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Summary of Greek Civilization

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A summary of Civilization: Greek Era What really is education? It is not literacy, nor information. Education is a logical attempt towards human learning. There are two types of leaners, passive learners and purposely engaged learners. Purposeful engagement is said to equal successful learning; so instead of spending time getting interested, find what is interesting. Making connections is what creates learning. Everything we learn may not be interesting, but it is important to make connections to something that is. Find meaning in what is taught and interpret the idea, thinking deeply and meaningful about ideas helps discover new learning and interest. Intellect performance shows what we know what we are trying to portray. During the highest peak of the Greek era the society valued body and mind intellect; creating some of the most famous philosophers known to time.
Main Ideas and Values of Ancient Greek Civilization Ancient Greek civilization has contributed too many parts of today's society. The teachings and doings of Ancient Greeks have contributed important lessons that many societies still use to base their own laws and ethics on. The Ancient Greeks realized values of loyalty, glory, intelligence and hospitality were important to incorporate into everyday life. Ancient Greek civilization valued dualism, truth and “good society”. Helping your fellow man was an important aspect of ancient Greek society. They offered food, shelter and protection to travelers without question. Loyalty was also embedded in everything the Greeks did. Implementing simple values of loyalty, intelligence, and hospitality into everyday life helped create a strong “good society”; which the Greek valued very much. It is not known why the Greeks felt this way, but with the strong beliefs Ancient Greek had with their gods, it is easy to believe that they did this in practice of good faith to their gods.
In the society we live in today most believe that what the Ancient Greek built their society on was based on well-built principles, however, in time the society we live in today has lost sight of some of those values in our everyday day life. In society today we tend to value money, celebrities, and appearance over intelligence and the well-being of character towards our self, others, and society. There is no dictionary definition or handbook on what one should and should not value, but most would agree with the fact that what we value now is materialism instead of former characteristics a “good society”.
Epic Poetry: Homer as Foundational Story-teller Homer’s existence is somewhat doubted by some; however the epic poems and the impression he left on Greek society is not. He is said to be one of the greatest poets who ever lived. Homer, the son of Epikaste and Telemachus, believed to be born around 8th - 9th century B.C. The poems he wrote suggest that he lived in Ionia. Homer was said to be blind, and that he narrated his poems as he travelled from place to place. Homer’s most known works is the Iliad and the Odyssey, and these stand as the greatest epic poems ever written; Homer possesses an important historical value. “He is, for all ages, an important record of the earliest stages of human society.” (Sacklunch) An epic poem is a long poem narrating the heroic deeds of an individual representing the beliefs and culture of their society. Most epic poetry is passed down by word of mouth through family. Epic poems consist of a hero, a figure of great national or even cosmic importance. The hero often has superhuman or divine traits. He has an imposing physical build and is greater in all ways than the common man. The setting covers great geographical distances, possibly even visiting the underworld. The action consists of deeds of superhuman courage. The Odyssey is about Odysseus, who is the king of Ithaca; he has traveled for ten years after the Trojan War. He is being held captive on the island by the nymph, Calypso who wants him for her husband. Odysseus has suffered the revenge of Poseidon who is the god of the sea, by blinding his son Polyphemus the Cyclops. While in his absence, his wife, Penelope and his son, Telemachus has to deal with the group of suitors who had plagued Penelope. Athena makes a plea allowing Odysseus to return home to her father, Zeus. Athena suggests that Zeus dispatch Hermes to set free Odysseus from Calypso while she visits Ithaca to advise Odysseus’ son, Telemachus. She is disguised as Mentes, an old friend of Odysseus. She predicts that his father has not died and will return to Ithaca. She insists that Telemachus have to stand up to the suitors and seek more information about Odysseus. Writing an epic poem must take a large amount of time and heart. Homer displays many characteristics with in the Odyssey. Homer reflects on heroism, love, and human life. Homer teaches us about key concepts in life such as justice, pride, suffering, loyalty, perseverance, tradition, and family. Homer displays the love of family, no matter how hard things get you can always rely on family to help you through hard times. The love built within a family is unbreakable if everyone within stays strong.
Philosophy: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle Socrates is known for creating Socratic irony and the Socratic Method (elenchus), and his ideas, communication skills and public teachings. Socrates believed that “wisdom was parallel to one's ignorance. One's deeds were a result of this level of intelligence and ignorance.” Most of Socrates work was expressed through his disciple’s, Plato, works (Socrates). The Socratic Method or elenchus is described in Plato's 'Socratic Dialogues'. The Socratic Method explained the concepts of Good and Justice. When one is faced with any problem, break it down to a series of questions and find an answer in those reactions. The Socratic Method is designed to help examine one's own beliefs and assess their wealth. This philosophy earned Socrates the crown of moral philosophy and a leader in Western philosophy (Socrates). Plato studied music and poetry when he was young. According to Aristotle, Plato developed the foundations of his metaphysics and epistemology by studying the doctrines of Cratylus, and the work of Pythagoras