Infographic titles the Greek legacy.
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Ancient Greece's legacy has been as broad as it is deep, including major concepts, institutions, and inventions in government, culture, the arts, mathematics, the sciences, and technology.

A Remarkable Legacy

With its conquest of Asia Minor in 133 B.C. Rome replaced Greece as the dominant power in the Mediterranean world. However, the Greek legacy remains. Greek works in the arts and sciences set a standard for later people of Europe. Greek ideas about law, freedom, justice, and government continue to influence political thinking to the present day.

Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and other Greek philosophers developed an ideal of critical thought and self-examination that allowed people to question ideas and institutions. Citizens could participate and judge governments. Later, the founders of Western political systems, including of the United States, studied these ancient Greek ideas as part of their classical educations. The Athenian experiment in direct democracy by citizen participation thus had a deep and far-reaching impact on modern politics and governments.

These achievements and their impact were especially remarkable because they were produced by a scattering of tiny city-states whose rivalries left them too weak to defend themselves from conquest. Later, you will learn how the Greek legacy influenced the civilizations of Rome and of Western Europe.


  1. Identify Cause and Effect How did Philip II take control of Greece?
  2. Infer Why do you think Alexander the Great and his generals founded so many new cities?
  3. Cite Evidence How did Alexander and his successors spread Greek culture through the Hellenistic world?
  4. Summarize the contributions Aristarchus and Eratosthenes made to astronomy.
  5. Identify Which Greek scientist invented a pump that continues to be used for irrigation in many parts of the world today? What does his invention do?

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Table of Contents

World History Topic 1 Origins of Civilization (Prehistory–300 B.C.) Topic 2 The Ancient Middle East and Egypt (3200 B.C.–500 B.C.) Topic 3 Ancient India and China (2600 B.C.–A.D. 550) Topic 4 The Americas (Prehistory–A.D. 1570) Topic 5 Ancient Greece (1750 B.C.–133 B.C.) Topic 6 Ancient Rome and the Origins of Christianity (509 B.C.-A.D. 476) Topic 7 Medieval Christian Europe (330–1450) Topic 8 The Muslim World and Africa (730 B.C.-A.D. 1500) Topic 9 Civilizations of Asia (500–1650) Topic 10 The Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1650) Topic 11 New Global Connections (1415–1796) Topic 12 Absolutism and Revolution Topic 13 The Industrial Revolution Topic 14 Nationalism and the Spread of Democracy (1790–1914) Topic 15 The Age of Imperialism (1800–1914) Topic 16 World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914–1924) Topic 17 The World Between the Wars (1910–1939) Topic 18 World War II (1930–1945) Topic 19 The Cold War Era (1945–1991) Topic 20 New Nations Emerge (1945–Present) Topic 21 The World Today (1980-Present) United States Constitution Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Atlas Glossary Index Acknowledgments