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Art and Culture - 04 - Classic Greece

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Fourth module for GNED 1201 (Aesthetic Experience and Ideas). This one covers Greek art and culture during the archaic and classical time periods (roughly 700 - 400 BCE).

This course is a required general education course for all first-year students at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada. My version of the course is structured as a kind of Art History and Culture course. Some of the content overlaps with my other Gen Ed course.

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Art and Culture - 04 - Classic Greece

  1. 1. Lecture 4 Classic Greece AESTHETIC EXPERIENCE AND IDEAS
  2. 2. In the 6th century BCE (599 to 500 BCE) there was a remarkable transformation in Greek life. Art, politics, science, poetry, drama, architecture becomes strikingly more realistic, innovative, … and at the centre of this transformation was Athens.
  3. 3. Within a few generations, we see, for instance, a transformation from the geometric representations of horses to the realism of black and red figure pottery.
  4. 4. Last quarter of 8th century BCE (775‐800)
  5. 5. Ring-shaped vessel 900-750 BCE Museum of Cycladic Art
  6. 6. Geometric style, ca. 750 BCE
  7. 7. Geometric style, ca. 750 BCE
  8. 8. circa 730 BC
  9. 9. Pedestalled krater. Boxing match. From Thebes. 690-670 BCE
  10. 10. Ca. 670 B.C.
  11. 11. c. 620 BC, now in the Reiss-Engelhorn- Museum in Mannheim, Germany
  12. 12. Black-figure amphora from Corinth. Circa 600-575 B.C.
  13. 13. Pedestalled krater. Boxing match. From Thebes. 690-670 BCE
  14. 14. Second quarter of 7th century (650‐625 BCE)
  15. 15. Second quarter of 7th century (650‐625 BCE)
  16. 16. Herakles with Pholos and other centaurs on a skyphos ca. 580 BC, found in Corinth, now in the Louvre, Paris
  17. 17. Black figure vase - black silhouettes painted onto colored background. Lines on the black were then incised (with a pointed stick) into the paint before firing. Perseus pursued by gorgons, ca. 575 BCE, Louvre, Paris
  18. 18. Attic black-figure komast cup Ca 575-565 BCE
  19. 19. Attic black-figure kylix, ca. 560 BCE
  20. 20. Horseman on a late Corinthean olpe, ca 575/550 BCE, now in the Louvre, Paris
  21. 21. Dionysos (named) and two maenads Ca, 540 BCE Signed by artist (Amasis)
  22. 22. By Exekias (545‐520 BC) 3rd quarter of 6th century (540‐530 BCE)
  23. 23. Notice the complexity of the composition of the two wrestlers 1st quarter of 6th century (500‐525 BCE)
  24. 24. 700 BCE 550 BCE While there doesn’t appear to have been any change whatsoever in military technology during the 150 years between these two vases, a vast gulf in both aesthetic taste and skill separates them.
  25. 25. Red figure vase – Figure silhouette painted in red then black lines sketched or painted on. Attic red-figure amphora, ca. 530 BC.
  26. 26. In the 5th century (499 – 400 BCE), the so-called classic age, Greek pottery (especially Athenian) begin to show more scenes of common life (in the above female slaves entertain male guests at a drinking party).
  27. 27. Palaestra scene ca, 520-510 BCE
  28. 28. Red-Figure Amphora with Musical Scene Ca 460-450 BCE
  29. 29. Drinking bowl, with the bottom containing this: a drunk men vomiting, while a young slave is holding is forehead. Let us drink. Why wait for the lighting of the lamps? Night is a hair’s breadth away. Take down the great goblets From the shelf, dear friend, for the son of Semele and Zeus Gave us wine to forget our pains. Mix two parts water, one part wine, And let us empty the dripping cup—urgently. Alkaios, seventh-century BCE lyric poet
  30. 30. The girl on the left carries a pair of writing tablets and a stylus. She is obviously reluctant but we don’t know why ca. 460–450 B.C.
  31. 31. While the mythological past remained an important inspiration of Greek art, we find many example of mythological scenes with “lighter” less “heroic” subjects …
  32. 32. White ground Style – different colors drawn or painted onto white painted ca. 470 B.C. background. Because it was less hardy, typically used for funerary purposes. Many of our examples show the deceased on the vessel.
  33. 33. The youth in the center, undoubtedly the deceased, is seated on the steps of his tomb ca. 420–400 B.C.
  34. 34. Warrior by a Grave (white-ground lekythos) c. 410 BCE
  35. 35. Many of these white figure pieces had naturalistic painting “on top” of the drafted lines. ca. 440 B.C.
  36. 36. Picasso, perhaps inspired by the display of white ground pottery after the war, used a similar technique during his so-called Classic Period. Picasso, Portrait of Olga 1923
  37. 37. A similar aesthetic transformation in free-standing sculpture occurred from 700 to 450 BCE.
  38. 38. Female figure ca 1000 BCE Female figure ca 700 BCE Female figure ca 600 BCE
  39. 39. Male standing figure ca 750 BCE Male standing figure ca 650 BCE
  40. 40. Female standing figure ca 600 BCE
  41. 41. Female statue (one of the earliest monumental statues) ca 650 BCE
  42. 42. Male statue (kouros) ca 600 BCE ca 750 BCE
  43. 43. This kouros is one of the earliest marble statues of a human figure carved in Attica. The statue marked the grave of a young Athenian aristocrat. The rigid stance, with the left leg forward and arms at the side, was derived from Egyptian art. The pose provided a clear, simple formula that was used by Greek sculptors throughout the sixth century B.C. New York kouros, early 6th century (575‐600 BCE)
  44. 44. When I took this photo in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, I was thrilled to see afterwards that a tourist was standing beside it in the contrasting constrapposto stance of the later Classic-era sculpture.
