It is common knowledge that the foundation of western society derives from ancient Greece and more specifically from scripts of the ancient Greek scientist and philosophers whose writings have survived more or less complete. Listed below are ten ancient Greek writers whose works have had a huge impact on modern society and culture worldwide.
8th century BC
He is mainly known for Iliad and Odyssey, the most famous epic poems. The Iliad is the oldest work of western literature. In ancient Greece, people considered themselves uneducated if they had not read both the Iliad and the Odyssey. What is odd is that there is no knowledge of Homer’s life to such an extent that historians dispute his existence.
Sophocles was one of the three great tragedians of ancient Greece along with Aeschylus and Euripides. He wrote 123 tragedies during his life, but only seven of which have completely survived including Antigone, Oedipus the King and Electra. He is known to have developed the art of theatre by introducing initiatives such as the addition of a third actor and scenography.
Herodotus is considered by many the father of history. He was the first to approach history as a science. It is worth mentioning that the word history itself comes from his book Histories which in Greek means “stories.”
Euripides was a tragedian who wrote 95 plays. Only eighteen plays have survived in entity. His most known plays were Alcestis, Medea and Helen. His work was very modern for his time as he portrays strong women and wise slaves.
Hippocrates is considered the father of medicine. The most famous work of his is the Hippocratic Oath which describes doctoral ethics. Doctors today still take parts of this oath. Hippocrates was the first to have described a series of illness and thus he contributed to medicine.
Aristophanes was a comic playwright who wrote 40 plays. Only eleven of which have survived entirely. His most famous works were the Ecclesiazusae, the Frogs and Lysistrata. His plays have provided historians with information about life in Athens of that era.
He was a student of Socrates. The latter never wrote anything of his own. However, his philosophy became known through the works of Plato. Plato was very influenced by his master’s thinking. The most famous of Plato’s work were The Republic and the Symposium.
He was one of Plato’s students and the first to doubt him. Only 47 of his works have survived. Aristotle is considered the last of the great Greek Philosophers and was the tutor of Alexander the Great. He founded logic as a science.
fl. 300 BC
He was a mathematician and the father of geometry. Although there is not much information on his life, it is known that he was active at the Library of Alexandria. His most famous work is “The Elements” and includes a system of mathematical proofs that today, still remain the basis of mathematics.
He was a mathematician, an engineer, an inventor and an astronomer. He is the inventor of The Archimedes’ Screw, a mechanism for moving water still used today. The phrase “Eureka” (I have found it) is attributed to him. He is also known to have calculated the value of pi.