Classical antiquity

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The Parthenon is one of the most iconic symbols of the classical era, exemplifying ancient Greek culture. 2006 01 21 Athenes Parthenon.JPG
The Parthenon is one of the most iconic symbols of the classical era, exemplifying ancient Greek culture.

Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history between the 8th century BC and the 6th century AD centered on the Mediterranean Sea, [1] comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome known as the Greco-Roman world. It is the period in which Greek and Roman society flourished and wielded great influence throughout Europe, North Africa and Western Asia.

History The study of the past as it is described in written documents.

History is the past as it is described in written documents, and the study thereof. Events occurring before written records are considered prehistory. "History" is an umbrella term that relates to past events as well as the memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation, and interpretation of information about these events. Scholars who write about history are called historians.

Mediterranean Sea Sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean between Europe, Africa and Asia

The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa and on the east by the Levant. Although the sea is sometimes considered a part of the Atlantic Ocean, it is usually identified as a separate body of water. Geological evidence indicates that around 5.9 million years ago, the Mediterranean was cut off from the Atlantic and was partly or completely desiccated over a period of some 600,000 years before being refilled by the Zanclean flood about 5.3 million years ago.

Ancient Greece Civilization belonging to an early period of Greek history

Ancient Greece was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Roughly three centuries after the Late Bronze Age collapse of Mycenaean Greece, Greek urban poleis began to form in the 8th century BC, ushering in the Archaic period and colonization of the Mediterranean Basin. This was followed by the period of Classical Greece, an era that began with the Greco-Persian Wars, lasting from the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Due to the conquests by Alexander the Great of Macedon, Hellenistic civilization flourished from Central Asia to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea. The Hellenistic period came to an end with the conquests and annexations of the eastern Mediterranean world by the Roman Republic, which established the Roman province of Macedonia in Roman Greece, and later the province of Achaea during the Roman Empire.

Contents

Conventionally, it is taken to begin with the earliest-recorded Epic Greek poetry of Homer (8th–7th century BC), and continues through the emergence of Christianity and the fall of the Western Roman Empire (5th century AD). It ends with the dissolution of classical culture at the close of Late Antiquity (300–600), blending into the Early Middle Ages (600–1000). Such a wide sampling of history and territory covers many disparate cultures and periods. Classical antiquity may also refer to an idealised vision among later people of what was, in Edgar Allan Poe's words, "the glory that was Greece, and the grandeur that was Rome". [2]

Homer name ascribed by the ancient Greeks to the legendary author of the Iliad and the Odyssey

Homer is the legendary author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, two epic poems that are the central works of ancient Greek literature. The Iliad is set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek kingdoms. It focuses on a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles lasting a few weeks during the last year of the war. The Odyssey focuses on the ten-year journey home of Odysseus, king of Ithaca, after the fall of Troy. Many accounts of Homer's life circulated in classical antiquity, the most widespread being that he was a blind bard from Ionia, a region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey. Modern scholars consider these accounts legendary.

Fall of the Western Roman Empire Political change in late antiquity that came with the collapse of the Western Roman Empire

The Fall of the Western Roman Empire was the process of decline in the Western Roman Empire in which the Empire failed to enforce its rule, and its vast territory was divided into several successor polities. The Roman Empire lost the strengths that had allowed it to exercise effective control over its Western provinces; modern historians mention factors including the effectiveness and numbers of the army, the health and numbers of the Roman population, the strength of the economy, the competence of the Emperors, the internal struggles for power, the religious changes of the period, and the efficiency of the civil administration. Increasing pressure from invading barbarians outside Roman culture also contributed greatly to the collapse. The reasons for the collapse are major subjects of the historiography of the ancient world and they inform much modern discourse on state failure.

Early Middle Ages Period of European history between the 5th and 10th centuries

Historians typically regard the Early Middle Ages or Early Medieval Period, sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages, as lasting from the 5th or 6th century to the 10th century. They marked the start of the Middle Ages of European history. The alternative term "Late Antiquity" emphasizes elements of continuity with the Roman Empire, while "Early Middle Ages" is used to emphasize developments characteristic of the earlier medieval period. As such the concept overlaps with Late Antiquity, following the decline of the Western Roman Empire, and precedes the High Middle Ages.

The culture of the ancient Greeks, together with some influences from the ancient Near East, was the basis of art, [3] philosophy, society, and educational ideals, until the Roman imperial period. The Romans preserved, imitated and spread over Europe these ideals until they were able to competitively rival the Greek culture, as the Latin language became widespread and the classical world became bilingual, Greek and Latin. [4] [5] This Greco-Roman cultural foundation has been immensely influential on the language, politics, law, educational systems, philosophy, science, warfare, poetry, historiography, ethics, rhetoric, art and architecture of the modern world. From the surviving fragments of classical antiquity, a revival movement was gradually formed from the 14th century onwards which came to be known later in Europe as the Renaissance, and again resurgent during various neo-classical revivals in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Culture Social behavior and norms found in society

Culture is the social behavior and norms found in human societies.

