Guest Author - Rebecca Graf
Classical Greece has given us much in the way of culture. From education, to government, to architecture, Greece is still evident in our society.
One of the biggest is the recording of history. It is during the Classical Age that historical events were written down for the purpose of recording history. Herodotus was the first to actually record history. In fact, he gave us the word “history” and is known as the “father of history”. While Herodotus gave us much information on the Persian Wars, it was through Thucydides that we learn about the Peloponnesian War. From these two men, the study and recording of history began.
Getting an education without reading a Greek drama is nearly impossible. The drama as we know it today was born in Classical Greece. These plays, of tragedy and comedy, shaped the plays and literature of today with their plots, teachings on morality, and delivering a message.
Classical Greek art is one of the most recognizable art forms and are evident in many of the buildings of our culture today. The development of the Doric and Ionic styles can be found throughout Europe and in the United States today. Including a frieze in the architecture is commonly found in chapels, government buildings, and libraries. Greek sculptures also have shaped the sculptures of today. Prior to the Classical period, statues were stiff. It was during Greek’s Classical era that the sculptures began to be real and lifelike though in a Utopia fashion. Extreme detail was given to the pieces as never before.
Philosophy was also a huge contribution of Classical Greece that our world feels today. Through Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle many questions about life, the universe, nature, and religion were all discussed and pondered. Education was also promoted through these men as academies were built and scientific research and examination were encouraged. Thinking was encouraged and fostered.
Classical Greek helped shaped our educational system, our arts, and our architecture. This influence can be seen everywhere we turn.
- Herodotus, The Histories, trans. Andrea L. Purvis (New York: Pantheon, 2007).
- Robert Morkot, The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Greece (New York: Penguin Group, 1996).
- Sarah B. Pomeroy et al., Ancient Greece: A Political, Social, and Cultural History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008).
- Jackson J. Spielvogel, Western Civilization (Boston: Wadsworth, 2009).