The city of Indianapolis gets its name from Greek origins. Have you ever wondered if we have any other similarities to the daily life of the Greeks? Take a look at some of the typical ways of life for citizens of Ancient Greece.
The polis was a small, resilient community that controlled a geographically precise territory. Usually this area would include mountains, farmlands and sea. The largest of these communities in Ancient Greece were Athens and Sparta. Polis meaning ‘city-state’ was not an urban community but rather a large group of individuals growing food to feed themselves and selling any surplus at market to supplement their income (Eureka 2015).
As Peter Jones explains in his book Eureka!, Greeks reserved eating most meat for special occasions and mostly subsisted on cereal crops. Another problem with meat in this era was the inability to preserve it. Salting and drying were commonly used as well as sausage making with the cheaper parts. Interestingly, Ancient Greeks had eleven words for sausage so it’s likely to have have been an important cultural staple.
The Ancients didn’t drink much milk either. Due to quick spoiling, milk was consumed immediately or more commonly, not at all. The Greeks preferred cheese made from goats and sheep. They are also credited with bringing wheat, olives and wine to the western Mediterranean during migration. Ancient Greeks were strangely wary of beans and often avoided them due to possible containment of souls, as reported by National Geographic. The Ancient Greeks commonly consumed foods such as: almonds, figs, apples, bread, yogurt, lentils and chickpeas.
The Greeks also invented several parts of our culture today, even here and now. Some of their most noted inventions include: geometry, philosophy, cartography, theatre and many more. The Ancient Greeks live on, both in our culture, some phenomenal local restaurants and our own city’s name.
Jones, P. (2015). Eureka!: Everything you ever wanted to know about the ancient Greeks but were afraid to ask. London: Atlantic Books.