Ancient Greek Beliefs of Religion and Death Differs From Other Cultures

How does the Ancient Greek beliefs of religion and death differ with the view of other cultural groups? Death, the way it is represented in Homer’s book, The Odyssey, is always caused by human error. Whether their death was caused by greed, selfishness, or just being curious, many people died in The Odyssey. Still, the question of what happens after we die remains. Many religions have different beliefs of religious ideas from the Ancient Greeks. Afterlife, is a belief where the comparisons among religions become extremely close.

The Greek beliefs of gods and death are different from the modern day beliefs of other eligions such as Judaism and Ancient Egyptian beliefs. For example, The Odyssey begins with a scene containing a conversation among the gods. The goddess Athena, goddess of war and wisdom, is discussing the matter of Odysseus with Zeus, the head god and god of sky (Homer 10). Of course these are not the only Greek gods and goddesses. Other examples of Greek gods and goddesses are Apollo, god of music, poetry, medicine, archery, and young unmarried men and Hestes, goddess of the home.

As you can see, the Greeks believed in many gods unlike the people of the Jewish fate who believed in one god. The Jewish god does not have an emblem that which it is represented by. The belief is that the god is represented by everything. For example, members of the Jewish religion believe god is everywhere, in everything, and represented by everything they do. Another example of the religious differences is how Ancient Egyptians believed in idol gods which are gods represented in statues.

Ancient Greek beliefs are different from those of other societies because of differences between how gods are represented in Judaism and Ancient Egyptian beliefs. Equally important are the Ancient Greek views of death. Death caused by uman error is widespread throughout the book. Human error is encountered in each one of Odysseus’s adventures on his return home. The Kyklopes represented the greediness, selfishness, and uncilvilization of Odysseus’s men. Odysseus fell asleep and his men unleashed a bag of bad winds, throwing them off path (Homer 315).

Skylla and Kharybdis was a representation of death from nature when Odysseus’s men stopped rowing and six of the men were killed. The Seirenes, with their beautiful singing voices represent suicide death. Hades, probably the most down to Earth adventure, represents time and fate. Many religions use ime and fate as representations of why people die. Ancient Egyptians believed that when a person died, they were hand picked by god and therefore sacrificed. Modern day occurrences make this seem more and more untrue.

Time and fate do not demonstrate the reasons of death. For example, the act of random violence is becoming more of a regular practice of unjustified death, unlike the Ancient Greek ways which always had a reason for death. Therefore, this is another difference between Ancient Greek beliefs and current religions and beliefs. Next, what happens after death is a question that is yet to be answered. The people of Ancient Greece believe of the Underworld. Hades is the god of the Underworld and has a special throne and place on the council chamber.

It is believed that Hades leads those through the Underworld and will guide them to their designated place (Evslin 276). It is believed that each of the ways that a person could be guided is similar to the Christian beliefs of heaven and hell and the beliefs of the Ancient Egyptians of weighing the soul for good and bad karma (McDonald 356). The Jewish religion believes that the destined messiah will appear in Israel. This is why many people wish to be buried in Israel, the oly land of the Jewish people.

It is believed the messiah will guide the Jewish people through the afterlife and the closer you are buried to the messiah, the closer you are to the front of the line. The Jewish religion teaches that when the messiah appears, it will guide the souls to a heaven like or hell like surroundings to live forever (Yedwab). Finally, it is obvious that religions and beliefs differ, but still the overall belief that souls determine their afterlife is apparent through many religions. Each of the religions discussed have their own individual beliefs of ther topics such as religious scrolls and ways of teaching.

In Judaism, believing in more that one god would be considered unholy. Also, in Judaism, separating the body to remove organs is considered wrong. In Ancient Egyptian beliefs, all vital organs of the body were removed when the person was buried and placed in jars and buried with them. In Ancient Greek beliefs, the body was kept intact. In The Odyssey, it began with with a conversation among the gods, but are the gods real? Was this just an excuse to have reasons why occurrences happen and to explain ideas to people? Is that true for all religions?

Ancient Greek Beliefs of Religion and Death Differs From Other Cultures

How does the Ancient Greek beliefs of religion and death differ with the view of other cultural groups? Death, the way it is represented in Homer’s book, The Odyssey, is always caused by human error. Whether their death was caused by greed, selfishness, or just being curious, many people died in The Odyssey. Still, the question of what happens after we die remains. Many religions have different beliefs of religious ideas from the Ancient Greeks. Afterlife, is a belief where the comparisons among religions become extremely close.

The Greek beliefs of gods and death are different from the modern day beliefs of other eligions such as Judaism and Ancient Egyptian beliefs. For example, The Odyssey begins with a scene containing a conversation among the gods. The goddess Athena, goddess of war and wisdom, is discussing the matter of Odysseus with Zeus, the head god and god of sky (Homer 10). Of course these are not the only Greek gods and goddesses. Other examples of Greek gods and goddesses are Apollo, god of music, poetry, medicine, archery, and young unmarried men and Hestes, goddess of the home.

As you can see, the Greeks believed in many gods unlike the people of the Jewish fate who believed in one god. The Jewish god does not have an emblem that which it is represented by. The belief is that the god is represented by everything. For example, members of the Jewish religion believe god is everywhere, in everything, and represented by everything they do. Another example of the religious differences is how Ancient Egyptians believed in idol gods which are gods represented in statues.

Ancient Greek beliefs are different from those of other societies because of differences between how gods are represented in Judaism and Ancient Egyptian beliefs. Equally important are the Ancient Greek views of death. Death caused by uman error is widespread throughout the book. Human error is encountered in each one of Odysseus’s adventures on his return home. The Kyklopes represented the greediness, selfishness, and uncilvilization of Odysseus’s men. Odysseus fell asleep and his men unleashed a bag of bad winds, throwing them off path (Homer 315).

Skylla and Kharybdis was a representation of death from nature when Odysseus’s men stopped rowing and six of the men were killed. The Seirenes, with their beautiful singing voices represent suicide death. Hades, probably the most down to Earth adventure, represents time and fate. Many religions use ime and fate as representations of why people die. Ancient Egyptians believed that when a person died, they were hand picked by god and therefore sacrificed. Modern day occurrences make this seem more and more untrue.

Time and fate do not demonstrate the reasons of death. For example, the act of random violence is becoming more of a regular practice of unjustified death, unlike the Ancient Greek ways which always had a reason for death. Therefore, this is another difference between Ancient Greek beliefs and current religions and beliefs. Next, what happens after death is a question that is yet to be answered. The people of Ancient Greece believe of the Underworld. Hades is the god of the Underworld and has a special throne and place on the council chamber.

It is believed that Hades leads those through the Underworld and will guide them to their designated place (Evslin 276). It is believed that each of the ways that a person could be guided is similar to the Christian beliefs of heaven and hell and the beliefs of the Ancient Egyptians of weighing the soul for good and bad karma (McDonald 356). The Jewish religion believes that the destined messiah will appear in Israel. This is why many people wish to be buried in Israel, the oly land of the Jewish people.

It is believed the messiah will guide the Jewish people through the afterlife and the closer you are buried to the messiah, the closer you are “to the front of the line. ” The Jewish religion teaches that when the messiah appears, it will guide the souls to a heaven like or hell like surroundings to live forever (Yedwab). Finally, it is obvious that religions and beliefs differ, but still the overall belief that souls determine their afterlife is apparent through many religions. Each of the religions discussed have their own individual beliefs of ther topics such as religious scrolls and ways of teaching.

In Judaism, believing in more that one god would be considered unholy. Also, in Judaism, separating the body to remove organs is considered wrong. In Ancient Egyptian beliefs, all vital organs of the body were removed when the person was buried and placed in jars and buried with them. In Ancient Greek beliefs, the body was kept intact. In The Odyssey, it began with with a conversation among the gods, but are the gods real? Was this just an excuse to have reasons why occurrences happen and to explain ideas to people? Is that true for all religions?

The Golden Age Of Greece

The ancient statues and pottery of the Golden Stone Age of Greece were much advanced in spectacular ways. The true facts of Zeuss main reason for his statue. The great styles of the Kouros and the Kore. The story of The Blinding of Polphemus, along with the story of Cyclops. The Dori and Ionic column stone temples that were built in Greece that had an distinctive look. The true colors of the vase, Aryballos. The vase that carried liquids from one place to another.

The Lyric Poetry that was originally a song to be sung to the accompaniment of the lyre. Zeus was considered, according to Homer, the father of the gods and of mortals. He did not create either gods or mortals; he was their father in the sense of being the protector and ruler both of the Olympian family and of the human race. He was lord of the sky, the rain god, and the cloud gatherer, who wielded the terrible thunderbolt. His breastplate was the aegis, his bird the eagle, his tree the oak. Zeus presided over the gods on Mount Olympus in Thessaly.

His principal shrines were at Dodona, in Epirus, the land of the oak trees and the most ancient shrine, famous for its oracle, and at Olympia, where the Olympian Games were celebrated in his honor every fourth year. The Nemean games, held at Nemea, northwest of Argos, were also dedicated to Zeus. Zeus was the youngest son of the Titans Cronus and Rhea and the brother of the deities Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Demeter, and Hera. According to one of the ancient myths of the birth of Zeus, Cronus, fearing that he might be dethroned by one of his children, swallowed them as they were born.

Upon the birth of Zeus, Rhea wrapped a stone in swaddling clothes for Cronus to swallow and concealed the infant god in Crete, where e was fed on the milk of the goat Amalthaea and reared by nymphs. When Zeus grew to maturity, he forced Cronus to disgorge the other children, who were eager to take vengeance on their father. Zeus henceforth ruled over the sky, and his brothers Poseidon and Hades were given power over the sea and the underworld, respectively. The earth was to be ruled in common by all three. Beginning with the writings of the Greek poet Homer, Zeus is pictured in two very different ways.

He is represented as the god of justice and mercy, the protector of the weak, and the punisher of the wicked. As usband to his sister Hera, he is the father of Ares, the god of war; Hebe, the goddess of youth; Hephaestus, the god of fire; and Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth. At the same time, Zeus is described as falling in love with one woman after another and resorting to all kinds of tricks to hide his infidelity from his wife. Stories of his escapades were numerous in ancient mythology, and many of his offspring were a result of his love affairs with both goddesses and mortal women.

It is believed that, with the development of a sense of ethics in Greek life, the idea of a lecherous, sometimes ridiculous father od became distasteful, so later legends tended to present Zeus in a more exalted light. His many affairs with mortals are sometimes explained as the wish of the early Greeks to trace their lineage to the father of the gods. Zeus’s image was represented in sculptural works as a kingly, bearded figure. The most celebrated of all statues of Zeus was Phidias’s gold and ivory colossus at Olympia. The standing nude youth (kouros), the standing draped girl (kore), and the seated woman.

All emphasize and generalize the essential features of the human figure and how an increasingly accurate comprehension of human anatomy. The youths were either sepulchral or votive statues. Examples are Apollo (Metropolitan Museum), an early work; Strangford Apollo from Limnos (British Museum, London), a much later work; and the Anavyssos Kouros (National Museum, Athens). More of the musculature and skeletal structure is visible in this statue than in earlier works. The standing, draped girls have a wide range of expression, as in the sculptures in the Acropolis Museum, Athens.

Their drapery is carved and painted with the delicacy and meticulousness ommon to the details of sculpture of this period. The Blinding of Polyphemus. Polyphemus, a Cyclops, the son of Poseidon, god of the sea, and of the nymph Thoosa. During his wanderings after the Trojan War, the Greek hero Odysseus and his men were cast ashore on Polyphemus’s island home, Sicily. The enormous giant penned the Greeks in his cave and began to devour them. Odysseus then gave Polyphemus some strong wine and when the giant had fallen into a drunken stupor, bored out his one eye with a burning stake.

The Greeks then escaped by clinging to the bellies of his sheep. Poseidon punished Odysseus for blinding Polyphemus by causing him many troubles in his subsequent wanderings by sea. In another legend, Polyphemus was depicted as a huge, one-eyed shepherd, unhappily in love with the sea nymph Galatea. Cyclops, giants with one enormous eye in the middle of the forehead. In Hesiod, the three sonsArges, Brontes, and Steropesof Uranus and Gaea, the personifications of heaven and earth, were Cyclopes. The Greek hero Odysseus was trapped with his men in the cave of the Cyclops Polyphemus, a son of Poseidon, god of the sea.

In order to escape from the cave after the giant devoured several men, Odysseus blinded him. Dori and Ionic Columns. Aware of Egyptian temples in stone, Greeks in the 7th century began to build their own stone temples in a distinctive style. They used limestone in Italy and Sicily, marble in the Greek islands and Asia Minor, and limestone covered with marble on the Greek mainland. Later they built chiefly in marble. The temples were rectangular and stood on a low, stepped terrace in an enclosure where rituals were performed. Small temples had a two-columned front porch, sometimes with portico before it.

Larger temples, with front and back porches, might have a six- columned portico before each porch or be entirely surrounded by a colonnade. The colonnade supported an entablature, or lintel, under the gabled, tiled roof. Architects developed two orders, or styles of columns, the Doric and the Ionic (see Column). Doric columns, which had no bases and whose capitals consisted of a square slab over a round cushion shape, were heavy and closely spaced to support the weight of the masonry. Their heaviness was relieved by the tapered and fluted shaft.

On he entablature, vertical triglyphs were carved over every column, leaving between them oblonglater squaremetopes, which were at first painted and later filled with painted reliefs. The Doric style originated on the mainland and became widespread. The Doric temples at Syracuse, Paestum, Selinus, Acragas, Pompeii, Tarentum (Taranto), Metapontum, and Corcyra (Kerkira) still exist. Especially notable is the Temple of Poseidon at Paestum (450 BC). Columns in the Ionic style, which began in Ionia (Asia Minor) and the Greek islands, are more slender, more narrowly fluted, and spaced farther apart than Doric olumns.

Each rests on a horizontally fluted round base and terminates in a capital shaped like a flat cushion rolled into volutes at the sides. The entablature, lighter than in the Doric style, might have a frieze. Examples of Ionic temples are in Ephesus near modern Izmir, Turkey, in Athens (the Erechtheum), and (some traces) in Naucratis, Egypt. There are three standard types of columns in Greek classical architecture. The oldest is the Doric, which is the widest, has no base, and is topped by a simple abacus with an echinus directly underneath it.

The Ionic column has a base and a capital made f scroll-shaped volutes directly beneath the abacus. The most elaborate column is the Corinthian. It has the most complex base, and the capital is made of layers of carved acanthus leaves ending in volutes. All three columns have fluted shafts. The Aryballos was a very colorful vase. The black figure technique and the very Eastern-looking panther are characteristic of the Orientalizing style. Also characteristic are the flower like decorations, which are blobs of paint scored with lines. The musculature and features of the panther are also the result of scoring.

The most haracteristic shape was that of the aryballos, a polychromed container for carrying liquids. The Corinthian artist developed a miniature style that made use of a wide variety of eastern motifs-sphinxes, winged human figures, floral designs-all of them arranged in bands covering almost the entire surface of the vase. White, yellow, and purple were often used to highlight details, produced a bold and striking effect. The small size of the pot mad them ideal for exporting. The vases are well made, the figures lively, and the style instantly recognizable as Corinthian-an important factor for ommercial success.

Lyric Poetry. The lyric was originally a song to be sung to the accompaniment of the lyre. Two main types of lyrics were composed in ancient Greece: the personal and the choral lyric. The personal lyric was developed on the island of Lesbos (modern Lesvos). The poet and musician Terpander, who was born on Lesbos but lived much of his life in Sparta, introduced the seven-string lyre and set the poems of Homer to music. Most of his poems were nomes, or liturgical hymns, written in honor of a god, especially of Apollo, and sung by a single performer to the accompaniment of the lyre.

The surviving fragments of his work are of doubtful authenticity. Terpander was followed later in the 7th century BC by the great poets of Lesbos. Alcaeus treated political, religious, and personal themes in his lyrics and invented the Alcaic strophe. Sappho, the greatest woman poet of ancient Greece, invented the Sapphic strophe and wrote also in other lyric forms. Her poems of love and friendship are among the most finely wrought and passionate in the Western tradition. The Lesbian poets, as well as a number of later lyric poets from other Greek cities, composed their poems in the Aeolic dialect.

In the 6th century BC the playful lyrics of the poet Anacreon on wine and love were written in various lyric meters. Subsequent verse similar in tone and theme was known as anacreontic. The choral lyric was first developed in the 7th century BC by poets who wrote in the Dorian dialect. Dominant in the region around Sparta, the Dorian dialect was used even in later times, when poets in many other parts of Greece were writing choral lyrics. The Spartan poets first wrote choral lyrics for songs and dances in public religious celebrations. Later they wrote choral lyrics also to celebrate private occasions, uch as a victory at the Olympian Games.

The earliest choral lyric poet is said to have been Thaletas, who in the 7th century BC reputedly came from Crete to Sparta in order to quell an epidemic with paeans, or choral hymns addressed to Apollo. He was followed by Terpander, who wrote both personal and choral lyrics; by Alcman, most of whose poems were partheneia, processional choral hymns sung by a chorus of young girls and partly religious in character and lighter in tone than the paeans; and in the late 7th century by Arion. Arion is said to have invented both the dithyramb, or hymn to Dionysus, and the tragic mode, which was used extensively in Greek drama.

Later great writers of choral lyrics include Sicilian poet Stesichorus, a contemporary of Alcaeus, who introduced the triadic form of choral ode, consisting of a series of groups of three stanzas; Ibycus of Rhegium, author of a large extant fragment of a triadic choral ode and of erotic personal lyrics; Simonides of Ceos, whose choral lyrics included epinicia, or choral odes in honor of victors at the Olympian Games, encomia, or choral hymns that celebrated particular persons, and dirges, as well as personal lyrics, including epigrams; nd Bacchylides of Ceos, a nephew of Simonides, who wrote both epinicia, of which 13 are extant, and dithyrambs, of which 5 are extant.

The ancient statues and pottery of the Golden Stone Age of Greece were much advanced in spectacular ways. The statue of Zeus was done for a very good reason. The statue represents being the lord of the sky, the rain god and the cloud gatherer. When I look at this statue, I see a whole bunch of different things, for example, I see a statue that has great muscular shapes which to me it represents that he had power over some town or group of people. I personally would be afraid of a statue that looks like Zeus. The Kore and the Kouros both emphasize and generalize the essential features of the human figure and show an increasingly accurate comprehension of human anatomy.

The youths were either sepulchral or votive statues. The Blinding of Polyphemus, the son of Poseidon, god of the sea, and of the nymph Thoosa. Odysseus gave Polyphemus some strong wine and when the giant had fallen into a drunken stupor, bored out his one eye with a burning stake. The Dori and Ionic columns were rectangular and stood on a ow, stepped terrace in an enclosure where rituals were performed. These columns were very much done with a great deal of intelligence. I personally do not understand how the people of the Golden Age had such intelligence in the columns for where they can build one or two to hold up a building, and it now still stands. Its incredible.

The Aryballos are a very colorful vase. They Golden Age folks had great artistic talent to dray out on a vase the beautiful colors and drawings that it has. The Vase has an organizing style. The vase were used for carrying liquids. Vases like the Aryballos are now worth a fortune, why? Well, it took a great deal of time and talent to make these vases. The vases are probably worth about one million a piece. The height of the vases are varied, depending on the designs that were put on it. I think that the people of the Golden Age were very talented. The objects that we have from back then is very remarkable. The objects are had a great deal of time put into each of them.

The pottery for example was what had really gotten to me because of the art that were drawn on it and the why they used there colors. I think that if It wasnt people like the Golden Age people who had drew these great objects, we would be way behind on the art that we have today. I like to look at it like our fathers before us that are teaching us what we know now. I must say, living in the nineties are much more better, relaxing, stress less, and more of a easy life now than before. I that god that I am here now with the knowledge that I know now. If I was a Nejeh in the Golden Age, I would probable commit suicide, if I wasnt killed by someone else. I can not complain. We have it good, we must thank God for being where we are.

Comparison and Contrast of the gods in Homers epics with the God of the Hebrews

There are many similarities and differences between the Greek gods and the Hebrew God. These similarities and differences are revealed in the character and functionality of the gods. The revelation of similarities and differences can also be seen in mans relationship to his god or gods. Homer was instrumental in documenting the oral traditions of the Greek gods in his poetry. Moses, the Hebrew leader, is attributed with documenting what he witnessed from God in the Torah. The Greek and Hebrew belief systems were established for the purposes of explaining the world we live in, the phenomenon in nature, and the existence and purpose of man.

The Greeks were polytheistic and had more gods than they could probably keep up with. In contrast the Hebrews had only one God. Regardless, the Greeks and Hebrews shared the same desire and that was to find answers to questions about existence and the purpose of life. The character and functionality of the Greek gods vary from god to god. Zeus was the chief of the Greek gods and considered the most powerful. This may be a bit misleading because even though he held the highest rank, the lesser gods did not always submit to his authority.

The lesser gods did things at times that they knew would go against the wishes of Zeus. It is apparent that all the gods did things for their own pleasure and men were the pawns in the games they played. This can be seen in Homers The Iliad. Zeus loved Sarpedon and wanted to intervene to save him from injury or death. Queen Hera advised Zeus that it would be unwise to intervene because the other gods would see it as favoritism. Petroclus killed Sarpedon. The god Apollo avenges the death of Sarpedon by stripping away Petroclus armor rendering him Tucker 2 defenseless, and thus he is killed by Hector.

It is apparent that the Greeks felt that the gods ordered their destiny. According to Alexander Murray, man himself, and everything around him, was upheld by Devine power; that his career was marked out for him by a rigid fate which even the gods could not alter, should they wish it on occasion. He was indeed free to act, but the consequences of all his actions were settled beforehand (2). In the case of Petroclus, it was his destiny to die in that particular battle and thus the gods ensured that it happened according to fate. The Greek gods were not always considered fair in their dealings with man.

There arose doubts to the absolute justice of the gods, and even the sanctity of their lives. There seemed to be two sets of standards, one for the gods and one for man. The deities were not eternal in their existence. There are stories about their birth. They were the offspring from other gods. The gods were immortal; however, there is a story of the death of Zeus that came from the Isle of Crete. The gods maintained and preserved the existing order and system of things according to their divine wisdom. The Greeks never arrived at the idea of one absolute eternal God.

This is a distinction the Hebrews held fast to. The Hebrew god is most commonly referred to as God; however, he has been also called Elohim, and Yahweh. In the English rendering he is called Jehovah. There appears to be no documentation that states that the Hebrews were ever polytheistic and evolved into worshipping one supreme god. The Pentateuch or Torah is composed of the first five books of the bible. These books reveal the character and function of the Hebrew god. Genesis, the first book of the bible states: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (1. 1).

This beginning is the creation of the universe, man, and all living creatures. It is not the beginning of God. We have no oral account or written history as to Gods beginning. We are only told that he has existed for eternity. A definition found in the Westminster Shorter Catechism declares: God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. (316). The Greek gods had claims to wisdom and power; however, they were not usually referred to as being holy, just, or good. They were holy, just, and good when they chose to be.

Murray emphasizes that the gods were conceived to possess the form of human beings, and to be, like men, subject to love and pain, but always characterized by the highest qualities and grandest form that could be imagined. (4). These characteristics did not make the Greek gods infallible but rather fallible due to the element of human emotion. The Hebrew God is a spirit and could not be seen by man lest he die. The Hebrews were forbidden to craft statues of God. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

Based on this it is hard to say how they envisioned the appearance of God. Interestingly God states that he created man in his image in Genesis 1:26. It is obvious that the Greeks never actually saw their gods but they did create them in works of art and as a result adopted in their minds the created image as being an actual likeness. The Hebrews had no frame of reference to consider nor were they allowed to consider such. The Hebrew God had no other gods to contend with. It is documented in the bible that there are angels, but angels are not on the same level as God.

Angels are the servants to God and man and do not have any power equivalent to Gods power. Satan, who was a fallen angel represents evil and is anti-God. Some of the Greek gods may have acted evil on occasion but there were none that purposed evil continually against Zeus. God and the Greek gods were considered omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. Only a god could possess these characteristics. The greatest contrast between The Greek gods and the Hebrew God is the relationship between god and man. The Greeks did not have a close intimate relationship with their gods, as did the Hebrews.

One might contend that the reason the Hebrews were more intimate with God is because they were persecuted and looked to God for comfort. The story of their captivity, slavery, and final exodus reveals some very trying times for the Hebrews. During the time of Homer, which was around the eight century B. C. , the Greeks were living somewhat prosperously. There began a rise of aristocracies throughout Greece and it was during this period that the Olympiads began. This is not to imply that the Greeks did not need a god to rely on throughout their daily lives.

It only shows that they were living in an era of economic prosperity and they were not slaves as were the Hebrews. History reveals that people in general turn to god whenever they are experiencing difficulty in life. The death of a loved one, severe illness, persecution, slavery, and poverty seem to make people a bit more religious to their god. Thus people living in prosperity may not need God for comfort like those who are under some sort of trial in life. The Hebrews witnessed the miracles from God that convinced the Egyptians to free them from slavery.

They also wandered forty years in the wilderness prior to entering the Promised Land. During the Exodus they witnessed many more miracles such as the parting of the Red Sea, Manna from heaven, and water from a rock. These experiences would make one a believer in the power and person of God. Moses apparently saw these things happen and recorded them first hand. Homer records what he has heard from the oral traditions. Oral traditions can be very powerful and very believable. The development of the oral traditions on the other hand can over time evolve into something more realistic even though they may have originated from imagination.

The Greeks eventually abandoned their gods and adopted beliefs in gods from other cultures. As to the origin of these oral traditions, Murray, has this to say: the youth of a nation, like that of an individual, is the period at which the activity of imagination and fancy is greatest in proportion as knowledge is leastwhen they seek to fathom or measure the cause of the phenomena of nature they have no standard to employ at hand, except themselves. (77). The Hebrews use God as a standard to employ since Moses and his followers witnessed the events firsthand.

This may be why the Hebrews believe in their God to this day and the Greeks abandoned theirs. The Greeks eventually realized that their traditions were created by the imaginations of man. This did not occur suddenly. The Romans conquered the Greeks and adopted much of the Greek mythology adding their own embellishments to the traditions. History reveals that the Romans also abandoned these adopted traditions for Christianity. Christianity takes the Hebrew tradition and adds a second chapter so to speak. The Hebrews do not accept this Christian theology but both share the same original traditions.

The Hebrew God passed down to man standards for righteous living. The Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20 are the first written standards of living righteous passed from God to man. The remainder of the book of Exodus reveals numerous other standards that God required from man. The Hebrews called these standards The Law. The Hebrews learned that God was infallible, totally pure, totally just, and completely unchangeable in his ways. The Greeks could not say the same about their gods. Their gods acted capriciously and the issue of justice was one that meant one thing for the gods and another for man.

Morality was not something that the gods passed on to the Greeks but rather ideals that the Greeks adopted for themselves. Edith Hamilton, comments: Zeus, trying to hide his love affairs from his wife and invariably shown up, was a capital figure of fun. (9). The Greeks did not necessarily see the gods as being moral. Michael Gibson explains this relationship. Another way in which the Greeks tried to make the all-powerful gods seem less austere was to give them human weaknesses. (12). It is interesting to note that God played an active part in Hebrew morality whereas the Greeks where influenced by the gods immorality.

God punished the Hebrews for their sins. It is not really clear that the Greeks were punished for their sins; however, they probably saw common misfortunes as a possible punishment from the gods for sin. The Hebrews passed the Law to their children and continued this tradition throughout generations. We see the opposite in the Greeks. Murray finds: It is remarkable and surprising that, with all the piety and religious ceremonies of the ancients, there existed among them no established means of instruction for the mass of the people, as to the character and function of the gods whom they worshipped. 6).

The belief system of the Greek and Hebrew warrants comment. After the establishment of the Law, God also gave instruction concerning offerings, worship, and sacraments. It is not clear how the Greeks established the rules concerning such things. They did develop such a system because throughout The Illiad and The Odyssey the characters did make obeisance to the gods in the form of oblations. An example from The Illiad is the following quote. Here, quickly-pour a libation out to Father Zeus! Pray for a safe return from all our mortal enemies, seeing youre dead set on going down to the ships- (196).

The Greeks practiced two types of offerings or sacrifices. The first was the fruits, cakes, and wine offering. The second was animal sacrifices. In both cases the offering was to be of the best quality, and in the case of animals, they were to be of the healthiest stock and without blemish. Gibson offers an explanation of how the idea of offerings to gods came about for the Greeks. the Greeks probably adapted stories brought by invaders, or heard in other lands, to fit their own ritual practices, the true meanings of which had been forgotten. (12).

The Hebrews on the other hand had very similar practices. They had oil, flour and animal offerings. These offerings had to meet the same criteria of being of the best quality. God meticulously described in the book of Leviticus the process of making sacrifices. His instructions were very clear and concise. The Greek and Hebrew cultures maintained priesthoods. In the Greek culture, the priesthood was to be pure but there appears to have been no consequence for impurity in the priest. In the Hebrew culture, a priest had to be pure otherwise God would strike him dead.

The Hebrews had a practice of tying a rope around a priests ankle with bells attached. The priest would enter the holiest of holies and perform sacrifices to God. If the priests were impure, God would kill them. In order to retrieve the body of a slain priest, they had to pull him via the rope from the holy place. Only priests were allowed in this most holy place. There does not appear to be any tales of such consequences from the Greek gods. We do see that the Greek gods became angered if they were not recognized through some shrine or oblation.

It was commonly thought that prosperity and health were results of pleasing the gods. In the Hebrew culture, the main concern was more on the issue of an afterlife. There appears to be some differences between the Greeks and Hebrews concerning thoughts of life after death. The Greeks were more concerned about the physical life rather than the life after death. There are some indications that they believed in a life in the realm of the gods but it is not clear that they really prepared for such an event. The Hebrews on the other hand were taught that they must live a pure life in order to go to heaven.

Heaven is the abode of God. Faithful servants would be entitled to enter heaven after death. The unfaithful or disobedient were directed to a much less desirable place. This destination called Hades or Hell was a place of eternal torment. It can be clearly understood that such a thought would cause fear in a person. Therefore, the Hebrews saw a mortal life of devotion to God as just a stepping-stone into an eternal afterlife. Sin was enmity against God and since man was not perfect he was apt to sin. God made a provision for sin and that was animal sacrifice.

The blood of the slain animal would tone for the sins committed by man. The Greeks did not have such a belief and they did not envision an eternal place called hell. There is one final point to be made concerning the Hebrews and their god. The Hebrews felt that God was a god exclusive to the Hebrews. All other people were considered heathen and the heathen had their own false gods. The Greeks did not have the same philosophy. A foreign person was permitted to learn about and worship the Greeks gods. This was not thought to be abnormal. The Hebrews were tempted to worship the false gods of the heathen.

Throughout the Old Testament, which is comprised of 66 books, there are many stories of the Hebrews trying to adapt to pagan ritual and custom. In nearly every incident, God punishes the Hebrews for their disobedience. It is possible that some of these rituals finally became a part of the Hebrew belief system. Like the Hebrews, the Greeks did borrow from other cultures. It is improbable that the Hebrews did not do the same even though their God did not wish it. Both cultures were equal in their quest to understand the origin of human existence. The Greeks developed science as an explanation.

The Hebrews followed their faith in God as an answer to all. We can see parallels in some of the stories that show the attempts by man to explain phenomena that occur in nature. It is likely that the Greeks and Hebrews felt that the gods were responsible for fierce storms, thunder, and lightning. We realize that today these are natural weather phenomenon but to these early cultures they were very frightful experiences that could only be explained through their own imaginations. In summary, the Greeks and Hebrews shared the common belief that gods or God had the final say so as to the fate of man.

The gods were all knowing, all powerful, and could be anywhere at all times. Gods were immortal and man was mortal. There are some contrasts but these contrasts only show the differences in Mans relationship to his god. The Greeks and Hebrews borrowed from other cultures at least in part. The Greeks were conquerors and the Hebrews were normally the conquered. This probably explains the difference in mans relationship to a god. Eventually we see that the contrasts are not that different and the comparisons are very much alike.

Ancient Greek Doctors

As The Greek empire declined, Rome inherited its medical traditions and knowledge. During the 1st and 2nd centuries A. D health standards dropped considerably and outbreaks occurred of life threatening diseases. Galen of Pergamon, a follower of Hippocrates, gathered much of the medical knowledge of the time and added to it his studies of anatomy and physiology (mostly of animals). In Spite of his errors in describing certain anatomical and physiology phenomena, his writing created the foundation for medicine over 1500 years later in Europe.

Though Galen created a historical event, he indeed followed and admired one of the greatest doctors of ancient Greece ‘Hippocrates’. A physician and a surgeon he became a leader of a medical school on the ‘Aegean island of Cos’ his works are contained in the ‘Hippocrates corpus’, over 70 volumes of case histories and thoughts on the practice of medicine, role of environmental health and sacred diseases. Although other non-Hippocrates doctors made diagnosis, the Cos physicians would try and predict the outcome of their patients.

Hippocrates adopted a view that Breath is the most necessary component of our bodies and if it flowed freely produces heath if impeded produces disease. Hippocrates says that diseases are caused by the differences in the elemental components of the human organism. Before Hippocrates and Galen Medical practice in Greece centered around religion (Cult), the cult of Askelepios, the Greek god of medicine and the son of Apollo. Mythology tells us that Askelepios was saving so many lives that Pluto, the god of the underworld, asked Zeus to slay him which Zeus did with a thunderbolt.

Whether Askelepios was a real man or not ,many temples around Greece have been placed up in his honor. Patients go to theses temples where they spend the night and patients have said that Askelepios has appeared in their dreams. In an age where disease was looked upon as a punishment from the gods, sacrifice was a way of pleasing the gods to prevent them from punishing. This was not the only medicine practice in Greece, there where also men who where more truly doctors they practice the unknown medicine and where still well regarded.

Hippocrates What drugs will not cure, the knife will; what the knife will not cure, the cautery will; what the cautery will not cure must be considered incurable. (Hippocrates, Hippocratic writings). The central historical figure in Greek medicine is Hippocrates “FATHER OF MEDICINE”. He provided an example of the ideal physician after which others centuries after him patterned their existence. He was associated with the Asclepium of Cos, an island off the coast of Asia Minor, near Rhodes and with a group of medical treaties know collectively as the Hippocratic Corpus.

The two most dominating city-states in Greece – Athens and Sparta

The two most dominating city-states in Greece of their time, Athens and Sparta, were great rivals with two very different ways of life. Spartas overbearing military and Athens impartial justice system and government are models for many modern day countries. Even though these two city-states differ greatly from one another, they share many characteristics of their country and their time period. Athens and Sparta were the two most powerful Greek territories of their time. Like most cities of the same country, they have the same Greek culture, worshipping the same Greek gods and speaking Greek.

Like all Greeks, their people loved to talk and tell stories. Although they fought against each other, their citizens equally had great amounts of pride for their entire country as well as their city-states. The two rivals were both devoted mainly to agriculture and based their wealth, but not their success, on agriculture. Both also participated in the annual Olympics, an ancient Greek national athletic competition which is now a worldwide tradition. These to Greek city-states were the most feared city-states in all of Greece.

Though Athens and Sparta were similar, they were also very different. Athens was the first democracy, and it was also the first to govern with trial by jury. Athens main accomplishment was that it had a very strong Navy. It was the command of the sea and the head of the Naval Alliance, or the Delian League. Athens was the most feared city-state to fight at sea. Its other achievements were that is had excellent forms of art, architecture, drama and literature, philosophy, science, and medicine.

It was very wealthy and had beautiful, extravagant temples. The boys of Athens went to school between the ages of five and eighteen, where they learned reading, writing, mathematics, music, poetry, sports and gymnastics. The girls stayed at home and learned spinning, weaving and domestic arts. Athens had well educated men, a good sense of art, and an all-powerful navy. Sparta developed the most powerful military oligarchy of their time. They had a very strong army and were the most feared city-state to fight on land.

Sparta was a member of the Peloponnesian League and was the most powerful people in it. Its excellent military conquered many territories, which they controlled with slaves. Spartas sole achievement, other than military supremacy, was that its people possessed a simple life style, with no care for the arts of Athens. When Spartan boys turned seven years old they began training for the military, and they ceased their training at the age of twenty.

There was much more gender equality in Sparta than in Athens, and girls went to school where they learned reading, writing, athletics, gymnastics, and survival skills, and they could even join the military. Sparta was militarily supreme over Athens, and it also supported better equality and simplicity of life. Sparta and Athens contrasted greatly in military, art, education, government, and in many other areas. The few similarities they had were mainly based on their countrys rituals and traditions. These rituals and traditions are what the modern world remembers of the Greek culture.

Mythology Burial Practices of the Ancient Egyptian and Greco-Roman Cultures

Ancient Egyptian and Greco-Roman practices of preparing the dead for the next cradle of humanity are very intriguing. These two cultures differ in a multitude of ways yet similarities can be noted in the domain of funerary services. In the realm of Egyptian afterlife, The Book of the Dead can provide one with vital information concerning ritual entombment practices and myths of the afterlife. The additional handouts I received from Timothy Stoker also proved to be useful in trying uncover vital information regarding the transition into another life.

Regarding the burial practices of Greece and Rome, parts of Homer’s Odyssey are useful in the analysis of proper interment methods. One particular method used by the Egyptians was an intricate process known as mummification. It was undoubtedly a very involved process spanning seventy days in some cases. First, all the internal organs were removed with one exception, the heart. If the body was not already West of the Nile it was transported across it, but not before the drying process was initiated.

Natron (a special salt) was extracted from the banks of the Nile and was placed under the corpse, on the sides, on top, and bags of the substance were placed inside the body cavity to facilitate the process of dehydration. After thirty-five days the ancient embalmers would anoint the body with oil and wrap it in fine linen. If the deceased was wealthy enough a priest donning a mask of Anubis would preside over the ceremonies to ensure proper passage into the next realm. One of the practices overseen by the priest was the placing of a special funerary amulet over the heart.

This was done in behest to secure a successful union with Osiris and their kas. The amulet made sure the heart did not speak out against the individual at the scale of the goddess of justice and divine order, Maat. The priest also made use of a “peculiar ritual instrument, a sort of chisel, with which he literally opened the mouth of the deceased. ” This was done to ensure that the deceased was able to speak during their journeys in Duat. Another practice used by the Egyptians to aid the departed soul involved mass human sacrifice.

Many times if a prominent person passed away the family and servants would willfully ingest poison to continue their servitude in the next world. The family members and religious figureheads of the community did just about everything in their power to aid the deceased in the transition to a new life. The community made sure the chamber was furnished with “everything necessary for the comfort and well-being of the occupants. ” It was believed that the individual would be able of accessing these items in the next world.

Some of the most important things that the deceased would need to have at his side were certain spells and incantations. A conglomeration of reading material ensured a successful passage; The Pyramid Texts, The Book of the Dead, and the Coffin Texts all aided the lost soul in their journey through Duat into the Fields of the Blessed. “Besides all these spells, charms, and magical tomb texts, the ancient practice of depositing in the tomb small wooden figures of servants was employed. ” These “Ushabi statuettes” as they are called, were essentially slaves of the deceased.

If the deceased was called to work in the Elysian fields he would call upon one of the statues to take his place and perform the task for him. It was not unheard of for an individual to have a figure for every day of the year to ensure an afterlife devoid of physical exertion. Just about every thing the embalmers and burial practitioners did during the process was done for particular reasons. Many of the funerary practices of the ancient Greco-Romans were also done with a specific purpose in mind.

Unlike the Egyptian’s the Greco-Roman cultures did not employ elaborate tombs but focused on the use of a simple pit in the ground. Right after death, not too dissimilar from the practices of the Egyptians, it was necessary for the persons to carefully wash and prepare the corpse for his journey. It was vital for all persons to receive a proper burial and if they did not they were dammed to hover in a quasi-world, somewhat of a “limbo” between life and death. One Greco-Roman myth that illustrates this point is The Odyssey by Homer.

