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C LASSIC A GE (480 - 323 BC). G ENERAL C HARACTERISTICS Classic Age Intellectual enforcement & diachronic survival of ideas & forms in later Greek culture.

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Presentation on theme: "C LASSIC A GE (480 - 323 BC). G ENERAL C HARACTERISTICS Classic Age Intellectual enforcement & diachronic survival of ideas & forms in later Greek culture."— Presentation transcript:


2 G ENERAL C HARACTERISTICS Classic Age Intellectual enforcement & diachronic survival of ideas & forms in later Greek culture Formation of the ideological bases of the modern European culture 480 BC: End of the Persian Wars, with a Greek victory  Sense of self-confidence, self-sufficiency & superiority against the “barbarians” 323 BC: Death of Alexander the Great Developing dominative power of Athens  Conflict with Sparta  Division of the Greek world in two great leagues (Athenian/Delian & Peloponnesian) 1 st half of 4 th c. BC: Persian intervention by financial or military assistance 2 nd half of 4 th c. BC: Need of a Pan-Hellenic union

3 T HE 1 ST A THENIAN L EAGUE 478/7 BC: Constitution of the Delian/Athenian League, whose function was organized by Aristides (the Fair), when Athens had already become a powerful marine force Characteristics: o Basic aim, the confrontation with the Persians o Base of freedom & independence of the members o Delos as its base, where the league’s treasury was kept under the handling of “ellinotamiai” (from Attica) & the annual meetings of the allies took place o Member’s contribution of ships & men OR money (allied tax) o Most of the members, cities on islands or Aegean coasts, mostly Ionian  Marine interest of Athens

4 T HE D EVELOPMENT OF THE A THENIAN F ORCE Great opponent: the Peloponnesian League, around the powerful military force of Sparta 1 st half of the 4 th c. BC: Construction & fortification of the new port of Piraeus  Main port of Athens – Fortification of Athens with the Long Walls – Construction of a big powerful fleet (Themistocles – Cimon) Cimon’s victories against the Persians  Peace of Callias (449/8 BC) Abolition of the political power of Areios Pagos (Ephialtes) Wide use of ostracism (since the 6 th c.), as a mean to protect democracy of very popular & powerful politicians

5 T HE G OLDEN A GE OF P ERICLES Pericles: Leader of the democratic party, who played the leading part in the Athenian political scenery in the period BC Elected to be general every year – Extremely sufficient & efficient politician, always able to lead the crowd to the right decisions ( “ ἐ γίγνετό τε λόγ ῳ μέν δημοκρατία, ἔ ργ ῳ δέ ὑ πό το ῦ πρώτου ἀ νδρός ἀ ρχή”, Thucydides) Spread of the Athenian League  Transformation to Athenian hegemony  Transport of the league’s treasury to Acropolis – Armed intervention to the rebel allies & absolute domination of Athens over its allies Inner development & elevation of Athens to a spiritual & artistic center - Decoration of the city with masterpieces of art

6 T HE G OLDEN A GE OF P ERICLES Enforcement of the Athenian democracy: o Financial compensation to the conscript lords, deputies & lay judges  Potential of participation in the administrative procedure also to the socially lower & poorer citizens o “theorica” (= theatre tickets for the poor citizens, paid by the state)  Cultural elevation of the citizens Spread of the Athenian mercantile influence to the West: o Contracting alliances with western cities o Participation in the foundation of the common Greek colony of Thurii (444/3 BC) o Development of Piraeus into a most significant & perfectly arranged port (Hippodamus)

7 T HE G OLDEN A GE OF P ERICLES Public revenues: o Lease of mines – Work by slaves o Taxes  Only from foreigners settled in Athens ( “μετοίκιον ” < “μέτοικος” ), who were usually merchants & artisans  On exported & imported goods in the Athenian ports o Current & extra taxes to the allies o Extra taxes to the wealthy Athenian citizens ( “λειτουργίες” ), such as:  “χορηγία” (financial support of a theatrical performance, especially covering the expenses of chorus)  “τριηραρχία” (maintenance and equipment of a trireme)etc.

