Hellenistic culture philosophy literature and art relationship

Greece, A History of Ancient Greece, Creativity In Culture

hellenistic culture philosophy literature and art relationship

In B.C., Alexander the Great became the leader of the Greek It spread Greek ideas and culture from the Eastern Mediterranean to As a result, they worked hard to cultivate commercial relationships throughout the Hellenistic world. In Hellenistic art and literature, this alienation expressed itself in a. Subject: Classical Studies, Ancient Greek History, Classical Philosophy . upon a concinnity between natural world, art object, and poem, but these aspirations .. the poem, whose close relationship to the natural world is a cultural universal, . Hellenistic Culture: Philosophy, Literature and Art. Hellenistic philosophy went through Toward the end of the civilization philosophy degenerated into a barren mysticism, . its intrigues and seductions, and its culmination in happy marriage.

Greek culture influenced the Roman Empire and many other civilizations, and it continues to influence modern cultures today. Philosophy and science Building on the discoveries and knowledge of civilizations in Egypt and Mesopotamia, among others, the Ancient Greeks developed a sophisticated philosophical and scientific culture. One of the key points of Ancient Greek philosophy was the role of reason and inquiry. It emphasized logic and championed the idea of impartial, rational observation of the natural world.

The Greeks made major contributions to math and science. We owe our basic ideas about geometry and the concept of mathematical proofs to ancient Greek mathematicians such as Pythagoras, Euclid, and Archimedes.

HISTORY OF IDEAS - Ancient Greece

Hippocrates, another ancient Greek, is the most famous physician in antiquity. He established a medical school, wrote many medical treatises, and is— because of his systematic and empirical investigation of diseases and remedies—credited with being the founder of modern medicine. The Hippocratic oath, a medical standard for doctors, is named after him. Greek philosophical culture is exemplified in the dialogues of Plato, who turned the questioning style of Socrates into written form.

Aristotle, Plato's student, wrote about topics as varied as biology and drama. Why did Greek philosophers value logic so highly? Picture of the painting School of Athens by Raphael.

School of Athens by Raphael. Wikimedia Art, literature, and theatre Literature and theatre, which were very intertwined, were important in ancient Greek society. Greek theatre began in the sixth century BCE in Athens with the performance of tragedy plays at religious festivals. These, in turn, inspired the genre of Greek comedy plays. These two types of Greek drama became hugely popular, and performances spread around the Mediterranean and influenced Hellenistic and Roman theatre.

The works of playwrights like Sophocles and Aristophanes formed the foundation upon which all modern theatre is based.

Culture of Greece - Wikipedia

In fact, while it may seem like dialogue was always a part of literature, it was rare before a playwright named Aeschylus introduced the idea of characters interacting with dialogue. They were disposed to think that the results which would flow from violent measures of social change would be worse than the diseases they were supposed to cure. Besides, what difference did it make that the body should be in bondage so long as the mind was free? Despite its negative character the Stoic philosophy was the noblest product of the Hellenistic Age.

Classical Greek culture

Its equalitarianism, pacifism, and humanitarianism were important factors in mitigating the harshness not only of that time but of later centuries as well. Whereas the Stoics went back to Heracletus for much of their conception of the universe, the Epicureans derived their metaphysics chiefly from Democritus.

Epicurus taught that the basic ingredients of all things are minute, indivisible atoms, and that change and growth are the results of the combination and separation of these particles. Nevertheless, while accepting the materialism of the atomists, Epicurus rejected their absolute mechanism.

He denied that an automatic, mechanical motion of the atoms can be the cause of all things in the universe. Though he admitted that the atoms move downward in perpendicular lines because of their weight, he insisted upon endowing them with a spontaneous ability to swerve from the perpendicular and thereby to combine with one another.

Aesthetics, Ancient | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

The chief reason for this peculiar modification of the atomic theory was to make possible a belief in human freedom. If the atoms were capable only of mechanical motion, then man, who is made up of atoms, would be reduced to the status of an automaton; and fatalism would be the law of the universe.

hellenistic culture philosophy literature and art relationship

In this repudiation of the mechanistic interpretation of life, Epicurus was probably closer to the Hellenic spirit than either Democritus or the Stoics. The ethical philosophy of the Epicureans was based upon the doctrine that the highest good for man is pleasure. But they did not include all forms of indulgence in the category of genuine pleasure. The so-called pleasures of the debauched man should be avoided, since every excess of carnality must be balanced by its portion of pain.

