Ancient Greek PHILOSOPHY
Philosophy was an important part of life in Athens. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle were three Greek philosophers whose works have inspired generations of thinkers.
Socrates taught his followers by asking questions and engaging them in a debate about their ideas. For example, Socrates might ask “What is courage?” The person, confident of his opinion, would provide an answer. Socrates would then ask a series of questions that would force the person to examine their opinion and to think more deeply about the issue being discussed. Through this process the person would learn more about themselves, the topic being discussed, and many related topics and ideas.
Plato set up a school in Athens called the Academy on the edge of the city. Under Plato, the Academy offered instruction in mathematics, science, and philosophy. As the Academy developed it established courses and a curriculum. The Academy was not open to all citizens, and it aimed to prepare its students for roles as statesmen, or political leaders. Some historians consider the Academy one of the first models for modern universities.
Aristotle became the first philosopher to analyze the process by which a person can assume that one idea is true based on the assumption that two or more ideas are true. This process of logical inference is referred to as syllogism. The following is an example of a syllogism: All animals die. A deer is an animal. Therefore, a deer will die. Aristotle believed people should use the logical process of analysis and research to learn about subjects. The principle of logical inference promoted by Aristotle influenced the scientific method, a process scientists use to devise experiments that test hypotheses and draw logical conclusions from them.
1. What is a philosopher?
2. Do you agree with Socrates’ teaching method? Why or why not?
3. How did Plato contribute to education? What do we have today that results from Plato’s ideas?
4. Create your own example of syllogism:
Ancient Greek ART and ARCHITECTURE
Greek architecture is commonly divided into three orders, or styles: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. These orders are generally defined by the style of column that was used on the buildings. Doric columns are characterized by the simplistic structure and plain capital, or top of the column. The Ionic column is characterized by twin scrolls on the capital, and the Corinthian column is distinguished by a decorative capital, usually consisting of sculptured leaves. These styles are especially important in the architecture of administrative and religious buildings, especially in Athens.
When the Greeks returned to Athens after the Persian wars they begin to rebuild portions of the city. Much of the building focused on military structures, such as the famous long walls that connected the city to its port. However, the administrative and religious buildings on the city’s Acropolis, a large hill that could be easily defended and was the center of most Greek city-states, were also rebuilt. These buildings, especially the Parthenon, a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena constructed in the Doric style, remain as some of the best examples of the architecture of ancient Greece.
The architecture of ancient Greece has had a significant influence on Western architecture. The Romans adopted much of the Greek style, and influences can still be seen today. Many important government buildings in Washington, D.C., such as the White House and the U.S. Supreme Court Building, use the classic Greek styles.
Sculpture was another important form of art that was practiced and improved during the classical period of ancient Greece. During the classical period, the poses and facial expressions in sculptures in ancient Greece became more natural and lifelike. They also depicted the human body without flaws. This naturalistic style can be seen throughout Western art.
During this time the Greeks also began to use statues in the decoration of their buildings. In some instances, such as in the Erechtheum in Athens, large sculptures were used as columns. These statues usually had a religious significance.
1. What are the three orders, or styles, of Greek architecture? ___________________________
2. List some examples of the influence Greek architecture has had on other civilizations.
3. Use one a World History book from the shelf to find out who Discobolos was. *Hint: Use the index!