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Classics or classical studies is the study of
classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, ...
, and in the
Western world The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various regions, nations and state (polity), states, depending on the context, most often consisting of the majority of Europe, Northern America, and Australasia.
traditionally refers to the study of
Classical Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek (modern , romanized: ''Elliniká'', Ancient Greek, ancient , ''Hellēnikḗ'') is an independent branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European family of languages, nati ...
and
Latin literature Latin literature includes the essays, histories, poems, plays, and other writings written in the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originall ...
and the related languages. It also includes
Greco-Roman The term "Greco-Roman world" (also "Greco-Roman culture" or ; spelled Graeco-Roman in the ), as understood by modern scholars and writers, refers to geographical regions and countries that culturally—and so historically—were directly and ...
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...
,
history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...

history
archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis Analysis is the process of breaking a complexity, complex topic or Substance theory, substance into smaller parts in order to gain a better underst ...
,
art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use ...
mythology Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the ca ...
and society as secondary subjects. In Western civilization, the study of the
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
and
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testament of the Christian Bible Roman ...

Roman
classics was traditionally considered to be the foundation of the
humanities Humanities are List of academic disciplines, academic disciplines that study aspects of human society and culture. In the Renaissance, the term contrasted with Divinity (academic discipline), divinity and referred to what is now called classic ...

humanities
, and has, therefore, traditionally been the cornerstone of typical elite European education.


Etymology

The word ''classics'' is derived from the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
adjective In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langu ...
'' classicus'', meaning "belonging to the highest class of citizens." The word was originally used to describe the members of the
Patricians The patricians (from la, patriciusPatricius may refer to: People * Patricius (consul 500), prominent East Roman general and consul *Patricius (jurist), 5th-century Roman jurist * Patricius (usurper) (died 352), leader of the Jewish revolt aga ...
, the highest class in
ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who stud ...
. By the 2nd century AD the word was used in literary criticism to describe writers of the highest quality. For example,
Aulus Gellius Aulus Gellius (c. 125after 180 AD) was a Roman author and grammarian, who was probably born and certainly brought up in Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map ...
, in his ''Attic Nights'', contrasts "classicus" and " proletarius" writers. By the 6th century AD, the word had acquired a second meaning, referring to pupils at a school. Thus, the two modern meanings of the word, referring both to literature considered to be of the highest quality, and to the standard texts used as part of a curriculum, both derive from Roman use.


History


Middle Ages

In the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
, classics and education were tightly intertwined; according to Jan Ziolkowski, there is no era in history in which the link was tighter. Medieval education taught students to imitate earlier classical models, and Latin continued to be the language of scholarship and culture, despite the increasing difference between literary Latin and the vernacular languages of Europe during the period. While Latin was hugely influential, according to thirteenth-century English philosopher
Roger Bacon Roger Bacon (; la, Rogerus or ', also '' Rogerus''; ), also known by the scholastic accolade It was customary in the European Middle Ages, more precisely in the period of scholasticism which extended into early modern times, to designate th ...
, "there are not four men in Latin Christendom who are acquainted with the Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic grammars." Greek was rarely studied in the West, and
Greek literature Greek literature () dates back from the ancient Greek literature Ancient Greek literature is literature written in the Ancient Greek language from the earliest texts until the time of the Byzantine Empire. The earliest surviving works of anci ...
was known almost solely in Latin translation. The works of even major Greek authors such as
Hesiod Hesiod (; grc-gre, Ἡσίοδος ''Hēsíodos'', 'he who emits the voice') was an ancient Greek poet generally thought to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēr ...
, whose names continued to be known by educated Europeans, along with most of Plato, were unavailable in Christian Europe. Some were rediscovered through Arabic translations; a School of Translators was set up in the border city of
Toledo, Spain Toledo ( , , ) is a city and municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-l ...
, to translate from Arabic into Latin. Along with the unavailability of Greek authors, there were other differences between the classical canon known today and the works valued in the Middle Ages.
Catullus Gaius Valerius Catullus (; ), often referred to simply as Catullus (), was a Latin poet of the late Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the , run through of the . Beginning with the of the ...

Catullus
, for instance, was almost entirely unknown in the medieval period. The popularity of different authors also waxed and waned throughout the period:
Lucretius Titus Lucretius Carus ( , ; 99 – c. 55 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Rom ...
, popular during the
Carolingian The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the Carlovingians, Carolingus, Carolings, Karolinger or Karlings) was a Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historic ...
period, was barely read in the twelfth century, while for
Quintilian Marcus Fabius Quintilianus (; 35 – 100 AD) was a Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome ...

Quintilian
the reverse is true.


Renaissance

The
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
led to the increasing study of both ancient literature and ancient history, as well as a revival of classical styles of Latin. From the 14th century, first in Italy and then increasingly across Europe,
Renaissance Humanism Renaissance humanism was a revival in the study of classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history between the 8th century BC and the 6th century AD cent ...
, an intellectual movement that "advocated the study and imitation of classical antiquity", developed. Humanism saw a reform in education in Europe, introducing a wider range of Latin authors as well as bringing back the study of Greek language and literature to Western Europe. This reintroduction was initiated by
Petrarch Francesco Petrarca (; 20 July 1304 – 18/19 July 1374), commonly anglicized Linguistic anglicisation (or anglicization, occasionally anglification, anglifying, or Englishing) is the practice of modifying foreign words, names, and phrases ...

