The Ancient Greeks practically invented Western culture. So many aspects of our modern lives are owed to things first created over 2,000 years ago; just take a look at the items below to see what ideas our ancient Hellenic friends thought up that are still important to us today.
1. Western Philosophy
Their ideas were the foundations for Classical Greek philosophy, exploring humankind's capacity for reasoning and quest for truth. This, in short, was the discipline that was later adopted by the Roman Empire, then made its way into modern western culture. They may not have given us all the answers, but they did give us all the questions.
The Games were resurrected by the International Olympic Committee over 120 years ago, when, on April 6, 1896, athletes from 14 different countries came together, once again in Greece, to celebrate the amazing legacy of sportsmanship the ancient Greeks bequeathed to us. Though the first Olympics featured only a single event — a marathon — there are now Games in both winter and summer, alternating every two years, with over 300 events in the modern Summer Games.
These days, marathon-running rarely results in death, but the victory and glory remain.
4. Alarm Clock
Remember those ancient philosophers? Well, apparently, Plato can be credited with inventing the first alarm clock: a funnel/siphon system that whistled like a tea kettle, created to wake up his sleepy-headed students. But it is the Greek mathematician and engineer, Ctesibus, who perfected the idea, modifying a water clock so that pebbles dropped on a gong at regular intervals. These laid the groundwork for the little device we all love to hate.
Early Greek umbrellas were made from bone, wood, and plant leaves, so just be glad you’re carrying around a lightweight plastic one the next time it rains. Today, umbrellas are a million-dollar industry.
6. Cartography (Maps)
Today, we may have GPS on our smartphones, but it all began with old Anaximander.
7. Western Theater (Drama)
The earliest examples of dramatic performance grew out of the singing of ancient hymns to celebrate the raucous god of wine and partying, Dionysus. Then, in the 6th century BCE, a man named Thespis jumped up on a wooden cart and began reciting poetry to a shocked audience of onlookers. And, thus, the world’s first “thespian” was born, and theater became close to what we know today.