  45. 45. New York kouros, early 6th century (575‐600BCE) Do you notice anything else that is unusual about this kouros?
  46. 46. Why is the figure nude?
  47. 47. In every other ancient culture (and in many to this day), being naked is a mark of shame, the mark of a slave or a prisoner or a child or a savage.
  48. 48. Greek statuary was inspired by Egyptian aesthetics, but unlike Egyptian sculpture, which is clothed and which celebrates a ruler, Greek statuary seems to celebrate an ideal. Egyptian statuary, early 6th century (575‐600 BCE)
  49. 49. These kouroi are essentially an ordered simplification of the human form: suggesting a general statement of Greek heroic excellence, and not necessarily a specific portrait.
  50. 50. Female sculpture (korai) about same time.
  51. 51. Modern reconstruction Peplos kore,, mid 6th century (550 BCE)
  52. 52. Anavyssos kouros mid 6th century (550 BCE) “Stand and have pity at the tomb of the dead Kroisos, whom raging Ares slew as he fought in the front line.”
  53. 53. “The statue …… is a device for re-membering what is gone: frozen in time, Kroisos is always in that state of perfect beauty he attained on the battlefield.” Richard T. Neer “In its own way, by the immutability of its material and shape, and by the continuity of its presence, the memorial conveys the paradox of the values of life, youth, and beauty which one can ensure for oneself only by losing them [by dying in battle].” Jean-Paul Vernant
  54. 54. Peplos Kore.Around 530 BC
  55. 55. kore 670 520-510 BC
  56. 56. Kore with the almond-shaped eyes around 510/500 BCE
  57. 57. Original would have been painted
  58. 58. Kritios Kouros (480 BCE)
  59. 59. Original would have had bronze and marble eyes
  60. 60. With the Kritios, the Greek artist has mastered a complete understanding of how the different parts of the body act as a system (i.e., achieved naturalism). The statue supports the body's weight on the left leg, while the right one is bent at the knee in a relaxing state. This stance, known as contrapposto, forces a chain of anatomical events: as the pelvis is pushed diagonally upwards on the left side, the right buttock relaxes, the spine acquires an "S" curve, and the shoulder line dips on the left to counteract the action of the pelvis.
  61. 61. Modern scholars point to three key changes in the transition from archaic to early classic Greek sculpture: That is, from 600 BCE (archaic style) to 500-480 BCE (severe style)
  62. 62. 1pose There is a change of pose from 2D static to 3D open and active 1 g p p
  63. 63. 600 BCE 550 BCE 540-530 BCE 530-520 BCE 510-500 BCE 500-480 BCE Met Kouros Tenea Kouros Kouros Anavyous Piraeus Apollo Kouros Aristodikos Kritios Kouros
  64. 64. For us moderns, we don’t see anything remarkable in aesthetic transformation and change over a few generations … but yet in comparison to other nearby cultures, this classic Greek interest in aesthetic experimentation and growth was radically unusual.
  65. 65. 3000 BCE 2500 BCE 500 BCE 2000 years !!! 400 BCE 2600 years !!!
  66. 66. As a comparison, imagine that this image of Homer is the only visual representation of a man you ever see, your children will see, their children, and so on, until the year 4712 … that is what art was like for the Egyptians, extraordinarily stable and unchanging. This kind of artistic stability is in fact the norm in human culture.
  67. 67. That is, for most cultures and for most of human history, art has been about continuity with past forms of representation; it has not been about innovation or breaking from the past.
  68. 68. 3000-800 BCE 700 BCE 600 BCE 500 BCE This rapid transformation and experimentation with artistic representation was an extremely novel event in human history, perhaps the only time that comes close was 15th century in Florence and in late 19th/early 20th century in Paris.
  69. 69. 2anatomy There is a change from relatively superficial marking of bones 2 g y p g and muscles to the realistic evocation of hypodermal structures (that is, it looks like real muscles and bones are beneath the skin of marble).
  70. 70. Athena, Herakles and Atlas, the Golden Apples of the Hesperides, metope from the east side of the temple of Zeus at Olympia.
  71. 71. Note: most classical-era Greek statuary were in fact made from bronze. Almost no bronze originals survived antiquity (most were melted down).
  72. 72. The number of surviving original statuary from the classical Greek period (500 – 430 BCE) is exceedingly small. Unfortunately most of the “famous” examples of Greek sculpture from this time period are in fact Roman copies of Greek (Bronze and Marble) originals. Some were cheap knock-offs to sell to Roman tourists, others were replicas made for students to study from.
  73. 73. Bronze Warrior from Riace, c. 450 BCE Found in a shipwreck of the Italian coast in 1972
  74. 74. 3psychology There is a change from smiling blankness of archaic sculpture to 3 g g p a severe and serene expression which suggests an inner mental life in classical sculpture.
  75. 75. Compare these archaic-era faces with …
  76. 76. … these classic-era faces
  77. 77. Which one looks like it is actually thinking?