Petrarch
(1304–1374) and
Boccaccio Giovanni Boccaccio (, , ; 16 June 1313 – 21 December 1375) was an Italian writer, poet, correspondent of Petrarch, and an important Renaissance humanist. He was known par excellence as the Certaldese, and one of the most important figur ...

Boccaccio
(1313–1375) who commissioned a Calabrian scholar to translate the
Homeric poems Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was the presumed author of the ''Iliad'' and the ''Odyssey'', two epic poems that are the foundational works of ancient Greek literature. The ''Iliad'' is set during the Trojan War, the ten-year s ...
. This
humanist Humanism is a philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or some ...

humanist
educational reform Education reform is the name given to the goal of changing public education State schools ( British English) or public schools ( North American English) are generally primary or secondary educational institution, schools that educate all child ...
spread from Italy, in Catholic countries as it was adopted by the
Jesuits The Society of Jesus ( la, Societas Iesu; abbreviated SJ), also known as the Jesuits (; la, Iesuitæ), is a religious order (Catholic), religious order of the Catholic Church headquartered in Rome. It was founded by Ignatius of Loyola and six co ...
, and in countries that became
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
such as England, Germany, and the Low Countries, in order to ensure that future clerics were able to study the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
in the original language.


Neoclassicism

The late 17th and 18th centuries are the period in Western European literary history which is most associated with the classical tradition, as writers consciously adapted classical models. Classical models were so highly prized that the plays of
William Shakespeare William Shakespeare (bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national p ...

William Shakespeare
were rewritten along neoclassical lines, and these "improved" versions were performed throughout the 18th century. From the beginning of the 18th century, the study of Greek became increasingly important relative to that of Latin. In this period Johann Winckelmann's claims for the superiority of the Greek visual arts influenced a shift in aesthetic judgements, while in the literary sphere, G.E. Lessing "returned Homer to the centre of artistic achievement". In the United Kingdom, the study of Greek in schools began in the late 18th century. The poet
Walter Savage Landor Walter Savage Landor (30 January 177517 September 1864) was an English writer, poet, and activist. His best known works were the prose '' Imaginary Conversations,'' and the poem ''Rose Aylmer,'' but the critical acclaim he received from contempor ...

Walter Savage Landor
claimed to have been one of the first English schoolboys to write in Greek during his time at
Rugby School Rugby School is a public school (English independent Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist painters based in the New Hope, Pennsylvania, a ...
.


19th century

The 19th century saw the influence of the classical world, and the value of a classical education, decline, especially in the United States, where the subject was often criticised for its elitism. By the 19th century, little new literature was still being written in Latin – a practice which had continued as late as the 18th century – and a command of Latin declined in importance. Correspondingly, classical education from the 19th century onwards began to increasingly de-emphasise the importance of the ability to write and speak Latin. In the United Kingdom this process took longer than elsewhere. Composition continued to be the dominant classical skill in England until the 1870s, when new areas within the discipline began to increase in popularity. In the same decade came the first challenges to the requirement of Greek at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, though it would not be finally abolished for another 50 years. Though the influence of classics as the dominant mode of education in Europe and North America was in decline in the 19th century, the discipline was rapidly evolving in the same period. Classical scholarship was becoming more systematic and
scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern science is a discovery as well as an invention. ...

scientific
, especially with the "new
philology Philology is the study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing system composed o ...
" created at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century. Its scope was also broadening: it was during the 19th century that
ancient history Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3.0
"History"
from ...

ancient history
and
classical archaeology Classical archaeology is the archaeological investigation of the Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin (also known as ...
began to be seen as part of classics, rather than separate disciplines.


20th century to present

During the 20th century, the study of classics became less common. In England, for instance,
Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' u ...
and
Cambridge Cambridge ( ) is a university city and the county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' ...
universities stopped requiring students to have qualifications in Greek in 1920, and in Latin at the end of the 1950s. When the
National CurriculumA national curriculum is a common programme of study in school A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of students (or "pupils") under the direction of teachers. Mo ...
was introduced in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland in 1988, it did not mention the classics. By 2003, only about 10% of state schools in Britain offered any classical subjects to their students at all. In 2016,
AQA AQA, formerly the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance, is an awarding body in England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland ...
, the largest exam board for
A-Levels#REDIRECT A-Level The A Level (Advanced Level) is a subject-based qualification conferred as part of the General Certificate of Education, as well as a school leaving qualification offered by the educational bodies in the United Kingdom and the ...
and
GCSE The General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) is an academic qualification in a particular subject, taken in England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies north ...
's in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, announced that it would be scrapping A-Level subjects in Classical Civilization, Archaeology, and Art History. This left just one out of five exam boards in England which still offered Classical Civilization as a subject. The decision was immediately denounced by archaeologists and historians, with Natalie Haynes of the ''
Guardian Guardian or The Guardian may refer to: *Legal guardian A legal guardian is a person who has been appointed by a court or otherwise has the legal authority (and the corresponding duty) to care for the personal and property Property (''latin: R ...

Guardian
'' stating that the loss of the A-Level would deprive state school students, 93% of all students, the opportunity to study classics while making it once again the exclusive purview of wealthy private-school students. However, the study of classics has not declined as fast elsewhere in Europe. In 2009, a review of ''Meeting the Challenge'', a collection of conference papers about the teaching of Latin in Europe, noted that though there is opposition to the teaching of Latin in Italy, it is nonetheless still compulsory in most secondary schools. The same can be said in the case of France or Greece, too. Indeed,
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
is one of the compulsory subjects in Greek secondary education, whereas in France, Latin is one of the optional subjects that can be chosen in a majority of middle schools and high schools. Ancient Greek is also still being taught, but not as much as
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
.


