Whatever did the Greeks do for us?

Primary History article

By Alf Wilkinson, published 26th November 2021

Whatever did the Greeks do for us?

The National Curriculum asks us to help our children to study ‘Greek life and achievements and their influence on the western world’ [DfE 2013]. Lots of books explore the ancient Greeks [see, for example, Ancient Greece by Alf Wilkinson, Collins Primary Histories, published in 2019]. It is a familiar topic. Yet how much do we help our children to understand the impact of the Greeks on the western world? Or do we focus on the more familiar life in ancient Greece? And how might we do both in the available time? This article suggests some ways we might.

The ancient Greeks, like the Maya, were not one united people. There were many city states who were often at war with each other. Only when faced with an external threat, like the Persians, would the Greeks unite to defend their homes and city states. Greek civilisation lasted, as you can see from the timeline, from around 1200 BC until they were conquered by the Romans in 146 BC, although it could be argued that the Greeks influenced the Romans more than the other way round...

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