Greek literature

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[edit] Ancient Greek literature (before AD 300)

[edit] Classical Greek

Ancient Greek literature refers to literature written in Ancient Greek from the oldest surviving written works in the Greek language until the 4th century and the rise of the Byzantine Empire. At the beginning of Greek literature stand the two monumental works of Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey. The other great poet of the preclassical period was Hesiod. His two surviving works are Works and Days and Theogony.

The two major lyrical poets were Sappho and Pindar. The Classical era also saw the dawn of drama. Of the hundreds of tragedies written and performed during the classical age, only a limited number of plays by three authors have survived: Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides.

Like tragedy, comedy arose from a ritual in honor of Dionysus, but in this case the plays were full of frank obscenity, abuse, and insult. The surviving plays by Aristophanes are a treasure trove of comic presentation. Menander is considered the best of the writers of the New Comedy.

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Two of the most influential historians who had yet lived flourished during Greece's classical age: Herodotus and Thucydides. A third historian, Xenophon, began his 'Hellenica' where Thucydides ended his work about 411 BC and carried his history to 362 BC.

The greatest prose achievement of the 4th century was in philosophy. Amongst the tide of Greek philosophy, three names tower above the rest: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

[edit] Hellenism

By 338 BC most of the Greek city-states had been conquered by Philip II of Macedon. There were of course some exceptions, the most notable of which being The city of Sparta. Philip's son Alexander the Great extended his father's conquests greatly. The city of Alexandria in northern Egypt became, from the 3rd century BC, the outstanding center of Greek culture. Later Greek poetry flourished primarily in the 3rd century BC. The chief poets were Theocritus, Callimachus, and Apollonius of Rhodes. Theocritus, who lived from about 310 to 250 BC, was the creator of pastoral poetry, a type that the Roman Virgil mastered in his Eclogues.

[edit] Roman Age

The significant historians in the period after Alexander were Timaeus, Polybius, Diodorus Siculus, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Appian of Alexandria, Arrian, and Plutarch. The period of time they cover extended from late in the 4th century BC to the 2nd century AD.

Eratosthenes of Alexandria, who died about 194 BC, wrote on astronomy and geography, but his work is known mainly from later summaries. The physician Galen, in the history of ancient science, is the most significant person in medicine after Hippocrates, who laid the foundation of medicine in the 5th century BC. One of the most valuable contributions of the Hellenistic period was the translation of the Old Testament into Greek. The work was done at Alexandria and completed by the end of the 2nd century BC. The name Septuagint means "seventy," from the tradition that there were 72 scholars who did the work.

[edit] Byzantine literature (AD 300-1453)

Main article: Byzantine literature

Byzantine literature refers to literature written in Medieval Greek. If Byzantine literature is the expression of the intellectual life of the Hellenized populace of the Eastern Roman Empire during the Christian Middle Ages, then it is a multiform organism, combining Greek and Christian civilization on the common foundation of the Roman political system, set in the intellectual and ethnographic atmosphere of the Near East. Byzantine literature partakes of four different cultural elements: the Greek, the Christian, the Roman, and the Oriental, the character of which commingling with the rest. To Hellenistic intellectual culture and Roman governmental organization are added the emotional life of Christianity and the world of Oriental imagination, the last enveloping all the other three.

[edit] Modern Greek literature (post 1453)

Modern Greek literature refers to literature written in Modern Greek from the 15th century, emerging from late Byzantine times from the 11th century. Erotokritos is undoubtedly the masterpiece of this period, and perhaps the supreme achievement of modern Greek literature. It is a verse romance written around 1600 by Vitsentzos Kornaros (1553-1613). The Korakistika (1819), a lampoon written by Jakovakis Rizos Neroulos and directed against the Greek intellectual Adamantios Korais, is a major example of the Greek Enlightenment and emerging nationalism.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

bg:Гръцка литература

de:Griechische Literatur el:Ελληνική Λογοτεχνία eo:Klasika literaturo es:Literatura griega eu:Grezierazko literatura fr:Littérature grecque ko:고대 그리스문학 it:Letteratura greca mk:Грчка литература nl:Griekse literatuur ja:ギリシア文学 pl:Literatura antycznej Grecji

Greek literature

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