Greek Literature KS

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State Latin Forum 2012 Greek Literature Study Guide Flashcards.

Homer

Author of the Illiad and the Odyssey said to have been blind. There are also Homeric hymns to Demeter, Apollo, Hermes, Aphrodite, and Dionysus.

Hesiod

The other master of early Greek epic poetry besides Homer, lived c 700 BC, wrote the Theogony, Works and Days

Aesop

Author of well-known fables, slave from Egypt or Thrace, lived on Samos

Alcaeus

poet born in the late-seventh century from Mytilene on the island of Lesbos, conflicted with the tyrant Pittacus, went to Egypt, then reconciled with Pittacus and returned home. His work survives only in fragments. He wrote lyrical songs about a variety of topics, such as politics, love, and hymns to the gods. Like Archilochus, threw down his shield and ran from a battle.

Alcman

lyric poet who lived in Sparta in the late seventh century. He was mainly known for partheneia, which are songs sung by a chorus of maidens at religious festivals.

Anacreon

lyric poet of the early sixth century, born in Teos, an Ionian Greek city, moved to the tyrant, Polycrates‟ court on Samos. After Polycrates‟ fall, he moved to Athens. He wrote in Ionian Greek, in lyric, iambic, and elegiac poetry. These are about love and the pleasures of life.

Anaximander

Pre-socratic philosopher from Miletus, lived c 610-545, first Greek known to have written a book in prose. This book, concerning nature, is lost. He is said to have constructed the first map of the Earth.

Anaximenes

Presocratic philosopher from Miletus, younger contemporary of Anaximander( therefore he lived in the mid-sixth century). He believed that the primary substance was air, but his writings are lost to us.

Archilochus

poet from Paros, lived in the mid-seventh century. He also wrote a poem in which he leaves behind his shield in battle, a great dishonor, in order to survive. He was the first to use the term iambic for the meter of some of his poems.

Arion

largely legendary lyric poet of the seventh century, said to have been born on Lesbos, and to have been a pupil of Alcman. He later lived at the court of Periander in Corinth. According to legend, while on the way back from a visit to Italy, he was thrown overboard by pirates, but a dolphin, charmed by Arion‟s singing, carried him to land. He is credited with inventing the dithyramb, a form of choral lyric poetry.

Bacchylides

lyric poet from Ceos, lived in the late sixth and early to middle fifth centuries; the nephew of the poet Simonides. He wrote odes for victors at games, in a similar style to Pindar (sometimes the two wrote about the same games, such as the Olympian games of 476 and Pythians of 470), and wrote hymns and other songs. He was considered by Aristotle to be a forerunner to tragedy.

Empedocles

Presocratic philosopher of the fifth century, who believed that the universe consists of four elements: air, fire, water, and earth. He is said to have composed two poems, On Nature, and Purifications.

Heracleitus

philosopher from Ephesus who wrote On Nature, and said that the primary element is fire. He was later known as "the weeping philosopher‟.

Herodotus

author of the History of the Persian Wars, which is 9 books long; he was born in Asia Minor. His history contains earlier events and a large amount of cultural information.

Ibycus

According to legend he was attacked by robbers while a flock of cranes was passing overhead. Before the robbers killed him, he exclaimed, "Those cranes will avenge me." Afterwards, one of the robbers was in a crowded theater, and seeing a flock of cranes overhead, said, "There go the avengers of Ibycus." His comment was overheard and the robbers were brought to justice.

Parmenides

Presocratic philospher from Elea, founded the Eleatic school of philosophy. He wrote the Way of Truth and the Way of Seeming, which are one poem in two parts.

Pindar

lyric poet from Thebes, in Boeotia, lived c 518-440, wrote odes to the victors at the four great games. Therefore, he wrote Olympian, Pythian, Nemean, and Isthmian odes. He is said to have been instructed by Corinna. His house was the only one in Thebes spared by Alexander the Great when he levelled the city. He wrote in Doric Greek and wrote an ode to Hieron I of Syracuse, as well as to other Sicilian tyrants. He is considered by many to be the greatest Greek lyric poet.

Pythagoras

Presocratic philosopher of the sixth century, left no writings, believed in a immortal soul, which is rational and reincarnated into different bodies based on choices made in the past life( the transmigration of souls). He is credited with the theorem that bears his name.

Sappho

lyric poetess from Lesbos, lived in the late-seventh century; a comtemporary of Alcaeus, while young she went into exile in Sicily because of political troubles on Lesbos.. Her poems are about love. One of these poems was translated by Catullus in his poem 51. It concerns her love of a girl at mere sight, while a young man beside her is unmoved by the same thing. She was called the „tenth muse‟.

Semonides

iambic and elegiac poet from Samos, and later Amorgos; lived in the mid-seventh century. He wrote in Ionic Greek and only a few fragments of his poems survive.

Simonides

lyric and elegiac poet from Ceos, lived from 556-468; the uncle of the poet Bacchylides, he is most famous for epigrams. He wrote epitaphs(odes) for the Athenian dead at Marathon and the Spartan dead at Thermopylae.

