If someone told you studying Classical Greece was not relevant, what would you say?
Has anyone ever asked you: Why bother studying Classical Greece? Have you ever wondered why we have the Olympics every four years? Or why we have democracy, education and sport? I have written this article to answer those questions and many more. I hope this was as interesting to read as it was to write.
Let’s begin by looking at drama: The Greeks had the idea of having the orchestra at the front of the stage- In Greek the word ‘Orkêstra’ means the space in front of the stage- in English- which is still where our modern band or orchestra is today. We also have the some of their plays: Tragedy and comedy. Many Shakespeare plays were based on Greek tragedy plays- the idea of struggling against your fate/destiny. They also had the idea of performing plays in an amphitheatre which we still have today. An amphitheatre is shaped like a semi-circle, the back of the stage is called the ‘skene’ which was where they had the scene which is still where we have our scene nowadays. There were rows of seats for the audience to watch from.
Did you know that around 75% of English comes from Greek? You wouldn’t think it would you! But a lot of our language is very similar For example: The Greek word for spider is ‘ Arachne’ and the English word for an eight legged creature(E.G. A spider) is an arachnid- can you see how they are similar? Here are some other words in Greek and what they mean in English: ‘ Barbaros’ means a stranger or a non-Greek in English, ‘ Thermos’ means hot in English- can you see the relation?
One other fascinating influence we get from the Greeks is architecture. Greek architecture is almost everywhere- The Ashmolean museum, in oxford, Blenheim palace, in Woodstock, St Pauls cathedral, in London, and the white house in America, Washington D.C. ( and many more) have all been influenced by Greek architecture- if you look hard you can find it almost anywhere!
I hope this article has proved to you that studying Classical Greece is relevant – but if you still think studying Classical Greece is not relevant you are not paying enough attention to the world around you!
Written by Tabitha Hall, class six Dr Radcliffes primary school