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Ancient Greece: The Classical Spirit. Early Greece. Early Greek Poetry. Homeric epics: long narrative poems; heroic deeds; hero who brings pride to country. Iliad and Odyssey: First masterpieces of Western literature. Heroes: Achilles and Odysseus

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Early greek poetry
Early Greek Poetry

  • Homeric epics: long narrative poems; heroic deeds; hero who brings pride to country. Iliad and Odyssey: First masterpieces of Western literature.

  • Heroes: Achilles and Odysseus

  • Despite man’s frailties, his life is noble

Sappho s lyric poetry
Sappho’s Lyric Poetry

  • Lyric poems: brief, expressing feelings, often accompanied by a lyre.

  • Sappho’s poems expressed her love for her women friends.

  • Lived her life on the island of Lesbos

Art in early greece
Art in Early Greece

  • The Archaic period: 650-490 B.C. Progression from the Egyptian models

  • Naturalism: attempt to represent objects as they appear in nature

  • Vase painting: red-figure technique: figures left unpainted

  • Greeks’ range of feelings and actions


  • Kouros: free standing nude male youth. Rigid Egyptian poses

  • Koré: softer or female version. Clothing softened statue

The classical period1
The Classical Period

  • Opens with Greeks’ victory over Persians at Salamis in 490 B.C.

  • Golden Age: 480 B.C. and 404 B.C., Athens was defeated in the Peloponnesian Wars. Culture lasted until death of Alexander the Great.

  • Polis life: Human nature dictates life in city

  • Pericles: Delian League

Women in classical athens
Women in Classical Athens

  • Excluded from public affairs

  • Household duties: organization, supervision and labor.

  • Hetaera: foreign women who worked as courtesans, entertainers and prostitutes.

  • Some hetaera highly educated

The greek temple
The Greek Temple

  • The Parthenon (447 B.C.) Dedicated to Athena

  • Post-and-lintel form

  • Entablature: decoration of the vertical column and horizontal beam

  • Orders: Styles of columns

  • Cella: enclosed inner room of temple

  • Refinements

Parthenon sculptures
Parthenon Sculptures

  • Phideas: Athena statue in cella and again on the east and west pediments

  • Three Goddesses on East Pediment

  • Frieze

  • Cella frieze: low relief, noble procession of Athenian citizens depicted during the Pan Athenaic procession.

Other acropolis buildings
Other Acropolis Buildings

  • Propylaea: massive gateway

  • Erechtheum: Ionic temple with two porches

  • Caryatids: Porch of the Maidens

Classical humanism
Classical Humanism

  • Belief that “Man is the Measure of All Things” Protagoras.

  • Nobility of human intelligence and action

  • Human ability to understand and control the world.

  • “Secular” humanism controversial today.

The classical style
The Classical Style

  • Representing the human figure in motion: turning point for Greek sculptors.

  • Idealized, yet moving toward naturalism

Greek sculpture
Greek Sculpture

  • Kritios Boy: Human figure in motion

  • Classical Style: naturalism and idealism

  • Myron’s Discobolus

  • Riace Warrior Phideas?

  • Praxiteles’ Aphrodite of Cnidos

  • Contrapposto: S curve

Hellenistic style
Hellenistic Style

  • Emotionally charged realism of later Greek sculpture

  • Alexander the Great Persia and Egypt

  • Individuality

  • Lacoon and his Two Sons

Greek theater
Greek Theater

  • Athens: Greek Theater

  • Themes:

  • Power of the gods

  • Course of human destiny

  • Nature of love and justice

  • Dyonisus patron god: wine, revelry and intoxication. Dyonisian festivals

Greek tragedy
Greek Tragedy

  • Open-air theaters or amphitheaters

  • Wealthy citizens paid playwrights and producers

  • Yearly competition

  • Actors in front of the skene

  • Chorus: actors who danced and chanted on the orchestra, the area surrounded by the theatron

Greek playwrights
Greek Playwrights

  • Thespis: One actor

  • Aeschylus: added a second actor and dialogue. Suffering and guilt led to gods

  • Sophocles: Golden Age of Athens

  • Oedipus Rex

  • Hubris

  • Catharsis


  • Euripides: realism, social commentary

  • Showed people as they were, gripped by violent passions

  • Medea

Greek comedy
Greek Comedy

  • Humorous portrayal of everyday themes and characters.

  • Aristophanes: Clouds and Lysistrata

Greek philosophy
Greek Philosophy

  • Philosophy: came from Greek’s fascination with rational inquiry.

  • Materialists: substance of which all matter was composed

  • Idealists: evidence of a divine and rational plan for cosmos--Pythagoras

  • Sophists: professional teachers, skeptics—Protagoras. Became cynical.


  • Founded classical Greek philosophy and never wrote a word.

  • Socratic Method

  • Gadfly of Athens—Morals worth more than life itself.

  • “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

  • Trial and death: Tried for religious and moral offenses.


  • Student of Socrates

  • Wrote Socrates’ dialogues

  • Apology: Socrates’ trial

  • Phaedo: Socrates’ last conversation

  • The Republic: Ideal city-state/ Three parts of soul: reason, moral courage, appetites

  • The Academy


  • Challenged Plato’s teachings

  • Tutor for Alexander of Macedonia

  • Ethics:Happiness is found in balance between two extremes: Golden Mean

  • Poetics: Formal pattern of Greek drama.

  • Lyceum

Greek music
Greek Music

  • Music: of the “Muses” Goddesses who inspired creative arts.

  • Lyre

  • Aulos

  • Music could bring about feelings

  • Music lost forever

  • Pythagoras’ intervals: octaves

Hellenistic age
Hellenistic Age

  • Philip of Macedon subdued Greek city-states. Succeeded by son Alexander

  • Alexander loved Greek civilization and spread it throughout his empire in Persia and Egypt

  • Hellenistic: Greek-like

Hellenistic legacy
Hellenistic Legacy

  • Collected great classical manuscripts in libraries.

  • Artists imitated forms and ideas of the Greeks.

  • Playwrights copied Greek theater

  • Euclid: Planets revolve around the sun

  • Established Greek culture as the standard.