Question. Culture and religion of ancient Greece.

In the history of the culture of ancient Greece, researchers distinguish the following periods:
Aegean or Crete-Mycenaean (III-II millennium BC),
heroic or Homeric (XI – IX century BC),
archaic (VІІІ-VI centuries BC),
classical (V-IV BC),
Hellenistic (the period from the beginning of the campaign of Alexander the Great to the East until the conquest of Egypt by Rome
– the last third of the 4th-1st centuries. BC.).

In the V-IV centuries. BC e. Greek culture became one of the most developed systems of the ancient world. Three major features give it an exceptional character: completeness, diversity and a certain completeness of the constituent parts of culture (literature, art, philosophy); its humanistic orientation; the great contribution of the Greeks to the treasury of world culture, the creation of masterpieces that enriched the cultural creativity of the next generations and firmly entered the life of the peoples of the Mediterranean and Europe.

A mighty spiritual culture reigned in ancient Greek policies, which had a great influence on the development of civilization in many countries of the world. The basis of public life in ancient states was a policy, that is, a city-state that united the city and surrounding lands with villages.
The policy was an independent political, economic and cultural unit, an association of free citizens. Almost all citizens of the policies were literate. The city-states were ruled collectively by their free citizens. It was a kind of slave-owning democracy, it brought up a special worldview among the Greeks, because the free and politically active person became the social ideal.

Such a person was the main object and meaning of culture. The hero of the Egyptian, Mesopotamian or Indian culture is strong in his mystery, supernatural, connection with the sky and its elemental forces, while the hero of the culture of Ancient Greece is a real person.
The Greeks highly valued the poise, calmness, the measure of the actions of a person who was a free citizen and took part in the leadership of the state. Hence the absence of gigantomania in Greek art, hence the desire to fit structures and sculptures into the natural environment. An example of that successful incorporation into the landscape is the Acropolis complex in Athens. Or a sculpture of Aphrodite de Milo. The height of the figure corresponds to the height of an average Greek girl, there is no pomposity and ostentatious grandeur in her, but so much calmness, the beauty of the female body, is expressed in marble.
Following Heraclitus, in Greek culture man is seen as a mortal GOD, and GOD as an immortal man (anthropomorphism).

In ancient Greek philosophy, the materialistic atomistic doctrine (Democrat) and idealism (Socrates and Plato) originate. In ancient Greece, a new branch of knowledge arose – history. “Father of history” Herodotus conceived a chronicle-opisal form of studying society. Aristotle in his scientific work “Politics” formed the first theory of the state. The Greek scientist Euclid laid the foundations of geometry, Archimedes – mechanics.
Ancient Greece is the birthplace of European theatre. At the end of the 5th and beginning of the 4th century BC. theaters were already in all the big Greek cities. “Theater” – the Greek word, in translation means “A place for spectacles.”

In Athens, the theater was arranged on the slopes of the Acropolis. It was one of the largest theaters in Hellas – for 17 thousand spectators. Greek theaters had wonderful acoustics. Everything that was said on the stage was clearly audible even in the last rows.
The Greeks were very fond of the theatre. They staged performances 2-3 times a year. Performances began in the morning and lasted until the evening for several days in a row. Several plays were shown every day. The plays were funny or sad (tragedy or comedy). The tragedies of Aeschylus (“Persians”) were very popular. The tragedy of Sophocles “Antigone” was very popular. And the famous author of comedies in the middle of the 5th century BC was the Athenian Aristophanes (the play “Birds”).

In Greece, once every 4 years, national sports competitions were held – games (in the city of Olympia). Behind the legend, the famous hero Hercules founded the Olympic Games. The first games – 776 BC e. They have been held since 1000 years, by the time they were banned at the request of the Christians (4th century AD). They were resumed in 1896. Since then they have become worldwide and are held in different countries in turn.
The statue of Athena Pallas In the Parthenon (“Temple of the Virgin”) was made by Physia (11 m high) – from ivory and gold.
In architecture, the Greeks were famous for their columns. They used columns of three types: Dorian, Ionian, Corinthian. Often, instead of columns, the Greeks used stone statues that supported the roof or cornice with their bodies. Such statues-columns in the form of men are called Atlantes, and in the form of women they are called caryatids. These types of columns have been used by architects all over the world.
Famous Greek sculptors – Physios, Myron, Polikleitos and others. Statues were cast from bronze or carved from white marble, which were painted. The Greeks never depicted ugly people, they believed that only beauty should be portrayed. The most famous statues are “Discobolus” by Myron, “Aphrodite of Milos” by an unknown sculptor, a statue of Apollo Belvedere and “Hercules with a Lion” by Lissippus.

