Ancient greek sculpture essay - essays on citizenship









ancient greek sculpture essay

ancient greek sculpture essayAncient greek sculpture essay -The other is called rationalism, which says that knowledge is a matter of reason, thought. In fact, empiricism and rationalism have never been entirely exclusive.” In fact, the ancient Greeks were among the first to suggest that there is a “true” reality (noumenon) under the “apparent” reality (phenomenon), an “unseen real” beneath the “unreal seen.” The question is, what is this true reality? One is called empiricism, which says that all knowledge comes through the senses.For the present, we might want to differentiate the extremes of hedonism and cynicism.But things and people remain forever secondary to the ultimate reality that is God-or-Nature.Parmenides (540-470) of Elea, was a disciple of Xenophanes, and would have a particularly potent influence on Plato.Cynicism says that world is essentially evil, and we can only work at distancing ourselves from it and moving towards the ultimate good, which is God.It makes Thales not only the nominal first philosopher, but the first materialist as well.His answer to the great question of what the universe is made of was water.Like Thales, Heraclitus (540-475) was an Ionian, from Ephesus, a little north of Miletus.This gets people to thinking: If this one says x, and that one says y, and the third one says z, what then is the truth? Still, the Phoenicians (and their cousins, the Carthaginians) had the alphabet first, and were excellent sea traders as well.Because they believed in reincarnation, all of his followers were vegetarians.It is when ideas get recorded that they enter intellectual history.In making his point, he invented the form of dialectic argument known as "reduction to absurdity." Note, however, that his arguments don’t hold up in the long run, because he mistakenly takes motion, time, and space as made up of an infinite number of points, rather than being continuous. He studied with Zeno at Elea, then started teaching in Abdera, an Ionian Greek colony on the southern shore of Thrace (northeastern Greece).Psyche, from the Greek psu-khê, possibly derived from a word meaning "warm blooded:" Life, soul, ghost, departed spirit, conscious self, personality, butterfly or moth.He decided on fire, or energy -- again, not a bad guess at all.Another thing that made the Greeks a bit more likely to start the intellectual ball rolling was the fact that they got into overseas trading early.And, again like the Taoists, he believed that the best way to live one’s life is in harmony with nature.The Phoenicians apparently passed it on to the Greeks.He studied in Egypt and other parts of the near east, and learned geometry and astronomy.Consider that when Greece was finally united under Macedonian rule, the flurry of intellectual activity slowed.ancient greek sculpture essayBut it was the Greeks that educated the Romans and, after a long dark age, it was the records of these same Greeks, kept and studied by the Moslem and Jewish scholars as well as Christian monks, that educated Europe once again.The multiplicity of reality comes out of fire by condensation, becoming humid air, then water, and finally earth.Metaphysics is the part of philosophy that asks questions such as “What is the world made of? Or something more spiritual or mental, such as ideas or ideals? Materialism and idealism constitute the two extreme answers. Can we know anything for certain, or is it ultimately hopeless?He is also known for the saying that we cannot step into the same river twice, because new water is constantly flowing onto us.Further, the earth began as fluid, some of which dries to become earth and some of which evaporates to become atmosphere.In fact, philosophies from all over the world eventually came to influence western thought, but only much later.The Basics The ancient Greek philosophers gave us the basic categories of philosophy, beginning with metaphysics. Epistemology is the philosophy of knowledge: How do we know what is true or false, what is real or not?The Greeks, on the other hand, were divided into many small city-states, each unique, each fiercely independent, always bickering and often fighting.The point of the story, and all the stories, is that motion is an illusion. 440) was from Miletus in Ionia, home of Thales and Anaximander.And, like Thales, he was searching for the ultimate substance that unifies all reality.Why weren’t they the founders of western intellectual history? The Phoenicians had an authoritarian government controlled by the most powerful merchants. Perhaps being surrounded by powerful authoritarian empires forced them to adopt that style of government to survive.Even in the case of the Phoenicians, writing was more a tool of the merchant class, to keep track of trade, than a means of recording ideas.Pythagoras is credited with a number of geometric proofs, most notably the pythagorian theorum: The sum of the squares of the two sides of a right triangle is equal to the square of the hypotenuse.Plus, Greece is practically all coastline and islands, so seafaring came equally naturally.He is best known for his denial of the existence of the Greek gods.It was only then that Buddhism spread throughout Asia.This is not to say that no one had any deep thoughts prior to the ancient Greeks, or that the philosophies of ancient India and China (and elsewhere) were in any way inferior.But he died alone, at the age of 70, due to his intense dislike for human company!Since ultimate nature was known in Greek as , he could also be considered the first physicist (or, as the Greeks would say, physiologist).By the time Achilles gets to where the tortoise had moved, the tortoise will have moved a little further still, and so on. ancient greek sculpture essay If you wonder where all the women philosophers are, well, there were very few indeed!Zeno wrote a book of famous paradoxes, including the story of Achilles and the tortoise: Let’s give the tortoise a head start.It may seem disadvantageous, but when it comes to ideas, diversity and even conflict can be invigorating!After travelling everywhere from Gaul (modern day France) to Egypt and India, he settled down in Crotona, a sea port of southern Italy.