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Background: Ancient Greek History

April 8, 2013

Greece was one of the most powerful, oldest countries in this world. In about 2000 B.C., Greece had appeared and started to make laws and rules. It was a collection of separate lands where Greek-speaking people lived. This country was the first group that created a government system. They made laws and policies to control the country.

There are 4 forms of government in ancient Greece:

  1. Monarchy, state ruled by a king, the king can control everything. Practiced in about 2000 B.C.
  2. Aristocracy, state ruled by nobility, the kingdom family control the law. Practiced in Athens prior to 594 B.C.
  3. Oligarchy, state ruled by small group of citizens, practiced in Sparta by 500 B.C.
  4. Direct Democracy: state ruled by its citizens and the rule is based on citizenship, practiced in Athens by about 500 B.C.

I want to discuss democracy further: Why? There are still many countries using democracy today.

However, although Greece was the first country that used democracy, there are several special things in their form of democracy:

  1. The Greek citizens needed to be above 18 year’s old and they should be men.
  2. All the citizens took part in the voting.
  3. Juries varied in size.

I made these three main points, because these three are the differences between ancient Greece’s democracy and modern democracy. Even though these things seem different from now, it is amazing that Greece was able to make such a great social system so long ago. They were one of the first groups that started thinking about human rights.

As you know, I am reading an epic called The Odyssey, and there were some parts of the story that confused me. I was wondering why there were some soldiers who disobeyed Odysseus’ orders. As the story recorded, Odysseus was the king of Ithaca and that means they were in a period that had king, which should be Monarchy. How can simple citizens disobey the king?

As history recorded, many wealthy families also can control the government. I was wondering whether Ithaca was controlled by such rich families. Did Odysseus really have power? We don’t know, but we can still see the importance of the king. He knew that he was the leader, so he did all the things with his brave and strong heart.

The Trojan War happened during 1200 B.C. and that was the time that Odysseus’ story took place. In the recording of the history, Odysseus was the person who first thought about the idea: a wooden horse to trick them. This helped the Greek army capture Troy. There are several pieces of evidence that can prove this. People found the lost Troy city in the 20th century. This showed the truth of the Trojan war, also made the story The Odyssey more real.


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