Most SURPRISING Facts About The Ancient Greeks!


From chastity belts to worrying about zombies,
here are 14 curious facts about the ancient Greeks. 14. Yo-Yo
The ancient Greeks are known for many wonderful creations and inventions, but as a vase from
440 B.C. shows, they were apparently masters of recreation and finding ways to entertain
themselves too. How so? Well, because this vase shows a woman playing
with an object that is clearly a Yo-Yo. That’s right, apparently, Yo-Yo’s were around
in 440 BC, and the Greeks seemed to love them so much that they put them into art pieces. That being said, we don’t know what the Greeks
called it, however, this is the first historical reference for a Yo-Yo! Pretty significant stuff! I bet the person who found it was very surprised!! 13. Diagnosis: Earwax
Whether it was the Greeks, the Romans, the Chinese, Egyptians, or any other famous culture
in between, there are always “unique” medical practices that you can find from their early
days. In regards to the Greeks, they had a very
interesting practice where if you were sick, the doctor wouldn’t start checking you out
until he had a taste of your earwax. That’s right, the doctor would swab your ears
and taste your earwax. Why? Well, the Greek doctors believed that this
would help them figure out your condition. Not through the texture or temperature, but
rather, through their taste. This started with the legendary Hippocrates,
whose name might sound familiar from the Hippocratic Oath. He believed that all the fluids of the body
were not only essential, they had a way of revealing the truth about things based on
how they tasted. So, earwax and other fluids of the body were
studied for their taste, and then taught to one another. And thus, it became a “standard” practice
until other medical techniques came about. 12. The Male Body
Depending on the art of ancient Greece that you’ve seen, you’ve more than likely seen
plenty of people in the nude all over the place. You might think this is just an interpretation,
but it’s more than that. The ancient Greeks were obsessed with male
bodies, sometimes females too, but it was believed that a man’s body was made for all
other men and gods to see, and thus in cases like the Olympics men would always be naked. This included working out in the gym naked
and rubbing each other with oil and then wrestling to show off muscles. .
And if you were curious, yes, the gyms in Greece were for men only. 11. Female Eyebrows
That’s not to say that ancient Greece didn’t have certain philosophies and beliefs for
the female body, because goddesses were also represented in the nude. But they were especially interested in their
eyebrows. For unlike today, where a unibrow is “frowned
upon” in terms of beauty, the Greeks really liked them. In fact, the women of Greece would do their
best to try and grow a unibrow to show off not only their beauty, but the “wisdom” that
they had. (The Romans liked this trend too). “But what if they couldn’t grow a unibrow?” You might be asking. Not everyone is Frida Kahlo! Well, not unlike modern practices, they would
just “draw one”. Using pencils or kohl to etch one in so that
they wouldn’t stand out in the wrong way. 10. To Wipe, Or Not To Wipe
When it comes to thinking about times before modern amenities, one of the biggest topics
brought up is about toilet paper. After all, toilet paper wasn’t widely circulated
until the 1800’s, so that’s thousands of years of people having to go to the bathroom and
not having toilet paper, so what did people like the ancient Greeks use when they had
to go? Well, as in all cases of ancient cultures,
it had to do with what “class” you were in. If you were in the upper class of their society,
they would actually be able to use a sponge to wipe their bottoms, which likely would’ve
been rather effective. However, for the poor, they had to use stones
and pebbles, and something even ceramic pots. That cannot be good for you. These latter items were no doubt one of the
reasons that the ancient Greeks often suffered from Hemorrhoids. And now for number 9 but first if you are
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9. Athletic Sweat Perks
Greek culture revered their sports athletes, after all, this is the civilization that created
the Olympics. But in some ways, it was more than just reverence,
the very bodies and fluids of these athletes were believed to be gifts straight from the
gods and everything they emitted was mystical, including their sweat. So, after matches and other sports (which,
remember they did naked), the athletes would actually scrape down their bodies to get all
of the filth off of it. Helpers would assist, and then bottle the
sweat from the athletes and actually sell it as medicine. The sweat that was sold would be put on people’s
bodies in an attempt to cure aches and pains. Not so ironically, this “medicine” didn’t
get very good reviews, but for those who believed in it, hey, why not? 8. They Made Slaves Wear Chastity Belts
While Greece may have been a forward culture in ways like creating Democracy, they were
very backwards in others and were strong proponents of slavery. They were also very concerned about making
sure lovemaking didn’t happen with their slaves. They actually used a very well-known technique,
made popular in the middle ages, the chastity belt. If you don’t know what it is, think of it
like an undergarment, but one made of metal, that has a lock and key so in this case the