The Greeks or Hellenes are an ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus, southern Albania, Italy, Turkey, Egypt and, to a lesser extent, other countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world.

Ancient Near East home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East

The ancient Near East was the home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, ancient Iran, Anatolia/Asia Minor and Armenian Highlands, the Levant, Cyprus and the Arabian Peninsula. The ancient Near East is studied in the fields of Near Eastern archaeology and ancient history.

Archaic period (c. 8th to c. 6th centuries BC)

The earliest period of classical antiquity takes place before the background of gradual re-appearance of historical sources following the Bronze Age collapse. The 8th and 7th centuries BC are still largely proto-historical, with the earliest Greek alphabetic inscriptions appearing in the first half of the 8th century. Homer is usually assumed to have lived in the 8th or 7th century BC, and his lifetime is often taken as marking the beginning of classical antiquity. In the same period falls the traditional date for the establishment of the Ancient Olympic Games, in 776 BC.

History of the Greek alphabet

The history of the Greek alphabet starts with the adoption of Phoenician letter forms and continues to the present day. The Greek alphabet postdates Linear B, the syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, by several centuries. This article concentrates on the early period, before the codification of the now-standard Greek alphabet.

Ancient Olympic Games Athletic competitions in Ancient Greece

The ancient Olympic Games were originally a festival, or celebration of and for Zeus; later, events such as a footrace, a javelin contest, and wrestling matches were added. The Olympic Games were a series of athletic competitions among representatives of city-states and one of the Panhellenic Games of ancient Greece. They were held in honor of Zeus, and the Greeks gave them a mythological origin. The first Olympics is traditionally dated to 776 BC. They continued to be celebrated when Greece came under Roman rule, until the emperor Theodosius I suppressed them in AD 393 as part of the campaign to impose Christianity as the State religion of Rome. The games were held every four years, or olympiad, which became a unit of time in historical chronologies.

Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Assyrians

Map of Phoenician (in yellow) and Greek colonies (in red) around 8th to 6th century BC Griechischen und phonizischen Kolonien.jpg
Map of Phoenician (in yellow) and Greek colonies (in red) around 8th to 6th century BC

The Phoenicians originally expanded from Canaan ports, by the 8th century dominating trade in the Mediterranean. Carthage was founded in 814 BC, and the Carthaginians by 700 BC had firmly established strongholds in Sicily, Italy and Sardinia, which created conflicts of interest with Etruria. A stela found in Kition, Cyprus commemorates the victory of king Sargon II in 709 BC over the seven kings of the island, marking an important step in the emancipation of Cyprus from Tyrian rule by the Assyrian military. [6] [7] [8] [9]

Canaan A Semitic-speaking region in the Ancient Near East

Canaan was a Semitic-speaking region and civilization in the Ancient Near East during the late 2nd millennium BC. The name Canaan appears throughout the Bible, where it corresponds to the Levant, in particular to the areas of the Southern Levant that provide the main setting of the narrative of the Bible: Phoenicia, Philistia, Israel, and other nations.

Port maritime commercial facility

A port is a maritime facility which may comprise one or more wharves where ships may dock to load and discharge passengers and cargo. Although usually situated on a sea coast or estuary, some ports, such as Hamburg, Manchester and Duluth, are many miles inland, with access to the sea via river or canal.

Carthage archaeological site in Tunisia

Carthage was the center or capital city of the ancient Carthaginian civilization, on the eastern side of the Lake of Tunis in what is now the Tunis Governorate in Tunisia. Carthage was widely considered the most important trading hub of the Ancient Mediterranean and was arguably one of the most affluent cities of the Ancient World.

Greece

The Archaic period followed the Greek Dark Ages, and saw significant advancements in political theory, and the rise of democracy, philosophy, theatre, poetry, as well as the revitalisation of the written language (which had been lost during the Dark Ages).

Greek Dark Ages period of time in ancient Greece

The Greek Dark Ages, Homeric Age or Geometric period , is the period of Greek history from the end of the Mycenaean palatial civilization around 1100 BC to the first signs of the Greek poleis in the 9th century BC.

Democracy system of government in which citizens vote directly in or elect representatives to form a governing body, sometimes called "rule of the majority"

Democracy is a system of government where the citizens exercise power by voting. In a direct democracy, the citizens as a whole form a governing body and vote directly on each issue. In a representative democracy the citizens elect representatives from among themselves. These representatives meet to form a governing body, such as a legislature. In a constitutional democracy the powers of the majority are exercised within the framework of a representative democracy, but the constitution limits the majority and protects the minority, usually through the enjoyment by all of certain individual rights, e.g. freedom of speech, or freedom of association.

Philosophy Study of general and fundamental questions

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers also pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will?

In pottery, the Archaic period sees the development of the Orientalizing style, which signals a shift from the Geometric style of the later Dark Ages and the accumulation of influences derived from Egypt, Phoenicia and Syria.

Pottery styles associated with the later part of the Archaic age are the black-figure pottery, which originated in Corinth during the 7th century BC and its successor, the red-figure style, developed by the Andokides Painter in about 530 BC.

