I was searching the web, passing time and I came across a great article posted by Theodoros II and updated on October 9, 2015 entitled: 25 Things We Would Not Have Without Ancient Greece.
It is always exciting when I can learn a little bit more about my heritage as a Greek. Here are 12 of the 25, look back in two weeks for the complete list.
Here is his list:
25) Urban Planning
Despite the fact that most people believe urban planning is a relatively modern innovation (from the last two centuries), Hippodamus, the ancient Greek architect and urban planner, is considered by most historians to be the “father of city planning” for his design of Miletus. His plans of Greek cities were characterized by order and regularity in contrast to the intricacy and confusion common to cities of that period, including Athens. He is seen as the originator of the idea that a town plan might formally embody and clarify a rational social order.
The earliest evidence of a watermill can be found in the wheel of Perachora, estimated to have been created during the third century BCE in Greece. However, the earliest recorded proof we have for the existence of a watermill comes from the Greek engineer Philo of Byzantium, who mentions in one of his works water wheels that people frequently used in Alexandria during the Hellenistic period.
Way before Copernicus, several Greek astronomers had noticed that Earth revolved around a relatively stationary sun at the center of the solar system. Many notable scientists such as Philolaus, Heraclides of Pontus, Seleucus of Seleucia, Aristarchus of Samos, and Hypatia had proposed a heliocentric system almost two thousand years before Copernicus.
The ancient Greeks set a high standard for themselves in promoting physical and mental fitness. This was a concept reflected in their approach to exercise and cleanliness. Athens required many aqueducts to bring water from the mountains and in order to do that they developed highly extensive plumbing systems for baths and fountains, as well as for personal use within homes. The water supplies were directed to storage cisterns, which in turn fed a multitude of street fountains, some of which are still in use today.
This omnipresent instrument is another contribution of the ancient Greeks. It was used to measure the distance between cities and is believed to have been first used systematically by Alexander the Great’s bematists Diognetus and Baeton to measure the distances of routes traveled.
Anaximander, one of the most important pre-Socratic philosophers, is credited with the invention of maps and cartography. Despite maps being produced before his time in Egypt, Lydia, the Middle East, and Babylon, they focused exclusively on sole directions, roads, towns, and borders. Anaximander’s innovation was to represent the entire inhabited land known to the ancient Greeks.
Before the development of clearly defined ports in ancient Greece, mariners were guided by fires set on hilltops. Since raising the fire would improve visibility, placing the fire on a platform became a practice that led to the development of the lighthouse. The most famous lighthouse of antiquity was the Pharos of Alexandria, which was built during the Ptolemaic Kingdom in Egypt around 280–247 BCE and designed by the Greek architect Sostratus of Cnidus.
During the sixth century BCE the Greeks invented a way to lift heavy stone blocks onto emerging temple walls, which we know today as a crane. Holes drilled into the stone suggest ropes were attached to the blocks so it could be pulled up.
The first coins were developed independently in Iron Age Anatolia and Archaic Greece around 600–700 BCE. In this way the Greeks became the first to develop coins of different sizes and materials depending on their value which were then used to buy or trade goods.
16) Clock Towers (and Weather Station)
When people think of clock towers, they usually think of medieval Europe, but in reality the first clock tower was built in ancient Greece. The Tower of the Winds in Athens, right under the Acropolis, was the first clock tower and weather station. It helped local merchants estimate the time of delivery for their products and, at the same time, helped them protect their freight from extreme weather conditions.
15) Central Heating
Before the Romans came up with the hypocaust system, the Greeks, specifically the Minoans, had a system of their own. The Greeks would place pipes under floors in their homes through which they passed warm water in order to keep the rooms and floors heated during the winter season. For this reason they usually built their homes so that the tile floors were supported by cylindrical pillars, creating a space beneath the floor where hot vapors from a central fire could circulate and spread through flues in the walls.
The ancient Greeks were the first to have an automated sink with running water, so both hands could be washed at the same time. They washed themselves with lumps of clay, had steam baths, and rubbed their skin with oil, which they then scraped off with an instrument called a strigil, along with any dirt.