When you hear the words “ancient Greece” what do you think about? Does your mind wander to the very first Olympics? Maybe it recalls the mythology of the Greek gods. It might even remind you of ancient Greece’s role in the development of democracy. It’s true, there are many things we would not have today if it wasn’t for ancient Greece such as vending machines, classical architecture, anchors, sinks, coins and more. But even though most people are aware that many things related to Western culture originated in Greece, there’s much more associated with it than we realize. In fact, if you look around, you’re bound to see or interact with something that has its roots in ancient Greece. Take a look for yourself with these 25 Things We Would Not Have Without Ancient Greece.
Despite the fact that most people believe urban planning is a relatively modern innovation (from the last two centuries), Hippodamus, the ancient Greek architect and urban planner, is considered by most historians to be the “father of city planning” for his design of Miletus. His plans of Greek cities were characterized by order and regularity in contrast to the intricacy and confusion common to cities of that period, including Athens. He is seen as the originator of the idea that a town plan might formally embody and clarify a rational social order.
The earliest evidence of a watermill can be found in the wheel of Perachora, estimated to have been created during the third century BCE in Greece. However, the earliest recorded proof we have for the existence of a watermill comes from the Greek engineer Philo of Byzantium, who mentions in one of his works water wheels that people frequently used in Alexandria during the Hellenistic period.
Way before Copernicus, several Greek astronomers had noticed that Earth revolved around a relatively stationary sun at the center of the solar system. Many notable scientists such as Philolaus, Heraclides of Pontus, Seleucus of Seleucia, Aristarchus of Samos, and Hypatia had proposed a heliocentric system almost two thousand years before Copernicus.
The ancient Greeks set a high standard for themselves in promoting physical and mental fitness. This was a concept reflected in their approach to exercise and cleanliness. Athens required many aqueducts to bring water from the mountains and in order to do that they developed highly extensive plumbing systems for baths and fountains, as well as for personal use within homes. The water supplies were directed to storage cisterns, which in turn fed a multitude of street fountains, some of which are still in use today.
This omnipresent instrument is another contribution of the ancient Greeks. It was used to measure the distance between cities and is believed to have been first used systematically by Alexander the Great’s bematists Diognetus and Baeton to measure the distances of routes traveled.