5 Description Of Greek Civilization Essay

The culture of Greece has evolved over thousands of years, beginning in Mycenaean Greece, continuing most notably into Classical Greece, through the influence of the Roman Empire and its successor the Byzantine Empire. Other cultures and states such as the Persian Empire, and Frankish states, the Ottoman Empire, the Venetian Republic, Genoese Republic, and British Empire have also left their influence on modern Greek culture, but historians credit the Greek War of Independence with revitalising Greece and giving birth to a single entity of its multi-faceted culture.

Greece is widely considered to be the cradle of Western culture[1] and democracy. Modern democracies owe a debt to Greek beliefs in government by the people, trial by jury, and equality under the law. The ancient Greeks pioneered in many fields that rely on systematic thought, including biology, geometry, history,[2] philosophy, and physics. They introduced such important literary forms as epic and lyric poetry, history, tragedy, and comedy. In their pursuit of order and proportion, the Greeks created an ideal of beauty that strongly influenced Western art.[3]

The arts[edit]

Architecture[edit]

Ancient Greece[edit]

Main article: Ancient Greek architecture

Ancient Greek architecture is best known through its temples and theatres.

Byzantine Greece[edit]

Main article: Byzantine architecture

Byzantine architecture is the architecture of the Byzantine Empire. Byzantine architecture emphasized a Greek cross layout, the Byzantine capitol style of column (a mixture of Ionic and Corinthian capitols) and a central dome surrounded by several smaller domes.

Modern Greece[edit]

Main article: Modern Greek architecture

During the Ottoman conquest, the Greek architecture was concentrated mainly on the Greek Orthodox churches of the Greek diaspora. These churches, much like other intellectual centres (foundations, schools, etc.) built by Greeks in Diaspora, were heavily influenced by the western European architecture. After the independence of Greece and during the nineteenth century, the Neoclassical architecture was heavily used for both public and private building.[4] The 19th-century architecture of Athens and other cities of the Greek Kingdom is mostly influenced by the Neoclassical architecture, with architects like Theophil Hansen, Ernst Ziller and Stamatios Kleanthis. Regarding the churches, Greece also experienced the Neo-Byzantine revival.

In 1933 the Athens Charter, a manifesto of the modernist movement, was signed, and was published later by Le Corbusier. Architects of this movement were among others: the Bauhaus-architect Ioannis Despotopoulos, Dimitris Pikionis, Patroklos Karantinos and Takis Zenetos. After World War II and the Greek civil war, the massive construction of condominiums in the major Greek city centres, was a major contributory factor for the Greek economy and the post-war recovery. The first skyscrapers were also constructed during the 1960s and 1970s, such as the OTE Tower and the Athens Tower Complex.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Xenia was a nationwide hotel construction program initiated by the Hellenic Tourism Organisation (Ελληνικός Οργανισμός Τουρισμού, EOT) to improve the country's tourism infrastructure. It constitutes one of the largest infrastructure projects in modern Greek history. The first manager of the project was the architect Charalambos Sfaellos (from 1950 to 1958) and from 1957 the buildings were designed by a team under Aris Konstantinidis.

Cinema[edit]

Main article: Greek cinema

Cinema first appeared in Greece in 1896 but the first actual cine-theatre was opened in 1907. In 1914 the Asty Films Company was founded and the production of long films begun. Golfo (Γκόλφω), a well known traditional love story, is the first Greek long movie, although there were several minor productions such as newscasts before this. In 1931, Orestis Laskos directed Daphnis and Chloe (Δάφνις και Χλόη), contained the first nude scene in the history of European cinema; it was also the first Greek movie which was played abroad. In 1944 Katina Paxinou was honoured with the Best Supporting ActressAcademy Award for For Whom the Bell Tolls.

