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Greek Daily Living Essay

1754 words - 8 pages

Some people believe that no civilization has ever been able to compete with today's western culture and lifestyle. However, the ancient Greeks with their amazing ingenuity were able to develop an amazingly high standard of living for their time. Although the Greeks had little technology, they had a creativity that enabled them to live much in the same way as current civilizations founded over a thousand years later.Don Nardo, the author of the book Life in Ancient Greece, described Greece as a warm, dry, and mountainous region about the size of New York State (10). The weather and topography of the region greatly affected the style of homes in Ancient Greece. Michael Poulton described these ...view middle of the document...

Nardo described the Greek family or oikos as consisting of parents, children, grandparents, servants, and slaves (Nardo 12). Poulton declared the Greek man's main purpose as producing children, preferably boys. Since there was no social security or respect given to the elderly in ancient Greece, children were important to the care of their elderly parents (Poulton 58). A new baby was presented to the household gods. The decorations on the doorframe indicated the sex of the baby; crowns of olive leaves symbolizing wealth and good fortune indicated a boy while wool symbolizing a life of housework and child rearing indicated a girl (Poulton 58). Louise Schofield, the editor of the book Ancient Greece, mentioned that children were considered infants until their third birthday. At a spring festival the toddlers were given miniature wine jugs to symbolize the end of their babyhood (Schofield 24). Author of the book Growing up in Ancient Greece, Amanda Purves explained that throughout their childhood, boys were encouraged to be brave and independent. She also indicated that many children even had their own slaves (Purves 7). Purves identified knucklebones (a game similar to jacks), balls, and hoops as popular games and toys of the children in Ancient Greece (Purves 66). Other popular toys were rattles, clay animals, yo-yo's, and terra-cotta dolls (Donn 7). Pets including birds, dogs, goats, tortoises, and mice were also popular with ancient Greek children (Donn 7).Education was very important to each of the Greek city-states. Boys attended school from age seven to age fifteen, and the rich employed slaves as private tutors. The Greeks taught the Illiad and the Oddysey to the children along with reading, writing, music, and physical education (Poulton 58). Anne Pearson, author of the book Ancient Greece, explained that the Greek referred to the teacher of reading, writing, and arithmetic as grammatistes and the music teacher as kitharistes (33). Students wrote with pointed sticks on wooden tablets covered with soft wax (Schofield 26). Poulton points out that because there were no public universities, the rural Greeks had to follow the trade of their father. In the cities where public life was emphasized, rich families urged their children to attend private schools that taught the student how to deliver speeches and debate along with the fundamentals of city politics (Poulton 58).Another aspect of the young Greek's life was marriage. The ancient Greeks had a very different idea concerning weddings and marriages than modern standards. Before the Greek wedding, the bride would sacrifice her toys to Artemis, the virgin goddess, to symbolize the end of childhood. She would also take a ceremonial bath to wash off her old life (Purves 16). The bride's age ranged between thirteen and nineteen years. Her husband was usually around thirty years of age. Since the father arranged the marriages, the wedding itself could be the first meeting of the betrothed couple...

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