This file was prepared in December 2006 for a visit to the 5th grade class of my grandson, Pierce, at Abington Friends School in Jenkintown PA. More general introductions to ancient Greece for similar audiences are available on the web, such as here (thanks to information supplied by Aida Ballion at Monument Charter Schools). [Bob Kraft, Emeritus University of Pennsylvania]

Questions for Bob  [see Greeklife page; greek landscape views, maps of ancient Greece]]

What did the Olympic Coliseum look like in ancient times?

[see images, inside; outside]

What would life on a ship have been like?

     [depends on the ship (fishing, merchant, war, etc.) and one's role, from captain down to crew or oarsman. The ability to remove the trireme war ship from the water was thought to be important since a dried out vessel floated better and could move faster and turn quicker than one which had been in the water longer. Thus actively used triremes were kept out of the water in ship sheds as much as possible. No living quarters were provided on board the trireme so the crews were expected to moor or beach the boat at night and camp onshore.]

Were slaves used on row boats? 

[perhaps when manpower was scarce, but probably not in normal conditions]

What were their lives like?

    [ big "biremes" (2 levels of oars) and "triremes" (3 levels) for sea warfare and the like; special skills were important, also muscle power. Living conditions must have been rough.]

What would a school look like?  One room?

    [probably mostly in the courtyards (aulae) of an instructor's home or perhaps also sometimes in public spaces; different levels of schooling for different ages and needs]

How did wars start in Ancient Greece?

    [same as anywhere: agression, insult, misunderstanding, etc.]

Did they have bread at each meal?

FOOD:  Along the coastline, the soil was not very fertile, but the ancient Greeks used systems of irrigation and crop rotation to help solve that problem. They grew olives, grapes, and figs. They kept goats, for milk and cheese. In the plains, where the soil was more rich, they also grew wheat to make bread. Fish, seafood, and home-made wine were very popular food items. In some of the larger Greek city-states, meat could be purchased in cook shops. Meat was rarely eaten, and was used mostly for religious sacrifices.

How did they talk?  Do you know any phrases?  (What is your name? hello?) 

I'thi =  ἴθι, ei'a! = εἶα  Deu'ro = δεῦρο (sg) / Deu'te = δεῦτε (pl)! Bas'ke! = βάσκε Fe're! = φέρε  Hu'page! = ὕπαγε
Come along! -- He'peo prote'rô! = ἕπεο προτέρω

Excuse me -- Sungignô'ske moi = συγγίγνωσκέ μοι
Khai're = χαῖρε (sg) / Khai'rete = χαίρετε (pl)! E'rrôso! = ἔρρωσο
Health! -- Hugi'eia! = ὑγίεια
Ou'le = οὖλέ (sg) / Ou'lete = οὔλετε (pl)!
Khai're = χαῖρε (sg) / Khai'rete = χαίρετε (pl)!
Me'ga Khai're = μέγα χαῖρε (sg) / Me'ga Khai'rete = μέγα χαίρετε (pl)!
How? -- Pôs? = πῶς
Speu'de = σπεῦδε (sg) / Speu'dete = σπεύδετε (pl)!
Ha! (surprise or suffering) -- Papai'! = παπαῖ
Ah! (grief, anger, surprise, admiration) -- Feu! = φεῦ
So be it! -- Es'tô! = ἔστω
Luck (good) -- Tu'khê agathê'! = τύχῃ ἀγαθή
Never! -- Ou'pote! = οὔποτε
Ou = οὐ
Hê'kista = ἥκιστα
Sigê' nun! = σιγὴ νῦν
Koi'mêson sto'ma! = κοίμησον στόμα
Thank you.
Kha'ris soi = χάρις σοι (sg) / Kha'ris humin' = χάρις ὑμῖν (pl).
What? -- Ti = τί
When? -- Po'te? = ποτέ
Where? -- Pou? = που
Who? -- Tis? =  τίς
Why? -- Ti? = τί
Why not? = Ti mên = τί μήν

Woe! -- Oa'! = ὀᾶ
Woe's me!
Oi moi! = οἵ μοι
Ta'las! = τάλας
Tlê'môn! = τλῆμον

Yes -- Nai = ναί

What did their rooms look like in their house? (Dining, bedroom, kitchen?) [link to Greek life page]

GREEK HOUSES: Greek houses, in the 6th and 5th century BCE, were made up of two or three rooms, built around an open air courtyard, built of stone, wood, or clay bricks. Larger homes might also have a kitchen, a room for bathing, a men's dining room, and perhaps a woman's sitting area. Although the Greek women were allowed to leave their homes for only short periods of time, they could enjoy the open air, in the privacy of their courtyard. Much of ancient Greek family life centered around the courtyard

The ancient Greeks loved stories and fables. One favorite family activity was to gather in the courtyard to hear these stories, told by the mother or father. In their courtyard, Greek women might relax, chat, and sew. Most meals were enjoyed in the courtyard. Greek cooking equipment was small and light and could easily be set up there. On bright, sunny days, the women probably sheltered under a covered area of their courtyard, as the ancient Greeks believed a pale complexion was a sign of beauty.