  78. 78. So why were they so interested in achieving perfect naturalism?
  79. 79. It appears to be a moral and religious ideal … Their gods were envisaged to be not only beautiful but also athletic and fit 530-520 BCE (influence of the Iliad) Piraeus Apollo
  80. 80. … and because the Greeks also associated moral goodness with this type of male beauty, it was also common for men to show off their physical beauty …
  81. 81. The men of classic Greece took a shameless pride in their appearance that would strike us today as …
  82. 82. … a little bizarre …
  83. 83. In fact because the Greeks of the classic time period had such a fixation for this athletic type of male beauty,
  84. 84. it was common for men to spend a not unsubstantial amount of each day exercising in public … indeed the ancient greek word gymnasia meant literally “place of nakedness”
  85. 85. So … from about 500-480 Greek sculptors had achieved almost total perfection in their ability to accurately reproduce the natural form of the human body. Yet within a generation, the Greeks gave up on naturalism (i.e., art as the identical reproduction of nature). Why?
  86. 86. Once you have achieved the ability to perfectly mimic the human body, what more is there to achieve as an artist / sculptor?
  87. 87. Creativity seems to have required moving away from naturalism … but to understand this we have to first learn about baby seagulls …
  88. 88. In a clever experiment, researchers studying seagull chicks noticed that the chicks peck the red stripe on the mother’s beak when they are hungry and want food …. They do this not because they recognize their mother but because their brains are stimulated by the red stripe.
  89. 89. They demonstrated this by showing them a stick with a red stripe on it …… the chicks will peck it.
  90. 90. But when they “exaggerated” the red by showing them a stick with three red stripes, the chicks pecked at it much faster and with much more vigour.
  91. 91. And even strongly prefer the “unnatural” or “exaggerated” three- striped stick to the natural one stripe stick.
  92. 92. Some have even argued that our brains are hard-wired for exaggeration, which can be seen in some of humanity’s earliest art.
  93. 93. So while works from the early classical period (500-450 BCE) are characterized by naturalism and elegant simplicity, later works from the high classical era (450- 340 BCE) had a different aesthetic. During the late 5th century (440-400 BCE), Greek sculptures began to subtly exaggerate the human form but in a way that appears to maintain naturalism.
  94. 94. Doryphoros (c. 450-440 BCE) original bronze no longer exists. Roman patinated bronze replica Roman Marble Copy
  95. 95. Fourth century (400-350 BCE) Greek sculptors positioned the body into odd positions, divided it into four zones and then exaggerated the division between those zones.
  96. 96. Torso of Miletus, c. 480-470 B.C.E
  97. 97. exaggerated Fully natural Torso of Miletus, c. 480-470 B.C.E
  98. 98. Discobolus (Discus Thrower). Reconstructed Roman copy of a bronze Greek original of ca. 450 BCE
  99. 99. Later Greek Hellenistic works (350 – 200 BCE) continued the trend toward exaggeration, whether it be in the musculature or in the relative sizes of certain body parts.
  100. 100. Laocoön and His Sons, c 100 BCE
  101. 101. Roman sculpture of Herakles
  102. 102. Examine the musculature of the naturalistic classic Greek works … and compare them to the musculature of modern gymnastists ... … there is a remarkable similarity; clearly the artists were closely modeling the fit young active men of the day …
  103. 103. In late Hellenistic Greek sculpture by contrast, the sculptural bodies don’t really represent real bodies …
  104. 104. Roman sculpture either copied existing Greek works or produced exaggerated portrayals of the face.
  105. 105. Evidence of extreme respect for experience and age.
  106. 106. Many Roman sculptures have youthful Greek-inspired bodies (sculpted in Greece by Greek artists) with stern and aged heads (sculpted in Rome by Roman artists).
  107. 107. Roman version of Photoshop: buy statue of youthful Greek youth, knock off the head, and attach realistic portrait of aged Roman patriarch.
  108. 108. Later Roman Empire: male head on woman’s body!
  109. 109. Are we any different today? Are we also still ““attracted”” to exaggeration when it comes to what we find attractive in the human body?
  110. 110. We will find at different times in this course, that artists after the Greeks continued to exaggerate certain aspects of the human body in their own unique search for beauty and cultural expression …
  111. 111. Roman ……
  112. 112. Medieval …
  113. 113. Renaissance …
  114. 114. Baroque …
  115. 115. Modern …
  116. 116. Contemporary … Lucian Freud + Antony Gormley
  117. 117. What about female sculpture? Did the ancient Greeks take a similar path?
  118. 118. Classic sculpture of the female form took a somewhat different development path. During the archaic and classic period, there appears to be either a prohibition or reluctance to display the naked female form.
  119. 119. Artists initially thus had to use tight-fitting or wet clothes/draperies to show the underlying form.
  120. 120. Birth of Aphrodite, c. 460 B.C.E.
