CLASSICAL CIVILIZATION. ANCIENT GREEK CULTURE



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CLASSICAL CIVILIZATION. ANCIENT GREEK CULTURE



 

Preview

1. What is your idea of the forces that influenced the rise of civilization in ancient Greece?

2. Why use epic poems such as the Odyssey important sources of important about the Greek civilization?

3. If you had a choice, would you rather be an Athenian or a Spartan? Why?

4. Do you know why the years of Pericles’ leadership were called the Golden Age of Athens?

5. Why is the Greek civilization considered the starting point of Western civilization?

6. Why were plays and sports completions considered important religions events by the ancient Greeks?

7. What were the roles of the Gods?

8. How did the Greeks honor Dionysus?

9. How do you think the ancient Olympics differed from today’s?

10. What do you think are the reasons why government officials choose to use the Greek style?

 

Text 1. The ancient Greeks

Read the text and do the tasks that follow.

Western civilization began in the eastern Mediterranean, on the Greek peninsula and neighboring islands.

In the Aegean region, the earliest civilization was that of the Minoan people on the island of Crete. Minoan civilization reached its height between 1700 and 1450 B.C. Somewhat later, about 1300 B.C., Mycenean civilization spread throughout southern Greece. Minoan and Mycenean arts, crafts, and legends became part of the Hellenic civilization that developed about 800 B.C.

One of the most important influences on the thought of the Hellenic Greeks was the poet Homer. His epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey describe heroes who were brave, intelligent, and proud. Developing these qualities became the goal of Greek education. Hellenic ideas spread through the peninsula and to Greek colonies along the Mediterranean and Black seas.

Greece developed as a land of independent city-states, each with its own character. Sparta emphasized military skills, discipline, and service to the polis– the city-state. Athens became the cultural center of Greece and originated the idea of democracy.

Although the Greeks shared the same language, religious beliefs, and Homeric traditions, they had never united. People felt intensely loyal to their own polis, and city-states often fought one another. About 500 B.C., however, the threat of conquest by the Persian Empire forced the Greeks to unite. In battles fought at Marathon in 490 B.C. and Salamis in 480 B.C., they defeated the Persians.

After the Persian Wars, Athens became a direct democracy under the leadership of Pericles. All citizens – free adult men whose parents had both been Athenians – met in the Assembly to debate, vote, and make laws. The Athenians believed that every citizen should participate in government. Women, slaves, and foreigners, however, were denied citizenship and thus had no part in ruling Athens.

The Greeks believed that every person should live a well-rounded life and aim for excellence in all pursuits. These ideals were best served by a life of moderation – a balance between extremes. Greeks expressed these ideals in the arts as well as in science and philosophy.

The Greek playwrights, such as Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, wrote tragedies that used stories of gods and goddesses to explore human problems. In another important form of Greek literature, historians such as Herodotus and Thucydides examined the past with a critical eye.

Greek sculptors and painters showed human beings as beautiful and unflawed, rarely expressing extremes of emotion. Architects tried to bring proportion, balance, and grace to their designs.

Ancient Greek philosophers searched for two kinds of knowledge: knowledge about the natural world and knowledge about human beings’ place in that world. The Greeks believed that nature follows general rules called natural laws, which can be discovered by reason.

Among those who made notable contributions in science and mathematics were Thales, Pythagoras, Democritus, and Hippocrates. Two major philosophers were Socrates and his student Plato. Socrates used a question-and-answer approach, which in time became known as the Socratic method. It required people to think critically and logically. Plato expressed his ideas about government in the Republic, a description of the ideal state.

Aristotle, one of Plato’s students, was an exceptionally brilliant thinker. He tried to discover and organize basic ideas in many fields of knowledge. In science, he taught that a theory should be accepted only if it agreed with observed facts.

In 431 B.C. the city-states of the Peloponnesus, led by Sparta, went to war against Athens, which had built an empire in the land around the Aegean Sea. Pericles died early in the war. Thus deprived of wise leadership Athens was finally forced to surrender in 404 B.C.

The 27-year Peloponnesian War had caused widespread death and destruction. When invaders under Philip of Macedonia later attacked Greece, the weakened city-states were unable to resist. Philip’s warriors crushed the Greek forces in 338 B.C., and the city-states lost their independence.

After Philip was assassinated, his 20-year-old son Alexander became ruler. Known as Alexander the Great, he was one of the greatest military leaders in history. Between 334 and 326 B.C. his armies conquered the lands from Egypt to India without losing a single battle.

