The Greeks of the Classical and Hellenistic period were appropriately
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The Greeks, of the Classical and Hellenistic period, were appropriately admired. From the year 479B.C to 400B.C., many Greeks city-states had evolved into very distinct and diverse communities. The Greeks were admired because of their experimentation with forms of government, their excellence in art, and their “modernized (S, 55)” way of thinking.
First I would like to discuss the forms of government that the Greeks experimented with. One of those forms of government was Democracy. “Democracy holds the election of officers by all out of all; and that all should rule over each, and each in his turn over all. (S, 66)” These were the first circumstances that everyone could vote for an elected official of whom did not have to own a bunch of land. Plato argues against democracy by stating “ And he who at every age, as a boy and youth and in mature life, has come out of the trial victorious and pure, shall be appointed a ruler and …and him that fails, we must reject. I am inclined to think that this is the sort of way in which our rulers and guardians should be chosen and appointed. (W, 35)” This however, could be turned against Plato because the common people can not be plagued with the amount of corruption that the upper-class is accustomed to. In other words, no noble would have the money to change the minds of thousands of peasants, whereas getting a few nobles on their side would be quite easier.
The Greeks were also known for their excellent work in art. From the paintings on pottery to sculptures, the Greeks used all sort of methods for expressing their love for art. Since they were strong and powerful enough, they overtook many colonies and stole a large variety of artwork, making it so historians know only its’ Greek origin. “…While the magnitude of our city draws the produce of the world into our harbour, so that to the Athenian the fruits of other countries are as familiar a luxury as those of his own. (W, 25)” Thus the Greeks were given more credit than they actually deserved, but a society with the power to overtake another and not destroy the art of that civilization shows that the Greeks had an eye for art.
With a strong civilization always comes a strong group of people behind the civilization. Many of these people were the scholars, and most examined questions such as government, history, and medicine. “I believe that this disease is not in the least more divine than any other but has the same nature as other diseases and a similar cause. (S, 69)” This is one of the first beliefs that the “sacred disease” was not caused by divine intervention, which shows that Hippocrates is using his own mind instead of going by what people always believed. He goes on “Like other diseases it is hereditary. (S, 69)” This could have possibly lead to the research of DNA in later years and secondary traits passed on by parents. The scholars of Early Greece put forth effort to find particular causes instead of assuming that things happened as an act of God or Gods. Thus they were perceived as having a “modernized” way of thinking.
The Greeks were very deserving of their admiration, who knows were our society would be today without the benefits that we still reap today from their society. Using Democracy today, and still enjoying their artwork, and the minds of people such as Aristotle, Hippocrates, and Plato, Americans have still used many of the Greek ideals. Researchers of later civilizations used Greek methods and ideals to further their knowledge in many areas. Although they had some downfalls with their overbearing amount of hubris, the Greeks still started a revolution in civilization.
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Ancient Greek philosophers, Greeks, Hellenistic period, Plato, Hippocrates, Greece, Names of the Greeks
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