Hellenistic Greece

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Describes Hellenistic Greek Culture, includng aesthetics, philosophy, and intellectual history

Transcript of Hellenistic Greece

  • 1.Hellenistic Greeks Society and Culture of an Empire

2. Philip of Macedonia

  • Warfarecontinued among the city states
  • Finally, Philip of Macedonia conquered the peninsula 338 BCE
  • He was assassinated two years later
  • His son Alexander assumed the throne of Macedonia

3. Alexander the Great and His Successors

  • Conquered Persia, Asia Minor (Turkey), Egypt, and Syria
  • Military Technology: catapults and battering rams
  • Expansion stopped in India, when an army with elephants induced soldiers to mutiny
  • Alexander died in 323 BCE, probably ofMalaria
  • The empire was divided into three segments
  • Egypt: By the Ptolemy dynasty
  • Persia by the Seleucid rulers
  • Macedonia under Antigonus the One-Eyed

4. Hellenistic Greece: Main Developments

  • Sculptures made for more realistic human forms, rather then the ideal
  • Drama: melodramatic over the tragic;
  • Meaning: preference of extravagant theatrics over characterization
  • Philosophy: Metaphysics replaced by science and the practical
  • Religion: spread of the mysteries such as Isis from Egypt, Mithra from Persia, Gnosticism
  • Spread Greek classicism to the non-Greek worldincluding Rome

5. Philosophies of Hellenistic Greece

  • Overall, became guides of the practical that guided everyday life
  • Neglected the rational methods of investigation according to Plato, Socrates, Aristotle and the pre-Greek philosophers
  • Four schools predominate: Skeptics, Cynics, Epicureans, and Stoics
  • All placed the needs of individuals above that of community or the search for univeral truth

6. Hellenistic Philosophy: Skeptics and Cynics

  • Skepticsharked back to the Sophists
  • Denied the possibility of knowing anything for certain
  • Argued therefore for the suspension of all intellectual judgment
  • Cynicscalled for renunciation of societal values, conventions, and wealth
  • This renunciation is the key to spiritual satisfaction
  • Cynics anticipate the asceticism of a monastic Christianity

7. Hellenistic Philosophy: Epicureans

  • Opposite of the popular idea eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die
  • Epicureans(following Epicurus) argued that happiness follows from avoiding all physical excess
  • Called for plain living and balance between body and mindnot unlike the Christians
  • Argued that gods played no part in human life
  • Death is nothing but the rearrangement of atoms that made up the body and all nature

8. Hellenistic Philosophy: Stoicism

  • Derived fromstoa,or portico where Zenoof Cilium taught this philosophy (left)
  • Tranquility of mind comes from acceptance of the will of nature
  • The universe is governed by an impersonal intelligence (antithetical to Christianity)
  • Advanced the notion of universal equality, a Christian theme

9. Architecture: Altar of Zeus

  • Given to larger, monumental forms than that of Classical Greece.
  • The Altar of Zeus at Pergamon, Asia Minor, commemorating a battle with the invading Gauls

10. Statuary Realism

  • Themes of statue are victory of intellect over barbarism, Olympian gods over Titans
  • Athena triumphs over Male, son of the Earth Mother
  • Laco n and sons captured by sea serpent sent by Athena(lower left)
  • This is in revenge for his warning the Trojans of an impeding attack
  • The Hellenic ideal form is displace by realism that also portray children and the aging
  • This anticipates Roman sculpture

11. Religious Themes

  • Hellenistic thought also anticipates the Mysteries
  • Some groups worship Isis or Osiris or both from Egypt
  • From Persia came Mithra, God of the Sun in pre-Zoroastian times
  • From Egypt also came Gnosticism, which refers to personal knowledge of the unseen world
  • These themes were adopted later in Rome in along with Christianity as the empire entered decline

12. Developments in Science and Mathematics

  • Archimedes:specific gravity; foundations of calculus, compound pulley; mechanical properties of the lever
  • Aristarchus:Proposes the heliocentric theory of planetary movement
  • Euclid:basics of plane geometry
  • Hipparchus:Invents trigonometry; catalogues 805 fixed stars
  • Herophilus:nervous system; arteries carry blood (not air) from the heart

13. Conclusion: Significance of Hellenistic Period

  • Expanded the world view of Hellenic Greece to encompass that beyond that culture
  • Created a practical perspective in intellectual life, reflected in everyday concerns
  • Instilled realism in art and sculpture
  • Emphasized the plot over characterization in drama
  • Brought size into architecture
  • Fostered scientific and mathematical innovations
  • Set the foundations for Rome and later Christianity