Also known as the "Classical Era," Classical Antiquity refers to a historical period that is known for its great cultural and linguistic diversity. This period comprised two interconnected civilizations - ancient Greece and ancient Rome, and hence is often referred to as the Greco-Roman civilization. From the rise of powerful empires to the emergence of democratic forms of government, the classical antiquity period significantly impacted the development of Western thought and continues to be studied and revered to this day.
The Shell Game: How The Ancient Greeks Used Ostracism To Keep Political Leaders In Check
The ancient Greeks used a voting system called ostracism in the city-state of Athens to expel individuals from the city for ten years. This system involved inscribing the person's name to be exiled on a pottery shard or shell and depositing it in a voting urn. If a person received the most votes, they were exiled for ten years. Ostracism was used in Athens from the late 7th century BCE until the end of the 5th century BCE to check political leaders' power and protect the city-state from perceived threats. It was also used to resolve conflicts between political factions and give citizens a way to express discontent with their leaders. However, ostracism was criticized for potentially silencing political opponents and undermining democracy. Despite these concerns, the practice continued in Athens until it fell out of favor in the late 5th century BCE.
Lighting The Way To Birthday Cheers: A History Of Candle Use In Ancient Greece And Rome
The origins of birthday celebrations and the use of candles to mark the occasion can be credited to the ancient Greeks and Romans. In ancient Greece, it was common to celebrate the birthday of a god or goddess with offerings of food and drink. Thus, the custom of celebrating a person's birthday with a special meal or gift may have also originated in ancient Greece. The ancient Romans also celebrated birthdays and used candles to mark the occasion, with Roman Emperor Nero being credited with starting the tradition of placing candles on a birthday cake. It is not certain why the ancient Greeks and Romans placed candles on birthday cakes, but it is possible that they symbolized the sun, a source of life and nourishment, and were used to honor the gods and bring luck and prosperity to the person celebrating their birthday. Today, birthday celebrations and the use of candles on birthday cakes are popular worldwide.
Love In A Crunch: The Ancient Greek And Roman Tradition Of Throwing Apples
In ancient Greece and Rome, young men often expressed their affection for a woman through gifts or public declarations of love. One way to do this was by throwing an apple towards the woman, symbolizing desire and offering a gift. Greek and Roman mythology and literature may have influenced this custom, where the Goddess Aphrodite was associated with apples, and the fruit represented love and desire. The myth of Atalanta and Hippomenes also involves the use of golden apples to win Atalanta's hand in marriage.
Salt: The Ancient Currency Of Greece And Rome
Salt has been used as a form of currency throughout history due to its value in preserving food. In ancient Greece, it was used in trade. In Rome, this valuable commodity was called "salarium" and was used to pay soldiers. The use of salt as currency declined with the acceptance of coins and paper money.
The Handshake: A Timeless Tradition With Ancient Roots
The handshake is a universal gesture of greeting and goodwill believed to have originated in ancient times. In the classical antiquity period of ancient Greece and Rome, handshakes were used as a way of sealing agreements and demonstrating trust and were often accompanied by the exchange of a pledge or oath. Today, the handshake is used as a way of expressing goodwill, trust, and respect, and it is a common gesture of greeting among people of all ages and cultures. This custom of shaking hands has survived to the present day and is now practiced by different cultures worldwide.
A History Of Sports: The Ancient Olympic Games
The Olympic Games were a series of sporting competitions held every four years in the city of Olympia in ancient Greece to honor Zeus. They were open to all Greek citizens and featured athletic events such as running, jumping, throwing, and fighting, as well as cultural events like music, poetry, and drama. The Olympic Games were the most important of the four Panhellenic Games, including the Pythian, Nemean, and Isthmian Games. A sacred truce was observed during the games, and wars and conflicts were temporarily suspended to allow for the safe travel of the participants to and from the games. The Olympic Games were a significant part of ancient Greek culture and continue to influence sports and athletics in the modern world.
Discovering The Philosophers Of Classical Antiquity
The classical antiquity period saw the emergence of many influential philosophers, including Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Socratic philosophy, named after Socrates, emphasized the importance of questioning and dialogue in gaining knowledge. Plato's philosophy focused on the concept of eternal forms or ideals as the basis for all knowledge and reality. Aristotle's philosophy was based on the idea of cause and effect, and he made significant contributions to fields such as logic, metaphysics, and ethics. These philosophers and their ideas have had a lasting impact on Western thought and continue to be studied and debated to this day.
Political Powers Of The Past: The Greek City-States, Roman Republic, And Roman Empire
During the classical antiquity period, the Greek city-states were known for their democratic systems of government, while the Roman Republic and Roman Empire were federal and autocratic states, respectively. The rise and fall of these mighty empires significantly impacted the development of political thought and systems of government in the Western world. The city-state of Athens is particularly well-known for its democracy, with citizens participating directly in the decision-making process through assemblies and councils. The Roman Republic had a complex system of government with two consuls, an assembly, and a senate. The Roman Empire was characterized by its military strength and its system of governance based on the rule of law. The politics of the classical antiquity period continue to be studied and influential to this day.
The Mysterious "Unknown God" Of Ancient Greece And Rome
The "unknown god" was a deity worshipped by the ancient Greeks and Romans who was not associated with any specific cult or mythology. It was believed that there were many gods in the pantheons of ancient Greece and Rome and that there might have also been gods that were not yet known or understood by humans. The "unknown god" was often invoked in times of crisis or uncertainty as a way of seeking protection or guidance, and altars or shrines were set up in public spaces as a way of offering supplication and seeking favor from the deity. The concept of the "unknown god" was also mentioned by the philosopher Paul in the New Testament book of Acts, where he suggests that this deity may be the same as the God worshipped by the Christians. The concept of the "unknown god" has had a lasting influence on Western thought and continues to be referenced in literature, art, and philosophy.
The Intellectual Giants Of Classical Antiquity: Plato, Aristotle, And More
The classical antiquity period was a time of great intellectual achievement, with individuals making significant contributions to the fields of philosophy, science, and arts. Some of the most well-known intellectuals of the time include Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle in philosophy; Archimedes in mathematics; and Hippocrates in medicine. The period was also marked by significant artistic and literary achievement, with writers like Homer, Sophocles, and Virgil still widely read and studied today and the emergence of artists like Phidias and Apelles. The intellectuals of the classical antiquity period continue to be influential and highly respected in modern society.
The classical antiquity period was a time of great cultural, political, and intellectual achievement. The customs, traditions, and innovations of this period have had a lasting influence on the world and continue to shape our understanding of the past and the present.