There is a part in Book eleven of the work in which Homer specifically addresses proper burial rites. When Odysseus wishes to contact Tiresias, he comes across Elpenor, one of his soldiers. This particular man fell (in a haphazard fashion) to his death on the island of the Kimmerians, but did not receive a proper burial and was stuck in limbo. Elpenor begged Odysseus and his men to return to the island and care for his body. Consequently, they did return and Elpenor passed into the next world.

Most likely he was buried in the same fashion other members of his society were; a pyre was probably constructed and the body placed upon it. Also placed on the pyre were items that the deceased held dear in life with the hope that they would follow him into the next world. In order to survive in the afterlife, the deceased “is also presented with a small coin which came to be known as the ferrying fee for Charon. ” This can be likened to the Egyptian practice of introducing coinage into the tomb in some cases.

Homer also speaks of the psyche, which slips out of man “at the moment of death and enters the house of Ais, also known as Aides, Aidoneus, and in Attic as Hades. ” This idea can be compared to the concept of an individual’s ba in ancient Egypt. When someone died, an eternal part of them (their ba) would also slip out and seek out the individuals spiritual twin (their ka) in order to unite with it and facilitate a successful passage. Many times in myth, the living desired to speak with the departed.

When Odysseus wishes to speak with the Nekyia in Book eleven, goats must be sacrificed and their blood was recognized as inspiring the deceased to speak. The Egyptians also were concerned with the ability of the deceased to speak in the next realm; this is exemplified in one of the most important spells in The Book of the Dead, the opening of the mouth. When all the funerary rites had been done, the next step was to mark the spot of the deceased. “The grave is marked with a stone, the sign, sema. ” This grave stone would have the name of the soul, and often some type of epigram in verse form.

Invariably near the grave, some type of guardian of the soul would be located. Lion and sphinx were found as grave markers and this idea is paralleled in the practices of the natives of Egypt. A certain “cult image” was buried with the deceased in Egypt in order to look after and more importantly protect one’s ba from being disturbed. It also acted as a type of “purge valve” for any ba which may have been unjustly disturbed in the tomb. Burial practices aside one can note an interesting difference between these two ancient civilizations.

Differences can be observed concerning how amicable the afterlife was. The Egyptians had a positive outlook. They believed that after one became Osirus, They would move into a new world, which was nice, no one had to work, and everything was very clean. One could compare their lives in the next world with the children’s classic board game, Candyland. In this game all was fine and dandy, the “don’t worry be happy” attitude flourished, not distant from the life in the Fields of the Blessed. On the other hand, Greco-Roman afterlife was a rather dismal place.

The dead Achilles summed everything up by saying to Odysseus, “Do not try to make light of death to me, I would sooner be bound to the soil in the hire of another man, a man without lot and without much to live on, than rule over all the perished dead. ” Needless to say, the Homeric afterlife was no Candyland. Candyland or not, both cultures went to extremes in order to guarantee a successful voyage into the next world. The two ancient civilizations hoped that through their intricate actions the individual would be protected and prepared for their many experiences on “the other side. “

Athens’ Golden Age

In this paper I will demonstrate why I believe, contrary to widespread opinion and possible even his own, that Aristophanes, not Euripides, was, of the four major dramatists fo Athens’ Golden Age, the one who least respected women. Having become aware at the ouset of this leterrature course of the position of women in the otherwise enlightened thought of Greece in the Fifth Century B. C. , I kept my eyes open during our reading for evidences of, if I may comit an anchronism, chauvinism in the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides.

Consoled by the knoledge presented in the text that Aristophanes had accused Euripides of hating women. I didn’t look for it in Lysistrata. Nevertheless, that is where I found it. In interpreting attitudes toward women in the dramas, I accepts certain prevailing tradtions as given and tried to give the playwrights the benefit of the doubt, turning my head at such practices as using only male actors in the plays and leaving the women in the kitchen while attending the plays.

Having concedes those points, I set about “listening” to the playwrights. In Agamemnon, Aeschylus addresses some remarks toward his Clytaemnestra which could possibly be interpreted as disparaging. She is said to “maneuver like a man,” and Cassandra exclaims, “What outrage–the woman kills the man! ” The chorus asks her “What drove her insane” enough to kill a man. Her lover, Aegisthus, although he gloats over the body he cringed from cutting down, allows that “the treachery was the woman’s work, clearly.

Far from denigrating women, however, I believe these parrotings of the prevailing attitudes, when juxtaposed with Aeschylus’ portrayal of an intelligent, capable Clytaemnestra, a gullible, ususpecting Agamemnon and a spineless, parasitical Aegisthus, achieve the result of satirizing those attitudes. At the close of the play, Clytaemnestra challenges her listeners, on-stage and off: “That is what a woman has to say. Can you accept the truth? ” Sophocles takes it one step further. His heroine is not a murderess, but a young women driven by deeply held ideals and familial love.

I don’t know there could be any doubt in any viewer’s mind as to who is the “good guy” and who the bad. Antogone is more ethical and intelligent than Creon. Creon’s rejection of “one whose friend has stronger claims upon her than her country” she meets with her own bold philosophy: “I do not think your edicts have such power that they can override the laws of heaven,” humbling Creon in his egoism. The remarks dergrading women do come along: Ismeme avers that, “We who are women should not contend with,: we who are weak are ruuled by the stronger.

Creon vows that if Antione “triumphs and goes unpunished, I am no man, she is,” instructing Haemon not to “unseat your reason for a women’s sake” and to “support the law, and never be beaten by a women” and ejaculates, “This boy defends a woman, it appears…. Infamous! Giving first place to a woman! ” However, the contrast between Creon and Antigone renders these remarks part of the blindeness, egoism an stupidity that make Creon remiscent of Agamemnon and Oedipus. I was prepared to bristle at Euripides’ treatment of women.

Even in his own time, he was accused of misogyny by, among others, Aristophanes. In fact, legend has it that at his death he was torn apart by dogs or women. I found, instead, surprising sensitivity. Medea laments the husband’s possession fo the wife’s body, the impossibility of divorce by a woman, the double standard of fidelity. She scoffs at the men’s excuse that women live free from danger while they (the men) go out the battle with the pointed, “Fools, I’d rather stand three times in the front line than bear a child.

The adulterous Jason sounds supercilious and hard-hearted adjuring her that she has “talked like a fool” instead of “quietly accepting the decisions of those in power” and banishing her–prancing to his own fate. Medea is, as the Nurse puts it, a “frightenning woman. ” She does murder her own children. However, she does so in a red haze of pain and anger. Her entire identity has been wrapped up in her man; she has no other life of her own. Abandoned and rejected by the man who means so much to her, subjugated woman is thus robbed of her very personhood.

She has no legal or emotional recourse. After the fact, Jason incredulously asks Medea, “You thought that reason enough to murder them, that I no longer slept with you? ” Medea replies with a question of her own: “And is that injury a slight one, do you imagine, to a woman? ” Jason doesn’t really hear the queston and–perhaps unwittingly–get off his paring shot: “Yes, to a modest woman…. ” Medea eloquently expresses the feelings of every woman who has been spurned by the man who commands her sense fo worth.

I don’t believe this agony could be more movingly depicted by a woman. Aristophases lampoons Euripiedsa and his perceived hatred of women. I have not read Thesmophosriazusae, in which the text informs us women avenge themselves on Euripides, so I cannot respond to it. I have, however some reactions to Lysistrata. The very concept of the sex strike gives credence to the idea that sevice of men is the only value women have, that withholding that sevice is their only way of wielding power. The status quo is defended.

In that light, the “humorous” self-deprecating comments of he women do not achieve satire and I don’t believe are meant as satire,. The satire is on the war. Indeed, to all appearances, the heroines believe the myths. Lysistrata remarks, “The way we women behave! I don’t blame the men for what they say about us. ” When she tells Kalonike that “only we women can save Greece,” Kalonike responds, “only we women? poor Greece…. We belong at home. Our only armor’s our perfumes, our saffron dresses and our pretty little shoes!

Aristophanes names one of his heroines Myrrhine, a pun on the Greek word for female genitalia, and has her hail from Anagyros, a stinking marshland. The sybolism is very pointed, and very derogatory. There are several references in the play, by both men and women, to men slapping their wives to make them comply, as well as to spousal rape. The men, when the battle lines are drawn, call the women bitches, subersive whores, trollops, wild animals, with no evidence of anything but approval.

There is also an upholding of the male phallus as that which women most need. Kalonike objects to Lysistrata, “I’d walk through fire for you…. but don’t ask us to give up that! ” A Boiotian woman says it again: “I’d rather walk through fire. ” Even Lysistrata herself later moans, “There’s only one thing we can think of. ” Aristophanes does employ satire when he has the Comissioner say, “The idea of women bothering themselves about peace and war! ” and, “It would take a woman to reduce state questions to a matter of carding and weaving.

I believe Lysistrata does clumsily try to do women justice, and that is precisely why I believe Aristophanes to have been the most profoundly smitten with the disease of perceived male superiority. At one point, when the women respond to the taunts and threats of the men with taunts and threats of their own, the male chorus calls out, “Euripides! Master! How well you knew women! ” I believe Euripides did understand a great deal more about women than was common in his time. I believe Aristophanes thought he knew women, and I don’t think he ever even realized the serious injustice Lysistrata does them.

The portals to immortality-Greek Grave Steles

To us who live in modern times the melancholic look that we find in the sculpture of cemeteries throughout the world is something we take for granted. Although its authenticity has been lost to us, this so-called look can be traced back to 5th century Greek funerary sculpture. For us it is only natural to associate such a look with death. However, as the above verse elaborates, the Greeks viewed death somewhat differently from the way we do. To them death freed their souls and brought true happiness: then why does their grave sculpture look so pensive and thoughtful?

It is because unlike today where the dead are only represented figuratively in a sobbing angel or mournful cherub, the Greeks depicted their dead as they were in life – life which was full of uncertainties and burdens but also with simple pleasures that made it all worth while. The Greeks successfully combined these two juxtaposed experiences, and harmonized its contradictions to portray in steles the individual, whose simplicities and complications was a reflection of the bitter-sweetness of life.

No where is this combination more successful than in the Greek grave stele of the 5th century before Christ. The 5th B. C. encompassed two distinct periods: the early classical and the high classical. However both these periods shared the uniquely contradicting, constantly explorative, and modestly idealistic vision of life, which made the subjects of the stele, at their moment of death, all the more human to the observer.

Neither the previous Archaic period, nor the following 4th century, or the preceding civilizations quite so convincingly capture for the observer the poignancy of death the way a fifth century BC stele could. The period of the 5th century B. C. is sometimes referrd to as the golden age, which is the height for Greek art and civilizations; and ironically has its beginning and ending in war! The 480 B. C. marked the defeat of the Persians and 404 B. C. the beginning of the pelopannasian war and the collapse of Athenian democracy.

Perhaps the culturally significant buildings and sculptures that were destroyed and the many lives that were lost during the long war with Persia might made grave monuments and stele all the more personal to the Greeks during this time. For whatever reason Greek stele of this particular period, between two historically significant moments (480-404), stand-alone in more ways than one. Between the boundaries of 480 and 404 the human figure ran through a wide gamut of psychological nuances. Of these many nuances there are two significant styles that are observed in art history.

First there is the self-confidence brought about by a deep-seated certainty of the outcome of the struggle with the environment in the course of the severe style which is a characteristic of the early classical period. And then there is the resignation bought about by dashed hopes the fickleness of illusions and escapism in the ever fragile creatures of the rich style , which can be identified in the high classical period. The stylistic differences mentioned above tend to break this so-called golden era of the 5th century B. C. into two periods.

However, ironically the one factor that combine these periods together is death- or at least monuments erected for death the stele. If there is any hint in Greek sculpture of a sunset melancholy that were brought upon by the war years it remains to be seen not in the civic monuments but in the beautiful series of grave stele that were produced during the 5th century BC. The common thread that runs through the two periods of the fifth century are the touch of unpretentious and sublime otherworldliness combined with a sense of austere melancholy.

During the Archaic period although vases were the popular method for marking graves, steles with human figure relief begin to appear during this period. These steles later predominate during the classical period. The Archaic grave steles usually consisted of a rectangular slab surmounted first by capitals and then back to back volute scrolls with a sphinx atop. An example of an archaic stele is the stele of a warrior runner made in Athens around 500-450 B. C. The runner according to Lawrence is Hoplitodrome the winner of a race in armor.

The young man wears a warrior helmet and looks down at his feet, which are twisted in an impossible running position. He has stylized hair and his cap looks too big for him. He has an Archaic smile although it is not quite evident in the photograph. The warrior looks in the opposite of where his legs seem to heading. Since this position represents a running as well as flying position, it could be possible that he is flying towards Hades and is taking a last look at the earth he knew. There is a desire on the artists part to produce a reaction through this sculpture.

However, conventions such as the Archaic smile and the lack of knowledge in certain technical aspects keeps the sculpture from being successful realistically, and therefore less impressive emotionally and physiologically to the viewer. Also keep in mind that unlike the photograph the stele in its restored state would be taller than the relief itself, and the sphinx at the very top (a sculpture in the round) would have taken the focal point away from the warrior. The bright colors used during this time to paint the surface would have given the stele a glaring effect.

It is appropriate that this stele made almost at the end of this period should be a warrior. For the coming years would produce a war and victory for the Greeks that not only wipes the predictable smiles out of their sculpture but also would bring new discoveries to sculptural techniques that would bring even the dead alive. The classical period (480-404) removes us from the world of Archaic rigidity and patter into one in which art takes on the task of representing even counterfeiting life, and not merely creating tokens of life and as a result involves the viewer more intimately .

Also, there is neither a high pediment nor sphinx that would take the emphasis away from the figure. One of the earliest 5th century examples is the grave stele by Alexnor of Naxos dated around 490-480B. C. The inscription proudly states in hexameters: ALXENOR OF NAXOS MADE (ME): JUST LOOK. Although this stele still contains some archaic rigidity, compared with the previous stele, here, there is clearly an experimentation to produce a more natural stance and a genuine identity. In addition, the old man here is engaged in a passive activity compared to the runner who was involved in an aggressive action.

In this stele an old man lovingly holds a locust to which the dog enthusiastically responds. One cannot help feeling that the smile of this man is a genuine representation of the affection he has towards the dog and not a remnant of the Archaic period, therefore in context to the scene the smile is appropriate. The staff in his hand suggests that he is about to embark on a journey. Perhaps in his old age he might not have anybody but the dog and therefore takes time to say his farewells.

Apart from the technicalities such as the slightly schematic rendering of his drapery and the experimentation of the right angled feet, the overall impression that the artist projects of this lonely man and his dog evokes a certain empathy between the subject and the viewer. Gravestones during the 5th century identified not only the gender ad occupation of the deceased but also of the age. As seen in the (fig. 2) example this gravestone of a little girl depicts her, as she would have been in life. Here the little girl holds two doves, one with its beak close to her mouth as if kissing it; the other is perched on her left hand.

The girl wears a peplos fastened at both shoulders and open along her arms and buttock. Her tender years are indicated by the lack of a belt and the slight disarray of the bloused upper part of her dress, which has been flipped up by her motion in raising the dove to her face. This gravestone found on the island of Paros was carved at a time w hen decorated gravestones did no appear in Athens perhaps because of an anti luxury decree . Her hair is exquisitely stylized and according to Oliver the detail of the straps of her sandal and part of the plumage of the doves would have been indicated in paint.

One could imagine that the original result of the surmounted palmette finial and the elegant hues of the painted pigments would have made this stele even more enchanting. The experimentation in the previous example has paid off with an overall simplistic and naturalistic look. This could be a description of a young girl saying her final farewells to her treasured friends, or the doves could be a representation of her soul. Therefore, just as she would free the doves so would death free her soul. There is a simplification and fluidity of form and at the same time a complexity of meaning.

Here, unlike in the previous example, the artist is not so much confused with the physical renderings as he is with the emotional representations, which are indicated by the contemplative gaze of the child that goes beyond her years. The viewer can fully appreciate through this sculpture the artists innate feeling about what was right and perfect, and identify with the unhurried, unsensational revelation in the common place of this beauty. The Greeks had a saying Kalos Kagathos the beautiful and the good , where the outer appearance of physical beauty reflected the moral goodness of mind and spirit.

This was the principal used to measure the essence of the mortal human. To the Greeks Mortal man became the standard by which thing were judged and measured. Buildings were made to accommodate the body and please the eye of man, not a giant. Gods were portrayed as resembling human beings, not fantastic creatures. As Sopohokles wrote in Antigone wonders are there many, non more wonderful than man. The fifth century stele of the Athlete from Athens does justice to the statement above. Here is a boy of fifteen who must have loved sports when he was alive.

He stares at his strigil (the curved metal tool used for cleansing the body after exercise), perhaps contemplating its use in his next life in Hades, or perhaps reminiscing the many years it had served him by cleansing his beautiful human body. His name Eupheros is inscribed on the pediment above his head. Eupheros is dressed in a himation (large cloak) and sandals and wears a headband. The folds of his drapery, which pile on his arm and wrap around his body subtly indicating the natural contours of his body. According to Oliver Eupheros was a victim of the plague that ravaged Athens in 430-427 however, nothing the stone confirms this.

Furthermore, she goes on to say a desire to commemorate the many victims of the plague may have something to do with the reappearance of decorated gravestones in Athens at this time. Whatever the reason, Eupheros certainly conveys the divine spark that the Greeks found in every mortal through their outer appearance. With his noble simplicity and quite grandeur Eupherous could have passed off as a God (had he not been on a stele). However, the fact that he is not naked the lack of heroism which becomes evident in the next century, show that although still experimenting the artist is not quite bold as to pass of man as God.

In the search to embody the complete man the artists of this period had to grapple with the question of mans immortality. This was a question that had to be left unresolved till the next century. Consequently, this very doubt makes one appreciate and understand the vulnerability in the simplicity of this boy. For, immortality is a question for which we too have yet to find an answer. Finally as we come to the end of the 5th century there continues to be a preference for the lone figure steles, although steles with two or more figures do exist as well. Steles that belonged to women most often depicted them with maids, and scented oil vases.

They were also depicted admiring their jewelry or gazing at mirrors, as in the example (fig. 5). However, this sort of depiction was not to exaggerate their vanity but to simply state that their outer beauty reflected the inner. The artist endeavors to create ideal beauty and goodness that were identical not only figuratively but actually. As a result the artist went beyond the formal and technical means of creating harmonious and balanced images to impart to their works of art something of this greatness of spirit. There is nothing that is affected theatrical or superficial about this girl.

She simply stares at the mirror in the same contemplative mood as Euperous. The back of her hair is veiled and she is adorned with earrings. She wears a peplos with an additional shawl wrapped around her shoulders. The shawl has then been flipped casually over her arm, and it has fallen back towards her elbow when the mirror was raised up. It is a pity that this stele should be so damaged. However, the pleasure of a ruined antiquity is imagining it original splendor. With the other examples one sees the tremendous strides that the artist has made by desiring to reach higher planes technically and physiologically through his sculpture.

And these two planes met during the fifth century before Christ and made an impact on people, for many centuries to come. Therefore, at the end of this golden period when art was almost at a climax one could anticipate the achieved advancements of this stele even though the stele itself is quite ruinous. Likewise, one cannot help but be reminded, just as the girl in the stele might be thinking, that even such idealistic achievements must come to an end. This young girl with her broken arm damaged hair who in the prime of her life was the embodiment of the Greek ideal gives this stele a poignancy of an unfinished epitaph.

By the end of the Pelopenisioan war and the beginning of the fourth century gravel steles change dramatically. Gone are the elusive single figured steles. During the fourth century steles with three or more figures become popular. As a result these steles become less like the original steles and more like meteopes of a building, where the stone slab becomes less rectangular and more broader. According to Bordman, by the addition of more figures, apart from taking the viewers focus away from the deceased, it also made it harder for the deceased to be always readily distinguished, unlike in the example. (fig. 6).

Dated around 350-340, this marble stele was found in Athens at the river Ilissus. The aloof nude young man is the dead, while his father sadly contemplates his sons untimely death. There is ambiguity on weather a slave or a younger brother weeps or sleeps. According to Barron the boy weeps and according to Rielter the boy ignorantly sleeps while a dog noses around in a puzzled air. Unlike in the classical period and in the Archaic period the dead is depicted as a nude. And unlike in the classical period where the viewer was able to identify with the deceased, here the viewer is more inclined to identify with the mourners.

It seems that the artist having mastered the techniques of depicting a realistic profile view in the previous century now depicts a successful frontal view. The diseased (fig. 6) is in a vacant gaze, and stares past the observer. The artist has rendered the young man with a heroic quality, and in doing so has distanced the viewer from the diseased. In the classical stele there are no obvious promises or threats of what might lie beyond the grave, simply an appreciation of life and a quite record of loss.

However the fourth century stele begins to popularize even in Attica the death feast motif where the dead reclines as a hero and there are intimations of immortality. The artist no longer doubts mans immortality but is completely sure of it and so is the young man on the stele. This takes away the vulnerability that the classical steles embodied. One might more likely be awed by this than be touched as one was with the classical stele. Steles such as this one continued to be built, until cemeteries of Athens become cultural showplaces.

By a sumptuary decree Demetrious Poliorketes who governed Athens put an end this lavish display in 317. And here the story ends, the anti luxury decree of Derrios forbade the erection of sculptural gravestones and thenceforth there appear only insignificant pillars bowls and slabs in the graveyards. The new law killed one of the most beautiful forms of artistic expression and not until the second century B. C did elaborate sculptural gravestones appear. However, it never rose to the enchanting simplicity and physiological complexity that the classical period achieved.

Although the Romans did make successful copies of these steles the Roman copies do not convey the subtleties and magnificence of the Greek proto types, and they lack the inner life we sense in the original work. In the classical period if the figures on a stele contemplated they did not make an outward show of it as steles from the fourth century, if they were engaged in a certain action, it was done simply and naturally, unlike the exaggerated action of steles of the Archaic period. And yet these steles were not absolutely perfect or flawless, for that was something artists were still striving for during the fifth century.

This makes it all the more appealing since it represents the continuous human struggle for perfection and never quite reaching it. The statement below shows how the emotion that the classical period evokes in one is capable of even overriding logical thought One of the most deeply rooted notions of civilized man is that there existed, at some time in the remote past an era when humanity reached a glory from which it has been in decline ever since. This is the belief in the golden age. The Greeks dreamed of a golden age just as we do now: When Saturn did reign, there lived no poor

The king and beggars on roots did dine. But when we think of a golden age we think most often of that classical period in Ancient Greece roughly defined as the fifth century BC, distinguished for art of a serene and restrained majesty, and an ideal beauty of proportion form and impression to which we have never attained. (Robertson Davis The Greek Miracle : Reflections of a Golden Age pp69) Finally one cannot help but ponder if the Greek stele sculptors would still have carved such enigmatic expression of the departed had they known that these would be their portals to immortality.

Ancient Greece Essay

The Greek peninsula has been culturally linked with the Aegean Islands, and the west coast of Asia Minor since the Neolithic Age. The numerous natural harbors and close-lying islands lead to a unified, maritime civilization. However cultural unity did not produce political unity. Mountain ranges and deep valleys separated the peninsula into small economic and political units. Constant feuding between cities and surrounding empires for political power made Greece the sight of many battles.

Prehistoric Period Archeological evidence shows that a primitive Mediterranean people, losely related to races of northern Africa, lived in the southern Aegean area as far back as the Neolithic Age. A cultural progression from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age started about 3000 BC. This civilization, during the Bronze Age was divided into two main cultures. One on these, called Cretan or Minoan was centered on the island of Crete. The other culture, Helladic (who became Mycenaean) populated mainland Greece.

The Minoan culture dominated trade until 1500 BC when the Mycenaeans took control. During the third millennium BC a series of invasions from the north began. The most prominent of the early invaders, who were called the Achaeans, had, in all probability, been forced to migrate by other invaders. They overran southern Greece and established themselves on the Peloponnesus. Many other, vaguely defined tribes, were assimilated in the Helladic culture. Ancient Greece Gradually, in the last period of Bronze Age Greece, the Minoan civilization fused with the mainland.

By 1400 BC the Achaeans were in possession of the island itself, and soon afterward gained control of the mainland. The Trojan War, described by Homer in the Iliad, began about 1200 BC nd was probably one of a series of wars waged during the 12th and 13th centuries BC. It may have been connected with the last and most important of the invasions which happened at about the same time and brought the Iron Age to Greece. The Dorians left the mountains of Epirus and pushed their way down to Peloponnesus and Crete, using iron weapons to conquer the people of those regions.

The Invading Dorians overthrew Achaean kings and settled in the southern and eastern part of the peninsula. The Hellenic Period After the great migrations in the Aegean, the Greek developed a proud racial consciousness. They Called themselves Hellenes. The term Greeks, used by foreign peoples, was derived from Graecia, the Latin for a small Hellenic tribe of Epirus, the first Hellenes that the Romans had dealings with. Out of the mythology that became the basis of an intricate religion, the Hellenes developed a genealogy that traced their ancestry to semidivine heroes.

Age of Tyrants The age of Greek tyrants was notable for advances made in Hellenic civilization. The title of tyrant was used on people who had gained political power illegally. Generally the tyrants were wise and popular. Trade and industry flourished. In the wake of political and economic strength came a lowering of Hellenic culture, especially in Ionia, where Greek philosophy began with the speculations of Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenies. The development of cultural pursuits common to all the Hellenic cities was one of the factors that united ancient Greece.

Another Factor was the Greek language, the many dialects of which were readily understandable in any part of the country. The third factor was Greek religion, which held the Hellenes together, and the sanctuary of Delphi, with its oracle, became the greatest national shrine. In addition to their religion, the Greeks held four national festivals, called amesthe Olympian, Isthmian, Pythian, and Nemean. Monarchy to Democracy Some unification of the city-states took place. Between the 8th and 6th centuries BC, Athens and Sparta became the two dominant cities of Greece.

Each of these great states united its weaker neighbors into a league or confederacy under its control. Sparta, a completely militarized and aristocratic state, established its leadership mainly by conquest, and kept its subject states under strict rule. The unification of Attica was, however, carried on by mutual and peaceful agreement under the leadership of Athens, and the inhabitants of maller cities were given Athenian citizenship. The hereditary kingship of Athens was abolished in 683 BC by the nobles, or Eupatridae, who ruled Athens until the mid 6th century BC.

The Eupatridae kept complete authority by their supreme power to dispense justice. In 621 BC statesman Draco codified and published the Athenian law, their by limiting the judiciary power of the nobles. A second major blow to the hereditary power of the Eupatride was the code of the Athenian statesman and legislator Solon in 594 BC, which reformed the Draconian code and gave citizenship to the lower classes. During the rule of the tyrant Pisistratus, the forms of government began to take on the elements of democracy.

Hippias and Hipparchus, sons of Pisistratus, inherited their fathers power, but they were considerably more despicable. Hippias, who survived Hipparchus, was expelled by a popular uprising in 510 BC. In the resulting political strife, the supporters of democracy, under the statesman Cleisthenes, won a complete victory, and a new constitution, based on democratic principles, took effect about 502 BC. The beginning of democratic rule was the dawn of the greatest period of Athenian history and, to me personally this signifies the end of Ancient Greece.

Greek Gods Essay

With our view of God, it can sometimes be difficult to comprehend the actions and thinking of the Greek deities. The Christian God does not tend to take such an active role in the affairs of people’s lives, where, on the other hand, the Greeks regarded direct involvement by the gods as a daily, uncontrollable part of life. Needless to say, divine intervention was a major variable in the equation of Homer’s Iliad. The gods picked who they would favour for different reasons.

Except Zeus: As the symbol of supreme authority and justice, he makes judgement calls s to the other gods’ involvement in the war, remains impartial, and doesn’t seem to get caught up in picking favourites. Even when his own son, Sarpedon, was about to die, Zeus chose to let the outcome go unaltered. On the other hand, Zeus’s wife, Hera, displayed the more typical actions of a god. After Paris, a Trojan, judged Aphrodite the fairest over Hera, and, after her daughter Hebe was replaced as cupbearer to the gods by a young Trojan boy, she was quite resentful towards Troy and its people.

Obviously she sided ith the Greeks and would stop at no length to express her will. Scheming and manipulating she even dared to trick her husband, King of the Gods. Hera, along with Athena, who was also passed over by Paris, is seen as the chief divine aid to the Greeks. Being the god of the sea, Poseidon was another strong supporter of the ocean-faring Greeks. Whenever Zeus turned his back Poseidon tried to help the Greeks in the fight. Poseidon felt that he was somewhat Zeus’s equal as his brother, but recognizing Zeus’s authority and experience, he looked to Zeus as an elder.

There were also Gods who favoured the Trojan side of the conflict. Both Apollo and Artemis, twin brother and sister, gave aid to the city of Troy. Although Artemis takes a rather minor role, Apollo, perhaps angered by Agamemmnon’s refusal to ransom Khryseis, the daughter of one of his priests and was constantly changing the course of the war in favour of the Trojans. Responsible for sending plague to the Greeks, Apollo was the first god to make an appearance in the Iliad. Also, mainly because Apollo and Artemis were on the Trojan side, their mother, Leto, also helped the Trojans.

Aphrodite, obviously supporting Paris’s judgement, sided with the Trojans. Although she was insignificant on the battlefield, Aphrodite was successful in convincing Ares, her lover and the god of war, to help the Trojans. One view of the gods’ seemingly constant intervention in the war was that they were just setting fate back on the right course. For instance, when Patroklos was killed outside of Troy, Apollo felt no guilt for his doings. It had already been decided that Patroklos would not take Troy, he should never have disobeyed Achilles in the first place.

As a god, he was just setting fate on a straight line. Achilles laid blame on Hektor and the Trojans. He did not even consider accusing Apollo, who never came into question, although he was primarily responsible for the kill. Apollo’s part in the matter was merely accepted as a natural disaster or illness would be today. This general acceptance of a god’s will is a recurring trend throughout the poem. A prime example of this trend is in book XXIV. Achilles, angry over the death of Patroklos brutally disgraced Hektor’s body.

Tethering Hektor’s orpse through the ankles, Achilles dragged him around Patroklos’s tomb every day for twelve days. This barbaric treatment was uncalled for and displeased the gods greatly. Achilles mother, Thetis, was sent by Zeus to tell him to ransom the body back to the Trojans. One may think Achilles would be possessive of the body and attempt to put up a fuss as he did before with Agamemmnon in Book I. But, Achilles showed humility and respect for the gods and immediately agreed to ransom the body to the Trojans, showing that all mortals, even god-like Achilles, were nswerable to the gods.

This ideology would seem to give the gods a sort of unlimited freedom on earth, although, the gods could not always do as they pleased and eventually had to come before Zeus. Zeus acted as a balance of sorts throughout the Iliad. He had to keep the gods in order and make sure that what fate decreed would happen. For example, after Achilles re-enters the battle Zeus declared that if Achilles was allowed to go on slaughtering the Trojans with nothing to slow him down, he would take Troy before fate said it would happen.

Therefore, to counter Achilles assive retaliation against the Trojans, Zeus allowed the gods to go back to the battle field. In Zeus’s own interests, he preferred to deal with issues more personal to the individual heros of the Iliad. This can be seen throughout the book as Zeus attempted to increase the honour of certain individuals. Zeus knew that Hektor was going to be killed by Achilles, and, feeling sorry for Hektor Zeus attempted to allow Hektor to die an honourable death. For instance, when Hektor stripped Achilles armour off Patroklos, Zeus helped Hektor “fill out” the armour o he would not seem like less of a man then Achilles.

Zeus also gave his word to Thetis that Achilles would gain much glory showing his involvement on a personal level. Homer used the gods and their actions to establish twists on the plot of the war. It would not have been possible for him to write the story without the divine interventions of the gods. Indeed, they affected every aspect the poem in some way, shape or form. Yet, from the immortal perspective of the Greek god, the Trojan war, and everything related to it, was only a passing adventure in the great expanse of time.

Medea: Gender Roles

In Euripides Medea, the protagonist abandoned the gender roles of ancient Greek society. Medea defied perceptions of gender by exhibiting both “male” and “female” tendencies. She was able to detach herself from her “womanly” emotions at times and perform acts that society did not see women capable of doing. However, Medea did not fully abandon her role as a woman and did express many female emotions throughout the play.

In ancient Greek society, murder was not commonly associated with women. Throughout the play, however, Medea committed several acts of murder.

We learn that Medea has killed her brother. Medea does not have any guilt about planning and carrying out the murders of king Creon and his daughter Glauke. As the play develops, the reader realizes that Medea plans to commit infanticide.

I shall murder my children, these children of mine if die they must, I shall slay them, who gave them birth.(Euripides 207-213)

This contradicts societys view that women are the givers of life and that men take it away. It is especially unacceptable because she is the children’s mother. To kill a member of your family was frowned upon in ancient Greece, as it is today.

[Chorus] Think. You are stabbing your children. Think By your knees we entreat you, by all the world holds sacred, do not murder your children. (Euripides 208)

Medea displays extreme pride, which is stereotyped as a “male” characteristic. She is willing to sacrifice everything, including her children, to restore her reputation. It is a common belief that a woman’s weakness is her children, but this is not the case with Medea. Her sense of pride prevails over her maternal instincts.

Good-bye to my former plans I cannot do it. And yet what is the matter with me? Do I want to make myself a laughingstock by letting my enemies off scot-free? I must go through with itI do realize how terrible is the crime I am about , but passion overrules my resolutions Its worth the grief You could not hope, nor your princess either, to scorn my love, make a fool of me and live happily ever after. (Euripides 212-219)

Medea seeks vengeance with the same forceful determination to rectify the situation as a man would. A woman seeking revenge challenges societys view of women as weak and passive. Medea will go to great lengths to hurt Jason for the wrongs he has done to her.
[Chorus]You will slaughter them to avenge the dishonor of your bed betrayed[Medea]O children, your fathers sins have caused your death(Euripides 211-219)

Medea dwells in self-pity until contriving a scheme that will avenge her hurt. Wallowing in self contempt is generally a quality attributed to women by society. Medea is so unhappy with herself after her marriage with Jason ended that she wanted to die.

Oh! My grief! The misery of it all! Why can I not die?O misery! The things I have suffered!Oh! Would a flaming bolt from Heaven might pierce my brain! What is the good of living any longer? O misery! Let me give up this life I find so hateful. Let me seek lodging in the house of death It’s all over my friends; I would gladly die. Life has lost its savor Ah! Double destruction is my unhappy lot! The troubles are mine, I have no lack of troubles.(Euripides 192-197)

Medea also experiences the “female” emotion of jealousy. Medea is jealous of Glauke, the daughter of Creon. Jason has left Medea for Glauke, who is younger, royalty and accepted by society.

Your foreign wife was passing into an old age that did you little credit As you loiter outside here you are burning with longing for the girl who has just been made your wife(Euripides 202-203)

The common opinion among society is that women tend to use deceit and trickery to achieve their goals. Medea is no exception. Medea persuades Creon to allow her to stay one more day in Corinth on the pretense of preparing for exile, while in actuality Medea was planning the murders of her enemies and children.

Do you think I would have ever wheedled the king just now except to further my own plans? I would not even have spoken to him, nor touched him either He has allowed me this one day, in which I will make corpses of my enemies.(Euripides 198)

Medea defied society’s stereotypes of male and female characters. Throughout Euripides Medea the protagonist showed extreme emotions of both sexes. At times she was the ultimate woman, and others the ultimate man.

Medea: A Civilized Barbarian

The term “Barbarian” is Greek in origin. The Greeks originally levied it at any races who were not of a Greek origin; especially those who threatened Greek civilization and culture. Because most of these “strangers” regularly assaulted Greek cities, the term “barbarian” gradually evolved into a rude term: a person who was a sub-human, uncivilized, and regularly practiced the most vile and inhuman acts imaginable. It is obvious that a barbarian has not been considered as a member of society as well as a woman in Ancient Greece. In many Greek tragedies that we have read women either play a secondary role or absent at all. That is why it is so unusual to read a tragedy where woman is a main character and not only that a woman is a foreigner, a barbarian.

Euripidess Medea was created in a period of Peloponesian War. Each war, regardless of the century it occurred, not only destroyed and killed but also caused the reappraisal of the values in the society. Literature, in Ancient Greece, used to be a main reflection of what the society thinks what values and rules it has and what impact the war had on peoples minds.

Obviously, the Peloponesian War has brought a lot of stress and chaos into the society, so during this time some poets have foreseen the intellectual revolution. Euripides, however, was the first one who created the play where he opposed a barbarian to someone civilized; he has his Medea confront Jason. The civilized Jason is more barbaric in his emotional callousness than the barbarian Medea, but by the end of the play she exacts a barbaric penalty.

The Nurse calls Medea a “strange woman.” She is anything but typical. Euripides admits from the outset that this is a bizarre tale of an exceptional human being.

Lest she may sharpen a sword an thrust to the heart,
Stealing into the palace where the bed is made,
Or even kill the king and the new-wedded groom,
And thus bring a greater misfortune on herself.

Two great pains tear Medea: the betrayal of Jason and her betrayal of her country and family (and consequent exile). The two are interwoven and double her sorrow. Guilt, loneliness, rejection, love, all war within her.

Ah, I have suffered
What should be wept for bitterly. I hate you,
Children of a hateful mother. I curse you
And your father. Let the whole house crash.

Of course Medea is barbarian, she came from a different country, she is violent and everyone knows that she posses the unique and in somewhat supernatural power that can make people to do things her way. These characteristics correspond to the definition of barbarian in the Ancient Greece. On the other hand, we realize that the part of her power is her intellect, which is not barbarians own distinctive feature. People, including the king, are afraid of Medea.

Kreon:
I am afraid of you, – why should I dissemble it? –
I believe their fear is based not only on the fact that she has a great passion and able to do something terrible, but also on the fact that people start to realize that a barbarian is a human who can think, who has emotions and feelings and, moreover, who can take control over them. Another factor that scares people is her being a woman. In Ancient Greece women had not had a political power; their voices have never been heard. Medeas voice is not only can be heard, but also her speeches are manipulative. She is able to use any rhetoric speech that appeals to the emotions of the people. Medea provokes a passion in them in response to her own.

Kreon:
You are a clever woman, versed in evil arts,
And are angry at having lost your husbands love.

Medea is smart, she is greatly aware of being a “foreigner” and the Corinthians seem to echo that awareness; she understands why she is not welcomed in the society, she realizes that she has to leave, but her emotional pain makes her to do unthinkable.

Pain is often the source of anger and then violence. That progression is one of Euripides’ main themes. “Great people’s tempers are terrible.” The greatness of the temper is one measure of the greatness of the person who is angry. Medeas passion causes human tragedy. Medea also understands that her passion and anger is based on the betrayal. Jason did not keep his word, he has broken the oath and this was unacceptable for Medea. At the same time, she realizes that in the Greek society people are more materialistic and ideas of love and faithfulness are seem to be barbaric and silly.

Jason:
Change your ideas of what you want, and show more sense.

Medeas primitive passion is pitted against the civilized demands of a Jason. He is empty inside, he has no emotions, no passion; the only thing that he has is the desire. The desire to stabilize his political position. He used Medea for his own good: she helped him to escape and to survive. Right now it is the time for Jason to move on with his life; he doesnt need Medea any more. Moreover, in some way he thinks he helped Medea and she should be thankful for that.

Jason:
In so far as you helped me, you did well enough.
But on this question of saving me, I can prove
You have certainly got from me more than you gave.

Jason, as he thinks, lives by the law instead of the sweet will of force. But what is the law? Who has it been written for? In Ancient Greece all the laws were written for the men, who used to have the political power. Jason is a perfect example of a representative of this society. He even admits, that women are the unnecessary creatures. They are needed only for producing children.

