Get To Know About Some Amazing Golden Age Facts Below

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Nov 03, 2023 By Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Originally Published on Feb 08, 2022
Golden Age itself is derived from Greek mythology

Did you know that the concept of conducting music originated in ancient Greece? Also, did you know that more than one-third of the total population of ancient Greece were slaves? To know more such interesting facts about the Golden Age in Greece, as well as the Peloponnesian Wars between the city-states of the country, read more.

Philosophers often describe this period in history as a time during which there was no war and, as such, happiness and peace prevailed in civilization. With people obtaining the support of their government, society and culture blossomed, with artists creating sculptures and paintings, and writers penning beautiful prose and poems.

How do you envision ancient Greece? For many of us, ancient Greece often conjures an image of a pretty modernized society living way ahead of its time, where the arts and culture flourished.

Instances of this modernization include theaters, numerous cities and states, flourishing art, a democratic form of government, temples, and renowned philosophers.

However, in the 3,000 year-long history of Greece, the aforementioned instances were not always present and such elements were complementary to the Golden Age of Ancient Greece. This period is often known as the Classical Period.

The term Golden Age itself is derived from Greek mythology, in particular from the works of Hesiod, wherein the philosopher mentioned five phases of ancient Greece. According to him, the condition during these phases deteriorated subsequently and hence the first, thriving phase was named the Golden Age.

The golden race of humanity is said to have lived during this period. The Golden Age was followed by the Silver, Bronze, Heroic, and lastly, the Iron Age.

The phrase Golden Age depicts peace, harmony, social stability and prosperity that prevails in Greece. Some philosophers believe that, during this period, men did not struggle for food as the earth itself provided nourishment in abundance to all living beings.

Humans lived a very long life with their highly active physique and workaholic attitudes. Those who lived in Sparta are particularly good examples.

Their lives ended peacefully with their spirits living on Earth as guardians of their  oncoming generations. Plato, in his work 'Cratylus', corrected a common misunderstanding that the word ‘golden’ used by Hesiod didn’t literally mean gold, but one that was good and noble.

Greek mythology shows Titan Cronus as the leader of the Golden Age. In some other illustrations, Astraea, the goddess, is often depicted as the ruler of Greek society.

It is believed that Astraea lived alongside the Greek people till the end of the Silver Age but left for the stars in the Bronze Age as man became more and more greedy and violent. She is depicted as the Virgo constellation, and is shown to hold the scales of justice.

The History Of The Golden Age

The classical period, or the Golden Age of Greece, is estimated to have taken place during the fifth and sixth centuries BCE. This age began with the fall of the last tyrant, Peisistratus, who died in 528 BCE, in the capital city of Athens.

With his death came the end of the Era of Oppression. After this, it took a few more years for Greek society to stabilize and flourish.

During this time, Alexander the Great was born and, under his reign, Greek society reached commendable heights. It is said that the Golden Age ended with the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE.

With subsequent years, there arose a tradition in Greek society wherein people started to believe that the site where the Golden Age originated was called Arcadia, in the Central Peloponese.

This area was an impoverished region where herdsmen lived on acorns. Greek mythology also shows how the goat-footed god, the faun or satyr Pan, who was the god of all things pastoral, lived during this period.

However, if we look at the writings of the Greek pastoral poet Theocritus, some historians believe that he stated that the actual region of the Golden Age was the fertile island of Sicily, in Italy, where he was born.

Golden Age Accomplishments

Apart from the political scene, and the birth of democracy, the Golden Age of ancient Greece was characterized by immense cultural growth along with the progress of the people. This is how people often picture Ancient Greece.

It was during this period that Socrates and other philosophers of the time, like Aristotle, were living, and making various discoveries and developments. The method of Socrates in the way he questioned things is still in practice at various schools and universities across the globe.

Alexander the Great, as a child, was mentored by Socrates. On top of this, Aristotle was also taught by one of the greatest Greek philosophers, Plato.

The efforts of all these figures contributed greatly to the discoveries of the period.

The origin of plays and theaters is often associated with this Golden Age, with the creation of related masterpieces by dramatists of the time, such as Aristophanes, Aeschylus and Euripides, whose works are still performed in the modern age. The Olympic Games were created during this period as well.

The cities of Athens and Sparta were the most prominent during the Golden Age. Athens and Sparta often went to war against each other as the two differed greatly when it came to their ideologies.

The most famous battles are known as the Peloponnesian War. Nonetheless, both the regions were prosperous in their own way. These cities also buffered away most Persian attempts to annex Greek territory.

The first invasion took place in 490 BCE, wherein the city of Athens fought and won against the Persian Army. The second attempt of annexation by Persia was fought off off by the joint collaboration of the city-state of Sparta and the city-state of Athens.

The Persian Empire also entered into war with the city-states of ancient Greece.

The Golden Age Of Literature

The Golden Age is often characterized by the presence of the greatest writers during the entirety of Greek history, who have influenced the best writers in the world throughout history, including Shakespeare.

Plato, in his creation 'Cratylus', referred to this era as the Age of Golden Men and also laid emphasis on the term 'Ages of Man' coined by Hesiod in his opus, 'Works and Days'.

The essence of this period was so dominant in history that even the greatest of poets, such as Ovid, wrote about this era wherein he simplified the five Greek ages into four, removing the Heroic period. He also enabled the transmission of knowledge about Greek mythology to the western regions of Europe and beyond.

According to Hesiod, the Golden Age came to an end when the Titan, Prometheus, stole fire from the gods to give to humanity. But this landed Prometheus in trouble with the gods, as Zeus punished the Titan of Fire by chaining him to a rock.

Each day, his liver was eaten by eagles and, afterwards, regrew, so that he would have to endure the torture again, day after day. The story continues with Pandora, the first woman but also known as an Earth goddess in the Pantheon.

Pandora was created by Zeus to punish humanity for Prometheus's actions.

According to legend, Pandora was entrusted by the gods to take care of a box but she was forbidden to open it. But, as destiny would have it, Pandora opened the box and from it escaped all kinds of evil that unleashed itself into the world.

Amazing Facts About The Golden Age

The essence of the Golden Age can be dated to the 6th century BCE by the works of Hesiod.  He was the one who divided the oncoming period into the five phases of Greek mythology.

As already mentioned, with the Heroic phase being an exception, each phase experienced a deterioration in the quality of living among the people of the time. During the Golden Age, some philosophers believed the earth was so enriching that man did not have to farm for food but could receive it from the earth itself.

During this period, the Orphic school of thought was prevalent in society. This school showcased the word and its assets as cyclical.

Upon an individual's death, there were secret magic traditions that guaranteed that a person was released from continual rebirth and died forever. The Orphics often defined the Golden Age as the time of the god Phanes. However, contrary to this, classical mythology associated this period with the reign of the god Saturn.

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Written by Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason

Bachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason picture

Adekunle Olanrewaju JasonBachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

With over 3+ years of professional experience, Olanrewaju is a certified SEO Specialist and Content Writer. He holds a BSc in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos. Throughout his dynamic career, Olanrewaju has successfully taken on various roles with startups and established organizations. He has served as a Technical Writer, Blogger, SEO Specialist, Social Media Manager, and Digital Marketing Manager. Known for his hardworking nature and insightful approach, Olanrewaju is dedicated to continuous learning and improvement.
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