  121. 121. Pythocritos of Rhodes. Winged Nike (Winged Victory), from Samothrace, c. 190 BCE
  122. 122. Praxiteles, Aphrodite of Knidos Evidently the first fully female nude statue. It was created in 4th century (circa 350 BCE). It was created by the most famous sculptor in the ancient Greek world (Praxiteles), but was rejected by its original patron, the island of Kos (it was for their temple to Aphrodite) who deemed it immoral. The rejected statue was purchased by the citizens of Knidos, who placed it in an open-air temple where it could be viewed from all sides, and evidently the city became a tourist attraction because of it. Roman copy of Greek original ca. 350 BCE
  123. 123. Thanks to the fame and “charms” of the sculpture, Knidos became home to a rather raucous festival for Aphrodite (goddess of love) and Bacchus (god of wine). “Under the welcome shade of the boughs, comfortable beds await the celebrants—— actually the better people of the town only rarely frequent these green halls, but the common crowds jostle there on festive days, to yield publicly to the joys of love.”” Lucian
  124. 124. This statue became one of the most famous in the ancient world. Archeologists have dozens of reproductions, but the original is lost. Many of the reproductions modified the original by adding one or two so-called modest hands (or even drapery) to it.
  125. 125. Aphrodite of Melos (also called Venus de Milo), c. 150 B.C.E.
  126. 126. With Praxiteles’s Aphrodite of Knidos we can also see the beginning of the eroticization of female representations in western art. Much of later Greek and Roman female statuary seem to be about the female form as an object of desire. That fetisization of classical nudes has remained …
  127. 127. … but Greek attitudes towards desire and art were not always straightforward …
  128. 128. Louvre Hermaphrodite (2nd century BCE).
  129. 129. Not all Greek sculpture was free-standing. Important sculptural works were also integrated into architecture.
  130. 130. The caryatid porch of the Erechtheum, south side, Acropolis, Athens
  131. 131.
  132. 132. Kerameikos: cemetery in Athens. “Go to the Kerameikos to see the reliefs of those who were the centre of a world and who tomorrow will be unknown and ignored. See the transition between when short life finishes and eternal death begins.”
  133. 133. Stele (i.e., grave monument) of Hegeso, a wealthy Athenian female (c. 410-400 B.C.E.) For the Greeks, immortality lay in the continued remembrance of the dead by the living.
  134. 134. Hegeso is looking at a piece of jewellery and her pose and face appear that she is saying goodbye to worldly concerns and pleasures.
  135. 135. Here lies Aristylla, child of Ariston and Rhodilla; how good you were, dear daughter.
  136. 136. Seated woman leaving her newborn child to a nurse (Athens, ca. 425/400 BCE)
  137. 137. Young man killed in battle survived by his father and son. …It is shocking when an old man lies on the front line before a youth: an old warrior whose head is white and beard gray, exhaling his strong soul into the dust, clutching his bloody genitals in his hands: an abominable vision, foul to see: his flesh naked. But in a young man all is beautiful when he still possesses the shining flower of lovely youth. Alive he is adored by men, desired by women, and finest to look upon when he falls dead in the forward clash.... —Tyrtaios of Sparta, seventh-century BCE poet
  138. 138. “Stele and my Sirens and mournful pitcher that hold the little ash of Hades, tell those who pass by my tomb to greet me, whether citizens or from another town, and say that I was buried here, still a bride, and that my father called me Baucis, that I was born in Tenos, that they may know. And tell them too that my companion Erinna engraved this word upon my tomb.”
  139. 139. Greek Political Life
  140. 140. Sparta was one of the most important Greek Poleis. It was a rigidly hierarchical society focused on the support and development of a small core of communalized military elites.
  141. 141. Edgar Degas, Spartan Girls Challenging Boys (1860)
  142. 142. Athens, by contrast, was a multi-ethnic trading city that eventually (508 BCE) was run by a direct (not representative) democracy. monarchy oligarchy tyrant democracy
  143. 143. Athens source of power was its navy
  144. 144. The city states of Greece eventually came into conflict with the great power of the Fifth Century, the Persian Empire, who were the heirs of the old Assyrian Empire.
  145. 145. By 500 BCE, the Persian Empire was the largest single empire the world had ever seen. It encompassed approximately 8 million km and had a population of about 17 million people (which is estimated to have been almost 20% of the world’s population at that time)
  146. 146. Due to Greek meddling in disputes between the Persian Empire and its Ionian territories, the Persian Emperor Darius decided to invade the Greek mainland. He sent an invasion force which landed near Athens in the Bay of Marathon.
  147. 147. Battle of Marathon (490 BCE) Athenians spread into a long thin line and charged down the hill Persian Fleet disembarked here in Bay of Marathon
  148. 148. The Persians were routed, though a percentage of the Persian army was able to escape by sea.
  149. 149. After the Athenians victory, Pheidippides (who also fought) ran the 26 miles/40 kilometers to Athens to announce the victory, inspiring the modern athletic marathon.
  150. 150. In 480 BC, Darius’s successor, Xerxes, personally led a gigantic second invasion of Greece.
  151. 151. To cross the Hellespont, the Persians built a bridge out of boats, by which the 200,000+ strong Persian army crossed from Asia Minor into Greece.
  152. 152. The Greek historian Herodotus wrote that when a storm destroyed the bridge, Xerxes commanded that the ocean be given 300 lashes.
  153. 153. Naval battle of Salamis (victory mainly won by Athenians)
  154. 154. After the defeat of the Persians, Athens had its so-called golden age, funded by the money raised from its naval-based protection racket (The Athenian League).
  155. 155. The Persian invasion left Athens's Acropolis in ruins. The rebuilding of the Acropolis was expensive and a reflection of its confidence and power. The most famous of these building projects was the Parthenon (completed in 438), a temple to Athens’s patron deity Athena, goddess of Wisdom.
