– 400 C.E.
Ancient Cultures

Ancient Greece (and Rome)


A video from the Utah System of Higher Education (with special thanks to Dr. Nancy Ross)
 

Classical Antiquity (or Ancient Greece and Rome) is a period of about 900 years, when ancient Greece and then ancient Rome (first as a Republic and then as an Empire) dominated the Mediterranean area, from about 500 B.C.E. - 400 C.E. We tend to lump ancient Greece and Rome together because the Romans adopted many aspects of Greek culture when they conquered the areas of Europe under Greek control (circa 145 - 30 B.C.E.).

Gods and Goddesses
For example, the Romans adopted the Greek pantheon of Gods and Godesses but changed their names—the Greek god of war was Ares, whereas the Roman god of war was Mars. The ancient Romans also copied ancient Greek art. However, the Romans often used marble to create copies of sculptures that the Greeks had originally made in bronze.

A rational approach
The ancient Greeks were the first Western culture that believed in finding rational answers to the great questions of earthly life. They assumed that there were consistent laws which governed the universe—how the stars move; the materials that compose the universe; mathematical laws that govern harmony and beauty, geometry and physics.

The nude
Both the Ancient Greeks and the Ancient Romans had enormous respect for human beings, and what they could accomplish with their minds and bodies. They were Humanists (a frame of mind which was re-born in the Renaissance). This was very different from the period following Classical Antiquity—the Middle Ages, when Christianity (with its sense of the body as sinful) came to dominate Western Europe.

When you imagine Ancient Greek or Roman sculpture, you might think of a figure that is nude, athletic, young, idealized, and with perfect proportions—and this would be true of Ancient Greek art of the Classical period (5th century B.C.E.) as well as much of Ancient Roman art.

 

Your Comments (5)

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Jean Thobaben wrote on Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wow, I'm glad I came back to the site and wish I had done it sooner. I teach (AP)Art History at a small independent school as well as survey course at a nearby community college. I discovered your site last year but hadn't dropped in because you didn't have much about ancient art. I was preparing a new slide show and came back to your site only to discover how much rich content you have added. Silly me. I wish I'd come back sooner. You can be sure I will check back regularly. I usually link back to your page from my slide shows and post the link to your site for my students at both schools.

Moriah K. wrote on Thursday, April 19, 2012

I'm doing a project at my shcool, where we're making a magazine with Roman and Greek Achievements. I'm in charge of the Julian Calendar and the Greek Trireme. I can't really find alot of hard-hitting facts other than prior knowledge and other aspects like that. Any good sites?

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cheesyheadrjr wrote on Monday, November 26, 2012

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