Greek colonies

Iron Age Italy

Etruscan civilization in north of Italy, 800 BC. Etruscan civilization map.png
Etruscan civilization in north of Italy, 800 BC.

The Etruscans had established political control in the region by the late 7th century BC, forming the aristocratic and monarchial elite. The Etruscans apparently lost power in the area by the late 6th century BC, and at this point, the Italic tribes reinvented their government by creating a republic, with much greater restraints on the ability of rulers to exercise power. [10]

Roman Kingdom

According to legend, Rome was founded on April 21, 753 BC by twin descendants of the Trojan prince Aeneas, Romulus and Remus. [11] As the city was bereft of women, legend says that the Latins invited the Sabines to a festival and stole their unmarried maidens, leading to the integration of the Latins and the Sabines. [12]

Archaeological evidence indeed shows first traces of settlement at the Roman Forum in the mid-8th century BC, though settlements on the Palatine Hill may date back to the 10th century BC. [13] [14]

The seventh and final king of Rome was Tarquinius Superbus. As the son of Tarquinius Priscus and the son-in-law of Servius Tullius, Superbus was of Etruscan birth. It was during his reign that the Etruscans reached their apex of power.

Superbus removed and destroyed all the Sabine shrines and altars from the Tarpeian Rock, enraging the people of Rome. The people came to object to his rule when he failed to recognize the rape of Lucretia, a patrician Roman, at the hands of his own son. Lucretia's kinsman, Lucius Junius Brutus (ancestor to Marcus Brutus), summoned the Senate and had Superbus and the monarchy expelled from Rome in 510 BC. After Superbus' expulsion, the Senate voted to never again allow the rule of a king and reformed Rome into a republican government in 509 BC. In fact the Latin word "Rex" meaning King became a dirty and hated word throughout the Republic and later on the Empire.[ citation needed ]

Classical Greece (5th to 4th centuries BC)

Delian League ("Athenian Empire"), right before the Peloponnesian War in 431 BC Map athenian empire 431 BC-en.svg
Delian League ("Athenian Empire"), right before the Peloponnesian War in 431 BC

The classical period of Ancient Greece corresponds to most of the 5th and 4th centuries BC, in particular, from the fall of the Athenian tyranny in 510 BC to the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC. In 510, Spartan troops helped the Athenians overthrow the tyrant Hippias, son of Peisistratos. Cleomenes I, king of Sparta, put in place a pro-Spartan oligarchy conducted by Isagoras.

The Greco-Persian Wars (499–449 BC), concluded by the Peace of Callias gave way not only to the liberation of Greece, Macedon, Thrace, and Ionia from Persian rule, but also resulted in giving the dominant position of Athens in the Delian League, which led to conflict with Sparta and the Peloponnesian League, resulting in the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC), which ended in a Spartan victory.

Greece entered the 4th century under Spartan hegemony. But by 395 BC the Spartan rulers removed Lysander from office, and Sparta lost her naval supremacy. Athens, Argos, Thebes and Corinth, the latter two of which were formerly Spartan allies, challenged Spartan dominance in the Corinthian War, which ended inconclusively in 387 BC. Later, in 371 BC, the Theban generals Epaminondas and Pelopidas won a victory at the Battle of Leuctra. The result of this battle was the end of Spartan supremacy and the establishment of Theban hegemony. Thebes sought to maintain its position until it was finally eclipsed by the rising power of Macedon in 346 BC.

Under Philip II, (359–336 BC), Macedon expanded into the territory of the Paeonians, the Thracians and the Illyrians. Philip's son, Alexander the Great, (356–323 BC) managed to briefly extend Macedonian power not only over the central Greek city-states, but also to the Persian Empire, including Egypt and lands as far east as the fringes of India. The classical period conventionally ends at the death of Alexander in 323 BC and the fragmentation of his empire, which was at this time divided among the Diadochi.

Hellenistic period (323–146 BC)

Classical Greece entered the Hellenistic period with the rise of Macedon and the conquests of Alexander the Great. Greek became the lingua franca far beyond Greece itself, and Hellenistic culture interacted with the cultures of Persia, Kingdom of Israel and Kingdom of Judah, Central Asia and Egypt. Significant advances were made in the sciences (geography, astronomy, mathematics etc.), notably with the followers of Aristotle (Aristotelianism).

The Hellenistic period ended with the rise of the Roman Republic to a super-regional power in the 2nd century BC and the Roman conquest of Greece in 146 BC.