  156. 156. Acropolis of Athens
  157. 157. As it appears As it is built, i.e, with optical corrections (much exaggerated) As it would have appeared, i.e, if it didn’t have optical corrections
  158. 158. It appears as well that the design of the Acropolis was based on so-called Golden Ratios. Biologists, artists, musicians, historians, architects, psychologists, and even mystics have pondered and debated the basis of its ubiquity and appeal. In fact, it is probably fair to say that the Golden Ratio has inspired thinkers of all disciplines like no other number in the history of mathematics. -- Mario Livy, The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, the World's Most Astonishing Number
  159. 159. The form of a Greek temple was not a space inviting entry, but rather a sort of abstract sculpture marking a place in the world.
  160. 160. The Acropolis was also a celebration of civic identity. The generation that fought in the Persian Wars was also the same generation that experienced the transition from tyrannical and/or oligarchic rule to mass participatory democracy.
  161. 161. Note: I don’t expect you to remember this: I just included it to give you sense of the participatory nature of Athenian democracy.
  162. 162. The sculpture on the Acropolis (now in British Museum), celebrated the defeat of monstrous invaders by the gods associated with Athens. Three female figures form the right side of the east pediment of the Parthenon.
  163. 163. Three Goddesses from east pediment of the Parthenon, Athens, ca 437-432 BCE, with color added.
  164. 164. Phidias Showing the Frieze of the Parthenon to his Friends (1868) by Lawrence Alma-Tadema
  165. 165. Parthenon Replica in Nashville, TN, the Athens of The South (build in 1897, then rebuilt 1931, rebuilt again in 1988)
  166. 166. Temple of Hera at Paestum, c. 560-550 B.C.E..
  167. 167. Homer, Theatre, and Philosophy
  168. 168. Homer is the attributed author of the epics The Iliad and The Odyssey, the first cultural texts of Greek civilization. Were written in the 8th century BCE (700- 750), soon after the rediscovery of writing in the Greek area. Most scholars believe they are the written culmination of a much older oral compositional tradition. The epics recount events about the Trojan War that occurred about 400 years earlier (traditional date 1184 BCE).
  169. 169. Homer is, in one tradition, blind. Even in antiquity, there were concerns/doubts about Homer. Thus we have the so-called Homeric Questions: Who was Homer? Were the epics written by one or many authors? How were they composed (written or oral)? William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) - Homer and his Guide (1874).jpg
  170. 170. After studying and recording non-literate oral bards in Yugoslavia in the 1920s, Milman Parry argued pervasively that the two Homeric epics are grounded in oral composition. He demonstrated that within oral cultures, long stories are “chunked” into more manageable and memorizable sections by the use of common, repeated formulaic epithets that are used to fit into a rhythm scheme. (e.g., Achilles is brilliant, godlike, or swift-footed; the Greek’s ships are black, round, hollow, or swift). In this theory, the written stories are just a snapshot in time of the oral tradition.
  171. 171. Today most Classicists agree that, whether or not there was ever a composer named Homer, the poems attributed to him are to some degree dependent on an oral tradition, a generations-old technique that was the collective inheritance of many singer-poets (also called bards)
  172. 172. Bard
  173. 173. The epics recount events about the Trojan War that occurred about 400 years prior to Homer. The Iliad covers a p period of about 14 y days g during the ten-year long siege of Troy. The Odyssey recounts one of the main characters from the Iliad (Odysseus) efforts to return to his home, which takes him an additional ten years. Both epics are reflections on a lost world (the high Bronze Age cultures of the Hittites, Mycenae and Minoa) as well as reflections on a new emerging Greek moral code and way of life.
  174. 174. Odyessy
  175. 175. The Odyssey is an epic of return, an epic that focuses less on warfare and its ethic and more on how a human needs to behave in the everyday world of emerging Greek civilization. Odysseus (and not Achilles) ends up being the cultural hero of the Greeks of the emerging classical age.
  176. 176. Odysseus is renowned for his cunning, for thinking through problems, for knowing how to act, for having both brains and brawn.
  177. 177. Odysseus was seen by later Greek culture to be the epitome of the moral (and aesthetic) ideal of sophrosyne. Sophrosyne seems to have referred to the ideal of living life to its fullest but to do so with moderation, common sense, and in the light of self-knowledge.
  178. 178. The Sophrosyne ideal was latter enshrined at Delphi, the Classic Greek religious centre, in a variety of sayings carved into the temples.
  179. 179. γνῶῶθθι σεαυτόόν (gnōōthi seautón = "know thyself")
  180. 180. μηδδέέν άάγαν (mēēdén ágan = "nothing in excess")
  181. 181. Cahill, in his 2003 book claimed that this ideal of sophrosyne gave the Greeks insight into the six key areas of human life, which are nicely captured by his chapter titles:
  182. 182. Whenever they’d drink the deep-red mellow vintage, twenty cups of water he’d stir in one of wine and what an aroma wafted from the bowl— what magic, what a godsend— no joy in holding back when that was poured! Homer, The Odyssey 9 l. 231 The peoples of the Mediterranean began to emerge from barbarism when they learned to cultivate the olive and the vine. Thucydides One bowl [of wine] for ruddy health, then one for getting happy. The third brings sleep. … The fourth’s for pride and the fifth for lots of noise, The sixth for mindless f _ _ _ing, and the seventh is followed by black eyes. The eighth brings the police, The ninth’s for throwing up, And the tenth’s for trashing everything before passing out. Eubulus, 4thC BCE Athenian politician
  183. 183. Odyssey Plot Summary On blackboard in class
  184. 184. The Odyssey begins, not with Odysseus, but with his home, with his son and wife, who are beset by ill-behaved suitors hoping to marry Penelope (since Odysseus has been away for 20 years) and presumably become king.
