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Greeceâ€¦located on the Aegean, Crete, Ionian, and the vast and beautiful Mediterranean Sea. This ancient Greek culture was and still is today, very rich and captivating. The ancient Greeks gave us a lot of cultural traits and diplomacy we still use today, many of which shaped and defined our culture. War was evident in Greece at this time and it took its toll on the country, as viewed in the story of "Lysistrate" by Aristophanes, "Lysistrate- Don't you all pine for your children's fathers when they're off at war? I'm sure that every one of you has a husband who's away." The Greeks also had many "gods" that they put into their stories which played a big role in their lives, such is true in "Oedipus the King" by Sophocles, "Oedipus- We asked Apollo, perhaps the messengers haven't told you, he sent us his answer back: Relief from the plague can only come one way. Uncover the murders of Laius, put them to death or divine them into exile." These stories teach morals and the writing style has been mimicked by many other cultures such as the Romans. The Greeks, however, gave us a lot more than just great literature for topics of discussion; they gave us unique points of view in art, sciences, philosophy, stunning architecture, and much more. The Greeks helped build our world today.
The Greek women were not treated a whole lot different than the women of today. Sure women today have rights and can hold jobs, but how long did it take for women to finally get to the point of having equality with men? In 1848 a convention was held in Seneca Falls, N.Y. for women's rights, it wasn't until 1919 that congress passes the women's suffrage amendment. Even now there are still some circumstances where women are still treated unfairly. The women of Greece were looked at as home-makers just like today. They were not allowed to hold jobs, discuss politics, and not allowed to leave the house for long periods of time. They were not allowed to attend school or be educated. "Lysistrate- How did the assembly go today? Any decision about a rider to the peace treaty? And my husband would say, "What's that to you? Shut up!" and id shut upâ€¦ war shall be the business of menfolkâ€¦How could he be right, you sorry fool, when we were forbidden to offer advice even when your policy was wrongâ€¦" The women's place is in the home, we still hear things like this today. The man brings home the bacon and the women takes care of the children and home. Something I came across while reading "Lysistrate" was that they reference a lot of their gods while speaking, even the men. That got me wondering about the Greek gods, wasn't the god of war actually a goddess, and the goddess of the hunt? Women were not allowed to fight in battles, but yet the men prayed to a goddess to help them defeat their enemies. Athena the goddess of war was also known for being the goddess of wisdom and philosophy, things mortal Greek women were not allowed to be involved in, according to men. The one big exception to normal Greek women was Spartan women. These women were educated, trained for combat. They had more rights and often left the house, since the Spartan men had to stay in their barracks. "Lysistrate- Greetings, my dear Spartan Lampito! My darling, how dazzling is your beauty! What rosy cheeks, what firmness of physique! You could choke a bull! Lampito- Is true, I think, by Twain Gods. Much exercise, much leaping to harden buttocks."
I come from a very large family with many medical backgrounds and so I chose to also write about the ancients Greeks achievements in medicine that we still use today. The Hippocratic Oath is the trait that stands out the most to me. When a student of medicine graduates medical school they must say the Hippocratic Oath upon receiving their degree. The oath was founded by Hippocrates, a Greek, who later was known as the "father of medicine." Hippocrates had many achievements in medicine such as, laying the foundation for medical science to actually become a science, separating it from the church. Hippocrates also established "patient confidentiality" and made way for written medical records. Hippocrates made medicine what it is today.
Greece is also known for its great thinkers of Philosophy; Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Socrates was put to death by his outward thinking and teachings, he taught that people should stand up for what they think is right even when others are against them and the need to pursue knowledge even when opposed, question everything. "Kalonike- But don't you think the men will launch a concerted attack on us, and very soon? Lysistrate- I'm not worried about them. They can't come against us with enough threats or fire to get these gates open, except on the terms we've agreed on." Living a full life was how you gained knowledge, the experienced gained taught you all the lessons you needed to know. How to love, live, and be happy, this can be better said by Siduri in The Epic of Gilgamesh (even though this is a story from the Mesopotamia culture, I love this quote and feel it explains Socrates and Plato's teachings better), "Siduri the Refresher- You shall not find the life you seek, for at the creation of mankind the gods allotted Death to men. They retained life in their own hands. Gilgamesh let your belly be full, make you merry by day and by night. Make everyday a day of feasting and of rejoicing dance and play, by day, by nightâ€¦.attend to the babe who holds you by the hand take your wife and let her rejoice in you. For this is the lot of mankind to enjoy but immortal life is not for men." I believe Plato taught the philosophy of life better than any other philosopher of this time. You can see this in his writings, such as, The Republic "How to live a good life" and The Allegory of the Cave. I read these stories in my Humanities class and loved them! And last Aristotle, he was more of a scientific thinking I think. His teachings led to inductive reasoning or what we call "the scientific method."
Last I want to talk a little about the Greek art and architecture. All modern art and past art came from Greek art; the Romans copied many of the Greek sculptures which in the long run preserved the Greek culture. The Greeks perfected the classical art style which showed free movement, expression, and anatomy. You can see this in "The Discus Thrower." In the Hellenistic period the unique points of view come in to play, very emotional. The best example I can think of is the magnificent "Dying Gaul." This is an amazing creation; you can almost feel his pain and the intensity of the moment while he is dying. I love Greek art, it showed more talent and speaks louder than any art of today. And of course the most obvious is the architecture. Many of our buildings in the United States are modeled after Greek buildings, such as our capital building and the Lincoln memorial. The Parthenon is the most unique structure. When the Greeks built it there were not just building another building, they took in the mathematics and proportions of this building to make it amazing. The visual effects that the building has makes it more symmetrical than it really is. In the story of Lysistrate when the women over take the acropolis and citadel I always picture a building like the Parthenon. "Men- women now control the sacred image and occupy my Akropolis, and not only that, they've locked the citadel gates with bolts and bars!"
The Greek culture is magnificent, very artistic, and creative. They gave us a lot of our own culture and we have grown from that. Even if they had a lot still to learn, the Greeks were ahead of their time when it came to architecture, literature, art, and philosophy. The Greek culture is truly a remarkable civilization.