The Info List - Greek Literature

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Greek literature
Greek literature
dates from ancient Greek literature, beginning in 800 BC, to the modern Greek literature
Greek literature
of today. Ancient Greek literature
Ancient Greek literature
was written in an Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
dialect. This literature ranges from the oldest surviving written works until works from approximately the fifth century AD. This time period is divided into the Preclassical, Classical, Hellenistic, and Roman periods. Preclassical Greek literature
Greek literature
primarily revolved around myths and include the works of Homer; the Iliad
and the Odyssey. The Classical period saw the dawn of drama and history.Three philosophers are especially notable: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. During the Roman era, significant contributions were made in a variety of subjects, including history, philosophy, and the sciences. Byzantine literature, the literature of the Byzantine Empire, was written in Atticizing, Medieval and early Modern Greek. Chronicles, distinct from historics, arose in this period. Encyclopedias also flourished in this period. Modern Greek literature
Modern Greek literature
is written in common Modern Greek. The Cretan Renaissance poem Erotokritos
is one of the most significant works from this time period. Adamantios Korais
Adamantios Korais
and Rigas Feraios
Rigas Feraios
are two of the most notable figures.


1 Ancient Greek literature
Ancient Greek literature
(800 BC-350 AD)

1.1 Preclassical (800 BC-500 BC) 1.2 Classical (500 BC-323 BC) 1.3 Hellenistic (323 BC-31 BC) 1.4 Roman Age (31 BC-284 AD)

2 Byzantine literature
Byzantine literature
(290 AD–1453 AD) 3 Modern Greek literature
Modern Greek literature
(1453 AD- Present) 4 See also

4.1 Related Topics 4.2 General Information 4.3 Preclassical 4.4 Classical 4.5 Hellenistic 4.6 Greco-Roman 4.7 Byzantine 4.8 Modern

5 Notes

Ancient Greek literature
Ancient Greek literature
(800 BC-350 AD)[edit] Main article: Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
literature Ancient Greek literature
Ancient Greek literature
refers to literature written in Ancient Greek dialects. These works range from the oldest surviving written works in the Greek language
Greek language
until works from the fifth century AD. The Greek language arose from the proto-Indo-European language; roughly two-thirds of its words can be derived from various reconstructions of the tongue. A number of alphabets and syllabaries had been used to render Greek, but surviving Greek literature
Greek literature
was written in a Phoenician-derived alphabet that arose primarily in Greek Ionia
and was fully adopted by Athens by the fifth century BC.[1]

Idealized portrayal of Homer

Preclassical (800 BC-500 BC)[edit] The Greeks
created poetry before making use of writing for literary purposes. Poems created in the Preclassical period were meant to be sung or recited (writing was little known before the 7th century BC). Most poems focused on myths, legends that were part folktale and part religion. Tragedies and comedies emerged around 600 BC.[2] At the beginning of Greek literature
Greek literature
stand the works of Homer; the Iliad
and the Odyssey. Though dates of composition vary, these works were fixed around 800 BC or after. Another significant figure was the poet Hesiod. His two surviving works are Works and Days
Works and Days
and Theogony. Classical (500 BC-323 BC)[edit] During the classical period, many of the genres of western literature became more prominent. Lyrical poetry, odes, pastorals, elegies, epigrams; dramatic presentations of comedy and tragedy; histories, rhetorical treatises, philosophical dialectics, and philosophical treatises all arose in this period.[3] The two major lyrical poets were Sappho
and Pindar. Of the hundreds of tragedies written and performed during this time period, only a limited number of plays survived. These plays are authored by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides.[4] The comedy arose from a ritual in honor of Dionysus. These plays were full of obscenity, abuse, and insult. The surviving plays by Aristophanes
are a treasure trove of comic presentation. Two influential historians of this age are Herodotus
and Thucydides. A third historian, Xenophon, wrote "Hellenica," which is considered an extension of Thucydides's work.[5] The greatest prose achievement of the 4th century BC was in philosophy. Greek philosophy
Greek philosophy
flourished during the classical period. Of the philosophers, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle
are the most famous.




Hellenistic (323 BC-31 BC)[edit] By 338 BC many of the key Greek cities had been conquered by Philip II of Macedon. Philip II's son Alexander extended his father's conquests greatly. The Hellenistic age is defined as the time between the death of Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great
and the rise of Roman domination. After the 3rd century BC, the Greek colony of Alexandria
in northern Egypt
became the center of Greek culture. Greek poetry
Greek poetry
flourished with significant contributions from Theocritus, Callimachus, and Apollonius of Rhodes. Theocritus, who lived from about 310 to 250 BC, was the creator of pastoral poetry, a type that the Roman Virgil
mastered in his Eclogues.[6] Drama
was represented by the New Comedy, of which Menander
was the principal exponent. One of the most valuable contributions of the Hellenistic period was the translation of the Old Testament
Old Testament
into Greek. This work was done at Alexandria
and completed by the end of the 2nd century BC.


