What is the “Golden Age” of Greece? Why do people appreciate Ancient Greece and its heritage?
The “Golden Age” or the Classical period of Greece is supposed to be paramount for the development of this country. The Classical period lasted from around the 5th to the 3rd century BC. However, some historians say that this period started in the 8th century BC when they speak about Sparta. When we hear about Ancient Greece, we think about only two major city-states – Athens and Sparta. Both city-states were at war all the time.
Although they were extremely different, they left the most notable impact on this ancient civilization. The well-known poets, philosophers, architects, etc. appeared during the Classical period of Greece. This country is supposed to be the mother of Western Civilization and its culture; therefore, it is vital to know about it a lot.
Without doubt, Ancient Greece was an extraordinary and uncommon country inasmuch as its history and political life was dramatic. As long as the entire country was divided into several separate regions by the mountains, the main political unit was limited to a city-state – a city that played the role of a country. It had its own ruler, economy, army and political system. The most powerful and influential city-states were Athens and Sparta.
Both cities have become the integral parts of Western Culture. Everyone knows about the powerful well-disciplined warriors from Sparta and philosophical sophisticated poets from Athens. In spite of being too different, both cities shaped a genuine and remarkable image of Ancient Greece.
What do we know about Sparta? This small kingdom looked like a military society where physical force was in priority. In fact, Spartans were not always so militant. They had to build the society of this kind after numerous local wars with their neighbors. When a country possesses many slaves, it should be able to keep them under control. Hereupon, Spartans developed their powerful army in order to conduct their policy with the help of brutal force. Moreover, they paid special attention to the physical training and education. It is curious that both male and female Spartans did exercises to become strong and healthy. Sparta is known for its cruel attitude towards children. Little boys had to live a few years in the wild in order to train their character and develop their bodies physically.
When such a boy returned home, he looked like an undefeatable and hard-tempered warrior who could protect himself, his family and country. Weak and handicapped children were killed at once, whereas there was the common idea of the ‘pure’ and ‘healthy’ society.
Athenians differed from Spartans a lot. They paid much attention to poetry, philosophy and architecture. They gave birth to such outstanding personalities as Homer (the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey), Pericles (a famous statesman who contributed into the rapid development of Athens) and such well-known philosophers as Socrates, Plato, Aeschylus, Euripides, etc. Athens were associated with the development of democracy. Moreover, this city became the center of culture, philosophy and trade of the Hellenic world. The best artists, intellectuals and architects worked and created there. Athens possessed a great number of temples and monuments that shaped a splendid image of this city. When we imagine a classical antique city, we think about Athens. This city is associated with the development of the well-known pagan religion based on the Gods who lived on Mount Olympus. This religion was so genuine and logical that it was borrowed by the Romans.
Why is the classical period so important for us? The “Golden Age” of Greece presented the best philosophers, artists, poets and pieces of art and architecture. The entire Western philosophy found its birth in Ancient Greece. Such philosophers as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle are considered to be the founders of Western philosophical thought. Homer and Menander are known to be the fathers of Western literature. The most outstanding military commander of all times, Alexander the Great, was trained and educated by the Greek philosopher, Aristotle. The Olympic Games that are held every four years occurred in Ancient Greece as well. The Classical period of Greece was influential for the development of the entire Western Civilization forasmuch its central ideas, concepts and norms of life are important even today. Every European country and the USA, Canada, Australia, etc. are influenced by the achievements and offbeat ideas of the bright minds of Ancient Greece.
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