wearer couldn’t take it off. It was either that or castration so often
the chastity belt was the preferred option. 7. A “Fine” Wine
When you think about ancient Greeks, you probably think that this culture loved to have social
events and parties, and that they would drink heavily all the time. While it’s true that ancient Greeks loved
their wines, they rarely drank them as they were. Meaning, they would actually “dilute” the
wine with water to ensure that they didn’t get drunk. In fact, a common formula at that time was
4-to-1 mixture of water to wine. Why would they go to such lengths for this? Well, it’s because they believed that the
act of drunkenness was to be frowned upon. They associated it with barbarism, and didn’t
want to ruin themselves, or their reputation by drinking too much and doing terrible things
while in an inebriated state. 6. Hand Me The Baby
If you’ve seen the movie 300, you’ll know that ancient Spartans would “survey” newborn
children to see if they were “pure”, aka non-deformed. If they were, they were cast away, for only
the strong could survive. While this is most associated with the Spartans,
it happened in the rest of Greece too, just in different ways. In some cases, it would be the father of the
household who would check the baby and see if they were “worthy” of being in the household. It wasn’t just deformed children who would
be cast out. If the father felt that they were “sickly”,
they could be thrown out, and sometimes, if it was female, they would reject them, for
they would rather have males. All children not deemed worthy by the head
of the household were cast out onto the street. 5. Musically Inclined
The men of Greece were known to be athletes, and warriors, and of course, politicians,
but what many don’t know is that a vast majority of male Greeks, regardless of their social
status or job, were very well versed in music. In fact, it’s said that most men in Greece
knew how to play at least one musical instrument, if not more. Just as impressive is that the men knew how
to sing, how to dance, and other musically inclined things, as music was a major party
of Greek culture. 4. Spartan Romance
The Spartan culture was a very intense one, and that applied not only to their training
(which led them to be some of the best warriors in the world) but how they got married, and
what would happen when they did. After the marriage itself, the women would
be taken away, have their heads shaved, and then put into a dark room. They would then wait for their husbands to
arrive to “kidnap” them, to which they would be taken away and the marriage would be consummated. This was later adopted by many romance novels
as damsels in distress wait for men to whisk them away… That being said, while this practice is odd,
especially now, the women of Sparta were treated much more equally than other women in ancient
Greece. They were able to own property and had some
say in matters of state. 3. Olympics Are Not For The Married
This is an odd custom that was discovered about ancient Greece. Mainly, if you were a married woman, you could
NOT watch the Olympics, at all. If you were found to be married and did indeed
watch it, you would be killed. Pretty harsh, no??? Why did they do this? It’s honestly not clear. However, popular theory suggests that since
men would do the Olympics naked, that it would be extremely inappropriate. The mighty male body could arouse the married
women, and it could lead to a case of adultery, of which the ancient Greek culture loathed. Although this is kind of hypocritical knowing
what we know about the Greeks…. 2. Political Exile
Politicians are a group of people that are both respected and despised, and this isn’t
just from the modern world. Ancient Greece had that problem too. Remember, the Greeks were the creators of
democracy, and they made positions to help the will of the people be known, ergo: politicians. However, the Greeks had the never changing
issue of politicians becoming corrupt in their position, and trying to amass power. So, the Greeks had a way to deal with this
problem. If the people felt that a politician was “too
powerful”, or even “too dangerous” and there were enough votes against him, the politician
would actually be exiled for 10 years. Hopefully to ensure that their influence would
be fully gone before they attempted to return. 1. They Believed In Zombies
While it may seem that the rising of the undead is a modern concept, the ancient Greeks actually
believed that the dead could rise in an unholy way. And thus, they actually took steps to make
sure this wouldn’t happen and cause an undead apocalypse. To be clear, they didn’t believe that just
anyone would rise from the dead. In fact, they believed that only specific
people were capable of it. Mainly, those who were murdered and might
consider revenge, and even those with genetic deformities, as they might want to haunt those
who persecuted them. So, to ensure this didn’t happen, the ancient
Greeks would either burn the body entirely (cremation basically). Or, they would go and chop up the bodies before
burying them, as well as weighing them down with heavy stones. All of this would “prevent” the bodies from
rising again. Thanks for watching! Which of these Greek customs did you like
the most? Let me know in the comments below. Be sure to subscribe, and I’ll see you next
soon!

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