How would my name look and sound in Greek letters?

[Note: Most Greek names for guys end in -OS, for girls in -A or -E]
[Greek has no letters C H J Q V Y or W; it has two letters for E sounds and O sounds; it also has a letter for "KS" and another for "PS"]

Adam          ΑΔΑΜ             Αδαμ
Alex            ΑΛΕΞ               Αλεχ
Alexa          ΑΛΕΞΑ             Αλεχα          
Alexandra   ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΑ   Αλεχανδρα
Allison        ΑΛΛΙΣΟΝ         Αλλισον
Andre'        ΑΝΔΡΕ'               Ανδρε'
Arielle         ΑΡΙΕΛΛΕ            Αριελλε
Beccaca      ΒΕΚΚΑΚΑ         Βεκκακα
Bianca         ΒΙΑΝΚΑ            Βιανκα
Brandon      ΒΡΑΝΔΟΝ         Βρανδον
Brian           ΒΡΙΑΝ                 Βριαν
Caci            ΚΑΚΙ                  Κακι
Cara           ΚΑΡΑ                  Καρα
Carlos         ΚΑΡΛΟΣ           Καρλος
Cherise       ΧΕΡΙΣΕ               Χερισε
Chris F.      ΧΡΙΣ Φ.               Χρις Φ.
Chris L       ΧΡΙΣ Λ.               Χρις Λ.
Courtney    ΚΩΡΤΝΙΕ            Κωρτνιε
Daniel F.    ΔΑΝΙΗΛ Φ.         Δανιηλ Φ.
Daniel S.    ΔΑΝΙΗΛ Σ.          Δανιηλ Σ.
Danny      ΔΑΝΝΙΕ                 Δαννιε
David       ΔΑΥΙΔ (ΔΑΒΙΔ)     Δαυιδ (Δαβιδ)
Emma      ΕΜΜΑ                   Εμμα
Emi          ΕΜΙ                        Εμι
Emily        ΕΜΙΛΙΕ                 Εμιλιε
Gigi          ΓΙΓΙ                        Γιγι
Griffin       ΓΡΙΦΦΙΝ               Γριφφιν
Ian            ΙΑΝ                        Ιαν
Isabel       ΙΣΑΒΕΛ                  Ισαβελ
Izzie          ΙΖΖΙΕ                     Ιζζιε
Jack          ΙΑΚ                        Ιακ (Ιακωβ)
Jamess      ΙΑΜΕΣ                  Ιαμες
Jason        ΙΑΣΟΝ                  Ιασον
Jenna        ΙΕΝΝΑ                  Ιεννα
Jennan      ΙΕΝΝΑΝ               Ιενναν
Jessica      ΙΕΣΣΙΚΑ               Ιεσσικα
Joey          ΙΟΗ                      Ιοη
Jonny        ΙΟΝΝΙΕ                Ιοννιε
Jordan       ΙΟΡΔΑΝ               Ιορδαν
Julia           ΙΥΛΙΑ                  Ιυλια
Julie           ΙΥΛΙΕ                  Ιυλιε
Keith         ΚΕΙΘ                  Κειθ
Kevin        ΚΕΥΙΝ (ΚΕΒΙΝ) Κευιν (Κεβιν)
Kyle          ΚΙΛΕ                  Κιλε
Leela         ΛΕΕΛΑ               Λεελα
McKenna  ΜΚΚΕΝΝΑ         ΜκΚεννα
Maeve       ΜΑΕΥΕ (ΜΑΕΒΕ) Μαεθε (Μαεβε)
Manish       ΜΑΝΙΣ               Μανις
Manuel       ΜΑΝΥΗΛ           Μανυηλ
Mini           ΜΙΝΙ                     Μινι
Melanie      ΜΕΛΑΝΙΕ            Μελανιε
Niara          ΝΙΑΡΑ                 Νιαρα
Nicole         ΝΙΚΟΛ                 Νικολ
Peter           ΠΕΤΕΡ (ΠΕΤΡΟΣ ) Πετερ (Πετρος)
Pierce         ΠΙΕΡΣΕ               Πιερσε
Rachel         ΡΑΧΗΛ               Ραχηλ
Reggie         ΡΕΓΓΙΕ               Ρεγγιε
Rick            ΡΙΚ                     Ρικ
Ricky          ΡΙΚΙΕ                  Ρικιε
Robert        ΡΟΒΕΡΤ             Ροβερτ 
Sarah          ΣΑΡΑ                  Σαρα
Sean           ΣΕΑΝ                  Σεαν
Simon         ΣΙΜΩΝ               Σιμων (Σιμωνος)
Susanneie   ΣΥΣΑΝΝΗ         Συσαννη
Sydney       ΣΙΔΝΙΕ               Σιδνιε
Thomas      ΘΩΜΑΣ            Θωμας
Thuy           ΘΥΕ                  Θυε
Tori            ΤΟΡΙ                  Τορι
Well           ΟΥΕΛΛ            Ουελλ  

Greek Mythology in Readable form