The Golden Age of Athens Aka: The Age of Pericles
The Persian Wars (499-480 BC) were decisive in the history of the West. Had the Greeks been defeated, the cultural and political vitality we associate and inherit from the Greeks would never have evolved. • The confidence and pride from these victories propelled Greece and Athens, in particular, to its “Golden Age.”
Pericles, 499-429 BC • Pericles was the central figure in Athens during its golden age
Architecture: • The many public buildings and temples were constructed with marble and featured slender, well-proportioned columns. • Many modern public buildings imitate the three great styles of Greek columns:
In Sculpture: • Artists reflected the ideals of the city-state, emphasizing simplicity, dignity and restraint. • Subjects were gods, goddesses and athletes • They realistically depicted the human body utilizing various materials such as marble, bronze, ivory and gold.
Phidias, 500-432 BC • Designed and created the statue of Athena and the marble frieze that extends around the Parthenon
Myron, c. 450 BC • The discabolus portrays strength, motion and ideal serenity, while honoring Olympic athletes.
Aphrodite - Praxitelesthe illusion of life through light, shadow, polished marble and contraposto
Dionysus – Praxiteles
Philosophy • “the search for truth”- the first thinkers to suggest that the forces of nature were not controlled by supernatural forces, personified by gods and goddesses, but could be understood through the use of observation and reason. • This new, natural outlook suggests the emergence of scientific thought.
Socrates,469-399 BC • Advocated the maxim: “Know Thyself” • “…there are universal truths not based on the laws of the gods but rather, based on reason-rational analysis to do what is right.” • He sought truth by persistent questioning.(The Socratic Method) • Left no written work, his philosophy is contained in the writings of his students, especially Plato.
Plato, 427-347 BC • His philosophy is reflected in a series of Dialogueswith Socrates and a student as the speakers. • These discussions cover ethics, religion, beauty, logic and government, among others. • Theory of ideas: there is a higher reality than just experience- a perfect form of everything exists. • Most famous student was Aristotle
Aristotle,384-322 BC • Wrote on philosophy, science, government, logic, ethics and literature…. • His extensive works influenced European thinking for 2,000 years… • >“nothing in excess” >“moderation in all things” >“what is reasonable?”
Aeschylus, 525- 456 BC The Father of Tragedy >Employed a dialog between one actor and the chorus >Introduced the Trilogy >Wrote 90? Plays, 7 survive Won 13 first prizes
Sophocles,495-406 BC • Dramatic plays added a 3rd actor, dealt with the conflict between a person’s will and his fate; include Oedipus Rex, Antigone and Electra, • 120 plays, with 18 first prizes, but only 7 survive
Euripides,480-406 BC • Examined political and social ideas and vigorously criticized war, prejudice, hypocrisy and greed • “Aeschylus and Sophocles showed how men ought to be, Euripides showed men as they are.” • Ahead of his time, felt unappreciated-left Athens for Macedonia.
Aristophanes,446-385 BC • Satirized the political and cultural leadership of Athens in his plays Lysistrata and The Frogs
Herodotus, 484 – 424 BC • The “Father of History” • Described the Persian invasions of Greece… • He embellished facts with fable, superstition and hearsay but was the first to try and “recount the past so that future generations can benefit.”
Thucydides,471-400 BC • The “first scientific historian” – he wrote an accurate and impartial account of the Peloponnesian Wars (431-404 BC)
Pythagoras,582-507 BC • Philosopher and mathematician discovered important mathematical principles: Pythagorean Theorem
Hippocrates, 460-377 BC • “Father of Medicine”- attributed disease to natural, not supernatural causes. • The “Hippocratic Oath” to uphold medical standards is still taken by medical students upon graduation.
Democritus(460-370 BC) • Philosopher and scientist, advanced the theory that all matter is composed of small, invisible atoms