Friday, September 08, 2006
6: The Greeks
The Ancient Greeks lived in Greece from a time before history up to about 500AD, at which point they ceased to be ancient and became merely Greek, or possibly Middle-Aged, and finally Modern. (Individual people are generally Modern, Middle-Aged then Ancient but with history it's the other way round.)
As far as Europe is concerned, the Greeks were the first to be civilised, and therefore the first to widely practice both slavery and philosophy. Having slaves gave them the free time to sit around thinking, and thereby develop philosophy, which they then passed on to the slaves, enabling them to be more content with their lot by thinking such profound thoughts as 'Oh well, could be worse'.
The Greeks also thought up Mythology, i.e. stories that are supposed to be true, but which everyone knows really aren't, on account of the fact that they include such elements as dozens of squabbling gods, big bull-headed creatures called mindthedoors or something similar, and golden fleas.
Regarding the dozens of gods, the idea of Polytheism has not stood the test of time in Europe, possibly on the grounds that one God strains the credibility quite enough, thank you very much.