Greek Roman Antiquity

Greek Roman Antiquity

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Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea   comprising the interlocking civilizations of Ancient Greece & Ancient Rome.   It is this period in which Greek and Roman society flourished and wielded great influence throughout Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

It is conventionally taken to begin with the earliest-recorded Greek Poetry of Homer (8th–7th century BC), and continues through the emergence of Christianity and the decline of Roman empire. (5th century AD). It ends with the dissolution of classical culture at the close of late antiquity (AD 300–600), blending into the Dark Ages (AD 600–1000). Such a wide sampling of history and territory covers many disparate cultures and periods. “Classical antiquity” may refer also to an idealized vision among later people of what was, in Edgar Allan Poe,s ‘s words, “the glory that was Greece, the grandeur that was Rome

In antiquity, early democracies formed in Greece, most notably Athens  Later Rome formed a type of representative democracy as a republic, but this system eventually gave way to an authoritarian empire, this is similar to the relatively modern(late 1700’s and early 1800’s) first french republic ending, when Napoleon was crowned emperor or when other democratically elected leader took on dictatorial roles like in Germany and Italy. I think this would refer to The Greek and The Roman eras. Basically it’s from 484 BC to 600 AD. The Hellinistic period is well within the overall scope of Antiquity. During the middle ages democracy didn’t lend much representation to the majority of people due to the belief in the “Divine Right of Kings” The principal difference between Late Antiquity and early medieval times is the end of political centralization under the Romans, at least in the west. Classical antiquity is usually seen as ending with the sack of Rome by Alaric the Visigoth in 473 AD

Romans made a conscious choice to imitate all kinds of native Greek narratives — Plautus and Terrance, who are both playwrights thus likely to be seen by everybody — are consciously adapting the conventions (and often the plots) of the greek comedies called New Comedy (as opposed to Aristophanes’s Old Comedy). Vergil is taking on Homer and this was actually denounced when it began in the Republican Period. At the same time Plautus, who wrote in Greek was a Citizen of Rome and travelled there as a young man on business for Chaeronea, and Plautus taught in Rome.

In some senses Greek really was the language of culture until roughly the Rise of Islam, but there are a few (very few, actually) Roman writers who are as brilliant as any Greek. A goodly amount of what we have from Rome was either what pleased the Emperors or what pleased their enemies (such as many of the histories). This is work which has reasons for its survival that are quite independent of its literary merit. What we have left of the Satyricon was apparently preserved by a private collector of pornography. That it is a work of such merit that Fellini, who can’t have shared the author’s kinks with his biography, did a film adaptation of it is almost beside the point. Around Cato the Censor’s time ( and despite his best efforts) Rome adopted Greek culture wholesale. And has been discounted for that ever since.

People of that period did not believe that classical antiquity was better; it was rather as perfect as their own times!
People of the Renaissance had just rediscovered “archaeologically” an impressive past in the cultures of the Mediterranean and they initiated a mental process that would create in Europe the notion of classicism.
This happened in an attempt to serve their own modes/fashions of expression, which were of course informed by an even earlier turn to the literary production of antiquity. This again was an outcome of the living in this later-on-seen-as-an-end-of-Middle-Ages period in sort of city-states that were similar to the ones known through the written sources to have existed in the antiquity. Thus, a new (for post-medieval times) social reality made the old (so-called classical) cultural achievements meaningful.

Architecture was a large part of it. People in Italy especially, the heart of the Roman Empire, lived surrounded by ruins that, certainly in the early Renaissance they couldn’t duplicate. The fact that these ruins were still standing over 1,000 years after construction, while most buildings they created were lucky to last for 50 years, emphasized the superiority of classical to medieval knowledge. The same was true of the ancient art that was a model for the art of the Renaissance. If you look at pre-Renaissance medieval art, you’ll immediately see that it doesn’t use perspective or composition in any sophisticated way – it simply isn’t as beautiful or as moving as the art of the Renaissance

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