The 1950s and early 1960s are considered by many as the Greek Golden age of Cinema. Directors and actors of this era were recognized as important historical figures in Greece and some gained international acclaim: Mihalis Kakogiannis, Alekos Sakellarios, Melina Mercouri, Nikos Tsiforos, Iakovos Kambanelis, Katina Paxinou, Nikos Koundouros, Ellie Lambeti, Irene Papas etc. More than sixty films per year were made, with the majority having film noir elements. Notable films were Η κάλπικη λίρα (1955 directed by Giorgos Tzavellas), Πικρό Ψωμί (1951, directed by Grigoris Grigoriou), O Drakos (1956 directed by Nikos Koundouros), Stella (1955 directed by Cacoyannis and written by Kampanellis). Cacoyannis also directed Zorba the Greek with Anthony Quinn which received Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film nominations. Finos Film also contributed to this period with movies such as Λατέρνα, Φτώχεια και Φιλότιμο, Η Θεία από το Σικάγο, Το ξύλο βγήκε από τον Παράδεισο and many more. During the 1970s and 1980s Theo Angelopoulos directed a series of notable and appreciated movies. His film Eternity and a Day won the Palme d'Or and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival.

There were also internationally renowned filmmakers in the Greek diaspora such as the Greek-AmericanElia Kazan.

Music and Dances[edit]

Main articles: Music of Greece, Greek dances, and Greek musical instruments

Greece has a diverse and highly influential musical tradition, with ancient music influencing the Roman Empire, and Byzantine liturgical chants and secular music influencing middle eastern music and the Renaissance. Modern Greek music combines these elements, to carry Greeks' interpretation of a wide range of musical forms.

Ancient Greece[edit]

Main article: Music of ancient Greece

The history of music in Greece begins with the music of ancient Greece, largely structured on the Lyre and other supporting string instruments of the era. Beyond the well-known structural legacies of the Pythagorean scale, and the related mathematical developments it upheld to define western classical music, relatively little is understood about the precise character of music during this period; we do know, however, that it left, as so often, a strong mark on the culture of Rome. What has been gleaned about the social role and character of ancient Greek music comes largely from pottery and other forms of Greek art.

Ancient Greeks believed that dancing was invented by the gods and therefore associated it with religious ceremony. They believed that the gods offered this gift to select mortals only, who in turn taught dancing to their fellow-men.

Periodic evidence in ancient texts indicates that dance was held in high regard, in particular for its educational qualities. Dance, along with writing, music, and physical exercise, was fundamental to the commenced in a circle and ended with the dancers facing one another. When not dancing in a circle the dancers held their hands high or waved them to left and right. They held cymbals (very like the zilia of today) or a kerchief in their hands, and their movements were emphasized by their long sleeves. As they danced, they sang, either set songs or extemporized ones, sometimes in unison, sometimes in refrain, repeating the verse sung by the lead dancer. The onlookers joined in, clapping the rhythm or singing. Professional singers, often the musicians themselves, composed lyrics to suit the occasion.

Byzantine Greece[edit]

Main article: Byzantine music

The Byzantine music is also of major significance to the history and development of European music, as liturgical chants became the foundation and stepping stone for music of the Renaissance (see: Renaissance Music). It is also certain that Byzantine music included an extensive tradition of instrumental court music and dance; any other picture would be both incongruous with the historically and archaeologically documented opulence of the Eastern Roman Empire. There survive a few but explicit accounts of secular music. A characteristic example is the accounts of pneumatic organs, whose construction was further advanced in the eastern empire prior to their development in the west following the Renaissance.

Byzantine instruments included the guitar, single, double or multiple flute, sistrum, timpani (drum), psaltirio, Sirigs, lyre, cymbals, keras and kanonaki.

Popular dances of this period included the Syrtos, Geranos, Mantilia, Saximos, Pyrichios, and Kordakas . Some of these dances have their origins in the ancient period and are still enacted in some form today.

Modern Greece[edit]

A range of domestically and internationally known composers and performers across the musical spectrum have found success in modern Greece, while traditional Greek music is noted as a mixture of influences from indigenous culture with those of west and east. A few Ottoman elements can be heard in the traditional songs, dhimotiká, as well as in the modern bluesyrembétika music. A well-known Greek musical instrument is the bouzouki. "Bouzouki" is a descriptive Turkish name, but the instrument itself is probably of Greek origin (from the ancient Greek lute known as pandoura, a kind of guitar, clearly visible in ancient statues, especially female figurines of the "Tanagraies" playing cord instruments).