Jason:
It would be better far for men
To have got their children in some other way, and women
Not to have existed. Then life would have been good .

Medea wants to make Jason suffer by making him listen, but for Jason her argument is invalid. I think Medea is trying to prove that the society, in which money and ones political position are two things that matter, will not have any future. There are some other things, such as love, dedication and ability to keep your word, that are needed in the society for its success. In this sense Medeas ideas are more civilized than Jasons emotionless and a blind desire for a power. As I mentioned earlier, these Medeas ideas are not valid in the Greek society, so she plays her barbaric game until the very end of the play. Lessons are learned and tables are turned. The oppressor cannot oppress forever.

Medea’s Revenge

Medea, a play by the Greek playwright Euripides, explores the Greek-barbarian dichotomy through the character of Medea, a princess from the”barbarian”, or non-Greek, land of Colchis. Throughout the play, it become sevident to the reader that Medea is no ordinary woman by Greek standards.Central to the whole plot is Medea’s barbarian origins and how they are related to her actions. In this paper, I am attempting to answer questions such as how Medea behaves like a female, how she acts heroically from a male point of view,why she killed her children, if she could have achieved her goal without killing them, if the murder was motivated by her barbarian origins, and how she deals with the pain of killing her children.

As an introduction to the play, the status of women in Greek society should be briefly discussed. In general, women had very few rights. In the eyes of men, the main purposes of women in Greek society were to do house work such as cooking and cleaning, and bear children. They could not vote, own property, or choose a husband, and had to be represented by men in all legal proceedings. In some ways, these Greek women were almost like slaves. There is a definite relationship between this subordination of women and what transpires in the play. Jason decides that he wants to divorce Medea and marry the princess of Corinth, casting Medea aside as if they had never been married.

This sort of activity was acceptable by Greek standards, and shows the subordinate status of the woman, who had no say in any matter like this. Even though some of Medea’s actions were not typical of the average Greek woman, she still had attitudes and emotions common among women. For instance, Medea speaks out against women’s status in society, proclaiming that they have no choice of whom to marry, and that a man can rid themselves of a woman to get another whenever he wants, but a woman always has to “keep [her]eyes on one alone.” (231-247)

Though it is improbable that women went around openly saying things of this nature, it is likely that this attitude was shared by most or all Greek women. Later in the play, Medea debates with herself over whether or not to kill her children: “Poor heart, let them go, have pity upon the children.” (1057). This shows Medea’s motherly instincts in that she cares about her children. She struggles to decide if she can accomplish her goal of revenge against Jason without killing her children because she cares for them and knows they had no part in what their father did.

Unfortunately, Medea’s desire to exact revenge on Jason is greater than her love for her children, and at the end of the play she kills them. Medea was also a faithful wife to Jason.She talks about how she helped Jason in his quest for the Golden Fleece, then helped him escape, even killing her own brother. (476-483). The fact that she was willing to betray her own family to be with Jason shows her loyalty to him.Therefore, her anger at Jason over him divorcing her is understandable. On the other hand, Medea shows some heroic qualities that were not common among Greek women.

For example, Medea is willing to kill her own brother to be with Jason. In classical Greece, women and killing were probably not commonly linked. When she kills her brother, she shows that she is willing to do what is necessary to “get the job done”, in this case, to be with Jason.Secondly, she shows the courage to stand up to Jason. She believes that she has been cheated and betrayed by him. By planning ways to get back at him for cheating on her, she is standing up for what she believes, which in this case is that she was wronged by Jason, but in a larger sense, she is speaking out against the inferior status of women, which effectively allows Jason to discard Medea at will.

Third, she shows that she is clever and resourceful. Rather than use physical force to accomplish her plans, she uses her mind instead: “it is best to…make away with them by poison.” (384-385) While physical strength can be considered a heroic quality, cleverness can be as well. She does in fact poison the princess and the king of Corinth; interestingly, however, she does not poison them directly. “I will send the children with gifts…to the bride…and if she wears them upon her skin…she will die.” (784-788) This shows her cleverness because she is trying to keep from being linked to the crime, though everyone is able to figure out that she was responsible anyway.

In a way, though, she is almost anti-heroic because she is not doing the “dirty work” herself, which makes her appear somewhat cowardly. Finally, there is the revenge factor. Many times heroes were out for revenge against someone who did them or a friend wrong, and in this case Medea is no exception, since she wants to have revenge against Jason for divorcing her without just cause. There are two main reasons why Medea decides to kill her children. The first, and more obvious one, is that she feels that it is a perfect way to complement the death of the princess in getting revenge on Jason. When she tells the chorus of the plans to kill the children, they wonder if she has the heart to kill her children, to which she replies, “[y]es, for this is the best way to wound my husband.” (817).

This shows that she believes that by killing her children, she will basically ruin Jason’s life, effectively getting her revenge. The second reason for Medea killing her children has nothing to do with revenge. If she left her children with Jason, they would be living in a society that would look down upon them since they have partly barbarian origins.She did not want her children to have to suffer through that. Also, if her children are mocked for being outsiders, then this reflects badly on Medea, and she said that she does not want to give her enemies any reason to laugh at her.(781-782)

Since she does not want to leave her children with Jason, they really have no place else to where they could go, being barbarians in a Greek city:”[m]y children, there is none who can give them safety.” (793) For these two reasons, Medea decides that killing her children is the best way to accomplish her plan: getting revenge and keeping her children away from Jason. Whether or not Medea could have accomplished her goal without killing her children is debatable. On one hand, if we look at Medea’s objective only as seeking revenge against Jason, then she could have accomplished that without killing her children.

Killing the princess, Jason’s new wife, would cause enough grief for Jason so that her goal would be accomplished. We can infer that the death of Jason’s wife would be more damaging to him than the deaths of his children because Jason was going to let Medea take the children with her in to exile and did not try to keep them for himself. Therefore, once the princess was dead, killing the children, while it causes additional grief for Jason, really is not necessary. Even though Medea does not seem to believe it, killing her children probably causes more pain for her than Jason.

She just does not see it because she is so bent on revenge against Jason. On the other hand, if we define Medea’s objective in two parts, one being revenge, and the other to keep the children away, then it is possible that she had to kill her children. As for the revenge part, it was not necessary that she kill her children for the reasons just discussed. However, she may have needed to kill them to keep Jason from getting them. If Jason decided he wanted his children,there is not much Medea could do about it, other than kill them. Also, it is possible that she did not want to take them with her into exile because they could make it more difficult for her to reach Athens.

For whatever the reason,however, it is probable that she needed to kill her children to carry out her plan, since she accomplished two different goals through their deaths. The murder of Medea’s children is certainly caused in part by her barbarian origins. The main reason that Jason decides to divorce Medea to marry the princess is that he will have a higher status and more material wealth being married to the king’s daughter. (553-554) In other words, Jason believes that Medea’s barbarian origins are a burden to him, because there is a stigma attached to that. In his mind, having the chance to be rich outweighs the love of a barbarian wife.

Medea’s barbarian status is a burden to herself as well.Once separated from Jason, she becomes an outsider with no place to go, because the barbarians were not thought too highly of in Greek society. Had Medea not been a barbarian, it is likely that Jason would not have divorced her, and therefore, she would not have had to kill her children. But since she is a barbarian, this sets in motion the events of the play, and in her mind the best course of action is to kill her children. Just because she is non-Greek does not necessarily mean that her way of thinking would be different from the Greeks; in other words, her way of thinking did not necessarily cause her to kill her children.

Medea deals with the pain that the deaths of her children cause her quite well. She does this by convincing herself that her revenge against her husband was worth the price of her children’s death. When asked about killing her children, she replies, “So it must be. No compromise is possible.” (819)This shows that she is bent on revenge, and that she is justifying their deaths to get her revenge. However, she does struggle with her decision to kill them.She is sad that she must take their lives, but also tells herself that it is in their best interests, as evidenced by what she says to her children: “I wish you happiness, but not in this world.” (1073)

She does not seem to have a problem with killing her children once it comes time to actually carry out the act. Buther motherly instincts will not allow her to totally abandon her children after they are dead, as she decides to hold a yearly feast and sacrifice at their burial site. (1383-1384) But in the end, we can see that she dealt with the pain surprisingly well. Two main themes are present in Medea: Medea’s barbarian origins, and her desire for revenge against Jason. Her barbarian status is really what starts the actions of the play.

It is what makes her a less desirable wife to Jason than the princess, and causes him to leave her. This then leads to her thoughts of revenge against Jason, and her decision to kill her children as away to exact that revenge. As far as revenge goes, Medea is heroic in that she is standing up against an evil done to her. Throughout most of the play, she spends her time plotting her revenge against Jason, waiting until the right moment to unleash her plan. She uses her cleverness to trick Jason and the others into believing that she was not upset with him. In the end, we can see that Medea’s barbarian origins were a major factor in the play, and that Medea was no ordinary woman in Greek terms.

The Greater the Power, the Greater the Fall

During the Golden age of Greece, in 5th Century B. C. , the Greeks were fascinated by the thin line between greatness and hubris. Throughout their literature, there is a sense that the same traits that make a man or woman great can lead to their destruction. In the familiar period piece, Medea, the nurse declares that its a bad thing to be born of high race and brought up willful and powerful in a great house unruled and ruling many; then if misfortune comes it is unendurable. Clearly, the excerpt was the precursor to todays expression, The greater the power, the harder the fall.

This illustrious quotation conveys one of the most relevant themes of the time period: hubris. During the Greek Golden Age, the value of hubris was believed by the citizens, as shown in the myth of Arachne, Oedipus the King, and Medea. Mythology, in ancient times, had many purposes: entertainment, praising gods, and mostly, means of teaching priceless lessons. While greatness was admired, hubris was looked down upon; therefore, many of the myths of the century contained a moral in regard to the abuse of power and ego. One eminent tale was about a person named Arachne.

Arachne was a young woman who lived in Greece. She was an exceptionally fine weaver and spinner. She wove all sorts of beautiful images into her cloth, and people came from all around to see the beautiful textiles. Arachne began telling people she was more superior at spinning and weaving than the goddess Athena. Due to her hubris, she incurred the wrath of Athena. No matter how skilled people are, they are never any competition for the gods. According to the Greeks of the Golden Age, talent was admired, although excessive pride of abilities led to a downfall.

Aristotle once said All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire. This fall was triggered by most of these causes; hubris fitting into all of them. People need to remember their place, and not try to be stronger or wiser or smarter than the gods, or bad things will happen to them. One of historys most admired philosophers, Aristotle, created a set of criteria that fits most any Greek tragedy. In Oedipus The King, Aristotles theory of the tragic hero couldnt have been set in a more overt manner.

The most prominent of the criteria is the presence of a flaw that eventually creates turmoil. Oedipus obvious flaw was his arrogance and abuse of power. Throughout the play, he mistakenly kills his father and sleeps with his mother. Many people try to make him realize that he really did perform the misdemeanors, but he remains ignorant and disregards the possibility that stood true. The tragedy is not so much that Oedipus commits two horrible crimes; after all, he was fated to do so, and committed them unknowingly.

It is, rather, that he, like his doomed parents before him, ran headlong into the destiny he was trying to defy, and then compounded his evils by his imperious refusal to believe the prophet’s declaration of his guilt. At the end of the book, he becomes conscious of his wrongdoings and curses himself as a result of his conceit. Upon completion of his interrogation of the old shepherd who had saved his life as an infant, Oedipus exclaims in anguish, “O god- all come true, all burst to light! O lightnow let me look my last on you!

I stand revealed at last ursed in my birth, cursed in marriage, cursed in the lives I cut down with these hands! ” (1306-1310) Here, Oedipus realizes the error of his confidence in his human knowledge. He recognizes his hamartia at the moment in which he experiences his reversal of fortune. Pride was his downfall. The Greeks had a distinct word for this: “hubris,” a heroically foolish defiance; the feeling that one is beyond the reaches of authority or convention. Hubris is also seen in other works of theater. Euripides plays with the idea of greatness in Medea, often to surprising effects.

Medea has some of the makings of a great hero, but Euripides distorts and dislocates these traits, twisting some of the conventions of his art. Her greatness of intellect and self-absorption are beyond doubt, but the reduced field for these talents makes her into a monster. Euripides describes how the greatest, most renowned, people fall to a doom of immeasurable pain and suffering; moreover, he uses Medea as his ideal example. At the climax of the story, Medea prepares to slaughter her two sons: “My accursed hand, come, take the sword; take it and forward to your frontier of despair.

She arrives at her lowest point and degrades herself to the level of a malicious murderer. Another example that Euripides uses to describe this theme portrays itself when Creons sympathy goes out toward Medea: “My soft heart has betrayed me”. Creon reveals that his persona of being a cruel, powerful king covers the truth of his sympathetic, sensitive feelings towards his acquaintances. Euripides successfully weaves this theme into the epic play. There are plenty of morals to the many Greek myths and stories, but one of the most significant and utilized morals is that ones ego and power can crush them.

The indulgence of hubris was exposed in the myth of Arachne, Oedipus the King, and Medea. Balance is something that could have helped the fated characters. The idea of balance is put into words by Euripides when he explains, The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man. If they only knew of balance through simplicity and strength, rather than disproportionate self-importance and ego, they may not have suffered a great fall.

Back In Time – Athena

Back in time when Greece was making its mark in history as one of the great civilization of the Ancient World, there was a great deal of emphasis on the Gods and Goddesses. To the Greeks the world was governed by the Gods and they were the reason many things happened in the world, mostly thing that where unexplainable. The goddess Athena was one of the many gods or goddesses that played a large role in Greek mythology. Even though Athena was the patron saint of Athens she supported other Greeks outside of Athens, such as, Achilles, Orestes, and especially Odysseus (“Athena”-1).

Athena is know to be the oddess of war, guardian of cities, patroness of arts and crafts, and promoter of wisdom (“Images of Women… “-1). Athenas name actually came form the Cretan and Mycenean name Athene which predates the Greeks by about 1,500 years (Daly-20). The ending -ene, was set aside for royalty and goddesses, like Helene (Harris-4). She was also called by some Greeks as Pallas Athena. Not many people know where the name Pallas came from. Some legends say she obtained it from the giant Pallas that she killed in the war of the gods and giants (Grant-Hazel 83).

Another legend says that Athena accidentally killed her childhood playmate Pallas. By taking Pallas in front of her own, Athena shows the grief that she endured for the loss of her friend (Daly-20). Athena had such an impact on the Greeks that the Romans adopted her and called her Minerva (“Minerva”-1). The origins of Athenas name is not the only discrepancy that historians have had. The origin of where Athena came form is also a discrepancy. Zeus feared that he would be overcome by a son greater than he born from the intelligent Metis. To prevent this Zeus ate Metis.

There for, Athena, in the most common legend, was born fully grown out of Zeuss head after Hephaestus split it open with an ax. Another legend, this one form Crete, says Athena was hidden in a cloud. Zeus hit his head on the cloud and caused Athena to appear (Daly-20). Out of all the cities that Athena helped and protected Athens claimed her as there own. The Atheans believed that the first king of Athens, Erichthonius, was a descendant of Athena (Daly-20). Even though Poseidon was greedy of earthy kingdoms, he challenged Athena for the city.

The both of them appeared before the court of gods and goddess to make a judgment. Poseidon presented water to be of use to the Atheans. But the water was salty. Athena presented the olive tree which gave fruit, oil and wood. The court judged that this was a more beneficial gift and let Athena have the city (Daly-100). To show their homage, the Atheans, built the Parthenon. The word Parthenon means virgins place, for Athena was a virgin goddess (“Parthenon”-1). The east side of the building showed the birth of Athena and the west side showed the contest with Poseidon (“Athena”-1).

Atheans, on the other hand, were not the only people Athena favored. According to Homer the Greeks were greatly benefited when Athena came down from the heavens and stopped Achilles of Phthia from killing Agamemnon. Achilles protested but Athena replied: Down from the skies I ome to check your rage if only you would yield… Stop this fighting, now… Dont lay hand to sword… I know it is the truth-one day glittering gifts will lie before you, three times over to pay for all his outrage. Hold pack now.

Even though Athena was the patroness of war she also had compassion for the Greeks. Athena new if Achilles had killed Agamemnon that would certainly mean defeat for the Greeks. Athena was ruthless, manipulative, savage, and found delight in Trojan blood (“Athena, daughter of Zues”-1). Athena also is credited with helping a young man that was on trial n Athens for killing his mother. This young man was Orestes and his mother Clytemnestra, both form Argos. Athena having no mother had more compassion for the male figure than female.

She considered the crimes of Clytemnestra (killing her husband, Agamemnon) more punishable than Orestes crime (Parada-2). Aeschylus seems to sum it up in Athenas speech to the court in The Oresteia. “The Eumenides. ” … No mother gave me birth. I honor the male , in all things but marriage. Yes, with all my heart I am my Fathers child. I cannot set more store by the womens death-she killed her husband, guardian of their house… 644) With this trial Athena presented a new form of justice, trial by jury. The jury had voted equally but Athena broke the deadlock with a innocent vote setting Orestes free.

But of all the people Athena helped, Odysseus was the Greek that she liked the most. According to Kathleen Daly, author of Greek and Roman Mythology A-Z, Athena displays her “unique intellectual qualities” the best in Homers Odyssey (20). If it was not for her help and guidance Odysseus would have never reached his beloved Ithaka. With all the phenomenons that were unexplainable in the ancient world; mythology was able to shed some light on the subject. By todays standards these mythological explanations seem a little far fetched.

But for the time, accomplishments and triumphs that many Greeks made where do to the help of the gods like the wise Athena. She saved Greece from being defeated by holding back the anger of Achilles. A new form of government was established thanks to Athenas idea of trial by jury which allowed Orestes to go free. She also helped the mighty Odysseus find his path home. In respect, Athena was a goddess that was for all of Greece not just a single city. This made her one of the more favorable goddess and for this she was paid much homage.

The Two Faces Of Ancient Greece

The two most dominating city-states in Greece of their time, Athens and Sparta, were great rivals with two very different ways of life. Spartas overbearing military and Athens impartial justice system and government are models for many modern day countries. Even though these two city-states differ greatly from one another, they share many characteristics of their country and their time period. Athens and Sparta were the two most powerful Greek territories of their time. Like most cities of the same country, they have the same Greek culture, worshipping the same Greek gods and speaking Greek.

Like all Greeks, their people loved to talk and tell stories. Although they fought against each other, their citizens equally had great amounts of pride for their entire country as well as their city-states. The two rivals were both devoted mainly to agriculture and based their wealth, but not their success, on agriculture. Both also participated in the annual Olympics, an ancient Greek national athletic competition which is now a worldwide tradition. These to Greek city-states were the most feared city-states in all of Greece.

Though Athens and Sparta were similar, they were also very different. Athens was the first democracy, and it was also the first to govern with trial by jury. Athens main accomplishment was that it had a very strong Navy. It was the command of the sea and the head of the Naval Alliance, or the Delian League. Athens was the most feared city-state to fight at sea. Its other achievements were that is had excellent forms of art, architecture, drama and literature, philosophy, science, and medicine.

It was very wealthy and had beautiful, extravagant temples. The boys of Athens went to school between the ages of five and eighteen, where they learned reading, writing, mathematics, music, poetry, sports and gymnastics. The girls stayed at home and learned spinning, weaving and domestic arts. Athens had well educated men, a good sense of art, and an all-powerful navy. Sparta developed the most powerful military oligarchy of their time. They had a very strong army and were the most feared city-state to fight on land.

Sparta was a member of the Peloponnesian League and was the most powerful people in it. Its excellent military conquered many territories, which they controlled with slaves. Spartas sole achievement, other than military supremacy, was that its people possessed a simple life style, with no care for the arts of Athens. When Spartan boys turned seven years old they began training for the military, and they ceased their training at the age of twenty.

There was much more gender equality in Sparta than in Athens, and girls went to school where they learned reading, writing, athletics, gymnastics, and survival skills, and they could even join the military. Sparta was militarily supreme over Athens, and it also supported better equality and simplicity of life. Sparta and Athens contrasted greatly in military, art, education, government, and in many other areas. The few similarities they had were mainly based on their countrys rituals and traditions. These rituals and traditions are what the modern world remembers of the Greek culture.

Greek Art and Architecture Essays

The Palace of Knossos, a Minoan mud brick and timber structure on a shallow stone foundation, featuring a central courtyard, was constructed on an acropolis. It was a place for rulers to reside, shrines for religious ceremonies to be worshipped, the industrial production of objects, and administrative duties. Ample hallways, stairways, chambers, and light wells supplemented the ambitiously built structure. There were plenty of columns to mark he four awe inspiring entrance passages. Four wings, oriented in a north-south direction, surrounded the central courtyard.

The east wing featured the residential spaces, a workshop, and a shrine, while the west wing was complete with more shrines, a throne room, storerooms, and a banquet hall. The north wing included a theater area. The south wing featured a separate paved courtyard west of the palace. Inside the Palace of Knossos, plastered walls were painted with color washes. The walls were also decorated with frescos, many of which depicted religious ceremonies. The Minoans were a people who enjoyed life. Many wine jars were found and it can be noted that women commonly bore their breasts.

Long hair and makeup were popular and many festivals and events were held at the 1400 room palace. Nothing was fortified. These people had a love of art, color, and leisure, as depicted in many of the frescos at Knossos. Minoan art occasionally featured geometric and repetitive forms on walls, floors, and ceilings, but more common were figurative and landscape elements. Often seen were both local and foreign flowers and plants. It is important to mention that no narrative style has been noted and there are no hieroglyphics to decipher the images at Knossos.

An example of a Minoan fresco at Knossos is the Bull Jumping mural, about 24 1. 2 in height. One person holds the horns of a bull while another jumps over the animal. This may have been a sporting event, as bulls were an important image, ad may have been sacrificed. Figures in these Minoan works are much more animated than typical Egyptian examples. A face of a bull with guilded horns, about 12 tall, was found at Knossos. Created from steatite with shell, rock crystal, and red jasper, a white, chalky substance was rubbed into carvings on it to give the illusion of texture and detail.

Water or some other liquid could be poured from into the back and out of the bulls mouth. Unlike the Minoan Palace of Knossos, the Citadel of Mycenae was heavily fortified and featured many entrances. Its famous gate, The Lion Gate, is known for its keystone depicting two of the animal. Though the columns appear Minoan in style, this is a Mycenaean innovation featuring the first example of monumental sculpture in Greek art. This post and lintel limestone entrance is over 96 tall. Also Mycenaean, the Beehive Tomb at the Treasury of Atreus, complete with corbelling, and post and lintel entranceway, and a long walkway.

The Treasury of Atreus is a well preserved tholos tomb with a round, corbelled interior roof, cushioned capital columns, and a small chamber. This monument was once highly decorated with paint and sculpture, though this can no longer be seen. A mask, once thought to depict the face of Agamemnon, though now a disproved theory, was found at the royal tombs of Mycenae. It is the likeness of a man and was used as a burial mask with a less stylized beard and mustache. Mycenae was full of war and turmoil. A vase, c. 1300-100 bc, was dubbed The Warrior Vase for its scene of women bidding farewell to the warrior men.

Such a solemn feel seems to typify these times. Other signs of unrest include dagger blades with gold and silver inlay on bronze, representing various animal scenes and people carrying shields, found at Mycenae. Compared with Mycenae, Knossos appears to be a much more peaceful and artistic society. While both civilizations produced great art, the Knossos versions are more focused on peace and happiness, worship and love, while the examples found at the Citadel of Mycenae are not nearly as pleasant and unassuming. Essay #2 An example of a Geometric style vase is a terra cotta one from the Dipylon Cemetery, c. 750 bc.

At 42 5/8 tall, this massive sized vase is meant to hold offerings. As per this period, the vase was used as a grave marker, keeping a detailed record of funerary rituals for an important person. The body of the dead was placed on the side of a high platform at the center of the top register of the vase. Male and female figures stand on each side of the body, gesturing in anguish. Chariots and foot soldiers form a procession. Abstract forms represent the human figures in full frontal or profile views, with no attempt at three dimensional form. The carefully arranged elements induce strong emotions nonetheless.

Complex decoration, flat patterns, and outline shapes are typical from this period, as are the triangular torsos, rectangular arms, small waists, and long legs. Orientalized vases differ from earlier vases in their use of narrative story telling, particularly in mythical themes. A ceramic wide-mouthed pitcher, known as an olpe, from Corinth, c. 600 bc, at 11 1/2 tall, is painted in the black figure style of decoration. There are dark shapes on a pale background. The details are incised and the design enhanced with touches of white and red-purple gloss. In this vase, mythical creatures are silhouetted against stylized rosettes.

The Orientalized style is generally a much smaller scale than previously seen in geometric pieces. The compositions are more open with larger motifs, many drawn from the Near East, hence the term Orientalized. Both real and imaginary animals were depicted, with a focus on mythical fantasy; very different from the pattern-like style of geometric vase painting. Essay #3 Rapidly developing arts and trends flourished during the Archaic period. The freestanding sculpture and meticulously beautiful painted vases provide an opportunity for awe at the developments of this time period, c. 600-480 bc.

It was around this time that vase painters began to sign their work. Lifesize and larger freestanding marble figure sculpture had developed. Both male and female forms were constructed, generally in marble. Kouroi and Korai were probably not portraits of people, but instead a representation of a deity that the person commissioning the piece identified with. Unlike Egyptian figural sculpture, the ancient Greeks cut away at the stone to generate completely self supporting artwork. Figures have notable athletic quality, features are prominent but not detailed, long hair, and the most noted feature is the archaic smile.

This smile is a closed mouth expression of happiness, though it may seem a melancholy smile. Men were always sculpted nude, though women were usually clothed. Archaic vase painting seems to have adopted a more geometric style, featuring narrow bands and smaller figures at first. Unlike the earlier period, however, the bands are fewer and smaller. At time wore on, though, there were fewer bands and decorations, and figure sizes increased to feature one scene register per vase. On a signed amphora by the vase painter, Exekias, The Suicide of Ajax is presented in black figure style.

This is an example of the influence of mythical themes on artwork. The story is taken from tales of the Trojan War. In this, and in other examples of archaic vase painting, artists used the shape of the vase to express the image, creating a harmony between art and function. Another archaic vase, also of Ajax, this time with Achilles, is also a black figure style vessel with a Homeric theme. An early example of perspective, there is a formal posture among the men, an archaic smile, and the incision technique, where the artist etched over the glaze.

Essay #4 The Kritios Boy, c. 480 bc, is a marble sculpture representative of the transition from archaic to classical styles. The Greeks were beginning to understand the muscles of the body. Unlike previous freestanding figure sculpture, this one shows the head turned at a slight angle; the posture is much less tense. This figure appears more natural and relaxed as compared with the archaic kouros figures of the sixth century, as well as less triangular in torso shape. The hair is shorter as well. What is less relaxed, however, is the expression.

The Kriotios Boys face is more stern than before, where the archaic smile displayed a neutral positivity on kouros figures. The eyes on the Kritios figure were inlaid with bronze and there are more teeth. Also new to these kind of sculpture was the contrapposto stance, shifting the weight to allow the body to appear to stand more naturally. Both the Kritios Boy and the Kouros figure were created from sculpted marble in the subtractive process of carving away to generate a form. The Riace Warrior was one of two bronze sculptures paired together, from c. 450 bc.

Statue B is highly detailed using the additive approach of lost-wax hollow-casting in bronze, different from the past sculptures in marble. A clay core is created to form the object, in this process, and then waxed. Details were molded into the wax and then another thin layer of clay was added. The piece was fired, leaving the wax to melt away, and a clay shell to be created. Molten bronze was poured into the gap between the clay layers and allowed to cool and harden. The clay was then removed, leaving a very sturdy bronze sculpture. The only issue with this method was than the mold could not be reused.

When this technique was refined, marble became a less popular medium. Sculpture in bronze, such as the Riace Warrior, are more solid and deflects light better than marble. Larger figures could be made in separate parts and fused together. The method of used bronze for figure sculpture was a technique really refined by the ancient Greeks, and definitely out shadows many of the archaic marble works. Essay #5 The Parthenon was completed structurally in 438 bc, designed by architects Kallikrates and Iktinos. The outside of the structure resembles a Doric temple.

The peristyle of columns are set up with eight viewable from the front and back, and seventeen viewable from either side. These columns rest on a three level platform. To avoid an appearance of curvature from a distance, the architects designed the Parthenon with a slightly upward curved stylobate and entablature by entasis. The columns also have a swelling and lean inward just a bit from the bottom to the top. At each corner, the columns were placed closer together. All these optical refinements give the Parthenon a less boxy structural feel with instead, a stronger sculptural appeal.

It is interesting to note that all these plans were carried out to make the Parthenon more appealing at a distance, however, those people who were lucky enough to be able to visit, and enter, had a difficult time viewing much of the wonderful sculpture. The frieze, for example, is located forty feet overhead, and because of the way it is set in the interior wall of the inner temple chamber, it is nearly impossible to see much of anything at all. The cella is enclosed in the temple, with an easterly opening. There is another space inside with an opening to the west.

The entablature on both sides of the temple contains the frieze scene of the Panathenaic Festival. The sculpture decorating the Parthenon was completed in 432 bc by Pheidias. The pediments, depicting different Athena-related themes, were a sculpture-in-the-round, set in the cornice and secured with pins. The east pediment is a representation of the birth of athena, located above the cella entrance. The central figures are Zeus giving birth to adult-sized Athena with armor. Apollo and Selene are each located on either corner.

The west pediment depicts a contest that Athena won against Poseidon for control of Athens. This one is set over the entrance to the acropolis. The Ionic frieze on the north size of the Parthenon represents the Panathenaic Festival, held each year to honor Athena. Women carried a wool peplos to the sanctuary to cover a wooden statue of Athena. In the frieze, there are horse riders and young men walking, all in good physical shape. As in many of the other sculpture of this time, it seems an ideal portrait to lookup to as example, not necessarily as things actually were.

This frieze contains key elements of Classical Greek form. Athletic nudity or partial nudity, figures which turn to the front, side, and back equally, controlled movements, and restless horses are some of these elements. Structurally, this frieze is not proportioned correctly and the perspective is incorrect, but this was a planned method to show intense movement and liveliness. First to be carved in the mid-440s bc, were the mythologically symbolic metopes. The Doric frieze included 92 metope reliefs, with fourteen on each end and thirty-two along each side.

Various battles are represented by a Centaur against a Lapith, a god against a Giant, and a Greek against either a Trojan or an Amazon. The original statue of Athena Parthenos, c. 440 bc, no longer exists, though reproductions do. These reproductions were generated with information found about the original, along with information known about how Athena was considered to be. The original statue used approximately 2500 pounds of gold, making it what may have been very controversial for Pheidias. Athena was depicted as a warrior with her helmet and visor, which displayed winged horses.

The Nike figures stands in Athenas outstretched hand. The shield rests at her side, a sign that war is over, but Athena is still prepared and protective of her city. Athena was the goddess of Athens, but it is still unsure which came first. This statue of the greatly revered Athena stood in her temple to be both revered and to protect her city and its people. The shield that rests by Athena is highly decorated and given its immense size, the work that went into this project is unimaginable. The inside part shows the gods against the giants, depicted the giants storming Mount Olympus.

The amazons are sculpted on the outside of the shield. Even Athenas sandals have figurative sculpture, this time of Lapiths and Centaurs fighting. Along the base of the statue, golden images of Pandora and witnesses to her birth contrast strongly against a white background. There is so much information available architecturally and symbolically on the Parthenon that it is hard to form a concise short description of important points, however, it is because of this knowledge, that scholars have been able to really understand Greek art and architecture.

The Cursed Prophetess

Oracle, in the Ancient Greek world, was a shrine where people went to seek advice from prophets or prophetesses (individuals who had special powers to speak on behalf of a god or foretell the future). Besides referring to an altar, the word oracle also refers to the prophet or prophetess, and to his/her prophecy (Cassandra). The Ancient Greeks wholly believed in these sacred persons. When disease would corrupt a city, the people would go to the shrines to ask a prophet to speak on behalf of the gods.

Once the Greeks knew the cause of the plague, they would do verything in their immortal power to convince the gods to relieve them from their suffereing. In the same way as Oedipus, the king of Thebes, asked Tiresias (a prophet) to speak for the gods explaining why his people were suffering, in Oedipus Rex. The Ancient Greeks believed their fate lay in the powers and oracle of the prophets and prophetesses. There was one prophetess, however, that was an exception to this belief.

Although Cassandra was the most beautiful and intelligent prophetess, in Greek mythology, her prophecies were never believed. Stories of gods falling in love with or lusting after young beautiful omen appear everywhere in Greek mythology, and the case of Cassandra is no exception. Greek gods chose their prey because of some distinguished characteristic or part of their geneology. Cassandra was a lovely young woman, and described by Homer as the most beautiful of Priams daughters. Apollo, similarly, was the most handsome of the young gods.

Cassandra describes Apollo as someone who struggled to win me, breathing ardent for me (Lefkowitz 15). Cassandra, daughter of Queen Hecuba and King Priam of Troy, was a beautiful young woman blessed with the gift of prophecy by the god Apollo. In return, she was supposed to love him, but at the last minute she shunned Apollo. As an act of revenge, Apollo added a twist to her gift: Cassandra was doomed to tell the truth, but never to be believed (Cohen 50). Cassandra has always been misunderstood and misinterpreted as a madwoman or crazy doomsday prophetess.

She has always been shown in paintings with her long hair flying around her shoulders in what was considered lunatic fashion, scantily clad, and helpless on her knees in the face of her predicted doom. However, there is so much more to Cassandra than her maddened predictions and pitiable treatment. Cassandra was a great, intelligent heroine who was cursed by the gods for not playing by their rules. She is a tragic figure, not a madwoman (Lefkowitz 4). Cassandras gift began with her falling asleep in the temple of Apollo. As he looked down on her, her beauty roused him. He promised to teach her the art of prophecy in return for lust.

Cassandra agreed to his terms, but after accepting his gift of prophecy, she denied him her body. Apollo was outraged and added a condition to the gift: though Cassandra would always speak the truth, no one would ever believe her. Already I rophesised to my countryment all their disasters… (but) Ever since that fault I could persuade no one of anything. He begged Cassandra to give him one last kiss, and as she did so, he spat into her mouth, when he backed away, the curse was planted (Lefkowitz 20). Once Cassandra had been cursed by Apollo, and she would never be believed, Troy was doomed.

Countless times before and during the Trojan War Cassandra predicted what would come of the war, but no one believed her. Always it was Cassandra who recognized a face, who predicted a fateful occurrence, who ran around the ramparts of the city ith her hair flying around her shoulders, crying and spouting oracles that no one understood. Most people considered her insane and tried to subdue her, but she was only trying desperately to warn her people of impending disaster. One of Cassandras most famous predictions was that of the Greek siege behind the gift of the Trojan horse.

Four times (the horse) struck (the gates): as oft the clashing sound of arms was heard, and inward groans rebound. Yet, mad with zeal, and blinded with our fate, we haul along the horse in solemn state; then place the dire portent within the towr. Cassandra cried, and crusd th unhappy hour; foretold our fate; but, by the gods decree, all heard, and none believd the prophecy (Lefkowitz 40). The Trojans wouldnt believe Cassandra, and accepted the gift. Soon after, the city was sacked and everyone was killed or taken prisoner. Later that night, the Greeks found Cassandra in Athenss temple clinging to her image, under the goddess protection.

The Greeks dared not touch her in the sanctuary of a goddess, but Ajax the Lessor stepped forth and tore her from the altar and dragged her out. Ajax then continued to rape her and force his strength onto her. Not one Greek protested against the sacrilege, because of this, Athenas wrath was deep. One of the worst things a Greek could do to anger the gods was to violate someone in the sanctuary of a god. Suppliants were supposed to be protected and inviolable, especially at an altar. This space was considered sacred, the place for sacrifices to be made, and the desecration of such a holy place was sure to anger the gods.

Athena went to Poseidon and asked for a bitter homecoming to the Greeks. He did just that. Poseidon stirred up the whirlwinds and waters and shipwrecked many of the ships. At the height of the storm, Ajaxs oat was shattered and sank, he held tightly to a rock, but because of an arrogant comment (the sea could not drown him), Poseidon broke off the jagged bit of rock and Ajax was swept under to his death (Hamilton 211-12). Prior to Ajaxs death, however, he gave Cassandra to Agamemnon as a gift of the war. The tragedy begins with Clytaemnestra, Agamemnons wife, awaiting his return from Troy, outraged and determined to kill.

Clytaemnestra had perfectly legitimate reasons for despising Agamemnon: he killed her former husband, Tantalus, and her baby, he married her by force, and ordered the sacrifice of their daughter, Iphigeneia, in order to calm the winds when the Greeks set sail for Troy. When Cassandra and Agamemnon arrive, Clytaemnestra greets them warmly and tries to comfort Cassandra in her misery of slavery. Agamemnon follows Clytaemnestra into the palace, but Cassandra remains outside, caught in a trance, refusing to enter the palace (Lefkowitz 54).

Cassandra could smell blood, and she saw visions of Thyesetes (a man who unknowingly ate his own son. ) No! It is a house God hates, where men are killed and the floor is red with blood. I hear children crying. … Crying for wounds that bleed. A father feasted-and the flesh of his children. Cassandra could see the past horrible events that had taken place in that house. The servants of the palace were confused. It was as if she had been there. More wild words poured from her lips. It seemed as if she had seen what had happened in that house through the years, like she stood by while death followed death.

Then finally, the prophecy of her own death, two more deaths would occur that day, she said, I will endure to die. She then turned toward the palace doors, powerless, and faced her fate as she entered the palace (Hamilton 254). Today, a Cassandra is someone whose true words are never believed. Her name also means One who entangles men (Lefkowitz 6). These two definitions summarize perfectly the life that Cassandra had. Beautiful and intelligent, she entangled Apollo. Her beauty roused him so much, he granted her a gods gift, in return for her love.

When she agreed, but later refused to let him touch her, he cursed her life and her gift. She would forever lack credibility and persuasion. It was her fate always to know the disaster that was coming and be unable to avert it. Cassandra was a woman of passion, wisdom, and beauty, her only fault as that she tricked a god was forever cursed by it. Gods cursing mortals for not cooperating is commonly found in Greek mythology. Men (women as well) had to keep the laws of the gods, and fully deserved any punishment they received for disobeying or defying the god in question.

Greek gods could be very childish and immature. When an immortal disobeyed a god, and the god didnt get exactly what he/she asked for, they punished the immortal in many different ways. The gods took something away from the individuals or they put a limit on their abilities such as: cursing the individual to fall in love with himself Narcissus), cursing the individuals ability to speak by only allowing her to repeat what others said (Echo), and in Cassandras case cursing the credibility of her prophesies.

Apollo cannot be blamed for treating Cassandra harshly because she refused to let him defile her, yet Cassandra herself is not fully to blame, for she was intelligent enough to manipulate and trick Apollo into giving her a godly gift. At any rate, Cassandra is an intriguing mythical heroine whose life was doomed for knowing the truth, but never being able to convince others of her knowledge.

Greek Archaeology Falling Warrior

As I began my search for an artifact to identify from the Late Bronze Age in Ancient Greece, I looked for a piece that would symbolize a major difference in stylistic change from the previous period. The artifact that captured my attention and satisfied my requirement, was none other than the Falling Warrior from the East Pediment at the Temple of Aphaia at Aegina. The subjects depicted in the pediment represent the warriors from the battles at Troy. The Falling Warrior was created c. 490 BC and is the first sculpted figure at the pediment’s right end.