Roman Republic (5th to 1st centuries BC)

The extent of the Roman Republic and Roman Empire in 218 BC (dark red), 133 BC (light red), 44 BC (orange), 14 AD (yellow), after 14 AD (green), and maximum extension under Trajan 117 (light green) Extent of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire between 218 BC and 117 AD.png
The extent of the Roman Republic and Roman Empire in 218 BC (dark red), 133 BC (light red), 44 BC (orange), 14 AD (yellow), after 14 AD (green), and maximum extension under Trajan 117 (light green)

The republican period of Ancient Rome began with the overthrow of the Monarchy c. 509 BC and lasted over 450 years until its subversion, through a series of civil wars, into the Principate form of government and the Imperial period. During the half millennium of the Republic, Rome rose from a regional power of the Latium to the dominant force in Italy and beyond. The unification of Italy under Roman hegemony was a gradual process, brought about in a series of conflicts of the 4th and 3rd centuries, the Samnite Wars, Latin War, and Pyrrhic War. Roman victory in the Punic Wars and Macedonian Wars established Rome as a super-regional power by the 2nd century BC, followed up by the acquisition of Greece and Asia Minor. This tremendous increase of power was accompanied by economic instability and social unrest, leading to the Catiline conspiracy, the Social War and the First Triumvirate, and finally the transformation to the Roman Empire in the latter half of the 1st century BC.

Roman Empire (1st century BC to 5th century AD)

The extent of the Roman Empire under Trajan, AD 117 RomanEmpire 117.svg
The extent of the Roman Empire under Trajan, AD 117

Determining the precise end of the Republic is a task of dispute by modern historians; [15] Roman citizens of the time did not recognize that the Republic had ceased to exist. The early Julio-Claudian "Emperors" maintained that the res publica still existed, albeit under the protection of their extraordinary powers, and would eventually return to its full Republican form. The Roman state continued to call itself a res publica as long as it continued to use Latin as its official language.

Rome acquired imperial character de facto from the 130s BC with the acquisition of Cisalpine Gaul, Illyria, Greece and Hispania, and definitely with the addition of Iudaea, Asia Minor and Gaul in the 1st century BC. At the time of the empire's maximal extension under Trajan (AD 117), Rome controlled the entire Mediterranean as well as Gaul, parts of Germania and Britannia, the Balkans, Dacia, Asia Minor, the Caucasus and Mesopotamia.

Culturally, the Roman Empire was significantly hellenized, but also saw the rise of syncratic "eastern" traditions, such as Mithraism, Gnosticism, and most notably Christianity. The empire began to decline in the crisis of the third century

While sometimes compared with classical Greece,[ by whom? ] classical Rome had vast differences within their family life. Fathers had great power over their children, and husbands over their wives, and these acts were commonly compared with slave-owners and slaves. In fact the word family, "famiglia" in Italian, actually referred to those who were under authority of a male head of household. This included non-related members such as slaves and servants. In marriage, both man and woman were loyal to one another and shared property. Divorce was first allowed starting in the first century BC and could be done by either man or woman. [16]

Late Antiquity (4th to 6th centuries AD)

The Western and Eastern Roman Empires by 476 Roman Empires 476AD.svg
The Western and Eastern Roman Empires by 476

Late Antiquity saw the rise of Christianity under Constantine I, finally ousting the Roman imperial cult with the Theodosian decrees of 393. Successive invasions of Germanic tribes finalized the decline of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century, while the Eastern Roman Empire persisted throughout the Middle Ages, in a state called the Roman Empire by its citizens, and labelled the Byzantine Empire by later historians. Hellenistic philosophy was succeeded by continued developments in Platonism and Epicureanism, with Neoplatonism in due course influencing the theology of the Church Fathers.

Many writers have attempted to put a specific date on the symbolic "end" of antiquity with the most prominent dates being the deposing of the last Western Roman Emperor in 476, [17] [18] the closing of the last Platonic Academy in Athens by the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I in 529, [19] and the conquest of much of the Mediterranean by the new Muslim faith from 634-718. [20] These Muslim conquests, of Syria (637), Egypt (639), Cyprus (654), North Africa (665), Hispania (718), Southern Gaul (720), Crete (820), and Sicily (827), Malta (870) (and the sieges of the Eastern Roman capital, First Arab Siege of Constantinople (674–78) and Second Arab Siege of Constantinople (717–18)) severed the economic, cultural, and political links that had traditionally united the classical cultures around the Mediterranean, ending antiquity (see Pirenne Thesis). [20]

The Byzantine Empire in 650 after the Arabs conquered the provinces of Syria and Egypt. At the same time early Slavs settled in the Balkans. Byzantiumby650AD.svg
The Byzantine Empire in 650 after the Arabs conquered the provinces of Syria and Egypt. At the same time early Slavs settled in the Balkans.

The original Roman Senate continued to express decrees into the late 6th century, and the last Eastern Roman emperor to use Latin as the language of his court in Constantinople was emperor Maurice, who reigned until 602. The overthrow of Maurice by his mutinying Danube army under Phocas resulted in the Slavic invasion of the Balkans and the decline of Balkan and Greek urban culture (leading to the flight of Balkan Latin speakers to the mountains, see Origin of the Romanians), and also provoked the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 in which all the great eastern cities except Constantinople were lost. The resulting turmoil did not end until the Muslim conquests of the 7th century finalized the irreversible loss of all the largest Eastern Roman imperial cities besides the capital itself. The emperor Heraclius in Constantinople, who emerged during this period, conducted his court in Greek, not Latin, though Greek had always been an administrative language of the eastern Roman regions. Eastern-Western links weakened with the ending of the Byzantine Papacy.

