The Crucible of Civilization Ancient Greece
Order ID 53563633773 Type Essay Writer Level Masters Style APA Sources/References 4 Perfect Number of Pages to Order 5-10 Pages
The Crucible of Civilization Ancient Greece
The Crucible of Civilization. The ancient Classical and Hellenistic eras of Greece are undoubtedly the most splendid, having left behind a host of ideas, concepts, and art to provide the foundation of what we call western civilization. “We are all Greeks. . . Our laws, our literature, our religion, our arts, have their roots in Greece.” (Percy Shelley). The ancient Greek dialects are influential even to this day with much Greek vocabulary embedded in the Modern Greek and English languages. Likewise, the art and architecture of ancient Greece has remained relevant and influential up to our time in the breadth of western society.
History of Greece
The history of Greece can be traced back to Stone Age hunters, and later to early farmers and the civilizations of the Minoan and Mycenaean kings. This was followed by a period of wars and invasions, known as the Dark Ages. In about 1100 BCE, people called the Dorians invaded from the north, and the Ionians form the west and spread down the coast. In the period from 500-336 BCE Greece was divided into small city states, each of which consisted of a city and its surrounding countryside.
Four major TYPES OF GOVERNMENT evolved in ancient Greece. Monarchy (rule of a king) limited by an aristocratic council and a popular assembly. Oligarchy (rule of the few) arising when the aristocratic council ousted the king and abolished the assembly. Tyranny (rule by one who ruled without legal authority) riding to power on the discontent of the lower classes. Democracy (rule of the people), the outstanding political achievement of the Greeks. Only free men had the rights.
In time, COLONIZATION perfected Greece’s economic and social problems. By 600 BCE, the use of coined money had created the beginnings of a middle class. The Greek home states focused on the production of specialized wares (vases, metal goods, textiles, olive oil, and wine) for export. WOMEN, SLAVES, and RESIDENT ALIENS were DENIED CITIZENSHIP. These groups had no standing in the law courts. (If a woman sought the protection of the law, she had to ask a citizen to plead for her in court.)
Ancient Greek philosophy focused on the role of reason and inquiry. In many ways, it had an important influence on modern philosophy, as well as modern science. Some well-known philosophers of Ancient Greece were Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle. They have aided in information about ancient Greek society through writings such as The Republic, by Plato. In The Republic, the dialogues of Plato, converted the give and take of Socratic questioning into written form. Aristotle, Plato’s student, wrote dozens of works on many scientific disciplines.
Literature and Theatre
Ancient Greek society placed considerable emphasis upon literature. Many authors consider the western literary tradition to have begun with the epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer. Notable among later Greek poets was Sappho, who defined, in many ways, lyric poetry as a genre. A playwright named Aeschylus changed Western literature forever when he introduced the ideas of dialogue and interacting characters to playwriting. In doing so, he essentially invented “drama”: his Oresteia trilogy of plays is seen as his crowning achievement.
Euripedes, conversely, used plays to challenge societal norms, his works such as Medea, are still notable for their ability to challenge our perceptions of propriety, gender, and war. Aristophanes, a comic playwright, defines and shapes the idea of comedy. His most famous plays include the Lysistrata and The Frogs.
Music and Dance
Music was present almost universally in Greek society, from marriages and funerals to religious ceremonies, theatre, folk music and the ballad-like reciting of epic poetry. Greek art depicts musical instruments and dance. The word music derives from the name of the Muses, the daughters of Zeus who were patron goddesses of the arts.
Science and Technology
Ancient Greek mathematics contributed many important developments to the field of mathematics, including the basic rules of geometry by Thales of Miletus. The discoveries of several Greek mathematicians, including Pythagoras, Euclid, and Archimedes, are still used in mathematical teaching today. The Greeks developed astronomy, which they treated as a branch of mathematics. The first geometrical, three-dimensional models to explain the apparent motion of the planets were developed in the 4th century BCE. Heraclides proposed that the Earth rotates around its axis.
In the 3rd century BCE Aristarchus of Samos was the first to suggest a heliocentric system, although only fragmentary descriptions of his idea survive. Eratosthenes, estimated the circumference of the Earth with great accuracy. In the 2nd century BCE Hipparchus of Nicea made the first measurement of precession and the compilation of the first star catalog in which he proposed the modern system of apparent magnitudes. The Antikythera mechanism, a device for calculating the movements of planets, dates from about 80 BCE, and was the first ancestor of the astronomical computer. It was discovered in an ancient shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera, between Kythera and Crete.
The ancient Greeks also made important discoveries in the medical field. Hippocrates was a physician of the Classical period, and is considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine. He is referred to as the “father of medicine in recognition of his lasting contributions to the field as the founder of the Hippocratic School of medicine.
The civilization of ancient Greece has been immensely influential on language, politics, educational systems, philosophy, science, and the arts. It became the foundation of the Roman Empire to the point of marginalizing native Italic traditions.
Art and Architecture
The art of ancient Greece has exercised an enormous influence on the culture of many countries from ancient times until the present, particularly in the areas of sculpture and architecture. In the West, the art of the Roman Empire was largely derived from Greek models.
The Greeks were POLYTHEISTIC and did not all worship the same gods. Some small villages worshiped the main gods and their own village gods. There were hundreds of Greek gods (perhaps around 1,000). Some of the most famous gods were Zeus, Hera, Apollo, Artemis, Poseidon, Aphrodite, Athena, Demeter, Hermes, Ares, and Hades. ZEUS surpassed all other gods in spirit, wisdom and justice and his wife HERA was the queen of the gods.
GREEK WOMEN: Greek women had very LITTLE FREEDOM outside the home. They could attend weddings, funerals, some religious festivals, and could visit female neighbors for brief periods of time. In their homes, Greek women were in charge. Their job was to RUN THE HOUSE AND TO BEAR CHILDREN. Most Greek women themselves as most households had slaves. DID NOT DO HOUSEWORK. FEMALE SLAVES cooked, cleaned, and worked in the fields. MALE SLAVES watched the door to make sure no one came in when the man of the house was away, except for female neighbors, and acted as tutors to the young male children. Wives and daughters were NOT ALLOWED TO WATCH THE OLYMPIC GAMES as the participants in the games did not wear clothes.
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