It is constructed of marble and is 1. m long. It is currently on display at the Glyptothek in Munich, Germany. While observing the Falling Warrior, one can immediately depict the sense of drama that the sculptor was attempting to create. One can feel the pain and admire the courage and nobility this warrior had during the battle. I believe the sculptor designed the dramatic figure as a tribute to the warriors lost during the battles at Troy. This depiction would have constantly reminded the Ancient Greek people of the patriotic warriors that died for their state and thus promote devotion to the ruling Greek government.

Despite what the political intentions of the sculptor would have been, gazing at the Falling Warrior as an individualized sculpture is a marvel alone. Observing more closely, one can immediately notice the twist in body movement as the warrior tries to raise his body back up. Clinging to the enormous shield and looking downward, one can conclude that the warrior is severely injured. Yet, despite his injuries, he is still not giving up the battle and desperately attempts to survive. Through this agile movement, the sculptor has created a dramatic moment not to be forgotten.

The lower leg is positioned in a pushing movement while the upper leg is getting ready to do the same. This shows the attempt of the Falling warrior to use the ground surface as leverage to rise back up. Although the Falling warrior is determined to survive, his injuries obviously lead toward his death. Attention to detail is significant throughout the sculpture. The feet and toes are bent and in constant movement (pl. 1-1). Both calve muscles are flexed indicating use of the lower legs as a pushing factor (pl. 1-2). Thigh muscles are also shown clearly joining the movement of the lower leg.

While the lower part of the body seems to be in a struggle of survival, the upper body is more concerned with supporting itself from falling (pl. 1-3). The forearm muscles are erected while the joining hand is pushing up off the ground. However, the joining bicep is not as flexed and may perhaps indicate an area of pain (pl. 1-4). The chest is also very calm while the left bicep is hard at work, supporting the entire upper body by combining forces with the shield. Detail of the double handle is shown fiercely in conjunction with the warriors left hand (pl. 1-5).

This shows the warrior’s strength, as the size of the shield indicates very heavy armor. The helmet clings to the warriors head and a beard is portrayed as well as the eye in profile view, a common trait of that period. In comparison to the earlier built, Fallen Warrior at the West pediment at the Temple of Aphaia at Aegina, a major stylistic change can be noted. The Fallen Warrior from the West Pediment, built c. 500 BC, one can see the traditional Late Archaic smile that the warrior has. This is a very unnatural behavior that a real falling warrior would not depict.

Also very troubling, is the twist that the warrior’s body is in. The right leg is crossing the left leg, which would have been very uncommon, and a troublesome position for a real warrior in pain. At the same time, while performing this twist and continuing to smile, the warrior is retracting an arrow from his chest. These traits are well noted by the later sculptor who pays more attention to natural body movement. In the Fallen Warrior on the East pediment, the twist, and changes in masses depicted is much more likely to occur in reality.

Also the constant smile is lost as it probably would have been as the real warrior encountered his death. Clearly, the sculptor has mastered the natural form of representation. The stylistic difference between the two warriors are very important in determining the period of the Falling Warrior from the East Pediment. Recognizing the factors mentioned above, the Falling Warrior from the east pediment marks the entrance into the Early Classical period. Traditional with this period is the artist’s attempt to achieve perfection of reality in their artwork.

Representation of body mass in many sculptures, including the Falling warrior, supports this notion. Another recognizable aspect is the sculptor’s realization in producing work in accordance with the architectural requirements of the temples. The Falling Warrior not only achieves it’s dramatic sense but also fills in the triangular corner of the pediment. The artist creates a scale for the figures to be fitted into the pediment. Although, the artist believes he has achieved complete perfection, one can see that the navel on the Fallen Warrior has been misplaced.

Despite the imperfection, it is clear that a goal of perfection in realism and scale was trying to be achieved. In conclusion, Speculative identification of the Fallen Warrior from the East Pediment of the temple of Temple of Aphaia at Aegina has proven very helpful in understanding the change in lifestyle that must have occurred between the Late Archaic and Early Classical periods. By means of observation, one can already see that life is becoming less controlled, more relaxed and focused on reality rather than false representations of Ancient Greek life.

The Two Faces Of Ancient Greece (Athens & Sparta)

The two most dominating city-states in Greece of their time, Athens and Sparta, were great rivals with two very different ways of life. Spartas overbearing military and Athens impartial justice system and government are models for many modern day countries. Even though these two city-states differ greatly from one another, they share many characteristics of their country and their time period. Athens and Sparta were the two most powerful Greek territories of their time. Like most cities of the same country, they have the same Greek culture, worshipping the same Greek gods and speaking Greek.

Like all Greeks, their people loved to talk and tell stories. Although they fought against each other, their citizens equally had great amounts of pride for their entire country as well as their city-states. The two rivals were both devoted mainly to agriculture and based their wealth, but not their success, on agriculture. Both also participated in the annual Olympics, an ancient Greek national athletic competition which is now a worldwide tradition. These to Greek city-states were the most feared city-states in all of Greece.

Though Athens and Sparta were similar, they were also very different. Athens was the first democracy, and it was also the first to govern with trial by jury. Athens main accomplishment was that it had a very strong Navy. It was the command of the sea and the head of the Naval Alliance, or the Delian League. Athens was the most feared city-state to fight at sea. Its other achievements were that is had excellent forms of art, architecture, drama and literature, philosophy, science, and medicine.

It was very wealthy and had beautiful, extravagant temples. The boys of Athens went to school between the ages of five and eighteen, where they learned reading, writing, mathematics, music, poetry, sports and gymnastics. The girls stayed at home and learned spinning, weaving and domestic arts. Athens had well educated men, a good sense of art, and an all-powerful navy. Sparta developed the most powerful military oligarchy of their time. They had a very strong army and were the most feared city-state to fight on land.

Sparta was a member of the Peloponnesian League and was the most powerful people in it. Its excellent military conquered many territories, which they controlled with slaves. Spartas sole achievement, other than military supremacy, was that its people possessed a simple life style, with no care for the arts of Athens. When Spartan boys turned seven years old they began training for the military, and they ceased their training at the age of twenty.

There was much more gender equality in Sparta than in Athens, and girls went to school where they learned reading, writing, athletics, gymnastics, and survival skills, and they could even join the military. Sparta was militarily supreme over Athens, and it also supported better equality and simplicity of life. Sparta and Athens contrasted greatly in military, art, education, government, and in many other areas. The few similarities they had were mainly based on their countrys rituals and traditions. These rituals and traditions are what the modern world remembers of the Greek culture.

Greece: Heroism Essay

In ancient Greek times heroism was much different than it is now. Today, all you have to do to become a hero most of the time is rich, after you do this the media will take it from there. But in the time of the Trojans it took much more, thing’s that Achilles thankfully, was very good at or things he thought was important. Achilles was not only a hero physically, but was more importantly, a hero for the Achian army’s morale, also his chivalric properties were important with his being a hero.

Physically Achilles is superior to anyone that I have read of so far in the Iliad, other than Zeus and a few other gods. Even the best of the Trojan arriors and fighters cannot compare to Achilles’ fighting skill or his strength. Morale is something that the Achians are truly suffering from in the end of book six and into book nine. Something that the Achians need and Achilles provides when he is with the A. chians is a sort of a “father figure” if you would, a figure to look up to and to follow.

Another way Achilles aggrandized the Achians morale was him just being on their side and not on the Trojan team. Chivalry was a trait that Achilles saw to be very important, to strive hard to perform well in. He showed a few instances were he could have conducted himself ifferently but made a gallant decision. This includes when Agamemnon took away Briesies, Achilles’ war prize.

Achilles could have become very angry and could have killed him very easily but he refrained, he spared the Achians leader and left so no shame could soil his name. Compared to most hero’s in ancient Greece Achilles was a monster of a hero, for he showed multiple ways a hero can be the best hero, he also showed exactly how good a hero can be through his physical properties, his influence he had on the Achians army morale, and his desire to be the best warrior and hero he could be through his chivalrous acts.

Ancient Greece Paper

Ancient Greece is a peninsula located off the Mediterranean Sea, and is surrounded by several islands. Ancient Greece was made up of different types of government. There were two types of city states an oligarchy , which is ruled by a small group of citizens and a direct democracy ruled by the people . All citizens could make speeches and vote at the Assembly. The Council made up of 500 citizens made new laws which were debated in the Assembly . Only citizens could vote ,women , foreigners, slaves did not have the right to vote Religion and myths were very important in Greek citizens lives . They used

Gods and Goddess to explain things which happened in science and everyday life . They built temples to honor their Gods and Goddess and held the Olympics in honor of the king of the gods Zeus . The Parthenon was a temple built to honor the Goddess Athena . The people believed the Gods and Goddess would favor you if you gave them offerings such as gold ,silver ,and the fruit of the harvest . A few of the Gods and Goddess were Zeus king of the gods ,Athena Goddess of wisdom, warfare, and the city , Apollo , god of the sun , light ,truth , music and , prophecy , Hades brother of Zeus and king of the under world and afterlife , and

Poseidon, ruler of the seas . All of the gods and goddess lived at Mount Olympus the highest mountain in Greece . The Greeks had many occupations , traders , merchants , architects , philosophers, dramatists , sculptors , doctors , poets , astronomers and , physicists however ; each citizen protected the city state . Every citizen had a duty to defend the state as a hoplite, which is a heavily equipped warrior . They operated in a large rectangular formation of thousands of men all equal in rank . The Greeks influenced the way we live today . The educated Greeks wanted xplanations for the world and things around them . hey made observations and came up with theories .

These people were known as philosophers which means the love of wisdom Socrates , Plato , and Aristotle were famous philosophers . Hippocrates is known as the father of medicines today doctors take the Hippocratic Oath , named after him , which requires them to act ethically and morally . Anaxagras , an astronomer explained that a solar eclipse is caused by the moon passing between the earth and the sun blocking out the suns light . Literature was made up of myths and poems . The most famous Greek poet was Homer who wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey .

A Greek theater which began in the marketplace with dances and songs was the start of the present day theater . Architecture was important in the Greek culture . There were three types Doric , simple whit thick sturdy columns , Ionic , a thinner column and , Corinthian thin columns with elaborate capitals decorated with acathus leaves . Life in Greece was different depending on where you lived . I would prefer to live in Athens because the military requirements are not as restrictive . In Athens rich boys ,at the age of seven , went to school to tudy reading , writing , arithmetic , music , and debating .

Poor boys did not go to school . Girls stayed at home and learned how to spin and weave from their mothers . The children did not have pencils , they used a stylus and a wax covered wooden tablet . Pebbles or an abacus was used to help with math . Boys participated in sports to honor the gods to help them prepare for the military . They played games such as knucklebones , which is similar to jacks and played music on a lyre , cymbals or kitharas , which was a harplike instrument. In Sparta they had a very militaristic government and trained for war during the ay .

At the age of seven boys trained to be soldiers . They learned how to use spears , swords and to help them become stronger they lived in all kinds of weather . They used sports to help them become better soldiers . If a man was married he would have to stay in the military for another ten years . Then he was free to live with his family . Spartan women had to learn how to use a spear and a sword , so they could prepare their sons for battle . The reason Sparta needed such a strong military was because they were afraid their slaves , called helatsas would rebel .

The History of Greek Theater

Theater and drama in Ancient Greece took form in about 5th century BCE, with the Sopocles, the great writer of tragedy. In his plays and those of the same genre, heroes and the ideals of life were depicted and glorified. It was believed that man should live for honor and fame, his action was courageous and glorious and his life would climax in a great and noble death. Originally, the hero’s recognition was created by selfish behaviors and little thought of service to others.

As the Greeks grew toward city-states and colonization, it became the destiny and ambition of the hero to gain honor by serving his city. The second major characteristic of the early Greek world was the supernatural. The two worlds were not separate, as the gods lived in the same world as the men, and they interfered in the men’s lives as they chose to. It was the gods who sent suffering and evil to men. In the plays of Sophocles, the gods brought about the hero’s downfall because of a tragic flaw in the character of the hero.

In Greek tragedy, suffering brought knowledge of worldly matters and of the individual. Aristotle attempted to explain how an audience could observe tragic events and still have a pleasurable experience. Aristotle, by searching he works of writers of Greek tragedy, Aeschulus, Euripides and Sophocles (whose Oedipus Rex he considered the finest of all Greek tragedies), arrived at his definition of tragedy. This explanation has a profound influence for more than twenty centuries on those writing tragedies, most significantly Shakespeare.

Aristotle’s analysis of tragedy began with a description of the effect such a work had on the audience as a catharsis or purging of the emotions. He decided that catharsis was the purging of two specific emotions, pity and fear. The hero has made a mistake due to ignorance, not because of wickedness or orruption. Aristotle used the word hamartia, which is the tragic flaw or offense committed in ignorance. For example, Oedipus is ignorant of his true parentage when he commits his fatal deed. Oedipus Rex is one of the stories in a three-part myth called the Thebian cycle.

The structure of most all Greek tragedies is similar to Oedipus Rex. Such plays are divided in to five parts, the prologue or introduction, the prados or entrance of the chorus, four episode or acts separates from one another by stasimons or choral odes, and exodos, the action after the last stasimon. These odes are lyric poetry, lines chanted or sung as the chorus moved rhythmically across the orchestra. The lines that accompanied the movement of the chorus in one direction were called strophe, the return movement was accompanied by lines called antistrophe. The choral ode might contain more than one strophe or antistrophe.

Greek tragedy originated in honor of the god of wine, Dionysus, the patron god of tragedy. The performance took place in an open-air theater. The word tragedy is derived from the term tragedia or goat-song, named for the goat skins the chorus wore in the performance. The plots came from legends of the Heroic Age. Tragedy grew from a choral lyric, as Aristotle said, tragedy is largely based on life’s pity and splendor. Plays were performed at dramatic festivals, the two main ones being the Feast of the Winepress in January and the City Dionysia at the end of March.

The Proceeding began with the procession of choruses and actors of the three competing poets. A herald then announced the poet’s names and the titles of their plays. On this day it was likely that the image of Dionysus was taken in a procession from his temple beside the theater to a point near the road he had nce taken to reach Athens from the north, then it was brought back by torch light, amid a carnival celebration, to the theater itself, where his priest occupied the central seat of honor during the performances. On the first day of the festival there were contests between the choruses, five of men and five of boys.

Each chorus consisted of fifty men or boys. On the next three days, a tragic tetralogy (group made up of four pieces, a trilogy followed by a satyric drama) was performed each morning. This is compared to the Elizabethan habit of following a tragedy with a jig. During the Peloponnesian Wars, this was followed by a comedy each afternoon. The Father of the drama was Thesis of Athens, 535 BC, who created the first actor. The actor performed in intervals between the dancing of the chorus and conversing at times with the leader of the chorus.

The tragedy was further developed when new myths became part of the performance, changing the nature of the chorus to a group appropriate to the individual story. A second actor was added by Aeschylus and a third actor was added by Sophocles, and the number of the chorus was fixed at fifteen. The chorus’ part was gradually reduced, and he dialogue of the actors became increasingly important. The word chorus meant dance or dancing ground, which was how dance evolved into the drama. Members of the chorus were characters in the play who commented on the action.

They drew the audience into the play and reflected the audience’s reactions. The Greek plays were performed in open-air theaters. Nocturnal scenes were performed even in sunlight. The area in front of the stages was called the orchestra, the area in which the chorus moved and danced. There was no curtain and the play was presented as a whole with no act or scene divisions. There was a building at the back of the stage called a skene, which represented the front of a palace or temple. It contained a central doorway and two other stage entrances, one at the left and the other at the right, representing the country and the city.

Sacrifices were performed at the altar of Dionysus, and the chorus performed in the orchestra, which surrounded the altar. The theatron, from where the word theater is derived, is where the audience sat, built on a hollowed-out hillside. Seated of honor, found in the front and center of the theatron, were for public officials and priests. e seating capacity of the theater was about 17,000. The audience of about 14,000 was lively, noisy, emotional and unrestrained. They ate, applauded, cheered, hissed, and kicked their wooden seats in disgust. Small riots were known to break out if the audience was dissatisfied.

Women were allowed to be spectators of tragedy, and probably even comedy. Admission was free or nominal, and the poor were paid for by the state. The Attic dramatists, like the Elizabethans, had a public of all classes. Because of the size of the audience, the actors must also have been physically remote. The sense of remoteness may have been heightened by masked, statuesque figures of the actors whose acting depended largely on voice gestures and grouping. Since there were only three actors, the same men in the same play had to play double parts. At first, the dramatists themselves acted, like Shakespeare.

Gradually, acting became professionalized. Simple scenery began with Sophocles, but changes of scene were rare and stage properties were also rare, such as an occasional altar, a tomb or an image of gods. Machinery was used for lightning or thunder or for lifting celestial ersons from heaven and back, or for revealing the interior of the stage building. This was called deus ex machina, which means god from the machine, and was a technical device that used a metal crane on top of the skene building, which contained the dressing rooms, from which a dummy was suspended to represent a god.

This device was first employed by Euripides to give a miraculous conclusion to a tragedy. In later romantic literature, this device was no longer used and the miracles supplied by it were replace by the sudden appearance of a rich uncle, the discovery or new wills, or of infants changed at irth. Many proprieties of the Greek plays were attached to violence. Therefore, it was a rule that acts of violence must take place off stage. This carried through to the Elizabethan theater which avoided the horrors of men being flayed alive or Glouster’s eyes being put out in full view of an audience (King Lear).

When Medea went inside the house to murder her children, the chorus was left outside, chanting in anguish, to represent the feelings the chorus had and could not act upon, because of their metaphysical existence. The use of music in the theater began very simply consisting of a single lute player that accompanied the chorus. Toward the close of the century, more complicated solo singing was developed by Euripides. There could-then be large- scale spectacular events, with stage crowds and chariots, particularly in plays by Aeschylus.

Greek comedy was derived from two different sources, the more known being the choral element which included ceremonies to stimulate fertility at the festival of Dionysus or in ribald drunken revel in his honor. The term comedy is actually drawn from komos, meaning song of revelry. The second source of Greek omedy was that from the Sicilian mimes, who put on very rude performances where they would make satirical allusions to audience members as they ad-libbed their performances. In the beginning, comedy was frank, indecent and sexual. The plots were loosely and carelessly structured and included broad farce and buffoonery.

The performers were coarse and obscene while using satire to depict important contemporary moral, social and political issues of Athenian life. The comedy included broad satire of well known persons of that time. Throughout the comedic period in Greece, there were three distinctive eras f comedies as the genre progressed. Old comedy, which lasted from approximately 450 to 400 BCE, was performed at the festivals of Dionysus following the tragedies. There would be contests between three poets, each exhibiting one comedy. Each comedy troupe would consist of one or two actors and a chorus of twenty-four.

The actors wore masks and soccus, or sandals, and the chorus often wore fantastic costumes. Comedies were constructed in five parts, the prologue, where the leading character conceived the happy idea, the parodos or entrance of the chorus, the agon, a dramatized debate between the proponent and pponent of the happy idea where the opposition was always defeated, the parabasis, the coming forth of the chorus where they directly addressed the audience and aired the poet’s views on most any matter the poet felt like having expressed, and the episodes, where the happy idea was put into practical application.

Aristotle highly criticized comedy, saying that it was just a ridiculous imitation of lower types of man with eminent faults emphasized for the audience’s pleasure, such as a mask worn to show deformity, or for the man to do something like slip and fall on a banana peel. Aristophanes, a comic poet of the old comedy period, wrote comedies which came to represent old comedy, as his style was widely copied by other poets. In his most famous works, he used dramatic satire on some of the most famous philosophers and poets of the era.

In The Frogs he ridiculed Euripides, and in The Clouds he mocked Socrates. His works followed all the basic principles of old comedy, but he added a facet of cleverness and depth in feeling to his lyrics, in an attempt to appeal to both the emotions and intellect of the audience. Middle comedy, which dominated from 400 to 336 BCE, was very ransitional, having aspects of both old comedy and new comedy. It was more timid than old comedy, having many less sexual gestures and innuendoes. It was concerned less with people and politics, and more with myths and tragedies.

The chorus began its fade into the background, becoming more of an interlude than the important component it used to be. Aristophanes wrote a few works in middle comedy, but the most famous writers of the time were Antiphanes of Athens and Alexis of Thurii, whose compositions have mostly been lost and only very few of their found works have been full extant plays. In new comedy which lasted from 336 to 250 BCE, satire is almost entirely replaced by social comedy involving the family and individual character development, and the themes of romantic love.

A closely knit plot in new comedy was based on intrigue, identities, relationships or a combination of these. A subplot was often utilized as well. The characters in new comedy are very similar in each work, possibly including a father who is very miser like, a son who is mistreated but deserving, and other people with stereotypical personas. The chief writer of new comedy was Menander, and as with the prominent writers f the middle comedic era, most of his works have been lost, but other dramatists of the time period, like Terence and Platus, had imitated and adapted his methods.

Menander’s The Curmudgeon is the only complete extant play known by him to date, and it served as the basis for the later Latin writers to adapt. Adventure, brilliance, invention, romance and scenic effect, together with delightful lyrics and wisdom, were the gifts of the Greek theater. These conventions strongly affected subsequent plays and playwrights, having put forth influence on theater throughout the centuries.

How The Greek Revered Their Gods

In ancient times, the Greeks had absolute and undeniable respect for their gods. They demonstrated their admiration by putting in place many rituals and celebrations to reverence the gods that they loved and feared in order to ensure harmony with them. In particular, the focus will be on the religious beliefs of the Greeks, including prayer and sacrifice, as well as on festivals and the arts, such as the ancient Olympic games and theatre. These aspects of their culture made a significant contribution to their quality of life.

Moreover, these topics will be examined in relation to the twelve Olympian gods and their associates. The ancient Greeks practiced a religion that was in effect, a building block to many ensuing pagan religions. This religion revolved around their reverence to the gods. Essentially, the Greeks worshipped numerous gods, making their religion polytheistic. They believed that exercising the opportunity to choose between a wide array of gods to worship offered them a great sense of freedom that they treasured. After all, the Greeks were known for their intellectual distinction of which their means of worship played a huge part.

Each city-state, or polis, thus had an affiliated god who protected and guided its residents. Within a given polis, the belief in common gods unified the people. Ultimately, the Greeks yearned for this unity and order in the universe, which is a characteristic that is not unlike that of people today. It might seem contradictory that they believed in many gods and sought organization at the same time, for larger numbers are inherently unstable. But, to the god-fearing Greeks, each god represented a different facet of life that together upheld an organized universe if each of these gods was properly appeased.

To satisfy these gods, the Greeks participated in activities such as prayer and sacrifice and erected divine temples and centers for oracles in honor of specific gods. There is evidence of this institutionalization early on in the reign of the Olympian gods, thus forming the Olympian religion. The Olympian religion lacked the presence of true sentimentality, and the gods were not seen as forgiving or flawless as the Christian God is often portrayed. The Greek gods were portrayed as humans, which meant that they were not perfect. That is, the gods made mistakes, felt pain (e. g. Aphrodite in love with the mortal Adonis), and succumbed to anger and their tempers (e. g. Hera seeking vengeance on Zeus mistresses).

Moreover, the religion was ritual based and had flexible beliefs that had no regular clergies, no hierarchical system (except with Zeus as king of all gods), and no sacred text or moral code. Many scholars believe that the religion and culture consisted of tales told and survived through oral tradition, which are the myths that we know today. In the myths that have survived through the ages, the Greeks used the gods as a means to justify anything that they could not understand or scientifically explain.

For example, when thunder and lightning fell from the sky accompanied by rain, it was believed that Zeus, the god of the sky, was responsible for it. And, it was potentially a sign that he was irate with the humans for some wrongdoing or inadequate worship (Hesiod, Works and Days, 42-105, and Kitto, p. 19). In that respect, the Greeks believed that Zeus and his Olympian gods (or the Pantheon) were of the greatest importance. There were constant reminders (temples, shrines, etc. ) everywhere of the unseen, but ever-present powers of the gods. The Olympians were in fact the most powerful.

They overthrew the Titans who overthrew the first generation, and were themselves never overthrown. Nevertheless, the Greeks also worshipped the lesser divinities, oracles, demi-gods, and heroes as well. The major form of worship occurred through prayer and sacrifice at temples, at the oracles or in the homes of the Greeks. In that respect, religion was both a public and private function. Most praying occurred in the home with the family, but sacrifices and offerings were done at the temple or oracle of the god they were seeking to please. When prayers were said, an offering, usually of wine, was made.

An example of a prayer said to Zeus is: Lead me, O Zeus, and lead me, Destiny, Whether ordained is by your decree. Ill follow, doubting not, or if with will Recreant I falter I shall follow still. (Hadas, p. 203) During the course of their normal daily routine, the Greeks would also think about the gods as they went on with their business. However, if they had a specific request, the worshipper would take an offering directly to a gods temple. The Greeks went to these places of worship to make offerings or present sacrifices to maintain protection from the gods and keep order, or to ask for the will of the gods.

According to the Greeks, the gods had total control over natural and social forces, and therefore, they needed to call upon the gods to be bestowed with favorable outcomes. They believed that if they pleased the gods, good fortune would surely ensue, be it in the harvest, politics, or family affairs. After all, the Greeks concluded that the divine played an indispensable role in all areas of life such as society, agriculture, civic duties, domestic issues, gender relations and war. Each God had their own temple, and within these temples the priests or priestesses made sure that the rules of offering were being observed.

They were there to make sure that the temples, which were designed after palaces, were seen as the gods second home on Earth. The temples were built with a high regard for nature, as the Greeks was an earth-based culture, and never drastically changed the environment in which they were constructed. They were a sign of the Greeks pride in their gods and took a great deal of time to build, re-build, beautify and preserve the temples. The door of the temple generally faced east and the divine image, a large, central statue of the god to whom the temple was dedicated, stood at the west end of the temple.

In addition, there were many other smaller statues and idols of the god all around that were previously offered as gifts. Usually, at the temple entrance stood an altar, which may have been a brick or stone table, a pillar, a heap of stones, a stack of sod cut for the particular occasion, or simply a pile of the remnants of previous sacrifices. It may have been from a few inches to several feet high and it possibly had steps if it was very high. The altar was required to have a place (usually metal) for the sacred fire, and once it had been used, the altar was not to be moved.

This is where the worshippers would bring offerings such as wheat, wine, honey, water, first fruits of the harvest, stone statues, or gold vessels. Offerings were presents made to a deity, in order to secure some favour for the future, to avert anger for a past offence, or to express gratitude for a favour received from the deity. (Walters, p. 40) As mentioned before, the gods had human qualities, and were easily angered. Plato said “the sole concern of every rite of sacrifice and divination – that is to say, the means of communion between Gods and mortals – is either the preservation or the repair of Love. Platos Symposium 188b5-c2)

A common offering that was given to the god Dionysus would be wine, as he was the god of wine and revelry. Also, it was the custom of women after childbirth to dedicate garments to Artemis, (Walters, p. 41) who was the goddess of the moon and the hunt but more importantly, protector of women in childbirth and of children. As for sacrifice, it was most often an animal such as a sheep, cow, goat, pig or bull, but on occasion, a human being would also be taken to the priest or priestess to be sacrificed. It was especially appropriate to return a token of what the God had given them.

In any case, the sacrifice should be perfect and have no blemishes. The sacrifice was a communal event through which the Greeks believed that they were bound together with the gods. Washing and dressing in clean garments was crucial, typically in a white or purple tunic or a white one with purple borders. For this sacrifice, the Greeks had an elaborate ritual. The sacrifice would be taken along in a procession led by a maiden, preferably, or a basket-carrier, with a knife concealed by barley in the basket and a jug of holy water held at the side.

The sacrifice was crowned and adorned, then purified by water and sprinkled with barley. It was then placed on the altar or in a marked sacred circle, where the priest or priestess would sacrifice it. Sacrifice was such a meaningful event that oftentimes temples were built solely for the purpose of sacrifice. The Greeks also went to the oracles because communication through a deity was possible there to seek advice or guidance. At the oracle, a special priest or priestess who could interpret the messages, which were often cryptic, would pass on the message of the god in answer to a question.

From time to time, the gods would also communicate their messages to the Greeks by means of signs. In such cases, there were gifted ones who were also blessed with the power to foretell the will of the gods and the future. The most famous of the oracles was Apollos temple at Delphi. It was a very influential oracle who made predictions and announcements there. The Priestess of Apollo was named Pythia. After a goat was sacrificed, she would sit and breathe in intoxicating smoke while awaiting divine inspiration. When she entered a trance the priests would interpret the oracles from Pythia and then relay the answers to the seeker.

The main Oracle of Zeus was at Dondana where a sacred Oak tree rustled in the wind to pass on the words of Zeus. Another aspect of life that included reverence to the gods was marriage. A Greek wedding ceremony was not held in a church or temple as weddings are today. Rather, it was performed in a succession of places. The ceremony can be divided into these four parts: (a) the preparation of the bride; (b) the removal of the bride from the house of her father to that of her husband; (c) the reception at that house; and (d) the presents given on the day following the marriage.

Walters, p. 216) In preparation, the bride often sacrificed her childhood toys to Artemis, the virgin goddess, on the day before the wedding. (Jenkins, p. 38) This would signify her transition into being a woman and not a child any further. In addition, the wedding process was most likely a terrifying experience for the bride because she seldom knew her husband before the wedding night, as marriages were frequently business arrangements between families. The marital journey from one house to the other happened at night by torchlight.

When the bride and groom entered the grooms house, the place of the brides future domestic life, they were showered with nuts and sweetmeats, which were tokens of expectant prosperity, and were received in a special ceremony that placed them under the protection of the household gods. (Jenkins, p. 39) These prayers and rituals were a converging force for the Greeks that united them in a common goal and gave their life meaning. After all, Thomas Carlyle once said that a man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder.

Just as a rudder guides a ship, these ideals guided the Greeks. These rituals, prayers, offerings and sacrifices, as well as the prospect of a better afterlife provided the Greeks with hope and stability. The belief in a greater afterlife allowed them to live a fuller life without the fear of death. The Greeks also esteemed numerous festivals, athletic games and the arts that were a part of daily life. The festivals and athletic games were held in honour of the gods and the honorary gods statue was often brought out and carried among the worshippers.

The purpose was to please the gods so that they would act favorably on up-coming undertakings, such as the next harvest. The main four athletic games that comprised the Panhellenic Games were: the Olympic games (every four years); the Pythian games held at Delphi in honor of Apollo (every four years); the Nemean games at Nemea in honor of Zeus (every two years); and the Isthmian games at the sanctuary of Poseidon on the Isthmus of Corinth (every two years). The festivals were organised so that at least one of them fell each year, constituting a circuit of games.

The oldest and most prominent of these were the Olympic games held in honour of Zeus at his temple in Olympia. Olympia was one of the oldest religious centers in the ancient Greek world. Since athletic contests were one way that the ancient Greeks honored their gods, it was logical to hold a recurring athletic competition at the site of a major temple. Messengers were sent out to announce the dates of a given festival so that everyone could partake. Even wars often came to a cease during these glorious festivals.

The first Olympic games are said to have started in 776 BC, and included only one competition, the foot race. One myth says that the guardians of the infant god Zeus held the first footrace, or that Zeus himself started the Games to celebrate his victory over his father Cronus for control of the world. The footrace, that was 600 feet long, was the sole event for the first 13 Olympiads. Over time, however, the Greeks added longer footraces, and then additional events, such as the pentathlon (5 contests: discus, javelin, long jump, wrestling, and foot race), boxing, wrestling and equestrian contests.

The ancient Olympic Games were played within the context of a religious festival. The Games, held in honor of Zeus, the king of the Greek gods, included a sacrifice of 100 oxen that was made to him on the middle day of the festival. Athletes who participated prayed to the gods for victory, and made gifts of animals, produce, or small cakes, in thanks for their successes. The Olympic games were played every four years and continued for nearly twelve centuries after their commencement. Over time, the Olympic Games flourished, and Olympia became a principal site for the worship of Zeus.

Individuals and communities donated buildings, statues, altars and other dedications to the god. The most amazing sight at Olympia was the divine gold and ivory statue of Zeus enthroned, which was made by the sculptor Pheidias and placed inside the temple. Standing over 42 feet high, the statue was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. A spiral staircase took visitors to an upper floor of the temple, for a better view of the statue. Competition in the Olympic Games was restricted to Greeks only; people who were not Greek could not compete in the Games.

Greek athletes traveled hundreds of miles, from colonies of the Greek city-states to come to Olympia. These colonies were as far away as modern-day Spain, Italy, Libya, Egypt, the Ukraine, and Turkey would be. Ancient athletes competed as individuals, not on national teams, as in todays Olympic Games. The emphasis on individual athletic accomplishment through public competition was connected to the Greek ideal of excellence. Aristocratic men who attained this ideal, through their outstanding words or deeds, won everlasting glory and fame.

Those who failed to uphold this code were ascertained public shame and disgrace. Not all athletes lived up to the code of excellence. Those who were discovered cheating were fined, and the money was used to make bronze statues of Zeus, which were constructed on the road to the stadium. The statues were inscribed with accounts of the offenses, warning others not to cheat, reminding athletes that victory was won by skill and not by money, and emphasizing the Olympic spirit of devotion towards the gods and fair competition. The earliest recorded cheater was Eupolus of Thessaly, who bribed boxers in the 98th Olympiad.

The Olympic festivals were so revered that before and during each one, a truce was announced to allow visitors and athletes to travel safely to Olympia. An engraving describing the truce was written on a bronze discus, which was displayed at Olympia. During the truce, wars were suspended, armies were prohibited from entering Elis or threatening the Games, and legal disputes and the carrying out of death penalties were forbidden. For the most part, the truce was conscientiously observed, even in the most inharmonious political times, but there were some who did not comply.

In such cases, a fine was imposed and the people in question would be banned from the games. There were also several non-athletic festivals throughout the year associated with different gods. Spring was the beginning of the Greek year, and one of the first festivals for the gods was called Anthesteria. Participants wore garlands, and perfume and competed in contests, and consequently thanked Dionysos by pouring a libation for him of the last of the wine. Mounukhia was a festival that occurred mid-spring and honored Artemis as Moon Goddess and Lady of the Beasts.

There was a procession in which the people carried round cakes with little torches stuck in them, and eventually offered them to the goddess. It is believed that April is under the protection of Aphrodite and that the month’s name was derived from hers. Also, the name month of May, under the protection of Apollo, most likely emerged from Maia, mother of Apollo and Artemis. There were separate hymn-singing contests for mens and boys choirs in the spring; the winners received a tripod, which they then dedicated to the god. In the summer solstice, there was a festival called Plunteria around the month of June.

This was the festival for washing the ancient statue of Athena. Bathing sacred images was a common custom in Greece. Women had cleaned the temple a few days earlier for the festival, in a rite called the Kallunteria, which means, “to beautify by sweeping. ” At this time, the priestess also refilled and re-lit Athena’s eternal flame in the temple. Skiraphoria, a festival also in June, occurred at the time of the cutting and threshing of the grain. The Priestess of Athena, the Priest of Poseidon and the Priest of Helios went to the Skiron. The Skiron was where, according to tradition, the first sowing took place.

A large, white canopy was carried over the priests’ and priestess’ heads during the procession, which mainly women celebrated. To bring fertility, they abstained from intercourse on this day, and to this end they ate garlic to keep the men away. They also threw offerings into the sacred caves of Demeter. Panathenaia was the celebration of Athena’s birthday, for according to tradition this was the day she burst from Zeus’s head. Though it was her day, all the Olympians attended the festivities as well, for they were also all present at her birth.

This was a sacred feast at which gods and mortals celebrated Athena’s birthday together. Every fourth year, the Greater Panathenaia was held, for which a new robe was woven for the goddess, whose middle stripe of panels displayed the Gigantomachy (the battle of the Giants and the Olympians) which symbolized the triumph of civilization over savagery. In the Greater Panathenaia, the three or four days following the procession were occupied by contests of sport and art. Traditionally, the prize for athletes was a “Panathenaic amphora” (Jenkins, p. ) containing olive oil from the Goddess’s sacred grove, and the prize for artists was a gilded crown of wild olives and sometimes money.

Next, Aphrodisia was the bathing festival of Aphrodite and Peitho (Persuasion), her helper, who had been considered powerful goddesses since the archaic period. They are goddesses of war and statecraft as well as love. During autumn, there was a minor thanksgiving festival for Apollo called Boedromia, celebrated in gratitude to him as a rescuer in war. Later in autumn, was Puanepsia, a festival of fruit gathering that sought divine blessings for the autumn sowing.

This very ancient festival was primarily in honor of Apollo as sun god, but also for Helios and the Horai (Hours). At the end of autumn, Thesmophoria was a celebration of the autumn sowing dedicated to Demeter and restricted to women. This was unusual in the Greek world for festivals were usually open to both men and women. Finally, in the wintertime, came a time of rest and celebration after the last sowing, and agricultural deities were especially honored. December (mid-Dec. -mid-Jan. ) was under the protection of Poseidon.

Generally speaking, festivals of this season were more concerned with raising human spirits and reviving the crops than with the return of the sun. Many of the festivals and religious activities included some form of artistic entertainment as well to further impress the gods. Oftentimes, music and hymns, which were closely related to poetry, as well as theatrical tragedies and comedies, were performed. Religious festivals and rituals were frequently accompanied by hymns to the specific god, often with a musical accompaniment, and seasonal festivals included singing and dancing.

From the dance, evolved Greek tragedy, which honored the wine god Dionysos. Comedy ensued, with a similar development process as tragedy. Throughout the ages, there is extensive evidence of the many ways the Greeks reverenced their gods. They sought to ensure that the gods were always content in order to keep a harmonious relationship with them. They knew the gods were continuously present and could give guidance, hope and comfort if properly approached. To the Greeks, interaction and worship of the gods was not just a part of life, it was a way of life.

Greek Literature Report

The great British philosopher-mathematician Alfred North Whitehead once commented that all philosophy is but a footnote to Plato . A similar point can be made regarding Greek literature as a whole. Over a period of more than ten centuries, the ancient Greeks created a literature of such brilliance that it has rarely been equaled and never surpassed. In poetry, tragedy, comedy, and history, Greek writers created masterpieces that have inspired, influenced, and challenged readers to the present day.

To suggest that all Western literature is no more than a footnote to the ritings of classical Greece is an exaggeration, but it is nevertheless true that the Greek world of thought was so far-ranging that there is scarcely an idea discussed today that was not debated by the ancient writers. The only body of literature of comparable influence is the Bible. The language in which the ancient authors wrote was Greek. Like English, Greek is an Indo-European language; but it is far older. Its history can be followed from the 14th century BC to the present.

Its literature, therefore, covers a longer period of time than that of any other Indo-European language . Scholars have determined that the Greek alphabet was derived from the Phoenician alphabet. During the period from the 8th to the 5th century BC, local differences caused the forms of letters to vary from one city-state to another within Greece. From the 4th century BC on, however, the alphabet became uniform throughout the Greek world. There are four major periods of Greek literature: preclassical, classical, Hellenistic-Roman, and Byzantine. Of these the most significant works were produced during the preclassical and classical eras.

Epic Tradition At the beginning of Greek literature stand the two monumental works of Homer, he ‘Iliad’ and the ‘Odyssey’. The figure of Homer is shrouded in mystery. Although the works as they now stand are credited to him, it is certain that their roots reach far back before his time (see Homeric Legend). The ‘Iliad’ is the famous story about the Trojan War. It centers on the person of Achilles, who embodied the Greek heroic ideal. While the ‘Iliad’ is pure tragedy, the ‘Odyssey’ is a mixture of tragedy and comedy. It is the story of Odysseus, one of the warriors at Troy.

After ten years fighting the war, he spends another ten years sailing back home to his wife and family. During his ten-year voyage, he loses all of his comrades and ships and makes his way home to Ithaca disguised as a beggar. Both of these works were based on ancient legends. The stories are told in language that is simple, direct, and eloquent. Both are as fascinatingly readable today as they were in ancient Greece. The other great poet of the preclassical period was Hesiod. He is more definitely recorded in history than is Homer, though very little is known about him.