Famous Greek musicians and composers of modern era include the central figure of 20th-century European modernism Iannis Xenakis, a composer, architect and theorist. Maria Callas, Nikos Skalkottas, Mikis Theodorakis, Dimitris Mitropoulos, Manos Hadjidakis and Vangelis also lead twentieth-century Greek contributions, alongside Demis Roussos, Nana Mouskouri, Yanni, Georges Moustaki, Eleni Karaindrou and others.

The birth of the first School of modern Greek classical music (Heptanesean or Ionian School, Greek:Επτανησιακή Σχολή) came through the Ionian Islands (notable composers include Spyridon Samaras, Nikolaos Mantzaros and Pavlos Carrer), while Manolis Kalomiris is considered the founder of the Greek National School.

Greece is one of the few places in Europe where the day-to-day role of folk dance is sustained. Rather than functioning as a museum piece preserved only for performances and special events, it is a vivid expression of everyday life. Occasions for dance are usually weddings, family celebrations, and paneyeria (Patron Saints' name days). Dance has its place in ceremonial customs that are still preserved in Greek villages, such as dancing the bride during a wedding and dancing the trousseau of the bride during the wedding preparations. The carnival and Easter offer more opportunities for family gatherings and dancing. Greek taverns providing live entertainment often include folk dances in their program.

Regional characteristics have developed over the years because of variances in climatic conditions, land morphology and people's social lives. In later years, wars, international pacts and consequent movement of populations, and even movements of civil servants around the country, intermingled traditions. People learned new dances, adapted them to their environment, and included them in their feasts. Kalamatianos and Syrtos are considered Pan-Hellenic dances and are danced all over the world in diaspora communities. Others have also crossed boundaries and are known beyond the regions where they originated; these include the Pentozali from Crete, Hasapiko from Constantinople, Zonaradikos from Thrace, Serra from Pontos and Balos from the Aegean islands.

The avant-garde choreographer, director and dancer Dimitris Papaioannou was responsible for the critically successful opening ceremony of the 2004 Olympic Games, with a conception that reflected the classical influences on modern and experimental Greek dance forms.

Painting[edit]

Ancient Greece[edit]

There were several interconnected traditions of painting in ancient Greece. Due to their technical differences, they underwent somewhat differentiated developments. Not all painting techniques are equally well represented in the archaeological record. The most respected form of art, according to authors like Pliny or Pausanias, were individual, mobile paintings on wooden boards, technically described as panel paintings. Also, the tradition of wall painting in Greece goes back at least to the Minoan and MycenaeanBronze Age, with the lavish fresco decoration of sites like Knossos, Tiryns and Mycenae.

Much of the figural or architectural sculpture of ancient Greece was painted colourfully. This aspect of Greek stonework is described as polychrome (from Greekπολυχρωμία, πολύ = many and χρώμα = colour). Due to intensive weathering, polychromy on sculpture and architecture has substantially or totally faded in most cases.

Byzantine Greece[edit]

Main articles: Byzantine Art and Macedonian art (Byzantine)

Byzantine art is the term created for the Eastern Roman Empire from about the 5th century AD until the fall of Constantinople in 1453. The most salient feature of this new aesthetic was its “abstract,” or anti-naturalistic character. If classical art was marked by the attempt to create representations that mimicked reality as closely as possible, Byzantine art seems to have abandoned this attempt in favor of a more symbolic approach. The Byzantine painting concentrated mainly on icons and hagiographies.

Post Byzantine and Modern Greece[edit]

Main articles: Cretan School, Heptanese School (painting), and Modern Greek art

The term Cretan School describes an important school of icon painting, also known as Post-Byzantine art, which flourished while Crete was under Venetian rule during the late Middle Ages, reaching its climax after the Fall of Constantinople, becoming the central force in Greek painting during the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. The Cretan artists developed a particular style of painting under the influence of both Eastern and Western artistic traditions and movements. The most famous product of the school, El Greco, was the most successful of the many artists who tried to build a career in Western Europe.

