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Deacries Greece in its Heroic and Classical Phases, including Drama, Philosophy, and Aesthetics

Deacries Greece in its Heroic and Classical Phases, including Drama, Philosophy, and Aesthetics

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  • 1. The Classical Greeks The Hellenic Roots of Western Culture
  • 2. Classic: Three Meanings
    • “ First rate,” or “the best of its kind” applies to music, vintage cars, or films—implying enduring quality
    • The characteristics of a civilization, one that has enduring significance on later civilizations.
    • The stylistic features of a node of expression governed by principles of clarity, harmony, balance, simplicity (moderation), and refinement
    • The classic civilizations are so in all three senses of the term
  • 3. The Classic Civilizations
    • The Greek or Hellenic: That which reached its height in the fifth century BCE
    • The Hellenistic or “Greek-like” in which a Macedonian named Alexander spread its influence into Asia and Egypt (ca 300 BCE)
    • The Roman in two phases:
    • The Republic (509-31 BCE)
    • Empire (31 BCE-476 CE)
  • 4. Minoan Civilization (2000-1400 BCE)
    • Site of a palace and labyrinthine maze on the Island of Crete, south of mainland Greece.
    • Named after King Minos whose minotaur—half man and half bull—was kept in the labyrinth and fed Athenian youths
    • The minotaur is killed by the Athenian hero Theseus, freeing Athens from his rule.
  • 5. Minoan Site
    • Archaeological evidence indicates the site was involved in seagoing trade with the Phoenicians, based in Carthage of North Africa
    • A three-story palace build around a courtyard
    • Absence of fortress walls indicate the kingdom felt secure on this island.
    • Frescos indicate the sport of bull-vaulting, still practiced in Portugal
    • Bare-breasted woman with snakes; may indicate fertility ritual with either a goddess or a priestess.
  • 6. Linear B Script
    • Linear B Script is the first phonetic script in Europe
    • Based on syllables; each symbol represents a syllable rather than a speech sound
    • Vowel is the peak of a syllable
  • 7. Mycenaean Civilization (1600-1200 BCE)
    • More of a militaristic peoples with warships vying for control of the Eastern Mediterranean
    • Site includes heavily fortified walls expected of a militaristic society
    • Death mask is probably that of Agamemnon, king of Mycenae who led the Achaeans against Troy
    • Grave of Agamemnon includes jewels and other precious grave goods
    • The Mycenaeans attacked Troy (Ilion) around 1200 BCE, resulting in a 10-year war
    • This sets the stage of Homer’s two epics, The Iliad recounting the last days of the Trojan War
    • The second is The Odyssey , of the obstacles to Odysseus’s (Ulysses) homecoming after the Trojan war.
  • 8. The Heroic Age (1200-750 CE)
    • Mycenae was conquered in 1200 CE by the Dorians whose iron weaponry proved superior
    • The Homeric epics were passed down by oral tradition for 300 years before being transcribed and 300 more before being reaching their present form
    • Little is known about Homer himself, except that if he existed, he was blind
    • Represents the culmination of a long tradition of oral history
    • The two epics represent a national symbol of present-day Greece
  • 9. Iliad: Paris’s Choice
    • Eris, the Goddess of Discord, throws an apple with the inscription “To The Fairest” in a crowd at a wedding.
    • Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom, Hera, the wife of Zeus, and Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, Sex, Beauty, and Fertility, vie for the apple
    • They agree to allow Paris, a moral (and Trojan) to make the judgment.
    • Athena promises victory against the Greeks; Hera promises dominion over the known world; Aphrodite promises him the love of a beautiful women Paris gives gives the golden apple to Aphrodite
    • The spurned goddesses, Hera and Athena, conspire with other deities for revenge.
    • Paris kidnaps Helen, Menaleus, her husbands, forms an alliance with other Acheans to get his wife fack
  • 10. The Iliad: The Battle of Troy
    • Through an alliance of gods and mortals, war breaks out between the “Achaeans” and the Trojans of Troy, a commercial center in Asia Minor (now Turkey)
    • The Iliad is set in the last days of the Trojan war
    • The war end when the Trojan Horse, containing Achaean solders, taken to be a gift, is haled onto the fortress, and the Acheans slaughter the Trojans in a ruse.
  • 11. Iliad: Achilles as Central Character
    • The central figure of the Iliad is Achilles, a powerful warrior who at first refuses to join the Achaeans
    • He consents only after a close friend of his, Patroclus, is killed in battle by Hector, the chieftain of the Trojans
    • Though half-god, half man, he has a flaw: his heel which his mother Thetis held while dipping into the river Styx, which rendered him invulnerable:
    • Except for the heel, which any weapon could prnetrate.