Religion of ancient Greece.

the development of religious views in Ancient Greece went through certain periods that correspond to the periods of development of ancient Greek culture. The following are usually distinguished.

Cretan-Mycenaean (III-II millennium BC). This period ended as a result of destruction on the island of Crete caused by volcanic eruptions and floods. On the coast, the cause of destruction was the invasion of the northern peoples – the Dorians.

Homeric period (XI-VIII centuries BC). At this time, the political system of Ancient Greece, the policy, was being formed. The end of the period is characterized by the creation of the famous poems of Homer, in which the main provisions of the religion of the ancient Greeks are already traced.

Archaic period (VIII-VI centuries BC). Formation of the main features of ancient Greek culture and religion.

Classical period (V-IV centuries BC). The rise of ancient Greek culture.

Hellenistic period (IV-I centuries BC). Active mutual influence of ancient Greek culture and cultures of other peoples.

The main sources of information about the ancient Greek religion are the works of Homer’s “Iliad ” and ” Odyssey” and Heioda “Theogony”. Based on these works, it can be concluded that the ancient Greek gods were divided into three groups:

1. heavenly or uranic (Zeus and all the Olympic gods);

2. underground or chthonic (Hades, Demeter, Erinyes);

3. earthly or ecumenical (Hestia , gods of the hearth).

In the initial representations, the dominant place was occupied by the goddess-mistress – the deity of fertility. Subsequently, she was transformed into the wife of the highest God – Hera. Then the male deity stands out – Zeus. His position is equal to the position of the king among the aristocracy and ordinary subjects. Zeus and Hera form a divine couple, a model of family and supreme power. One generation with them – the gods Poseidon and Demeter. The younger generation of the Gods are the sons of Zeus – Apollo, Hephaestus and Ares; daughters – Athena, Artemis, Aphrodite. They are the executors of the will of Zeus and receive their part of the world order in power.

Zeus becomes the highest god in the fight against previous generations of gods: Uranus, Kronos, the Titans. These gods are defeated, but not destroyed. They are the personification of the elemental forces of nature. In addition to these gods, the Greek pantheon included local deities; thus the pantheon of gods was very large. The gods were anthropomorphic in nature. They had the same character traits as humans, but differed in that they could transform into animals and were immortal.

The ancient Greeks had an idea of u200bu200bdemons – lower supernatural forces. The demons included nymphs, satyrs, seleniums. In honor of the demons, rituals were performed, ceremonies that were aimed at ensuring that the demons did not harm people. The ancient Greeks distinguished between superstition and faith. Too diligent worship of demons (superstition) was condemned in society.

The cult of ancestors occupied a great place among the ancient Greeks. The Greeks believed that the dead could harm living people; and to prevent this from happening, they need to be appeased, i.e. make sacrifices. It was considered especially unacceptable not to bury the ashes (lack of burial). There was an idea of the kingdom of the dead Hades. In Hades, the dead people were divided into sinners and the righteous; sinners fell into Tartarus (a kind of hell). The doctrine of posthumous existence was called Orphism (after the name of the ancient Greek hero who visited the world of the dead).

Of great importance was the performance of rituals, there were state cults. These cults were carried out periodically, as well as in commemoration of especially significant events (disasters, victories, etc.).

In the VI century. BC. A holiday was established – ” Great Panathenays” in honor of the goddess Athena. For this holiday, the Acropolis was built. The ritual was performed once every four years in July-August and lasted five days. At first there were night festivities, a demonstration. Then sacrifices were made. It was believed that the gods feed on the smell of meat, and people ate meat. Similar festivities were also dedicated to other gods, for example, “Great Dionysius ” – in honor of the god Dionysus. Poets and musicians composed hymns. In addition, mysteries were held – secret, intimate rituals. The uninitiated were forbidden to participate in the mysteries.

The priests of Ancient Greece did not enjoy such authority as in Egypt, they did not stand out as a special class, any citizen, for example, the head of the family, could perform the ritual. To perform the rites, a person was chosen at a community meeting. In some churches, the service required special preparation, so they chose knowledgeable people. They were sometimes called oracles , as they were believed to be able to convey the will of the gods.

There were various religious communities in Ancient Greece. The basis of religious life was the family. Families were united in phratries , phratries were united in phyla (primarily on a professional basis). There were also sects – secret organizations that gathered around the leader.

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