The Heptanese School of painting succeeded the Cretan school as the leading school of Greek post-Byzantine painting after Crete fell to the Ottomans in 1669. Like the Cretan school it combined Byzantine traditions with an increasing Western European artistic influence, and also saw the first significant depiction of secular subjects. The school was based in the Ionian islands, which were not part of Ottoman Greece, from the middle of the 17th century until the middle of the 19th century.

Modern Greek painting, after the independence and the creation of the modern Greek state, began to be developed around the time of Romanticism and the Greek artists absorbed many elements from their European colleagues, resulting in the culmination of the distinctive style of Greek Romantic art. Notable painters of the era include Nikolaos Gyzis, Georgios Jakobides, Nikiphoros Lytras, Konstantinos Volanakis and Theodoros Vryzakis.

Sculpture[edit]

Ancient Greece[edit]

See also: Ancient Greek sculpture

Ancient Greek monumental sculpture was composed almost entirely of marble or bronze; with cast bronze becoming the favoured medium for major works by the early 5th century. Both marble and bronze are fortunately easy to form and very durable. Chryselephantine sculptures, used for temple cult images and luxury works, used gold, most often in leaf form and ivory for all or parts (faces and hands) of the figure, and probably gems and other materials, but were much less common, and only fragments have survived. By the early 19th century, the systematic excavation of ancient Greek sites had brought forth a plethora of sculptures with traces of notably multicolored surfaces. It was not until published findings by German archaeologist Vinzenz Brinkmann in the late 20th and early 21st century that the painting of ancient Greek sculptures became an established fact. Using high-intensity lamps, ultraviolet light, specially designed cameras, plaster casts, and certain powdered minerals, Brinkmann proved that the entire Parthenon, including the actual structure as well as the statues, had been painted.

Byzantine Greece[edit]

The Byzantines inherited the early Christian distrust of monumental sculpture in religious art, and produced only reliefs, of which very few survivals are anything like life-size, in sharp contrast to the medieval art of the West, where monumental sculpture revived from Carolingian art onwards. Small ivories were also mostly in relief.

The so-called “minor arts” were very important in Byzantine art and luxury items, including ivories carved in relief as formal presentation Consular diptychs or caskets such as the Veroli casket, hardstone carvings, enamels, jewelry, metalwork, and figured silks were produced in large quantities throughout the Byzantine era. Many of these were religious in nature, although a large number of objects with secular or non-representational decoration were produced: for example, ivories representing themes from classical mythology. Byzantine ceramics were relatively crude, as pottery was never used at the tables of the rich, who ate off silver.

Modern Greece[edit]

After the establishment of the Greek Kingdom and the western influence of Neoclassicism, sculpture was re-discovered by the Greek artists. Main themes included the ancient Greek antiquity, the War of Independence and important figures of the Greek history.

Notable sculptors of the new state were Leonidas Drosis (his major work was the extensive neo-classical architectural ornament at the Academy of Athens, Lazaros Sochos, Georgios Vitalis, Dimitrios Filippotis, Ioannis Kossos, Yannoulis Chalepas, Georgios Bonanos and Lazaros Fytalis.

Theatre[edit]

Ancient Greece[edit]

Main article: Theatre of ancient Greece

Theatre was born in Greece. The city-state of Classical Athens, which became a significant cultural, political, and military power during this period, was its centre, where it was institutionalised as part of a festival called the Dionysia, which honoured the god Dionysus. Tragedy (late 6th century BC), comedy (486 BC), and the satyr play were the three dramaticgenres to emerge there. Athens exported the festival to its numerous colonies and allies in order to promote a common cultural identity.

The word τραγῳδία (tragoidia), from which the word "tragedy" is derived, is a compound of two Greek words: τράγος (tragos) or "goat" and ᾠδή (ode) meaning "song", from ἀείδειν (aeidein), "to sing".[5] This etymology indicates a link with the practices of the ancient Dionysian cults. It is impossible, however, to know with certainty how these fertility rituals became the basis for tragedy and comedy.[6]

Middle Ages[edit]

During the Byzantine period, the theatrical art was heavily declined. According to Marios Ploritis, the only form survived was the folk theatre (Mimos and Pantomimos), despite the hostility of the official state.[7] Later, during the Ottoman period, the main theatrical folk art was the Karagiozis. The renaissance which led to the modern Greek theatre, took place in the Venetian Crete. Significal dramatists include Vitsentzos Kornaros and Georgios Chortatzis.