Sub-disciplines

One of the most notable characteristics of the modern study of classics is the diversity of the field. Although traditionally focused on ancient Greece and Rome, the study now encompasses the entire ancient Mediterranean world, thus expanding the studies to Northern
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', ...

Africa
as well as parts of the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
.


Philology

Philology Philology is the study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing system composed o ...
is the preserved in written sources; classical philology is thus concerned with understanding any texts from the classical period written in the classical languages of Latin and Greek. The roots of classical philology lie in
the Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a Periodization, period in History of Europe, European history marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity and covering the 15th and 16th centuries, characterized by an e ...
, as
humanist Humanism is a philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or some ...

humanist
intellectuals attempted to return to the Latin of the classical period, especially of
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Academic skepticism, Academic Skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
, and as scholars attempted to produce more accurate editions of ancient texts. Some of the principles of philology still used today were developed during this period, for instance, the observation that if a manuscript could be shown to be a copy of an earlier extant manuscript, then it provides no further evidence of the original text, was made as early as 1489 by
Angelo Poliziano , from a fresco painted by Renaissance artist Domenico Ghirlandaio in the Sassetti Chapel, Santa Trinita, Florence Florence ( ; it, Firenze ) is a city in Central Italy and the capital city of the Tuscany Regions of Italy, region. It i ...
. Other philological tools took longer to be developed: the first statement, for instance, of the principle that a more difficult reading should be preferred over a simpler one, was in 1697 by Jean Le Clerc. The modern discipline of classical philology began in Germany at the turn of the nineteenth century. It was during this period that scientific principles of philology began to be put together into a coherent whole, in order to provide a set of rules by which scholars could determine which manuscripts were most accurate. This "new philology", as it was known, centered around the construction of a genealogy of manuscripts, with which a hypothetical common ancestor, closer to the original text than any existing manuscript, could be reconstructed.


Archaeology

Classical archaeology is the oldest branch of archaeology, with its roots going back to work on
Herculaneum Herculaneum ( it, Ercolano) was an ancient town, located in the modern-day ''comune The (; plural: ) is a basic Administrative division, constituent entity of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and f ...

Herculaneum
in the 1760s. It was not until the last decades of the 19th century, however, that classical archaeology became part of the tradition of Western classical scholarship. It was included as part of Cambridge University's
Classical Tripos The Classical Tripos is the taught course in classics at the Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge, Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge. It is equivalent to Literae Humaniores at Oxford University, Oxford. It is traditionally a three ...
for the first time after the reforms of the 1880s, though it did not become part of Oxford's Greats until much later. The second half of the 19th century saw excavations of
Troy Troy (Greek language, Greek: Τροία) or Ilium (Greek language, Greek: Ίλιον) was an ancient city located at Hisarlik in present-day Turkey, south-west of Çanakkale. It is known as the setting for the Greek mythology, Greek myth of the ...

Troy
and
Mycenae Mycenae ( ; grc, Μυκῆναι or , ''Mykē̂nai'' or ''Mykḗnē'') is an archaeological site near Mykines, Greece, Mykines in Argolis, north-eastern Peloponnese, Greece. It is located about south-west of Athens; north of Argos, Peloponne ...

Mycenae
; the first excavations at Olympia and
Delos The island of Delos (; el, Δήλος ; Attic Greek, Attic: , Doric Greek, Doric: ), near Mykonos, near the centre of the Cyclades archipelago, is one of the most important mythological, historical, and archaeological sites in Greece. The excava ...

Delos
; and
Arthur Evans Sir Arthur John Evans (8 July 1851 – 11 July 1941) was a British archaeologist Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch o ...

Arthur Evans
' work in Crete, particularly on
Knossos Knossos (also Cnossos, both pronounced ; grc, Κνωσός, Knōsós, ; Linear B: ''Ko-no-so'') is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and has been called Europe's oldest city. Settled as early as the Neolithic period, the na ...

Knossos
. This period also saw the foundation of important archaeological associations (e.g. the
Archaeological Institute of America The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) is a North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...
in 1879), including many foreign archaeological institutes in Athens and Rome (the
American School of Classical Studies at Athens , native_name_lang = Greek , image = American School of Classical Studies at Athens.jpg , image_size = , image_alt = , caption = The ASCSA main building as seen from Mount Lykavittos , latin_name = , other_name = , former_name = , m ...

American School of Classical Studies at Athens
in 1881,
British School at Athens , image = Image-Bsa athens library.jpg , image_size = 300px , image_upright = , alt = , caption = The library of the BSA , latin_name = , motto = , founder = T ...
in 1886,
American Academy in Rome The American Academy in Rome is a research and arts institution located on the Gianicolo The Janiculum ( it, Gianicolo ), occasionally the Janiculan Hill, is a hill in western Rome, Italy. Although it is the second-tallest hill (the tallest be ...
in 1895, and
British School at Rome The British School at Rome (BSR) is an interdisciplinary research centre supporting the arts, humanities and architecture. History The British School at Rome (BSR) was established in 1901 and granted a UK Royal Charter in 1912. Its mission is "to ...
in 1900). More recently, classical archaeology has taken little part in the theoretical changes in the rest of the discipline, largely ignoring the popularity of " New Archaeology", which emphasized the development of general laws derived from studying material culture, in the 1960s. New Archaeology is still criticized by traditional minded scholars of classical archaeology despite a wide acceptance of its basic techniques.