The Eastern Roman empire's capital city of Constantinople was left as the only unconquered large urban center of the original Roman empire, as well as being the largest city in Europe. Over the next millennium the Roman culture of that city would slowly change, leading modern historians to refer to it by a new name, Byzantine, though many classical books, sculptures, and technologies survived there along with classical Roman cuisine and scholarly traditions, well into the Middle Ages, when much of it was "rediscovered" by visiting Western crusaders. Indeed, the inhabitants of Constantinople continued to refer to themselves as Romans, as did their eventual conquerors in 1453, the Ottomans. (See Rûm and Romaioi.) The classical scholarship and culture that was still preserved in Constantinople was brought by refugees fleeing its conquest in 1453 and helped to spark the Renaissance, see Greek scholars in the Renaissance.

Ultimately, it was a slow, complex, and graduated change in the socioeconomic structure in European history that led to the changeover between Classical Antiquity and Medieval society and no specific date can truly exemplify that.

Political revivalism

In politics, the late Roman conception of the Empire as a universal state, headed by one supreme divinely-appointed ruler, united with Christianity as a universal religion likewise headed by a supreme patriarch, proved very influential, even after the disappearance of imperial authority in the west. This tendency reached its peak when Charlemagne was crowned "Roman Emperor" in the year 800, an act which led to the formation of the Holy Roman Empire. The notion that an emperor is a monarch who outranks a mere king dates from this period. In this political ideal, there would always be a Roman Empire, a state whose jurisdiction extended to the entire civilized world.

That model continued to exist in Constantinople for the entirety of the Middle Ages; the Byzantine Emperor was considered the sovereign of the entire Christian world. The Patriarch of Constantinople was the Empire's highest-ranked cleric, but even he was subordinate to the Emperor, who was "God's Vicegerent on Earth". The Greek-speaking Byzantines and their descendants continued to call themselves "Romans" until the creation of a new Greek state in 1832.

After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the Russian Czars (a title derived from Caesar) claimed the Byzantine mantle as the champion of Orthodoxy; Moscow was described as the "Third Rome" and the Czars ruled as divinely-appointed Emperors into the 20th century.

Despite the fact that the Western Roman secular authority disappeared entirely in Europe, it still left traces. The Papacy and the Catholic Church in particular maintained Latin language, culture and literacy for centuries; to this day the popes are called Pontifex Maximus which in the classical period was a title belonging to the Emperor, and the ideal of Christendom carried on the legacy of a united European civilisation even after its political unity had disappeared.

The political idea of an Emperor in the West to match the Emperor in the East continued after the Western Roman Empire's collapse; it was revived by the coronation of Charlemagne in 800; the self-described Holy Roman Empire ruled over central Europe until 1806.

The Renaissance idea that the classical Roman virtues had been lost under medievalism was especially powerful in European politics of the 18th and 19th centuries. Reverence for Roman republicanism was strong among the Founding Fathers of the United States and the Latin American revolutionaries; the Americans described their new government as a republic (from res publica ) and gave it a Senate and a President (another Latin term), rather than make use of available English terms like commonwealth or parliament.

Similarly in Revolutionary and Napoleonic France, republicanism and Roman martial virtues were upheld by the state, as can be seen in the architecture of the Panthéon, the Arc de Triomphe, and the paintings of Jacques-Louis David. During the revolution France itself followed the transition from kingdom to republic to dictatorship to Empire (complete with Imperial Eagles) that Rome had undergone centuries earlier.

Cultural legacy

Plato and Aristotle walking and disputing. Detail from Raphael's The School of Athens (1509-1511) Sanzio 01 cropped.png
Plato and Aristotle walking and disputing. Detail from Raphael's The School of Athens (1509-1511)

Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history. Such a wide sampling of history and territory covers many rather disparate cultures and periods. "Classical antiquity" often refers to an idealized vision of later people, of what was, in Edgar Allan Poe's words,

"the glory that was Greece, the grandeur that was Rome!"

In the 18th and 19th centuries AD, reverence for classical antiquity was much greater in Europe and the United States than it is today. Respect for the ancients of Greece and Rome affected politics, philosophy, sculpture, literature, theatre, education, and even architecture and sexuality.

Epic poetry in Latin continued to be written and circulated well into the 19th century. John Milton and even Arthur Rimbaud received their first poetic educations in Latin. Genres like epic poetry, pastoral verse, and the endless use of characters and themes from Greek mythology left a deep mark on Western literature. In architecture, there have been several Greek Revivals, which seem more inspired in retrospect by Roman architecture than Greek. Washington, DC is filled with large marble buildings with facades made out to look like Roman temples, with columns constructed in the classical orders of architecture.

In philosophy, the efforts of St Thomas Aquinas were derived largely from the thought of Aristotle, despite the intervening change in religion from Hellenic Polytheism to Christianity.[ citation needed ] Greek and Roman authorities such as Hippocrates and Galen formed the foundation of the practice of medicine even longer than Greek thought prevailed in philosophy. In the French theater, tragedians such as Molière and Racine wrote plays on mythological or classical historical subjects and subjected them to the strict rules of the classical unities derived from Aristotle's Poetics . The desire to dance like a latter-day vision of how the ancient Greeks did it moved Isadora Duncan to create her brand of ballet.

