What Values Did the Ancient Greeks Value Highly?

by A.N. Pike
Greek heroes such as Achilles depicted many of the values ancient Greeks abided by.

Greek heroes such as Achilles depicted many of the values ancient Greeks abided by.

Ancient Greek civilization has contributed to many parts of today's society. The teachings and doings of ancient Greeks have remained important lessons that many societies still base their own laws and ethics on. The ancient Greeks implemented their values of loyalty, glory, intelligence and hospitality into everyday life. While these values may seem simple, they effectively shaped an entire civilization into a culture that is one of the most referenced in history.

Intelligence

King Leonidas of Sparta.

While it was not a requirement of women during ancient Greece, the men were required to go to school and learn. Boys were taught at home until they age of six and then sent off to school. Ancient Greek schools in many city states featured a structure that had boys in school from the age of six until fourteen and then an optional additional four years. The boys were trained in areas of the arts as well as in citizen training. Citizen training prepared Greek boys for two aspects of adult life, which were peace and war.

Glory

Greeks believed that all souls were sent to Hades.

Glory for young men in ancient Greece was the equivalent of fame to young people in today's society. Stories of war glories and battles were handed down to young men, who in turn yearned for the notoriety that came along with the glory and victory of a battle. Glory was also valued highly due to the fact that back in ancient Greece, it was believed that once you died, all souls were sent down to Hades. Souls that had achieved some sort of glory during their living life were the only souls in Hades that were granted privileges.

Hospitality

Helping your fellow man was important.

Helping your fellow man was an important aspect of ancient Greek society. Homer clearly depicted the importance of hospitality throughout “The Odyssey” as Odysseus traveled to faraway places and was in need of help from others. Ancient Greeks were hospitable even when they did not want to be. They offered food, shelter and protection to travelers without question. While it is unclear whether ancient Greeks were hospitable due to their fear of the Gods or whether they were simply doing their brotherly duty, it is clear that hospitality was an important aspect of life.

Loyalty

Loyalty was one of the most highly regarded values.

Loyalty is perhaps the most influential value of ancient Greek civilization. Loyalty was embedded in everything the Greeks did. They believed in loyalty to the family, the community and most importantly to the Gods. Loyalty to the family meant doing what was best for your family. Loyalty to the community meant doing what you could for your community whether it was giving money or putting up a stranger for the night. Loyalty to the Gods meant never questioning their motives. The Gods of ancient Greece often sent tests to citizens and maintaining faith through the tests was a sign of loyalty and belief.

About the Author

A.N. Pike has been a professional writer since 2006. She has worked for the "McKinney Courier-Gazette" and her campus newspaper, now freelancing for various clients. Pike earned her associate's degree in mass communications and journalism from Collin College.

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