Artifacts that made Greek civilization flourish

I will begin this blog by describing the importance of theatre, pottery and architecture in Ancient Greek civilization. Greek pottery was important for its practical uses such as storage or drinking during its time and later for leaving a mark on later artistic styles, Greek architecture for its awe-inspiring structures which made ancient Greeks proud of their culture and allowed Athens especially to exert its power across the Mediterranean, and Greek theatre for providing a sense of identity and enriching the lives of the ancient Greeks who went to see these plays, also the way theatre revolutionized the world as this was a new creation which was unprecedented before in history.

Greek pottery

Greek pottery is the collection of vases, plates, cups and other vessels left over from the classical Greek era, it is important because it is a valuable tool for determining the chronological history of ancient Greece. Nowadays vases can be very valuable but during the ancient Greek times they were meant for everyday use by regular people. Greek pottery pieces are important for historical purposes as they contain records of Greek culture and religion painted on them and are one of the most important sources of knowing how people lived in Ancient Greece.

Greek pottery is also important because it allows us to know about the lives of ordinary people, instead of a written record which was mostly about important figures such as kings and nobles. During the time of the ancient Greeks the vases were not luxury items (even the ornate ones) and each vase was worth only about a day’s wages, they were used for storing or transporting olive oil, water and wine (Mark Cartwright, 2016) {1}. The extensive care that was put into ancient Greek pottery reveals that nowadays we have become a very plain society since these beautiful vases were used for everyday purposes such as storing water, we are now merely interested in practicality as well as production and profit but not art.

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Cypriot pitcher Source: Ancient History Encyclopedia

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An ornate kylix (wine-drinking cup). Source: Wikipedia

 

Greek architecture

Greek architecture was the ancient Greek style of designing buildings. This artifact was historically significant to the development of early Greek society because it gave ancient Greeks a sense of identity, which is necessary.in order for a civilization to survive and thrive. Ancient Greek architecture was very important to Ancient Greek societies because the public structures such as the Parthenon were built to create wonder and awe in its own population and foreign cultures. Having beautiful buildings in their city inspired them to pursue great things since it gave them a sense of importance and uniqueness.

 There were three types of classical Greek architecture, they were the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. These three orders influenced the creation of the composite and Tuscan architectural orders later used by the Romans. Greek architecture influenced the Roman civilization and the western world since the renaissance. There are examples of Greek architecture in any modern city since the style became so popular (World of Design, 2008) {2}

            One important Greek invention was the amphitheatre which was used for plays, it was a semicircular structure with rising rows of seats which allowed for better quality sound by trapping the sound inside (Mark Cartwright, 2016) {3}. Greek architecture has been influential to many future civilizations. For example, almost everyone has see a picture of the White House or the US Capitol which are based on the Greek architectural style. There are examples of this style and its influences in almost every big city today. The importance of ancient Greek architecture in many cultures tells us that we need to invest more time and resources to protect ancient or old structures and artifacts so that we could still have them around for a much longer time.

            In my opinion one way that Greek architecture represented the toughness of the Ancient Greece is the construction of the Parthenon, it represents the victory of the Greeks over the Persians since the original Parthenon was burned down by the Persians (Mark Cartwright, 2016) {4}. It represented something like the rising of the Phoenix from the ashes which inspired the Athenians to continue to pursue great things.

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The three orders of Greek columns Source: http://bookofthrees.com/greek-columns/

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Greek amphitheatre in Epidauros, Greece. Source: Wikipedia.

 

 

 

 

Greek theatre

Greek theatre was something revolutionary, it was completely unprecedented, for example there is no mention of theatre in Ancient Egypt or Sumeria and even farther back it was unknown. Greek theatre seems to have originated in rituals consisting of religious hymns dedicated to the god Dionysus (Mark Cartwright, 2016) {5}. Greek theatre is the basis of western theatre which in turn later influenced the movie industry and television. One of the reasons for the development of Greek theatre was the creation of a Greek alphabet which also helped to bring on the classical age (Brian E. Newton, Cornelis Jord Ruijgh, Angeliki Malikouti-Drachman, Michel Lejeune, 2016) {6}. Greek theatre was only possible with a writing system since plays needed to be written down so that actors were able to memorize them and so that they would be kept on record. Greek theatre served as a form of entertainment in Ancient times and it was a means to spread Greek culture throughout the Mediterranean. During its day, it affected millions but overall billions of people have been affected in that Greek theatre influenced future theatre such as Shakespeare and also cinema.

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Different types of theatre Greek theat masks. Source: http://www.messagetoeagle.com/ancient-greek-costumes-masks-and-theater/

 

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Modern presentation of Aristophanes’ play “The Birds”. Source: http//tbex.thissathens.org/node/5000262

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

  1. Mark Cartwright. “Greek Pottery,” Ancient History Encyclopedia. Last modified January 12, 2013. http://www.ancient.eu /Greek_Pottery/.
  2. “NeoClassical Architecture,” World of Design, http://www.worldofleveldesign.com/categories/architecture/neoclassical/neoclassical_architecture.php,(November 14, 2008)
  3. Mark Cartwright. “Greek Architecture,” Ancient History Encyclopedia. Last modified January 06, 2013. http://www.ancient.eu /Greek_Architecture/.
  4. Mark Cartwright. “Parthenon,” Ancient History Encyclopedia. Last modified October 28, 2012. http://www.ancient.eu /parthenon/.
  5. Mark Cartwright, “Greek Theatre,” Ancient History Encyclopedia, last modified July 14, 2016, http://www.ancient.eu /Greek_Theatre/.
  6. Brian E. Newton, Cornelis Jord Ruijgh, Angeliki Malikouti-Drachman, Michel Lejeune, “Greek language,” https://www.britannica.com/topic/Greek-language, (November 20, 2016)

Images used (in order)

 

 

 

 

 

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