Ancient Greece Culture and Society Foundations of the Modern World
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Culture and Society Foundations of the Modern World Overview Greek Society Literature Philosophy Religion and Mythology The Rise of Humanism "Man is the Measure of all Things"- Protagoras of Abdera (c. 480 - 410 B.C.) Importance of the individual Colonists were rugged individuals Humanism: individual’s Uniqueness Potential Prerogatives (rights) Athenian Democracy developed around the fifth century BC in the Greek city-state (known as a polis) of Athens, comprising the city of Athens and the surrounding territory of Attica. Athens is one of the first known democracies. Greek Society The flaw in Athenian democracy: only for true citizens Adult males, Athenian ancestry (15 %) Slaves Foreigners, about 30 % Worked shops, farms Some special skills e.g. sculpture Some mining, hard labour Provided freedom to owners for politics & philosophy Women Sparta - public freedom Athens - confinement Men absolute household authority Families arranged marriages, usually older man to young woman Custom deemed necessary to protect male property & citizenship rights Women no formal education Learned weaving, cooking Patterns of the elite Records written by upper classes Separate Lives Elite women Were confined to homes except for funerals, festivals, visits to female relatives Thesmophoria festival 3-day camp Mystery & ritual Plays Antigone, Lysistrata About assertive women Elite men Work, politics by day Dined, slept in men’s quarters The Phylae “tribes”: largest political subgroups in polis Athens: 10 phylae Kin groups All citizens belonged Religious Own priests, temples Military Trained and served as hoplite units Political Own officials, representatives to Assembly and Council Symposium Means "drinking together" Aristocratic social institution After meal, men only Private association of individuals Slaves, musicians, dancers, prostitutes, young boys Aristocratic males expected to participate Debates on political & philosophical issues, recitations of speeches & poetry Gymnasium “ School for naked exercise” Public institution for training athletes (opposite of palaestra - private school for physical training) Staff: 10 gymnasiarchs, one from each tribe Maintained gymnasium, paid athletes in training, held athletic festivals, supervised training staff dressing rooms, baths, training quarters, stadium, covered porticos for exercise & lectures in philosophy, literature, and music Athens: three great public gymnasia: Academy, Lyceum and Cynosarges Greek Literature Lyric poetry: celebrating the individual e.g. Sappho Questions about nature Air, earth, fire, & water Atomic theory History Logographers: wrote historia, accounts of geography, cities, families Herodotus 485 - 425 BC First modern historian Greek war with Persia, analyzed causes Greek Thinkers Sophists (“wise men”) Taught logic, public speaking Rhetoric: constructing persuasive arguments Belief in Reason phusis (nature): amoral, inhuman, often lethal nomos (culture): custom, power of mind to order & control Socrates 470 - 399 BC Sculptor by trade Life Teacher, thinker Company of young men Socratic method: asking probing questions Death Charged with Corrupting youth Not believing in gods Condemned to death by drinking hemlock Young men withdrew from public life Plato 428 - 347 BC First truly literate generation Founded school for young men Higher education, especially philosophy and mathematics Wrote Dialogues Socrates uses question and answer method Meaning of justice, excellence, freedom Best known Dialogue: The Republic Theory of Forms: particular vs. ideal Political Utopia: philosopher kings Aristotle 384 - 322 BC Educated at Plato’s Academy in Athens Tutored Alexander the Great Founded school in Athens, Lyceum Peripatetics: walking while lecturing History, biology, zoology Works: De Anima, Poetics, Metaphysics Covered every field of knowledge, established modern arts & sciences Only lecture notes survive: remarkable range, sophistication, originality, systemization Approach is empirical, pragmatic, worldly Greek Religion Eusebia Piety, reverence for traditional gods Concern for family, clan, polis Rite of animal sacrifice, feasts of music drama dance sport Philosophy Cosmology: origin of universe Theology: gods’ nature & function Psychology: study of soul Ethics: man in society Mysteries Secret cults of individual gods Public Worship State-sponsored festivals Civic pride & personal piety Central ritual: sacrifice of animals Temple: gods’ residence in town Gifts for favours Cake, wine at altar Luck, protection Oracles Sought by individuals, city-states Oracle of Apollo at Delphi most sought Mythology Living our myths Not our history Need for origin story Literature is displaced mythology Basic stories of our culture Anthropomorphic gods Looking & acting human Principal Deities Titans Cronus & Gaia Olympians Zeus and Hera Apollo & Artemis Aphrodite & Athena Poseidon & Hades Ares & Hermes Other Gods Dionysus, Eros, Pan, The Muses
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