Главная > Реферат >Остальные работы
During the Greek Golden Age, art and philosophy expressed
hellenic “weltanschauung”, their unique outlook on the world and
way of life. Through the works of artists, playwrights, and
philosophers, one can see both sides of the conflicted systems of
the world, such as; good vs. evil, order vs. chaos, stability vs.
flux, relativism vs. absolutism and balance and harmony.
The Greeks were materialists. They adopted the philosophical
doctrine which says that physical matter is the only reality in the
universe; everything else, including thought, feeling, mind and
will can be explained in terms of physical laws. Their materialism
was expressed in an excessive regard for worldly, beautiful
material things and concerns. They used their art to show the
glories of humanity and man. The sculptors of the Golden Age aimed
to create graceful, strong and perfectly formed figures. Their art
showed natural positions and thoughtful expressions rather than
abstract art forms. Their standards of order and balance became
standards for classical art in western civilization.
The Greeks were proud of their temples and other architecture,
made to honor the gods and beautify the polis (city-state). Their
famous architectural styles were the heavy Doric columns and the
slender scrolled Ionian columns. The Parthenon, the Greek temple
for the goddess Athena, is a impeccable example of symmetry and
proportion. The sides of the Parthenon give an optical illusion of
perfect balance on all sides. Their desire for balance in art and
architecture represents the balance of the world; order and
moderation are expressed in the simplicity of lines and shapes.
The resulting overall structure works together to achieve harmony.
In ancient Greece, public drama was more than entertainment.
It was a form of public education. It dealt with issues of
importance to the people, such as; the authority of the leaders,
the power of the people, questions of justice, morality, wars,
peace, the duties of the gods, family life and city living.
Aeschylus wrote about the furies and how they punished man for
wrongdoings. This shows that he believed that chaos would be
punished because order (and law) is the ideal state.
Sophocles is best known for his plays of Oedipus. Those plays
dealt with family and civic loyalty. The Greeks emphasized,
particularly in their plays, the importance of loyalty as a goal to
We learn a lot about Greek views through their philosophy,
which literally means the love of knowledge. The Greeks educated
through a series of questions and answers, in order to better teach
about life and the universe.
The first philosopher was Thales. He believed in absolutism
and eternal matter. He said that water was the original matter and
that without it, there would be no life.
Parmenides stated that stability and permanence were the
underlying conditions of the universe. He believed that change is
only an illusion and that one’s senses can only grasp superficial
realities of change.
Heroditus argued with Parmenides saying that change was the
basic condition of reality. He further claimed that all permanence
was false. Thus he saw things as naturally being in flux rather
than a stable state.
Democritus argued with both Parmenides and Heroditus. He
insisted that there is nothing spiritual and that only matter
existed. He then went on to say that everything is made of little
invisible particles, hooked up in different arrangements. He was
The Greek philosophers went on to question the nature of being
and the meaning of life. Pythagoras was the first metaphysicist,
one who studies beyond physical existence. He believed in a
separation between spirit and body, an opposition between good and
evil and between discord and harmony.
In the 5th century, the Greeks learned from Sophists, who
believed that the views of society are standards and the sole
measurement of good, truth, justice and beauty. Protagoras was a
sophist. He said that, “man is the measure of all things.” He
believed in a constant flux, and that nothing is absolutely right
or wrong, but subject to change. His view is much like that held
The philosophers then asked a question such as; what would
happen if things that were wrong were seen by society as
acceptable? What, for example, if society condoned murder?
Socrates was one who argued this point of view. He stressed truth
as absolute, not changeable depending of the thinking of society as
a given time. He believed in set standards of ethics. He said
that right and wrong can be figured out on an absolute level. If
one understands the truths, he can live a good life, without evil.
Plato agreed with Socrates. He, too, said that morals,
ethics, as well as matter, were absolute. He stated two levels of
existence; the physical world of “shadows” and the real world of
“ideas”. Plato wanted a philosopher-king who would stress harmony
and efficiency, as Plato did.
Another philosopher, Aristotle, believed in a world of
moderation and balance. He disagreed with Plato’s two levels of
existence. Instead, Aristotle said that all functions of the soul
die with the body and that there is no afterlife. Aristotle also
said that truth followed logically from other truths. One must
reason, step by step, before reaching conclusions.
Greek thinkers assumed that the universe was put together in
an orderly way. They insisted that people could understand their
laws, merely, through the process of reason.
There were many conflicting ideas among the elite of ancient
Greece, of what the “Greek outlook” is. Our western society has
learned a lot from the Greeks. We inherited their art and love of
symmetry, their literature and understanding of man, their
philosophies which stimulate our thinking, causing us to ask
questions about our existence. As modern and knowledgeable as we
are today, we would not be nearly as sophisticated if not for our
ancestors the great thinkers of Greece in ancient times.
Jantzen, Steven L., Krieger, Larry S., Neill, Kenneth. World
History, D.C. Health & Company: Massachusetts, 1988.
The American Heritage Dictionary, Dell Publishing Co. Inc.,
New York, 1986.
- Capital Punishment Essay, Research Paper Throughout the history of man, the penalty of death was ... executions, like in the past. During the Inquisition, in the 13th century, executions ... executions, like in the past. During the Inquisition, in the 13th century, ...
- Capital Punishment Essay, Research Paper Currently, the United States is the only western democracy that still has capital punishment on ... also have one of the highest crime rates. During the 1980s, death penalty ...
- Capital Punishment Essay, Research Paper This day in age murderers? ... . The shock burns the internal organs or the person, which leaves them dead. During ... . The shock burns the internal organs or the person, which leaves them dead. During ...
- Capital Punishment Essay, Research Paper Capital Punishment Introduction Capital punishment is punishment by death for committing a crime. Since the early 1800’s most ... . Doubts about whether the death penalty was constitutional during the 1960s led to ...
- Capital Punishment Essay, Research Paper The issue of capital punishment has been an ongoing controversy for many centuries. Punishment by ... been killed by firing squad. During the process of lethal injection, many ...