Greek civilization
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   1. Democracy and Olympic games

   The Greek civilization surpassed all that the human mind had created in the Near East.

  One of the characteristics of the Greek culture is the concept of human freedom, which appears in the desire to control the own destiny and to participate in the government of people. We found this in the concept of democracy and in the government of the polis, which has already been discussed above.

   With the Sea expansion in the Mediterranean, craftsmen and traders became important. Hence the idea of freedom and equality of men appeared and Athenians began to intervene in the government. So the democracy appeared.

   From Cleisthenes (at the end of the VI century B.C.), all Greek citizens were entitled to vote and to be elected to occupy government positions.

   In the city of Olympia, there was a very important sanctuary dedicated to Zeus. From VII century B.C. every four years sports games were celebrated during five days in honor of that god.
   Athletes came from all over Greece and chariot races and various athletics events were celebrated: discus and javelin throw races and freestyle wrestling. (See the side figure of the Diskobolus of Myron).
   The winners were considered heroes in their city. The Olympic Games restarted in the XIX century and nowadays they have an international character.

   2. Indicate if these sentences refer to the democracy or to the Olympic games:

It happened with Cleisthenes


In honor of Zeus


It comes from human freedom


Everyone can participate in government


There was discus throw


The winners were considered heroes


Everyone could vote


They were celebrated every four years


They lasted five days


It protected the equality of men


    3. Philosophy and Literature

   Greek philosophy is based on the triumph of reason and the defense of individual liberty. It sought the knowledge and tried to explain everything logically.

   The first great philosopher was Socrates who set the principle "know thyself" as a basis to know other people, along with the practice of virtue.

   Plato defended the world of ideas and created the idealist philosophy. The most appreciated idea is the good. (See the philosopher of the center).

   For Aristotle, the truth is in the outside world and man must use reason to find it. He established the foundations of scientific philosophy and his works were widely studied in the middle Ages. (See the downstairs philosopher).

   Regarding science, we have to talk about Hippocrates, the originator of scientific medicine.

   Literature: The Greeks cultivated all literary genres. These works were not to be read but to be heard because most of the population could not read. The most prominent figures are:

   - Poetry: Homer who wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey.

   - The theater: The great figures were Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides.

   - The History: Herodotus, Thucydides and Xenophon.

   - The oratory: it was widely cultivated in Athens. The principal figures were: Pericles, Aeschines and especially Demosthenes. 

   4. Indicate if these sentences refer to the philosophy or to the literature:

Homer was a poet


Socrates defended the virtue


Plato defended the idea of the good


Herodotus was an historian


Pericles was a great orator


Aristotle's works were widely read


Aeschylus wrote plays


Aristotle defended the reason


    5. Arts and religion

   The Greeks tried to represent the human body with great perfection. They thought that the beauty means perfect, sober and balance.

   The Greek had the instinct of beauty, with the poetic vision of life and the clarity of thought. For that reason, the beauty, the poetry and the clarity are aspects that give life to their civilization.

   In architecture, the Greeks built their buildings according three orders: Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. On the side picture, we distinguish in the column: the base, the shaft and the capital. The capitals were of three kinds: the Doric with a simple moulding, as the used in the Parthenon; the Ionic capital is the sveltest and luxurious, crowned with volutes, as the used in the Erection; the Corinthian capital is decorated with acanthus leaves.

   In the Acropolis were the temples of the Parthenon and Erection.

   Regarding the sculpture, we have Myron of Athens with his famous diskobolus and Polykleitos of Argos who made the reliefs and sculptures of Parthenon.

   We also have to stand out the ceramic, because they not only did clay vessels, but they decorated them with beautiful paintings of everyday life or mythology.

   Religion: the Greek invented their gods who were considered as men, but they were immortal and possessed great strength because they fed on nectar and ambrosia. They lived on the summit of Olympus.

   The main gods were Zeus (the father of all the gods), Poseidon (god of the sea), Apollo (god of the arts), Aphrodite (goddess of the love) and Athena (goddess of the science).

   Heroes were sons of a god and a mortal like Heracles, Odysseus and Achilles.

Mythology studies the legends and myths of gods and heroes.

   6. Indicate if these sentences relate to the arts or to the religion:

They lived on Olympus


Three orders of architecture


The Doric with a simple moulding


Zeus was the father of the gods


Aphrodite, goddess of love


The Ionic with volutes


The Corinthian with acanthus leaves


Athena, goddess of science


The temple of Parthenon


Ulysses was a hero


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®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of 29-IX-1999
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