He was a native of Boeotia in central Greece, and he lived and worked in about 800 BC. His two works were ‘Works and Days’ and ‘Theogony’. The first is a faithful depiction of the dull and poverty-stricken country life he knew so well, and it sets forth principles and rules for farmers. ‘Theogony’ is a systematic account of creation and of the gods. It vividly describes the ages of mankind, beginning with a long-past golden age. Together the works of Homer and Hesiod made a kind of bible for the Greeks. Homer told the story of a heroic past, and Hesiod dealt with the practical realities of daily life.

Lyric Poetry The type of poetry called lyric got its name from the fact that it was originally sung by individuals or a chorus accompanied by the instrument called he lyre. The first of the lyric poets was probably Archilochus of Paros about 700 BC. Only fragments remain of his work, as is the case with most of the poets. The few remnants suggest that he was an embittered adventurer who led a very turbulent life. The two major poets were Sappho and Pindar. Sappho, who lived in the period from 610 to 580 BC, has always been admired for the beauty of her writing.

Her themes were personal. They dealt with her friendships with and dislikes of other women, though her brother Charaxus was the subject of several poems. Unfortunately, only fragments of her poems remain. With Pindar the transition has been made from the preclassical to the classical age. He was born about 518 BC and is considered the greatest of the Greek lyricists. His masterpieces were the poems that celebrated athletic victories in the games at Olympia, Delphi, Nemea, and the Isthmus of Corinth. Tragedy The Greeks invented the epic and lyric forms and used them skillfully.

They also invented drama and produced masterpieces that are still reckoned as drama’s crowning achievement. In the age that followed the defeat of Persia (490 to 479 BC), the awakened national spirit of Athens was expressed in hundreds of superb ragedies based on heroic and legendary themes of the past. The tragic plays grew out of simple choral songs and dialogues performed at festivals of the god Dionysus. Wealthy citizens were chosen to bear the expense of costuming and training the chorus as a public and religious duty. Attendance at the festival performances was regarded as an act of worship.

Performances were held in the great open-air theater of Dionysus in Athens. All of the greatest poets competed for the prizes offered for the best plays. Of the hundreds of dramas written and performed during the classical age, nly a limited number of plays by three authors have survived: Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. The earliest of the three was Aeschylus, who was born in 525 BC. He wrote between 70 and 90 plays, of which only seven remain. Many of his dramas were arranged as trilogies, groups of three plays on a single theme.

The ‘Oresteia’ (story of Orestes) consisting of ‘Agamemnon’, ‘Choephoroi’ (Libation-bearers), and ‘Eumenides’ (Furies) is the only surviving trilogy. The ‘Persai’ is a song of triumph for the defeat of the Persians . ‘Prometheus Bound’ is a retelling of the legend of the Titan Prometheus, a superhuman who tole fire from heaven and gave it to mankind. For about 16 years, between 484 and 468 BC, Aeschylus carried off prize after prize. But in 468 his place was taken by a new favorite, Sophocles of Colonus (496-406). Sophocles’ life covered nearly the whole period of Athens’ “golden age.

He won more than 20 victories at the Dionysian festivals and produced more than 100 plays, only seven of which remain. His drama ‘Antigone’ is typical of his work: its heroine is a model of womanly self-sacrifice. He is probably better known, though, for ‘Oedipus Rex’ and its sequel, ‘Oedipus at Colonus’. The third of the great tragic writers was Euripides (484-406). He wrote at least 92 plays. Sixty-seven of these are known in the 20th century some just in part or by name only. Only 19 still exist in full. One of these is ‘Rhesus’, which is believed by some scholars not to have been written by Euripides.

His tragedies are about real men and women instead of idealized figures. The philosopher Aristotle called Euripides the most tragic of the poets because his plays were the most moving. His dramas are performed on the modern stage more often than those of any other ancient poet. His best-known work is robably the powerful ‘Medea’, but his ‘Alcestis’, ‘Hippolytus’, ‘Trojan Women’, ‘Orestes’, and ‘Electra’ are no less brilliant Comedy Like tragedy, comedy arose from a ritual in honor of Dionysus, but in this case the plays were full of frank obscenity, abuse, and insult.

At Athens the comedies became an official part of the festival celebration in 486 BC, and prizes were offered for the best productions. As with the tragedians, few works still remain of the great comedic writers. Of the works of earlier writers, only some plays by Aristophanes exist. These are a treasure trove of comic presentation. He poked fun at everyone and every institution. For boldness of fantasy, for merciless insult, for unqualified indecency, and for outrageous and free political criticism, there is nothing to compare to the comedies of Aristophanes. In ‘The Birds’ he held up Athenian democracy to ridicule.

In ‘The Clouds’ he attacked the philosopher Socrates. In ‘Lysistrata’ he denounced war. Only 11 of his plays have survived. During the 4th century BC, there developed what was called the New Comedy. Menander is considered the best of its writers. Nothing remains from his competitors, however, so it is difficult to make comparisons. The plays of Menander, of which only the ‘Dyscolus’ (Misanthrope) now exists, did not deal with the great public themes about which Aristophanes wrote. He concentrated instead on fictitious characters from everyday life stern fathers, young lovers, intriguing slaves, and others.

In spite of his narrower focus, the plays of Menander influenced later generations. They were freely adapted by the Roman poets Plautus and Terence in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC. The comedies of the French playwright Moliere are reminiscent of those by Menander . History Two of the most excellent historians who have ever written flourished during Greece’s classical age: Herodotus and Thucydides. Herodotus is commonly called the father of history, and his ‘History’ contains the first truly literary use of prose in Western literature. Of the two, Thucydides was the better historian.

His critical use of sources, inclusion of documents, and laborious research made his ‘History of the Peloponnesian War’ a significant influence on later generations of historians. A third historian, Xenophon, began his ‘Hellenica’ where Thucydides ended his work about 411 BC and carried his history to 362 BC. His writings were superficial in comparison to those of Thucydides, but he wrote with authority on ilitary matters. He therefore is at his best in the ‘Anabasis’, an account of his participation in a Greek mercenary army that tried to help the Persian Cyrus expel his brother from the throne.

Xenophon also wrote three works in praise of the philosopher Socrates ‘Apology’, ‘Symposium’, and ‘Memorabilia’ (Recollections of Socrates). Although both Xenophon and Plato knew Socrates, their accounts are very different, and it is interesting to compare the view of the military historian to that of the poet-philosopher. Philosophy The greatest prose achievement of the 4th century was in philosophy. There ere many Greek philosophers, but three names tower above the rest: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. It is impossible to calculate the enormous influence these thinkers have had on Western society .

Socrates himself wrote nothing, but his thought (or a reasonable presentation of it) has been preserved in the ‘Dialogues’ of Plato. Even in translation, Plato’s style is one of matchless beauty. All human experience is within its range. Best known of the ‘Dialogues’ is the ‘Republic’, a fairly long work. There are also many shorter books such as the ‘Apology’, ‘Protagoras’, and ‘Gorgias’ that contain the penetratingly nsightful conversations of Socrates and his friends on every matter relating to human behavior. In the history of human thought, Aristotle is virtually without rivals.

The first sentence of his ‘Metaphysics’ reads: “All men by nature desire to know. ” He has, therefore, been called the “Father of those who know. ” His medieval disciple Thomas Aquinas referred to him simply as “the Philosopher. ” Aristotle was a student at Plato’s Academy, and it is known that like his teacher he wrote dialogues, or conversations. None of these exists today. The body of writings that has come down to the present probably represents lectures hat he delivered at his own school in Athens, the Lyceum. Even from these books the enormous range of his interests is evident.

He explored matters other than those that are today considered philosophical. The treatises that exist cover logic, the physical and biological sciences, ethics, politics, and constitutional government. There are also treatises on ‘The Soul’ and ‘Rhetoric’. His ‘Poetics’ has had an enormous influence on literary theory and served as an interpretation of tragedy for more than 2,000 years. With the death of Aristotle in 322 BC, the classical era of Greek literature drew to a close. In the successive centuries of Greek writing there was never again such a brilliant flowering of genius as appeared in the 5th and 4th centuries BC.

For today’s readers there are excellent modern translations of classical Greek literature. Most are available in paperback editions. By 338 BC all of the Greek city-states except Sparta had been conquered by Philip II of Macedon. Greece was not independent again until the early 19th century, a period of more than 2,000 years. Philip’s son Alexander the Great extended his father’s conquests greatly. In so doing he inaugurated what is called the Age of Hellenism. The Greek word for Greece was Hellas. Hellenism, therefore, signifies the spread of Greek language, literature, and culture throughout the Mediterranean world.

Alexander’s conquests were in the East, and Greek culture shifted first in that direction. Athens lost its preeminent status as the leader of Greek culture, and it was replaced temporarily by Alexandria, Egypt. After the rise of Rome, all the Mediterranean area was brought within one far-flung empire. Greek civilization then spread westward as well. Educated Romans learned to speak and write Greek, and they looked to Greece’s golden age for inspiration in hilosophy, poetry, and drama. So dependent did Roman writers become, in fact, that they produced very little that was not based upon Greek works, especially in drama and philosophy.

Library of Alexandria The city of Alexandria in northern Egypt became, from the 3rd century BC, the outstanding center of Greek culture. It also soon attracted a large Jewish population, making it the largest center for Jewish scholarship in the ancient world. In addition, it later became a major focal point for the development of Christian thought. The Museum, or Shrine to the Muses, which included the library and school, as founded by Ptolemy I. The institution was from the beginning intended as a great international school and library. The library, eventually containing more than a half million volumes, was mostly in Greek.

It served as a repository for every Greek work of the classical period that could be found. Had the library lasted, it would have presented to modern scholars nearly every ancient book for study. The library lasted for several centuries but was destroyed during the reign of the Roman emperor Aurelian late in the 3rd century AD. A smaller library was destroyed by the Christians in 391 because it harbored so many non- Christian works. Hellenistic Poetry Later Greek poetry flourished primarily in the 3rd century BC. The chief poets were Theocritus, Callimachus, and Apollonius of Rhodes.

Theocritus, who lived from about 310 to 250 BC, was the creator of pastoral poetry, a type that the Roman Virgil mastered in his ‘Eclogues’. Of his rural- farm poetry, ‘Harvest Home’ is considered the best work. He also wrote mimes poetic plays set in the country as well as minor epics and lyric poetry. Callimachus, who lived at the same time as Theocritus, worked his entire adult life at Alexandria, where he was cataloger of the library. Only fragments of his poetry survive. The most famous work was ‘Aetia’ (Causes). It is a kind of poem called an elegy and in four books explains the legendary origin of obscure customs, festivals, and names.

Its structure became a model for the work of the Roman poet Ovid. Of his elegies for special occasions, the best known is the ‘Lock of Berenice’, a piece of court poetry that was later adapted by the Roman Catullus. Callimachus also wrote short poems for special occasions and at least one short epic, the ‘Ibis’, which was directed against his former pupil Apollonius. Apollonius of Rhodes was born about 295 BC. He is best remembered for his epic the ‘Argonautica’, about Jason and his shipmates in search of the golden fleece. Apollonius studied under Callimachus, with whom he later quarreled.

He also served as librarian at Alexandria for about 13 years. Apart from the ‘Argonautica’, he wrote poems on the foundation of cities as well as a number of epigrams. The Roman poet Virgil was strongly influenced by the ‘Argonautica’ in writing his ‘Aeneid’ . Lesser 3rd-century poets include Aratus of Soli and Herodas. Aratus wrote the ‘Phaenomena’, a poetic version of a treatise on the stars by Eudoxus of Cnidos, ho had lived in the 4th century. Herodas wrote mimes reminiscent of those of Theocritus. His works give a hint of the popular entertainment of the times.

Mime and pantomime were a major form of entertainment during the early Roman Empire. Hellenistic Prose History. The significant historians in the period after Alexander were Timaeus, Polybius, Diodorus Siculus, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Appian of Alexandria, Arrian, and Plutarch. The period of time they cover extended from late in the 4th century BC to the 2nd century AD. Timaeus was born in Sicily but spent most of his life in Athens. His ‘History’, though lost, is significant because of its influence on Polybius. In 38 books it covered the history of Sicily and Italy to the year 264 BC, which is where Polybius began his work.

Timaeus also wrote the ‘Olympionikai’, a valuable chronological study of the Olympic Games. Polybius was born about 200 BC. He was brought to Rome as a hostage in 168. At Rome he became a friend of the general Scipio Aemilianus. He probably accompanied the general to Spain and North Africa in the wars against Carthage. He was with Scipio at the destruction of Carthage in 146. The history on which is reputation rests consisted of 40 books, five of which have been preserved along with various excerpts. They are a vivid recreation of Rome’s rise to world power. A lost book, ‘Tactics’, was on military matters.

Diodorus Siculus lived in the 1st century BC, the time of Julius Caesar and Augustus. He wrote a universal history, ‘Bibliotheca historica’, in 40 books. Of these, the first five and the 11th through the 20th remain. The first two parts covered history through the early Hellenistic era. The third part takes the story to the beginning of Caesar’s wars in Gaul, now France. Dionysius of Halicarnassus lived late in the 1st century BC. His history of Rome from its origins to the First Punic War (264 to 241 BC) is written from a Roman point of view, but it is carefully researched.

He also wrote a number of other treatises, including ‘On Imitation’, ‘Commentaries on the Ancient Orators’, and ‘On the Arrangement of Words’. Appian and Arrian both lived in the 2nd century AD. Appian wrote on Rome and its conquests, while Arrian is remembered for his work on the campaigns of Alexander the Great. Arrian served in the Roman army. His book therefore oncentrates heavily on the military aspects of Alexander’s life. Arrian also wrote a philosophical treatise, the ‘Diatribai’, based on the teachings of his mentor Epictetus . Best known of the late Greek historians to modern readers is Plutarch, who died about AD 119.

His ‘Parallel Lives’ of great Greek and Roman leaders has been read by every generation since the work was first published. His other surviving work is the ‘Moralia’, a collection of essays on ethical, religious, political, physical, and literary topics. Science and mathematics. Eratosthenes of Alexandria, who died about 194 BC, rote on astronomy and geography, but his work is known mainly from later summaries. He is credited with being the first person to measure the Earth’s circumference. Much that was written by the mathematicians Euclid and Archimedes has been preserved.

Euclid is known for his ‘Elements’, much of which was drawn from his predecessor Eudoxus of Cnidus. The ‘Elements’ is a treatise on geometry, and it has exerted a continuing influence on mathematics. From Archimedes several treatises have come down to the present. Among them are ‘Measurement of the Circle’, in which he worked out the value of pi; ‘Method Concerning Mechanical Theorems’, on his work in mechanics; ‘The Sand-Reckoner’; and ‘On Floating Bodies’. The physician Galen, in the history of ancient science, is the most significant person in medicine after Hippocrates, who laid the foundation of medicine in the 5th century BC.

Galen lived during the 2nd century AD. He was a careful student of anatomy, and his works exerted a powerful influence on medicine for the next 1,400 years . Strabo, who died about AD 23, was a geographer and historian. His ‘Historical Sketches’ in 47 volumes has nearly all been lost. His ‘Geographical Sketches’ emain as the only existing ancient book covering the whole range of people and countries known to the Greeks and Romans through the time of Augustus. Pausanias, who lived in the 2nd century AD, was also a geographer.

His ‘Description of Greece’ is an invaluable guide to what are now ancient ruins. His book takes the form of a tour of Greece, starting in Athens. The accuracy of his descriptions has been proved by archaeological excavations. The scientist of the Roman period who had the greatest influence on later generations was undoubtedly the astronomer Ptolemy. He lived during the 2nd entury AD, though little is known of his life. His masterpiece, originally entitled ‘The Mathematical Collection’, has come to the present under the title ‘Almagest’, as it was translated by Arab astronomers with that title.

It was Ptolemy who devised a detailed description of an Earth-centered universe, an erroneous notion that dominated astronomical thinking for more than 1,300 years. The Ptolemaic view of the universe endured until the early modern astronomers Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler overturned it. The Septuagint. One of the most valuable contributions of the Hellenistic eriod was the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek. The work was done at Alexandria and completed by the end of the 2nd century BC. The name Septuagint means “seventy,” from the tradition that there were 72 scholars who did the work.

Since the language of the early Christian community was Greek, the Septuagint became its Bible. Other books not in the Hebrew Bible were also written in Greek and included what is called the Apocrypha Philosophy. Later philosophical works were no match for Plato and Aristotle. Epictetus, who died about AD 135, was associated with the moral philosophy of the Stoics. His teachings were collected by his pupil Arrian in the ‘Discourses’ and the ‘Encheiridion’ (Manual of Study). Diogenes Laertius, who lived in the 3rd century, wrote ‘Lives, Teachings, and Sayings of Famous Philosophers’, a useful sourcebook.

Another major philosopher was Plotinus. He, too, lived in the 3rd century. He transformed Plato’s philosophy into a school called Neoplatonism. His ‘Enneads’ had a wide-ranging influence on European thought until at least the 17th century. Constantine the Great moved the capital of the empire from Rome to Byzantium (now Istanbul) in about AD 330 and renamed the city Constantinople. The Eastern, or Byzantine, Empire lasted until it was destroyed by the Ottoman Turks in 1453 . The civilization of this empire was Greek in language and heritage, but it was Christian in religion.

In religion the crowning literary achievement was considered to be the New Testament portion of the Christian Bible. This, coupled with a reverence for the great literary traditions of the past, combined to make Byzantine literature very conservative. The written language had to preserve the forms of speech of the New Testament and the Church Fathers. Being heirs to such a great literary radition excluded any interest in outside ideas. This undue emphasis on form smothered any likelihood of originality and invention. The literary creations of the period have, therefore, bequeathed few memorable works to the present.

Much of the writing was necessarily religious: sermons, hymns, theological works, and descriptions of the lives of the martyrs and saints. Of the few authors who are still read may be mentioned Eusebius (died 340), who wrote the first church history; St. Basil the Great (died 379), who organized Eastern monasticism; his brother Gregory of Nyssa (died 394), who wrote many works in hich he combined Platonic philosophy with Christian teaching; and Gregory of Nazianzus (died 389), who is noted for his poems, sermons, letters, and writings on theological controversies.

The writings of the historians, geographers, philosophers, scientists, and rhetoricians are read today largely as curiosities or as sources of historical information. A work such as ‘Byzantine History’, a 37-volume study by Nicephorus Gregoras (died 1360), for example, constitutes a valuable primary source for the 14th century. In philosophy only Proclus (died 485) deserves mention. He was the last major Greek philosopher and was influential in spreading the ideas of Neoplatonism throughout the Mediterranean world.

The only literature that showed any real originality was that written in the vernacular, the language of the common people. This literature including poems, romances, and epics was only written from the 12th century onward. Of the epics, the most memorable is the story of Digenis Akritas, based on a historical figure who died in about 788. It presents Akritas as the ideal medieval Greek hero. After the capture of Constantinople by the Turks, Greek national life and culture ended for centuries, as did literary production.

Daily Life in Fifth Century Greece

The daily existence of ancient civilisations has been a source of fascination for both historians and archaeologists over the centuries. An abundance of information relating to eating and drinking, clothing, childhood, cosmetics and jewellery survives in the ancient official documents, biographies and plays which have remained in tact. The majority of these however, reflect only the luxurious lives of the rich and those with authority.

In the artefacts, paintings, epigraphs and other such structures which archaeologists have uncovered in the last centuries, not only do we learn more about the lives of the wealthy, but also of the lives of the growing population of poorer citizens. There was a considerable difference present in the housing and living conditions of the rich and the poor, for example, Athens roads were narrow, unpaved alleys between flat-topped houses, little more than huts with no sanitation or rubbish disposal.

Ancient Greek housing was most commonly built of relatively inexpensive materials such as stone, wood or clay bricks, painted white to deflect the heat of the sun, and despite the elite architectural standards demonstrated by the Greeks, due to the materials used there were inevitably some flaws in their design. The walls of houses built with sun-dried bricks had a tendency to wash away little by little in the rain which would eventually lead to the complete collapse of the house, burying everything within it’s walls. The ground would then be levelled off and another house would be built on top.

With time a mound would grow where several houses had been levelled to the ground and it is due to this method of building that much of the information regarding the living conditions and standards of the ancient Greeks has been discovered by archaeologists. The rich lived in what could have been described as a large town house, conveniently close to all town facilities and consisting of a dozen or so rooms. The typical house stood beside a narrow, crooked street, it’s front exterior broken only by a door and possibly a few small windows positioned high in the wall.

Rooms were built around a small open-air courtyard in which the family would spend much of their time relaxing and entertaining. The furnishings of Greek homes were relatively simple and can be identified from illustrations on vases and stone reliefs. They included such items as chairs, stools, couches, tables and various chests, boxes and baskets, many of which were made of wood or other organic materials and therefore had a poor survival rate, explaining why very few have been uncovered in ancient remains.

The main sources of lighting candles, resinous torches and oil lamps, all of which were fairly costly, for example olive oil was most commonly used in the oil lamps and was expensive enough on it’s own. Although the remains of Ancient Greece appear grand in terms of scale and design, this often presents a misguided view of society. Only a fortunate few were wealthy, living such a desired and luxurious lifestyle. In truth the majority of the population was poor, making a living as best they could. Houses were simple with one main room in which the entire family lived and ate and a communal bedroom with few furnishings.

The barren Greek soils and dry climate often produced a poor harvest, resulting in an unpredictable income. The majority of the poorer population lived in remote land villages, separated by mountains. People farmed just enough to feed their family and for the fortunate communities nearer the sea there was an abundance of fresh seafood. Peasants were sometimes forced to leave poorer conditions to help populate new colonies within the empire as part of the expansion scheme, rather than facing starvation.

Greek women had virtually no political rights and were controlled by men at nearly every stage of their lives. The most important duties for a city woman were to bear children, preferably male, and to run the household. Duties of a rural woman included some of the agricultural work such as the harvesting of olives and fruit gathering of vegetables. Since men spent most of their time away from their houses, Greek home life was dominated by women. The wife was in charge of raising the children, spinning, weaving and sewing the family’s clothes.

She supervised the daily running of the household. In a totally slave-based economy, plentiful numbers of female slaves were available to cook, clean, and carry water from the fountain. Only in the poorest homes was the wife expected to carry out all these duties by herself. A male slave’s responsibilities were usually limited to being doorkeeper and tutor to the male children. Greek custom dictated that a woman limit her time outside the house to visiting only with female neighbours.

The only exceptions to such social convention were weddings, funerals and state religious festivals in which women were expected to play prominent public roles. Vase scenes portraying women inside their houses are often lacking specific details. The common presence of columns suggests that women spent much of their time in the courtyard of the house, the one place where they could regularly enjoy fresh air. Greek cooking equipment was small and light and could easily be set up there. In sunny weather, women probably sat in the roofed-over areas of the courtyard.

Men’s activities included politics, arts and crafts, construction, agriculture, sea faring, manufacturing and trade. Agriculture was the most common male activity however it is only rarely illustrated. Yet the large majority of citizens of all Greek states relied upon the land for their basic income, even the rich who did no work in the fields themselves, tended to oversee directly the farming of at least some of their property as opposed to leasing it all out. For the common people, agricultural work was the overwhelming reality of their lives.

Education in schools in ancient Athens was at first limited to aristocratic boys however, by the 4th century, all 18-year-old males spent two years in a gymnasium, a state school devoted to the overall physical and intellectual development of a young man. More advanced education in philosophy, mathematics, logic and rhetoric was available to the aristocracy in highly select gymnasia like the Academy of Plato and the Lycaeum of Aristotle. Although girls in ancient Greece received no formal education in the literary arts, many of them were taught to read and write informally at home.

The sunny climate of Athens made the living conditions out doors pleasant and for this reason Athenian men often saw a dwelling as a house, not a home, leaving early in the morning for work or relaxation. On an ordinary day, the average Athenian man rose early in the morning and dressed in the commonly worn knee length woollen garment called a chiton. After a small breakfast of coarse bread dipped in wine, the average citizen might go to the market of Agora, the central meeting place of the city, before the beginning of the work day.

The market was a large bustling area, separated into sections of different items. It was also the civic centre of the city where much of the official business took place, for example meetings of the council and worship of the gods. At midday a light lunch would be had at home and the afternoon was often spent at the gymnasium where men wrestled, boxed and ran as well as found time for a serious discussion with other citizens. Dinner was usually eaten as a family and would consist of foods such as olives, vegetables, fish, cheese, bread, apples or figs, honey for sweetening and eaten with wine and water.

Meat was usually too expensive to be enjoyed by most people. If Athenian men wished to entertain friends they were usually invited to dinner in the evening lead by serious discussion. In such instances women were banned from attendance. The abundance of slaves in fifth Century Greece did much of the real work, leaving the Athenian citizens free, and therefore leisure was seen as an essential part of life, especially sporting activities which were regarded as necessary for good health.

Sports were also seen as a method of training for warfare as well as a means of honouring gods. An excellent example of this is the Olympic games. Music and dance was popular with Greeks from all classes, not only as a past time but also a religious festival. Musicians often accompanied plays at the theatre or performed with dancers at private banquets. Most Greek cities also had an amphitheatre at their centre in which plays or enactments of stories of gods and legendary heroes were presented for entertainment.

It was through such means as sports, music and dance that ancient Greek citizens found entertainment at their leisure. The Ancient Greeks were extremely racist people and referred to all non-Greeks as barbarians, meaning “not speaking”, simply an adjective representing the sound of incomprehensible speech. It was originally used in referral to the Persians, but because their empire covered so many of the foreign people in question, for example the Egyptians, Phoenicians, Phrygians and Thracians, it was soon extended to all non-Greeks.

This reflected and boosted the Greeks sense of their own superiority and it is obvious through records that they were often portrayed as the opposite of the ideal Greek. There are few references to the different physical appearance of barbarian characters except in the case of blacks, their skin supposably darkened by the sun. It was argued that colour determine not only physiology, but also temperament and political behaviour. In issues such as these the Greeks were very set in their ways and anyone with a contradicting opinion was often rejected from society and sometimes even ostracised.

The Greater the Power, the Greater the Fall

During the Golden age of Greece, in 5th Century B. C. , the Greeks were fascinated by the thin line between greatness and hubris. Throughout their literature, there is a sense that the same traits that make a man or woman great can lead to their destruction. In the familiar period piece, Medea, the nurse declares that “it’s a bad thing to be born of high race and brought up willful and powerful in a great house unruled and ruling many; then if misfortune comes it is unendurable. ” Clearly, the excerpt was the precursor to today’s expression, “The greater the power, the harder the all.

This illustrious quotation conveys one of the most relevant themes of the time period: hubris. During the Greek Golden Age, the value of hubris was believed by the citizens, as shown in the myth of “Arachne”, Oedipus the King, and Medea. Mythology, in ancient times, had many purposes: entertainment, praising gods, and mostly, means of teaching priceless lessons. While greatness was admired, hubris was looked down upon; therefore, many of the myths of the century contained a moral in regard to the abuse of power and ego. One eminent tale was about a person named Arachne.

Arachne was a young woman who lived in Greece. She was an exceptionally fine weaver and spinner. She wove all sorts of beautiful images into her cloth, and people came from all around to see the beautiful textiles. Arachne began telling people she was more superior at spinning and weaving than the goddess Athena. Due to her hubris, she incurred the wrath of Athena. No matter how skilled people are, they are never any competition for the gods. According to the Greeks of the Golden Age, talent was admired, although excessive pride of abilities led to a downfall.

Aristotle once said “All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire. ” This fall was triggered by most of these causes; hubris fitting into all of them. People need to remember their place, and not try to be stronger or wiser or smarter than the gods, or bad things will happen to them. One of history’s most admired philosophers, Aristotle, created a set of criteria that fits most any Greek tragedy. In Oedipus The King, Aristotle’s theory of the “tragic hero” couldn’t have been set in a more overt manner.

The most prominent of the criteria is the presence of a flaw that eventually creates turmoil. Oedipus’ obvious flaw was his arrogance and abuse of power. Throughout the play, he mistakenly kills his father and sleeps with his mother. Many people try to make him realize that he really did perform the misdemeanors, but he remains ignorant and disregards the possibility that stood true. The tragedy is not so much that Oedipus commits two horrible crimes; after all, he was fated to do so, and committed them unknowingly.

It is, rather, that he, like his doomed parents efore him, ran headlong into the destiny he was trying to defy, and then compounded his evils by his imperious refusal to believe the prophet’s declaration of his guilt. At the end of the book, he becomes conscious of his wrongdoings and curses himself as a result of his conceit. Upon completion of his interrogation of the old shepherd who had saved his life as an infant, Oedipus exclaims in anguish, “O god- all come true, all burst to light! O light-now let me look my last on you!

I stand revealed at last- cursed in my birth, cursed in marriage, ursed in the lives I cut down with these hands! ” (1306-1310) Here, Oedipus realizes the error of his confidence in his human knowledge. He recognizes his hamartia at the moment in which he experiences his reversal of fortune. Pride was his downfall. The Greeks had a distinct word for this: “hubris,” a heroically foolish defiance; the feeling that one is beyond the reaches of authority or convention. Hubris is also seen in other works of theater. Euripides plays with the idea of greatness in Medea, often to surprising effects.

Medea has some f the makings of a great hero, but Euripides distorts and dislocates these traits, twisting some of the conventions of his art. Her greatness of intellect and self-absorption are beyond doubt, but the reduced field for these talents makes her into a monster. Euripides describes how the greatest, most renowned, people fall to a doom of immeasurable pain and suffering; moreover, he uses Medea as his ideal example. At the climax of the story, Medea prepares to slaughter her two sons: “My accursed hand, come, take the sword; take it and forward to your frontier of despair”.

She rrives at her lowest point and degrades herself to the level of a malicious murderer. Another example that Euripides uses to describe this theme portrays itself when Creon’s sympathy goes out toward Medea: “My soft heart has betrayed me”. Creon reveals that his persona of being a cruel, powerful king covers the truth of his sympathetic, sensitive feelings towards his acquaintances. Euripides successfully weaves this theme into the epic play. There are plenty of morals to the many Greek myths and stories, but one of the most significant and utilized morals is that one’s ego and power an crush them.

The indulgence of hubris was exposed in the myth of “Arachne”, Oedipus the King, and Medea. Balance is something that could have helped the fated characters. The idea of balance is put into words by Euripides when he explains, “The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man. ” If they only knew of balance through simplicity and strength, rather than disproportionate self-importance and ego, they may not have suffered a great fall.

The ancient Greek culture

The ancient Greek culture has had many effects on our own culture today. A few examples of these effects are: their invention of the Olympics, geometry, and the democratic government. The first Greek Olympics were held at Olympia in 776 BC. They were rather different than the modern games. There were far fewer events. Supposedly, the very first organized Olympics consisted of only on event, the Stadion. In addition, only free men who spoke Greek were allowed to compete. They were held at Olympia every year. In todays Olympics, there is a vast array of events, from track and field to snow.

People from any country can compete and the location that they are held at changes. Like our Olympics, winning athletes in ancient Greek times were heroes who put their hometowns on the map. Today the Olympic Games are the worlds largest gathering of athletic skill and competitiveness. They display nationalism, commerce, and politics. The games were held every four years from 776 BC to 393 AD, when they were abolished. The ancient Olympic Games lasted for 1170 years. If the Modern Olympic games last that long, they will still be held in 3066 AD.

The Greeks advances in geometry laid the way for much accomplishment later. Euclid organized the findings of Greek geometry in a book called Elements. This book was used as a textbook in Islamic and European universities well into the 1900s. Archimedes was a student in Euclids school at Alexandria. He worked with levers, inclined planes, wedges, screws, wheels, and pulleys to develop laws for what governed their motions. These items are fundamental to many simple machines that help multiply human work productivity.

By using a simple wedge, you can use very little force to move a huge item or use a pulley to lift heavy objects without blowing your back out. Besides paving the way for Archimedes and his machines, geometry is useful itself in many situations for contracting and other scientific industries. Perhaps the Greeks greatest contribution to our modern day society is the democratic government. They slowly came to realize that people have individual importance. Some city-states went to the democratic government where the free men had the right to vote.

Though our democratic government is not the exact same, its roots are in Greek government. The Greeks government may not have been successful because of constant power struggles. The United States democratic government is what makes it the best country to live in, in the entire world. We have police to serve and protect, an organized road system, and a government that we (supposedly) have the control over. We are free peoples with the right to our own religion, free speech, and many other rights taken for granted. Thank you ancient Greece for a democratic government.

A Period Of Time Greek Art

Over a period of time Greek art of the past has changed and evolved into what we value in todayis society as true art and services as a blue print of our tomorrow. As we take a closer look at the Geometric Period and stroll up through the Hellenistic Period allow me to demonstrate the changes and point out how these transitions have servide the elements of time.

During the geometric period the Greeks style of vase painting was know as Proto-geometric because it was preceded and anticipated the Geometric style – was characterized by linear motifs, such as spirals, diamonds, and crosshatching, rather than the stylized plants, birds, and sea creatures characteristic of minoan vase painting. Artist of the geometric time period created decative funerary art to be placed at the tombs of there dead. These pieces were made of ceramic and created in the form of geometric shapes, hence the time period.

One such piece is a vase from the Dipylon Cemetery, (750 BCE) its over-all shape is like that of a hemisphere supported by a cylinder. We also notice that the vase is divided into registers and here the humans are depicted as part of a narrative. The body of the deceased is placed on its side and set on what would appear to be a pedestal in the center of the top register. The form used to represent the human figures are somewhat abstract. For example triangles are used for the torsos, the head is a triangle in profile, round dots would stand in for the eyes and long thin rectangles would serve as arms.

The figures have tiny waists, and long legs with bulging thigh and calf muscles. The abstract designs were painted with a clay slip and to still a page form the Egyptians, all the humans were shown as full-frontal or full-profile views that emphasize flat patterns and outline shapes. However unlike the Egyptian funerary art the Greeks focused on the survivors, not the fate of the dead. During this period it was customary to create vases that did not contain supernatural beings, nor made reference to the afterlife that might have provided solace for the bereaved.

Another early piece that surfaced back in the late tenth century was the Centaur, half-human, half-horse. The Centaur was also created using geometric shapes. The human head was a round modeled out shape with no strong features or definition. The arms and torsos are rectangular shaped with no muscle tones or anything that would tell its viewer that this was a creature of strength. The legs and back animal half are cylinder shaped with small bulges that would seem to represent perhaps muscles. The Centaur also displayed on the body painted on geometric shapes. (cubes, pyramids, diamonds, etc.

As time progressed so did the Greek art, the time is 470 BCE and we find ourselves in the Classical Era. Here were able to notice a considerable difference in the Greek art. As artist the Greeks have moved away from geometric shapes and found themselves using such words as balance, harmony proportion and cemetery. Artist of the Classical Period took the geometric shapes and reworked them to there own liking Pan Painter created the vase Artemis Slaying Actaeon, and in this piece he shows us that there still using ceramics as artist did in the geometric period only now the figures are red.

The vase of Dipylon used decorative registers with repeating motifs to narrate; here the registers are still used with a beautiful maze motif but there made smaller in efforts to place more attrition on the image being displayed. The human images on the Dipylon were flat geometric shaped people that had very little features. Painters vase offered movement, realism, and detail in the cloth the people wore. Taking a closer look we can now define some of the techniques used here that were not used early on. Not only are the figures much larger but now we have balance in our composition.

Artemis has all her weight disturbed on her right leg and Actaeon although on the ground uses his left arm to support himself. ) Harmony ( Artemis has her right arm bent as well as her right leg. The left leg is stiff to go along with the stiff left arm. ) Painter shows us cemetery in his composition ( By dividing the two images in half we see the composition has the same weight on the left thatis on the right. ) And proportion ( both figures evenly scaled. ) Unlike artist of the geometric period Painters art was inspired by the myths of the gods as opposed to early artist who created funerary art and focused on the survivors.

A good artist can take an image from the past and transform it into a beloved piece of the future. Notice the triangle shape in Paintings piece that ties both images together. The Classical period made a big impact on the sculptures of that era. When we look back at the Centaur of the Geometric Period and compare its human features to something like the bronze sculpture of Zeus it just doesnit seem fair. No more full-frontal or full-profile views of images, we now have freestanding sculptures. No more geometric shapes to represent body parts, we now have muscle tone and definition.

The bronze statue of Zeus was the Classical era at its best. It displays balance, harmony, cemetery, and proposition as well as it gives us a sense of realism and naturalism. The artist brings out smooth facial features and defines the body as having strength and power. Heis anatomically correct. The use of bronze also allowed artist to twist and turn their models to create a pose that seemed to capture a nature feeling. Just when it seemed that things couldn’t get any better artist found themselves making a change from the Classical Period to the Hellenistic Period.

It was at this time that artist could standup and say that they had truly arrived. The Hellenistic period produced a Varity styles, techniques, and material. The period was marked by two broad and conflicting trends. One call anti-classical and the other classical where the artist would choose a piece and rework it into a new style. Such styles were like that of the Gallic Chieftain Killing his Wife and Himself. This piece offers everything that a classical piece would offer only now the artist is looking for a specific emotional response from the viewer, this know as expressionism.

Hellenistic artist sought the individual and the specific, they turned away from heroic to the everyday, from gods to mortals. In the Classical Period we watch Zeus come alive right before our very eyes, this freestanding statue tough us words like balance, harmony, and proportion, we learned realism, and naturalism as well as smooth skin and the Canon of proportion. But the Hellenistic era. has taken all those things and reworked them for the viewer. The artist takes pieces like the Gallic Chieftain and shows his wife limit body being supported by her husband as he plunges the sword into his own breast.

As a viewer you fill an emotional bound with the statue and offer your pity and I think thatis the response that the artist was looking for. In conclusion we have seen art pieces from the Geometric Period and its simples form reworked into master pieces of the Classical Period. And in the Hellenistic Period we found out what its like to take a master piece and make it better by touching the harts of the viewers. But most importantly we’ve learned that we live in a forever-changing world and to truly know great art is to know good art.

A Few Greek Gods

Greeks believed in a series of myths which explained nature, set up a moral code for the people, and were just folk lore of the people. In this paper, the beginnings of myths, the Greek gods themselves, and several myths concerning morals, nature, and old lore of the Ancients will be discussed. Because the myths and details about the gods were passed along by word of mouth, some myths or gods might be interchanged or different. The Greek myths started as folk lore until it began to explain nature and storytellers integrated a moral code into the myths.

Many myths started out as fairy tales. As new nd more efficient farming methods became available to the Greek people they were faced with more time in which to do other things. A people who have waste develop a culture all their own. Because Greece was divided into different city- states, many of the myths are different. The culture of storytelling began to involve explanations of nature such as the creation of the horse, spider, and such changes as winter and fire along with the creation of man himself.

Slowly, as with any longstanding government, the morals and laws of society leaked into Greek myths in the form of, “The slain shall be avenged y Nemesis (a force which causes people to get revenge),” or just, “Kindness and humbleness are rewarded by the gods. ” Some myths were even created to support other myths. The myths started with storytelling and developed into a complex system of morals and explanations. The Greek myths were almost fruitless without the intervention of the gods. The gods controlled nature and fought their own battles on the earth, which sometimes caused problems.

The first god was the most powerful one until he had children. The first god is called Oranos or in some myths Uranus. He was the first ruler among the gods. Uranus was the heavens and Gaea was the earth and thus they were married. The couple gave birth to many different and odd children but Uranus was cruel to them. Then, Chronos was born as the youngest titan. Chronos dethroned his father and soon after married his sister, Rhea. He didn’t want his children to dethrone him so he ate them. However, Zeus overthrew Chronos and established the first real empire of the gods.