On the other hand, a moderate satisfaction of bodily appetites is permissible and may be regarded as a good in itself. Better than this is mental pleasure, sober contemplation of the reasons for the choice of some things and the avoidance of others, and mature reflection upon satisfactions previously enjoyed.

The highest of all pleasures, however, consists in serenity of soul, in the complete absence of both mental and physical pain. This end can be best achieved through the elimination of fear, especially fear of the supernatural, since that is the sovereign source of mental pain.

Man must recognize from the study of philosophy that the soul is material and therefore cannot survive the body, that the universe operates of itself, and that the gods do not intervene in human affairs. The gods live remote from the world and are too intent upon their own happiness to bother about what takes place on earth.

Since they do not reward or punish men either in this life or in a life to come, there is no reason why they should be feared. The Epicureans thus came by a different route to the same general conclusion as the Stoics—the supreme good is tranquillity of mind.

The ethics of the Epicureans as well as their political theory rested squarely upon a utilitarian basis. In contrast with the Stoics, they did not insist upon virtue as an end in itself but taught that the only reason why man should be good is to increase his own happiness.

In like manner, they denied that there is any such thing as absolute justice; laws and institutions are just only in so far as they contribute to the welfare of the individual. Certain rules have been found necessary in every complex society for the maintenance of security and order.

hellenistic culture philosophy literature and art relationship

Men obey these rules solely because it is to their advantage to do so. Thus the origin and existence of the state are rooted directly in self-interest. Generally speaking, Epicurus held no high regard for either political or social life.

He considered the state as a mere convenience and taught that the wise man should take no active part in public life. Unlike the Cynics, he did not propose that man should abandon civilization and return to nature; yet his conception of the happiest life was essentially passive and defeatist.

The wise man will recognize that he cannot eradicate the evils in the world no matter how strenuous and intelligent his efforts; he will therefore withdraw to "cultivate his garden,"study philosophy, and enjoy the fellowship of a few congenial friends. A more radically defeatist philosophy was that propounded by the Skeptics. Although Skepticism was founded by Pyrrho, a contemporary of Zeno and Epicurus, it did not reach the zenith of its popularity until about a century later under the influence of Carneades B.

The chief source of inspiration of the Skeptics was the Sophist teaching that all knowledge is derived from sense perception and therefore must be limited and relative. From this they deduced the conclusion that we cannot prove anything. Since the impressions of our senses deceive us, no truth can be certain. All we can say is that things appear to be such and such; we do not know what they really are.

We have no definite knowledge of the supernatural, of the meaning of life, or even of right and wrong. It follows that the sensible course to pursue is suspension of judgment; this alone can lead to happiness. If man will abandon the fruitless quest for absolute truth and cease worrying about good and evil, he will attain that equanimity of mind which is the highest satisfaction that life affords.

The Skeptics were even less concerned than the Epicureans with political and social problems. Their ideal was the typically Hellenistic one of escape for the individual from a world he could neither understand nor reform.

Hellenistic thought reached its lowest point in the philosophies of Philo Judaeus and the Neo-Pythagoreans in the last century b. The proponents of the two systems were in general agreement as to their basic teachings, especially in their predominantly religious viewpoint. They believed in a transcendent God so far removed from the world as to be utterly unknowable to mortal minds.

They conceived the universe as being sharply divided between spirit and matter.

The Natural World in Greek Literature and Philosophy

They considered everything physical and material as evil; man's soul is imprisoned in his body, from which an escape can be effected only through rigorous denial and mortification of the flesh. Their attitude was mystical and anti-intellectual: Hellenistic literature is significant mainly for the light which it throws upon the character of the civilization.

Most of the writings showed little originality or depth of thought. But they poured forth from the hands of the copyists in a profusion that is almost incredible when we consider that the art of printing by movable type was unknown.