Art history

Some art historians focus their study on the development of art in the classical world. Indeed, the art and architecture of Ancient Rome and Greece is very well regarded and remains at the heart of much of our art today. For example, Ancient Greek architecture gave us the Classical Orders:
DoricDoric may refer to: * Doric, of or relating to the Dorians of ancient Greece ** Doric Greek, the dialects of the Dorians * Doric order, a style of ancient Greek architecture * Doric mode, a synonym of Dorian mode * Doric dialect (Scotland) * Doric C ...
,
Ionic Ionic or Ionian may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Ionic meter, a poetic metre in ancient Greek and Latin poetry * Ionian mode, a musical mode or a diatonic scale Places and peoples * Ionian, of or from Ionia, an ancient region in western An ...

Ionic
, and Corinthian. The
Parthenon The Parthenon (; grc, Παρθενών, , ; ell, Παρθενώνας, , ) is a former temple A temple (from the Latin ) is a building reserved for spiritual rituals and activities such as prayer and sacrifice. Religions which erect te ...

Parthenon
is still the architectural symbol of the classical world.
Greek sculpture The sculpture Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions. It is one of the plastic arts. Durable sculptural processes originally used carving (the removal of material) and modelling (the addition of material, ...
is well known and we know the names of several Ancient Greek artists: for example,
Phidias of the Parthenon to his Friends'' (1868) by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema Phidias or Pheidias (; grc, Φειδίας, ''Pheidias'';  480 – 430 BC) was a Hellenic civilization, Greek sculptor, painter, and architect. His Statue of Zeus ...

Phidias
.


Ancient history

With philology, archaeology, and art history, scholars seek understanding of the history and culture of a civilization, through critical study of the extant literary and physical artefacts, in order to compose and establish a continual historic narrative of the Ancient World and its peoples. The task is difficult due to a dearth of physical evidence: for example,
Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek Doric or Dorian ( grc, Δωρισμός, Dōrismós) was an . Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern as well as in , , , , , some islands in the southern and some cities on the south east coast of ...

Sparta
was a leading Greek
city-state A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance la ...
, yet little evidence of it survives to study, and what is available comes from
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...

Athens
, Sparta's principal rival; likewise, the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
destroyed most evidence (cultural artefacts) of earlier, conquered civilizations, such as that of the
Etruscans The Etruscan civilization () of List of ancient peoples of Italy, ancient Italy covered a territory, at its greatest extent, of roughly what is now Tuscany, western Umbria, and northern Lazio, as well as what are now the Po Valley, Emilia-Romagna ...

Etruscans
.


Philosophy

The English word "
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...

philosophy
" comes from the Greek word φιλοσοφία, meaning "love of wisdom", probably coined by Pythagoras. Along with the word itself, the discipline of philosophy as we know it today has its roots in ancient Greek thought, and according to Martin West "philosophy as we understand it is a Greek creation". Ancient philosophy was traditionally divided into three branches: logic, physics, and ethics. However, not all of the works of ancient philosophers fit neatly into one of these three branches. For instance, Aristotle's ''Rhetoric'' and ''Poetics'' have been traditionally classified in the West as "ethics", but in the Arabic world were grouped with logic; in reality, they do not fit neatly into either category. From the last decade of the eighteenth century, scholars of ancient philosophy began to study the discipline historically. Previously, works on ancient philosophy had been unconcerned with chronological sequence and with reconstructing the reasoning of ancient thinkers; with what Wolfgang-Ranier Mann calls " New Philosophy", this changed.


Reception studies

Another discipline within the classics is "reception studies", which developed in the 1960s at the
University of Konstanz The University of Konstanz (german: Universität Konstanz) is a university in the city of Konstanz in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Its main campus was opened on the Gießberg in 1972 after being founded in 1966. The university is Germany's ...
. Reception studies is concerned with how students of classical texts have understood and interpreted them. As such, reception studies is interested in a two-way interaction between reader and text, taking place within a historical context. Though the idea of an "aesthetics of reception" was first put forward by Hans Robert Jauss in 1967, the principles of reception theory go back much earlier than this. As early as 1920,
T. S. Eliot Thomas Stearns Eliot (26 September 18884 January 1965) was a poet A poet is a person who creates poetry. Poets may describe themselves as such or be described as such by others. A poet may simply be a writer of poetry, or may perform the ...
wrote that "the past altered by the present as much as the present is directed by the past"; Charles Martindale describes this as a "cardinal principle" for many versions of modern reception theory.


Classical Greece

Ancient Greece was the civilization belonging to the period of Greek history lasting from the Archaic period, beginning in the eighth century BC, to the
Roman conquest of Greece Greece in the Roman era describes the Roman conquest of Greece, as well as the period of Greek history The history of Greece encompasses the history of the territory of the modern nation-state of Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ...
after the Battle of Corinth in 146 BC. The
Classical periodClassical period may refer to: *Classical Greece, specifically of the 5th and 4th centuries BC *Classical antiquity, in the Greco-Roman world *Classical India, an historic period of India (c. 322 BC - c. 550 CE) *Classical period (music), in music ...
, during the fifth and fourth centuries BC, has traditionally been considered the height of Greek civilisation. The Classical period of Greek history is generally considered to have begun with the
first First or 1st is the ordinal form of the number one (#1). First or 1st may also refer to: *World record A world record is usually the best global and most important performance that is ever recorded and officially verified in a specific skill ...
and second Persian invasions of Greece at the start of the Greco-Persian wars, and to have ended with the death of
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title ...

