Ancient Greece• There are no universally agreed upon dates for the beginning or the end of Classical Greek period. However, It is estimated to be from the 8th century BC until the 6th century AD, or for about 1,300 years.• In the 8th century BC, Greece began to emerge from the Dark Ages which followed the fall of the Mycenaean civilization. Literacy had therefore been lost and Mycenaean script forgotten, but the Greeks adopted the Phoenician alphabet, modifying it to create the Greek alphabet (only 1 in 3 words can physically be pronounced by tongue).• Written records began to appear in the 9th century BC .
The Poem and the Epic• Homer (around 700BC). – the Iliad and the Odyssey.• There are shorter poems by Archilochus and Sappho (the only surviving literature from Greek woman) from around 600 BC. .
Poets Homer (700 BC)• To the classical Greeks, Homers epics played very much the same role that the Bible has in today’s society.• His writings were used in schools and also used by people to persuade someone to do something or to teach a general moral lesson• It is not known where he lived in Greece• He was said to be blind, although this was a common trait to have in Archaic period as poets were exposed to different ways of perceiving the world, and were often said to be able to see what the Greek gods were doing.• From the time of his birth, the new Greek alphabet was just being adapted. Homer used this newly found knowledge to write two long epic poems Iliad and the Odyssey.• The subject matter of both of these epics was probably not of Homer’s own imagination as poets had been travelling around Greece and preaching of their creations, however it was Homer himself to be the first to write them down and to alter them.
Playwrights Play WrightsTragedians• Euripides (425 BC) – Medea and Phaedra• Sophocles (450 BC) – Antigone, Oedipus Rex, and Oedipus at Colonus.Comics• Aristophanes (425 BC) – Lysistrata and The Frogs
Playwrights Euripides 425 BC• Euripides was the youngest of the three great tragic playwrights of classical Athens.• He lived in the last part of the 400s BC, during the Peloponnesian War. He competed against Sophocles in many dramatic competitions• Many of Euripides plays, like Medea and Phaedra, have important female characters, and cast these woman in a sympathetic light in his writings and though women should be treated more fairly. His use of woman in his plays of been interpret to represent the irrational or crazy thinking that follows your nature instead of your mind. The action in his plays is between the irrational female character, and a rational man.• Euripides insists that we all must acknowledge both sides of ourselves, the animal and the godly, and not pretend that we can always rule our bodies with our minds.
Playwrights Sophocles 450 BC• He died at the age of about 100• Sophocles came from a rich and received an excellent education.• When Sophocles was six and sixteen years old, he witnessed the terrors of war between the Athenians and the Persians. Sophocles did not fight, but he saw his house and all of Athens, burn down. His experiences are evident in a selection of his plays, such as ‘Antigone’ where he pleads for the triumph of reason over wild emotion and anger.• Sophocles plays are generally very optimistic, full of the spirit of Athens in the classical period He sees men (and to some extent women) as powerful, rational, creative beings, the masters of the world around them, and the proud creations of the gods.• Sophocles wrote over 100 plays in his lifetime, but only seven survive. This is because around 200 AD when Greece was under Roman rule, seven plays of Aeschylus and seven plays of Sophocles and ten of Euripides were collaborated together in a book which was used in school classes. The only plays which survived were these ones which were taught in Roman schools.
PlaywrightsAristophanes (425 BC) • Wrote comedies • His plays mock politicians of Athens, sometimes in general, and sometimes mocking one specific politician. • One of his plays, Lysistrata, teased and rediculed the generals who would not end the Peloponnesian War and said that a women could do a better job of making peace. • Another play, The Frogs, was a sad commentary on the deaths of Sophocles and Euripides, and on the difficulty of using art to make peace. • The Wasps makes fun of the Athenian jury system.
Prose Play WrightsHistoriography• Herodotus (485 BC)• PlutarchPhilosophers• Socrates• Plato• Aristotle
Prose Herodotus (485 BC)• "father of history."• First historian that we know records of• Herodotus was born in Turkey, in a Greek town called Halicarnassus. Like other writers of his time, Herodotus was from a rich family and therefore was able to go to school, and learn of all the works of Homer as a boy.• The Persians conquered Herodotus own hometown of Halicarnassus shortly before he was born, but when they attacked Athens and Sparta, in mainland Greece, they were defeated. Everybody was surprised that Athens and Sparta had been able to defeat the Persians, and when Herodotus grew up he devoted his life to trying to explain how this had happened.• His finding were that: – that the Persians were ruled by a king, who had too much power. This power made the king over estimate the Persians’ influence in Greece and think he could control only what the gods could control, such as the weather, or who won a war. Pride, says Herodotus, goes before a fall.• Herodotus also wrote a lot about other cultures that he visited, like the Egyptians and the Scythians. And he also wrote about places he had never been, like India and Africa as he believed knowledge was key to human growth.