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Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece is one of the most influential periods in all of World History. Below you will find some of the most important terms, concepts, and historical figures relating the Golden Age of Greek culture. Scroll down for lesson plan ideas.

  • Geography of Greece - Mountainous; difficult to unite regions under single government.
  • Mycenaeans - Preserved and spread Minoan culture.
  • Dorians - Ruled the Greek world for 400 years but left no written record.
  • Polis - City-state.
  • Phalanx - Military formation; spear and shield.
  • Persian Wars - Greek city-states successfully defend themselves from the Persians; leads to new sense of confidence and freedom; Athens leads Delian League (allliance of 140 city-states)
  • Olympics - Sporting event that city-states could compete in; political event in that city-states put aside any differences to compete.
  • Sparta - City-state that values military and the state.
  • Athens - City-state that incorporates democratic elements and values education, arts (Classical style), and philosophy; powerful navy.
  • Direct Democracy - Citizens propose and vote on laws; executive, legislative, and judicial branches
  • Pericles - Leader of the Athenians; Increases pay for public officials; strengthens navy; glorification of Athens (Parthenon)
  • Socrates - Philosopher that encourages questioning; condemned to death for "corrupting the youth of Athens."
  • Plato - Student of Socrates; Wrote The Republic - ideal society where people fall naturally into 3 groups (farmers/artisans, warriors, ruling class); strongest individual from ruling class is philosopher-king.
  • Aristotle - Teachings led to development of scientific method; Alexander the Great's teacher.
  • Peloponnesian War - Sparta defeats Athens; Athens severely weakened from plague
  • King Philip of Macedonia - Uses heavy phalanx formation and conquers a weakened Greece; Alexander the Great's father; Oracle at Delphi predicts that he would lose his eye and his son would conquer the world.
  • Alexander the Great - Military conquests of Greece, Asia Minor, Egypt, and Persia led to spread of Hellenistic culture; Ended era of independent Greek city-states; Died at 32 years old. 
  • Plutarch - Roman writer/historian that documented Alexander's life and much of Hellenistic culture.
  • Hellenistic Culture - Blending of Greek, Egyptian, Indian, and Persian cultures; Popular spoken language is koine.
  • Alexandria - African city that became the major center of commerce and the Hellenistic civilization; Pharos was a 400 foot lighthouse that guided ships into the Egyptian harbor; Other major attractions include a famous museum and the Alexandrian Library.
  • Archimedes - Accurately estimated the value of pi (3.14); Pulley and compound lever to lift heavy objects.
  • Eratosthenes - Director of the Alexandrian library; computed the Earth's circumference using geometry (within 1%)
  • Stoicism - Hellenistic philosophy founded by Zeno; Emphasizes harmonious life using natural law; Promoted social unity.
  • Epicureanism - Hellenistic philosophy founded by Epicurus; Only real objects are those that can be perceived by the 5 senses.
  • Colossus of Rhodes - Bronze statue over 100 feet high; According to legend it straddled the harbor on the island of Rhodes; later statues will move away from idealized forms and constructed realistic works

Ancient Greece Lesson Plans

Here are some lesson plans, resources, and ideas to help teachers generate the perfect lesson plan for teaching ancient Greece.

  • Overview of Ancient Greece: Here are some very important PowerPoint Slides containing notes and images on Greek City-States such as Athens and Sparta, the Persian Wars, Greek philosophy, math, science, and the Peloponnesian War.
  • Stare! at Ancient Greece Game: Create and play this game with your students.  Basically, students stare at an image that is relevant to the topic for one minute, then students are asked a few questions about what they saw. Most points wins!

Greece & Rome - No Bull Review Lesson