“Mortals fancy that gods are born, and wear clothes, and have voice and form like themselves.Southern Italy was the greatest settlement of Greeks outside of Greece, to the point that the Romans referred to the area as Magna Grecia (“greater Greece”). His school was more like a large commune, and his philosophy more like a religion.We should note, however, that he also believed that the whole universe of material things is alive, and that animals, plants, and even metals have souls -- an idea called panpsychism.He discovered the mathematical basis of music, and saw the same patterns in the movements of the planets.The poet Sappho of Lesbos is the closest we get to a female philosopher on record in the ancient world.And he sees these oppositions as being the source of harmony, pointing out that, unless you stretch your harp strings in two opposing directions, you cannot play music.For the first five years, a new pupil took a vow of silence.There are many other aspects of philosophy -- logic, for example, and esthetics, the study of beauty.It is often called morality, and most consider the two words synonymous.But, since these laws exist only in the mind as ideas, we call Pythagoras an idealist.And when the Romans took over, it practically died.Hedonism says that good and bad come down to what I like and what I don’t like, what gives me pleasure and what gives me pain.Taking fire as his ultimate substance led to a more dynamic view of reality. -- all things flow, nothing abides -- is his most famous saying.But, he warns, the world will eventually return to the unformed mass!They avoided wine, swearing by the gods, sexual misconduct, excesses and frivolity.In Elea, another Greek seaport in the south of Italy lived Xenophanes (570-475). ancient greek sculpture essay Fire is also associated in his theory with mind or spirit. In many ways, Heraclitus reminds me of a Greek Taoist.Why not the Phoenicians, or the Carthaginians, or the Persians, or the Etruscans? One has to do with the ability to read and write, which in turn has to do with the alphabet.The Greeks improved on the idea by inventing vowels, using some extra letters their language had no use for.The Ionians Greek philosophy didn’t begin in Greece (as we know it); It began on the western coast of what is now Turkey, an area known then as Ionia.By the time Achilles gets to where the tortoise started, the tortoise will have move a little further.Life also began in the sea, only gradually becoming animals of the land and birds of the air.The Greeks of Italy Another Ionian was Pythagoras (582-500).Buddhism, for example, although a very sophisticated philosophy, was an oral tradition for hundreds of years until committed to writing, since the Brahmi alphabet was late in coming.And, just like any other fire, he points out that our individuality eventually dies. He believed that, although ultimate reality is One, the world we know is made of up dualities, with each pole requiring the existence of its opposite: Up requires down, white requires black, good requires bad, and so on.(Click here to see how the alphabet developed) Prior to the invention of the alphabet, reading and writing was the domain of specialized scribes, concerned mostly with keeping government records.Their land and climate was okay for agriculture, but not great, so the idea of trading for what you can’t grow or make yourself came naturally.He is the first person to realize that the earth, moon, and planets are all spheres (hence, the "music of the spheres! He saw the elegant lawfulness of geometry as the foundation of the entire universe.In Greece, at least in certain city-states, reading and writing was something “everyone” did. Women, peasants, and slaves were discouraged from picking up the skill, as they would be and still are in many places around the world.He extended Xenophanes’ concept of the one God by saying all things are One. What we believe to be a world of things and motion and change is just an illusion.We might also ask, why the Greeks in the first place?Yet if oxen and lions had hands, and could paint and fashion images as men do, they would make the pictures and images of their gods in their own likenesses; horses would make them like horses, oxen like oxen.Women were treated as equals -- a true rarity in the ancient world!In Ionia’s richest city, Miletus, was a man of Phoenician descent called Thales (624-546).Some words with similar meanings: Thymos, meaning breath, life, soul, temper, courage, will; Pneuma, meaning breath, mind, spirit, or angel; Noös, meaning mind, reason, intellect, or the meaning of a word; : Reasoning about the soul.But metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics are sufficient for now. ancient greek sculpture essay For the present, we might want to differentiate the extremes of hedonism and cynicism. ancient greek sculpture essay

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