  185. 185. Penelope & the Suitors J. W. Waterhouse
  186. 186. Xenia Is the Greek word for a very complicated concept/ideal that is at the heart of the Odyssey’s moral vision. We don’t really have an English word that corresponds to it. It means guest, stranger, friend, foreigner. Our English word xenophobia (fear of foreigners) comes from this Greek word.
  187. 187. Philoxenia Often translated as hospitality or guest guest-friendship. It proscribed a set of norms that governed how a host should behave to a guest, and how a guest should behave to a host. In a world without inns or hotels, philoxenia was a vital part of surviving when travelling.
  188. 188. At the beginning of the Odyssey, the suitors are not following the guest protocols of philoxenia: by never leaving Telemachus’s house, eating all his food, constantly wooing Penelope, and sleeping with the servants. Calypso is not following the host protocol since she refuses to let Odysseus leave her island.
  189. 189. Telemachus in contrast shows proper philoxenia. Straight to the porch he went, mortified that a guest [xenos] might still be standing at the doors. Pausing beside her there, he clasped her right hand and relieving her at once of her long bronze spear, met her with winged words: “Greetings, stranger! [xenia] Here in our house you’ll find a royal welcome. Have supper first, then tell us what you need.”
  190. 190. Telemachus then goes to visit some other veterans of the Trojan war, looking for word of his father. He too is treated with proper xenia. As soon as they saw the strangers, all came crowding down, waving them on in welcome, urging them to sit. Nestor’s son Pisistratus, first to reach them, grasped their hands and sat them down at the feast. …O Once they’’d put aside desire for food and drink, old Nestor the noble charioteer began, at last: “Now’s the time, now they’ve enjoyed their meal, to probe our guests and find out who they are. Strangers-Friends, who are you?”
  191. 191. Meanwhile, Odysseus, thanks to the gods’ intervention, is freed from Caylpso’s island and is given a raft … which is promptly sunk by a still-angry Poseidon. He washes up on the island of the Phaeacians.
  192. 192. He is meet by Nausicaa, a Phaeacian princess, who is washing clothes on the shore. She clothes him and takes him to met her parents, the king and queen.
  193. 193. The king rose in his place, and said: "This stranger has come to my hall. I do not know who he is, or whence he comes, whether from the east or the west. And he begs us to convey him safely to his home. Now this, as you know, is a thing that we have been used from old time to do for strangers. Go, then, and choose out a ship Let it be new—one that never has been on the sea before. And pick out fifty and two rowers. Let them be the best and strongest that there are in the country. When you have done this, come to my hall and feast. And let the minstrel come also, for the gods have given him the gift of song, and there is nothing better than song to make glad the Odysseus among the Phaeacians g g g hearts of men." So the chiefs of the people went and did as the king commanded. … When the people were ready to begin, there came two servants of the king leading the singer by the hand, for he was blind. They made him sit down in a silver chair in the middle of the hall; they hung his harp on a rail that there was above his head where he could easily reach it. And by his side they put a table, and on the table a basket full of good things, and a cup of wine so that he might drink when he pleased. Then the people began to eat and drink, and when they had had enough, the singer sang.
  194. 194. Odysseus tells of all his adventures after leaving Troy to the Phaeacians.
  195. 195. The Cyclops Polyphemus
  196. 196. The Cyclopedes have no concept of xenia; instead of giving gifts and food, the Cyclopes eats his guests.
  197. 197. After his cunning escape from the Cyclops, Odysseus and his crew sail away and soon find themselves on Aiolia Island, the domain of the wind god Aeolus who provides Odysseus with enough supplies to return home including a bag which contained all the winds except the ones Odysseus needed to return home to Ithaca.
  198. 198. Circe Offering the Cup to Odysseus John William Waterhouse (1891)
  199. 199. Odysseus visits Hades, the land of the dead, in order to get instructions on how to return home.
  200. 200. Ulysses and the Sirens (1891) John William Waterhouse
  201. 201. Scylla and Charybdis‐between‐scylla‐and‐charybdis. html
  202. 202. In Athens, public art celebrated the public activities of its citizens. Both architecture and theatre were state-sponsored and supported.
  203. 203. Theatre of Dionysus, Athens
  204. 204. Theatre at Epidauros, c. 350 B.C.E.
  205. 205. Theatre at Delphi
  206. 206. atre at Herodes Atticus, Athens
  207. 207. Greek Theatre/Drama Two main forms: Comedy komos – literally drunken dance/party Tragedy y p y tragoidos – literally goat song
  208. 208. Originally a religious/participatory/ civic ritual. Tragedies were performed during the Festival of Dionysus, god of wine/madness/lust. Dionysus mask
  209. 209. The etymology of tragedy (goat song), perhaps suggests its basis in an archaic ritual involving the sacrifice of a goat (scapegoat). Such rituals appear to have once involved the expulsion or even killing of a pharmakos, a cripple/beggar/criminal who was supported at the city’s expense, but who would be sacrificed by the polis in response to a crisis. Perhaps the symbolic killing in drama of the pharmakos during the Festival of Dionysus is the beginning of Greek drama.