Zeus settled disputes between the other gods and made sure the humans weren’t treated in the wrong way. Zeus and Hera gave birth to Ares and Hermes along with other minor gods. Hera was a cruel type person in most myths and in one she led a rebellio n against Zeus and almost defeated him when he was rescued. Her favorite sign is the peacock feather and that is her unique sign. Zeus and Hera were the first lasting god couple. Zeus had two brothers, Poseidon and Hades. After Chronos had been defeated, the three brothers threw dice for who would rule in which realm.

Poseidon chose the sea because there was the source of the most adventure. Zeus chose the sky where he would rule on Mount Olympus. Hades had no choice and took the underworld because he was notoriously unlucky. Poseidon created many odd sea creatures and the dolphin. He also created the horse and horselike animals. Poseidon had many children by two nymphs and his first son, Achilles, was greater than himself. Hades ruled the underworld and chose what to do with the souls of the people who came across the River Styx. They were judged on what they did in life.

He was unloving and terrible and he rarely left the underworld. His only wife was Persephone. She was the daughter of Demeter, goddess of corn, grain, and weather to an extent. Demeter is a minor god except for the great influence she has on the earth. Because her daughter, Persephone, is abducted every year, the crops wither and winter takes control of the land. There were quite a few lesser gods who ruled over small parts of nature. Aphrodite is the goddess of love and passion. She was formed of the foam off the genitals of Neptune which fell into the sea.

She manipulated men and was known for her enchanted golden apples. Her son was Eros, where we get the word erotic. Eros is the Greek form of Cupid, the Roman god of love. Aphrodite also has a magical girdle that makes anyone she wishes to love her. Aphrodite is married to Hephaestus, the ugly god of the forge. He and Aphrodite are Olympian gods but have limited control. Ares is the god of war. He rules all war and provokes men to war. He plays a vital role in provoking hatred among men. He is the son of both Zeus and Hera. Hermes is the messenger god. The myths say that he was born of Zeus alone.

Hermes is vital in settling disputes between the gods and has done so quite often. He is the swiftest of the gods and is known to carry messages of great mportance for mortals. Helios was the sun g od. Every day he rides his flaming chariot across the sky high in the heavens to the Island of the Blessed. He is the Greek explanation of the sun. There are three more godlike creatures that stand out in mythology. The first creature is a demigod. A demigod is a human/god mix and because Zeus and Poseidon were promiscuous there were many demigods. Hercules is among one of the most popular demigods.

He was the strongest and lived the longest. He was the mythological Superman to the Ancients. The Cyclops were a menace in many myths and Hercules slew any. The Cyclops, as a race, were around during the battle of the Titans. The Titans were huge, odd, creatures created by Gaea and Neptune. Chronos was a Titan. Though the Titans aren’t mentioned much in the most popular myths, there were hundreds of them who were kept pent up inside the mountains. There were many gods and godlike creatures. The Ancient Greek myths had explanation of nature in mind but also the spread of a moral law.

The first Greek myth dealt with the creation of the universe. It starts out with an explanation of how the universe was. “In the beginning there was chaos…. It then talks about how Gaea was born of nothing and she created the heavens, Uranus. She and Uranus then created everything else. However, Uranus was an evil father and she and Chronos plotted against him. Chronos took a sickle made of flint and castrated his father. His father fled away in shame. The genitals fell into the sea and from their blood came the giants, and from the foam against the genitals was born Aphrodite.

However, as Neptune fled, he said that Chronos would be dethroned by his son and that crime begets crime. Chronos married his sister and started to have children. As they were born, Chronos swallowed his children one by one. Rhea, his wife, finally grew tired of having fruitless children. When she gave birth to Zeus, she stole him away and gave him to some shepherds to raise. They raised him and, in return, she would keep their sheep safe. She wrapped up a stone to look like a baby and Zeus swallowed the stone whole. After a few years, Rhea became lonely and brought Zeus back to be the cupbearer of Chronos.

Then, Rhea and Zeus plotted against Chronos and Zeus slipped a regurgitory mixture into Zeus’s cup. Zeus vomited up his revious children and they sided with Zeus. They waged a huge war and Zeus’s army of gods and Titans won the battle. From then on, Zeus was the undisputed ruler of the gods. This myth shows how evil begets evil along with how the universe was created. Prometheus created man and all other animals. He gave all the animals different gifts and the ability to heal themselves. He gave so many gifts to the animals that he had nothing to give to man.

Prometheus decided to allow the man to walk upright like the gods and stole fire from Mount Olympus. However, Zeus was angry with Prometheus for stealing he fire and giving it to man. Zeus had Prometheus chained up atop a mountain to have his intestines be picked by vultures. Zeus stripped Prometheus of his ability to heal himself and gave that gift to men. And since then, men have been able to heal themselves and have had fire to protect them. The horse was not created along with the rest of creation, according to Greek myths. Poseidon was the ruler of the seas.

He chose the sea after his father was dethroned because it contained many unventured adventures. While he was in the sea, he married a Nereid and his son was Achilles. Poseidon made many creatures to scare little Nereids. However, his wife asked him to make her something beautiful and he created the dolphin. Poseidon wanted land to become his kingdom se he began to sink Athens but Athene interfered. There was almost war but Zeus and Hermes were able to settle the fight and Athene got Athens. This anger of Poseidon toward the Athenians causes all their naval battles to fight poorly. Poseidon sought a new wife and chose Demeter.

She would have him only if he could make the most beautiful land animal ever seen. Poseidon ook many days and created many animals close to his goal but not close enough. Finally, he created the horse and gave it to Demeter. She thought he would n ever create something so beautiful and would then not have to marry him. However, she married him and rode on the horse all day long. However, in the process of making the horse, he had made other animals such as the camel and mule. He did not destroy the misfits but set them aside. They found their way back into this world and are the horselike animals we know of today.

This myth explains the creation of the horse and other horselike animals. The gods control the seasons as we know them today in this Greek myth. Hades was on the surface of the earth on business when Eros shot him with an arrow. Hades fell in love with Persephone and stole her away into the Underworld. Demeter, Persephone’s mother, searched for her daughter and when she could not find her, froze the earth. Zeus didn’t want the earth to wither and die so he sent Hermes to fix the situation. Since Persephone ate part of a pomegranate, she would stay with Hades part of the year and live on the world the rest of the year.

All the time she would be gone, Demeter would weep and snow would fall. Fall is caused by her anticipation of her daughter leaving. This myth demonstrates the power of the gods, the power of love, and how fall and winter happen. The Greek gods and myths were a vital part to the ancient Greeks. The myths do explain nature and set up an orderly manner in which people should act. The myths, however, use gods to explain nature in order to substitute for pure logic. All the myths have meanings or explanations in which all the ancient questions are answered. The Greek myths were vital to Grecian society.

The Olympic Games in ancient Greece

The Olympic Games are an international sports festival that began in ancient Greece. The original Greek games were staged every fourth year for several hundred years, until they were abolished in the early Christian era. The revival of the Olympic Games took place in 1896, and since then they have been staged every fourth year, except during World War I and World War II. Perhaps the basic difference between the ancient and modern Olympics is that the former was the ancient Greeks’ way of saluting their gods, whereas the modern Games are a manner of saluting the athletic talents of citizens of all nations.

The original Olympics featured competition in music, oratory, and theater performances as well. The modern Games have a more expansive athletic agenda, and for two and one-half weeks they are supposed to replace the rancor of international conflict with friendly competition. In recent times, however, that lofty ideal has not always been attained. The earliest reliable date that recorded history gives for the first Olympics is 776 BC, although virtually all historians presume that the Games began well before then.

It is certain that during the midsummer of 776 BC a festival was held at Olympia on the highly civilized eastern coast of the Peloponnesian peninsula. That festival remained a regularly scheduled event, taking place during the pre-Christian golden age of Greece. As a testimony to the religious nature of the Games, which were held in honor of Zeus, the most important god in the ancient Greek pantheon, all wars would cease during the contests. According to the earliest records, only one athletic event was held in the ancient Olympics–a foot race of about 183 m (200 yd), or the length of the stadium.

A cook, Coroibus of Elis, was the first recorded winner. The first few Olympics had only local appeal and were limited to one race on one day; only men were allowed to compete or attend. A second race–twice the length of the stadium–was added in the 14th Olympics, and a still longer race was added to the next competition, four years later. When the powerful, warlike Spartans began to compete, they influenced the agenda. The 18th Olympics included wrestling and a pentathlon consisting of running, jumping, spear throwing, discus throwing, and wrestling.

Boxing was added at the 23rd Olympiad, and the games continued to expand, with the addition of chariot racing and other sports. In the 37th Olympiad the format was extended to five days of competition. The growth of the Games fostered “professionalism” among the competitors, and the Olympic ideals waned as royalty began to compete for personal gain, particularly in the chariot events. Human beings were being glorified as well as the gods; many winners erected statues to deify themselves.

In AD 394 the games were officially ended by the Roman emperor Theodosius, who felt that they had pagan connotations. The revival of the Olympic Games in 1896, unlike the original Games, has a clear, concise history. Pierre de Coubertin, a young French nobleman, felt that he could institute an educational program in France that approximated the ancient Greek notion of a balanced development of mind and body. The Greeks themselves had tried to revive the Olympics by holding local athletic games in Athens during the 1800s, but without lasting success.

It was Baron de Coubertin’s determination and organizational genius, however, that gave impetus to the modern Olympic movement. In 1892 he addressed a meeting of the Union des Sports Athletiques in Paris. Despite meager response he persisted, and an international sports congress eventually convened on June 16, 1894. With delegates from Belgium, Britain, France, Greece, Italy, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United States in attendance, he advocated the revival of the Olympic Games. He found ready and unanimous support from the nine countries.

DeCoubertin had initially planned to hold the Olympic Games in France, but the representatives convinced him that Greece was the appropriate country to host the first modern Olympics. The council did agree that the Olympics would move every four years to other great cities of the world. Thirteen countries competed at the Athens Games in 1896. Nine sports were on the agenda: cycling, fencing, gymnastics, lawn tennis, shooting, swimming, track and field, weight lifting, and wrestling. The 14-man U.

S. team dominated the track and field events, taking first place in 9 of the 12 events. The Games were a success, and a second Olympiad, to be held in France, was scheduled. Olympic Games were held in 1900 and 1904, and by 1908 the number of competitors more than quadrupled the number at Athens–from 311 to 2,082. Beginning in 1924 a Winter Olympics was included–to be held at a separate cold-weather sports site in the same year as the Summer Games–the first held at Chamonix, France.

In 1992 about 2,174 athletes from 63 nations competed at Albertville, France, in a program that included Alpine and Nordic skiing, biathlon, ice hockey, figure skating, speed skating, bobsledding, and luge. But the Summer Games, with its wide array of events, are still the focal point of the modern Olympics. The standard events are archery, basketball, boxing, canoeing and kayaking, cycling, equestrian arts, fencing, field hockey, gymnastics, handball, judo, modern pentathlon, rowing, shooting, soccer, swimming and diving and synchronized swimming, track and field, volleyball, water polo, weight lifting, wrestling, and yachting.

The Games are governed by the International Olympic Committee, whose headquarters is in Lausanne, Switzerland. Although the Olympic Games have been increasingly politicized, the ideal of the world’s best athletes competing against each other in the arena of so-called pure sport has been at least partially realized, especially from the athletes’ point of view. And even though skill and courage are manifested by most Olympic participants, the great gold medalists are the ones who are most often remembered.

This past summer the World commemorated the 100th Olympiad which was hoped to be held in Athens in recognition of the original, Ancient Olympics. Instead the 100th was held in Atlanta GA. Because of this fact, at least for us, we as a country, gave the best we had to offer. This was even more a advantage when the “home field advantage” is accounted for. And like I mentioned before the Gold medalists are most likely remembered.

It will be awhile before people forget about Michael Johnsons 200 and 400 gold and him crushing the 200 world record he himself set at the trials. And who will ever forget Carl Lewis final competition that ended in fitting fashion, with the gold draped around his neck. This just goes to show that the Olympics are not just for the Athletes who compete in it, but it is for the whole world which comes together for this short time every 4 (well, two now) years. That is why I believe that this is a great gift from Ancient Greece.

Theater and drama in Ancient Greece

Theater and drama in Ancient Greece took form in about 5th century BCE, with the Sopocles, the great writer of tragedy. In his plays and those of the same genre, heroes and the ideals of life were depicted and glorified. It was believed that man should live for honor and fame, his action was courageous and glorious and his life would climax in a great and noble death. Originally, the heros recognition was created by selfish behaviors and little thought of service to others.

As the Greeks grew toward city-states and colonization, it became the destiny and ambition of the hero to gain honor by serving his city. The second major characteristic of the early Greek world was the supernatural. The two worlds were not separate, as the gods lived in the same world as the men, and they interfered in the mens lives as they chose to. It was the gods who sent suffering and evil to men. In the plays of Sophocles, the gods brought about the heros downfall because of a tragic flaw in the character of the hero.

In Greek tragedy, suffering brought knowledge of worldly matters and of the individual. Aristotle attempted to explain how an audience could observe tragic events and still have a pleasurable experience. Aristotle, by searching the works of writers of Greek tragedy, Aeschulus, Euripides and Sophocles (whose Oedipus Rex he considered the finest of all Greek tragedies), arrived at his definition of tragedy. This explanation has a profound influence for more than twenty centuries on those writing tragedies, most significantly Shakespeare.

Aristotles analysis of tragedy began with a description of the effect such a work had on the audience as a catharsis or purging of the emotions. He decided that catharsis was the purging of two specific emotions, pity and fear. The hero has made a mistake due to ignorance, not because of wickedness or corruption. Aristotle used the word hamartia, which is the tragic flaw or offense committed in ignorance. For example, Oedipus is ignorant of his true parentage when he commits his fatal deed. Oedipus Rex is one of the stories in a three-part myth called the Thebian cycle.

The structure of most all Greek tragedies is similar to Oedipus Rex. Such plays are divided in to five parts, the prologue or introduction, the prados or entrance of the chorus, four episode or acts separates from one another by stasimons or choral des, and exodos, the action after the last stasimon. These odes are lyric poetry, lines chanted or sung as the chorus moved rhythmically across the orchestra. The lines that accompanied the movement of the chorus in one direction were called strophe, the return movement was accompanied by lines called antistrophe. The choral ode might contain more than one strophe or antistrophe.

Greek tragedy originated in honor of the god of wine, Dionysus, the patron god of tragedy. The performance took place in an open-air theater. The word tragedy is derived from the term tragedia or oat-song, named for the goat skins the chorus wore in the performance. The plots came from legends of the Heroic Age. Tragedy grew from a choral lyric, as Aristotle said, tragedy is largely based on lifes pity and splendor. Plays were performed at dramatic festivals, the two main ones being the Feast of the Winepress in January and the City Dionysia at the end of March.

The Proceeding began with the procession of choruses and actors of the three competing poets. A herald then announced the poets names and the titles of their plays. On this day it was likely that the image of Dionysus was taken in a procession from his emple beside the theater to a point near the road he had once taken to reach Athens from the north, then it was brought back by torch light, amid a carnival celebration, to the theater itself, where his priest occupied the central seat of honor during the performances. On the first day of the festival there were contests between the choruses, five of men and five of boys.

Each chorus consisted of fifty men or boys. On the next three days, a tragic tetralogy (group made up of four pieces, a trilogy followed by a satyric drama) was performed each morning. This is compared to the Elizabethan habit of following a tragedy with a jig. During the Peloponnesian Wars, this was followed by a comedy each afternoon. The Father of the drama was Thesis of Athens, 535 BC, who created the first actor. The actor performed in intervals between the dancing of the chorus and conversing at times with the leader of the chorus.

The tragedy was further developed when new myths became part of the performance, changing the nature of the chorus to a group appropriate to the individual story. A second actor was added by Aeschylus and a third actor was added by Sophocles, nd the number of the chorus was fixed at fifteen. The chorus part was gradually reduced, and the dialogue of the actors became increasingly important. The word chorus meant dance or dancing ground, which was how dance evolved into the drama. Members of the chorus were characters in the play who commented on the action.

They drew the audience into the play and reflected the audiences reactions. The Greek plays were performed in open-air theaters. Nocturnal scenes were performed even in sunlight. The area in front of the stages was called the orchestra, the area in which the chorus moved and anced. There was no curtain and the play was presented as a whole with no act or scene divisions. There was a building at the back of the stage called a skene, which represented the front of a palace or temple. It contained a central doorway and two other stage entrances, one at the left and the other at the right, representing the country and the city.

Sacrifices were performed at the altar of Dionysus, and the chorus performed in the orchestra, which surrounded the altar. The theatron, from where the word theater is derived, is where the audience sat, built on a hollowed-out hillside. Seated of honor, found in the front and center of the theatron, were for public officials and priests. he seating capacity of the theater was about 17,000. The audience of about 14,000 was lively, noisy, emotional and unrestrained. They ate, applauded, cheered, hissed, and kicked their wooden seats in disgust. Small riots were known to break out if the audience was dissatisfied.

Women were allowed to be spectators of tragedy, and probably even comedy. Admission was free or nominal, and the poor were paid for by the state. The Attic dramatists, like the Elizabethans, had a public of all classes. Because of the size of the audience, the actors must also have been physically remote. The sense of remoteness may have been heightened by masked, statuesque figures of the actors whose acting depended largely on voice gestures and grouping. Since there were only three actors, the same men in the same play had to play double parts. At first, the dramatists themselves acted, like Shakespeare.

Gradually, acting became professionalized. Simple scenery began with Sophocles, but changes of scene were rare and stage properties were also rare, such as an occasional altar, a tomb or an image of gods. Machinery was used for lightning or thunder or for lifting celestial persons from heaven and back, or for revealing the interior of the stage building. This was called deus ex machina, which means god from the machine, and was a technical device that used a metal crane on top of the skene building, which contained the dressing rooms, from which a dummy was suspended to represent a god.

This device was first employed by Euripides to give a miraculous conclusion to a tragedy. In later romantic literature, this device was no longer used and the miracles supplied by it were replace by the sudden ppearance of a rich uncle, the discovery or new wills, or of infants changed at birth. Many proprieties of the Greek plays were attached to violence. Therefore, it was a rule that acts of violence must take place off stage. This carried through to the Elizabethan theater which avoided the horrors of men being flayed alive or Glousters eyes being put out in full view of an audience (King Lear).

When Medea went inside the house to murder her children, the chorus was left outside, chanting in anguish, to represent the feelings the chorus had and could not act upon, because of their metaphysical existence. The use of music in the theater began very simply consisting of a single flute player that accompanied the chorus. Toward the close of the century, more complicated solo singing was developed by Euripides. There could-then be large-scale spectacular events, with stage crowds and chariots, particularly in plays by Aeschylus.

Greek comedy was derived from two different sources, the more known being the choral element which included ceremonies to stimulate fertility at the festival of Dionysus or in ribald drunken revel in his honor. The term comedy is actually drawn from komos, meaning song of revelry. The second source of Greek comedy was that from the Sicilian mimes, who put on very rude performances where they would make satirical allusions to audience members as they ad-libbed their performances. In the beginning, comedy was frank, indecent and sexual. The plots were loosely and carelessly structured and included broad farce and buffoonery.

The performers were coarse and obscene while using satire to depict important contemporary moral, social and political issues of Athenian life. The comedy included broad satire of well known persons of that time. Throughout the omedic period in Greece, there were three distinctive eras of comedies as the genre progressed. Old comedy, which lasted from approximately 450 to 400 BCE, was performed at the festivals of Dionysus following the tragedies. There would be contests between three poets, each exhibiting one comedy. Each comedy troupe would consist of one or two actors and a chorus of twenty-four.

The actors wore masks and soccus, or sandals, and the chorus often wore fantastic costumes. Comedies were constructed in five parts, the prologue, where the leading character conceived the happy idea, the parodos or entrance of the horus, the agon, a dramatized debate between the proponent and opponent of the happy idea where the opposition was always defeated, the parabasis, the coming forth of the chorus where they directly addressed the audience and aired the poets views on most any matter the poet felt like having expressed, and the episodes, where the happy idea was put into practical application.

Aristotle highly criticized comedy, saying that it was just a ridiculous imitation of lower types of man with eminent faults emphasized for the audiences pleasure, such as a mask worn to show deformity, or for the man to o something like slip and fall on a banana peel. Aristophanes, a comic poet of the old comedy period, wrote comedies which came to represent old comedy, as his style was widely copied by other poets. In his most famous works, he used dramatic satire on some of the most famous philosophers and poets of the era.

In The Frogs he ridiculed Euripides, and in The Clouds he mocked Socrates. His works followed all the basic principles of old comedy, but he added a facet of cleverness and depth in feeling to his lyrics, in an attempt to appeal to both the emotions and intellect of the audience. Middle comedy, which ominated from 400 to 336 BCE, was very transitional, having aspects of both old comedy and new comedy. It was more timid than old comedy, having many less sexual gestures and innuendoes. It was concerned less with people and politics, and more with myths and tragedies.

The chorus began its fade into the background, becoming more of an interlude than the important component it used to be. Aristophanes wrote a few works in middle comedy, but the most famous writers of the time were Antiphanes of Athens and Alexis of Thurii, whose compositions have mostly been lost and only very few of their found works have een full extant plays. In new comedy which lasted from 336 to 250 BCE, satire is almost entirely replaced by social comedy involving the family and individual character development, and the themes of romantic love.

A closely knit plot in new comedy was based on intrigue, identities, relationships or a combination of these. A subplot was often utilized as well. The characters in new comedy are very similar in each work, possibly including a father who is very miser like, a son who is mistreated but deserving, and other people with stereotypical personas. The chief writer of new comedy was Menander, and as with the prominent riters of the middle comedic era, most of his works have been lost, but other dramatists of the time period, like Terence and Platus, had imitated and adapted his methods.

Menanders The Curmudgeon is the only complete extant play known by him to date, and it served as the basis for the later Latin writers to adapt. Adventure, brilliance, invention, romance and scenic effect, together with delightful lyrics and wisdom, were the gifts of the Greek theater. These conventions strongly affected subsequent plays and playwrights, having put forth influence on theater throughout the centuries.

Influence of Greek Culture

Back in the days of Homers Writings, Greek culture had a huge influence on the way of life and the style of writing. In this epic Greek culture also played a huge roll in the outcome of the story. The three traits of Greek culture that are evident in this story are, marriage is permanent, gods are revered and intelligence is valued. The first one of these traits that stands out in this epic is marriage is permanent. Penelope is faced with many suitors who wish to marry her and rule Ithica, yet she remained loyal and had faith that her husband, Odysseus would return to her side.

In one instance, the suitors pressured her into choosing one of them to marry. To trick the men she said Young men, my suitors, now my lord is dead, let me finish my weaving before I marry. (p. 726, l. 100-101). Then every night she would undo her progress of the day. Odysseus too, had been desired by others and he too avoided them. Circe and Calypso both wanted to be with Odysseus, but he knew he had sworn to love Penelope. Telemachus also played a part in keeping his parents marriage together. He set out to find his father despise what others had told him. The olive tree bed was also a symbol of the couples permanent marriage.

The next trait that played a role in Greek culture was that gods are revered. Gods played a very significant role in the Greeks way of life. Gods controlled everything from the sky to the underworld. Gods could either be your best friend, or your worst enemy. Odysseus learned that the hard way. After blinding Polyphemus he boasted his name to the beast whose father was the sea god Poseidon. Cyclops, if ever mortal man inquire how you were put to shame and blinded, tell him Odysseus, raider of the cities took your eye: Laertes son whose homes on Ithica! (p. 756 l. 970-974). From that point on he would be punisher by the great sea god.

A god also played an important role in Telemachus journey. Athena gave the young mortal much help and advice. The last trait that played an important role in Greek culture is that intelligence is valued. Odysseus, Telemachus and Penelope all showed great intelligence in the epic. Odysseus main strength was his intelligence. He had tricked the Cyclops many times and saved himself and his crews lives many times. Penelope had deceived the suitors enough to give Odysseus time to return. When Odysseus finally did return he was wise enough to disguise himself so only few people could recognize him.

The people who did recognize him such as his old nurse, helped to aid him execute the suitors who pursued Penelope. You are Odysseus! Ah, dear child! I could not see you until nownot till I knew my masters very body with my hands! (p 780 l. 1630-1632). Telemachus was also clever not to reveal his search for his father, because he too, may have been killed by the suitors. The influence of Greek culture made this epic the great story that it is. Almost everything in this story had something to do with the Greeks or the Greek culture. The events in this story fit together like a puzzle. That is why this story is so unique.

Greek Art and Architecture

The Palace of Knossos, a Minoan mud brick and timber structure on a shallow stone foundation, featuring a central courtyard, was constructed on an acropolis. It was a place for rulers to reside, shrines for religious ceremonies to be worshipped, the industrial production of objects, and administrative duties. Ample hallways, stairways, chambers, and light wells supplemented the ambitiously built structure. There were plenty of columns to mark he four awe inspiring entrance passages. Four wings, oriented in a north-south direction, surrounded the central courtyard.

The east wing featured the residential spaces, a workshop, and a shrine, while the west wing was complete with more shrines, a throne room, storerooms, and a banquet hall. The north wing included a theater area. The south wing featured a separate paved courtyard west of the palace. Inside the Palace of Knossos, plastered walls were painted with color washes. The walls were also decorated with frescos, many of which depicted religious ceremonies. The Minoans were a people who enjoyed life. Many wine jars were found and it can be noted that women commonly bore their breasts.

Long hair and makeup were popular and many festivals and events were held at the 1400 room palace. Nothing was fortified. These people had a love of art, color, and leisure, as depicted in many of the frescos at Knossos. Minoan art occasionally featured geometric and repetitive forms on walls, floors, and ceilings, but more common were figurative and landscape elements. Often seen were both local and foreign flowers and plants. It is important to mention that no narrative style has been noted and there are no hieroglyphics to decipher the images at Knossos.

An example of a Minoan fresco at Knossos is the Bull Jumping mural, about 24 1. 2 in height. One person holds the horns of a bull while another jumps over the animal. This may have been a sporting event, as bulls were an important image, ad may have been sacrificed. Figures in these Minoan works are much more animated than typical Egyptian examples. A face of a bull with guilded horns, about 12 tall, was found at Knossos. Created from steatite with shell, rock crystal, and red jasper, a white, chalky substance was rubbed into carvings on it to give the illusion of texture and detail.

Water or some other liquid could be poured from into the back and out of the bulls mouth. Unlike the Minoan Palace of Knossos, the Citadel of Mycenae was heavily fortified and featured many entrances. Its famous gate, The Lion Gate, is known for its keystone depicting two of the animal. Though the columns appear Minoan in style, this is a Mycenaean innovation featuring the first example of monumental sculpture in Greek art. This post and lintel limestone entrance is over 96 tall. Also Mycenaean, the Beehive Tomb at the Treasury of Atreus, complete with corbelling, and post and lintel entranceway, and a long walkway.

The Treasury of Atreus is a well preserved tholos tomb with a round, corbelled interior roof, cushioned capital columns, and a small chamber. This monument was once highly decorated with paint and sculpture, though this can no longer be seen. A mask, once thought to depict the face of Agamemnon, though now a disproved theory, was found at the royal tombs of Mycenae. It is the likeness of a man and was used as a burial mask with a less stylized beard and mustache. Mycenae was full of war and turmoil. A vase, c. 1300-100 bc, was dubbed The Warrior Vase for its scene of women bidding farewell to the warrior men.

Such a solemn feel seems to typify these times. Other signs of unrest include dagger blades with gold and silver inlay on bronze, representing various animal scenes and people carrying shields, found at Mycenae. Compared with Mycenae, Knossos appears to be a much more peaceful and artistic society. While both civilizations produced great art, the Knossos versions are more focused on peace and happiness, worship and love, while the examples found at the Citadel of Mycenae are not nearly as pleasant and unassuming. Essay #2 An example of a Geometric style vase is a terra cotta one from the Dipylon Cemetery, c. 750 bc.

At 42 5/8 tall, this massive sized vase is meant to hold offerings. As per this period, the vase was used as a grave marker, keeping a detailed record of funerary rituals for an important person. The body of the dead was placed on the side of a high platform at the center of the top register of the vase. Male and female figures stand on each side of the body, gesturing in anguish. Chariots and foot soldiers form a procession. Abstract forms represent the human figures in full frontal or profile views, with no attempt at three dimensional form. The carefully arranged elements induce strong emotions nonetheless.

Complex decoration, flat patterns, and outline shapes are typical from this period, as are the triangular torsos, rectangular arms, small waists, and long legs. Orientalized vases differ from earlier vases in their use of narrative story telling, particularly in mythical themes. A ceramic wide-mouthed pitcher, known as an olpe, from Corinth, c. 600 bc, at 11 1/2 tall, is painted in the black figure style of decoration. There are dark shapes on a pale background. The details are incised and the design enhanced with touches of white and red-purple gloss. In this vase, mythical creatures are silhouetted against stylized rosettes.

The Orientalized style is generally a much smaller scale than previously seen in geometric pieces. The compositions are more open with larger motifs, many drawn from the Near East, hence the term Orientalized. Both real and imaginary animals were depicted, with a focus on mythical fantasy; very different from the pattern-like style of geometric vase painting. Essay #3 Rapidly developing arts and trends flourished during the Archaic period. The freestanding sculpture and meticulously beautiful painted vases provide an opportunity for awe at the developments of this time period, c. 600-480 bc.

It was around this time that vase painters began to sign their work. Lifesize and larger freestanding marble figure sculpture had developed. Both male and female forms were constructed, generally in marble. Kouroi and Korai were probably not portraits of people, but instead a representation of a deity that the person commissioning the piece identified with. Unlike Egyptian figural sculpture, the ancient Greeks cut away at the stone to generate completely self supporting artwork. Figures have notable athletic quality, features are prominent but not detailed, long hair, and the most noted feature is the archaic smile.

This smile is a closed mouth expression of happiness, though it may seem a melancholy smile. Men were always sculpted nude, though women were usually clothed. Archaic vase painting seems to have adopted a more geometric style, featuring narrow bands and smaller figures at first. Unlike the earlier period, however, the bands are fewer and smaller. At time wore on, though, there were fewer bands and decorations, and figure sizes increased to feature one scene register per vase. On a signed amphora by the vase painter, Exekias, The Suicide of Ajax is presented in black figure style.

This is an example of the influence of mythical themes on artwork. The story is taken from tales of the Trojan War. In this, and in other examples of archaic vase painting, artists used the shape of the vase to express the image, creating a harmony between art and function. Another archaic vase, also of Ajax, this time with Achilles, is also a black figure style vessel with a Homeric theme. An early example of perspective, there is a formal posture among the men, an archaic smile, and the incision technique, where the artist etched over the glaze.

Essay #4 The Kritios Boy, c. 480 bc, is a marble sculpture representative of the transition from archaic to classical styles. The Greeks were beginning to understand the muscles of the body. Unlike previous freestanding figure sculpture, this one shows the head turned at a slight angle; the posture is much less tense. This figure appears more natural and relaxed as compared with the archaic kouros figures of the sixth century, as well as less triangular in torso shape. The hair is shorter as well. What is less relaxed, however, is the expression.

The Kriotios Boys face is more stern than before, where the archaic smile displayed a neutral positivity on kouros figures. The eyes on the Kritios figure were inlaid with bronze and there are more teeth. Also new to these kind of sculpture was the contrapposto stance, shifting the weight to allow the body to appear to stand more naturally. Both the Kritios Boy and the Kouros figure were created from sculpted marble in the subtractive process of carving away to generate a form. The Riace Warrior was one of two bronze sculptures paired together, from c. 450 bc.

Statue B is highly detailed using the additive approach of lost-wax hollow-casting in bronze, different from the past sculptures in marble. A clay core is created to form the object, in this process, and then waxed. Details were molded into the wax and then another thin layer of clay was added. The piece was fired, leaving the wax to melt away, and a clay shell to be created. Molten bronze was poured into the gap between the clay layers and allowed to cool and harden. The clay was then removed, leaving a very sturdy bronze sculpture. The only issue with this method was than the mold could not be reused.

When this technique was refined, marble became a less popular medium. Sculpture in bronze, such as the Riace Warrior, are more solid and deflects light better than marble. Larger figures could be made in separate parts and fused together. The method of used bronze for figure sculpture was a technique really refined by the ancient Greeks, and definitely out shadows many of the archaic marble works. Essay #5 The Parthenon was completed structurally in 438 bc, designed by architects Kallikrates and Iktinos. The outside of the structure resembles a Doric temple.

The peristyle of columns are set up with eight viewable from the front and back, and seventeen viewable from either side. These columns rest on a three level platform. To avoid an appearance of curvature from a distance, the architects designed the Parthenon with a slightly upward curved stylobate and entablature by entasis. The columns also have a swelling and lean inward just a bit from the bottom to the top. At each corner, the columns were placed closer together. All these optical refinements give the Parthenon a less boxy structural feel with instead, a stronger sculptural appeal.

It is interesting to note that all these plans were carried out to make the Parthenon more appealing at a distance, however, those people who were lucky enough to be able to visit, and enter, had a difficult time viewing much of the wonderful sculpture. The frieze, for example, is located forty feet overhead, and because of the way it is set in the interior wall of the inner temple chamber, it is nearly impossible to see much of anything at all. The cella is enclosed in the temple, with an easterly opening. There is another space inside with an opening to the west.

The entablature on both sides of the temple contains the frieze scene of the Panathenaic Festival. The sculpture decorating the Parthenon was completed in 432 bc by Pheidias. The pediments, depicting different Athena-related themes, were a sculpture-in-the-round, set in the cornice and secured with pins. The east pediment is a representation of the birth of athena, located above the cella entrance. The central figures are Zeus giving birth to adult-sized Athena with armor. Apollo and Selene are each located on either corner.

The west pediment depicts a contest that Athena won against Poseidon for control of Athens. This one is set over the entrance to the acropolis. The Ionic frieze on the north size of the Parthenon represents the Panathenaic Festival, held each year to honor Athena. Women carried a wool peplos to the sanctuary to cover a wooden statue of Athena. In the frieze, there are horse riders and young men walking, all in good physical shape. As in many of the other sculpture of this time, it seems an ideal portrait to lookup to as example, not necessarily as things actually were.

This frieze contains key elements of Classical Greek form. Athletic nudity or partial nudity, figures which turn to the front, side, and back equally, controlled movements, and restless horses are some of these elements. Structurally, this frieze is not proportioned correctly and the perspective is incorrect, but this was a planned method to show intense movement and liveliness. First to be carved in the mid-440s bc, were the mythologically symbolic metopes. The Doric frieze included 92 metope reliefs, with fourteen on each end and thirty-two along each side.

Various battles are represented by a Centaur against a Lapith, a god against a Giant, and a Greek against either a Trojan or an Amazon. The original statue of Athena Parthenos, c. 440 bc, no longer exists, though reproductions do. These reproductions were generated with information found about the original, along with information known about how Athena was considered to be. The original statue used approximately 2500 pounds of gold, making it what may have been very controversial for Pheidias. Athena was depicted as a warrior with her helmet and visor, which displayed winged horses.

The Nike figures stands in Athenas outstretched hand. The shield rests at her side, a sign that war is over, but Athena is still prepared and protective of her city. Athena was the goddess of Athens, but it is still unsure which came first. This statue of the greatly revered Athena stood in her temple to be both revered and to protect her city and its people. The shield that rests by Athena is highly decorated and given its immense size, the work that went into this project is unimaginable. The inside part shows the gods against the giants, depicted the giants storming Mount Olympus.

The amazons are sculpted on the outside of the shield. Even Athenas sandals have figurative sculpture, this time of Lapiths and Centaurs fighting. Along the base of the statue, golden images of Pandora and witnesses to her birth contrast strongly against a white background. There is so much information available architecturally and symbolically on the Parthenon that it is hard to form a concise short description of important points, however, it is because of this knowledge, that scholars have been able to really understand Greek art and architecture.

The History of Greek Theater

Theater and drama in Ancient Greece took form in about 5th century BCE, with the Sopocles, the great writer of tragedy. In his plays and those of the same genre, heroes and the ideals of life were depicted and glorified. It was believed that man should live for honor and fame, his action was courageous and glorious and his life would climax in a great and noble death. Originally, the heros recognition was created by selfish behaviors and little thought of service to others. As the Greeks grew toward city-states and colonization, it became the destiny and ambition of the hero to gain honor by serving his city.

The second major characteristic of the early Greek world was the supernatural. The two worlds were not separate, as the gods lived in the same world as the men, and they interfered in the mens lives as they chose to. It was the gods who sent suffering and evil to men. In the plays of Sophocles, the gods brought about the heros downfall because of a tragic flaw in the character of the hero. In Greek tragedy, suffering brought knowledge of worldly matters and of the individual. Aristotle attempted to explain how an audience could observe tragic events and still have a pleasurable xperience. Aristotle, by searching the works of writers of Greek tragedy, Aeschulus, Euripides and Sophocles (whose Oedipus Rex he considered the finest of all Greek tragedies), arrived at his definition of tragedy.

This explanation has a profound influence for more than twenty centuries on those writing tragedies, most significantly Shakespeare. Aristotles analysis of tragedy began with a description of the effect such a work had on the audience as a catharsis or purging of the emotions. He decided that catharsis was the purging of two specific emotions, pity and fear. The hero has ade a mistake due to ignorance, not because of wickedness or corruption. Aristotle used the word hamartia, which is the tragic flaw or offense committed in ignorance.

For example, Oedipus is ignorant of his true parentage when he commits his fatal deed. Oedipus Rex is one of the stories in a three-part myth called the Thebian cycle. The structure of most all Greek tragedies is similar to Oedipus Rex. Such plays are divided in to five parts, the prologue or introduction, the prados or entrance of the chorus, four episode or acts separates from one another by stasimons or choral odes, and exodos, the action after the last stasimon.

These odes are lyric poetry, lines chanted or sung as the chorus moved rhythmically across the orchestra. The lines that accompanied the movement of the chorus in one direction were called strophe, the return movement was accompanied by lines called antistrophe. The choral ode might contain more than one strophe or antistrophe. Greek tragedy originated in honor of the god of wine, Dionysus, the patron god of tragedy. The performance took place in an open-air theater. The word tragedy is derived from the term tragedia or goat-song, named for the goat skins the chorus wore in the performance.

The plots came from legends of the Heroic Age. Tragedy grew from a choral lyric, as Aristotle said, tragedy is largely based on lifes pity and splendor. Plays were performed at dramatic festivals, the two main ones being the Feast of the Winepress in January and the City Dionysia at the end of March. The Proceeding began with the procession of choruses and actors of the three competing poets.

A herald then announced the poets names and the titles of their plays. On this day it was likely that the image of Dionysus was taken in a procession from his temple eside the theater to a point near the road he had once taken to reach Athens from the north, then it was brought back by torch light, amid a carnival celebration, to the theater itself, where his priest occupied the central seat of honor during the performances. On the first day of the festival there were contests between the choruses, five of men and five of boys. Each chorus consisted of fifty men or boys. On the next three days, a tragic tetralogy (group made up of four pieces, a trilogy followed by a satyric drama) was performed each morning.

This is compared to the Elizabethan habit of following a tragedy with a jig. During the Peloponnesian Wars, this was followed by a comedy each afternoon. The Father of the drama was Thesis of Athens, 535 BC, who created the first actor. The actor performed in intervals between the dancing of the chorus and conversing at times with the leader of the chorus. The tragedy was further developed when new myths became part of the performance, changing the nature of the chorus to a group appropriate to the individual story.

A second actor was added by Aeschylus and a third actor was added by Sophocles, and the number of the chorus was fixed at fifteen. The chorus part was gradually reduced, and the dialogue of the actors became increasingly important. The word chorus meant dance or dancing ground, which was how dance evolved into the drama. Members of the chorus were characters in the play who commented on the action. They drew the audience into the play and reflected the audiences reactions. The Greek plays were performed in open-air theaters. Nocturnal scenes were performed even in sunlight.

