Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece means Greece from about 1200 BC to 323 BC (when Alexander the Great died). Modern civilisation and thinking owes more to Ancient Greece than to anything else. A huge amount of modern learning in Europe in the Middle Ages and Renaissance was based on work from ancient Greece that had been rediscovered by researchers who read old Greek textbooks. For example, almost all of the basic rules of modern maths come from ancient Greece.

Some of the most important people from ancient Greece were Homer, Aristophanes, Plato and Aristotle. Homer was a poet and wrote the Odyssey, about the adventures of Odysseus, and the Iliad, about the Trojans. Aristophanes wrote plays, including comic plays. Plato and Aristotle were famous philosophers. Aristotle invented logic.

Famous mathematicians from ancient Greece were Pythagoras, Archimedes, and Euclid. They laid the theoretical basis to maths that we still use today. One story about Archimedes is that he was killed by a Roman soldier because he refused to stop drawing mathematical diagrams in the sand. Archimedes is also remembered because he is said to have thought up one mathematical law in the bath and been so excited that he jumped out and ran down the street naked shouting 'Eureka!' Ancient Greek mathematicians were obsessed with three special problems: 'doubling the cube', which means working out how to make a cube whose volume is twice that of another given cube; 'trisecting the angle', which means dividing an angle into three equal parts without using a protractor; and the most famous of all, 'squaring the circle', which means working out how to draw a square which has exactly the same area as a given circle.