Art used in ancient Greek is also very significant, as it appears in many historic places and it also worked to pave way for other Westernized art forms. The ancient Greeks made all kinds of art, including paintings, sculpture, pottery, etc. Pottery was used for many different purposes, including the use in everyday chores, wine decanters, and as trophies for winners at the games. Other uses for pottery included drinking vessels such as kraters and hydria. Miniature pottery was also made in order to emulate the various gods and goddesses and many different colors were used in order to honor these gods. The ancient Greeks also worked with metals such as bronze to create many pieces of art work such as vases and other ornaments. The ancient Greeks also made various clay and terracotta figures, idols, and statuettes. Monumental sculptures is also a very significant aspect of ancient Greek art and various large sculptures made of marbles, stones, and metals like bronze were made during their era. The Greeks also used coins during their era and many coins from ancient Greece have been found with patterns and designs. This practice is still followed today by almost all the countries in the world. The Greeks also invented the art of panel painting, where the artists drew various scenes over different panels to depict stories. These were done on pillars and walls and often told epic tales of heroes and gods. Other forms of paintings that the ancient Greeks used included painting vases.
These religious undertones were also apparent in the temples that the two civilization made. For the Egyptians, their pyramids and other temples such as the great Ramesseum had gret religious significance for the Egyptian. Similarly for ancient Greek, there is the great Acropolis. The Ramesseum is a temple complex that Ramesses II built between Qurna and the desert (Kitchen, 22). Various historians have referred to this complex of temple as one of the most gigantic and marvelous temples ever built in Egypt. The Ramesseum consisted of various courts, pylons, extremely large statues, and carvings of various war scenes depicted on the pylons. Overall, it was an extremely large and lavish piece of architecture that worked to show the grandeur of the great pharaoh. Even though Pericles did not actually built the Acropolis, he did conduct some major reforms to the architecture during his leadership. He built many new and large temples, and it was during the Age of Pericles that the Acropolis gained its final shape. It was also Pericles who commissioned the building of the Parthenon within the Acropolis.
No less important to the ideas of physical beauty were the Greek emphasis on athletic abilities. As a matter of fact, the idea of physical beauty went hand-in-hand with athletic ability because physical beauty could be achieved through keeping fit and participating in sporting events. Participating in competitive athletics was one of the ways the entire Greek civilization found itself a sense of cultural unity. Though there were probably hundreds of more local athletic festivals within the city-states, four major pan Hellenic games attracted athletes from all over the Greek world. Two of these were the Nemean and Olympic games, both of which are held in honor of the mightiest of the gods Zeus. The other two of the four major games were the Isthmian Games, held in honor for Poseidon and the Pythian games, which were held to worship the Sun God Apollo. It is from these athletic competitions that we have our modern Olympics today; still with many of the same rules that apply like having it take place once every four years. Winning was so important to the competitors that they would pray “either for the wreath or for death”. When the games would come to an end in the fifth and final day, the ultimate prize of the olive wreaths were only awarded to those whom were victorious. There were no consolation prizes for those finishing second or third. The Greeks were so supportive of the victors that their own cities and fellow citizens usually treated them lavishly once they returned home from the games. From the Ancient Olympic games, we can see that athletic ability had no less significance than physical beauty because both ideals were equally emphasized in the Greek culture.
The ancient Greeks have made many influential contributions to western civilization. These contributions, which are also the achievements of ancient Greece, include certain things in the areas of philosophy, art and architecture, and math and science. The ancient Greeks were a remarkable civilization in that they have made all these contributions and achievements while simultaneously fighting two wars, the Peloponnesian wars and the Persian wars. One inner-lying region of Greece, Sparta, and one adjacent region to Greece, Macedonia, were also of no help. Whether it be fighting for territory or threatening to Greece over these regions were nevertheless a problem. Luckily for western civilization, Greece persevered through these hardships and managed to achieve one thing after another, ultimately contributing a vast amount to western civilization.
Another area of Greek achievement is theater. Plays began to become important in ancient Greece and two types of plays which were written and performed were comedies and tragedies. A comedy in ancient Greece was usually a play that marked or made fun of a certain topic, person, or group of people. One famous comedy writer was Aristophanes. He wrote the plays The Birds and Lysistrata. An tragedy in ancient Greece usually dealt with a moral or social issue, human suffering, and almost always ended in disaster. Three famous Greek tragedy writers are Aeschylus, Euripides, and Sophocles. Aeschylus wrote the play The Oresteia, Euripides wrote the play Medea, and Sophocles wrote the plays Oedipus the King and Antigone. One of the most famous out of all of these plays was Antigone. It was written in about 441 B.C. and was about a girl named Antigone who defies the king's orders and buries her brother, who was killed while leading a rebellion. In this play, many Greek values were expressed which is also the purpose of most western civilization plays today (to express certain values). Also, the ideas of comedies and tragedies are used in western civilization except expanded and twisted around a little. A lot of famous play writers today are also inspired by the works of play writers from ancient Greece.
