Let your mind travel to the 4th and 5th century in ancient Greece. Walk through an agora and picture it bustling with people buying goods and food, exchanging thoughts and ideas. Look up to the Acropolis to a ceremony honoring the goddess Athena, or into a theatre to watch the actors play out a tragedy or a comedy. Pass by the Academy to hear the philosophers exchange their views on life, love and politics.
Emerging from the Dark Ages and following the destruction of such rich civilizations as the Minoan and the Mycenaean, Greece went into periods of immense social, political and cultural development.
In the Archaic Period, about 700 BC, the first forms of democracy developed, the use of art and architecture became prominent in the building of sanctuaries and temples, the invention of the theatre brought about the enactment of tragedies and comedies and the revival of the written word brought great literary works such as the Homeric epic poems. Myths and legends stemmed from the Greeks’ strong belief in the gods of Olympus who played a major role in their daily lives depicted in theatre and art. The Panhellenic athletic games were inaugurated in honor of the gods; the biennial Pythian Games at Delphi in honor of the god Apollo and the more common quadrennial Olympic Games in Olympia in honor of Zeus.
That era set itself as a threshold for the glory of the Classical Period or the Golden Age of Athens of the 5th to 4rd century BC which further flourished in sculpture and architecture, philosophy and theatre, science and politics. It gave birth to great thinkers among which were Socrates, Plato and Aristotle and the founding of the philosophical schools. The great Athenian statesman, Pericles, further developed the system of democracy and the most famous Parthenon of Athens was built.
The Hellenic period that succeeded the Classical and, aided by the conquests of Alexander the Great, spread this rich culture from the Mediterranean basin to Central Asia. So strong and powerful were its virtues and merits that they were adopted first by the Romans that conquered Greece after the Hellenistic period, and later the Western civilization of today.
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