    • Note the penetration of the arrow in his heel.
  • 12. Iliad: The Main Themes
    • The theme of Achilles that recurs in Greek thought:
    • Selfhood vs. community responsibility
    • We see it later in Socrates’s refusal to escape after being condemned to death
    • Heroic act to prove virtue or excellence ( arete has both connotations)
    • Both God and Man displays a range of human emotions: anger, love, grief (over loss of friend)
  • 13. Odyssey: Frustrated Homecoming
    • Odysseus encounters obstacles—adventures—while trying to sail home to Ithaca after the war
    • On one occasion, he ix within sight of Ithaca when a strong wind blow the ship out to open sea.
    • He has to navigate the ship between Scylla, a monster perched on a rock, and Charybdis, the monster lurking in a large whirlpool
    • Allows himself to listen to the Sirens, while tied to the mast and the men rowing with earplugs, so they can hear neither him, nor then; otherwise the ship would have been lost to the rocks
    • In the end, he does arrive home, and he slaughters the suitors trying to woo his wife Penelope because of his long absence.
  • 14. The Principal Gods in the Greek/Roman Pantheon
    • Zeus (Rom. Jupiter or Jove): The head of the pantheon of gods
    • Hera (Juno): Queen of the Gods
    • Ares (Mars): God of war
    • Aphrodite (Venus): Goddess of (erotic) love, beauty,
    • Athena (Minerva): Goddess of wisdom—and war
    • Eros (Amor/Cupid): God of (erotic) love, often portrayed as an infant
    • Hades (Pluto): God of the Underworld
  • 15. Other Gods of the Greek/Roman Pantheon
    • Demeter (Ceres): Goddess of Agriculture/Grain
    • Persephone (Proserpina): Goddess of the Underworld
    • Apollo, Helios (Phoebus): God of the Sun
    • Hephaestus (Vulcan): God of metallurgy, fire
    • Heracles (Hercules): God of strength, courage
    • Artemis (Diana): Goddess of the hunt, the moon
    • Hermes (Mercury): Messenger of the gods
    • Nike (both): Goddess of Victory
    • Poseidon (Neptune): God of the sea
    • Hestia (Vesta): Goddess of the hearth, domestic
  • 16. Gods According to Greek Theology
    • Origin myth: Zeus, angered by human evil, destroyed humankind by flood
    • Deucalion (Greek Noah), constructs boat for himself and his wife
    • “ Bones” of Gaia thrown overboard and new humans, first of whom is Hellen (ancestors of Hellenes or Greeks), spring from the rocks
  • 17. The Humanlike Qualities of the Gods
    • The immortals show all the human emotions: they are amorous, capricious, quarrelsome
    • They take sides in human wars (as they do in the Iliad )
    • They live among humans, atop Mount Olympus
    • Gods seduce mortal women (Leda and the Swan, who is Zeus), interfere in human affairs, and much else
    • They set forth no clear principles of moral conduct
    • Gods are beings to curry favor from by animal sacrifice
    • Oracles (like the one at Delphi) are sources of prophecy and mystical wisdom
  • 18. Greek City States: Principal Sites
  • 19. Greek City States: Economic Basis
    • A rocky environment allowed little agriculture
    • Best strategy: to grow crops of high value for trade—olives (for the oil) and grapes (for the wine)
    • Became master craftsmen of metallurgy, textiles, pottery, and other arts
    • Rocky terrain allowed for little overland trade
    • Therefore, they continued to trade via maritime routes
    • Law of comparative advantage illustrated here: crafted goods, oil, and wine for basic foodstuffs like grain from the Near East
  • 20. Greek City States: The Persian Wars
    • Autonomous city states arose in the mainland
    • Persian expanded westward and annexed Ionia, a region in Asia Minor
    • When Ionians revolted, other city states joined in
    • At the Battle of Marathon of 499 BCE, an army of 11,000 men defeated a Persian army twice that number
    • The Greeks proceeded to develop an navy and at the Battle of Salamis, defeated the Persian armada
  • 21. City States: Emergence of Democracy in Athens
    • Initially Oligarchic Rule
    • Reforms by Solon: abolition of debt slavery
    • Formation of the Popular Assembly by 550 BCE, comprising all Greek citizenry
    • It operated alongside the Council of Five Hundred and Council of Ten Generals
    • Popular Assembly acquired the right to legislate
    • Involved direct participation, not representatives
    • Women, non-landowners, and slaves still had no such rights
    • Success probably attributed to low population: 40,000 eligible, probably 5000 actually participated in open-air market (agora) forums.
