Read the article at Cracked.com
Cracked is not the most accurate source, but the article above does tackle some of the major misconceptions about ancient Greece and Rome.
Sexuality: While Rome was more open about Sexuality than the Christians who succeeded them, the whole place was not a sex crazed romp party. Most wealthy Roman women lived very guarded lives where they judged by strict values of modesty. From epigraphy we read that the Roman woman was valued for piety, modesty, maintenance of harmony and for being a one man woman. (Ancient History).
“Pudicitia” was a set of sexual standards that both Roman men and women were expected to abide by. The standards of modesty were more strict for women, but there were certain standards that men had to follow as well. Augustus Caesar even enacted a program of moral legislation to encourage pudicitia.
Yes, it is true that prostitution, sex slavery and the sexuality of the Gods was a part of Roman society. Yet much of the stories of in your face, Roman sex orgies that fill popular imagination today were an invention of early Christians who were trying to defame the whole place.
Diversity: This article makes a great point. In most movies about Rome, the actors are all lily-white. Yet the Roman empire itself encompassed territories in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It was definitely a melting pot.
The Christian Martyrdom Myth: In addition to over the top sex orgy stories, the early Christians also have fabricated many tales about horrible persecutions and being thrown to the lions. Yet there is very little historical evidence that such events took place, aside from a few isolated incidents that were more political in nature than religious.
The Olympics and Fame: Cracked reiterates that the Greeks were not much different from us modern folk in this respect. People love fame and celebrities, why would it be any different in ancient Greece?
Greece and Democracy: Many like to laud Ancient Greece as a golden beacon of Democracy and Progressive thought. Yet Cracked points out that Democracy lasted less than two centuries in Athens. This so-called “Democracy” also did not include a majority of the Athenian people. Greece itself wasn’t even a singular entity. It was a hodgepodge of different city states that spent a good deal of time fighting each other. There were even situations where certain Greek City States allied themselves with Persia to fight other Greeks.
Also, in regards to the so-called philosophical and educated populace – Cracked aptly points out that a majority of the Greek population could not even read.