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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 centered on the Mediterranean Sea,[note 1] comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome known as the Greco-Roman world. It is the period in which both Greek and Roman societies flourished and wielded great influence throughout much of Europe, Northern Africa, and West Asia.

Conventionally, it is taken to begin with the earliest-recorded Epic Greek poetry of Homer (8th–7th-century BC), and continues through the emergence of Christianity and the fall of the Western Roman Empire (5th-century AD). It ends with the decline of classical culture during Late antiquity (250–750), a period overlapping with the Early Middle Ages (600–1000). Such a wide span of history and territory covers many disparate cultures and periods. Classical antiquity may also refer to an idealized vision among later people of what was, in Edgar Allan Poe's words, "the glory that was Greece, and the grandeur that was Rome".[1]

The culture of the ancient Greeks, together with some influences from the ancient Near East, was the basis of art,[2] philosophy, society, and education, until the Roman imperial period. The Romans preserved, imitated, and spread this culture over Europe, until they themselves were able to compete with it, and the classical world began to speak Latin as well as Greek.[3][4] This Greco-Roman cultural foundation has been immensely influential on the language, politics, law, educational systems, philosophy, science, warfare, poetry, historiography, ethics, rhetoric, art and architecture of the modern world. Surviving fragments of classical culture led to a revival beginning in the 14th century which later came to be known as the Renaissance, and various neo-classical revivals occurred in the 18th and 19th centuries.

In the 18th and 19th centuries AD, reverence for classical antiquity was much greater in Europe and the United States than it is today. Respect for the ancient people of Greece and Rome affected politics, philosophy, sculpture, literature, theatre, education, architecture, and sexuality.

Epic poetry in Latin continued to be written and circulated well into the 19th century. John Milton and even Arthur Rimbaud received their first poetic educations in Latin. Genres like epic poetry, pastoral verse, and the endless use of characters and themes from Greek mythology left a deep mark on Wes

the glory that was Greece, the grandeur that was Rome!

In the 18th and 19th centuries AD, reverence for classical antiquity was much greater in Europe and the United States than it is today. Respect for the ancient people of Greece and Rome affected politics, philosophy, sculpture, literature, theatre, education, architecture, and sexuality.

Epic poetry in Latin continued to be written and circulated well into the 19th century. John Milton and even Arthur Rimbaud received their first poetic educations in Latin. Genres like epic poetry, pastoral verse, and the endless use of characters and themes from Greek mythology left a deep mark on Western literature. In architecture, there have been several Greek Revivals, which seem more inspired in retrospect by Roman architecture than Greek. Washington, DC is filled with large marble buildings with facades made out to look like Greek temples, with columns constructed in the classical orders of architecture.

In philosophy, the efforts of St Thomas Aquinas were derived largely from the thought of Aristotle, despite the intervening change in religion from Hellenic Polytheism to Christianity.[citation needed] Greek and Roman authorities such as Hippocrates and Galen formed the foundation of the practice of medicine even longer than Greek thought prevailed in philosophy. In the French theater, tragedians such as Molière and Racine wrote plays on mythological or classical historical subjects and subjected them to the strict rules of the classical unities derived from Aristotle's Poetics. The desire to dance like a latter-day vision of how the ancient Greeks did it moved Isadora Duncan to create her brand of ballet.