Timeline

See also

Regions during classical antiquity

Related Research Articles

Classics Study of the culture of (mainly) Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome

Classics or classical studies is the study of classical antiquity. It encompasses the study of the Greco-Roman world, particularly of its languages and literature but also of Greco-Roman philosophy, history, and archaeology. Traditionally in the West, the study of the Greek and Roman classics is considered one of the cornerstones of the humanities and a fundamental element of a rounded education. The study of classics has therefore traditionally been a cornerstone of a typical elite education.

Greek literature dates back from the ancient Greek literature, beginning in 800 BC, to the modern Greek literature of today.

Culture of ancient Rome

The culture of ancient Rome existed throughout the almost 1200-year history of the civilization of Ancient Rome. The term refers to the culture of the Roman Republic, later the Roman Empire, which at its peak covered an area from Lowland Scotland and Morocco to the Euphrates.

Sestos human settlement

Sestos was an ancient city in Thrace. It was located at the Thracian Chersonese peninsula on the European coast of the Hellespont, opposite the ancient city of Abydos, and near the town of Eceabat in Turkey.

Hellenistic period Period of ancient Greek and Mediterranean history

The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the subsequent conquest of Ptolemaic Egypt the following year. The Ancient Greek word Hellas is the original word for Greece, from which the word Hellenistic was derived.

History of Greece history of Greece

The history of Greece encompasses the history of the territory of the modern nation state of Greece as well as that of the Greek people and the areas they inhabited and ruled historically. The scope of Greek habitation and rule has varied throughout the ages and as a result the history of Greece is similarly elastic in what it includes. Generally, the history of Greece is divided into the following periods:

Hellenistic Greece

In the context of ancient Greek art, architecture, and culture, Hellenistic Greece corresponds to the period between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the annexation of the classical Greek Achaean League heartlands by the Roman Republic. This culminated at the Battle of Corinth in 146 BC, a crushing Roman victory in the Peloponnese that led to the destruction of Corinth and ushered in the period of Roman Greece. Hellenistic Greece's definitive end was with the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, when the future emperor Augustus defeated Greek Ptolemaic queen Cleopatra VII and Mark Antony, the next year taking over Alexandria, the last great center of Hellenistic Greece.

Classical archaeology is the archaeological investigation of the Mediterranean civilizations of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. Nineteenth-century archaeologists such as Heinrich Schliemann were drawn to study the societies they had read about in Latin and Greek texts. Many universities and foreign nations maintain excavation programs and schools in the area-such is the enduring appeal of the region's archaeology.

Hellenization historical spread of ancient Greek culture

Hellenization or Hellenism is the historical spread of ancient Greek culture, religion, and, to a lesser extent, language over foreign peoples conquered by Greeks or brought into their sphere of influence, particularly during the Hellenistic period following the campaigns of Alexander the Great in the fourth century BC. The result of Hellenization was that elements of Greek origin combined in various forms and degrees with local elements, and these Greek influences spread from the Mediterranean basin as far east as modern-day Pakistan. In modern times, Hellenization has been associated with the adoption of modern Greek culture and the ethnic and cultural homogenization of Greece.

Late antiquity Period just before the Middle Ages

Late antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from classical antiquity to the Middle Ages in mainland Europe, the Mediterranean world, and the Near East. The popularization of this periodization in English has generally been accredited to historian Peter Brown, after the publication of his seminal work The World of Late Antiquity (1971). Precise boundaries for the period are a continuing matter of debate, but Brown proposes a period between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Generally, it can be thought of as from the end of the Roman Empire's Crisis of the Third Century to, in the East, the early Muslim conquests in the mid-7th century. In the West the end was earlier, with the start of the Early Middle Ages typically placed in the 6th century, or earlier on the edges of the Western Roman Empire.

Greece in the Roman era

Greece in the Roman era describes the period of Greek history when Ancient Greece was dominated by the Roman Republic, the Roman Empire, and the Byzantine Empire. The Roman era of Greek history began with the Corinthian defeat in the Battle of Corinth in 146 BC. However, before the Achaean War, the Roman Republic had been steadily gaining control of mainland Greece by defeating the Kingdom of Macedon in a series of conflicts known as the Macedonian Wars. The Fourth Macedonian War ended at the Battle of Pydna in 148 BC and defeat of the Macedonian royal pretender Andriscus.

Kingdom of Commagene ancient Armenian kingdom of the Hellenistic period

The Kingdom of Commagene was an ancient Armenian kingdom of the Hellenistic period, located in and around the ancient city of Samosata, which served as its capital. The Iron Age name of Samosata, Kummuh, probably gives its name to Commagene. Commagene has been characterized as a "buffer state" between Armenia, Parthia, Syria, and Rome; culturally, it seems to have been correspondingly mixed. The kings of the Kingdom of Commagene claimed descent from Orontes with Darius I of Persia as their ancestor, by his marriage to Rodogoune, daughter of Artaxerxes II who had a family descent from king Darius I. The territory of Commagene corresponds roughly to the modern Turkish provinces of Adıyaman and northern Antep.

