Ancient Greek Literature Facts: Learn All About Homer And Greek Tragedies! | Kidadl

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Ancient Greek Literature Facts: Learn All About Homer And Greek Tragedies!

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Ancient Greeks were very artistic people and great ancient orators.

In the ancient Greek world, people have been credited with the invention of drama, comedy, tragedy, and philosophy. The first epic poetry of the western civilization, the Iliad, was written by Homer.

We have been hearing about ancient Greek philosophy written by ancient Greek philosophers like Socrates, Aristotle, Pythagoras, or Plato since we were kids. We have also been hearing about Greek historians like Xenophon, Herodotus, Thucydides, or Diodorus Siculus, and many others who explained Greek history from the classical period of the ancient world. But what exactly is ancient Greek literature?

You can call ancient Greek literature a body of Greek writings containing lyric poetry or pastoral poetry and Greek writings written in the Greek Language, which dates back to the first millennium BC and has a rich history that continues to this day. Greek literature is an inseparable and most valued part of western literature. Greek authors that wrote these ancient legends and Greek poems did not necessarily live in Greece. Many Greek authors also lived in Sicily, the Aegean Islands, Asia Minor, and some southern parts of Italy, which are also known as Magna Gracia. Some of the Greek works of literature have been produced by writers from the classical era whose mother tongue was not Greek. The Greek literature is of great importance not only because of the supreme quality of writings of Greek writers but also due to the fact that up until the mid-19th century, most of the writers of western literature were accustomed to Greek culture, with Greek poetry either having Latin as a medium or written in Greek taking it for granted that readers knew the Greek and Roman literature of the classical era.

If you are an ancient Greece fanatic and like to read interesting and exciting facts about the ancient Greek period, do check out ancient Greece economy facts and ancient Greek culture facts here on Kidadl.

Ancient Greek Tragedy

Ancient Greek tragedy was an important part of the culture of ancient Greece. Tragedies were written by one or more dramatists, often in collaboration. The earliest Greek tragedies were epic poems, written in dactylic hexameter; these works were written in meter but not in rhyme. The particular reason for this seems to be that, for this early period, the meter had to be what the words dictated. The works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides are examples of early tragedies. Of these, only fragments of Aeschylus and Sophocles survive. Ancient Greeks, especially ones who lived in central Greece, followed three main rules while writing a Greek tragedy: unity of action, unity of place, and unity of time. While writing his own interpretation of Aristotle, an Italian humanist, Lodovico Castelvetro, reformed these three rules, which are now known as 'Aristotelian rules' in the world of Greek myth and literature.

There are five structural units of a Greek tragedy without which a tragedy would not be considered complete. These five elements or structural units of Greek tragedy are known as the prologos, the parados, the epitasis, the stasimon, and the exodus. The prologos, or the prologue, introduces the characters and the central conflict. The parados is a scene that takes place before the play begins and allows the audience to become familiar with the setting and the characters. Episodes are short but meaningful events that take place between the prologue and the exodus. The epitasis is the build-up to the climax of the play. In the stasimon, the chorus express their feelings about the events of the play. The exodus is the resolution of the play.

Ancient Greeks were fond of different writings that included drama, tragedy, comedy, and much more. One of the famous Greek writers was Homer, who was born in Chios. Homer was the son of river Meles and was blind. He was also often referred to as the wandering bard. Homeric epics have been considered as historical figures and are famous even among new generations of today. Homer died on the island of Ios, and his grave is said to be located at Plakoto. Plakoto has been a very famous tourist spot among Greek literature admirers.

Archaic Period In Greek Literature

Greek literature is heavily dependent on Homeric writings. Although Homer was very popular because of Iliad and Odyssey, his most renowned writings, we know comparatively less about him. Ancient tradition ascribed both works to Homer, but his authorship was doubted in antiquity. Iliad was attributed to Homer by Alexandrian grammarians, but it is uncertain whether they were right. Some think that Homer was a bard who composed orally, not a poet who wrote down his compositions. Homer's poetry is preserved in an oral tradition that began soon after his death, making modern scholars question the reliability of the surviving poems. The poems that have been transmitted to us are the result of an oral tradition extending over many generations, involving many anonymous rhapsodes who were not necessarily literate.

The Archaic period that existed in the history of Greece refers to a historical period in Greek ancient history from around 700 BC to the emergence of the Classical period around 500 BC. Due to the absence of written records from the time, the Archaic period in Greece is defined by the end of the Greek Dark Ages and the development of the pottery wheel. In contrast to the Dark Ages, however, the Archaic period in Greece was a time of increased literacy and political participation. In addition to pottery, Archaic Greece is known for its advances in architecture, poetry, and technology.

Hellenistic Period In Greek Literature

Iliad and Odyssey were probably composed by Homer around the 8th century BC The earliest literary sources for these poems are the Homeric Hymns, which go back to the 7th century BC, and the Epic Cycle, which probably goes back to the 8th century BC. Odyssey and Iliad are said to be the only ancient Homeric epics to have survived in their entirety.

The Hellenistic era or Hellenistic period is the period after the conquests of Alexander the Great, which resulted in the Battle of Actium in 31 B.C. It is often referred to as the Hellenistic Age. The primary literary product of the Alexandrian period was the biography. Two examples of these biographies are Suetonius' De vita Caesarum and Plutarch's Parallel Lives. The major literary output of the Alexandrian period was historical writing. There were many historians writing at this time. Polybius was a significant historian whose work laid the foundation for all subsequent western historical writing. He was a Greek who wrote the History of the Ancient World. Diodorus Siculus was another critical historian of the time. The works of these men were very important because they included the history of the people of the Mediterranean. They also included the history of northern Egypt.

Hellenistic period of Greek literature is mostly about Alexander the Great.

