Facts About the Acropolis in Athens

Here are some facts about the Acropolis.

  • The Acropolis is an ancient citadel built on a rock in the centre of Athens, Greece. There are other acropoleis in Greece, although the one in Athens is the most well-known.

  • The large flat outcrop is about 150 metres high, and covers an area of about 7 acres. Its most famous building is the Parthenon, which has become a symbol of Greece.
  • The name Acropolis means ‘edge of the city’ in Greek. The area was also once known as Cecropia, after Cecrops, the serpent-man who was the first king of the settlement.
  • The Acropolis became a sacred area when a temple was built there in the 6th century BC. It was dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, from which Athens takes its name.
  • Over the centuries, the buildings on the Acropolis have had different uses. They have been used as churches, mosques, for storing money and valuables, and to defend the city of Athens from attack.


  • There are two ancient Greek theatres on the Acropolis. The larger Theater of Dionysus could seat 17,000 people and had a stage floor made from marble slabs.
  • The propylaea was the huge gateway leading to the Acropolis. A 10 metre high marble pedestal is in front of the propylaea, on which originally stood a statue of King Pergamon.
  • During the Morean War of 1684 to 1699, many buildings on the Acropolis were damaged by cannon fire. The Parthenon was being used to store gunpowder, and was badly affected.
  • The buildings have also been damaged by pollution and from crude attempts to repair them. The first major excavations on the Acropolis were carried out in the early 19th century.
  • A major restoration project started in 1975, taking over 20 years to complete. Many fallen stone fragments were collected from the Acropolis and used in the building repairs.

What next? Discover more facts about the Ancient Greeks by visiting our Ancient Greece resources page.

Pythagoras: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Pythagoras.

  • Pythagoras was an Ancient Greek mathematician and philosopher.
    He was born on the Greek island of Samos around 570 BC and died in Greece probably around 495 BC.

  • In 530 BC he moved to Italy and established a religious group known as the Pythagoreans. The group was very secretive and were vegetarians who worshipped the God Apollo. They didn’t own any possessions.
  • He is best known for the Pythagorean theory named after him. Often referred to as Pythagoras’ Rule, Pythagoras’ Theorem states that in a right-angled triangle, the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides.

Pythagoras Theorem

  • He believed that science and religion were connected. He also believed that the human soul returned over and over again into people, animals and even vegetables.
  • Pythagoras believed that he had already lived four lives, all of which he could remember. Others claimed that he was able to travel through space and time and could talk to plants and animals.
  • Pythagoras believed the Earth was round and that mathematics could explain the physical world. He also devised the triangular figure of 4 rows, adding up to 10 and believed the design to be sacred.
  • A special type of cup is credited to Pythagoras. The cup works normally when the user sips from it, although the contents are spilled if the user drinks too quickly.
  • Pythagoras may have had a condition known as synesthesia. A person with the condition is said to be able to hear colours and see music, or associate smells with people’s names.
  • No books or writings by Pythagoras have survived. He probably taught by speaking to his followers, although in the centuries after his death, several forgeries were discovered.
  • The philosopher Plato was influenced by Pythagoras, and thought that mathematics affected philosophy. Pythagoras also influenced the establishment of the Freemasons and other secret societies.

What next? Learn more about Ancient Greece, or discover some facts about other famous mathematicians.