Alexander the Great
. Classical Greek culture had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire, which carried a version of it to many parts of the
Mediterranean region In biogeography Biogeography is the study of the distribution of species and ecosystems in geography, geographic space and through evolutionary history of life, geological time. Organisms and biological community (ecology), communities ofte ...
and Europe; thus Classical Greece is generally considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of Western civilization.


Language

Ancient Greek is the historical stage in the development of the Greek language spanning the Archaic (c. 8th to 6th centuries BC), Classical (c. 5th to 4th centuries BC), and Hellenistic (c. 3rd century BC to 6th century AD) periods of ancient Greece and the ancient world. It is predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek. Its Hellenistic phase is known as Koine ("common") or Biblical Greek, and its late period mutates imperceptibly into Medieval Greek. Koine is regarded as a separate historical stage of its own, although in its earlier form it closely resembles Classical Greek. Prior to the Koine period, Greek of the classical and earlier periods included several regional dialects. Ancient Greek was the language of Homer and of classical Athenian historians, playwrights, and philosophers. It has contributed many words to the vocabulary of English and many other European languages, and has been a standard subject of study in Western educational institutions since the Renaissance. Latinized forms of Ancient Greek roots are used in many of the scientific names of species and in other scientific terminology.


Literature

The earliest surviving works of Greek literature are
epic poetry An epic poem is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily involving a time beyond living memory in which occurred the extraordinary doings of the extraordinary people who, in dealings with the gods or other superhuman forces, gave shape to the mortal ...
.
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally re ...

Homer
's ''
Iliad The ''Iliad'' (; grc, Ἰλιάς, Iliás, ; sometimes referred to as the ''Song of Ilion'' or ''Song of Ilium'') is an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Moder ...

Iliad
'' and ''
Odyssey The ''Odyssey'' (; grc, Ὀδύσσεια, Odýsseia, ) is one of two major ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí ...
'' are the earliest to survive to us today, probably composed in the eighth century BC. These early epics were oral compositions, created without the use of writing. Around the same time that the Homeric epics were composed, the
Greek alphabet The Greek alphabet has been used to write the Greek language since the late ninth or early eighth century BC. It is derived from the earlier Phoenician alphabet, and was the first alphabetic script in history to have distinct letters for vowels ...

Greek alphabet
was introduced; the earliest surviving inscriptions date from around 750 BC. European
drama Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mimesis, represented in performance: a Play (theatre), play, opera, mime, ballet, etc., performed in a theatre, or on Radio drama, radio or television.Elam (1980, 98). Considered as a ...

drama
was invented in ancient Greece. Traditionally this was attributed to
Thespis Thespis (; grc-gre, Θέσπις; fl. 6th century BC) was an Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generall ...
, around the middle of the sixth century BC, though the earliest surviving work of Greek drama is
Aeschylus Aeschylus (, ; grc-gre, Αἰσχύλος ''Aiskhylos'', ; c. 525/524 – c. 456/455 BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kin ...
' tragedy ''
The Persians ''The Persians'' ( grc, Πέρσαι, ''Persai'', Latinised as ''Persae'') is an ancient Greek tragedy written during the Classical periodClassical period may refer to: *Classical Greece, specifically of the 5th and 4th centuries BC *Classical a ...
'', which dates to 472 BC. Early Greek tragedy was performed by a chorus and two actors, but by the end of Aeschylus' life, a third actor had been introduced, either by him or by
Sophocles Sophocles (; grc, Σοφοκλῆς, ; 497/6 – winter 406/5 BC)Sommerstein (2002), p. 41. is one of three ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , ...

Sophocles
. The last surviving Greek tragedies are the ''
Bacchae ''The Bacchae'' (; grc-gre, Βάκχαι, ''Bakchai''; also known as ''The Bacchantes'' ) is an Classical Greece, ancient Greek tragedy, written by the Classical Athens, Athenian playwright Euripides during his final years in Macedonia (ancient ...
'' of
Euripides Euripides (; grc, Εὐριπίδης ''Eurīpídēs'', ; ) was a tragedian Tragedy (from the grc-gre, τραγῳδία, ''tragōidia'', ''tragōidia'') is a form of drama based on human suffering and, mainly, the terrible or sorrowfu ...

Euripides
and Sophocles'
Oedipus at Colonus ''Oedipus at Colonus'' (also ''Oedipus Coloneus''; grc, Οἰδίπους ἐπὶ Κολωνῷ, ''Oidipous epi Kolōnōi'') is the largest of the three Theban plays Sophocles (; grc, Σοφοκλῆς, ; 497/6 – winter 406/5 BC)Sommerstei ...

Oedipus at Colonus
, both from the end of the fifth century BC. Surviving Greek comedy begins later than tragedy; the earliest surviving work,
Aristophanes Aristophanes (; grc, Ἀριστοφάνης, ; c. 446 – c. 386 BC), son of Philippus, of the deme 250px, Pinakia, identification tablets (name, father's name, deme) used for tasks like jury selection, Museum at the Ancient Agora of Athe ...

