Why the Greeks Matter During the NRP broadcast ‘Why the Greeks Matter’, Cahill, Straus and the listeners mentioned a lot of important points concerning the Greeks. How they lived their everyday life, what influenced their customs and what democracy meant to them are just a few that were mentioned. One of the first compelling points Cahill and Straus describe is excellence.
Excellence is what the Greeks cared most about because it was dominated by alpha males. Cahill mentioned that the Greeks did everything within a contest; someone always had to lose or win.Athletic completions were a way to show strength and aggression without creating war. However, contests were not just contained to the Olympics, but also in drama, poetry and plays. Although, Strauss said war for territory was prevalent among the Greeks and to keep the expenses down in war, treason was practiced often. Cahill also explained that drama was a democracy in of itself because actors would put their political views into their acting. The audience would also get involved in the politics and either boo them off the stage or cheer them on.Also, irrelevance is said to have been brought about by the Greeks around the same time the alphabet did.
Cahill said that there is an extreme amount of humor within ancient Greece. One caller mentioned that the term democracy was a contradiction when it came to the Greeks because of slavery. However, Cahill mentioned that to the Greeks, slavery was just a way of life and that the Greeks didn’t see any wrong in the practice. He continued to say that it takes time for ideas to evolve and change for the better.
Also that only a minority of the Greek population participated in democracy (10%-20%) and that children, woman, resident aliens and slaves did not. Both Strauss and Cahill touched upon the fact that the Greeks received or borrowed other cultures customs such as math, art, and the way of life. Then they improved these customs and made them their own. Although, the Greeks would not have admitted it if asked because of their need for excellence. Both also laughed and lightly touched upon the subject of the Greeks being perceived as having an open sexuality.
Strauss said that the Greeks were non-victorian but not totally enlightened either. Cahill said that there was not sheer freedom of sexuality as many believe there was among the Greeks. I believe that the Greeks matter because they influenced the customs we do today. Their art, poets and plays have inspired many individuals and cultures.
We still see their style of architecture being used in today’s building and monuments. I also believe their war tactics were ahead of their time period and well thought out because we still use similar tactics today. The Greeks were innovated, uninhibited and excelled in what they did everyday.