Preferred Style:

Mobile: No images
Low Quality (Default): Small Images
High Quality: Large images, shadows, colors. Do not attempt on dial-up.

If you have a recommendation for a new color scheme, please tell us about it via the Contact Us page.

Ancient Greece

CD-ROM from Calvert School

Reviewed by Martha Robinson

Purchase details: Ancient Greece CD-ROM for Windows. Requirements: Windows 95 or higher, Pentium processor with 32MB RAM, sound card. Not compatible with Vista, XP, or 2000. Available from Calvert School, $25.

Calvert School's Ancient Greece CD-ROM invites fourth to eighth graders to "explore the foundations of modern civilization" with Greek history and culture from 2000 B.C. to about 300 B.C. Copyrighted in 1998, this program has simple animation, music, and a number of sound effects such as clapping and water sounds. A web connection from the program to Calvert School is optional, but was not reviewed.

Each section begins with two questions to think about as the student goes through the material. Then from two to about ten frames of information appear followed by three multiple choice comprehension questions. Each frame has from one sentence to a couple of paragraphs of information. A few of the pages, such as the "In the House" frame, have the child click on an item that highlights as the mouse goes by to get more information. Options are at the bottom of each screen and include "quit," "help," "action" which causes a very simple animation such as a ship moving across the ocean, "audio" to have the text read aloud, "main menu," "sub menu," "next page," and "previous page." Almost all of the illustrations, even many of those of Greek art, are in a cartoon sort of format that is reminiscent of the pictures in Usborne books.

The three sections that are on the main menu page are detailed below. There are a very large number of subsections in several layers under the main menu.

  • Study -- The Study section offers a very broad overview that includes a unit on the "Foundations of Ancient Greece" that includes geography of Greece, early civilizations including the Minoans, Myceneans, Ionians, and Dorians, and city-states, and a second unit on the "Golden Age of Greece" that covers government, Sparta, and Athens.
  • Explore -- The Explore section breaks the topics introduced in the Study section into many subsections, each containing just a few screens of information and then the comprehension questions. Main topics are society, war, art, culture, and learning. Society is broken into politics (monarchs, aristocrats, laws, courts of law, Golden Age, democracy), home life (Minoan homes, Greek homes, inside the house), customs (birth, death, marriage, worship), farm life, sea trade. War has submenus of preparing for war, in battle, Persian wars, Peloponnesian War, and Alexander the Great. Art is divided into architecture, pottery, sculpture, and metalwork. Culture consists of the religion, literature, music, theater, and Olympics subsections. Learning mentions names of famous people in philosophy, medicine, and science.
  • Activities -- The Activities section has three sections: "Hands-on," writing, and games. There are six hands-on activities listed that provide the directions for a relief map, relief carving, vase painting, making a Greek sandwich, a chiton (clothing), and a model of Athens. The writing suggestions include ideas for a persuasive essay, a letter to a fictitious cousin in Sparta or Athens, and business cards for the Greek people and gods studied. The games are designed to be done one time and are dressing a warrior, finding hidden pictures, putting events on a timeline, and building the Parthenon with various pieces such as pillars and roof parts.

Recommendation: The Ancient Greece CD provides a huge amount of overview information, but it does not explore any particular topic in depth. With the stated age range going as high as eighth grade, I would expect some real "meaty" information. The sheer quantity of information may be overwhelming to younger users. While there is some interesting material on the Ancient Greece CD, I found the frequency of comprehension questions to take away from learning rather than add to it. I would have preferred more pictures of real places and art. Still, if you are looking for a way to get your children started on ancient Greece studies with little parental involvement, Calvert School's Ancient Greece could be a good base. resources related to this review:'s History Resources Section for ideas, links, living books, and more!
Review of King Arthur Through the Ages CD-ROM
Review of The Gods of Greece by Calvert School
Review of Child's History of the World CD-ROM
Review of Child's Hisory of the World by Hillyer
Review of Guided Course for Famous Men of Rome
Review of Famous Men of Greece
Review of Calvert's Vocabulary for Life CD-ROM

Find more helpful reviews on's Review Page Index!

Reviews represent the opinions of the authors rather than the views of