Aristophanes
' ''
Acharnians ''The Acharnians'' or ''Acharnians'' (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into th ...
'', comes from 425 BC. However, comedy dates back as early as 486 BC, when the
Dionysia The Dionysia () (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxi ...
added a competition for comedy to the much earlier competition for tragedy. The comedy of the fifth century is known as
Old ComedyOld Comedy (''archaia'') is the first period of the ancient Greek comedy Ancient Greek comedy was one of the final three principal dramatic forms in the Theatre of ancient Greece, theatre of classical Greece (the others being tragedy and the satyr pl ...
, and it comes down to us solely in the eleven surviving plays of Aristophanes, along with a few fragments. Sixty years after the end of Aristophanes' career, the next author of comedies to have any substantial body of work survive is
Menander Menander (; grc-gre, Μένανδρος ''Menandros''; c. 342/41 – c. 290 BC) was a Greek dramatist A playwright or dramatist is a person who writes play (theatre), plays. Etymology The word "play" is from Middle English pleye, from Old ...

Menander
, whose style is known as
New Comedy Ancient Greek comedy was one of the final three principal drama Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mimesis, represented in performance: a Play (theatre), play, opera, mime, ballet, etc., performed in a theatre, or on R ...
. Two historians flourished during Greece's classical age:
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an Classical Greece, ancient Greek writer, geographer, and historian born in the Greek city of Halicarnassus, part of the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Empire (now Bodrum, Turkey). He ...
and
Thucydides Thucydides (; grc-gre, Θουκυδίδης ; BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the app ...
. Herodotus is commonly called the father of history, and his "History" contains the first truly literary use of prose in Western literature. Of the two, Thucydides was the more careful historian. His critical use of sources, inclusion of documents, and laborious research made his History of the Peloponnesian War a significant influence on later generations of historians. The greatest achievement of the 4th century was in philosophy. There were many Greek philosophers, but three names tower above the rest: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. These have had a profound influence on Western society.


Mythology and religion

Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks concerning their
gods A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the . This term is attributed to , such as s, s, , and . It also includes claimed abilities embodied in or provided by suc ...

gods
and
hero File:Wilhelm Tell Denkmal Altdorf um 1900.jpeg, upWilliam Tell, a popular folk hero of Switzerland. A hero (heroine in its feminine form) is a real person or a main fictional character who, in the face of danger, combats adversity through f ...
es, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece. Modern scholars refer to the myths and study them in an attempt to throw light on the religious and political institutions of Ancient Greece and its civilization, and to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself. Greek religion encompassed the collection of beliefs and rituals practiced in ancient Greece in the form of both popular public religion and cult practices. These different groups varied enough for it to be possible to speak of Greek religions or "cults" in the plural, though most of them shared similarities. Also, the Greek religion extended out of Greece and out to neighbouring islands. Many Greek people recognized the major gods and goddesses: Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Apollo, Artemis, Aphrodite, Ares, Dionysus, Hephaestus, Athena, Hermes, Demeter, Hestia and Hera; though philosophies such as
Stoicism Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy Hellenistic philosophy is the period of Western philosophy Western philosophy encompasses the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, s ...
and some forms of
Platonism Platonism is the philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of ...
used language that seems to posit a transcendent single deity. Different cities often worshipped the same deities, sometimes with epithets that distinguished them and specified their local nature.


Philosophy

The earliest surviving philosophy from ancient Greece dates back to the 6th century BC, when according to Aristotle
Thales of Miletus Thales of Miletus ( ; el, Θαλῆς Thales of Miletus ( ; el, Θαλῆς (ὁ Μιλήσιος), ''Thalēs''; ) was a Greek mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (fr ...

Thales of Miletus
was considered to have been the first Greek philosopher. Other influential pre-Socratic philosophers include
Pythagoras Pythagoras of Samos, or simply ; in Ionian Greek () was an ancient Ionians, Ionian Ancient Greek philosophy, Greek philosopher and the eponymous founder of Pythagoreanism. His political and religious teachings were well known in Magna Graec ...

Pythagoras
and
Heraclitus Heraclitus of Ephesus (; grc-gre, Ἡράκλειτος ; , ) was an Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), ...

Heraclitus
. The most famous and significant figures in classical Athenian philosophy, from the 5th to the 3rd centuries BC, are
Socrates Socrates (; ; –399 BC) was a Greek philosopher from Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Greece, largest city of Greece. Athens domi ...

Socrates
, his student
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian philosopher during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought and the Platoni ...

Plato
, and
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
, who studied at
Plato's Academy The Academy (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: ...

Plato's Academy
before founding his own school, known as the
Lyceum The lyceum is a category of educational institution An educational institution is a place where people of different ages gain an education, including preschools, childcare, primary-elementary schools, secondary-high schools, and universities. ...
. Later Greek schools of philosophy, including the Cynics,
Stoics Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophyHellenistic philosophy is the period of Western philosophy Western philosophy refers to the philosophy, philosophical thought and work of the Western world. Historically, the term refers to the ph ...
, and
Epicureans Roman Epicurus bust Epicureanism is a system of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosoph ...
, continued to be influential after the Roman annexation of Greece, and into the post-Classical world. Greek philosophy dealt with a wide variety of subjects, including political philosophy,
ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, ...

ethics
,
metaphysics Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the first principles of being, identity and change, space and time, causality, necessity and possibility. It includes questions about the nature of consciousness and the relationship between ...

metaphysics
,
ontology Ontology is the branch of philosophy that studies concepts such as existence, being, Becoming (philosophy), becoming, and reality. It includes the questions of how entities are grouped into Category of being, basic categories and which of these ...

ontology
, and
logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning. Informal logic seeks to characterize Validity (logic), valid arguments informally, for instance by listing varieties of fallacies. Formal logic represents statements and ar ...

logic
, as well as disciplines which are not today thought of as part of philosophy, such as biology and rhetoric.