Roman Age (31 BC-284 AD)[edit] Main article: Latin
Literature Roman literature was written in Latin
and contributed significant works to the subjects of poetry, comedy, history, and tragedy. A large proportion of literature from this time period were histories. Significant historians of the period were Timaeus, Polybius, Diodorus Siculus, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Appian of Alexandria, Arrian, and Plutarch. The period of time they cover extended from late in the 4th century BC to the 2nd century AD. Many contributions were also made in the sciences. Eratosthenes
of Alexandria
wrote on astronomy and geography, but his work is known mainly from later summaries. The physician Galen pioneered developments in various scientific disciplines including anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, and neurology. The New Testament, written by various authors in varying qualities of Koine Greek, hails from this period. The Gospels
and the Epistles of Saint Paul were written in this time period as well.[7] Byzantine literature
Byzantine literature
(290 AD–1453 AD)[edit] Main article: Byzantine literature

A page from a 16th-century edition of the 10th century Byzantine encyclopaedia of the ancient Mediterranean world, the Suda

Byzantine literature
Byzantine literature
refers to literature of the Byzantine Empire written in Atticizing, Medieval and early Modern Greek. Byzantine literature
Byzantine literature
combined Greek and Christian civilization
Christian civilization
on the common foundation of the Roman political system. This type of literature was set in the intellectual and ethnographic atmosphere of the Near East. Byzantine literature
Byzantine literature
possesses four primary cultural elements: Greek, Christian, Roman, and Oriental. Aside from personal correspondence, literature of this period was primarily written in the Atticizing style. Some early literature of this period was written in Latin; some of the works from the Latin Empire were written in French. Chronicles, distinct from historic, arose in this period. Encyclopedias also flourished in this period.[8] Modern Greek literature
Modern Greek literature
(1453 AD- Present)[edit] Main article: Modern Greek
Modern Greek

Manuel Chrysoloras, scholar in the Renaissance

Modern Greek literature
Modern Greek literature
is written in common Modern Greek. During this period, the modern vernacular form of the Greek language
Greek language
became more commonplace in writing. This period saw the revival of Greek and Roman studies and the development of Renaissance humanism[9] and science. The Cretan Renaissance
Cretan Renaissance
poem Erotokritos
is a prominent work of this time period. It is a verse romance written around 1600 by Vitsentzos Kornaros (1553–1613). Modern Greek literature
Modern Greek literature
is significantly influenced by the Diafotismos, a movement that translated the ideas of the European Enlightenment into the Greek world. Adamantios Korais
Adamantios Korais
and Rigas Feraios are two prominent figures of this movement. Today, Modern Greek
Modern Greek
Literature participates in the global literary community. The Greek authors George Seferis
George Seferis
and Odysseas Elytis
Odysseas Elytis
have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.[10]

Cover of Erofili
by Georgios Chortatzis

Adamantios Korais, major figure of the Modern Greek
Modern Greek

Dionysios Solomos, member of the Heptanese School (literature)
Heptanese School (literature)
and writer of the Hymn to Liberty

See also[edit] Related Topics[edit]

Ancient literature Latin
literature Greek scholars in the Renaissance Modern Greek
Modern Greek
Enlightenment Modern Greek
Modern Greek
theatre Loeb Classical Library Greek Anthology

General Information[edit]

Encyclopædia Britannica Article on Greek Literature Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Literature Library Warwick University Bibliography of Greek Literature


Overview of Preclassical Greek Literature


Princeton and Stanford Working Papers in Classics Ancient World Open Bibliography on Classical Literature Williams College Bibliography for the Classics


Bryn Mawr Guide to Hellenistic Literature Oxford Bibliographies for Hellenistic Literature Ancient-Greec.org overview of Hellenistic Literature History
Channel Vault of Hellenistic Greece Hellenistic Historiography by Syracuse University


University of Chicago Greco-Roman Literature Overview Shawnee Heights Greco-Roman Literature Overview


University of Notre Dame, History
of Byzantine Literature King's College London History
of Byzantine Literature


Modern Greek
Modern Greek
Studies Association Hellenism.net, Modern Greek
Modern Greek
Literature Overview Greece
In Print


^ "Introduction to Classical Greek". lrc.la.utexas.edu. Retrieved 2016-12-09.  ^ "Greek literature". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2016-12-09.  ^ "Greek literature". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2016-12-10.  ^ Schroeder, Chad Matthew (2016-12-09). "Review of: A Guide to Hellenistic Literature. Blackwell Guides to Classical Literature". Bryn Mawr Classical Review. ISSN 1055-7660.  ^ Schroeder, Chad Matthew (2016-12-09). "Review of: A Guide to Hellenistic Literature. Blackwell Guides to Classical Literature". Bryn Mawr Classical Review. ISSN 1055-7660.  ^ "Historiography of the Hellenistic Age". 2016-12-09.  ^ "Student Resources in Context - Document". ic.galegroup.com. Retrieved 2016-12-09.  ^ "King's College London - A History
of Byzantine literature". www.kcl.ac.uk. Retrieved 2016-12-09.  ^ Byzantines in Renaissance Italy ^ " Modern Greek
Modern Greek
Studies Association". www.mgsa.org. Retrieved 2016-12-09. 

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