The Golden Age of Greece

As travelers and merchants began to explore the east and the west and populating those areas it caused this time to become known as the Age of Colonization. The third period of Greece is known as the archaic period. Greece is unique in their views of religion because of their development of Greek mythology. They created their own deities and turned to them for answers. Much of the Greek mythology is based upon different versions of folk tails. The Greeks would turn to their gods for answers instead of prayer as their means of discovering solutions.

The Greeks also developed some of the most famous epics thanks to Homer, such as the Iliad and the Odyssey. The Iliad takes place during the final years of the Greeks’ siege of Troy. There is a universal message in the Iliad that states that we are responsible for our selves and our actions and how the consequences might affect us, or the ones we love. The Odyssey however, is a bit of a different story. It is a tale about the Greeks hero Odysseus and his journey home from the war with Troy. The Iliad and the Odyssey helped to from the foundation for education and culture in Greek society.

The Greeks also had a great respect for art and incorporated it into their everyday lives. Much of their painting was on pottery, specifically vases. In the beginning when the artistic style was just developing it consisted mainly of concentric circles and semicircles. Art was then developed over the next two centuries into more abstract designs, with the use of zigzags, triangles, and diamonds instead of concentric circles. After Near Eastern and Egyptian models on their sculpture and architecture influenced the Greeks it became easier to trace then pottery.

Later in the archaic period sculpture and painting became very popular Greece. The range of sculpture is great however they all share one thing in common, the archaic smile. Also during the archaic period lyric poetry became very popular, one of the most famous users of this method was Sappho. Greece was also famous for its dramas left behind by three famous authors such as, Aeschylus, who used his work to show a deep awareness of human weakness and the dangers of power. Sophocles, who of the three was the most prosperous and successful, wrote 123 plays but only seven survived.

Sophocles was less concerned with getting a certain message across and more concerned with exploring and developing the individual characters I his dramas. Euripides is the author of Oedipus; his plays showed characters being stretched to their limits and used their reactions to show a new concern for psychological truth. Although he was not very popular during his time he became the most widely read of the three authors. He wrote nineteen plays in all that have been preserved and become popular as a result. The Greeks seemed to have a hand in everything including philosophy.

Some of the most popular names in Philosophy came out of Greece such as, Socrates, Plate, and Aristotle. Socrates was the son of a sculptor and a midwife, as he got into philosophy he became interested in the problems of human behavior and mortality. He also didn’t take money for his teachings as some other did. Instead he went publically to markets testing the traditional ideas by barraging them with questions. Socrates had many diligent followers one being Plato. His followers tried to preserve his memory by writing accounts of his life.

Plato was the most successful of them all, he wrote the Dialogues of Plato, which claim to record the teachings of Socrates. In the early dialogues Plato seems to try to preserve his teachers memory however in the later ones it seems he is using Socrates to backup his own teachings and ideas. Most of Plato’s work has to deal with political theory and the construction of an ideal society. Aristotle is the third of the three and Plato’s most gifted student. Aristotle continued to develop his doctrines for twenty years. As far as philosophers go Aristotle was the greatest systematizer.

He wrote complex pieces such as Metaphysics, Physics, Rhetoric, and Poetic. Aristotle’s works will always be remembered and were even used as a philosophical basis for Christian theology. Greece is also very famous for it beautiful architecture. The designers were always concerned with proportions and all that parts that create a complete structure One of the greatest artistic achievements following the Persian wars is the Temple of Zeus at Olympus, it is the largest Doric temple on mainland Greece. Another very famous piece of architecture in Greece is the Acropolis.

The Acropolis sits a top a hill consisting of the great temple to Athena the Propylaea, the Erechtheum, and the Parthenon. The Parthenon to this day remains as an iconic symbol of the golden age of Greece even though it was built during a time of division and hostility among the Greeks. The Parthenon was the first building to be constructed and very unique in its construction, all of the columns are thickest one-third from the base and they also tilt slightly toward each other (said to come together if extended two miles. The floor of the Parthenon is seemingly flat but actually convex. The decoration of the Parthenon exists in three places and uses three different types of carving techniques. The entrance into the Acropolis is called the Propylaea, it houses both Doric and Ionic columns, the Doric columns are visible from the front and the back where as the Ionic columns line the passageway through the porch. The Erechtheum is another Ionic temple atop the Acropolis. The main problem when constructing this temple was the uneven ground level of the site.

To solve this problem they created several entrances on different levels. It had four chamber all together, one held a wooden statue of Athena. The decoration of the temple is both elaborate and delicate, for example the south porch roof rests not on columns but on caryatids, which are statues of young women. The Acropolis will always be one of the most iconic sites in Greece housing some of the greatest architecture the world will ever know. The Hellenistic period was one of the last periods where virtuosity and drama played a major roll.

Works such as the Altar of Zeus at Pergamum were created during the Hellenistic period. Greece is place rich in history and culture, with many different periods and firsts that began in Greece it is difficult to focus on just a few of them. Greece was the birthplace of philosophy, art, architecture, Greek mythology, and some of the greatest tales of heroic acts the world will ever know. The history that was created during the golden age of Greece will forever be remembered throughout the world.

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