<i>Praefectus urbi</i> magistrate of Rome

The praefectus urbanus, also called praefectus urbi or urban prefect in English, was prefect of the city of Rome, and later also of Constantinople. The office originated under the Roman kings, continued during the Republic and Empire, and held high importance in late Antiquity. The office survived the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, and the last urban prefect of Rome, named Iohannes, is attested in 599. In the East, in Constantinople, the office survived until the 13th century.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to classical studies:

Legacy of the Roman Empire impact of ancient Rome on later events

The legacy of the Roman Empire includes sets of cultural values, religious beliefs, technological advances, engineering and language. This legacy survived the demise of the empire itself and went on to shape other civilisations, a process which continues to this day. The city of Rome was the civitas and connected with the actual western civilisation on which subsequent cultures built.

Roman mythology traditional stories pertaining to ancient Romes legendary origins and religious system

Roman mythology is the body of traditional stories pertaining to ancient Rome's legendary origins and religious system, as represented in the literature and visual arts of the Romans. "Roman mythology" may also refer to the modern study of these representations, and to the subject matter as represented in the literature and art of other cultures in any period.

Jonathan Mark Hall is Professor of Greek History at the University of Chicago. He earned a BA from the University of Oxford in 1988 and a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 1993 and he is the author of many books, including Ethnic Identity in Greek Antiquity, Hellenicity: Between Ethnicity and Culture, and A History of the Archaic Greek World, ca. 1200-479 BCE, and of various articles and reviews on Archaic and Classical Greece. His focus of research is on Greek history, historiography, and archaeology. He has received Quantrell Teaching Award in 2009.

Patronage (clientela) was the distinctive relationship in ancient Roman society between the patronus ("patron") and their cliens ("client"). The relationship was hierarchical, but obligations were mutual. The patron was the protector, sponsor, and benefactor of the client; the technical term for this protection was patrocinium. Although typically the client was of inferior social class, a patron and client might even hold the same social rank, but the former would possess greater wealth, power, or prestige that enabled them to help or do favors for the client. From the emperor at the top to the commoner at the bottom, the bonds between these groups found formal expression in legal definition of patrons' responsibilities to clients.

Languages of the Roman Empire languages of a geographic region

Latin and Greek were the official languages of the Roman Empire, but other languages were important regionally. Latin was the original language of the Romans and remained the language of imperial administration, legislation, and the military throughout the classical period. In the West it became the lingua franca and came to be used for even local administration of the cities including the law courts. After all freeborn inhabitants of the Empire were universally enfranchised in 212 AD, a great number of Roman citizens would have lacked Latin, though they were expected to acquire at least a token knowledge, and Latin remained a marker of "Romanness".