  • 22. City States: Sparta Contrasted with Athens
    • Elite of five, though elected, saw themselves as rulers incarnate of the gods
    • Male citizens from seven years upward were trained as soldiers
    • Physical labor done by helots, prisoners captured in frequent local wars.
    • Spartan women, expected to live out ideals of warrior culture, were allowed more freedom than their Athenian counterparts
    • Nevertheless, strict order allowed for little creativity
  • 23. Athens under Pericles
    • Pericles: An aristocrat who nevertheless believed in a democratic form of government
    • His foreign policies were also high-handed
    • Part of the Delian league, he collected monies for a collective defense against the Persians
    • Then he appropriate them for Athens to build the Athenian temples demolished by the Persians
    • He also tried to dominate the commercial policy of league members
  • 24. Peloponnesian Wars
    • These acts led to a war between Athens and an alliance dominated by Sparta
    • The war brought to an end the so-called Golden Age of Athens
    • Eventually, this would bring forth the imperialistic forays of Alexander the Great
    • It would also generate the Hellenistic Age by which Greek philosophy, literature, and art and architectural styles were spread throughout much of the known world.
  • 25. Two Historians: Herodotus and Thucydides
    • Herodotus: First known historian who combined keen observation with critical judgment
    • Did make errors, such as his opinion that non-Egyptian slaves built the pyramid
    • Thucydides:
    • Wrote a detailed account of the Peloponnesian wars between Athens and an alliance dominated by Sparta, which proved disastrous for Athens
    • He himself was a general in the conflict, so that he is a primary source, one who made the actual observations
  • 26. Greek Drama: Overview
    • Characters were all played by men.
    • The structure comprised a stage, rather small, and the seating for the audience, which were levels of stairlike seats
    • The chorus played an important role of informing the sequence of events.
  • 27. Structure of Drama
    • Setting: The site of the play and its context
    • Rising Action: The events that lead to a crisis between those involved in a conflict
    • Climax: The moment of high intensity, usually the crisis in which the outcome can go one way or another
    • Denouement: The conclusion of the play, usually involving resolution of the conflict. Whether the play is a tragedy or comedy determines the outcome
    • Deus ex Machina: The device whereby a seemingly irresolvable conflict is resolved by a God who is lowered by a lift (the machine) whose command determines the outcome.
    • (Modern: the Cavalry arrives just in time to expel the Indians)
  • 28. Characters in a Play
    • Every play has a conflict or a crisis.
    • Protagonist: The hero or main character of the play
    • Antagonist: The principal opponent to the protagonist
    • Chorus in Greek Plays: Those who respond to the lines of the protagonist and the antagonists and fill in the details missing in the dialogue
    • Audience: The watchers of the play, but they may also participate in the dialogue.
  • 29. Types of Greek Drama
    • Tragedy: A work with tragic consequences for the hero.
    • The hero is usually a noble, often one who has accomplished great things.
    • But he has some defect (see tragic flaw)
    • That brings him to ruin at last
    • Comedy: A work, usually with happy endings
    • Only later did it become identified with amusement
    • Often a work with realistic ends.
  • 30. Greek Tragedy
    • Hubris: Tragic Flaw
    • The hero is a noble
    • He is a man (almost always a man) of some accomplishment)
    • But he has some defect
    • That defect proves destructive to the hero.
    • Catharsis: the cleansing of the soul brought about by witnessing a demise
    • Tragic Waste
  • 31. Case Study: Oedipus the King by Sophocles
    • Oedipus is the son of Laius, the king of Thebes, and of Jocasta.
    • When born, he receives a prophesy that he will slay his father and marry his mother.
    • The father has his boy’s feet pierced, and orders a shepherd to leave him on a hillside to die.
    • Polybus, the shepherd, instead rears the child as his own.
    • When, as a man, he receives this prophecy, he leaves the shepherd out of fear it might come true.
    • He travels to Thebes, the most distant place from the site
    • The theme underlying this effort is that it is folly to outwit the Fates.