Classical Period In Greek Literature

Ancient literature of Greece is a well-known and very influential part of the literary world. The collection of works that are attributed to ancient Greek writers are considered some of the greatest literary works ever created. They are often studied in literature classes and are even the subject of many of the most popular movies. However, many people are more familiar with the movies than the actual works of literature that inspired them. That's why so many students are more familiar with Homer's Odyssey than they are with the actual epic poem. The works of the ancient literature of Greece are studied very often because they are so influential. Ancient Greeks have greatly influenced the way that literature is created today. They have taught the literary world many lessons about how to create good stories. Stories of ancient Greeks are the basis of some of the greatest stories ever told and are still widely read today.

Classical Greece or the Classical period of literature of Greece covers a time between the 5th and 4th centuries BC, in which Greek city-states had expanded into much of the known world. Historically, it is considered the final period of the ancient Greek era before the rise of Rome and the Roman emperor as the dominant world power. The Classical period ended with the conquest of the Greek heartlands by the Roman Republic or Roman Army, the subsequent Romanization of the population, and the establishment of Roman provinces. This period is considered to be a period of 'great prosperity, and political and cultural progress.' The Persian invasion was repelled by the Athenians and the other Greek city-states in the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. leading to the beginning of classical Greece. This period of time is also called the Greek enlightenment. Classical Greece has been described as a time of 'great achievements in the arts and sciences.' In many ways, classical Greece parallels the 5th and 4th BC as a time of cultural flourishing and peace after a period of war and destruction that had been going on for decades.

Greek Versus Roman Literature

Aesop's Fables are one of the most famous collections of fables in the world. Many people consider Aesop's Fables to be ancient Greek literature. What do they mean by Aesop's Fables being ancient Greek literature? Well, let's go back to the time in which Aesop lived. Aesop was an ancient Greek poet, credited with a number of fables now collectively known as Aesop's Fables, which are said to have been originally written in verse. Some fables were intended to provide moral lessons, and others merely describe an event to illustrate a point. Some appear to be humorous (though they may have had a moral purpose as well). Aesop's Fables appear in a number of different languages and have been adapted to a number of cultures over the years. Aesop's Fables are the most well-known version of a story that has existed in every culture since the dawn of civilization. Fables of Aesop are a collection of short stories written in verse by the Greek poet Aesop supposedly between the 7th century BC and the 1st century BC. However, the earliest surviving texts are from the 3rd century BC. These fables originally existed in oral tradition and were preserved by Aesop within that tradition, and then passed down through later writers, eventually coming to be recorded in writing, and then published and translated into modern languages, where they have become universally known as Aesop's Fables.

Greek literature is the literature written in the Greek language, starting in Homeric times. Classical Greek became the language of the Byzantine Empire, the Republic of Venice, the Ottoman Empire, and most of the modern Greek states (except for western Macedonia, southern Peloponnesus, the Dodecanese Islands, the Cyclades Islands, the Ionian Islands, and Crete). Greek literature is commonly written in a style known as Attic Greek, which is often compared to the language of Shakespeare. Greeks created the first written works in the western world. But these works are much different than the ones Roman authors made. Greeks focused much more on glorifying their gods, while Roman authors or Roman writers focused much more on glorifying their Roman leaders or emperors. So the question is, how did Greeks influence Romans? There was a time when every rich man had to study in ancient Athens to make his knowledge of rhetoric perfect. Many Romans hence came to Athens to learn philosophy in Athens, Greece.

Books And Libraries In Ancient Greece

Homer was a fabulous and influential leader in the golden age of ancient Greek literature. Interestingly, his year of birth is unknown, and many people even question his sole existence. There are many people who do not believe that Homer was real and that he did write the masterpieces like the Iliad and the Odyssey, which were both the most remarkable contributions of Homer to Greek literature and even Greek culture.

The history of modern Greek literature is not just the history of the last years. It is the history of the new era that began with the first books of the 19th century. The 19th century is the first century of the new era that gave birth to contemporary Greek literature. It was the century of the rebirth of the Greek language. The 19th century was said to be the development of the Greek language; it is the century of the formation of the modern Greek literature written in polytonic orthography and is just like ancient Greek literature but is written in the modern Greek language. It is the century of the formation of modern Greek poetry. This century was also the beginning of modern Greek prose. Ancient Greek authors were well known for combining the epic form, which included the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Argonautica, the Cypria, the Thebaid, the Epic Cycle, and the Aethiopis, with history in books like the Iliad. The epic poems of Homer were written down in the 8th century BC, but oral tradition takes them back to the late Bronze Age. Homer was not, however, the only epic poet of ancient Greeks. The epic poem, The Battle of Frogs and Mice, is attributed to Homer's contemporary Hesiod.

The function of libraries in ancient Greece was varied. Some were used for government records, while others were used for storing precious manuscripts. The largest libraries were the ones belonging to the philosophers, the Sophists, and the schools of philosophy. Many of the manuscripts were original, while others were copies of the original. Texts were copied by scribes who were not necessarily trained as scholars. In addition, scrolls were also made from papyrus. Papyrus is a tall, swampy plant that is found in Egypt. Egyptians made paper from this plant. Papyrus is a very poor material for writing on as it is easily damaged and cannot be erased.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for ancient Greek literature facts, then why not take a look at ancient Greece government facts or ancient Greek food facts.

Written By
Sridevi Tolety

Sridevi's passion for writing has allowed her to explore different writing domains, and she has written various articles on kids, families, animals, celebrities, technology, and marketing domains. She has done her Masters in Clinical Research from Manipal University and PG Diploma in Journalism From Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. She has written numerous articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories, which have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. She is fluent in four languages and likes to spend her spare time with family and friends. She loves to read, travel, cook, paint, and listen to music.

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