and Parmenides. Plato later met Socrates; adopting his philosophy and style of debate, and focused his studies on the question of virtue and the development of an honorable character (Plato). Plato's most powerful work, The Republic, is a discussion of the virtues of justice, courage, wisdom, and moderation, of the specific person and society. The main idea connects with the question of how to live a good life, and what defines a person. Plato suggests that “the world of ideas is constant and true, opposing it to the world we perceive through our senses, which is deceptive and changeable (Plato).” Aristotle was a student of Plato so in all he was also studying under Socrates. Aristotle is famous for rejecting Plato’s theory of forms, which state that properties such as “beauty are abstract universal entities that exist independent of the objects themselves.” Aristotle argued that forms are essential to the objects and cannot exist separately from them, so they must be studied in relation to. Aristotle distinguished sense perception from reason, which combines and interprets the sense perceptions and is the source of all knowledge. Aristotle was the first to classify areas of human knowledge into distinct disciplines such as mathematics, biology, and ethics; which we still use today (Aristotle).
Tragedy and Comedy as Ancient Arts Forms Theatrical culture started to rise in ancient Greece around 550 and 220 B.C. The city-state of Athens is where the theatrical culture became a festival called the Dionysia, after the god, Dionysus; the god of wine. Dionysus exhibited a complement of emotions, either laughing or deep sorrow, which the Greeks had observed in people who were drunk. Masks were worn during the Ancient Greek Era for many different reasons. Some of the reasons masks were wore was to allow people to be comfortable; allowing them to express their true selves without fear; but tragedy and comedy masks were also wore to help the audience distinguish the actor’s gender, mood, and emotion. When Comedy and tragedy masks were first designed; they were made from lightweight materials like wood, leather, or pottery.
Sophocles
Sophocles, the son of Sophilus, was believed to be born in Attica around 490BC. He was born into a wealthy family and was highly educated. Sophocles’ had much artistic success writing tragedies. Sophocles wrote many pieces but two that are extremely interesting are Oedipus Rex and Antigone. Both of these pieces have traveled through history and still manage to be a popular historic plays. Sophocles died around the age in the winter of 406 BC. The tragedy Oedipus Rex was written by Sophocles and was first performed around 429 BC. It is unsure if Oedipus was a historical person or just a character because one of Sophocles gifts was making his characters real. "Oedipus" means "swollen feet". In today’s time the medical term oedema and edema mean excessive build-up of fluid in the body's tissues. It often causes swelling in the feet (pus is base word for feet) and ankles. The story of Oedipus Rex the importance of a good society is displayed. Laius and Jocasta were king and queen of Thebes, a town in Greece. One day, they had a baby boy, Oedipus Rex. A prophet explained that the boy would grow up and kill his father and marry his mother. Laius and Jocasta decided to abandon their baby. To be sure the baby boy did not survive; they pierced his feet and tied them together. A shepherd found the baby. He gave the baby to a friend, who took the baby to Corinth or Corinthians (known to Christians in the New Testament), a different town nearby town. Nobody ever told little Oedipus that his mother was never pregnant. One day, once Oedipus was older, a man mentioned that he had been adopted. Oedipus questioned his parents, but they denied it. Oedipus visited various prophecies to find out whether he was really adopted. All the prophecies told him instead that he would kill his father and marry his mother. Oedipus left Corinth permanently. While travelling, Oedipus got into a dispute over right-of-way on a bridge. In those days, high rank got to go first, Oedipus identified himself as the throne of Corinth, and Laius's people simply attacked instead of explaining that he was king of Thebes. Oedipus killed a stranger; who happened to be King Laius. Oedipus then arrived at the town of Thebes. There was a plague cast on the town and Oedipus’ smarts saved the town of Thebes from the plague by solving the riddle of the Sphinx. "What animal has four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three legs in the evening?" Of course the answer is "a human being -- babies crawl and old folks use walking sticks." Oedipus was made king. Oedipus married Laius's widow, Queen Jocasta. He ruled well, and they had four children. Eventually, Oedipus and Jocasta found out what had really happened; and felt as a disgrace to their ‘good society’. Jocasta committed suicide, and Oedipus blinded himself stepped down as king and eventually died; to attempt to save the reputation of Thebes. The moral of this tragedy is, do not try to hinder ones destiny, let life take its course; our fate is already written and sealed. If we know all there is to know about our life, then why bother living? We will spend the rest of our life worrying about what's to come. Embrace life and its surprises.

Works Cited
1. Horgan, C. (n.d.). The History of Comedy/Tragedy Masks | eHow.com. eHow | How to Videos, Articles & More - Discover the expert in you. | eHow.com. Retrieved May 16, 2012, from http://www.ehow.com/about_5092749_historycomedytragedymasks.html?utm_source=ehow_opar&utm_medium 2. LastEd. J. Wentzel Vrede van Huyssteen. (2003). Dualism. Encyclopedia of Science and Religion, 01, Retrieved from http://www.enotes.com/dualism-reference/dualism
3. Pike, A. N. (n.d.). What values did the ancient greeks value highly?. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/info_8447171_values-ancient-greeks-value-highly.html
4. Sacklunch. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.sacklunch.net/biography/H/Homer.html
5. The epic. (2006, July 10). Retrieved from http://homepage.mac.com/mseffie/assignments/beowulf/epic.html
6. The odyssey summary. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.gradesaver.com/the-odyssey/study-guide/short-summary/

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