  210. 210. Like most things in Greek life, the Festival was a competition between multiple playwrights. Each year three playwrights would present three tragedies. One each day of the festival there would be three tragedies, one comedy, and one satyr play. Thespis (mid 550s BCE) is credited for the introduction of an actor and changed the role of the chorus (a group of people who spoke together) so that it interacted with the actor.
  211. 211. The plays contain actors and the chorus (anywhere from 12 to 50 members). Everyone would be wearing masks. The chorus typically represents the general population of the city. In comedies and satyr plays, the actors might also wear other props, such as enlarged private parts.
  212. 212. Of the more than 1000 known Greek tragedies, only 32 have survived antiquity. For some we have papyrus fragments; for others we have quoted fragments, that is, other ancient authors quoting from a lost play (e.g., “As Sophocles said in his Professorikos, ‘Students should listen carefully to their professor and bring him a nice bottle of cold beer to every class …’ ”).
  213. 213. The plots of these plays are almost always from the heroic/mythological age. The plot is known, but they comment on or are about contemporary events.
  214. 214. The plots of these plays are also themselves competitions: between the protagonist and the antagonist, which is sometimes another character, sometimes just fate. agon = competition/struggle
  215. 215. Aeschylus Aeschylus (525 – 455) is credited with the introduction of a second actor. Only seven of his 70 to 90 plays survive. Three of these are part of our only surviving trilogy (the Oresteia).
  216. 216. The death of Agamemnon, at the hands of his wife Clytemnestra, after his return from the Fall of Troy, because of his earlier sacrifice of their daughter The revenge killing of Clytemnestra by her son Orestes. The hounding of Orestes by the Furies, who attempt to kill Orestes for murdering his mother. They are stopped by Athena, who sets up a law court ordered according to the principles of reason. The play ends with the democratic legal system of Athens being praised as a better form of justice than the old tribal idea of revenge (eye for an eye).
  217. 217. Sophocles Sophocles (497 – 406) introduced a third actor. He wrote 123 plays, only seven of which survive. Most well known for his Oedipus the King and Antigone, two of the greatest works in western literature.
  218. 218. Euripides Euripides (480 – 406) introduced an element of psychological realism to his plays. He wrote 92 plays, 18 of which survive. Shocked his Athenian audience with his sympathetic portrayals of victims and the less powerful, especially women and slaves. Sooner would I stand Three times to face their battles, shield in hand, Than bear one child! -- from Medea
  219. 219. Other than in Sparta, the lives of women in Greek poleia appears rather unenviable. They lacked political and economic status. Wives and unmarried daughters were expected to remain indoors in segregated women’s quarters. Unfortunately, we do not have a lot of information about women’s lives in ancient Greece. From 4th century Athenian legal case: “We keep hetairai (mistresses) for the sake of pleasure, pallake (concubines) for the daily care of our bodies, but wives to bear us legitimate children and be trustworthy guardians of our households.”
  220. 220. However, most Greek tragedies and comedies feature very strong and independent female characters, so there is some debate about what life was actually like for females in the Greek polis.
  221. 221. Oedipus the King and Antigone On blackboard in class
  222. 222. Greek Comedy Was performed along with tragedies as part of the Festival of Dionysus. Developed out of Komos rituals, which were drunken dances/sex/revelry associated with the God Dionysus.
  223. 223. Komos jar
  224. 224. Aristophanes Aristophanes (446 – 386) wrote 40 comedies, 11 of which survive. Focused on satirizing real personalities and local Athenian politics (which can make some of the humor hard to understand for us without footnotes). Lots of sexual or scatological humor. Lysistrata Females in Athens and Sparta go on sex strike in order to end the Peloponnesian War. Clouds Satire about Socrates and the professional sophists. The Frogs Slaves shown to be smarter, wiser, more rational than their masters and the gods. The Wasps Ridicules Athenians’ addiction to law courts and serving in juries.
  225. 225. Peloponnesian War War fought between Athens and Sparta from 441 – 404 BCE. Eventually involved all of Greece. Ended in Athens defeat, but both sides were economically devastated and depopulated that the Greek world of the polis never regained its prewar level of prosperity and power. As well, the limited and ritualized style of Greek warfare was transformed into all-out total war that lead to large scale atrocities.
  226. 226. “Man is the measure of all things” Opening fragment to Truth by Protagoras (490 – 420 BCE) What does this really mean? What are its consequences for philosophy, politics, ethics? Vitruvian Man by Leonard do Vinci
  227. 227. Philosophy
  228. 228. Natural Philosophy Thinking about the natural world. Many of the most well known are sometimes called the pre-Socratics (before Socrates) Thales (623 – 547 BCE) - argued that everything in nature is explainable via knowable principles (that is, no need for gods/myths) Pythagoras (570 – 495) - Argued that mathematical relationships explain nature. Discovered Pythagorean Theory and codified our musical octave system. Hippocrates (460 – 370) - Creator of the first formal school of clinical medicine. Doctors today still swear the Hippocratic Oath. Democritus (460 – 370) - argued that everything in nature is composed of tiny building blocks called atoms. Heraclitus (535 –– 475) - argued that all of nature is defined by flux/change/evolution.
