By Katerina Papathanasiou (Oct 25, 2015)
[Nota: para nuestros alumnos que van a ir a Londres este año a conocer ciencias y en inglés; así vais practicando para la visita al British.]
If you are wondering exactly what were the contributions of Ancient Greece to our modern world, here is just a small sample of the top inventions and discoveries of ancient Greeks that are remarkably used till today.
1.- The Alarm Clock of Plato
Plato, the famous ancient Greek philosopher and mathematician who founded the first institution of higher education in the Western world, the Academy of Athens, was said to be the first person who introduced the first snooze alarm in history. In his effort to wake people up and get them to their lectures at dawn on time, Plato designed a mechanism which can be considered the first alarm clock. In his mechanism, water would drip from one vessel into another via a small hole, and as the second vessel filled during the night, trapped air was forced out of a side vent, making it whistle like a tea kettle when it filled up quickly.
Plato (left) with his student Aristotle (right), a detail of The School of Athens, a fresco by Raphael.
Ancient Greek Drama was born in the city-state of Athens, one of the most significant cultural, military and political centers of ancient Greece. Around 700 BC, a part of a rite called Dionysia carried out in honor of ancient Greek god Dionysus was the predecessor of what we call today theater. The three principal dramatic forms in the theater of classical Greece that flourished originally to Athens traveling later to numerous other allies and colonies was tragedy, comedy, and satyr play.
Illustration of “The Bacchae,” a late tragedy by the ancient Greek playwright Euripides. –
The exclamation “Eureka!” is attributed to ancient Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer Archimedes. After he worked out one of the greatest experiments of all time while he was taking his bath, Archimedes said his famous phrase. Specifically, Archimedes of Syracuse (287 BCE- 212 BCE), was the first to realize that “the upward buoyant force that is exerted on a body immersed in a fluid, whether fully or partially submerged, is equal to the weight of the fluid that the body displaces.”
4.- Olympic Games
The first Olympic Games can be traced back to 776 BC. The athletic competitions, which were held every four years for representatives of various city-states of ancient Greece in honor of Zeus celebrating the achievements of the human body, were staged on the ancient plains of Olympia, a town in the western part of the Peloponnese in Greece. Victory in the Olympic Games was one of the highest honors bestowed upon a mortal, but besides a crown made of olive branches no material reward was afforded to the winners. They were celebrated until 394 A.D. when they were suppressed by Emperor Theodosius I in his effort to impose Christianity as the only religion of the Roman Empire
Greek philosopher Socrates, after being condemned to death for impiety in 399 B.C., was given a potent infusion of the hemlock plant. The law courts in 4th and 5th centuries B.C. Athens consisted of 200 (+1 to avoid ties) and sometimes 500, 1000 or 1500 members. The annual pool of jurors, which was called Heliaia, included around 6000 members. The Athenian jurors, who belonged to different social classes due to the fact that they were chosen randomly, received payment of two and later three obols a day. The jurors had to swear by the gods of Apollo, Zeus, and Demeter the Heliastic Oath as they were sitting on wooden benches being separated from spectators.