The area in front of the stages was called the orchestra, the area in which the chorus moved and danced. There was no curtain and the play was presented as a whole with no act or scene divisions. There was a building at the back of the stage called a skene, which represented the front of a palace or temple. It contained a central doorway and two other stage entrances, one at the left and the other at the right, representing the country and the city. Sacrifices were performed at the altar of Dionysus, and the chorus performed in the orchestra, which surrounded the altar.

The theatron, from where the word theater is derived, is where the audience sat, built on a hollowed-out hillside. Seated of honor, found in the front and center of the theatron, were for public officials and priests. he seating capacity of the theater was about 17,000. The audience of about 14,000 was lively, noisy, emotional and unrestrained. They ate, applauded, cheered, hissed, and kicked their wooden seats in disgust. Small riots were known to break out if the audience was dissatisfied. Women were allowed to be spectators of tragedy, and probably even comedy.

Admission was free or nominal, and the poor were paid for by the state. The Attic dramatists, like the Elizabethans, had a public of all classes. Because of the size of the audience, the actors must also have been physically remote. The sense of remoteness may have been heightened by masked, statuesque figures of the actors whose acting depended largely on voice gestures and grouping. Since there were only three actors, the same men in the same play had to play double parts. At first, the dramatists themselves acted, like Shakespeare. Gradually, acting became professionalized.

Simple scenery began with Sophocles, but changes of scene were rare and stage properties were also rare, such as an occasional altar, a tomb or an image of gods. Machinery was used for lightning or thunder or for lifting celestial persons from heaven and back, or for revealing the interior of the stage building. This was called deus ex machina, which means god from the machine, and was a technical device that used a metal crane on top of the skene building, which contained the dressing rooms, from which a dummy was suspended to represent a god.

This device was first employed by Euripides to give a miraculous conclusion to a tragedy. In later romantic literature, this device was no longer used and the miracles supplied by it were replace by the sudden appearance of a rich uncle, the discovery or new wills, or of infants changed at birth. Many proprieties of the Greek plays were attached to violence. Therefore, it was a rule that acts of violence must take place off stage. This carried through to the Elizabethan theater which avoided the horrors of men being flayed alive or Glousters eyes being put out in full view of an audience (King Lear).

When Medea went inside the house to murder her children, the chorus was left outside, chanting in anguish, to represent the feelings the chorus had and could not act upon, because of their metaphysical existence. The use of music in the theater began very simply consisting of a single flute player that accompanied the chorus. Toward the close of the century, more complicated solo singing was developed by Euripides. There could-then be large-scale spectacular events, with stage crowds and chariots, particularly in plays by Aeschylus.

Greek comedy was derived from two different sources, the more known being the choral element which included ceremonies to stimulate fertility at the festival of Dionysus or in ribald drunken revel in his honor. The term comedy is actually drawn from komos, meaning song of revelry. The second source of Greek comedy was that from the Sicilian mimes, who put on very rude performances where they would make satirical allusions to audience members as they ad-libbed their performances. In the beginning, comedy was frank, indecent and sexual. The plots were loosely and carelessly structured and included broad farce and buffoonery.

The performers were coarse and obscene while using satire to depict important contemporary moral, social and political issues of Athenian life. The comedy included broad satire of well known persons of that time. Throughout the comedic period in Greece, there were three distinctive eras of comedies as the genre progressed. Old comedy, which lasted from approximately 450 to 400 BCE, was performed at the festivals of Dionysus following the tragedies. There would be contests between three poets, each exhibiting one comedy. Each comedy troupe would consist of one or two actors and a chorus of twenty-four.

The actors wore masks and soccus, or sandals, and the chorus often wore fantastic costumes. Comedies were constructed in five parts, the prologue, where the leading character conceived the happy idea, the parodos or entrance of the chorus, the agon, a dramatized debate between the proponent and opponent of the happy idea where the opposition was always defeated, the parabasis, the coming forth of the chorus where they directly addressed the audience and aired the poets views on most any matter the poet felt like having expressed, and the episodes, where the happy idea was put into practical application.

Aristotle highly criticized comedy, saying that it was just a ridiculous imitation of lower types of man with eminent faults emphasized for the audiences pleasure, such as a mask worn to show deformity, or for the man to do something like slip and fall on a banana peel. Aristophanes, a comic poet of the old comedy period, wrote comedies which came to represent old comedy, as his style was widely copied by other poets. In his most famous works, he used dramatic satire on some of the most famous philosophers and poets of the era.

In The Frogs he ridiculed Euripides, and in The Clouds he mocked Socrates. His works followed all the basic principles of old comedy, but he added a facet of cleverness and depth in feeling to his lyrics, in an attempt to appeal to both the emotions and intellect of the audience. Middle comedy, which dominated from 400 to 336 BCE, was very transitional, having aspects of both old comedy and new comedy. It was more timid than old comedy, having many less sexual gestures and innuendoes. It was concerned less with people and politics, and more with myths and tragedies.

The chorus began its fade into the background, becoming more of an interlude than the important component it used to be. Aristophanes wrote a few works in middle comedy, but the most famous writers of the time were Antiphanes of Athens and Alexis of Thurii, whose compositions have mostly been lost and only very few of their found works have been full extant plays. In new comedy which lasted from 336 to 250 BCE, satire is almost entirely replaced by social comedy involving the family and individual character development, and the themes of romantic love.

A closely knit plot in new comedy was based on intrigue, identities, relationships or a combination of these. A subplot was often utilized as well. The characters in new comedy are very similar in each work, possibly including a father who is very miser like, a son who is mistreated but deserving, and other people with stereotypical personas. The chief writer of new comedy was Menander, and as with the prominent writers of the middle comedic era, most of his works have been lost, but other dramatists of the time period, like Terence and Platus, had imitated and adapted his methods.

Menanders The Curmudgeon is the only complete extant play known by him to date, and it served as the basis for the later Latin writers to adapt. Adventure, brilliance, invention, romance and scenic effect, together with delightful lyrics and wisdom, were the gifts of the Greek theater. These conventions strongly affected subsequent plays and playwrights, having put forth influence on theater throughout the centuries.

Greek Gods And Goddesses

There were two types of Olympic Gods: Celestial Deities and Earth Deities. The Celestial Deities dwelled on Mount Olympus while the Earth Deities resided on, or under, Earth. There were twelve Olympic Gods; however, because the tales of these gods started out orally, the gods and goddesses classified as Olympians are not totally clear. Because the Twelve Olympians are not totally clear, there are a possible fourteen gods and goddesses that could be classified as Olympians. The gods and goddesses all had their place in Ancient Greece and were either worshipped or hated because of their responsibilities and talents.

The Greek Gods and Goddesses all had a great influence and importance to Greek culture. When Zeus, Jupiter in Roman Mythology, was young, he overthrew his father, Cronus, to become the Supreme Ruler and Protector God. Zeus’s power, which included him as the Lord of the Sky, Rain God, God of Thunder, God of the Winds, and Cloud-Gatherer, was greater than that of all of the other gods and goddesses ascendancy combined. (Guirand 105; Hamilton 25-26) Zeus married and made mistresses of many women. Metis was his first wife.

Gaea and Uranus warned Zeus that if Metis had the child she was pregnant with at the time, the child would be more powerful than he and overthrow him just as he overthrew his father. Zeus swallowed Metis when she was about to give birth to prevent this. A few of Zeus’s wives included: Themis, Uranus and Gaea’s daughter, Mnemosyne, which gave birth to the nine muses with Zeus, Oceanid Eurynome, who gave birth to the three graces with Zeus, and Hera.

Many of Zeus’s children were given birth by his mistresses, some of which were mortals. (Guirand 105-106) The god was normally depicted as a man in the fullness of maturity, of robust body, a grave countenance and a broad forehead jutting out above his deeply set eyes. His face is framed by thick waving hair and a finely curled beardHe usually wears a long mantle which leaves his chest and right arm free. His attributes are the sceptre in his left hand, in his right hand the thunderbolt and at his feet the eagle. Often he wears a crown of oak-leaves. ” (Guirand 105) Hera, or Juno in Roman mythology, was Zeus’s “main” wife and was his sister.

Although her parents were Cronus and Rhea, Titans Oceans and Tethys brought her up. (Hamilton 26-27) She was the Celestial Virgin, Queen of the Sky, the Protector of Marriage, especially married women, Goddess of maternity, and presided over all of the phases of women’s existence. (Guirand 113; Hamilton 26-27) Hera was very jealous of Zeus’s many other women, and revenged on them with some sort of a punishment. (Hamilton 26-27) In her favorite city of Argos, there were five temples to her. In Stymphalus, there were three temples to her: child-goddess, wife-goddess, and widow-goddess. (Guirand 113-114; Hamilton 27)

Hera was depicted as a young woman, fully developed, or a chaste and severe beauty. Her forehead is normally crowned with a diadem or with a high crown of cylindrical shape, the polos. She wears a long tunic of chiton and is enveloped in a veil which adds to her bearing of nobility, reserved and full of modesty. Her attributes are a sceptre surmounted by a cuckoo (in allusion to the circumstances of her nuptials) and a pomegranate, symbol of conjugal love and fruitfulness. ” (Guirand 113) Hera and Zeus’s brother Poseidon, Neptune in Roman mythology, was second, only to Zeus, in power and importance.

Poseidon was the Ruler of the Sea and gave the first horse to man. His nickname, “The Earth-Shaker,” was given to him because of his ability to shake and shatter what he pleased with his trident that he always carried. (Hamilton 27-28) He was portrayed as a man with less serene features, a thick beard, and disorderly hair. (Guirand 151) Hades was also the son of Cronus and Rhea. When Zeus took over as the Supreme Ruler from his father, he divided the world giving the Underworld to Hades. (Hades 1)

Hades was the King of the Underworld and ruled the dead with Persephone, his chosen wife, as the Queen. Hades 1; Hamilton 42) Hades was viewed as a pitless, grim god; however, he was not evil. In fact, he was also known as Pluto, Lord of the Riches, because crops and precious metals were both believed to have come from his kingdom below the ground. (Hades 1) The oldest Olympian, Hestia, also called Vesta, was an offspring of Cronus and Rhea also. She was a Virgin Goddess, the Fire-Divinity, Goddess of the Household, and Goddess of the Hearth. (Guirand 156; Hamilton 37) Because of her responsibilities, she was considered a symbol of the home.

Every city in Greece had a public hearth where the fire could not go out in honor of her. (Hamilton 37) Another of Zeus’s sisters, Demeter, also known as Ceres, was one of the two supreme deities on Earth. (Hamilton 53) She was the Goddess of Corn, Goddess of Fruits, and Goddess of the Riches of the Fields. (Hamilton 53; Guirand 174) Her temples, called Megaras, were found in the forests. (Guirand 174) “She appears sometimes seated, sometimes walking, dressed in a long robe and often wearing a veil which covers the back of her head.

Sometimes she is crowned with ears of corn or a ribbon, and holds in her hand either a sceptre, ears of corn, or a torch. ” (Guirand 174) The other Supreme Deity on Earth was Dionysus, called Bacchus in Roman mythology. He was the only god whose parents were not both divines with Zeus and the Theban Princess Semele as his parents. He was the God of Wine and the God of Vine and Thebes was his city. (Hamilton 64-65) “He was first depicted as a bearded man, of mature age, with brow generally crowned with ivy. Later he appears as a beardless youth of rather effeminate aspect.

Sometimes the delicate nudity of his adolescent body is half covered by the nebris, a skin of a panther or fawns; sometimes he wears a long robe such as a woman wore. His head with its long curly hair is crowned with vine leaves and bunches of grapes. In one hand he holds the thyrsus, and in the other, grapes or a wine cup. ” (Guirand 178) One of Dionysus’ sisters, Athena, or Minerva, was Zeus’s favorite child. (Guirand 118) Before Athena was born, Zeus swallowed her mother. She was born from Zeus’s head full grown and in armor.

Because of her father’s favoritism to her, he allowed Athena to use any of his weapons, including the thunderbolt, his favorite, awful aegis, and his buckler when she pleased. (Hamilton 29) She was the Warrior Goddess, Goddess of the Art Piece, Goddess of Intelligence, Goddess of Wisdom, Goddess of Reason, Goddess of Purity, Protector of Towns, Guardian of Acropolises, Goddess of the City, and Protector of Civilized Life, Handicrafts, and Agriculture. As the Chief Virgin Goddess, Athena was called the Maiden of Parthenos. While she had one temple in Parthenos, in her favorite city of Athens there were three temples for her. Hamilton 29; Guirand 117)

Athena was depicted as either wearing tight draperies covering her body and a shield and spear in her hands or she wore a long chiton, had a helmet on her head, aegis, and a spear in her right hand and winged victor in her left hand. (Guirand 117) She was often described as gray-eyed or flashing-eyed. Her favorite plant was the olive because she created it and her favorite bird was the owl, which was her symbol. (Hamilton 29) Hera wanted revenge on Zeus for giving birth to Athena on his own, so Hera gave birth to Hephaestus, or Vulcan, by herself. Hamilton 36) He was born lame though, and his mother kicked him out of Heaven because of it. (Bulfinch 10) Hephaestus was the God of Fire, Divine Blacksmith, Workman of Immortals, and Armorer and Smith to Immortals. (Hamilton 36; Guirand 139) He made immortals dwellings, furniture, weapons, and other miscellaneous items. (Hamilton 36)

Some of his work included: palaces on Mount Olympus, Zeus’s thunderbolt, golden throne, and scepter, Aegis (Helios’ winged chariot), Apollo and Artemis’ arrows, Demeter’s sickle, Hercules’ cuirass, and Achilles’ armor. (Guirand 139) He was kind, peace loving, and popular on Earth and in Heaven. Hamilton 37) “(Hephaestus was)traditionally represented as a robust smith, with bearded face, powerful neck and hairy chest. His short and sleeveless chiton leaves his right shoulder bare; on his head he wears a conical bonnet and in his hands he grasps a hammer and tongs. ” (Guirand 139) Ares was hated by his parents, Zeus and Hera, because he was murderous and bloody. (Hamilton 35) He was the God of Blind, God of Brutal, God of Courage, God of Bloody Rage, God of War, and God of Carnage. (Guirand 137) Although he was the God of all of these brutal and hateful elements of life, he was a coward. Hamilton 35)

“At first he was depicted as a bearded warrior wearing a helmet with a tall crest and dressed in heavy armor. Later he appears as a young man, almost nude, who has retained little of his warlike attributes except the spear and helmet. ” (Guirand 137) “The most Greek of all the gods” was Apollo. Apollo was the son of Zeus and Leto and twins with Artemis. (Hamilton 29-31) He was the Healer God, God of Sudden Death, God of Divination, God of Prophecy, Shepherd God, Musician God, God of Song, God of the Lyre, Builder God, Colonizing God, Lord of the Silver Bow, Archery God, God of Light, and God of Truth.

Apollo also ripened the fruits on Earth, protected flocks, first taught men the art of healing, and protected crops by destroying mice and driving off locusts. (Hamilton 29; Guirand 120-121) As the master musician, Apollo delighted the Gods on Mount Olympus playing his Golden Lyre. Because of his role as the God of Truth, Apollo had to tell the truth at all times and could not tell a lie. (Hamilton 29) At Delphi, his Oracle, a priestess would fall under Apollo’s influence and speak broken phrases of prophecy. His main attributes included: the bow, the lyre, shepherd’s crook, and the quiver. Guirand120-121) “He was depicted as a young man of realized beauty, with a vigorous body, a broad chest and thin hips. His beardless face with its delicate features is surmounted by a high forehead ad thick, long hair which sometimes falls freely behind him, sometimes is knotted on top or at the nape of his neck so that only a few curls fall to his shoulders.

He is generally nude or wears only a chlamys thrown over his shoulder. ” (Guirand 121) Artemis was the daughter of Zeus and Leto and twins with Apollo, although she was one day older than he was. Hamilton 31; Guirand 130) She was also one of the three main goddesses. (Hamilton 31) Artemis was the Agriculture Deity, Goddess of the Chase, Goddess of Forests, Divinity of Light because of her connection with Apollo, Deity of Sudden Death because of Apollo, Lady of Wild Things, Virgin Goddess, Huntsman-in-Chief to the gods, Goddess of the Moon, and Protectress of Dewy Youth. (Hamilton 31; Guirand 130; Bulfinch 7)

She liked to shoot arrows, including shooting them at mortals and killing them and brought prosperity to anyone who honored her. Guirand 130) During the Trojan War, Artemis kept Greek fleets from sailing to Troy until they sacrificed a maiden to her. (Hamilton 31) All animals were sacred to her, especially the deer, and the dog, which usually accompanied her. (Hamilton 31; Guirand 130) “She appears as a young virgin, slim and supple, with narrow hips and regular features. Her beauty is a little severe, with her hair drawn back or partly gathered in a knot on her head. She wears a short tunic which does not fall below her kneesHer feet are shod with the cuthurnus or laced buckskin. ” (Guirand 130)

Aphrodite, also called Venus, was born one of two ways: as a daughter of Zeus and Dione or she rose from the foam in the sea. She was Goddess of Love and Goddess of Beauty. She finessed all men and Gods with her amazing beauty; ironically, she married the ugliest god, Hephaestus. She was laughter loving, irresistible, and often described as “(A) beautiful, golden goddess. ” (Hamilton 33-34) Hermes, also titled Mercury, was Zeus and Maia’s son. (Hamilton 34) He was Zeus’s personal messenger, God of Commerce, God of the Market, Protector of Traders, Guide of the Dead, Divine Herald, Master Thief, and God of Lawful or Unlawful Profit.

He was also God of Travelers, of which he guided on their way, God of Games of Chance, Benefactor of Mankind, Protector of Mankind’s Flocks, and God of Eloquence. (Hamilton 34-35; Guirand 133) He was labeled as the shrewdest, most cunning, graceful, and swift god. (Hamilton 25) “In primitive times he had been represented as a mature man with a thick, long beard, his hair bound with a fillet and falling in curls to his shoulders (Later) His hair is short and crisp, his features fine; he carries his hand slightly inclined as though listening with friendly interest.

His nervous and supple body is largely exposed by the chlamys tossed over his shoulder or wound round his left arm. He often wears a round, winged hata petasusand on his feet there are winged sandals. In his hand he holds a winged staff around which serpents are entwines; this is the caduceus. ” (133-135) As you can see, the Greek Gods had a great importance and influence to Greek culture. They each had their own areas of life that they were to be responsible for and preside over. These fourteen gods were the most important, with twelve of them as the highest ranking of Greek Gods possible, Olympians.

Criteria for Heroes

The ancient Greeks had strict criteria for individuals to follow if they were to be seen as heroes. Above all, a man needed to be a skilled warrior, but this was not the only requirement. To be a hero, a warrior had to respect authority, both governmental and religious. The Greeks gave heroes no room for pride. These men were to be modest, not only giving credit to their culture and the gods for any great deeds they had done, but also accepting everything that happened as Fate, not scenarios they had created for themselves. In other words, they did not make themselves what they were; rather, they had been predestined to become it.

The final requirement of being a hero was coolness. Heroes were not permitted to be blinded by rage or have mood swings. In The Iliad, two Greeks are presented to the reader as heroes. They are Achilles and Diomedes. Although they are both good contenders for the title of hero, Diomedes is by far the better of the two. Diomedes is one of the finest and bravest of the Greek warriors. He is respectful to all authority figures and has little or no pride. Always wise and reasonable, he may be the vision of the perfect nobleman. Both Achilles and Diomedes easily meet the first requirement, that a hero must have skill on the battlefield.

Throughout The Iliad, Homer tells of their incredible (though usually god-aided) feats during the many battles of the Trojan War. Perhaps the greatest example of Achilles fighting skill is when he fights with and kills Hector, the greatest of the Trojan warriors (260-261). However, this fight may have never happened if Athena had not disguised herself as one of Hectors brothers and convinced him to fight (260). That was not enough though, as Athena then helped Achilles win the fight (260-261). This seems to be the case with all of Achilles battles.

A god, goddess, or gods help him in battle by strengthening and encouraging him and his men, or they rally a Trojan army into entering a futile final battle. Diomedes is also guilty of receiving help from the gods. After praying for Athenas aid, Diomedes proceeds to not only slay Pandaros (who wounded him earlier) and many other Trojans, but also wound Aeneas in his hip and his mother Aphrodite in her hand (60-64). Later on in the same battle, Diomedes thrusts his spear through the belly of Ares, also done with the help of Athena (73). Another example of Diomedes skill comes when he and Odysseus spy on the Trojan camp.

Diomedes goes ahead of Odysseus and strikes down so many Trojans that the ground was reddened with blood (124). Even before this, Diomedes prayed again to Athena for help. It seems no Greek warrior could fight their own battles; instead, they requested help from the gods. This fact makes it difficult to discern the better fighter between Achilles and Diomedes, but the common choice would probably be Achilles because of his legendary status and he was the son of an immortal. Achilles fails miserably at respecting anyone in authority, whether governmental or religious.

He not only disrespects King Agamemnons authority, but also the goddess Athena herself. This lack of respect begins when Achilles calls an assembly of the Greeks, something only Agamemnon was able to do (12). He then proceeds to insult the king, telling him he is greedy, shameless, a cheater, and a drunk (14-15). To top it off, Achilles contemplates drawing his sword to strike down Agamemnon, and is only stopped by Athena grabbing his hair (14-15). (Needless to say, killing the leader of your nation would be the ultimate act of disrespect to the government.

Although he does so badly with respect for government authority, Achilles has no problem respecting human religious authority, only because he has no encounters with priests, prophets, and etceteras. However, he does show some disrespect to Athena for stopping his murder of King Agamemnon. Instead of following the goddess orders whole-heartedly, he does it quite reluctantly and talks back in the process (15). Diomedes is the opposite of Achilles in the area of respect and demonstrates a great respect for government authority.

He risks his own life to save the aging Greek commander Nestor and help him escape from Hector after many other Greeks had already fled (94). As far as Diomedes respect for religious authority, he does not encounter any priests or so on either. He does however, follows Athenas orders exactly after she tells him not to fight with any of the gods except Aphrodite (who he later wounds in the hand) (60, 64). With Diomedes complete respect for government authority and following Athenas orders exactly, it is incredibly easy to see that Diomedes is the better of the two contenders within this requirement.

Humility is another requirement Achilles fails to meet. His excessive pride is seen throughout The Iliad. When he tells Agamemnon that he is withdrawing himself and all his forces from the Trojan War, Achilles makes it sound as if he has done greater things than anyone, putting himself on a pedestal (15). Never does Achilles credit anyone or anything for his success, including the gods. It is always he himself who has done something. Although Achilles is so prideful about his deeds, he is able to accept Fate (somewhat blindly however).

As he reprimands his horses as if it were their fault Patroclos was killed, one of them tells Achilles his death is near (235). Achilles tells the horse he knows this, indicating he accepts it (but he may not have remembered earlier advice on how to escape it) (236). Diomedes does not credit himself for his accomplishments. He usually gets around glorifying himself by thanking the gods. Before his duel with Glaucos, Diomedes goes through his lineage, which could be interpreted as crediting previous generations for his skill and success (76).

He is seen (with Odysseus) crediting Athena for a successful reconnaissance mission in the Trojan camp (126). As well as being humble, Diomedes accepts fate and acts accordingly. At one point, Agamemnon thinks the war is lost and wishes to return home, but Diomedes declares that the entire Greek force can leave, but he will stay because Troy is fated to fall (102-103). Achilles pride contributes to his downfall (not mentioned in The Iliad), and it also shows Diomedes to have far less hubris than his egotistical fellow Greek warrior. Coolness may be the requirement Achilles is furthest from meeting.

Almost every time his name is mentioned, he is in some fit of rage. His very first tantrum is when he about kills Agamemnon, only being stopped by Athena (14-15). His next episode of anger comes after the death of Patroclos, but it is actually helpful to the Greeks. Achilles charges over the battlefield, destroying all Trojan warriors he crossed paths with (239-244). The final act of Achilles great anger is after he kills Hector. Achilles is still deeply hurt by the death of his friend Patroclos, so he drags Hectors body behind his chariot (after allowing other Greeks to pierce it with spears), mutilating it (262-263).

Diomedes has only one fit of anger, but this could be blamed on Athena rather than poor anger-management techniques. Fueled by divine strength, Diomedes begins to single-handedly drive back the Trojans (60-63). He is about to kill Aeneas, but Aphrodite saves her son, angering Diomedes, who thrusts his spear into her hand (63-64). Throughout the rest of The Iliad, Diomedes is portrayed as a cool-headed individual. This trait may be best exhibited in the nighttime spying mission with Odysseus in which he completes the mission because he keeps calm and does not become fueled by rage (115-126).

Diomedes is obviously the cooler-headed between himself and Achilles, who was always losing his temper at one thing or another. The ancient Greeks had strict criteria for individuals to follow if they were to be seen as heroes. Those requirements were skill in battle, respect for authority, humility, and coolness under fire. Not many men met all requirements, including Achilles, but they were still viewed as heroes. Between Achilles and Diomedes, Diomedes was the better choice for the title of hero.

He was one of the finest Greek soldiers. Diomedes was respectful of authority, humble about his successes, and was very levelheaded. Achilles had great fighting skill as well; however, he had trouble respecting authority and keeping his cool, both results of his excessive pride. If Achilles had not been so prideful, he could have been a much greater warrior and hero, perhaps achieving status equal to the gods. He simply had too much pride. Diomedes was humble; therefore, it was easier for him to respect authority and keep a level head.

Hello Antigone

In Ancient Greece, new ideals surfaced as answers to lifes complicated questions. These new beliefs were centered around the expanding field of science. Man was focused on more than the Gods or heavenly concerns. A government that was ruled by the people was suggested as opposed to a monarchy that had existed for many years. Freedom of religion was encouraged to be exercised in city-states. These new ideals, though good in intentions, often conflicted with each other creating complex moral dilemmas. Such was the case in Antigone a play written by Sophocles during this era of change.

In the play, Antigone and Creon battle a philosophical war dealing with the controversy of the Greek ideals. They both based their actions on their beliefs of what is right and wrong. The conflict arose when the ideals that backed up their actions clashed with each other, making it contradiction between morals. Antigones side of the conflict held a much more heavenly approach, as opposed to the mundane road that Creon chose to follow. Antigone feels that Creon is disregarding the laws of heaven through his edict.

After she is captured and brought to Creon, she tells him I do not think your edicts strong enough to overrule the unwritten unalterable laws of God and heaven, you being only a man. Antigones staunch opinion is one that supports the Gods and the laws of heaven. Her reasoning is set by her belief that if someone is not given a proper burial, that person would not be accepted into heaven. Antigone was a very religious person, and acceptance of her brother by the Gods was very important to her. She felt that It is against you and me he has made this order. Yes, against me.

Creons order was personal to Antigone. His edict invaded her family life as well as the Gods. An important ideal in Ancient Greece was the belief that the government was to have no control in matters concerning religious beliefs. In Antigones eyes, Creon betrayed that ideal by not allowing her to properly bury her brother, Polynices. She believed that the burial was a religious ceremony, and Creon did not have the power to deny Polynices that right. Antigones strong beliefs eventually led her to her death by the hand of Creon. Never, though, did she stop defending what she thought was right.

As Creon ordered her to her death, Antigone exclaimed, I go, his prisoner, because I honoured those things in which honour truly belongs. She is directly humiliating Creon by calling his opinions and decisions weak and unjust. She also emphasizes his prisoner, which tells us that Creons decision to capture Antigone was his own, and was not backed up by the majority of the people. She feels that Creon is abusing his power as king and dealing with her task to a personal level. Creons actions are guided by the ideal that states Man is the measure of all things.

The chorus emphasizes this point during the play by stating that There is nothing beyond (mans) power. Creon believes that the good of man comes before the gods. Setting the example using Polynices body left unburied is a symbol of Creons belief. No man who is his countrys enemy shall call himself my friend. This quote shows that leaving the body unburied is done to show respect for Thebes. After all, how could the ruler of a city-state honor a man who attempted to invade and conquer his city. From that perspective, Creons actions are completely just and supported by the ideals.

Though most of Creons reasonings coincide with the Greek ideals, one ideal strongly contradicts his actions. The ideal states that the population would be granted freedom from political oppression and that freedom of religion would be carried out. Creon defied both of these. First, Antigone was his prisoner, not necessarily the publics. In fact, the general population supported Antigone, though they were too scared to say anything. Haemon, the son of Creon, knew of this, and told Creon, Has she not rather earned a crown of gold? – Such is the secret talk of the town.

This proves that Creon was exercising complete domination of political power, which is strictly forbidden in the new ideals. Also, not allowing Antigone perform her religious ceremony of burying her brother is interfering with religious affairs. This denies Antigone freedom of religion, hence, contempt for this ideal. The contradictions between the beliefs of Creon and Antigone are strong throughout the play. Both have well-structured arguments, but neither completely dominates the other. Antigone is motivated by her strong religious feelings while Creon is out to make good for his city-state.

The chorus opinion is the determining factor, as in the end, they convince Creon to set Antigone free. Creon had to weigh each factor carefully, and in the end, he had to decide between ideals. His mind was torn in two. It is hard to give way, and hard to stand and abide the coming of the curse. Both ways are hard. The contradiction of ideals was what led to Antigones, Haemons, and Megareus death. Both sides were just, all beliefs were supported. Creon was forced to decide the unanswerable, decipher the encoded, complete the impossible, and determine right from wrong when there was no clear answer.

Sophocle’s play Oedipus Rex

Sophocles play Oedipus Rex was a historic Greek tragedy and a great representative in which, an actors pride ultimately led to their downfall. More specifically then pride, Oedipus intelligence, pursuit of truth, and hot temper played a large part in his demise. The first thing that put Oedipus in a bad spot was his intelligence. The mans ability to put two and two together and connect the dots allowed him to gather too much information, that although he thought he wanted to know, he really didnt. It is like Oedipus reaches an epiphany when talking to the old man and he says Woe! Woe! It is all plain indeed.

Who am revealed to have been born of those of whom I ought notto have wedded whom I ought notand slain whom I might not slay. Using his intelligence, Oedipus realized he was married to his mother and had killed his father. This information led to his downfall because he was so depressed and distraught over the news, it drove him to madness. Oedipus pursuit of the truth was the next thing that led to his craziness and exile. He could never be happy with what was. Even when Jocasta begged him For Heavens sake, if you care for your own life, dont seek it! I am sick and that is enough, Oedipus kept pursuing the truth.

He kept asking questions and demanding to talk to anyone who might had any information about the death of the king or the origin of his own existence. When Oedipus finally found out what he thought he wanted to know, the information was heartbreaking and almost killed him. As Jack Nicholson said, You want the truth? You cant handle the truth, and Oedipus could not handle the truth. The biggest thing that led to Oedipus Rexs downfall was his hot temper. It was the reason after all, he killed his father, which led to him marrying his mother and everything else thereafter. He got mad very easily and didnt take any lip for anyone.

He made almost all of his decisions out of anger and it didnt really work out for him because every decision he made turned out to be a bad one and get him into trouble, whether it was immediately or in the long run. Oedipus temper got him into a hole he couldnt dig himself out of and definitely helped lead to his slow and painful collapse. Oedipus was a stubborn man whose intelligence, pursuit of the truth, and hot temper helped play a role in his downfall. The play is very significant, moral wise, and has many ideas and morals that are still relevant today and will remain relevant in the future. OEDIPUS REX

Sophocles play Oedipus Rex was a historic Greek tragedy and a great representative in which, an actors pride ultimately led to their downfall. More specifically then pride, Oedipus intelligence, pursuit of truth, and hot temper played a large part in his demise. The first thing that put Oedipus in a bad spot was his intelligence. The mans ability to put two and two together and connect the dots allowed him to gather too much information, that although he thought he wanted to know, he really didnt. It is like Oedipus reaches an epiphany when talking to the old man and he says Woe! Woe! It is all plain indeed.

Who am revealed to have been born of those of whom I ought notto have wedded whom I ought notand slain whom I might not slay. Using his intelligence, Oedipus realized he was married to his mother and had killed his father. This information led to his downfall because he was so depressed and distraught over the news, it drove him to madness. Oedipus pursuit of the truth was the next thing that led to his craziness and exile. He could never be happy with what was. Even when Jocasta begged him For Heavens sake, if you care for your own life, dont seek it! I am sick and that is enough, Oedipus kept pursuing the truth.

He kept asking questions and demanding to talk to anyone who might had any information about the death of the king or the origin of his own existence. When Oedipus finally found out what he thought he wanted to know, the information was heartbreaking and almost killed him. As Jack Nicholson said, You want the truth? You cant handle the truth, and Oedipus could not handle the truth. The biggest thing that led to Oedipus Rexs downfall was his hot temper. It was the reason after all, he killed his father, which led to him marrying his mother and everything else thereafter. He got mad very easily and didnt take any lip for anyone.

He made almost all of his decisions out of anger and it didnt really work out for him because every decision he made turned out to be a bad one and get him into trouble, whether it was immediately or in the long run. Oedipus temper got him into a hole he couldnt dig himself out of and definitely helped lead to his slow and painful collapse. Oedipus was a stubborn man whose intelligence, pursuit of the truth, and hot temper helped play a role in his downfall. The play is very significant, moral wise, and has many ideas and morals that are still relevant today and will remain relevant in the future.

Ancient Greek Women

In ancient Greek society women lived hard lives on account of men’s patriarch built communities. Women were treated as property. Until about a girl’s teens she was “owned” by her father or lived with her family. Once the girl got married she was possessed by her husband along with all her belongings. An ancient Greece teenage girl would marry about a 30-year-old man that she probably never met before. Many men perceived women as being not being human but creatures that were created to produce children, please men, and to fulfill their household duties.

A bride would not even be considered a member of the family until she produced her first child. In addition to having a child, which is a hard and painful task for a teenage girl in ancient civilization to do, the husband gets to decide if he wants the baby. A baby would be left outside to die if the husband was not satisfied with it; usually this would happen because the child was unhealthy, different looking, or a girl.

Women had very few rights, they lived as prisoners, serving men 24 hours a day. Women were sheltered from society, restricted to their husbands and their husbands houses, crying out for help and justice but there is no one to there to hear their screams. In the play Antigone when the title character had to sneak out of the house to meet up with Ismene. Ancient Greek men ruled a lot like over protective fathers with teenage daughters.

Men were also scared of women gaining confidence and begin thinking on their own or worse taking action or speaking out against men, like in the play Antigone where Antigone confronts Creon by burying Polyneices after Creon strictly stated that no one bury him. If someone were to bury him, the whole Polis would stone them to death. When Creon found out that someone buried Polyneices, he did not even consider that it could have been a women that did it. Why were women treated like animals?

Greek society would not function without women, everything a man needs for proper living, food, clothing, wealth, sex, the continuance of human existence were all traits that women inquired. However women are also highly sexual beings that could overpower, hypnotize, and stimulate men’s minds and soles. Similarly in modern society where a lot of men have lost families, jobs, money and their lives due to sexual addiction. In an ancient Greek mythology a myth called “The Judgment of Paris ” explains how women can take control of men and what the possible outcomes are.

Paris a young prince who has to give the golden apple to either: Hera, wife of Zeus and the goddess of power, Athene, Goddess of wisdom and war, or Aphrodite Goddess of beauty and love. Whichever Goddess he chooses to give the apple to, that Godess will give him some power that she posses. The Goddess lined up and presented their power to Paris. Last one in line was Aphrodite she offered Paris sex with Helen, the most beautiful women in the world. Paris could not hold back the proposal and gave the apple to Aphrodite.

Due to Paris not thinking clearly with his brain and allowing a women take control of his emotions: the Trojan war began and lasted for ten years, Paris’s parents were killed in front of him, on top of all that the sex was not even up to his expectations. This myth teaches and warns men of the danger women can bring on with their physical, emotional, and natural powers. Bernal, writer of Black Athena , said that “claims about the past are really statements about the present”.

If in ancient Greece women were property of men and women were not getting the justice and respect that they deserved, then in present modern society women are still struggling to break through a male dominated world! Has the United States ever had a woman be elected president? Has the Congress or Senate ever had more female than male representatives? Basically the point is that modern society learned from the ancient Greeks and only with time will there be an equally balance between men and women. Hence, balance is perfection in not just ancient Greek philosophy but in western and other cultures also.

Theater and drama in Ancient Greece

Theater and drama in Ancient Greece took form in about 5th century BCE, with the Sopocles, the great writer of tragedy. In his plays and those of the same genre, heroes and the ideals of life were depicted and glorified. It was believed that man should live for honor and fame, his action was courageous and glorious and his life would climax in a great and noble death. Originally, the hero’s recognition was created by selfish behaviors and little thought of service to others. As the Greeks grew toward city-states and colonization, it became the destiny and ambition of the hero to gain honor by serving his city.

The econd major characteristic of the early Greek world was the supernatural. The two worlds were not separate, as the gods lived in the same world as the men, and they interfered in the men’s lives as they chose to. It was the gods who sent suffering and evil to men. In the plays of Sophocles, the gods brought about the hero’s downfall because of a tragic flaw in the character of the hero. In Greek tragedy, suffering brought knowledge of worldly matters and of the individual. Aristotle attempted to explain how an audience could observe tragic events and still have a pleasurable experience.

Aristotle, by searching the works of writers of Greek tragedy, Aeschulus, Euripides and Sophocles (whose Oedipus Rex he considered the finest of all Greek tragedies), arrived at his definition of tragedy. This explanation has a profound influence for more than twenty centuries on those writing tragedies, most significantly Shakespeare. Aristotle’s analysis of tragedy began with a description of the effect such a work had on the audience as a “catharsis” or purging of the emotions.

He decided that catharsis was the purging of two specific emotions, pity and fear. The hero has made a mistake due to ignorance, not because of wickedness or corruption. Aristotle used the word hamartia”, which is the “tragic flaw” or offense committed in ignorance. For example, Oedipus is ignorant of his true parentage when he commits his fatal deed. Oedipus Rex is one of the stories in a three-part myth called the Thebian cycle. The structure of most all Greek tragedies is similar to Oedipus Rex.

Such plays are divided in to five parts, the prologue or introduction, the “prados” or entrance of the chorus, four episode or acts separates from one another by “stasimons” or choral odes, and “exodos”, the action after the last stasimon. These odes are lyric poetry, lines chanted or sung as the chorus moved rhythmically cross the orchestra. The lines that accompanied the movement of the chorus in one direction were called “strophe”, the return movement was accompanied by lines called “antistrophe”. The choral ode might contain more than one strophe or antistrophe.

Greek tragedy originated in honor of the god of wine, Dionysus, the patron god of tragedy. The performance took place in an open-air theater. The word tragedy is derived from the term “tragedia” or “goat-song”, named for the goat skins the chorus wore in the performance. The plots came from legends of the Heroic Age. Tragedy grew from a choral lyric, as Aristotle said, tragedy is argely based on life’s pity and splendor. Plays were performed at dramatic festivals, the two main ones being the Feast of the Winepress in January and the City Dionysia at the end of March.

The Proceeding began with the procession of choruses and actors of the three competing poets. A herald then announced the poet’s names and the titles of their plays. On this day it was likely that the image of Dionysus was taken in a procession from his temple beside the theater to a point near the road he had once taken to reach Athens from the north, then it was brought back by torch light, amid a carnival celebration, to the theater itself, here his priest occupied the central seat of honor during the performances. On the first day of the festival there were contests between the choruses, five of men and five of boys.

Each chorus consisted of fifty men or boys. On the next three days, a “tragic tetralogy” (group made up of four pieces, a trilogy followed by a satyric drama) was performed each morning. This is compared to the Elizabethan habit of following a tragedy with a jig. During the Peloponnesian Wars, this was followed by a comedy each afternoon. The Father of the drama was Thesis of Athens, 535 BC, who created the first actor. The actor performed in intervals between the dancing of the chorus and conversing at times with the leader of the chorus.