  229. 229. Sophists From p sophia = wisdom. Teachers who taught their students how to argue persuasively (i.e., rhetoric). Tended to argue that one shouldn’t bother trying to figure out truth; indeed one should be able to argue persuasively from both sides of an argument. These were useful skills in the Athenian courts and the sophists became an important part of democratic life in the Athens of the 5th century. Argued that religion/tradition/laws are just expressions of human power (i.e., institutions created by individuals and social groups for their own benefit).
  230. 230. Protagoras (490-420) Influential Athenian sophist who Socrates considered a dangerous relativist, who taught that good/evil, truth/falsehood, etc are matters of community and individual judgment and not universals.
  231. 231. Socrates (469-399) Athenian thinker opposed to the Sophists. Strongly believed that there is a higher moral and intellectual truth that can be discovered by the correct form/methodology of thinking. His main concern is the perfection of human character (moral excellence), achievable when individuals regulate their life according to objective standards arrived at via rational reflection. His method is dialogue or logical discussion between individuals. The aim is to examine one’s assumptions and confront inconsistencies, opinions, illogical beliefs.
  232. 232. 1. What is courage? Socratic Dialectic at Work 2. Courage = brave in war Socrates 3. Courage must be more Some Athenian Dude than just a virtue for soldiers 4. Courage = endurance/steadfastness 5. Sometimes prudence tells us that we should retreat or withdrawal. 6. Courage = knowledge of future good/evil 7. Can pigs be courageous? 8. No 9. Then courage must be related to knowledge of virtue 10. Gosh, Socrates you’re right 11. I don’t know for sure, we all have so much to learn
  233. 233. Socrates was eventually condemned to death after Athens's defeat in the Peloponnesian War against Sparta. He was accused of corrupting the youth, found guilty, and then poisoned. Socrates did not write. We know of him mainly via his student Plato.
  234. 234. Plato (429 – 347 BCE) Continued Socrates focus on reason and dialectic method. Plato was from aristocratic class and was highly critical of democratic institutions, who felt that democracy is the rule of the mob, the rule of sweet-talking ignorant demagogues. Plato believed that a rational political order can be discovered. The community must be organized so that individuals can live the good and ethical life. Unlike Socrates, wrote dialogues. Founded The Academy, in Athens, sometimes thought of as the first university or school for young men/adults which lasted for almost 1000 years (385 BCE – 529 CE). 1776 pages!
  235. 235. Plato is writing in the immediate aftermath of the Athenian defeat in the Peloponnesian War, during which Athenian democracy was disgraced, replaced with a Spartan-supported oligarchy, and then restored, but in a much weakened state.
  236. 236. Sparta’s (temporary) dominance over the Greek world came to an end when they were defeated by Thebes in the Battle of Leuctra (371). The victorious Thebans freed the Spartan helots, permanently ending Spartan power in the Greek world. Thebes’ power was short-lived, however, as the independence of the Greek polis was ended forever with the rise of Macedon and the united Greeks defeat by Philip II and his son Alexander the Great in 338 BCE.
  237. 237. In his most famous work, The Republic, Plato devise an ideal state in which different social classes/orders work together for the good of the whole polis. Each class performs its assigned task according to how the soul of its individuals are organized. Argues that the soul has three capacities (reason, spiritedness, desire) and the three different classes (rulers, soldiers, producers) are each ruled principally by one of these capacities. Rulers/Philosophers – ruled by reason Warriors – ruled by spirit Producers– ruled by desire Rigorous education is required for each individual to learn their “place”.
  238. 238. Our reading from the Republic is perhaps its most famous section: the Simile of the Cave
  239. 239. Many movies have made use of the epistemological (study of knowledge) doubt of the cave analogy.
  240. 240. 1300 years later, French philosopher Rene Descartes revisited Plato’s analogy in his Meditations on First Philosophy, in which he tried to lay a philosophical foundation of epistemological certainty for future science. In the second meditation, Descartes casts doubt on the reliability of our senses, first in dreams, then in a thought experiment: what if there is an “evil daemon,” “as clever and deceitful as he is powerful, who has directed his entire effort to misleading me,” and who is feeding him misleading sensory data, giving him the illusion that he has a body that is experiencing reality.
  241. 241. Aristotle (384 – 322 BCE) Student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. Writings covered an incredible wide range of topics, from zoology, poetry, ethics, politics, physics, and philosophy. His views on the natural world were exceptionally influential later in medieval scholarship.
  242. 242. Like Plato, wrote dialogues, but none have survived. Almost all of our writings by Aristotle are thought to be teaching notes, either written by Aristotle or taken down by his students. There are references in antiquity by other authors complimenting Aristotle’s writing for its grace and beauty; nothing that we have appears to be at all “elegant” or pleasant to read (presumably because they are just “notes”).
  243. 243. History
  244. 244. Herodotus and Thucydides The g beginning g of history y as a y way to p explain the p past ( in contrast to myths / legends) also dates to this time. Herodotus ( c. 484–425 BC) The Histories Travelled to places and interviewed participants Story of the past as a moral story for today Thucydides (c. 460 – c. 395 BC) The Peloponnesian War Saw the war as example of larger issues with human nature and political life. Interested in find “laws” of human behavior from history of the past Still a standard reading in international relations and sociology