8 T HE P ELOPONNESIAN W AR ( BC) Historical sources: Thucydides & Xenofon Opponents: Athenian League (Athens) & Peloponnesian League (Sparta) Main reasons: o Tribal differences (Ionians – Dorians) o State difference (democracy – oligarchy) o Different way of life (literal & artistic interests – strict military life) o Hegemonic behavior of Athens Consequences: o Human & material losses o Human corruption o Opportunity for Persian intervention into Greek politics

9 T HE P ELOPONNESIAN W AR ( BC) Athenian humiliating defeat  Recognition of the Spartan hegemony by all the Greek city-states Persian policy: Splitting the Greek forces by partial financial enforcement False attempt of Thebes to become the leader city-state Conflicts among the Greek city-states Inner political & social conflicts Constant Persian intervention Decline of city-state

10 P AN -H ELLENIC I DEA “Pan-Hellenic Idea”: The idea of conforming a united Greek state o 1 st reference by the orator Gorgias (end of 5 th c. BC) o Orator Isocrates, the main supporter of the idea – Dream of an Athenian leadership  Later dream of a Greek union under Philip 2 nd 's leadership (4 th c. BC – “Panegyricus” speech) o Strong opposition to Isocrates’ ideas by orator Demosthenes ( “Philippic” speeches)

11 E NFORCEMENT OF M ACEDONIA BC: Philip 2 nd, king of Macedonia  Enforcement & expansion of Macedonian State Contribution: o Confrontation with Illyrians & Paionians on the southern borders o Organization of a powerful army, based on the Macedonian Phalanx, with “sarissa” (= a 6 meters long spear) as the basic weapon o Strong economy (  Gold mines on Pangaion Hills)  Minting of golden stater, which gradually replaced the Persian daric o Expansive policy, in order to obtain new land for the warriors - at first - & - then - to unite all the Greek city-states in one state

12 E NFORCEMENT OF M ACEDONIA Areas of expansion: Chalkidiki, Eastern Macedonia & Thrace till the Western Black Sea & THEN Thessaly & Southern Greece (338 BC Battle of Chaeronea) 337 BC: Congress of Corinth  No more conflicts among the Greek cities or forced change of their political status, protection of navigation & condemnation of piracy & contracting of a pan-Hellenic alliance under Philip ‘s life leadership 336 AD: Philip’s murder  Alexander, as the new king

13 A LEXANDER THE G REAT Expedition ( BC): Aim of confronting with the Persian threat  Disruption of the Persian Empire, up to Indus River o 1 st stage ( BC): Minor Asia, Phoenicia, Palestine & Egypt o 2 nd stage ( BC): Mesopotamia, Sousa, Persepolis, Parthia, Hyrcania, Aria, Arachosia, Bactria & Sogdia o 3 rd stage ( BC): Up to India (Hyphasis River) – Return after the refusal of the soldiers to go further o Parallel route of the Macedonian fleet under the leadership of Nearchus 323 BC: Death of Alexander in Babylon


15 Military Contribution: Genial & far-sighted general, especially in organizing frontal attacks & sieges Political Contribution: Mixture of Greek & Asian elements under a strong administrative power – Acceptance of local customs & traditions - Maintenance of the Persian administrative form of satrapy, with Greek & Persian administrators Economic Contribution: Tax region concluding more than one satrapy – Minting golden coins by using the imperial treasury  Common monetary system Cultural Contribution: Spread of the Greek language & culture – Adaption of cultural elements of the Eastern nations – Foundation of new cities (  Significant trade & cultural centers) – Exploration of the conquered areas & philosophical & scientific search

16 G ENERAL A TTITUDE & E VERYDAY L IFE Age of very significant mental & artistic works Contempt of manual work (  Thought as work for the slaves) – Dealing with common matters, as the free man’s duty & job No social life for women, whose only entertainment were some ritual ceremonies (Athens) Social character of ritual ceremonies concerning birth, marriage & death Entertainment through music, private feasts ( = symposiums) & social festivals & feasts Most important entertainment in ancient Athens, the theatrical performances

17 A THENS AS A C ULTURAL C RADLE Pericles’ political action Works on Acropolis Glorious festivals, with artistic & literal contests (Panathenaea, Eleusinian Mysteries, theatrical performances in Dionysia, etc.)