The tragedy was further developed when new myths became part of the performance, changing the nature of the chorus to a group appropriate to the individual story. A second actor was added by Aeschylus and a third actor was added by Sophocles, and the number of the chorus was fixed at fifteen. The chorus’ part was gradually reduced, and the dialogue of the actors became increasingly important. The word “chorus” meant “dance or “dancing ground”, which was how dance evolved into the drama. Members of the chorus ere characters in the play who commented on the action.

They drew the audience into the play and reflected the audience’s reactions. The Greek plays were performed in open-air theaters. Nocturnal scenes were performed even in sunlight. The area in front of the stages was called the “orchestra”, the area in which the chorus moved and danced. There was no curtain and the play was presented as a whole with no act or scene divisions. There was a building at the back of the stage called a skene, which represented the front of a palace or temple. It contained a central doorway and two other stage entrances, one at the eft and the other at the right, representing the country and the city.

Sacrifices were performed at the altar of Dionysus, and the chorus performed in the orchestra, which surrounded the altar. The theatron, from where the word “theater” is derived, is where the audience sat, built on a hollowed-out hillside. Seated of honor, found in the front and center of the theatron, were for public officials and priests. he seating capacity of the theater was about 17,000. The audience of about 14,000 was lively, noisy, emotional and unrestrained. They ate, applauded, cheered, hissed, and kicked their wooden seats in disgust. Small riots were known to break out if the audience was dissatisfied.

Women were allowed to be spectators of tragedy, and probably even comedy. Admission was free or nominal, and the poor were paid for by the state. The Attic dramatists, like the Elizabethans, had a public of all classes. Because of the size of the audience, the actors must also have been physically remote. The sense of remoteness may have been heightened by masked, statuesque figures of the actors whose acting depended largely on voice gestures and grouping. Since there were only three actors, the same men in the same play had to play double parts. At first, the ramatists themselves acted, like Shakespeare.

Gradually, acting became professionalized. Simple scenery began with Sophocles, but changes of scene were rare and stage properties were also rare, such as an occasional altar, a tomb or an image of gods. Machinery was used for lightning or thunder or for lifting celestial persons from heaven and back, or for revealing the interior of the stage building. This was called “deus ex machina”, which means god from the machine, and was a technical device that used a metal crane on top of the skene building, which contained the dressing rooms, from which a dummy was suspended to represent a od.

This device was first employed by Euripides to give a miraculous conclusion to a tragedy. In later romantic literature, this device was no longer used and the miracles supplied by it were replace by the sudden appearance of a rich uncle, the discovery or new wills, or of infants changed at birth. Many proprieties of the Greek plays were attached to violence. Therefore, it was a rule that acts of violence must take place off stage. This carried through to the Elizabethan theater which avoided the horrors of men being flayed alive or Glouster’s eyes being put out in full view of an audience (King Lear).

When Medea went inside the house to murder her children, the chorus was left outside, chanting in anguish, to represent the feelings the chorus had and could not act upon, because of their metaphysical existence. The use of music in the theater began very simply consisting of a single flute player that accompanied the chorus. Toward the close of the century, more complicated solo singing was developed by Euripides. There could-then be large-scale spectacular events, with stage crowds and chariots, particularly in plays by Aeschylus.

Greek comedy was derived from two different sources, the more known being the choral element which included eremonies to stimulate fertility at the festival of Dionysus or in ribald drunken revel in his honor. The term comedy is actually drawn from “komos”, meaning song of revelry. The second source of Greek comedy was that from the Sicilian “mimes”, who put on very rude performances where they would make satirical allusions to audience members as they ad-libbed their performances. In the beginning, comedy was frank, indecent and sexual. The plots were loosely and carelessly structured and included broad farce and buffoonery.

The performers were coarse and obscene while using satire to depict important contemporary moral, social and olitical issues of Athenian life. The comedy included broad satire of well known persons of that time. Throughout the comedic period in Greece, there were three distinctive eras of comedies as the genre progressed. Old comedy, which lasted from approximately 450 to 400 BCE, was performed at the festivals of Dionysus following the tragedies. There would be contests between three poets, each exhibiting one comedy. Each comedy troupe would consist of one or two actors and a chorus of twenty-four.

The actors wore masks and “soccus”, or sandals, and the chorus often wore fantastic costumes. Comedies were constructed in five parts, the rologue, where the leading character conceived the “happy idea”, the parodos or entrance of the chorus, the agon, a dramatized debate between the proponent and opponent of the “happy idea” where the opposition was always defeated, the parabasis, the coming forth of the chorus where they directly addressed the audience and aired the poet’s views on most any matter the poet felt like having expressed, and the episodes, where the “happy idea” was put into practical application.

Aristotle highly criticized comedy, saying that it was just a ridiculous imitation of lower types of man with eminent faults emphasized for the audience’s pleasure, such s a mask worn to show deformity, or for the man to do something like slip and fall on a banana peel. Aristophanes, a comic poet of the old comedy period, wrote comedies which came to represent old comedy, as his style was widely copied by other poets. In his most famous works, he used dramatic satire on some of the most famous philosophers and poets of the era.

In “The Frogs” he ridiculed Euripides, and in “The Clouds” he mocked Socrates. His works followed all the basic principles of old comedy, but he added a facet of cleverness and depth in feeling to his lyrics, in an attempt to appeal to both the motions and intellect of the audience. Middle comedy, which dominated from 400 to 336 BCE, was very transitional, having aspects of both old comedy and new comedy. It was more timid than old comedy, having many less sexual gestures and innuendoes. It was concerned less with people and politics, and more with myths and tragedies.

The chorus began its fade into the background, becoming more of an interlude than the important component it used to be. Aristophanes wrote a few works in middle comedy, but the most famous writers of the time were Antiphanes of Athens and Alexis of Thurii, whose compositions have mostly been lost and only ery few of their found works have been full extant plays. In new comedy which lasted from 336 to 250 BCE, satire is almost entirely replaced by social comedy involving the family and individual character development, and the themes of romantic love.

A closely knit plot in new comedy was based on intrigue, identities, relationships or a combination of these. A subplot was often utilized as well. The characters in new comedy are very similar in each work, possibly including a father who is very miser like, a son who is mistreated but deserving, and other people with stereotypical personas. The chief writer of new comedy was Menander, nd as with the prominent writers of the middle comedic era, most of his works have been lost, but other dramatists of the time period, like Terence and Platus, had imitated and adapted his methods.

Menander’s The Curmudgeon is the only complete extant play known by him to date, and it served as the basis for the later Latin writers to adapt. Adventure, brilliance, invention, romance and scenic effect, together with delightful lyrics and wisdom, were the gifts of the Greek theater. These conventions strongly affected subsequent plays and playwrights, having put forth influence on theater throughout the centuries.

The Parthenon

The Greeks had an eager individualistic strain that led them to high levels of creative thinking in art, science, and literature. They were by nature sensitive to beauty and made its creation and enjoyment an important and necessary part of their lives. The Parthenon is a beautiful monument noted for its perfect simplicity of design and the harmony of its proportions. 1 From the architecture, to the sculpture, to the history of this great monument the Parthenon remains a masterpiece.

The Parthenon is an ancient Greek temple dedicated to the goddess Athena Parthenos (Athena the Virgin), on the Acropolis in Athens. 2 Most Greek cities had an acropolis (meaning “high city” in Greek). The Greeks developed three architectural systems, called orders, each with their own distinctive proportions and detailing. The Greek orders are Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. 3 The Parthenon architecture is of the Doric order. It is the earliest and simplest of the Greek architectural orders. The Parthenon’s columns give an impression of graceful solidity and power.

It was built from 447 to 432 BC, under the leadership of Pericles. The Parthenon was a rectangle marble temple measuring about 102 by 230 feet. It had 17 columns along each of its sides and 8 columns on each end. 4 The distances between the columns of the Parthenon vary mathematically so that when viewed from a distance, the columns reflected optical distortions. For example, a column that was perfectly straight would look like it was leaning outward. In order to compensate for this distortion, the builders inclined the columns inward just slightly.

There were four types of sculptures featured in the Parthenon. They were the statue of Athena, the Ionic frieze, the Doric metopes, and the pediments. Except for the gold and ivory statue of Athena, all of the other sculptures were painted with bright colors. When the Greek temple builders placed a sloped roof over the entablature it left a triangular space at each end of the building. This empty space needed decoration so the pediment was created. The East Pediment over the front entrance depicts the birth of Athena, with a number of gods and goddesses on either side.

The battle between Athena and Poseidon, the god of the sea, is located on the West Pediment. 5 The metopes were square panels carved in relief that showed battles between mythological figures. Originally there were 92 metopes, 32 on each side and 14 on each end. The Ionic frieze decorated the outer perimeter of the naos walls and was around 325 feet long and three-feet three inches in height. It represented the festival of Athena and portrayed young men and women, musicians, priests, and sacrificial animals in ceremonial procession to make an offering to Athena.

The ivory and gold statue of Athena was located at the rear of the central chamber and was approximately 33 feet tall. The helmeted goddess stood resting one hand on a shield and holding a winged statue of Victory in the other. 6 A war with the Persians that ended in 479 BC destroyed the buildings and monuments on the Acropolis. A program was put into place by the Athens leader Pericles to beautify Athens and demonstrate its cultural importance. His plan was to rebuild the Acropolis with the showpiece being the Parthenon.

Construction of the Parthenon began in 447 BC, and the dedication of the temple took place in 438 BC with the installation of the statue of Athena. The Parthenon was converted to a Christian church in AD 426 and dedicated to Hagla Sophia. Later, in 622, it was rededicated to the Virgin Mary. In order to accommodate the worshippers in the church a bell tower went up in one corner and an altar was placed at the end of the building. In 1687 a Venetian general laid siege to Athens and the Parthenon suffered extensive damage. 7 In Closing, the Parthenon is a beautiful structure.

The sculptures have to be some of the greatest works of Greek art. From the decorative frieze that wrapped around the outer walls of the temple, the metope panels depicting figures in combat, to the East Pediment portraying the birth of Athena and the West Pediment showing the battle between Athena and Poseidon how vividly alive they must have seemed. It’s unfortunate that there is not much left of this beautiful structure. What a sight it must have been to see the intricate detail that went into creating such a beautiful structure.

The Iliad story

The Iliad is the quintessential epic. It is full with gods, goddesses, heroes, war, honor, glory, and the like. However, for just short while near the very conclusion Homer avoids all of those epic qualities. The banquet scene in Book XXIV is the most touching, the most “human” scene in the entire poem . In the midst of the dreadful gulf of war and anger there occurs an intimate moment between two men who ironically have much in common below the surface. Priam, old and fragile, makes his way to the camp of the enemy’s greatest warrior late at night.

He bears what little treasures have not been exhausted by the ten-year conflict and plans to plead for the rightful return of his son’s body. This is his final heroic endeavor. And perhaps, because he has just lost someone so dear to him, he is willing to take the risk despite his fear. What is interesting is that when he does arrive at the camp of Achilles, his fear suddenly subsides and “the old man makes straight for the dwelling where Achilles beloved of Zeus was sitting. ” A decisive moment has arrived for both men.

When Priam enters, Achilles knows that he must accept his own death with open arms while Priam is forced to sit at the knees of Achilles and kiss the hands that have killed his beloved Hektor. Homer seems to stop the action for a moment to let us feel the intensity of this extraordinary encounter. Priam urges Achilles to think of his own father and then pity Priam in his outrageous position, a king “who must put my lips to the hands of the man who has killed my children. ” Achilles immediately accepts Priam’s appeal and the two weep for their sons, fathers, and friends.

This sharing of common grief becomes a bridge back to human sympathy. In an amazing speech Achilles soothes Priam’s sorrow by painting a picture of their common misfortune and the inevitable limits of mortality. He reminds Priam that “there is not anything to be gained from grief for his son. ” “You will never bring him back,” he says, “sooner you must go through yet another sorrow. ” Though Achilles has matured dramatically since the beginning of the Iliad the complexities of his character don’t disappear instantly.

Priam asks not to be seated so he can more quickly attend to the return of Hektor. Suddenly Achilles’ anger flashes out. Though his insight and human compassion have developed greatly he is still obstinate and proud and will not be told what to do in his own house. However, once again exhibiting his recently established maturity, Achilles quickly puts away his anger, the word of severe wrath that began the Iliad. He calls upon his attendants to remove Priam’s gifts from the wagon and prepare Hektor’s body so that his mournful father may carry him home.

But extraordinarily when the body has been washed and wrapped it is Achilles himself that embraces Hektor up and places him in the wagon. At the same time he is embracing his own inevitable fate. Upon returning Achilles invites Priam to join him for supper and reminds him that, mournful as they may be, they must remember to eat. Neither has eaten in days but now it is as if a great weight has been lifted from each man’s heart and a strange healing power has surfaced.

Finally relieved, they are able to satisfy one of their basic human needs. Again, Achilles assumes the role of the elder of the two and shares with the old king a story to support his decision to have supper. Again, though he has accepted his death it seems as though Achilles is buying himself a little more time. “But when they had put aside their desire for eating and drinking,” Priam gazes at Achilles in wonder. In him he sees godlike qualities and he is reminded of his own heroic son.

This is again a bizarre occurrence taking into consideration that Achilles has the killed so many of his children. Perhaps Priam accepts those deaths as an element of the war and doesn’t see Achilles exclusively as a killer. If this is so than Priam’s kind heart and ability to forgive are extraordinary. He appears to be able to find the “good” in everyone. Recall in Book III his kindliness towards Helen. This perception of Achilles as a vision of Hektor is also a reaction to Achilles’ his newly developed warmth and tenderness.

And in fact, not overlooking what Achilles has done, Priam cannot deny that he is a great strong warrior and has brought much glory to the side of the Achaians. By reaching out to Priam, Achilles, for a moment, brings these two bitterly warring nations into a zone of peace. . There is no pretty ending; Troy, we know, will soon be destroyed. The scene is uncompromisingly tragic: Patroklos is dead, Hektor is dead, Priam will soon be killed, and Achilles will soon be killed. Yet somehow, in the midst of suffering, moral beauty survives.

Fate: Would Homer and Virgil Be The Same Without It?

In Virgil’s Aeneid and Homer’s Iliad, a picture of the supernatural and its workings was created. In both works, there is a concept of a fixed order of events which is called fate. Fate involves two parts. First, there are laws that govern certain parts of mens’ lives, such as human mortality and an afterlife. Second, fate deals with the inevitable outcome of certain events, outcomes that cannot be changed by men or gods. Both Homer and Virgil allude to the existence of unchangeable laws, one of which is the mortality of human beings. This can be seen by the fact that character after character dies during war.

In Virgil’s Aeneid, Aeneas journeys to Hades to visit his father. During his stay, he talks to a large number of the warriors that have died in the Trojan War. The death of these warriors shows the mortality of human beings (Forman 2015). Another unchangeable law is the period of limbo that is said to await the souls of the unburied after death. Homer indicates this law by writing of Patroklos’ spirit’s return to remind Achilles that, until he has been properly buried, he must wander the earth. These events show Virgil’s and Homer’s belief in laws that cannot be changed (Strong 62).

The second element of Fate deals with the unalterable predestined occurrence of certain events. One example of such an event is the fall of Troy. According to Homer, the destruction of Troy was foretold in Hekuba’s dream that her son, Paris, would be the cause. This prophecy was confirmed by a seer. Although Hekuba tried to avert the disaster by attempting to have Paris killed, fate overcame and Troy was destroyed as a result of Paris’ judgment concerning the golden apple of discord (Strong 15-16). Virgil also writes about a similar situation when Venus pleads with Jupiter to help Aeneas with his journey.

Meanwhile, on Olympus, Venus, the mother of Aeneas, berates Jupiter for allowing her son to be persecuted in such a manner. Jupiter calms her and reminds her of the many prophecies concerning her son and his progeny: how he will found the city of Lavinium in Latium and win a great war; how his son Acanius will build the city of Alba Longa; how the twins Romulus and Remus, his descendants, will be born in this town and how they will found the city of Rome (Milch 22). The union of the Trojans and Latins to form a new race is another example of a predestined event found in the Aeneid.

This illustrates the unchangeable will of Fate, even to the degree that the gods believe what is foretold must happen (Camp 42). Even though certain events are ordained by Fate, the time tables for these events are flexible. Since Achilles was mortal, he was ordained by fate to die during the Trojan War. This can be seen in the Iliad when Homer writes about Achilles. Though his death was inevitable, it was postponed as a result of being dipped in the River Styx. “… at birth, his mother dipped him in the River Styx, rendering him immortal everywhere except in the heel, where she had eld him… ”

Fate finally ruled when Paris shot him in the heel with a poisoned arrow, causing his demise (Strong 17). Virgil also shows that Fate may be delayed when he writes about Juno’s attempt to stop Aeneas from founding Rome. When Juno sees Aeneas coming close to his goal she asks Aeolus, god of winds, to blow the Trojans off course. Their ships are destroyed and they wash up on the shores of Africa, close to the city of Carthage. Once in Carthage, the shipwrecked survivors are welcomed by Dido, queen of Carthage. Juno and Venus collaborate about Aeneas’ marriage to Dido. She [Venus] agrees to the marriage, knowing that it cannot meet Juipiter’s or fate’s approval – as Juno, where she less irrational, should also know. ” (Anderson 44).

At the request of Venus, Cupid, in the form of Acanius, casts a spell on Dido causing her to fall in love with Aeneas. Taking advantage of these events in a further attempt to detain Aeneas far from his Italian goal, Juno, with the complicity of Venus, thrusts the unfortunate Dido into the arms of her Trojan guest. Surrendering himself to the delights of a mad passion, the Trojan hero forgets his predestined mission for welve long months. When Jupiter imperiously takes him to task, however, he remembers the duty fate has laid upon him and leaves Carthage and the delights of love, setting sail to the light of the funeral pyre in which the despairing Dido has thrown herself (Brisson 23-24). Aeneas and Dido’s relationship and the destruction of Dido parallels Rome’s destruction of Carthage. It is a repetition of fate in which Dido represents Carthage and Aeneas represents Rome. The fall of Troy to the Greeks was ordained by Fate, but could have taken place as much as ten years later than it did. These events reflect

Homer’s and Virgil’s belief in the existence of Fate as inevitable, yet, at the same time, general and imprecise (Camp 42). The works of Homer and Virgil show their belief in the reality of Fate being composed of two parts. Both parts describe the existence of fate’s unchangeable laws. Both authors are successful in depicting predestined events that cannot be changed by the powers of gods or prayers of men. Although fate is not predominant in the writings of our modern world, in the works of the ancient world; especially in Homer and Virgil, fate must be present for the heroes to accomplish their destiny.

Sophocles’ Antigone – Creon and Antigone

Antigone Sophocles When a dictator dies, his image and fame dies with him, but when a self-sacrificing individual dies, their legacy begins. This statement is true because oppressed citizens do not fondly mention a mean ruler, such as Creon from Antigone, after he passes away. Yet a martyr, such as Antigone, also from the story Antigone, is remembered for her self-sacrificing deeds.

Creon will not be remembered because he did not allow Antigone to bury her dead brother Polynices, and decides to execute Antigone for trying while Antigones legacy will live on because she has the courage to defy Creon, and chooses to sacrifice herself for Polynices’ honor. First, Creon is a tyrant. His rule will not be remembered for many reasons, one being that he desecrates family honor. When a son or father dies in battle, they are carried home to be properly buried by their families. Eteocles, Antigones other dead brother, is a patriot and is buried because he fights for Thebes.

However, Polynices is not buried because he rebels against Thebes. Creon leaves Polynices body out to be attacked by dogs and vultures. This angers the people of Thebes because family honor is very important to them. Therefore, the people of Thebes will not remember Creon because of his offensive deeds performed while he is on the throne. Second, Creon will be forgotten because he decides to execute Antigone. Her punishment is to be locked in a blocked cave until she dies. Although later on in the story, Creon does decide to free her, it is too late.

The people of Thebes are astounded at the fact that Creon would even conceive of such a horrible punishment. Antigone acted on family honor, which is understood. Therefore, his people will forget Creon. Third, Antigone is a wonderful example of a martyr. Her legacy will live on, and inspire many other rebels to stand up for their beliefs. Antigone dared to defy the Kings threat of death to bury her brother, and shows true family pride. The people take pity on Antigone, and feel that she should be let alone.

Haemon, Creon’s son and Antigone’s betrothed, states how the people of Thebes feel. On every side I hear voices of pity for this poor girl doomed to the cruelest deathfor an honorable action-burying a brother who was killed in battlehas she not rather earned a crown of gold (Sophocles 145). This quote proves that the town supports Antigone, and is inspired by her bravery. One may conclude that although many claim to support the crown, they secretly side with a brave and honorable girl. Finally, Antigone chooses to sacrifice herself to give her brother respect.

By giving him a burial, she is setting his soul at rest so it may continue into the realm of Death peacefully. Yet, she is digging her grave with her own teeth. By burying Polynices, Antigone practically hands her life over to Creon, to use as he wishes, because the punishment for defying his orders is death. However, Antigone does not complain. She is proud to die for something she believes in. It was by this service to your dear body, Polynices, I earned the punishment which now I suffer, though all good people know it was for your honor (Sophocles 150).

Therefore, Antigones memory will live on, not only in peoples minds, but also in their hearts. One may deduce that Antigone and Creon are somewhat alike. They both stand up for what they believe in, and never falter. Although their causes are completely different, the focus remains the same. Antigone is a hero in the eyes of the people and her legacy lives on in forever. The name of Creon, the dictator, is as dead as his cold and rotten corpse. 1. Underline titles of plays. 2.

When you quote a passage from the play, be sure to cite the name of the author and the page on which the quote can be found by putting them into parentheses directly after the quote. It was by this service to your dear body, Polynices, I earned the punishment which now I suffer, though all good people know it was for your honor (Sophocles 150). 3. Also when quoting, the final punctuation should come after the parentheses, not inside the quotation marks, It was for your honor (Sophocles 150).

Instead of It was for your honor. (Sophocles 150) 4. Your paper is organized into rational paragraphs. Your thesis statement also reflects exactly what you are going to discuss within your paper. Thesis statements are usually kept to one sentence. Creon leaves Polynices body out to be attacked by dogs and vultures. This angers the people of Thebes because family honor is very important to them. Therefore, the people of Thebes will not remember Creon because of his offensive deeds performed while he is on the throne.

The Iliad By Homer

The poem The Iliad written by Homer is the story of the tenth year of the Trojan War. It depicts the nobility and honor given to a slayer in warfare and the humanity that warriors show to the slain. It also illustrates the Greek code of ethics, that was in that time honor. Warriors fought for honor to insure a reputation that would outlive them. Honor is given to the great warriors through gifts, rank, and valor. Ultimately, a hero’s honor depended not upon how he saw himself but on how the world saw him.

Achilleus, being the important warrior that he was, lived his life only for glory as he tried to portray the hero mentality, as did all the other warriors. He has a need to be accredited as the best warrior. Through out the poem honor is shown and speaks about in different situations. The beginning is a good example of Achilleus’ need to be recognized and rewarded as the best. Near the beginning of the poem Agamemnon speaks to Achilleus and tells him that if, the Achaians do not give him another prize that he will take one: Either the greathearted

Achaian shall give me new prize chosen according to my desire to atone for the lost girl, or elseI myself shall take her, your own prize, or that of Aias, or that This angers Achilleus. Furious, Achilleus calls Agamemnon selfish. He claims that he fights more and yet still Agamemnon gets the greater prizes. In this scene, Achilleus shows jealousy mixed with anger because he feels dishonored. Stripping Achilleus of his prize is like stripping him of a medal and, in turn, threatens his identity as the greatest warrior. He wants to be remembered by having gotten the biggest prize.

Achilleus’ complaint that his prize should be the same or greater than Agamemnon’s reveals his desire for power. Rather than accept his status as inferior in power, Achilleus withdraws from the war and tells Agamemnom: Now I am returning to Phthia, since it is much better to go home again with my ships, and I am minded no longer to stay here dishonored and pile up your wealth and your luxury (Homer, 340). Achilleus knows that he can achieve fame and glory only through action, even as he sat by his ships feeling sorry for himself:

But that other still sat in anger besides his swift ships, Peleus’ son divinely born, Achilleus of swift feet. Never now would he go to assemblies where men win glory, never more into battle, but continued to waste his heart out sitting there, though he longed always for the clamor and Here he admits that he is longing to fight but can not because he does not want to be seen as a lesser of a warrior. He wants to be remembered as the warrior who would not take anything but the best when it comes to honor. Another example of honor happens before Achilleus kills Hector.

Athene goes to Peleion and stands by Achilleus: Beloved of Zeus, shining Achilleus, I am hopeful now that you and I will take back great glory to the ships of the Achaians, after we have killed Hektor, for all his slakeless fury for battle (Homer, 370). She says this to him because Achilleus must kill Hektor or his reputation will be ruined. A man could not be seen as a hero if he did not avenge his best friend’s life. This whole poem shows the need and use of glory, power, and honor. When Achilleus kills Hektor, he is doing it for the honor he will receive once, he is dead.

In addition, in the beginning when Achilleus drops out of the war, it was because he felt dishonored. Athene speaks to Achilleus too, telling him about the glory that he would receive once Hektor was dead. The greatest example of honor in the poem, is when Achilleus transcends his hyper-masculine need for honor into the spiritual honor that involves taking care of the people around him. He realizes his whole potential to become a sensitive and caring person who can still be honored and looked up upon. At that moment, he is seen as an even greater warrior than before.

Philosophy of Ancient Greece

The philosophy of ancient Greece Greek philosophy in the VII – VI centuries BC. and was essentially its first attempt to rationalize the world around it.

In the development of the philosophy of ancient Greece there are four main stages: I, VII-V century BC. – pre-Socratic philosophy of the II V-IV century BC. – classical stage Outstanding philosophers of the classical stage: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle. In public life, this stage is characterized as the highest rise of Athenian democracy of the 3rd IV-II century BC. – Hellenistic stage.

(Decline of Greek cities and the establishment of the rule of Macedonia) IV I century BC – V, VI century AD. – Roman philosophy.

Greek culture VII – V centuries. BC. – It is the culture of a society in which slave labor plays the leading role, although free labor was widely used in certain industries that required highly skilled producers, such as the art craft.

WORLDVIEW

The worldview of the broad masses of the Greek society of the period under review was mainly retained by those ideas that took place in the second millennium BC. Nature still seemed to the Greek inhabited and controlled by various creatures about which folk fantasy composed colorful poetic myths. These creatures can basically be combined into three cycles: supreme Olympian gods, gods with Zeus at the head, numerous minor deities of mountains, forests, streams, etc. and, finally, protagonists, patrons of the community.

According to the Hellenic ideas, the power of the Olympic gods was neither original nor infinite. The predecessors of the Olympians were considered the older generations of gods, overthrown by their descendants. The Greeks thought that Chaos and the Earth (Gaia) originally existed, the underworld Tartarus and Eros were the life principle, love. Gaea-Earth gave birth to the starry sky Uranus, which became the original ruler of the world and the spouse of the goddess of Earth, Gaia. Uranus and Gaia gave birth to the second generation of Titan gods.

The Olympic gods who had seized power over the world divided the universe among themselves as follows. Zeus became the supreme god, the ruler of heaven, heavenly phenomena, and especially thunder and lightning. Poseidon was the ruler of moisture irrigating the earth, the ruler of the sea, winds and earthquakes. Hades, or Pluto, was the lord of the underworld, the underworld, where they dragged out the pitiful existence of the shadow of the dead.

The wife of ZeusGera was considered the patroness of marriage. Hestia was the goddess of the hearth, whose name she wore (Hestia in Greek – hearth).

With the emergence of a new class society and the establishment of policies, a number of gods, especially Apollo, became patrons of states. The importance of Apollo grew even more due to the founding of a large number of new cities. As a result, the cult of Apollo began to push aside the cult of Zeus; He was especially popular among the Greek aristocrats.

In addition to the main gods, personifying the most significant phenomena of nature, as well as the life of man and his social relations, the whole Greek world around him seemed to him abundantly populated by numerous divine beings.

There was a myth about the origin of people among the Greeks, according to which one of the titans, Prometheus, made the first man from clay, and Athena endowed him with life. Prometheus was the patron and mentor of the human race in the early days of its existence. Benefactors of the people, Prometheus stole from the sky and brought them fire. For this, he was severely punished by Zeus, who ordered Prometheus to be nailed to the rock, where the eagle tormented his liver every day until Heracles (the son of Zeus and the earthly woman) freed him.

The places of worship of the Hellenic gods were temples, altars, sacred groves, streams, rivers. Cult rituals among the Greeks were associated with public and private life. Honoring the gods was accompanied by the sacrifice of animals on the altars in front of the temples and prayer appeals to the gods. Special ceremonies were accompanied by the birth of a child, a wedding and a funeral.

THE BEGINNING OF PHILOSOPHY

Religious and mythological explanation of the origin and development of the world and the reality surrounding the ancient Greeks gradually came into conflict with the accumulated objective experience. Slowly but steadily, the science, still naive, but spontanely materialistic in its natural immediacy, was taking its first steps. New ideas emerged in the Asia Minor Ionia, which was the most economically and socially developed at that time.

In the second half of VII century. BC. in Miletus, Hellenic philosophy was born among merchants, artisans and other business people. The founder of ancient Greek philosophy is Thales (c. 625-547 BC), and its successors were Anaximander (c. 610-546 BCE) and Anaximenes (c. 585-525. AD). Milesian philosophers were spontaneous materialists.

Thales considered the origin of all water, which is in continuous motion, the transformation of which creates all things, eventually turning into water again. The gods had no place in this cycle of states of eternal water. He represented the earth in the form of a flat disk floating on the original water. Thales was also considered the founder of ancient Greek mathematics, astronomy, and several other natural sciences. He is credited with a number of specific scientific calculations. He was able to predict solar eclipses and could give a physical explanation of this process. During his stay in Egypt, Thales first measured the height of the pyramids, measuring their shadow at the time of the day when the length of the shadow is equal to the height of the objects throwing it.

Anaximander, following the path of further generalization of experience, came to the conclusion that the primary matter is an apeiron: an indefinite, eternal, and infinite matter, which is in constant motion. From it in the process of movement stand out its inherent opposites – warm and cold, wet and dry. Their interaction leads to the birth and death of all things and phenomena, which of necessity arise from the apeiron, and return to it. Anaximander is considered the compiler of the first geographic map and the first scheme of the sky for star orientation; he represented the earth in the form of a rotating cylinder floating in the air.

Anaximenes believed that the origin of the whole air, which, discharging or condensing, gives rise to all the diversity of things. Everything arises and returns to the ever-moving air, including the gods, which, like all other things, are certain states of the air.

Materialistic philosophy emerged among the progressive groups of the young class of slave owners in the struggle against the religious-mythological ideology inherited from the past. Representatives of the slave-owning aristocracy, struggling with this ideology, opposed it to philosophical idealism. His first preacher in ancient Greece was Pythagoras (c. 580-500 BC) from the island of Samos. After establishing tyranny on the island of Samos, Pythagoras emigrated to Southern Italy in the city of Croton, where in the second half of the 6th century. BC. founded from the representatives of the local aristocracy a reactionary religious-political union, known as the “Pythagorean”.

According to the Pythagorean philosophy, not quality, but quantity, not substance, but form determines the essence of things. Everything can be counted and thus establish the quantitative features and laws of nature. The world consists in quantitative, always invariable opposites: finite and infinite, even and odd … Their combination is carried out in harmony, which is peculiar to the world.

In the struggle with the idealistic philosophy of Pythagoras, the materialist philosophy of the Milesian school was perfected. At the end of VI-beginning of V c. BC. the largest philosopher of this period, Heraclitus of Ephesus (c. 530-470 BC), acted as a spontaneous dialectical materialist. In his writings found the search for Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes.

By origin and political convictions, Heraclitus was a supporter of the aristocracy. He abruptly fell on the “mob”. The pessimistic attitude of Heraclitus to the surrounding reality is connected with the victory of slave-owning democracy in his homeland. Speaking against the victorious democracy, he wanted to show its transient nature. However, in his philosophical constructions he went far beyond this goal. According to Heraclitus, the supreme law of nature is the eternal process of movement and change. The element from which everything arises is fire, which represents a regularly igniting, then a regularly extinguishing burning process. Everything in nature consists of opposites in the struggle that are born from fire and pass into each other and returns to fire. Heraclitus was the first to come to the idea of ​​the dialectical development of the material world as a necessary regularity inherent in matter. The logical necessity of Heraclitus expressed the Greek word “logos”, in the philosophical sense, denoting “law.” The dictum attributed to Heraclitus is well known: “Pant Rey” – everything flows, everything changes, which summarizes the essence of his philosophy. The dialectical unity of opposites is formulated as a constantly emerging harmony of mutually complementary and opposing opposites. The process of self-development of fire was not created by any of the gods or people, it was, is and always will be. Heraclitus ridiculed the religious and mythological worldview of his countrymen.

Against the materialist dialectic of Heraclitus, the philosopher Xenophanes (c. 580–490 BC) and his students began to fight. Expelled from the native city of Kolofon of Asia Minor (near Ephesus), Xenophanes settled in Italy, where he led the life of a wandering singing party. In his songs, he opposed the anthropomorphic polytheism of the Hellenic religion. Xenophanes argued that there is no reason to attribute the human form to the gods and that if bulls and horses could create images of gods, they would represent them in their own image.

Such were the first steps of ancient Greek philosophy, which arose and developed in the struggle against the old religious and philosophical worldview.

V century BC. was a time of further development of Greek science and philosophy, which still remained closely related. During this period, the further development of ancient society and the state, which took place in the conditions of fierce class and political struggle, there are also political theories and journalism.

In the V century. BC. materialistic philosophy in ancient Greece developed extremely fruitfully.

The most prominent philosopher of the classical stage of the philosophy of ancient Greece was Plato (427-347 BC) Plato was a representative of the Athenian slave-owning aristocracy. At the age of 20, chance crosses the roads of the lives of Plato and Socrates. Thus, Socrates becomes the teacher of Aristotle. After Socrates was convicted, Plato leaves Athens and does not move to Megara for a long time, after which he returns to his native city and takes an active part in his political life. Plato creates the first academy.

Up to this time, information has been reached on Plato’s 35 philosophical works, most of which were presented in the form of a dialogue.

He considered ideas as the pinnacle and basis of everything. The material world is only a derivative, a shadow of the world of ideas. Only ideas can be eternal. Ideas are true being, and real things are seeming being. Above all other ideas, Plato put the idea of ​​beauty and goodness. Plato recognizes the movement, the dialectic, which is the result of the conflict of being and non-being, i.e. ideas and matter.

Sensory cognition, the subject of which is the material world, appears in Plato as a secondary, non-essential. True knowledge is knowledge that penetrates into the world of ideas — knowledge is rational.

The soul recalls the ideas with which it met and which it came to know at the time when it had not yet connected to the body, the soul is immortal.

Another prominent scholar of this period was Aristotle (384-322 BC). He left behind 150 works, which were later systematized and divided into 4 main groups: 1) Ontology (science of being) “Metaphysics” 2) Works on general philosophy, problems of nature and natural science.

“Physics”, “About the sky”, “Meteorology” 3) Political, aesthetic treatises.

“Politics”, “Rhetoric”, “Poetics” 4) Works on logic and methodology.

“Organon” Aristotle considers the first matter to be the basis of all being. It forms a potential prerequisite for existence. And although it is the basis of being, it cannot be identified with being or considered as its main part. This is followed by earth, air and fire, which represent an intermediate step between the first matter and the world, which we perceive sensually. All real things are a combination of matter and images or forms, therefore: real being is the unity of matter and form. According to Aristotle, the movement is a transition from the possible to the reality movement is universal. The basis of every phenomenon is a certain reason.

Aristotle also touched upon the themes of logic, contradiction, cosmology, questions of society and the state, morality, etc., and also highly appreciated art.

The representative of slave-owning democracy, the philosopher Empedocles (c. 483-423 BC) from the Sicilian city of Acraganta, put forward the proposition that everything consists of qualitatively different and quantitatively divisible elements or, as he calls them, “roots.” These “roots” are: fire, air, water and earth. His contemporary Anaxogor (500-428 BC) from Klazomene, who lived in Athens for a long time and was a friend of Pericles, believed that all existing bodies were made up of tiny particles similar to them.

Thus, Empedocles, and especially Anaxagoras, tried to study the structure of matter.

The highest development of mechanistic materialism in the classical period reached in the teachings of Leucippus (c. 500-440 BC) from Miletus, and Democritus (460-370 BC) from Adbera. Both philosophers were ideologists of slave-owning democracy and outstanding scientists of their time.

Leucippus laid the foundations of the atomic theory, which was later successfully developed by Democritus. According to this theory, everything consists of emptiness and moving atoms, infinitely small, indivisible material particles, different in shape and size. Earth was presented to Democritus as a flat disk, rushing in the air around which the stars rotate. All organic and mental life is explained to them by purely material processes.

The atomistic materialism of Leucippus and Democritus had a tremendous and fruitful influence on the scientific and philosophical thought of subsequent times.

The complication of social relations in connection with the rapid development of slavery and the social stratification of the free forced a significant part of philosophers, beginning in the middle of the 5th century. BC, pay attention to the study of human activity. The accumulation of diverse knowledge, on the other hand, required their systematization. Sophistic philosophers (so-called wandering teachers, who taught to pay for eloquence and other sciences) were closely involved in these issues. Their appearance was largely due to the political development of democratic policies, so that citizens had to own oratory.

The most famous among the sophists was Protagoras (c. 480-411 BC) from Abdera. He put forward a statement about the relativity of all phenomena and perceptions and their inevitable subjectivity. His doubts about the existence of the gods were the cause of condemnation of Protagoras in Athens for godlessness and led the sophist to death. Fleeing from Athens, he drowned during a shipwreck.

Sophists did not represent any single direction in Greek philosophical thought. Their philosophical constructions were characterized by the rejection of the obligatory in knowledge.

If the sophists came to the conclusion that it was impossible to give a positive answer to the question they posed about the criterion of truth, then their contemporary ideologist of Athenian oligarchic and aristocratic circles, the idealist philosopher Socrates (471-399 BC) considered it possible and even believed that the criterion of truth, he found. He taught that truth is known in controversy. The so-called “Socratic” method of conducting a dispute is known, in which the sage, with the help of leading questions, imperceptibly instills those who argue with his idea. To establish the general concepts of Socrates based on the study of a number of special cases. The goal of man, according to Socrates, should be a virtue that needs to be realized.

Socrates taught verbally. His philosophy has come down to us in the presentation of his students, mainly of Xenophon and Plato.

Philosophy during the Hellenistic period partially changed the content and its main objectives. These changes were due to the socio-economic and political processes in the developing Hellenistic society. They were also caused by the very fact of the separation from philosophy of a number of special sciences. The philosophers of the Hellenistic period turned their main attention to solving problems of ethics and morality, problems of the behavior of an individual person in the world. The two old authoritative schools of Plato and Aristotle gradually lost their face and authority.

In parallel with the decline of the old philosophical schools of classical Greece in the Hellenistic period, two new philosophical systems of the Stoics and Epicureans arose and developed. The founder of the Stoic philosophy was a native of Capra Island, Zeno (c. 336-264 BC). Stoicism was to a certain extent a synthesis of Greek and Eastern views. Creating his philosophy, Zeno in particular used the teachings of Heraclitus, Aristotle, the teachings of cynics and the Babylonian religious and philosophical concepts. Stoicism was not only the most common, but also the most durable Hellenistic school of thought. It was an idealistic teaching. The Stoics all called the body, including thought, word, fire. The soul, according to the Stoics, was a special kind of light body, warm breathing.

For philosophical schools that emerged and developed during the Hellenistic period, the recognition of slaves of their human dignity and even the possibility of their high moral qualities and wisdom is characteristic.