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Classical Greece And Hellenistic Greece

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Classical Greece and Hellenistic Greece have a lot of differences. They have differences in time as the classical Greek, or, Hellenic period was the time before the death of Alexander The Great. Some of them are the studies of philosophy, literature, art, science, and religion. As a result of Alexander’s campaigns, the Greek world was forever changed after his death in 323 BCE. Alexander’s campaigns had brought the Greeks into contact with a number of Asian cultures, and Alexander had wanted to use Greek and Macedonian cultures with the cultures he encountered, discouraging later practices of “conquer and assimilate.” Therefore, the Hellenistic period is characterized by changes in traditional Ancient Greek culture as a result of these contacts, and so history separates the two periods. The Hellenic period was the period that watched the invention of philosophy. There were a multitude of individual philosophers during this period, all of which had followers that often branched out from the original philosopher’s thoughts. One of the most famous works of this time is Plato’s Republic, which was the earliest systematic treatment of political philosophy. Other philosophers include Aristotle and Socrates.

The Hellenistic philosophers focused more on reason than a quest for truth. The philosophers thought very much that reason was the key to solving problems, and denied the possibility of obtaining truth. Instead, the philosophers relied more on faith, accepting the inability to know the truth. The major philosophical groups of the Hellenistic period include the Cynics, Epicureans, Stoics, and Skeptics. Unlike the classical period, very few philosophers were independent of these schools of thought.

The Homeric epics originated during the Hellenic period, reinforcing faith in human greatness and delighting in the beautiful aspects of life. Lyrical poetry also thrived in its gentle way. Tragic dramas, such as Antigone and Oedipus, were the best achievement of the Classic world. These were incorporated in many outdoor festivals for audiences of thousands of people. Comedy, especially by Aristophane, lacked subtlety and politeness that the other genres had.

During the Hellenistic period, that all changed. Comedies became more comparable to dramas, like the works of Menander. Theocritus wrote about make-believe worlds, rather than his own. This became dominated by historians, biographers, and authors writing of utopia.

Classical era art is what we consider Greek art today. It portrayed exuberance and cheerful sensuality. Marble statues and reliefs depicted human greatness and sensuality. A notable achievement is the rise in architecture of the Doric and Ionic columns. In the Hellenistic world, art became less “art” and more “commodity.” This shift in focus led to the creation of many “trash” works. Sculptures of the period emphasize extreme naturalism and unashamed extravagance, rather than the former idolized beauties and perfect Davids. The arts of this time were supported by many wealthy people, who used art for show. The architecture of this period also reflected materialism of art, emphasizing luxuriance. Some architectural achievements include the first lighthouse, the citadel of Alexandria, and the Corinthian column. The Classical Greek world witnessed the birth of many of the world’s most well-known ancient scientists and theories. In astronomy, Thales predicted a solar eclipse. In math, Pythagorean invented his theorem. Aristotle dabbled in metaphysics and syllogism. In medicine, many scientists used philosophy rather than science.

Most “doctors” considered that if something were to happen, it were a god’s doing specifically. This period also witnessed the achievements of Hippocrates, who is considered the “father” of modern medicine and invented the practice of bleeding patients to release toxins. The Hellenistic period, unlike its ways in the previous topics, built their beliefs based on a foundation made by Classical Greek ways. This is considered the First Great Age of science. The studies of scientific things were supported by wealthy patrons who pushed the scientific growth along. The elements of geometry, physiology, and Archimedes’ principle of specific gravity are only few of the many achievements of the period. In medicine, achievements also continued: including describing the brain, determining pulse and its meaning, and determining that the arteries only contain blood. Religion in the Hellenic world derived from the debates of philosophers.

There were debates over the goals of existence, which mostly led to the search for the highest god. The Ancient Greek pantheon of gods had been developed by this time, but the nature of the pantheon left humans able to question and debate the significance of the gods and their actions. The Hellenistic period witnessed some major developments in religion. Zoroastrianism arose as one of the first documented monotheistic religions, with Ahura-Mazda as the single god and the intercession of priests on earth. Mystery cults were also found during the period. Mithraism, another monotheistic religion, also arose in the this time period, with the god Mithra having been born on December 24 and holding Sunday as a sacred day. Both of these periods have greatly impacted the everyday lives of cultures all over the world.

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