18 P HILOSOPHY Human nature & behavior as the center of philosophical thought Search of practical ways to improve the human nature & life Explanation of phenomena, based on logical thinking (rationalism) Main philosophers: o Socrates (5 th c. BC)  Ethics, search for the only truth o Sophists (Gorgias, Protagoras, Hippias, etc.) (5 th c. BD)  Absolute rationalism o Plato (4 th c. BC)  Ideas’ theory, duality, etc. o Aristotle (4 th c. BC)  Homo universalis, interested in political, ethical & scientific matters

19 H ISTORY & R HETORIC History o Herodotus (5 th c. BC)  Known as “the father of history” (Cicero) - History of the Persian Wars o Thucydides (5 th c. BC)  First serious attempt of objective historical writing – History of the Peloponnesian War o Xenophon (5 th -4 th c. BC)  Continue of Thucydides’ history in “Hellenica” - Historical biography Phetoric: o Consequence of the Athenian democracy & the citizen’s right to take part in the political & judicial procedures (4 th c. BC) o Lysias, Isocrates, Demosthenes, etc.

20 P OETRY Peak of dramatic poetry  Theatrical performances in the Dionysian festivals – “School for the Citizens” Tragic poetry  “μίμησις πράξεως σπουδαίας καί τελείας” – Aeschylus, Sophocles & Euripides Comedy  Hard criticism of the Athenian political & social life – “Child” of the Athenian democracy - Aristophanes

21 S CIENCE Rationalistic philosophical thought  Development of science  Systematization of knowledge about nature & human beings Philosophers, ALSO scientific researchers into Mathematics, Astronomy, Physics, Biology, etc. System of urban planning by Hippodamus Development of medical science by Hippocrates  Natural causes of the diseases – Study of the human body as the base of medical research

22 A RCHITECTURE Works on Acropolis (5 th c. BC) o Propylaea  Mnesikles – Dorian type o Parthenon  Callicrates & Ictinus (architects) & Phidias (plastic decoration) – Combination of Ionian & Doric architectural elements o Erechtheion  Caryatids (columns with the form of maidens) – Temple of Athena Pollias o Temple of Athena Nike  Ionian type

23 A RCHITECTURE 2 nd half of 5 th c. BC: Temple of Hephaestus in Thιseio, temple of Poseidon in Sounio, etc. 4 th c. BC: o New aesthetic rules of rich & impressive decoration o New types of buildings, such as domes, theatres, etc. o More secular than religious buildings o Less strict lines o Use of the Corinthian capital o Epidaurus theatre, Mausoleum in Halicarnassus, Choragic monument of Lysicrates

24 S CULPTURE End of 6 th – Beginning of 5 th c. BC: Renovation of the expression & movement of kouroi & kores (e.g. Child of Critias) o After the Persian Wars: o “strict type”  Sense of movement as a sign of life & inner strength (e.g. Charioteer, Poseidon or Zeus of Artemision) o Phidias  Parthenon’s decoration, statues of Athena & Zeus made of gold & ivory, etc.

25 S CULPTURE o Myron  Bronze statues (e.g. Discovolos, Athena & Marsyas, etc.) o Polyklitos  Mainly statues of athletes (e.g. Doryphoros, Diadoumenos, etc.) During the Peloponnesian War: o “rich type”  Human figures wearing “imation” with many folds, through which the body is depicted ( Alcamenes, Agoracritos ) OR o Calm & magnificent idealized figures, with intense facial expressions (according to the hard times of Athens)

26 S CULPTURE o Praxiteles  Marble statues (e.g. Hermes, etc.) o Scopas  Embossed decoration of monuments – Faces with agitated emotional world (e.g. Meleagros, etc.) o Lysippus  Alexander the Great ’s favorite sculptor – bronze statues (e.g. Apoxyomenos, etc.) 4 th c. BC: Anonymous sculptors (e.g. Child of Marathon, Teenager of Antikythera, gravestones, etc.)

27 P AINTING Only indirect information from written sources 5 th c. BC: Information by red-figure pottery & mainly white lekyths – Polygnotos, Mycon, Zeuxis 4 th c. BC: Information by a few pictures on Macedonian tombs (e.g. Vergina) – Pamphylos, Apelles (Alexander the Great ‘s favorite), Protogenes)


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