Legacy Of Ancient Rome and Greece

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Legacy of ancient Rome and Greece


  • CHAPTER4 Plato and Aristotle gather in Athens with

    other great philosophers and scientists.

    The Legacy ofAncient Greece31.1 Introduction

    In the last chapter, you learned how Alexander the Great helped to spreadGreek civilization. In this chapter, you'll explore how ancient Greek culturecontinues to affect our lives today.

    One clay long ago, a Greek thinker named Archimedes climbed into a bath,filled to the top. As water overflowed onto the floor, he realized something.The volume of his body could be measured by the amount of water that leftthe tub. "Eureka!" he shouted. By being curious and observing events closely,Archimedes had discovered an interesting fact about the natural world.

    Curiosity and careful obser-vation are important parts ofscience. This way of th inkingis just one of the gifts we havereceived from the ancientGreeks. The Greeks left usvaluable ideas in many otherfields as well.

    And it's not just ideas thathave come from the Greeks.So do many of the words weuse to describe those ideas.The world of the ancient Greeksmay seem far away, but it isas close as the thoughts wethink and the words we speak.Let's look at Greek contri-butions to our lives in theareas of language, government,medicine, mathematics andscience, architecture, enter-tainment, and sports.

    Use this illustration as a graphic organizer to help you discovercontributions the ancient Greeks made to our modern world.

    The Legacy of Ancient Greece 297

  • Thucydides wrote about the warsbetween Athens and Sparta. He isconsidered one of the greatesthistorians of the ancient world.

    31.2 Greek Contributionsto Modern Language andLiterature

    Did you know that the word alphabetcomes from the first two letters of theGreek alphabet, alpha and beta? This isjust one of many connections betweenmodern English and ancient Greek. Ouralphabet grew out of the one the Greeksused. In addition, many English wordshave Greek roots. For example, the wordtelephone is made up of the Greek wordsfor "fax off (tel) and "voice" (phone}.

    Even the way we write sentencescomes from the Greek language. Englishgrammar, punctuation, and paragraphingare all based on Greek writing. And don'tforget literature. The Greeks inventeddrama, including both tragedy and come-dy. They also developed historical writ-ing. Modern historians are following inthe footsteps of Greek writers likeHerodotus and Thucydides. Herodotus isknown as the "father of history."

    31.3 Greek Contributions toModern Government

    As you learned in an earlier chapter, our form of governmentwas a Greek idea. Democracy, or rule by the people, began inAthens. The practice of having citizens serve on juries also beganin Greece.

    There are important differences between modern democracyand ancient Greek democracy. In Athens, all citizens debated andvoted on every issue. Today we elect representatives to speak forus and make laws. Another difference is that only native-bornmen could be citizens in Athens. Today women are citizens, andpeople from other countries can become U.S. citizens too.

    Still, the basic principles of democracy come from the ancientGreeks. Athenians were proud that their government allowedcitizens to control their own destiny. This idea is the basis ofdemocracy today.

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  • 31.4 Greek Contributionsto Modern Medicine

    For centuries, the Greeks believed thatthe gods and goddesses controlled naturalevents, including health and sickness. Theearliest Greeks thought that illnesses andaccidents were punishments sent by thegods. They didn't know about the naturalcauses of disease and healing.

    A Greek man named Hippocrateschanged the way people thought abouthealth and medicine. Hippocrates broughta scientific way of thinking to his workas a doctor. Hippocrates believed thatdiseases had natural causes. He taughthis students to carefully observe theirpatients and write down what they saw.

    Hippocrates is often called the "fatherof modern medicine." Today, people whobecome doctors take the HippocraticOath. They promise to be honest, topreserve life, and to keep informationabout their patients private.

    31.5 Greek Contributions to theModern Understanding of the Body

    As you know, the Greeks loved sports. Their interest in athlet-ics gave them some knowledge about the way people's bodiesmove. But their understanding of the body was limited. That waspartly because they couldn't look inside to see how the bodyworks. The early Greeks believed that cutting people open wouldoffend the gods. As these beliefs changed over time, the Greeksmade new discoveries.

    Several centuries after Hippocrates, medical students were ableto name and describe organs inside the body. They discoveredthat the heart was a pump that sent blood flowing throughoutthe body. And they learned that the brain was the center of thenervous system.