After Alexander’s death in 323 B.C. his empire broke apart. However, Greek culture continued to spread and soon dominate the Mediterranean world. A new stage of civilization – the Hellenistic Age – had begun.

Hellenistic scholars included Euclid whose work in geometry is still studied, and Archimedes, an inventor and scientist. Studies in philosophy also continued. Unlike the Hellenic thinkers, who wrote about people as members of a community, Hellenistic philosophers were concerned with people as individuals. Epicureanism, named after Epicurus, urged people to live untroubled lives and not to seek wealth, political power, or fame. Stoicism, founded by Zeno, emphasized dignity, reason, and self-control.

 

Word Check

 

Ex. 1. Match the words in column A with their definitions in column B.

A 1) polis 2) a citizen 3) a life of moderation 4) the Socratic method 5) Plato’s the Republic 6) Alexander the Great 7) the Hellenistic Age B a) a new stage of civilization b) an independent city-state c) a question and answer approach d) a free adult man whose parents had both been Athenians e) a balance between extremes military f) one of the greatest military leaders in history g) a description of the ideal state

Ex. 2. Complete the sentences, use the words and expressions from the text.

1. Developing these qualities became … of Greek education.

2. Greece developed as … , each with its own character.

3. Sparta emphasized military skills, discipline, and service to … – the city state.

4. Athens became the cultural center of Greece and originated … .

5. About 500 B.C. … by the Persian Empire forced the Greeks to unite.

6. After the Persian Wars, became a direct democracy … of Pericles.

7. All citizens – free adult men whose parents had both been Athenians – met in the Assembly … .

8. Women, slaves and foreigners … and thus had no part in ruling Athens.

9. The Greeks believed that every person should live … and aim for … .

10. Among those who … in science and mathematics were Pythagoras, Democritus, and Hippocrates.

11. Aristotle tried … basic ideas in many fields of knowledge.

12. Greek culture continued to spread and soon … the Mediterranean world.

______________________________________________________________

Words for reference: dominated, the threat of conquest, to discover and organize, under the leadership, a well-rounded life, excellence in all pursuits, the goal; to debate, vote and make laws, made notable contributions, were denied citizenship, a land of independent city-states, the idea of democracy, the polis.

 

Ex. 3. Fill in the following prepositions: about, throughout along, through, to, in, from … to, by, against, without, for, of, between.

1. … 1300 B.C. Mycenean civilization spread … southern Greece.

2. Hellenic ideas spread … the peninsula and … Greek colonies … the Mediterranean and Black seas.

3. People felt intensely loyal … their own polis.

4. The Athenians believed that every citizen should participate … government.

5. Ancient Greek philosophers searched … two kinds … knowledge.

6. … 431 B.C. the city-states … the Peloponnesus led … Sparta, went … war … Athens.

7. Thus deprived … wise leadership, Athens was finally forced to surrender … 404 B.C.

8. … 334 and 326 B.C. Alexander’s armies conquered the lands … Egypt … India … losing a single battle.

 

Comprehension

Ex. 1. Complete the sentences, use the information from the text.

1. Western civilization began … .

2. The poet Homer was … .

3. Greece developed as a land of independent … .

4. All citizens … met in the Assembly.

5. The Greek playwrights wrote tragedies that used … .

6. Ancient Greek philosophers searched for two kinds of knowledge … .

7. After Alexander’s death in 323 B.C. his empire broke apart, however, Greek culture continued to spread … .

 

Ex. 2. Say if the statements are true or false.

1. In the Aegean region, the earliest civilization was that of the Minoan people in the Nile River valley.

2. Homer’s epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey describe people who were cowardly, stupid and humble.

3. People felt intensely devoted to their own polis, and city states often defended one another.

4. The Greeks believed that every person should live untroubled lives and seek for wealth, political power or fame.

5. The Hebrews or Israelites searched for two kinds of knowledge: knowledge about the natural world and knowledge about human beings’ place in that world.

6. In science, Aristotle taught that a theory should be accepted only if it agreed with observed facts.

7. Known as Alexander the Great, he was an exceptionally brilliant thinker.

8. Hellenistic philosophers were concerned with people as members of a community.

Ex. 3. Answer the following questions.

1. When did Western civilization begin?

2. What became part of the Hellenic civilization that developed about 800 B.C.

3. What became the goal of Greek education?

4. What characteristics of Sparta and Athens made them Great city-states?

5. What citizens participated in government?

6. Identify some of the cultural achievements of the Greeks.

7. When and why did the city-states loose their independence?

8. What scholars did the Hellenistic age include?



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