Topic Guide: Ancient Greece

A greek temple against a bright blue sky

© By Phil Hollman (originally posted to Flickr as Greek temple ruins) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

    • Ancient Greek topics covered here include: Ancient Greek Gods, Athenian Democracy, Ancient Greek Pottery, Ancient Olympics and Clothing.

      Ancient Greek Gods
      The Ancient Greeks worshiped 12 gods. The most important ones were Zeus, Poseidon and Hades. You can find out more about the gods and their symbols and sacred places with this really useful resource from the British Museum.

      Athenian Democracy
      ‘Democracy’ comes from an ancient Greek word meaning ‘the rule of the people.’ This means that the people decided who was in charge. It was a very unusual way of governing at the time, and Athens was the first place to really give its people a vote.

      Pericles (sometimes spelt Perikles) was a famous Greek politician who led Athens at the peak of her power. You can find out more about Pericles with the British Museum.

      Ancient Greek Pottery
      The Greeks are famous for the way they decorated their pots and vases using distinctive black and orange designs. Here are a couple of Greek pots from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

      A pair of Ancient Greek pots; one is a black figure vase, the other is a red figure vase.© Metropolitan Museum of Art
      The pot on the left is known as a black figure vase, because the people are drawn in black on orange. This kind of pottery tend to be older and usually dates from 700BC-500BC.

      The pot on the right is a red-figure pot, because the people are drawn in that orange/red colour. Red figure pottery was developed in Athens in around 520BC.

      Ancient Olympics
      The Ancient Greeks celebrated these games as part of a religious festival in honour of their god Zeus every four years. Show Me has put together a list of ten Olympic facts that you might not have heard before, you can read it here.

      Greek clothing
      Many people think that the Greeks wore togas. They didn’t – that was the Romans. Chitons (say it key-tones) were more usual,  but there were other bits of clothing too. This statue from the Metropolitan Museum gives you an idea of what Greeks would have worn if you ever need costume inspiration.

      A Greek statue© Metropolitan Museum
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