Early History Part IV

During the classical age the drama experienced  its heyday – with the tragedians Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides as well as with the comedy poet Aristophanes; in addition, the prose now produced masterpieces, e. B. historiography (Herodotus, Thucydides) and eloquence (Isocrates, Demosthenes). Sophistics and rhetoric (Gorgias) as well as philosophy emerged from the Greek Enlightenment: Socrates and Plato set completely new standards of rational thought with their way of arguing. Aristotle finally, in his gigantic work, he combined philosophical realism with universal research. Medicine achieved the status of a purely empirical science freed from magic (Hippocrates). Literary production was now concentrated in Athens and accordingly the Attic dialect began to assume the leading role of a common Greek means of communication. In Athens, on the Acropolis, there were also outstanding examples of classical architecture: Phidias, the most famous sculptor of antiquity, created the giant statue of Athena and the 160 m long frieze for the Parthenon.

According to Watchtutorials, classical literature and art were largely tied to the polis as organizers (as in the case of the dramas) or clients (temples with figurines) and were therefore political; the Hellenistic age brought about some changes in this respect, in accordance with the changed circumstances. The seal, e.g. B. the new comedy or the bucolic, withdrew to a large extent into private spheres; on the other hand, palace buildings as in Pergamon are evidence of thisand pathetic large sculptures such as the Laocoon group of the representational style will of the Hellenistic rulers. The specialist sciences (philology, mathematics, astronomy, geography) reached their peak. A huge library was built in Alexandria, the new center, in which the entire literary legacy of the Greeks was collected and organized. Athens retained some importance as the seat of philosophy: In addition to the academy of Plato and the Peripatos of Aristotle, two other schools were established there: the Stoa of Zenons and the “garden” of Epicurus.

The Greek literature of the imperial era was poor in creative impulses. In terms of linguistic and stylistic terms, people turned away from the modern tendencies of Hellenism; The pre-Hellenistic prose of the 4th century BC was sought in a classical spirit. To renew. High-level poetry could no longer be made; a characteristic of the epoch was the entertaining love and adventure novel. Art drew on the styles and genres of the past; Copies of classic masterpieces adorned buildings and gardens in many places.

The culture of the Romans

The Romans, who have been open to Greek influences in almost all areas of culture (religion, state and law, writing and coinage, handicrafts) from the earliest times, only took over the genres and themes of poetry, science and philosophy in the Hellenistic period. At first they were content with translations and adaptations of Greek originals and little attention was paid to a perfect artistic figure. This archaic phase, from which essentially only the pieces by two comedy writers, Plautus and Terence, have survived, followed by the classical music, in two phases. First, in late Republican times, Cicero, Caesar and Sallust ruledthe prose before, later under Augustus the metrically bound poetry with Virgil, Horace and Ovid as the most important representatives. Characteristic of the works of this period – despite their dependence on Greek patterns – is the striving for originality in content and flawless form. During the imperial era, from the death of Augustus to the imperial crisis in the middle of the third century, Roman literature, now fairly independent of its Greek patterns, developed on its own basis. Here, after a phase of bold modernity (Seneca), she started a kind of crab walk: on a classicistic one, on Virgil and Cicero’s orientated trend was followed by archaism, which turned to the pre-classical beginnings of Roman literature. Productivity fell sharply as early as the 2nd century; before the middle of the 3rd century it was then completely extinguished.

The visual arts were also very much based on Greek models, up to and including numerous copies of classical works. The Romans produced something independent in architecture (important technical buildings, villas, theaters, thermal baths, etc.), in portrait sculpture and in historical reliefs. This art of Roman origin has a strongly representative character up to propaganda tendencies (like the Ara Pacis Augustae).

Rome’s most independent achievement, jurisprudence, cannot be reconciled with the history of the rest of literature; it followed its own laws throughout its existence. It occurred in the 2nd century BC. Chr. Entered the stage of written form, with the Greek technical sciences serving as a model methodically and literarily; from now on a plethora of commentaries, case collections and similar writings emerged in uninterrupted succession. This literature did not reach its peak until the 2nd century AD; then, however, with the end of the Principate, it collapsed suddenly. Little more has been preserved than what Emperor Justinian (527-565) included in the part of his Corpus Iuris ( Corpus Iuris Civilis) entitled “Digest”.

Early History 4

Early History Part IV
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