Humanities from Ancient Greece

Of the eras covered in the course, the one that had my favorite example of Humanities was Ancient Greece. This era is believed to have started in the 8th century BC and finished with the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC. However, the Greek civilization was only disestablished in the 6th century AD (Marshall). Over this long period, the Greeks made significant advancements in various humanities, including the arts, architecture, and philosophy.

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Ancient Greece started with city-states’ formation, which was the critical political difference between it and other civilizations in the Ancient World (Marshall). Every city-state (polis) was relatively independent, which means that they could develop, trade, and expand territory independently. This autonomy level was critical because it prevented the formation of monarchy and allowed for more diversity in arts and culture.

Hence, the two key concepts that were important to Humanities in this era were development and diversity. This meant that the people of Ancient Greece made significant progress in a great variety of arts, including sculpture, literature, drama, painting, and philosophy and sports. Fast development in all of these areas is the reason why Ancient Greece had such a profound impact on the development of Humanities in the subsequent time periods. For example, Aristotle’s exploration of dramatic structure in the 4th century BC is widely applied in contemporary theatre (“Ancient Greece”).

The period before Ancient Greece was the Greek Dark Ages, and there is no consistent written evidence that would explain what was happening in Greece at the time. However, most historians agree that after the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization, the population of Greece decreased substantially (Rhodes 4).

Having lost significant trade connections, people lived in small communities and survived by means of farming. Literacy that emerged during the bronze age had been lost, and thus, there are no written documents to confirm what was happening in Greece or how the development of city-states has begun (Rhodes 6). Hence, education, culture, and political structure were the key points of difference between the Greek Dark Ages and Ancient Greece.

My favorite piece of Humanities from Ancient Greece is Aristotle’s text Politics. In this work, Aristotle continues to explore his ethical theory by highlighting the role that the government should play in people’s lives. According to Aristotle, the government should help people to achieve a happy life, which is the primary purpose of living. The philosopher provides many insights into the politics of Ancient Greece and suggestions that could be beneficial to politics today.

The reason why I like this text is that I think it applies to contemporary politics. In today’s world, politics seems to be primarily concerned with money and business instead of focusing on citizens’ well-being. Aristotle argues that this can be changed, and thus, his work would be beneficial for anyone who wants to have an impact in the modern world.

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Overall, Ancient Greece was a prominent period in Humanities, which was characterized by fast-paced development and variety in arts, culture, and philosophical sport. This period was very different from the Greek Dark Ages due to political structure and the level of education. One piece of Humanities from this era that I find particularly compelling is Aristotle’s Politics. I like this text because it is relevant to the contemporary political situation and offers insight into how politics should function.

Works Cited

“Ancient Greece is not just ancient history.” Study in Greece. 2018. Web.

Marshall, Colin. “The History of Ancient Greece in 18 Minutes: A Brisk Primer Narrated by Brian Cox.Open Culture. 2019. Web.

Rhodes, P.J. A Short History of Ancient Greece. Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

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