Classical Rome


Language

The language of ancient Rome was Latin, a member of the . The earliest surviving inscription in Latin comes from the 7th century BC, on a . Latin from between this point and the early 1st century BC is known as
Old Latin Old Latin, also known as Early Latin or Archaic Latin ( la, prīsca Latīnitās, lit=the Latinity of the ancients) was the in the period before 75 BC, i.e. before the age of . According to most current theories, it is descended from a common ; ...
. Most surviving Latin literature is
Classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. ...
, from the 1st century BC to the 2nd century AD. Latin then evolved into
Late Latin Late Latin ( la, Latinitas serior) is the scholarly name for the written Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, kn ...
, in use during the late antique period. Late Latin survived long after the end of classical antiquity, and was finally replaced by written Romance languages around the 9th century AD. Along with literary forms of Latin, there existed various vernacular dialects, generally known as
Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is non-literary Literature broadly is any collection of written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is th ...
, in use throughout antiquity. These are mainly preserved in sources such as graffiti and the
Vindolanda tablets The Vindolanda tablets were, at the time of their discovery, the oldest surviving handwritten documents in Britain (they have since been antedated by the Bloomberg tablets). They are a rich source of information about life on the northern fron ...

Vindolanda tablets
.


Literature

Latin literature seems to have started in 240 BC, when a Roman audience saw a play adapted from the Greek by Livius Andronicus. Andronicus also translated Homer's Odyssey into an Saturnian verse. The poets Ennius, Accius, and Patruvius followed. Their work survives only in fragments; the earliest Latin authors whose work we have full examples of are the playwrights
Plautus Titus Maccius Plautus (; c. 254 – 184 BC), commonly known as Plautus, was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome ...

Plautus
and
Terence Publius Terentius Afer (; – ), better known in English as Terence (), was a Roman African playwright A playwright or dramatist is a person who writes play Play most commonly refers to: * Play (activity), an activity done for enjoyment * P ...
. Much of the best known and most highly thought of Latin literature comes from the classical period, with poets such as
Virgil Publius Vergilius Maro (; traditional dates 15 October 7021 September 19 BC), usually called Virgil or Vergil ( ) in English, was an ancient Rome, ancient Roman poet of the Augustan literature (ancient Rome), Augustan period. He composed three ...

Virgil
,
Horace Quintus Horatius Flaccus (; 8 December 65 – 27 November 8 BC), known in the English-speaking world as Horace (), was the leading Roman Empire, Roman Lyric poetry, lyric poet during the time of Augustus (also known as Octavian). The rhetoricia ...

Horace
, and
Ovid Pūblius Ovidius Nāsō (; 20 March 43 BC – 17/18 AD), known in English as Ovid ( ), was a Augustan literature (ancient Rome), Roman poet who lived during the reign of Augustus. He was a contemporary of the older Virgil and Horace, with whom ...

Ovid
; historians such as
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
and
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature Classi ...

Tacitus
; orators such as
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Academic skepticism, Academic Skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
; and philosophers such as
Seneca the Younger Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger (; AD65), usually known as Seneca, was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', ...
and
Lucretius Titus Lucretius Carus ( , ; 99 – c. 55 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Rom ...
. Late Latin authors include many Christian writers such as
Lactantius Lucius Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius (c. 250 – c. 325) was an early Christian author who became an advisor to Roman emperor, Constantine I, guiding his Christian religious policy in its initial stages of emergence, and a tutor to his son Crisp ...

Lactantius
,
Tertullian Tertullian (; la, Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus; 155 AD – 220 AD) was a prolific early Christian The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religio ...

Tertullian
and
Ambrose Ambrose of Milan (born Aurelius Ambrosius; c. 340 – 397), venerated as Saint Ambrose, ; lmo, Sant Ambroeus . was the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milan, Bishop of Milan, a theologian, and one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures o ...

Ambrose
; non-Christian authors, such as the historian
Ammianus Marcellinus Ammianus Marcellinus (born , died 400) was a Roman soldier This is a list of Roman army units and bureaucrats. *''Accensus'' – Light infantry men in the armies of the early Roman Republic, made up of the poorest men of the army. *''Actuarius'' ...
, are also preserved.


History

According to legend, the city of Rome was founded in 753 BC; in reality, there had been a settlement on the site since around 1000 BC, when the
Palatine Hill The Palatine Hill, (; la, Collis Palatium or Mons Palatinus; it, Palatino ) which is the centremost of the seven hills of Rome The seven hills of Rome ( la, Septem colles/montes Romae, it, Sette colli di Roma ) east of the river Tiber ...

