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Ancient Greek Civilisation

ANCIENT GREEK CIVILIZATION INTRODUCTION Ancient Greece is the civilization belonging to the period of Greek history lasting from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity and beginning of the Early Middle Ages with the rise of the Byzantine era following Justinian I. At the center of this time period is Classical Greece, which flourished during the 5th to 4th centuries BC, at first under Athenian leadership successfully repelling the military threat of Persian i
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  ANCIENT GREEK CIVILIZATION INTRODUCTION Ancient Greece is the civilization belonging to the period of Greek history lasting from theArchaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity and beginning of the EarlyMiddle Ages with the rise of the Byzantine era following Justinian I.   At the center of this timeperiod is Classical Greece, which flourished during the 5th to 4th centuries BC, at first underAthenian leadership successfully repelling the military threat of Persian invasion. The AthenianGolden Age ends with the defeat of Athens at the hands of Sparta in the Peloponnesian War in404 BC. Following the conquests of Alexander the Great, Hellenistic civilization flourished fromCentral Asia to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea.Classical Greek culture had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire, which carried a versionof it to many parts of the Mediterranean region and Europe, for which reason Classical Greece isgenerally considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of Westerncivilization. HISTORY Archaic Period (750 - 500 BC) The Archaic Period in Greece refers to the years between 750 and 480 B.C.,more particularly from 620 to 480 B.C. The age is defined through thedevelopment of art at this time, specifically through the style of pottery andsculpture, showing the specific characteristics that would later be developedinto the more naturalistic style of the Classical period. The Archaic is one of five periods that Ancient Greek history can be divided into; it was preceded  by the Dark Ages and followed by the Classical period. The Archaic period saw advancements inpolitical theory, especially the beginnings of democracy, as well as in culture and art. Theknowledge and use of written language which was lost in the Dark Ages was re-established. Classical Period (500-336 BC)  Classical period of ancient Greek history is fixed between about 500 B. C., when the Greeksbegan to come into conflict with the kingdom of Persia to the east, and the death of theMacedonian king and conqueror Alexander the Great in 323 B.C. In this period Athens reachedits greatest political and cultural heights: the full development of the democratic system of government under the Athenian statesman Pericles; the building of the Parthenon on theAcropolis; the creation of the tragedies of Sophocles, Aeschylus and Euripides; and the foundingof the philosophical schools of Socrates and Plato. Hellenistic Period (336-146 BC)  Period between the conquest of the Persian Empire by Alexander the Great and the establishmentof Roman supremacy, in which Greek culture and learning were pre-eminent in theMediterranean and Asia Minor. It is called Hellenistic (Greek, Hellas, Greece ) to distinguish itfrom the Hellenic culture of classical Greece. SOCIAL STRUCTURE Greece in the Archaic Period was made up from independent states, called Polis, or city state.The polis of Athens included about 2,500 sq kilometers of territory, but other Polis with smallerareas of 250 sq kilometers.Greek Society was mainly broken up between Free people and Slaves, who were owned by thefree people. Slaves were used as servants and labourers, without any legal rights. Sometimes theslaves were prisoners of war or bought from foreign slave traders. Although many slaves livedclosely with their owners, few were skilled craftsmen and even fewer were paid.    As Athenian society evolved, free men were divided between Citizens and Metics. A citizen wasborn with Athenian parents and was the most powerful group, which could take part in thegovernment of the Polis. After compulsory service in the army they were expected to begovernment officials and take part in Jury Service. A metic was of foreign birth that hadmigrated to Athens, to either trade or practice a craft. A metic had to pay taxes and sometimesrequired to serve in the army. However, they could never achieve full right s of a Citizen; neithercould they own houses or land and were not allowed to speak in law courts.The social classes applied to men only, as women all took their social and legal status from theirhusband or their male partner. Women in ancient Greece were not permitted to take part inpublic life. PHILOSOPHY Ancient Greek philosophy focused on the role of reason and inquiry. In many ways, it had animportant influence on modern philosophy, as well as modern science. Clear unbroken lines of influence lead from ancient Greek and Hellenistic philosophers, to medieval Muslimphilosophers and Islamic scientists, to the European Renaissance and Enlightenment, to thesecular sciences of the modern day.Neither reason nor inquiry began with the Greeks. Defining the difference between the Greek quest for knowledge and the quests of the elder civilizations, such as the ancient Egyptians andBabylonians, has long been a topic of study by theorists of civilization.  LITERATURE Ancient Greek society placed considerable emphasis upon literature. Many authors consider thewestern literary tradition to have begun with the epic poems The Iliad  and The Odyssey , whichremain giants in the literary canon for their skillful and vivid depictions of war and peace, honorand disgrace, love and hatred. Notable among later Greek poets was Sappho, who defined, inmany ways, lyric poetry as a genre.A playwright named Aeschylus changed Western literature forever when he introduced the ideasof dialogue and interacting characters to playwriting. In doing so, he essentially invented drama : his Oresteia trilogy of plays is seen as his crowning achievement. Other refiners of playwriting were Sophocles and Euripides.Philosophy entered literature in the dialogues of Plato, who converted the give and take of Socratic questioning into written form. Aristotle, Plato's student, wrote dozens of works on manyscientific disciplines, but his greatest contribution to literature was likely his Poetics , which laysout his understanding of drama, and thereby establishes the first criteria for literary criticism. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY Ancient Greek mathematics contributed many important developments to the field of mathematics, including the basic rules of geometry, the idea of formal mathematical proof, anddiscoveries in number theory, mathematical analysis, applied mathematics, and approached closeto establishing the integral calculus. The discoveries of several Greek mathematicians, includingPythagoras, Euclid, and Archimedes, are still used in mathematical teaching today.The Greeks developed astronomy, which they treated as a branch of mathematics, to a highlysophisticated level. The first geometrical, three-dimensional models to explain the apparentmotion of the planets were developed in the 4th century BC by Eudoxus of Cnidus and Callippusof Cyzicus. Their younger contemporary Heraclides Ponticus proposed that the Earth rotatesaround its axis. In the 3rd century BC Aristarchus of Samos was the first to suggest a heliocentric
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