Modern Greece[edit]

Main article: Modern Greek theatre

The modern Greek theatre was born after the Greek independence, in the early 19th century, and initially was influenced by the Heptanesean theatre and melodrama, such as the Italian opera. The Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo di Corfù was the first theatre and opera house of modern Greece and the place where the first Greek opera, Spyridon Xyndas' The Parliamentary Candidate (based on an exclusively Greek libretto) was performed. During the late 19th and early 20th century, the Athenian theatre scene was dominated by revues, musical comedies, operettas and nocturnes and notable playwrights included Spyridon Samaras, Dionysios Lavrangas, Theophrastos Sakellaridis and others.

The National Theatre of Greece was founded in 1880. Notable playwrights of the modern Greek theatre include Alexandros Rizos Rangavis, Gregorios Xenopoulos, Nikos Kazantzakis, Angelos Terzakis, Pantelis Horn, Alekos Sakellarios and Iakovos Kambanelis, while notable actors include Cybele Andrianou, Marika Kotopouli, Aimilios Veakis, Orestis Makris, Katina Paxinou, Manos Katrakis and Dimitris Horn. Significant directors include Dimitris Rontiris, Alexis Minotis and Karolos Koun.

Cuisine[edit]

Main article: Greek cuisine

See also: Ancient Greek cuisine and Byzantine cuisine

Greek cuisine has a long tradition and its flavors change with the season and its geography. Greek cookery, historically a forerunner of Western cuisine, spread its culinary influence – via ancient Rome – throughout Europe and beyond.

Ancient Greek cuisine was characterized by its frugality and was founded on the "Mediterranean triad": wheat, olive oil, and wine, with meat being rarely eaten and fish being more common.[8] It was Archestratos in 320 B.C. who wrote the first cookbook in history. Greece has a culinary tradition of some 4,000 years.[9]

The Byzantine cuisine was similar to the classical cuisine including however new ingredients that were not available before, like caviar, nutmeg and lemons, basil, with fish continuing to be an integral part of the diet. Culinary advice was influenced by the theory of humors, first put forth by the ancient Greek doctor Claudius Aelius Galenus.[10]

The modern Greek cuisine has also influences from the Ottoman and Italian cuisine due to the Ottoman and Venetian dominance through the centuries.

Wine production[edit]

Greece is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. The earliest evidence of Greek wine has been dated to 6,500 years ago[11][12] where wine was produced on a household or communal basis. In ancient times, as trade in wine became extensive, it was transported from end to end of the Mediterranean; Greek wine had especially high prestige in Italy under the Roman Empire. In the medieval period, wines exported from Crete, Monemvasia and other Greek ports fetched high prices in northern Europe.

Education[edit]

Main article: Education in Greece

Education in Greece is compulsory for all children 6–15 years old; namely, it includes Primary (Dimotiko) and Lower Secondary (Gymnasio) Education. The school life of the students, however, can start from the age of 2.5 years (pre-school education) in institutions (private and public) called "Vrefonipiakoi Paidikoi Stathmi" (creches). In some Vrefonipiakoi Stathmoi there are also Nipiaka Tmimata (nursery classes) which operate along with the Nipiagogeia (kindergartens).

Post-compulsory Secondary Education, according to the reforms of 1997 and 2006, consists of two main school types: Genika Lykeia (General Upper Secondary Schools) and the Epaggelmatika Lykeia (Vocational Upper Secondary Schools), as well as the Epaggelmatikes Sxoles (Vocational Schools). Musical, Ecclesiastical and Physical Education Gymnasia and Lykeia are also in operation.

