Hellenistic Greece


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Describes Hellenistic Greek Culture, includng aesthetics, philosophy, and intellectual history

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Hellenistic Greece

  1. 1. Hellenistic Greeks Society and Culture of an Empire
  2. 2. Philip of Macedonia <ul><li>Warfare continued among the city states </li></ul><ul><li>Finally, Philip of Macedonia conquered the peninsula 338 BCE </li></ul><ul><li>He was assassinated two years later </li></ul><ul><li>His son Alexander assumed the throne of Macedonia </li></ul>
  3. 3. Alexander the Great and His Successors <ul><li>Conquered Persia, Asia Minor (Turkey), Egypt, and Syria </li></ul><ul><li>Military Technology: catapults and battering rams </li></ul><ul><li>Expansion stopped in India, when an army with elephants induced soldiers to mutiny </li></ul><ul><li>Alexander died in 323 BCE, probably of Malaria </li></ul><ul><li>The empire was divided into three segments </li></ul><ul><li>Egypt: By the Ptolemy dynasty </li></ul><ul><li>Persia by the Seleucid rulers </li></ul><ul><li>Macedonia under Antigonus the One-Eyed </li></ul>
  4. 4. Hellenistic Greece: Main Developments <ul><li>Sculptures made for more realistic human forms, rather then the ideal </li></ul><ul><li>Drama: melodramatic over the tragic; </li></ul><ul><li>Meaning: preference of extravagant theatrics over characterization </li></ul><ul><li>Philosophy: Metaphysics replaced by science and the practical </li></ul><ul><li>Religion: spread of the mysteries such as Isis from Egypt, Mithra from Persia, Gnosticism </li></ul><ul><li>Spread Greek classicism to the non-Greek world—including Rome </li></ul>
  5. 5. Philosophies of Hellenistic Greece <ul><li>Overall, became guides of the practical that guided everyday life </li></ul><ul><li>Neglected the rational methods of investigation according to Plato, Socrates, Aristotle and the pre-Greek philosophers </li></ul><ul><li>Four schools predominate: Skeptics, Cynics, Epicureans, and Stoics </li></ul><ul><li>All placed the needs of individuals above that of community or the search for univeral truth </li></ul>
  6. 6. Hellenistic Philosophy: Skeptics and Cynics <ul><li>Skeptics harked back to the Sophists </li></ul><ul><li>Denied the possibility of knowing anything for certain </li></ul><ul><li>Argued therefore for the suspension of all intellectual judgment </li></ul><ul><li>Cynics called for renunciation of societal values, conventions, and wealth </li></ul><ul><li>This renunciation is the key to spiritual satisfaction </li></ul><ul><li>Cynics anticipate the asceticism of a monastic Christianity </li></ul>
  7. 7. Hellenistic Philosophy: Epicureans <ul><li>Opposite of the popular idea “eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die” </li></ul><ul><li>Epicureans (following Epicurus) argued that happiness follows from avoiding all physical excess </li></ul><ul><li>Called for plain living and balance between body and mind—not unlike the Christians </li></ul><ul><li>Argued that gods played no part in human life </li></ul><ul><li>Death is nothing but the rearrangement of atoms that made up the body and all nature </li></ul>
  8. 8. Hellenistic Philosophy: Stoicism <ul><li>Derived from stoa, or portico where Zeno of Cilium taught this philosophy (left) </li></ul><ul><li>Tranquility of mind comes from acceptance of the will of nature </li></ul><ul><li>The universe is governed by an impersonal intelligence (antithetical to Christianity) </li></ul><ul><li>Advanced the notion of universal equality, a Christian theme </li></ul>
  9. 9. Architecture: Altar of Zeus <ul><li>Given to larger, monumental forms than that of Classical Greece. </li></ul><ul><li>The Altar of Zeus at Pergamon, Asia Minor, commemorating a battle with the invading Gauls </li></ul>
  10. 10. Statuary Realism <ul><li>Themes of statue are victory of intellect over barbarism, Olympian gods over Titans </li></ul><ul><li>Athena triumphs over Male, son of the Earth Mother </li></ul><ul><li>Laco őn and sons captured by sea serpent sent by Athena (lower left) </li></ul><ul><li>This is in revenge for his warning the Trojans of an impeding attack </li></ul><ul><li>The Hellenic ideal form is displace by realism that also portray children and the aging </li></ul><ul><li>This anticipates Roman sculpture </li></ul>
  11. 11. Religious Themes <ul><li>Hellenistic thought also anticipates the Mysteries </li></ul><ul><li>Some groups worship Isis or Osiris or both from Egypt </li></ul><ul><li>From Persia came Mithra, God of the Sun in pre-Zoroastian times </li></ul><ul><li>From Egypt also came Gnosticism, which refers to personal knowledge of the unseen world </li></ul><ul><li>These themes were adopted later in Rome in along with Christianity as the empire entered decline </li></ul>
  12. 12. Developments in Science and Mathematics <ul><li>Archimedes: specific gravity; foundations of calculus, compound pulley; mechanical properties of the lever </li></ul><ul><li>Aristarchus: Proposes the heliocentric theory of planetary movement </li></ul><ul><li>Euclid: basics of plane geometry </li></ul><ul><li>Hipparchus: Invents trigonometry; catalogues 805 fixed stars </li></ul><ul><li>Herophilus: nervous system; arteries carry blood (not air) from the heart </li></ul>
  13. 13. Conclusion: Significance of Hellenistic Period <ul><li>Expanded the world view of Hellenic Greece to encompass that beyond that culture </li></ul><ul><li>Created a practical perspective in intellectual life, reflected in everyday concerns </li></ul><ul><li>Instilled realism in art and sculpture </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasized the plot over characterization in drama </li></ul><ul><li>Brought size into architecture </li></ul><ul><li>Fostered scientific and mathematical innovations </li></ul><ul><li>Set the foundations for Rome and later Christianity </li></ul>