Ancient Greek Literature and Poetry
Thousands of years have been passed by but the influence of ancient Greek Literature and poetry has never surpassed. Alfred North Whitehead the famous British philosopher cum mathematician said that “Philosophy is nothing but a footnote of Pluto”. In the period of last ten centuries, the ancient Greek Literature has attained such a height of glory which could hardly be achieved by other nations. Comedy, Tragedy, Poetry, Philosophy, and political history are the masterpieces of Greek writers. Someone has rightly said that Greek Writers are the “epitome of inspiration and perspiration” and they still influence the minds of people. Actually, the Greek literature exists from 14th century BC to present and it was merely expressed in Greek language.
The Greek literature is comprised on four major periods like classical, pre-classical, Byzantine and Hellenistic-Roman.
The Classical Period
The most famous works of classic period were works of Homer, the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey”. The former is the tragedy based on Trojan War story and the later is based on one of the warriors of Troy. Odyssey is an amalgamation of comedy and tragedy and it was supposed to be one of the best works of Homer.
It goes without saying that Iliad and Odyssey were based on ancient legends and they were expressed in simple, direct and eloquent language. Though centuries have been passed yet both of these works of Homer are still being read today.
Another famous poet of this period was Hesiod. He was hailing from Boeotia and he worked and lived in 800 BC. His famous works which are still remembers today are “Works and Days” and “Theogony”.
Lastly, works of Homer and Hesiod are supposed to be bible for Greeks and they are widely read across the globe.
The biggest achievement of Prose in 4th Century was in Philosophy. Greek Philosophers are considered to be torch bearers of philosophy and they are highly applauded for their outstanding works in the fields of Philosophy. The most famous philosophers of Greeks were Plato, Aristotle and Socrates. All of these philosophers were related to each other in one way or other.
Besides, all of these philosophers had grossly contributed to real philosophy of life. Aristotle was student of Plato’s academy and he was known as “Fathers of intellectuals”. His contribution in Politics is still read throughout the world. The famous contributions of Socrates were Protagoras, Gorgias, and Apology.
It is said that in 338 BC all the states of Greece except Sparta had been subjugated by the father (Philip II of Macedon) of Alexander the great. Historians hold the opinion that it was Alexander who invented the Age of Hellenism. Actually, Greece was called in Greek language as a Hellas therefore Hellenism means spread of literature, culture, and Greek language across the Mediterranean world.
The one the best works of Hellenistic period was translation of Bible from Hebrew to Greek. This work was done by Alexandria and it was completed in 2nd B.C century. Besides, there were 72 other writers who translated a bunch of Hebrew Books apart from recording the history of Greece.
The most famous historians of this period were Polybius, Diodorus Siculus, Timaeus, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Plutarch, Appian of Alexandria, and Arrian. And, the most famous work of this period was “Moralia” a collection of essays on literary topics, religious, ethical, political, and physical.
Byzantine Literature is supposed to be known for its great works in the spheres of theology. This period was the beginning of New Testament of Christian Bible and the most famous contributions of era were hymns, sermons, descriptions of the lives of the martyrs and saints and other theological works.
Besides, the writers who had greatly contributed to spread of Christianity were Eusebius, St. Basil the Great, and Gregory of Nazianzus. And, the writings of the geographers, historians, philosophers, rhetoricians and scientists of this period are still read today.
The poetry was usually sung by the individuals and the instrument used while reading the poetry was Lyre. It is assumed that the first poet of Greek history was supposed be from 700 B.C and his name was Archilochus of Paros. And the poets who altered the course of history were Pindar and Sappho. Sappho was famous for her style of writing and most of the themes of her works were personal. It is said that it was the evolutionary period for the Greek history.
Greek poetry had begun to flourish in the 3rd Century B.C and the best poets of this period were Callimachus, Apollonius of Rhodes and Theocritus.
Theocritus was the producers of Pastoral Poetry and he wrote poetic plays, lyrics poetry and minor epics. His work in this era was Aetia (Causes).
On the other hand, Callimachus worked throughout his adult age as a cataloger of library at Alexandria. He had also written a bunch of poetry pieces and he was supposed to be occasional poet. Last but not the least, Apollonius of Rhodes and Theocritus was born in 295 B.C and his famous work was his epic the Argonautica about Jason and his shipmates.