Post-compulsory Secondary Education also includes the Vocational Training Institutes (IEK), which provide formal but unclassified level of education. These Institutes are not classified as an educational level, because they accept both Gymnasio (lower secondary school) and Lykeio (upper secondary school) graduates according to the relevant specializations they provide. Public higher education is divided into Universities and Technological Education Institutes (TEI). Students are admitted to these Institutes according to their performance at national level examinations taking place at the third grade of Lykeio. Additionally, students are admitted to the Hellenic Open University upon the completion of the 22 year of age by drawing lots.

Nea Dimokratia (New Democracy), the Greek conservative right political party, has claimed that it will change the law so that private universities gain recognition. Without official recognition, students who have an EES degree are unable to work in the public sector. PASOK took some action after EU intervention, namely the creation of a special government agency which certifies the vocational status of certain EES degree holders. However, their academic status still remains a problem. The issue of full recognition is still an issue of debate among Greek politicians.

The Institute of Entrepreneurship Development (iED) is a Greek Non-governmental organization formed for the promotion of innovation and for enhancing the spirit of entrepreneurship intending to link with other European initiatives.

Greek people[edit]

Main article: Greek people

The origins of Western literature and of the main branches of Western learning may be traced to the era of Greek greatness that began before 700 BC with the epics of Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey. Hesiod, the first didactic poet, put into epic verse his descriptions of pastoral life, including practical advice on farming, and allegorical myths. The poets Alcaeus of Mytilene, Sappho, Anacreon, and Bacchylides wrote of love, war, and death in lyrics of great feeling and beauty. Pindar celebrated the Panhellenic athletic festivals in vivid odes. The fables of the slave Aesop have been famous for more than 2,500 years. Three of the world's greatest dramatists were Aeschylus, author of the Oresteia trilogy; Sophocles, author of the Theban plays; and Euripides, author of Medea, The Trojan Women, and The Bacchae. Aristophanes, the greatest author of comedies, satirized the mores of his day in a series of brilliant plays. Three great historians were Herodotus, regarded as the father of history, known for The Persian Wars; Thucydides, who generally avoided myth and legend and applied greater standards of historical accuracy in his History of the Peloponnesian War; and Xenophon, best known for his account of the Greek retreat from Persia, the Anabasis. Outstanding literary figures of the Hellenistic period were Menander, the chief representative of a newer type of comedy; the poets Callimachus, Theocritus, and Apollonius Rhodius, author of the Argonautica; and Polybius, who wrote a detailed history of the Mediterranean world. Noteworthy in the Roman period were Strabo, a writer on geography; Plutarch, the father of biography, whose Parallel Lives of famous Greeks and Romans is a chief source of information about great figures of antiquity; Pausanias, a travel writer; and Lucian, a satirist.

The leading philosophers of the period preceding Greece's golden age were Thales, Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Protagoras, and Democritus. Socrates investigated ethics and politics. His greatest pupil, Plato, used Socrates' question-and-answer method of investigating philosophical problems in his famous dialogues. Plato's pupil Aristotle established the rules of deductive reasoning but also used observation and inductive reasoning, applying himself to the systematic study of almost every form of human endeavor. Outstanding in the Hellenistic period were Epicurus, the philosopher of moderation; Zeno of Citium, the founder of Stoicism; and Diogenes of Sinope, the famous Cynic. The oath of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, is still recited by newly graduating physicians. Euclid evolved the system of geometry that bears his name. Archimedes discovered the principles of mechanics and hydrostatics. Eratosthenes calculated the earth's circumference with remarkable accuracy, and Hipparchus Founded scientific astronomy. Galen was an outstanding physician of ancient times.

The sculptor Phidias created the statue of Athena and the figure of Zeus in the temple at Olympia and supervised the construction and decoration of the Parthenon. Another renowned sculptor was Praxiteles.

The legal reforms of Solon served as the basis of Athenian democracy. The Athenian general Miltiades the Younger led the victory over the Persians at Marathon in 490 BC, and Themistocles was chiefly responsible for the victory at Salamis 10 years later. Pericles, the virtual ruler of Athens for more than 25 years, added to the political power of that city, inaugurated the construction of the Parthenon and other noteworthy buildings, and encouraged the arts of sculpture and painting. With the decline of Athens, first Sparta and then Thebes, under the great military tactician Epaminondas, gained the ascendancy; but soon thereafter, two military geniuses, Philip II of Macedon and his son Alexander the Great, gained control over all of Greece and formed a vast empire stretching as far east as India. It was against Philip that Demosthenes, the greatest Greek orator, directed his diatribes, the Philippics.