  • 32. Oedipus: The Patricide
    • While traveling, Oedipus meets an arrogant man
    • They argues over the right of way on a narrow road
    • The dispute gets out of hand
    • Oedipus kills the man
    • Guess who the man is
    • Laius is the man, Oedipus’s father
  • 33. The Sphinx and Her Riddle
    • At the gates of Thebes, he encounters the Sphinx, who has been terrorizing Thebes for year
    • The Sphinx has waylayed people, ask a riddle, and murders them all for their failure to give the right answer
    • The riddle: what walks on four in the morning
    • On two at noon, and
    • On three at night?
    • Your turn: got a good answer?
  • 34. Oedipus’s Answer
    • His answer: “man”
    • He crawls on all fours in the morning (of life as a toddler)
    • Walks on two at noon (maturity)
    • Walks on three in the evening (a cane, at old age)
    • She screams, falls to the ground with a thud, and rots away with decay and vultures
  • 35. Oedipus Become King and Marries his Mother
    • The grateful Thebians award him with the kinship
    • And with the hand of Jocasta to be his wife
    • In so doing, he fulfils the prophecy that he will marry his mother.
    • The Gods, angered by his incest, send a plague to the city
    • After siring and bearing four children, Oedipus is told by the blind prophet Tiresias that he is the cause of the plague.
    • In his pride, he refuses to believe the prophet, thinking his rival Creon, Jocasta’s brother, has set him up to this.
  • 36. Curse of Oedipus Rex
    • The chorus fills the audience in on the details of the events
    • A messenger conveys the news of the shepherd Polybus’s death and adds that he was only Oedipus’s adopted father.
    • Jocasta discovers the truth in the conversation, runs off the stage and hangs herself
    • The truth come slowly to Oedipus; he takes the brooch from his dead wife and blinds himself
  • 37. Departure of Oedipus Rex; Fate of Antigone
    • He leaves Thebes with his daughter Antigone
    • Another play portrays Antigone herself, his daughter/sister
    • After Oedipus’s death, she returns to Thebes
    • When Creon, now king, decrees she cannot give her brother Polynices the rites of burial at his death, she does so anyway
    • For her defiance, she is sealed in a cave to slowly suffocate.
    • She commits suicide rather than suffer this fate
  • 38. Incest Tabu
    • Definition: A rule that forbids copulation between two persons of defined relationships
    • Primary kin: parent-child, siblings
    • Father-daughter
    • Mother-son
    • Brother sister
    • Exception: Egyptian, Inca, Hawaiian
    • Allowed only in royal line: “purity”
  • 39. Biological (Genetic Explanation)
    • Fears of inbreeding deters incest
    • Lower intelligence (e.g. Down syndrome)
    • Birth defects:
    • Hemophilia
    • Anomalous characteristics
    • Assumptions
    • Individuals have facts of life straight
    • Defect attributed to inbreeding
    • No close marriages
  • 40. Biological (Genetic): Shortcomings
    • Connection between copulation and childbirth often not made
    • Rapan (Easter) Islanders: woman is fertile during menstruation
    • Other explanation may explain childbirth (witchcraft, evil spirit in womb)
    • Defect may not show up for generations
    • Widespread cross-cousin marriage also entail inbreeding: few birth defects
  • 41. Other Tragic Dramatists
    • Aeschylus: The first playwright in the Western World
    • Known for the Orestian trilogy, which detail the horrors that befell the House of Atreus
    • This trilogy set the pattern for other tragedies.
    • Euripides: Had the reputation of a freethinker and was highly unpopular in his time.
    • Wrote 92 plays in his lifetime of which 18 are still known.
    • Among the plays: The Trojan Women (the aftermath of the war); Hercules; Orestes (Medusa’s killer); and Medea (murderess of an abusive father).
  • 42. Philosophy in Hellenic Greece
    • Pre-Greek Philosophers: The stuff that unified the reality we perceive—what is everything made of
    • The Sophists: The first relativists: “How do we know what we know?
    • Socrates: First (through Plato) to argue for an unchanging body of truths.
    • Plato: Argued for absolute truth (expressed through Socrates, so we don’t know which is which); founded the Academy
    • Aristotle: Founded the Lyceum; saw reason as a tool for knowledge; rejected Plato’s theory of forms and notion of a universal psyche
  • 43. Pre-Greek Philosophers
    • Thales of Miletus: produces an accurate theory of the solar eclipse
    • Anaxmiander: Argued that life evolved from beginning in the sea and that humankind evolved from a more primitive species; laid groundwork for evolutionary theory
    • Pythagoras: Argues for a spherical earth around which five planet revolved. Also laid down the Pythagoran Theorem, in which the square of the hypotenuse of a right triangle equals the sum of the square of the two sides.