One of the main differences between these two civilization was in the realm of politics (Aird, 12). In Greece, the Greek polis was the focus of the classical era of Greece. The Greek polis was an ancient political community that took a rich variety of forms and worked to shape the Greek culture that was so prominent in the world by the eight century. Many historians also argue that the whole of the Greek power that ruled over mot of Europe was all because of the developments that were allowed by the Greek polis. The polis is often described as a complex hierarchical society that was built around the notion of citizenship. Hundred and thousands of peasant households were all part of the Greek polis and none of them were dependent on a central government. None of the household in the polis ever paid any kind of a tax nor did they have to revert to the government in order to provide them with the basic necessities, which is very much unlike the major forms of governments that we have today. This is one of the biggest factors that differentiates the Greek polis from other ancient states: the equation of the polis with the completed citizen body and the reservation of the governmental functions to a very small group. In the polis, every single citizen had his due share and the most developed form of polis reports the basis on the economic institutions such as that of chattel slavery. Any community whose citizens at any time became the subjects was automatically removed from the polis (Buckley, 17).
The Greek adoration for the human physique found many outlets that helped them portray such ideas. Greek art, especially sculpture, gave them the power of almost unlimited expression. By observing many of the sculptures that remain with us today from the times of Ancient Greece, their civilization can be accredited with being the first civilization to centralize the human body as the primary object of artistic expression. The demand for physical beauty in the Greek culture came about mainly from their religious beliefs. The Greek religion composed primarily of Zeus, the father and king of the Gods, as well as many other deities whom were either brothers or sisters of Zeus or his children. The main aspects of the Greek religion did not have much to do with a system of belief but instead the focus was more on taking action to please the gods. What really mattered to the Greek people was to secure the goodwill of the gods so that in return they can benefit from all of their worshipping. The Greeks were not preoccupied with the future life that comes after death, but instead their objective was to secure a good life while they were living it; people living in the now, and not thinking ahead about later. Since the influences of the Gods were so strong and because the gods were seen as perfection in every sense of the word, the Greeks modeled many art forms after their gods.
Free essay example on Ancient Civilizations:
Two Ancient Civilizations, the Greek and the Roman, have profoundly influenced the modern cultures that we are part of today. Greece, otherwise known as the birthplace of Western civilization, had a great time span starting from the Early Bronze Age of 3000 BC all the way to the Hellenistic period up to about 30 BC. On the other hand is the civilization of Rome-which name is derived from the Greek word meaning strength and vigor- and rightfully so because the civilization covered a majestic 27 centuries. Both civilizations shared many similarities, especially in the fact that the Greeks heavily influenced the Romans. However, each civilization had its own take on life and the life of its citizens resulting in different social values and cultural practices.
This is greatly different from Egyptian politics, as we find that the pharaohs had a more conservative approach (Grimal, 25). The pharaoh was the main ruler of Egypt and unlike the Greek politics, the general public did not have any say or representation in the government. This was also due to the religious differences in between ancient Egypt and ancient Greek. The Egyptian believed that the pharaoh was some sort of a god who was answerable to some higher gods. The Ancient Egyptians believed that there was more to life than just the life on earth. They believed in a very complex religion that involved the meeting up of the deceased with Osiris (the Egyptian god of re-birth) in the afterlife. There were certain aspects that were attributed to a human: the attributes of the physical body, the shadow, the name, the spirit (Ka), the personality, spirit or soul (Ba), and immortality or eternity (Akh) and the protection of these attributes was very necessary for the person was to achieve immortality in the afterlife. The Greeks also had a very complex religious system with many different gods in hierarchy with Zeus being the king and ruler of the other gods. Various other gods and goddesses were there for many other things, such as the god of war (Ares) and the goddess of love (Aphrodite). The Greeks also had the notion that the soul of the person still existed in the afterlife, as it went into the underworld to be ruled by the god of underworld (Hades). Thus, both the Egyptians as well as the Greeks placed a lot of importance to death and the afterlife. They were constantly being reminded about death and were very afraid of their fate after death.