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6 Things Gifted To The World By The Ancient Greeks

6 Things Gifted To The World By The Ancient Greeks

Ancient Greece was the birthplace of many great polymaths, philosophers, inventions, discoveries and overall advancements. They pioneered subjects such as science, philosophy, arts, architecture, poetry, rhetoric, drama and what not. No wonder Greece is called the cradle of Western civilisation. As a throwback to the past era, let us take a look at some of the important ways they shaped our life through these six inventions, which have become an indispensable part of the modern world.

Steam engine: The steam engine, which was invented and popularised by the British, was a major cause of their fortunes made during the Industrial Revolution. However though they made the first practical steam engine, the idea had already existed in Greece since 1 A.D. under the name aeolipile. Developed by a famous Greek engineer called Heron of Alexandria, it was used as a toy by children and subsequent inventors used his ideas described in his treatise, ‘Mechanics and Optics’, as an inspiration for similar inventions.

Plumbing: The important science of plumbing was also a gift of the Greeks to the world. Since around 400 B.C., they had set in place a plumbing system for homes, baths and fountains. Houses were fitted with latrines which drained the water into the sewer beneath the street. Some sewers also had ventilating shafts.

Showers: The Greeks were obsessed with cleanliness, as is evident from the different ways they invented to clean and purify themselves. Showers were also a common feature and were much like our modem system, fitted with locker rooms and bars to hang up one’s clothes. Their aqueducts and sewage systems facilitated both the inflow and outflow of water, so that people could enjoy a nice long shower, without any fear of having no water!

Vending machine: The Americans may have popularised the vending machine through their cola and candy dispensers, but it was the Greeks who originally invented the concept of the vending machine. To be specific, it was Heron of Alexandria who first tossed a coin into a slot on the top of a machine he created, which then dispensed a fixed amount of holy water.

Greek yoghurt: If Greek yoghurt has become an important part of your diet and you simply can’t get enough of it, blame the Greeks for it! This yummy, creamy probiotic was discovered in Greece, but goes by the names of yiaourti or straggisto, a form of strained yoghurt enjoyed for its health benefits and delectable taste.

Baths: It was the Greeks who taught the world how to pamper and beautify themselves. They were the first to invent baths, where people could come and cleanse and beauty themselves. So if you loved the public baths of Rome, thank the Greeks for it. They would rub themselves with clay, enjoy a steam bath and end it with the vigorous rubbing of olive oil into their skin and scraping it off with a tool known as the ‘strigil’, which cleansed one of any remaining dirt and grime.

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