Young Readers—Ancient Greece

Legendary to 300 B.C.
Trojan War to Alexander the Great

Era Summary       Characters       Timeline       Reading Assignments      

Era Summary—Ancient Greece

The Ancient History division of the Young Readers collection focuses primarily on Greek and Roman history because these civilizations are essential to understanding Western Culture. They are also especially appealing to young people, when presented at an age-appropriate level. Greek History is especially attractive to children because it is rich in mythology and some of its more romantic conflicts, including the Greco Persian Wars and Macedonian Conquest of Persia are especially interesting to young readers.

The Ancient Greece division of the Young Readers collection is mostly composed of fables, fiction, and mythology rather than authentic history, although Lemon's Stories from Greek History introduces a handful of important Greek characters, including Solon, Themistocles, and Alexander the Great. Greek folklore is especially interesting to very young children, and Milo Winter's beautifully illustrated Aesop for Children has been a childhood favorite for nearly 100 years. Children's versions of the Stories from the Iliad Told to the Children and Stories from the Odyssey Told to the Children are simple enough to hold younger student's interest as well, while Lemon's Stories from Greek History provide a very short introduction to Greek history for older students. Lemon's short history, along with selected stories from Baldwin's Famous Stories series, are the source for most of the Young Readers Study Questions having to do with Ancient Greece.

Once students are ready to start learning comprehensive history, we recommend they begin with Greek history. The Ancient Greece Academy Course features many more stories of Greek myths and heroes that are always favorites of young readers. But more importantly, Greek history, along with the Biblical stories of Israel, it is truly the foundation of Western Civilization and it is important that students understand where the unique ideas and attitudes of Western civilization arose.

Characters—Ancient Greece

Character/Date Short Biography

Greek Heroes

~ 2000 BC
Led a voyage of 'Argonauts' on a quest to recover the Golden Fleece.
~ 2000 BC
Legendary hero who killed Medusa, a monster so ugly it turned people to stone.
~ 2000 BC
Legendary hero, who killed the Minataur. Ancient King of Athens.
~ 2000 BC
Greatest of Greek demigod heroes. Succeeded in twelve labors.
~ 1200 BC
Greatest Warrior on the Greek side in the Trojan War. Invincible except for his heel.
~ 1200 BC
Greek hero of the Trojan war, famous for his wiles and craft. Central character of Homer's Odyssey.
~ 1200 BC
Faithful Wife of Odysseus. Kept suitors at bay for twenty years, as she awaited his return.
~ 1200 BC
Wife of Greek Menelaus, who ran off with Paris of Troy. This insult caused the Trojan War.

Historical Characters

638–559 BC
Rewrote the laws of Athens to better protect poor citizens from the rich.
605–527 BC
Tyrant of Athens. Respected Solon's laws. Established festivals, and promoted culture.
525–462 BC
Athenian hero of the Battle of Salamis. He masterminded Athenian naval supremacy.
520–465 BC
Raised an enormous army for Persian invasion of Greece. Defeated at Battle of Salamis.
d. 480 BC
Spartan King whose whole army died defending the pass of Thermopylae.
499–429 BC
Athenian statesman during Golden Age of Athens. Made Athens cultural center of Greece.
469–399 BC
First moral philosopher, immortalized by Plato.
d. 413 BC
Important Athenian general in the Peloponnesian War. Perished at Syracuse.
384–322 BC
Renowned scientist and philosopher. Cataloged all types of knowledge. Tutor to Alexander the Great.
Philip of Macedonia
382–336 BC
Used statesmanship as well as military force to bring Greece under sway of Macedonia.
Alexander the Great
356–323 BC
Greatest general of ancient times. Conquered Persian Empire with 40,000 soldiers.

Timeline—Ancient Greece

BC YearEvent
1000 Homer writes The Iliad, an account of the Trojan War.
700 Laws of Sparta established by Lycurgus.
600 Laws of Athens established by Solon.
490 First Persian WaróBattle of Marathon (Greek Victory)
480 Third Persian WaróBattles of Thermopylae (Persian victory) and Salamis (Greek Victory)
450 Golden Age of Athens, building of the Parthenon.
430-404 Peloponnesian War—Sparta defeats the Athenian Empire.
401 Retreat of the Ten Thousand Greeks from Persian territory, under Xenophon.
399 Philosopher Socrates is forced to drink hemlock.
371 Epaminondas of Thebes defeats Sparta at the Battle of Leuctra.
334 Alexander the Great leads Macedonian Conquest of Persia.

Recommended Reading—Ancient Greece

Book Title
Selected Chapters (# chapters)
Winter - Aesop for Children    entire book
Lang - Stories from the Iliad Told to the Children    entire book
Lang - Stories from the Odyssey Told to the Children    entire book
Lemon - Stories from Greek History    entire book
Cowles - Our Little Spartan Cousin of Long Ago    entire book
Cowles - Our Little Athenian Cousin of Long Ago    entire book
Perkins - Spartan Twins    entire book