by George Good
Some of my thoughts on the history of ancient Greece. How to love history.
|Where to learn the history of Ancient Greece?
If you want to plunge into the ancient greek civilization - come to Sicily! This island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea is the perfect place to learn the history of Ancient Greece. But first, let's remember how the Greeks ended up in Sicily? And not just turned out, but made almost the entire island Greek?
Plato said that the Greeks settled around the Mediterranean
seas like frogs around a swamp. What else could they do?
After the end of the Dark Ages, civilization finally began to return to the region. Polis grew like mushrooms after rain along with the development of new technologies of the Iron Age. Everything was fine, a new period began. Or, on the contrary, a return to the roots, that's how you look, with all the ensuing pleasant conditions for life. Metal becomes cheap and affordable, crafts are developing, art is reasserting itself in full voice, trade is booming. Plus the relative freedom of expression and integration into a cultural community with common values. The Greek world stood up proudly from its knees. And all this after the mossiness of tribal relations and harsh illiterate life.
But there was a nuance! The scattering of the Greek islands is beautiful, the mountains and the sea are perfect eye candy. But not for the stomach. Wheat import became more and more costly, but it was not possible to grow it in the required quantities. How to feed a rapidly growing population? Where to sell finished products? These questions, which arose then, will concern Europe for many centuries. So the decision came about the great Greek colonization.
Sicily seemed like a tasty morsel. First, there was a lot of lands and it was fertile. Secondly, the Phoenician colonies flourished there, and the Greeks loved to follow the already beaten path. Thirdly, the location of the island at the intersection of trade routes promised the colonies a prosperous life. Therefore, the Delphic oracle clearly indicated Sicily. And it should be noted that without divine guidance, the foundation of a new settlement was completely inconceivable. The priests of the Temple of Apollo in Delphi, one of the two main temples for all Greek city-states, can be safely called Foreign Ministry employees and foreign intelligence officers in one person. Securing strategic superiority in the Mediterranean area was their top priority and they did an excellent job with it.
The first colonists in Sicily in the 8th century BC were Chalcis and Corinth. Naxos, now Giardini Naxos and Zankla, present-day Messina - the first Greek cities. Modern historians are divided over who was the first. Almost next is Syracuse, which will eventually become the center of Magna Graecia and a real star of the Greek world. Gela, Akragant, Selenut, Megara Gibleyskie, Gamera, Kamarina, Heraclea ... Almost the entire island will gradually be covered with policies. The great Greek culture, the ancestor of modern civilization, will swallow the island.
Temples and myths. The architecture will help you learn the history of Ancient Greece
Let's continue to study the history of Ancient Greece. And architecture will help us with this. Ancient Greek temples were erected where it was as if a place had been prepared for them by nature itself: on rocky capes, on the tops of hills, at the convergence point of two mountain ridges, on terraces of mountain slopes. The architects, as it were, opposed ancient temples to nature, asserting the superiority of a structure reasonably created by man over the surrounding world. This means the superiority of man, his divine essence. Wandering through the Sicilian ruins, I literally feel it on my skin.
The myths helped the temples in this. With the help of myths, people tried to penetrate into the innermost secrets of human consciousness.
A special feature of the Greek civilization was its anthropomorphism, that is, the transfer of the human image both to the surrounding world and to abstract concepts. The Greek motto can be safely called - Order and Beauty. The main thing in beauty was: proportionality on the one hand and morality on the other. Note that the concepts of morality at that time were very different from those of today. In other words: the symbiosis of ideal proportions and their worthy filling is the ideal of ancient Greek beauty. The proportions of the temples were perfect, the gods were perfect.
Moreover, the gods in different situations could easily change not only their form but also their functions. Gods in Ancient Greece are like water. The form of water, as you know, depends on the vessel into which it is poured.
The religion of Ancient Greece
The main problem is that we think of ancient Greek civilization as brought up under the influence of monotheistic religions, be it Christianity, Islam, Buddhism - it doesn't matter. Even atheism