Palatine Hill
was settled. The city was originally ruled by kings, first Roman, and then Etruscanaccording to Roman tradition, the first Etruscan king of Rome, Tarquinius Priscus, ruled from 616 BC. Over the course of the 6th century BC, the city expanded its influence over the entirety of
Latium Latium ( , ; ) is the region of central western Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of delimited by the and surrounding it, whose territory large ...
. Around the end of the 6th century – traditionally in 510 BCthe kings of Rome were driven out, and the city became a republic. Around 387 BC, Rome was sacked by the Gauls following the
Battle of the Allia The Battle of the Allia was a battle fought between the Senones – a Gauls, Gallic tribe led by Brennus (4th century BC), Brennus who had invaded northern Italy – and the Roman Republic. The battle was fought at the confluence of the Tiber a ...
. It soon recovered from this humiliating defeat, however, and in 381 the inhabitants of
Tusculum Tusculum is a ruined Classical Rome, Roman city in the Alban Hills, in the Latium region of Italy. Tusculum was most famous in Roman times for the many great and luxurious patrician country villas sited close to the city, yet a comfortable distanc ...
in Latium were made Roman citizens. This was the first time Roman citizenship was extended in this way. Rome went on to expand its area of influence, until by 269 the entirety of the Italian peninsula was under Roman rule. Soon afterwards, in 264, the
First Punic War The First Punic War (264–241 BC) was the first of three wars fought between Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus Romulus was the legendary founder and first ...
began; it lasted until 241. The
Second Punic War The Second Punic War, which lasted from 218 to 201BC, was the second of three wars fought between Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern side of the in what is now . Carthage was the most important trading ...

Second Punic War
began in 218, and by the end of that year, the Carthaginian general
Hannibal Hannibal (; xpu, 𐤇𐤍𐤁𐤏𐤋, ''Ḥannibaʿl''; 247 – between 183 and 181 BC) was a Carthaginian general and statesman who commanded the forces of Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern ...

Hannibal
had invaded Italy. The war saw Rome's worst defeat to that point at
Cannae Cannae (now Canne della Battaglia) is an ancient village of the Apulia it, Pugliese , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = , demo ...
; the largest army Rome had yet put into the field was wiped out, and one of the two consuls leading it was killed. However, Rome continued to fight, annexing much of Spain and eventually defeating Carthage, ending her position as a major power and securing Roman preeminence in the Western Mediterranean.


Legacy of the classical world

The classical languages of the Ancient Mediterranean world influenced every European language, imparting to each a learned vocabulary of international application. Thus, Latin grew from a highly developed cultural product of the Golden and Silver eras of Latin literature to become the ''international lingua franca'' in matters diplomatic, scientific, philosophic and religious, until the 17th century. Long before this, Latin had evolved into the
Romance languages The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is non-literary Literature broadly is any collection of w ...

Romance languages
and Ancient Greek into
Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Greek language spoken in the modern era, including the official standardized form of the l ...
and its
dialects The term dialect (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to b ...

dialects
. In the specialised science and technology vocabularies, the influence of
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...
and
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
is notable.
Ecclesiastical Latin Ecclesiastical Latin, also called Church Latin, Liturgical Latin or Italianate Latin, is a form of Latin initially developed to discuss Christian theology, Christian thought and later used as a lingua franca by the Medieval Latin, Medieval and Earl ...
, the Roman Catholic Church's official language, remains a living legacy of the classical world in the contemporary world. Latin had an impact far beyond the classical world. It continued to be the pre-eminent language for serious writings in Europe long after the fall of the Roman empire. The modern Romance languages (
Catalan Catalan may refer to: Catalonia From, or related to Catalonia: * Catalan language, a Romance language * Catalans, an ethnic group formed by the people from, or with origins in, Catalonia * Països Catalans, territories where Catalan is spoken * C ...
, French, Italian, Portuguese, Roumanian, Spanish) all derive from Latin. Latin is still seen as a foundational aspect of European culture. The legacy of the classical world is not confined to the influence of classical languages. The Roman empire was taken as a model by later European empires, such as the
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
and
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, ...

British
empires. Classical art has been taken as a model in later periods – medieval Romanesque architecture and Enlightenment-era neoclassical literature were both influenced by classical models, to take but two examples, while
James Joyce James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (2 February 1882 – 13 January 1941) was an Irish novelist, short story writer, poet and literary critic. He contributed to the modernist , Solomon Guggenheim Museum 1946–1959 Modernism is both a philosoph ...
's ''
Ulysses Ulysses is the Roman name for Odysseus, a hero in ancient Greek literature. Ulysses may also refer to: People * Ulysses (given name), including a list of people with this name Places in the United States * Ulysses, Kansas * Ulysses, Kentucky * U ...
'' is one of the most influential works of twentieth-century literature.


See also

*
Classical tradition The Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world, coun ...
*
Great Books of the Western World 300px, The ''Great Books'' (second edition) ''Great Books of the Western World'' is a series of books originally published in the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or Ameri ...
*
Neoclassicism Neoclassicism (also spelled Neo-classicism; from Ancient Greek, Greek νέος ''nèos'', "new" and Ancient Greek, Greek κλασικός ''klasikόs'', "of the highest rank") was a Western cultural movement in the decorative arts, decorative a ...
* Outline of classical studies * Outline of ancient Greece *
Outline of ancient Rome The following Outline (list), outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to ancient Rome: Ancient Rome – former civilization that thrived on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranea ...


References


Citations


Sources

; Works cited * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

;;General * * * ;;Art and archaeology * ;;History, Greek * * * ;;History, Roman * * * * ;;Literature * ;;Philology * ;;Philosophy * * *


External links


Classics Resources on Internet
at the Department of Classical Philology, University of Tartu

by the University of California, Irvine. *
Perseus Project The Perseus Project is a digital library A digital library, also called an online library, an internet library, a digital repository, or a digital collection is an online databaseAn online database is a database A database is an organized colle ...
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at Tufts University * Alpheios Projectbr>website
{{Authority control Ancient Greece studies Humanities Study of ancient Rome