The entrance of the Treasury of Atreus 13th BC in Mycenae The earliest evidence of the presence of human ancestors in the southern Balkans , dated to , BC, is to be found in the Petralona cave , in the Greek province of Macedonia. The Mycenaeans gradually absorbed the Minoans, but collapsed violently around BC, during a time of regional upheaval known as the Bronze Age collapse. These states and their colonies reached great levels of prosperity that resulted in an unprecedented cultural boom, that of classical Greece , expressed in architecture , drama , science , mathematics and philosophy. In BC, Cleisthenes instituted the world’s first democratic system of government in Athens. A second invasion by the Persians followed in BC. Following decisive Greek victories in and BC at Salamis , Plataea , and Mycale , the Persians were forced to withdraw for a second time, marking their eventual withdrawal from all of their European territories.

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It supplied cult figures of gods, dedications in sanctuaries, monuments to stand above graves, architectural decorations, and eventually statues and reliefs for wealthy private houses. Of all this relatively little remains: The reason was not usually religious zeal, but the value of marble as raw material for lime and of bronze for scrap, so that in order to survive, sculpture had to be out of sight and reach.

Thus, what we now have is a sample unevenly distributed in time, type and quality. Architectural sculpture, while still in place, was not likely to be removed and, when the building collapsed, might be buried under a mass of masonry. Independent reliefs, especially gravestones, were liable to fall down and, if covered over, be forgotten; and any slab carved in low relief could be reused as a structural block.

Free-standing statues had poorer chances, since they were less likely to be hidden sufficiently by debris, especially in populous places. Metal, of course, was worth digging for and so less than a score of Greek bronzes have turned up that are reasonably complete, several of them dredged up from the sea. As for marble, works from the Archaic period survived best; being less admired it was less carefully conserved by later Greeks and Romans and so could be lost before the period of destruction set in, and there is also the big cache from the Acropolis of Athens where much of the statuary which the Persians broke in was used as in-fill during the restoration that followed.

At the other end, Roman art provides us with a surfeit of copies of popular Greek sculptures from both the Classical and Hellenistic eras. These copies, some Late Hellenistic but more of them Roman, hinder as well as help the enjoyment and study of Greek sculpture. Though the copyists fixed points by measurement, the points were much sparser than those used in modern practice and the intervening spaces and the details were carved freehand and usually without much care, as can be seen when comparing different reproductions of the same original.

In general copies are fairly reliable for pose, but mostly so harsh and insensitive in their treatment of surface that they more often repel than interest the unprejudiced viewer; and with the finer examples there is the problem whether the copyists may not also have been creative. Unfortunately very few first-rate Classical stautues or ones from the Hellenistic period of Greek sculpture have survived in the original and those that are known through copies are far more numerous, so that copies are an essential reference in any stylistic survey of Greek sculpture.

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See Article History Greek mythology, body of stories concerning the gods, heroes, and rituals of the ancient Greeks. That the myths contained a considerable element of fiction was recognized by the more critical Greeks, such as the philosopher Plato in the 5th—4th century bce. In general, however, in the popular piety of the Greeks, the myths were viewed as true accounts.

Greek mythology has subsequently had extensive influence on the arts and literature of Western civilization, which fell heir to much of Greek culture. Electra and Orestes killing Aegisthus in the presence of their mother, Clytemnestra; detail of a Greek vase, 5th century bc. Poets and artists from ancient times to the present have derived inspiration from Greek mythology and have discovered contemporary significance and relevance in Classical mythological themes.

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Greek mythology, body of stories concerning the gods, heroes, and rituals of the ancient the myths contained a considerable element of fiction was recognized by the more critical Greeks, such as the philosopher Plato in the 5th–4th century general, however, in the popular piety of the Greeks, the myths were viewed as true accounts.

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So suggests new research that tracked changes in two genes thought to help regulate brain growth, changes that appeared well after the rise of modern humans , years ago. That the defining feature of humans — our large brains — continued to evolve as recently as 5, years ago, and may be doing so today, promises to surprise the average person, if not biologists.

Lahn and colleagues examined two genes, named microcephalin and ASPM, that are connected to brain size. If those genes don’t work, babies are born with severely small brains, called microcephaly. Using DNA samples from ethnically diverse populations, they identified a collection of variations in each gene that occurred with unusually high frequency.

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Ancient Greek vase painting By convention, finely painted vessels of all shapes are called “vases”, and there are over , significantly complete surviving pieces, [6] giving with the inscriptions that many carry unparalleled insights into many aspects of Greek life. Sculptural or architectural pottery, also very often painted, are referred to as terracottas , and also survive in large quantities.

In much of the literature, “pottery” means only painted vessels, or “vases”. Pottery was the main form of grave goods deposited in tombs, often as “funerary urns” containing the cremated ashes, and was widely exported. The famous and distinctive style of Greek vase-painting with figures depicted with strong outlines, with thin lines within the outlines, reached its peak from about to BC, and divides into the two main styles, almost reversals of each other, of black-figure and red-figure painting, the other colour forming the background in each case.

Other colours were very limited, normally to small areas of white and larger ones of a different purplish-red. Within the restrictions of these techniques and other strong conventions, vase-painters achieved remarkable results, combining refinement and powerful expression. White ground technique allowed more freedom in depiction, but did not wear well and was mostly made for burial.

Exceptions are the large Archaic monumental vases made as grave-markers, trophies won at games, such as the Panathenaic Amphorae filled with olive oil, and pieces made specifically to be left in graves; some perfume bottles have a money-saving bottom just below the mouth, so a small quantity makes them appear full. Painted vessels for serving and eating food are much less common. Painted pottery was affordable even by ordinary people, and a piece “decently decorated with about five or six figures cost about two or three days’ wages”.

Ancient Greek technology

History of Greek Greek has been spoken in the Balkan peninsula since around the 3rd millennium BC, [7] or possibly earlier. Among the Indo-European languages, its date of earliest written attestation is matched only by the now-extinct Anatolian languages. Proto-Greek -speaking area according to linguist Vladimir I. Georgiev The Greek language is conventionally divided into the following periods: The unity of Proto-Greek would have ended as Hellenic migrants entered the Greek peninsula sometime in the Neolithic era or the Bronze Age.

It is recorded in the Linear B script on tablets dating from the 15th century BC onwards.

Ancient Greek art stands out among that of other ancient cultures for its development of naturalistic but idealized depictions of the human body, in which largely nude male figures were generally the focus of innovation. The rate of stylistic development between about and BC was remarkable by ancient standards, and in surviving works is best seen in sculpture.

Few today would accept this literally. In the first book of the Iliad, the son of Zeus and Leto Apollo , line 9 is as instantly identifiable to the Greek reader by his patronymic as are the sons of Atreus Agamemnon and Menelaus , line In both cases, the audience is expected to have knowledge of the myths that preceded their literary rendering. Little is known to suggest that the Greeks treated Homer, or any other source of Greek myths, as mere entertainment, whereas there are prominent Greeks from Pindar to the later Stoa for whom myths, and those from Homer in particular, are so serious as to warrant bowdlerization or allegorization.

HomerHomer, copy of a lost bust from the 2nd century from Baiae, Italy. Theogony and Works and Days The fullest and most important source of myths about the origin of the gods is the Theogony of Hesiod c. The elaborate genealogies mentioned above are accompanied by folktales and etiological myths. The orthodox view treats the two poems as quite different in theme and treats the Works and Days as a theodicy a natural theology.

It is possible, however, to treat the two poems as a diptych, each part dependent on the other.

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