    • Leucippus: Theorized that all matter is composed of atoms
    • Anaxagoras: Postulates that the sun is a large, glowing rock and explained solar eclipses
  • 44. The Sophists
    • Protagoras (pictured)
    • Meaning of “Man is the Measure of All things”
    • Knowledge cannot exceed human opinion
    • Relativism forms the norm; there is no reality apart from one’s own perceptions
    • Gorgias
    • Reality in incomprehensible
    • Even if one comprehend it, he could not describe the real to others.
    • Basic Theme: What might be true and just for one may not be so for another.
  • 45. Socrates: The Dialectical Method
    • To Socrates, inquiry involved a three-step method
    • Thesis: A proposition of what is true
    • Antithesis : a proposition offering the opposite proposition
    • Synthesis: A proposition reconciling the thesis and antithesis.
    • Formed the basis of his dialogues and his teaching technique
  • 46. Socrates: The Quest for Virtue I
    • Contrary to the Sophists, argued that there is only a unitary truth
    • This was not dependent on one’s perceptions
    • Virtue is the condition of the psyche (soul or mind)
    • To do good, one must first know good
  • 47. Socrates: The Quest for Virtue II
    • One argument: That as a citizen of Athens, he had incurred obligations
    • One obligation was to submit to the law even if it meant his life (here, he is about to drink the hemlock as a sentence for corrupting the youth
  • 48. Plato: The Quest for the Ideal Form
    • Idealism: the notion that reality lies in the realm of unchanging forms rather than in sensory objects
    • Our perceptions are imperfect and limited
    • Psyche belongs to the universe of eternal forms; imprisoned in the body, the mind forgets its once-perfect knolwdge
    • Task of philosophy: to draw the mind out of its limited body and so regain perfect awareness.
    • Railed against the Sophists for their relativism
  • 49. Plato: Allegory of the Cave
    • The cave is a metaphor for our perceived reality
    • Like the shadows of the cave, our reality is not the things they really are, the ideal
    • Going out into the sunlight, we would see the ideal that is behind the reality we perceive
  • 50. Plato: The Perfect State
    • In Plato’s Republic, asks “what is the nature of justice?” and
    • “ What is the nature of a just society?”
    • Roots the answers in a two-level reality
    • The one of changing particulars in our senses
    • The other is an unchanging set of universal truths
    • Formed the idea of a philosopher king, who alone perceived the universal truths and so were the only ones fit to rule a republic
    • The physicists loved this idea and formed the backbone of their model at least before Einstein
    • Also is dogmatic; Marx, for example, seized on this idea for a perfect socialist state.
  • 51. Aristotle: In Pursuit of Reason
    • A student of Plato, rejected both the notion of universal truths and psychic unity
    • Argued that mind and matter could not exist independently of each other.
    • Developed the empirical method, whereby observation of things and events are the key to understanding
    • Methods: objectivity, clarity, and consistency
    • He applied these methods to observing plants and animals, city state constitutions, and literary forms.
    • Also invented the syllogism, the basis of inductive reasoning.
  • 52. Aristotle: Ethics
    • Basic aim of ethics: to achieve both happiness and the good life ( eudaimonia )
    • Eudaimonia is defined in terms of the object: eye is to see, racehorse is to run fast; knife is to cut.
    • Ultimate aim is arete (virtue and excellence)
  • 53. Aristotle: The Golden Mean
    • There is a need for balance between two extremes; between:
    • Excess and scarcity, there must be moderation
    • Cowardice and recklessness, there must be bravery or courage
    • All these involve reason to arrive at a balanced moral conduct
  • 54. Aristotle: Politics and the State
    • Applied reason to analyze the state by comparing the constitution of 150 city states
    • Argued that some were more fit to rule than others, so advocated an elitism.
    • Government should exist for the sake of the state, not the individual, lest competing interests reduce the state to squabbling faction
    • Ideal form: governance by the middle class (Golden Mean hypothesis between tyranny and anarchy)
    • Humans can reach their potential only in the context of state society; man is thus a political animal
  • 55. Aristotle on Drama
    • Tragedy: the cause of how an unfortunate ending comes to be
    • An initiation of action that brings pity and fear
    • An error in judgment made by a superior man
    • Should be confined to the unities of time and place—a single place on a single day.
  • 56. Conclusion of this Section.
    • Greeks formed city states but shared a culture
    • Warring was common despite the advances in philosophy, arts, architecture, and drama
    • The next stage: an empire, first under Philip of Macedonia
    • Then under Alexander the Great, his son.