Exploring Ancient Greece!

Let's explore ancient Greece! Look at the map below and click the buttons for more on a couple of important Greek cities. Then scroll down for a timeline of important events and a quick quiz!

Click on a picture below for more information about that city. Try to find the city on the map.

The Spartans were known as great warriors. Their main focus was being tough! They even banned money, so that it wouldn't make them weak. They won two major wars: the Persian Wars and the Peloponnesian Wars. They didn't have fancy buildings, and very few buildings from Sparta survive today. One interesting thing is that Sparta had two kings, from each of two royal families. They never got along with each other very well...

Athens was a city famous for learning. It was the hometown of philosophers like Socrates and Plato. It was also known for its democracy...although only men could vote. It had a strong navy. It is also famous for the Parthenon, a huge temple (see picture) dedicated to the city's main goddess, Athena.

Lesbos is actually the name of one of the islands which were part of Greece. It is famous as the home of the poetess Sappho, who was one of the earliest female poets. We still can read some of her poems, although mostly we have only pieces of them, called fragments. Most of her poems are about love.

Miletus was a Greek city, even though it is in Asia Minor, which is now part of Turkey. The Greeks thought of themselves as a culture, not a nation, so you can find Greek cities outside of the land we know as Greece. Miletus was often ruled by the Persians. At other times, such as after the Persian Wars, it was independent. In the picture, you can see part of the amphitheater at Miletus.

Now let's look at some important events in ancient Greece. Click each timeline picture below to read about what was going on at that time.

The first ever Olympic games were held in Olympia, Greece! The place in the picture was for training wrestlers and other athletes.

During the First Persian War, a Greek soldier named Pheidipides ran all the way from the Battle of Marathon to Athens to tell the Athenians that they had won. He ran the whole way without stopping, burst into the assembly, said "We won!" and then collapsed and died. Today we run "marathons" in his honor.

Nearly all of the Greek city-states participated in these wars, although we mostly hear about Athens and Sparta fighting each other. The war went on for a long time, and some armies changed sides. In the end the Spartans were the overall winners. They came from the area of Greece called the Peloponnese, which is where we get the name of the war.

When Alexander became king, he began carrying out the plans his father, King Philip II, had made to invade Asia. First he attacked and conquered Persia, then conquered Egypt and India. He created one of the largest empires of the ancient world and was one of the most successful military commanders ever. His homesick soldiers convinced him to turn back, and he died in Babylon at the age of 33.

Greece and Macedon are taken over by the Romans and become part of the Roman Empire.

Take the short quiz below to test your knowledge!


Olympia in Greece

The Spartans

Persia, Egypt, India




He was running from the Battle of Marathon to Athens

The Roman Empire

776 BC

Photo Credits: Map: User:Megistias [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)]