Portal:Ancient Greece

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The Ancient Greece Portal

The Parthenon, a temple dedicated to Athena, located on the Acropolis in Athens
, Greece

Ancient Greece (Greek: Ἑλλάς, romanizedHellás) was a northeastern Mediterranean civilization, existing from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of classical antiquity (c. AD 600), that comprised a loose collection of culturally and linguistically related city-states and other territories. Most of these regions were officially unified only once, for 13 years, under Alexander the Great's empire from 336 to 323 BC (though this excludes a number of Greek city-states free from Alexander's jurisdiction in the western Mediterranean, around the Black Sea, Cyprus, and Cyrenaica). In Western history, the era of classical antiquity was immediately followed by the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine period.

Roughly three centuries after the Late Bronze Age collapse of Mycenaean Greece, Greek urban poleis began to form in the 8th century BC, ushering in the Archaic period and the colonization of the Mediterranean Basin. This was followed by the age of Classical Greece, from the Greco-Persian Wars to the 5th to 4th centuries BC, and which included the Golden Age of Athens. The conquests of Alexander the Great of Macedon spread Hellenistic civilization from the western Mediterranean to Central Asia. The Hellenistic period ended with the conquest of the eastern Mediterranean world by the Roman Republic, and the annexation of the Roman province of Macedonia in Roman Greece, and later the province of Achaea during the Roman Empire.

Classical Greek culture, especially philosophy, had a powerful influence on ancient Rome, which carried a version of it throughout the Mediterranean and much of Europe. For this reason, Classical Greece is generally considered the cradle of Western civilization, the seminal culture from which the modern West derives many of its founding archetypes and ideas in politics, philosophy, science, and art. (Full article...)

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Zeno of Citium, the founder of Stoicism, in the Farnese collection, Naples – Photo by Paolo Monti
, 1969

Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century BCE. It is a philosophy of personal virtue ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world, asserting that the practice of virtue is both necessary and sufficient to achieve eudaimonia (happiness, lit.'good spiritedness'): one flourishes by living an ethical life. The Stoics identified the path to eudaimonia with a life spent practicing the cardinal virtues and living in accordance with nature.

The Stoics are especially known for teaching that "virtue is the only good" for human beings, and that external things, such as health, wealth, and pleasure, are not good or bad in themselves (adiaphora) but have value as "material for virtue to act upon". Alongside Aristotelian ethics, the Stoic tradition forms one of the major founding approaches to virtue ethics. The Stoics also held that certain destructive emotions resulted from errors of judgment, and they believed people should aim to maintain a will (called prohairesis) that is "in accordance with nature". Because of this, the Stoics thought the best indication of an individual's philosophy was not what a person said but how a person behaved. To live a good life, one had to understand the rules of the natural order since they thought everything was rooted in nature. (Full article...)
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Arkadia idyll Peloponnese.jpg
Landscape of Arcadia

Arcadia (Greek: Ἀρκαδία) is a region in the central Peloponnese. It takes its name from the mythological character Arcas, and in Greek mythology it was the home of the gods Hermes and Pan. In European Renaissance arts, Arcadia was celebrated as an unspoiled, harmonious wilderness; as such, it was referenced in popular culture.

The modern regional unit of the same name more or less overlaps with the historical region, but is slightly larger. (Full article...)

Did you know...

  • ...that in ancient Athens, only men had the right to vote or be elected to the government. Women were not sent to school. They were trained in housework and married by the time they were 13?

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Euclid (/ˈjuːklɪd/; Greek: Εὐκλείδης; fl. 300 BC) was an ancient Greek mathematician active as a geometer and logician. Considered the "father of geometry", he is chiefly known for the Elements treatise, which established the foundations of geometry that largely dominated the field until the early 19th century. His system, now referred to as Euclidean geometry, involved new innovations in combination with a synthesis of theories from earlier Greek mathematicians, including Eudoxus of Cnidus, Hippocrates of Chios, Thales and Theaetetus. With Archimedes and Apollonius of Perga, Euclid is generally considered among the greatest mathematicians of antiquity, and one of the most influential in the history of mathematics.

Very little is known of Euclid's life, and most information comes from the philosophers Proclus and Pappus of Alexandria many centuries later. Until the early Renaissance he was often mistaken for the earlier philosopher Euclid of Megara, causing his biography to be substantially revised. It is generally agreed that he spent his career under Ptolemy I in Alexandria and lived around 300 BC, after Plato and before Archimedes. There is some speculation that Euclid was a student of the Platonic Academy and later taught at the Musaeum. Euclid is often regarded as bridging the earlier Platonic tradition in Athens with the later tradition of Alexandria. (Full article...)

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The great theater of Epidaurus, designed by Polykleitos the Younger in the 4th century BC, Sanctuary of Asklepeios at Epidaurus, Greece (14038572644).jpg

Photo credit: Morn

The theater at Epidaurus.The prosperity brought by the Asklepieion enabled Epidauros to construct civic monuments too: the huge theater that delighted Pausanias for its symmetry and beauty, which is used once again for dramatic performances, the ceremonial Hestiatoreion (banqueting hall), baths and a palaestra.

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Places: Aegean Sea · Hellespont · Macedonia · Sparta · Athens · Corinth · Thebes · Thermopylae · Antioch · Alexandria · Pergamon · Miletus · Delphi · Olympia · Troy · Rhodes

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