Hellenistic Civilization (323-146 BCE) (323 BCE = Death of Alexander) (146 BCE = Conquest by the...
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Hellenistic Civilization(323-146 BCE)(323 BCE = Death of Alexander)(146 BCE = Conquest by the Romans)
Alexander the Great
Hellenistic CivilizationHellenistic because of, on the one hand, the predominant role of Greece and, on the other hand, not completely Greek, being more multiethnic, multiracial, and multicultural.
Hellenistic Civilization:General PrinciplesThe fragmentation of Alexanders empire into three kingdoms: Kingdom of Macedonia, Kingdom of the Ptolemies (Egypt), and Kingdom of the Seleucids (Syria).In some ways, a continuation of basic Hellenic philosophies and aesthetics, but with significant new features.
Hellenistic Civilization:General PrinciplesThe flourishing of large metropolitan centers: Alexandria and PergamumDiverse ethnic groups (Greeks, Macedonians, Egyptians, Hebrews, Persians, Africans) linked by trade.A form of colloquial Greek called Koine was spoken throughout the Hellenistic world.Hellenistic rulers had no interest in democracy.
AlexandriaThe best example of a large Hellenistic metropolis.Population of about 1,000,000Cultural diversityA center of learning and culture, featuring a theatre, library, museum, lighthouse, etc.The worlds first university (a museum dedicated to the Muses) was built in Alexandria.The library contained 700,000 volumes of books.
Exercise # 1Find some information online about the cities of Alexandria and Pergamum during the Hellenistic Age.
Hellenistic literatureThe seriousness of Hellenism began to give way to a Hellenistic love of playfulness as well as an interest in the ordinary, everyday subjects.New Comedy In contrast to the pointed, satiricial comedies of Hellenic Greece, the return to monarchy seems to have made playwrights more conservative in their willingness to criticize.Menander, the leading figure of the New Comedy
Hellenistic literaturePastoral poetry City life and its hassles seems to bring with it a kind of nostalgia for country life.At the same time, the poetry was a fantasy of country life, written by and for the upper class.Theocritus created the new poetic forms of pastoral poetry as well as idyll.
Hellenistic Philosophy: CynicismTrue freedom arises from realizing that if one wants nothing, then one will never lack anything.Isolation from the societyDenial of physical comfortAutarky, or self-sufficiency, as the goal of lifeDiogenes, the most prominent CynicAlexander: if I were not Alexander, I would prefer to be Diogenes.
Diogenes of Sinope
Diogenes and Alexander
Diogenes of Sinope
Diogenes of SinopeBanished from his country, Diogenes spent most of his life in Athens, though he died in Corinth. He called himself the Dog, and held up the life of animals as a model for mankind. His task was the recoining of values, and to the civilization of Hellenic and Hellenistic world he opposed the life of animals and of the barbaric people.
Hellenistic Philosophy: SkepticismNothing could be known for certainAll ideas and values must be questioned.Truth is unknowableAutarky as the goal of life.Pyrrho of Elis was the founder of Skepticism.
Hellenistic Philosophy: EpicureanismHow to achieve happiness:The best way to keep ones wants simple, and thus to achieve happiness, was to abstain from sex and focus instead on friendship.Also not to indulge in excessive desiresResist fame, power and wealthFreedom from fear: fear of the gods, of death, and of the hereafter.Pleasure is the absence of painAtaraxia, the desireless state, the goal of lifeEpicurus was the founder of Epicureanism
Hellenistic Philosophy: StoicismThe world is governed by the divine logos, or reason, or nature.Freedom and happiness consist of living in harmony with logosA resigned and deterministic outlook, but never apathetic.Emphasis on dedication to work and dutyWorldwide brotherhoodAutarky (self-sufficiency) as the goal of life
Hellenistic Religion: Mystery CultsThe mystery cult of OrpheusThe mystery cult of DionysusThe mystery cult of Isis (and her brother/husband Osiris). Isis was the most honored goddess of the ancient world.The mystery cult of Mithraism
Anahita, Mithras mother
OrpheusORPHEUS was the son of Apollo and the Muse Calliope. He was presented by his father with a lyre and taught to play upon it, which he did to such perfection that nothing could withstand the charm of his music. Not only his fellow-mortals, but wild beasts were softened by his music
Exercise # 2Find information about the mystery cults of the Hellenistic age.
Hellenistic ArchitectureThe Corinthian columnTaller, more slender and more ornamented than either the Doric or Ionic columns.
Hellenistic visual artsDramatic advances in sculptureContinuation of some Hellenic ideals and subjects (e.g., portraits of gods and goddesses).New interests related to extremes of emotion: violence, eroticism.Some occasional interest in realism, in the portrayal of an individual.
A new interest in capturing action and the excitement of a figure in motion, resulting in works that are less restrained than the Hellenic models. Figures are sometimes twisted or contorted in an effort to communicate the sense of action.Boy Struggling with a Goose (101)
Hellenistic sculptureDying Gaul:Shows a mortally wounded barbarian warrior. By treating a foreign enemy with such nobility, the anonymous sculptor expresses a deep moral sense that was central to Hellenistic art.Made in Pergamene Style Aphrodite of Melos(c. 160-150 BCE)Shows more of the Classical (Hellenic) influence (idealized face and contrapposto).Relatively new interest in the nude female form.Sensuality
The Dying Gaul
The Dying Gaul
Hellenistic sculptureThe Laocoon Group(date unknown)Interest in emotional extremes: terror and despair.A moment of action.The rhythm and action of the work draws the viewers eye to many different parts.Old Market Woman(c. 200 BCE?)An ultra-realistic portrait of a commonly seen character.Still shows the virtuosity of the sculptor.Social commentary or bad joke?
The Laocoon Group