The most renowned Greek painter during the Renaissance was El Greco, born in Crete, whose major works, painted in Spain, have influenced many 20th-century artists. An outstanding modern literary figure is Nikos Kazantzakis, a novelist and poet who composed a vast sequel to Homer's Odyssey. Leading modern poets are Kostis Palamas, and Constantine P. Cavafy, as well as George Seferis, and Odysseus Elytis, winners of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1963 and 1979, respectively. The work of social theorist Cornelius Castoriadis is known for its multidisciplinary breadth. Musicians of stature are the composers Nikos Skalkottas, Iannis Xenakis, and Mikis Theodorakis; the conductor Dmitri Mitropoulos; and the soprano Maria Callas. Filmmakers who have won international acclaim are Greek-Americans John Cassavetes and Elia Kazan, and Greeks Michael Cacoyannis and Costa-Gavras. Actresses of note are Katina Paxinou; Melina Mercouri, who was appointed minister of culture and science in the Socialist cabinet in 1981; and Irene Papas.

Outstanding Greek public figures in the 20th century include Cretan-born Eleutherios Venizelos, prominent statesman of the interwar period; Ioannis Metaxas, dictator from 1936 until his death; Constantine Karamanlis, prime minister (1955–63, 1974–80) and president (1980–85) of Greece; George Papandreou, head of the Center Union Party and prime minister (1963–65); and his son Andreas Papandreou, the PASOK leader who became prime minister in 1981. Costas Simitis was leader of PASOK and prime minister from 1996–2004. He was succeeded by Kostas Karamanlis.

Language[edit]

Main article: Greek language

Traditional style houses in Nafplio
Earliest known depiction of lyra in a Byzantine ivory casket. The Byzantine Church music has a strong influence on modern Greek music.
The ancient theatre of Epidaurus continues to be used for staging ancient Greek plays.
Traditional Greek taverna, integral part of Greek culture and cuisine.
The Academy of Athens is Greece's national academy and the highest research establishment in the country.
Alexander the Great also known as Alexander III, king of Macedon, was one of the most successful military commanders in history.
The most famous artist born in Greece was probably Doménikos Theotokópoulos, better known as El Greco (The Greek) in Spain. He did most of his painting there during the late 1500s and early 1600s.

Greek Culture and its Influences Today Essay

1160 Words5 Pages

“Greek civilization is alive; it moves in every breath of mind that we breathe; so much of it remains that none of us in one lifetime could absorb it all.” Ancient Greeks are known to be one of the greatest and most advanced people and have left behind a legacy that helped define the Western civilization. Cultural diffusion helped spread Greek culture all over the world, and its effects can still be felt today in almost every aspect. Greek culture has greatly affected different parts of my daily life including architecture, food, government, inventions, music, religion, and education.
Modern day architecture in America is greatly influenced by ancient Greek architectural styles, which include columns and decorative elements such as…show more content…

In this speech, he outlined the constituents of democracy: "If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences...if a man is able to serve the state; he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition. The freedom we enjoy in our government extends also to our ordinary life. There, far from exercising a jealous surveillance over each other, we do not feel called upon to be angry with our neighbor for doing what he likes..." Greek democracy helped inspire the creation of modern democracy, including the government of America.
The Greeks made several inventions, most notably in the subject of math, which are still studied today and taught in school. Mathematician Euclid is often credited as the “Father of Geometry” for all his work and studies in this subject, which are compiled in his books called The Elements. He organized known geometrical statements called theorems and logically proved all of them. He proved the theorem of Pythagoras (another Greek mathematician), which stated that the equation (c2 = a2 + b2) is true for every right triangle.
Music played a significant role in the lives of ancient Greeks. They believed that music fostered one’s relationship with the gods, and some instruments, such as the lyre, were created by the gods. Music and dance were also taught

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