References

Citations

  1. For more detail on the end dates used by historians, see Middle Ages#Terminology and periodisation
  2. Poe EA (1831). "To Helen".
  3. Helga von Heintze  [ de ]: Römische Kunst (Roman art). In: Walter-Herwig Schuchhardt (1960): Bildende Kunst I (Archäologie) (Visual arts I — archaeology). Das Fischer Lexikon  [ de ]. S. Fischer Verlag. p. 192. "Bestimmend blieb (...) der italisch-römische Geist, der sich der entlehnten Formen nur bediente. (...) Ohne [die] Begegnung [mit der griechischen Formenwelt, author's note] hätte der italisch-römische Geist sich wohl kaum in künstlerischen Schöpfungen ausdrücken können und wäre nicht über die Ansätze, die wir in den Kanopen von Chiusi (...), der kapitolinischen Wölfin (...), dem Krieger von Capestrano (...) erhalten haben, hinausgekommen. Auch die gleichermaßen realistische wie unkünstlerische Auffassung der Porträts im 2. und 1. J[ahr]h[undert] v[or] Chr[istus] konnte sich nur unter dem Einfluß griechischer Formen ändern." ("Determinant remained the Italic-Roman spirit, that just availed itself of the borrowed forms. (...) Without having come across [the world of the Greek forms], the Italic-Roman spirit would hardly have been able to express itself in works of art and would not have got beyond the starts that are preserved in the canopic jars of Chiusi, the Capitoline Wolf, the Warrior of Capestrano. Also the likewise realistic and inartistic conception and production of the portraits in the second and the first centuries BC could only change under the influence of Greek forms.")
  4. Der Große Brockhaus. 1. vol.: A-Beo. Eberhard Brockhaus, Wiesbaden 1953, p. 315. "Ihre dankbarsten und verständnisvollsten Schüler aber fand die hellenistische Kultur in den Römern; sie wurden Mäzene, Nachahmer und schließlich Konkurrenten, indem sie die eigene Sprache wetteifernd neben die griechische setzten: so wurde die antike Kultur zweisprachig, griechisch und lateinisch. Das System dieser griechisch-hellenistisch-römischen Kultur, das sich in der römischen Kaiserzeit abschließend gestaltete, enthielt, neben Elementen des Orients, die griechische Wissenschaft und Philosophie, Dichtung, Geschichtsschreibung, Rhetorik und bildende Kunst." ("The Hellenistic culture but found its most thankful and its most understanding disciples in the Romans; they became patrons, imitators, and finally rivals, when they competitively set the own language beside the Greek: thus, the antique culture became bilingual, Greek and Latin. The system of this Greco-Latin culture, that assumed its definitive shape in the Roman imperial period, contained, amongst elements of the Orient, the Greek science and philosophy, poetry, historiography, rhetoric and visual arts.")
  5. Veit Valentin: Weltgeschichte — Völker, Männer, Ideen (History of the world — peoples, men, ideas). Allert de Lange  [ de ], Amsterdam 1939, p. 113. "Es ist ein merkwürdiges Schauspiel — dieser Kampf eines bewussten Römertums gegen die geriebene Gewandtheit des Hellenismus: der römische Geschmack wehrt sich und verbohrt sich trotzig in sich selbst, aber es fällt ihm nicht genug ein, er kann nicht über seine Grenzen weg; was die Griechen bieten, hat soviel Reiz und Bequemlichkeit. In der bildenden Kunst und in der Philosophie gab das Römertum zuerst den Kampf um seine Selbständigkeit auf — Bilden um des Bildes willen, Forschen und Grübeln, theoretische Wahrheitssuche und Spekulation lagen ihm durchaus nicht." ("It is a strange spectacle: this fight of a conscious Roman striving against the wily ingenuity of Hellenism. The Roman taste offers resistance, defiantly goes mad about itself, but there does not come enough into its mind, it is not able to overcome its limits; there is so much charm and so much comfort in what the Greeks afford. In visual arts and philosophy, Romanism first abandoned the struggle for its independence — forming for the sake of the form, poring and investigation, theoretical speculation and hunt for truth were by no means in its line.")
  6. "The Esarhaddon Prism / Library of Ashurbanipal". British Museum.
  7. Yon, M., Malbran-Labat, F. 1995: “La stèle de Sargon II à Chypre”, in A. Caubet (ed.), Khorsabad, le palais de Sargon II, roi d’Assyrie, Paris, 159-179.
  8. Radner, K. 2010: “The Stele of Sargon II of Assyria at Kition: A focus for an emerging Cypriot identity?”, in R. Rollinger, B. Gufler, M. Lang, I. Madreiter (eds), Interkulturalität in der Alten Welt: Vorderasien, Hellas, Ägypten und die vielfältigen Ebenen des Kontakts, Wiesbaden, 429-449.
  9. "The Cypriot rulers as client kings of the Assyrian empire". The many kingdoms of Cyprus. 5 Nov 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  10. Ancient Rome and the Roman Empire by Michael Kerrigan. Dorling Kindersley, London: 2001. ISBN   0-7894-8153-7. page 12.
  11. Adkins, Lesley; Adkins, Roy (1998). Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 3. ISBN   9780195123326.
  12. Myths and Legends – Rome, the Wolf, and Mars Archived 2007-05-29 at the Wayback Machine . Accessed 2007-3-8.
  13. Matyszak, Philip (2003). Chronicle of the Roman Republic: The Rulers of Ancient Rome from Romulus to Augustus. Thames & Hudson. p. 19. ISBN   9780500051214.
  14. Duiker, 2001. page 129.[ full citation needed ]
  15. The precise event which signaled the transition of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire is a matter of interpretation. Historians have proposed the appointment of Julius Caesar as perpetual dictator (44 BC), the Battle of Actium (September 2, 31 BC), and the Roman Senate's grant of Octavian's extraordinary powers under the first settlement (January 16, 27 BC), as candidates for the defining pivotal event.
  16. Wiesner-Hanks, Merry E. (2010-07-06). Gender in History Global Perspectives (2nd ed.). Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN   978-1-4051-8995-8.
  17. Clare, I. S. (1906). Library of universal history: containing a record of the human race from the earliest historical period to the present time; embracing a general survey of the progress of mankind in national and social life, civil government, religion, literature, science and art. New York: Union Book. Page 1519 (cf., Ancient history, as we have already seen, ended with the fall of the Western Roman Empire; [...])
  18. United Center for Research and Training in History. (1973). Bulgarian historical review. Sofia: Pub. House of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences]. Page 43. (cf. ... in the history of Europe, which marks both the end of ancient history and the beginning of the Middle Ages, is the fall of the Western Roman Empire.)
  19. Hadas, Moses (1950). A History of Greek Literature. Columbia University Press. p. 273 of 331. ISBN   0-231-01767-7.
  20. 1 2 Henri Pirenne (1937). Mohammed and Charlemagne Archived 2015-04-08 at the Wayback Machine English translation by Bernard Miall, 1939. From Internet Archive. The thesis was originally laid out in an article published in Revue Belge de Philologie et d'Histoire 1 (1922), pp. 77-86.

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Further reading