, and a sword. In the movie 300, Spartan soldiers have long hair, and they are largely dressed in red cloaks. It’s a pretty close description.

The Theater Started in Greece

Although they weren’t the first human civilization to appreciate and enjoy the art of storytelling, the ancient Greeks pioneered what we now know as theaters. They were the first to create a whole cultural movement around stories and similar arts. Greek theater companies even wrote and performed numerous plays.

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Some of these plays are still performed today! The amphitheater’s ingenious construction, which was designed in an acoustically friendly shape to ensure that even people sitting far from the stage could clearly hear the actors, contributed to the theater’s success. The level of architecture, even at that time, is impressive.

Some of Their Foods Were Tasteless

Laconian food, one of the ancient Greek foods, was quite unappetizing. The sight of it is not inviting or attractive to many outside the nation. One of their regular meals was a black gruel which was believed to be a mixture of lentils and beef blood.

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This meal, as unappetizing as it looked, was often equated with Spartan courage. It was also used to make jokes among Spartans. The coolest thing about it is that it was said that only a real Spartan had the courage to eat this on a daily basis. We understand!

The Origin of the Red Carpet

The idea of the red carpet first came to life in Ancient Greece. It used to be known as the Crimson (a shade of red) Path. Although the meaning has changed now, red carpets were considered a luxury reserved solely for the gods and not for mortals.

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Agamemnon, the first in the trilogy of Oresteia plays, provides a description of the Crimson Path. Ancient Greeks believed that the color red was holy and difficult to produce. They had to extract colors from the kermes insect to produce the hue.

How to Drink Wine in Greece

There are many social norms today that we all abide by. While drinking a full glass of wine today and holding the glass by the body, among other things, is considered to be a faux pas, drinking concentrated wine in Ancient Greece was thought to be a social gaffe.

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One was required to fill their glass with water in a 3:1 ratio. People who didn’t add water to their wine were considered immoral and alcoholics. The intense mixes were only used on special occasions that called for celebration. This rule looks to have been relaxed.

Were Babies Thrown into Pits?

The idea is strange, right? It is an extremely popular Spartan myth that infant boys who were considered weak were thrown away in a pit. This wasn’t known to many until Plutarch, an ancient Greek philosopher and historian, wrote about this as part of ancient Greek history.

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However, this account is controversial and strictly disputed by current scientists, who said such barbaric practices never took place among the ancient Greeks. Therefore, Plutarch’s theory of ignoring the cries of the babies and the involvement of the state in deciding the fitness of babies was dismissed.

The Inventor of the Brazen Bull’s Harsh Punishment

The Brazen Bull’s creator, Perilaus of Athens, was tricked into becoming the scapegoat. The Brazen Bull was a hollow statue. Once a man is put inside the bull’s belly, the hangman would light a fire underneath it, charring the man to death. Perilaus obviously thought his invention was incredible.

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But Phalaris, the ruler of ancient Greece, punished Perilaus for his invention. The inventor was told to prove the efficacy of his invention. So, he had to enter the bull’s stomach. Luckily for him, he was saved before he was burnt to death. He was later thrown off a cliff.

The First Nude Gymnasium

Ancient Greek gymnasiums were clothing-free spaces that were male-dominated. The gymnasiums (the word literally means “a school for naked exercise”) were used by athletes as a training ground. Ancient Greeks believed competing while naked was a sign of respect to the gods of the Greek Pantheon.

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The gym was also a venue to engage in intellectual and social conversation. Obviously, the naked part of the gymnasium has been discontinued, and other genders now work out, but you still see people having excellent conversations in gyms today. And the gym culture grows stronger with each passing day.

Ancient Greeks Believed the Earth Was Round

Many scholars in Ancient Greece were interested in geography, astronomy, and mathematics. Contrary to popular opinion, the Greeks actually knew that the earth was round and spinning in space. The first person to determine the circumference of the earth is known as Eratosthenes of Cyrene.

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He accomplished this by referring to vast survey results that were available to him as a result of his position as the illustrious Library of Alexandria’s chief librarian. Due to his geographic expertise, he was also the first mathematician to produce a global projection of the world.