    All doctors try to do what theythink is best for their patients. Thisvase painting shows a doctor fromancient Greece "bleeding" apatient. Some ancient Greekdoctors thought that drawingblood would aid healing.

    The Legacy of Ancient Greece 299

  • geometry the branch ofmathematics involving points,lines, planes, and figures

    Hypatia was a highly respectedmathematician and philosopherin Alexandria, Egypt.

    31.6 Greek Contributions toModern Mathematics

    The Greeks loved reasoning. They looked for logical answersto nature's mysteries. Greek scientists often found those answersin mathematics.

    One such scientist, Pythagoras, believed that numbers were thekey to understanding nature. He started a school where studentsdeveloped mathematical theories.

    Like many Greeks, Pythagoras was especially fascinated bygeometry. Geometry comes from a Greek word that means "tomeasure land." Geometry began as a system for measuring areasof land. The Egyptians could also measure shapes and spaces, butthe Greeks created new and improved methods. Using geometry,they could figure out how much seed to buy for planting a fieldor how to lay out a city.

    Another famous Greek mathematicianwas Euclid. His geometry textbook becamethe basis for the teaching of geometry formore than 2,000 years.

    Greek culture produced the first womanto earn fame as a mathematician, Hypatia.Born in Egypt in about 370 c.h:., she taughtGreek philosophy and mathematics in thecity of Alexandria.

    31.7 Greek Contributionsto Modern Astronomy

    Astronomy comes from the Greek wordfor "star." The Greeks were pioneers in thisfield as well.

    People in all civilizations observed thesun, moon, and stars. But a Greek scientistnamed Aristarchus was the first person tosuggest that Earth moves around the sun.This idea upset many Greeks who believedthat Earth was the center of the universe.

    Another Greek, Hipparchus, is oftencalled the greatest astronomer of the ancientworld. He studied and named more than

    850 stars. He also figured out how to estimate the distancesfrom Earth to the sun and the moon. His theories allowed laterscientists to accurately predict eclipses of the moon.

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  • 31.8 Greek Contributions toModern Geography

    The work of Greek astronomers also contributed to geography,the study of Earth's surfaces. Geography comes from Greekwords meaning "writing about the Earth." As astronomers record-ed the positions of stars, mapmakers began to locate places onEarth relative to the stars. To describe where places were, theydeveloped a system of longitude and latitude.

    A great geographer of ancient times was the Greek scientistPtolemy. He wrote a book called Geography that listed over8,000 places. His book also contained maps that showed howto represent the curved Earth on a flat surface.

    31.9 Greek Contributions tothe Modern Understanding ofPlants and Animals

    The Greeks' curiosity led them tostudy plants and animals. By study-ing the anatomy, or body structure,of animals, the Greeks also learnedabout the human body. This knowl-edge helped doctors in their medicalstudies.

    The Greeks identified many typesof plants and named their parts. Theylearned how plants reproduce byspreading seeds. They also discov-ered that some plants are useful asmedicines. Greek doctors used manyplants, especially herbs, to reducepain and help people heal.

    The philosopher Aristotle was fas-cinated by living things. He collectedinformation about many types of ani-mals and plants. Then he organizedanimals into groups such as "thosewith backbones" and "those withoutbackbones." He also divided plantsinto groups such as herbs, shrubs,and trees. The way we classify, orgroup, animals and plants todayreflects Aristotle's work.

    longitude a measure of howfar a place on Earth is froman imaginary line that runsbetween the North and SouthPoles on the globelatitude a measure of howfar a place on Earth is from theequator

    In this famous painting byEugene Delacroix, Aristotle ismaking drawings of animalsas part of his study of them.

    The Legacy of Ancient Greece 301

  • Greek actors wore masks thatshowed the characters theywere playing.

    31.10 Greek Contributions toModern Architecture

    The word architecture comes from a Greek word that means"master builder." You read about Greek architecture in the chapterabout ancient Athens. You learned how the Greeks used columnsto make their temples balanced and stately. You saw examples ofpediments, the triangular shapes where roof lines come together.And you studied the decorated bands ca\\ed friezes.

    Greek styles are still used in manybuildings today. They are especially com-mon in public structures like governmentbuildings, schools, churches, libraries, andmuseums. But you can also see Greekstyles in homes and stores. For example,many houses have covered porches. Theseporches come from the Greek stoa, a cov-ered