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Friday, 24 April 2015

Greece (Ancient)

THE DIET OF THE ANCIENT GREEKS

Food and drink had a special importance for the ancient Greeks. Hospitality was a much valued virtue, when the head of the house was entertaining, female slaves ground the corn and prepared the food. The host then cooked the meal sometimes with the help of friends. Any visiting stranger was seated in the best place and it was customary to offer him, before the meal, a bath or foot wash.

Ancient Greek men liked to attend banquets called symposia, a continuation of dinner in which cheeses, fresh and dried fruit, salted cakes and yogurt in honey were served.

Breakfast for most ancient Greeks was a hot porridge made from cereal.

Lunch was bread baked in clay ovens from wheat or barley and goat cheese.

The main meal was at dinner, the poor would make do with fruit, vegetables and mushrooms gathered from the wild. The more wealthy had a two course meal, the first being vegetables with mutton, beef or pork.

Those who lived near the coast would eat fish such as squid and octopus, turbot and salted or marinated tuna. The meat or fish would either be fried in olive oil or roasted, a favorite recipe was dormice roasted in a vinegar and honey sauce.

This would be followed by items such as goat cheese, grapes, figs, honey cakes and almonds.

Those who lived near the coast would eat fish such as squid and octopus, turbot and salted or marinated tuna. The meat or fish would either be fried in olive oil or roasted, a favorite recipe was dormice roasted in a vinegar and honey sauce.

Food also had a religious significance and the Greeks often make food offerings at temples.

MEDICINE

Spices and herbs played an important role in Greek medical science and many every day products had alternative medical uses. For instance wine and vinegar was used in wound dressings and horseradish was used as a rub for low back pain and an aphrodisiac.

THE ARTS

The Greeks believed that mealtime offered an opportunity to nourish the spirit as well as the body. They reclined on couches while eating with poetry, lyre playing and dancing in the background.

From the very early times dancing has been popular among the Greek people. The ancients thought it promoted physical health and influenced one's education positively.

In Homer's epics, which date from the 11th to 10th century BC, dance is portrayed as a kind of social pastime, not as an activity associated with religious observances.

Generally, Greek dances were not based on the relationship between men and women. Most were performed by either one sex or the other.

In Greek plays dance was of major importance, and the three greatest dramatists of the era--Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides--were familiar with dance in both theory and practice.

In plays such as The Bacchae,  Euripedes' last great work, a dancing choir plays a role of major importance.

Choruses played an integral part in the ancient Greek dramas, sometimes singing as well as speaking.

The Chorus normally sang in unison (though its leader could take part in spoken dialogue with actors), and danced in formation as it sang.

The ancient Greeks selected and arranged the tones in scales called modes. Two of these Greek modes supplied the foundation for the music of the Western world.

The Greeks used stringed instruments such as the lyre, flutes such as the panpipe, and a wide variety of percussion instruments, including tambourines, cymbals, and castanets.

At Greek dramatic festivals the music to accompany songs was provided by the only unmasked figure, the player of the aulos, which was a double pipe with reeds.

Choruses played an integral part in the ancient Greek dramas, sometimes singing as well as speaking.

The Chorus normally sang in unison (though its leader could take part in spoken dialogue with actors), and danced in formation as it sang.

Poet-musicians competed at religious festivals. The amateur players accompanied their poems on the lyre, and virtuosos used the cithara, a similar instrument with more strings.

HOMES

In ancient Greece, houses were built of stone, wood, and clay bricks. The better homes had an open court called a peristylum.

The Athenians lived in very modest houses. They used their building skills to create majestic public structures such as temples, baths, and the agora, or marketplace, in which they spent most of their time.

ANIMALS

The ancient Greeks viewed the horse as a heroic symbol, a wonder beast ridden by great warriors and by the gods.

The Greeks hunted wild boar and mountain lion on horseback.

Sources Europress Encyclopedia,  Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia, Food For Thought by Ed Pearce

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