Stesichorus

lyric poet said to have been born in Matauros in Italy, and to have lived in Himera in Sicily; his real name was Teisias and he lived in the early sixth century. He wrote many poems, of which only fragments survive. He is most famous for supposedly being struck blind for slandering Helen in one of his poems.

Theognis

elegiac poet from Megara, lived in the sixth century; many lines ascribed to him survive, but
most are probably not authentic. His poems addressed to a young boy, Cyrnus, who he seems to have loved, are commonly judged as authentic. Theognis wrote about a variety of subjects besides homosexual love, such as morality and wealth.

Tyrtaeus

Spartan elegiac poet of the seventh century. He wrote about war, and exhorted the Spartans to conquer Messenia. His poems filled five books, but only fragments survive.

Seven Sages

name given by Greek tradition to a group of seven men: statesmen, lawgivers, and philosophers. They are Bias, Chilon, Cleobulus, Periander, Pittacus, Solon, and Thales.

Periander

One of the Seven Sages. Tyrant of Corinth c 625-585, brought Corinth to its greatest prosperity and promoted the arts

Pittacus

One of the Seven Sages. A statesmen from Mytilene on Lesbos, feuded with Alcaeus, later became dictator in Mytilene

Solon

ONe of the Seven Sages. Athenian lawgiver, archon in 594-93; also a poet and known for his wisdom. His most important law was the seisactheia, which ended enslavement for debt and all current debts. He is said to have visited Croesus, and told him that no man may count himself lucky until he is dead. He went into voluntary exile after inacting his laws.

Thales

One of the Seven Sages. Presocratic philosopher, lived in Miletus c 600; he was the earliest Greek scientist. He is said to have predicted an eclipse of the sun in 585, and he believed the primary substance was water.

Theater

Theater was performed in Athens at the Great Dionysia, a festival honoring the god of wine and revelry. Five comedies were performed; each competing playwright entered three tragedies, usually a trilogy, and a satyr play.

orchestra

originally a dancing floor, later for the chorus

thymele

altar to Dionysus

theatron

"watching place" for spectators

parados

"way in", the entrance

skene

"tent‟ or "hut‟, the dressing rooms

Thespis

an Attican credited with inventing the play in the 530s at the Dionysia festival, adding an
actor to the chorus. He is also said to have invented the mask. The term Thespian, referring to actors in dramas, comes from his name.

Aeschylus

One of the three most important Tragedians. Lived from 525-456, earliest tragedian whose work survives; According to a story, he was killed when an eagle dropped a tortoise on his (bald) head, while he was visiting Hieron I of Syracuse. Aeschylus wrote eighty to ninety plays, out of which seven survive. the Persians, the Seven Against Thebes, Agaememnon, Choephoroe, Eumenides,
The Suppliants, and Prometheus Bound.

Sophocles

One of the three most important Tragedians. Lived c 496-406/405, He wrote over one hundred plays, placing first about 80% of the
time, and second all the rest of the times. Seven of his tragedies and most of one satyr play are extant. His extant plays are
Ajax, Trachinian Women, Oedipus Rex, Antigone, Electra, and Philoctetes.
Sophocles added the third actor and scenery to plays, and increased the chorus from 12 to 15 members. He is said to have made his characters as they ought to be, in contrast to Euripides, who made his characters as they are. In other words, his characters were idealized.`

Euripides

lived c 485-406, died just before Sophocles, said to have written his plays in a cave on Salamis. He used the technique Deus ex machina, where a god solves the plot, the most of the playwrights. 19 of his plays survive, the most of any Greek dramatist. We know the titles of eighty plays by him. He was supposedly torn to pieces by the dogs of Archelaus, the king of Macedon, while visiting there. His extant plays are Alcestis, Bacchae, Electra, Hecuba, Hippolytus, Ion, Iphigenia at Aulis, Iphigenia in Tauris, Medea, Orestes, Rhesus, Suppliant Women, and Trojan Women.

Comedy

all extant comedy is Athenian, the number of comedies performed at the Great Dionysia was reduced to three during and after the Peloponnesian war for economic reasons. Comedy is organized into three periods: Old, Middle, and New.

Aristophanes

Lived c 445 to 385, little is known of his life except that he was by far the greatest writer of Old Comedy. We have eleven of his plays completely and fragments from several others.

New Comedy

All comedy from 323 to 263(from the death of Alexander to the death of Philemon).

Menander

the greatest writer of New Comedy, lived from 342-292, died by drowning in the
harbour of Piraeus. Only one of his some 100 plays is extant completely. The Dyscolus( „the bad- tempered man‟): is the complete play;

Thucydides

wrote the History of the Pelopponessian War, which is known for being impartial, despite Thucydides being an Athenian general, until he was removed after failing to take Amphipolis. His history ends in 411 with the recall of Alcibiades. He mentions Pericles‟ funeral oration, to the Athenians who died in the first year of the war.

Socrates

son of a sculptor(Sphroniscus) and a midwife(Phaenarete); his wife was Xanthippe, he wrote nothing. What we know about him comes from his students, mainly Plato and Xenophon. He is famous for the socratic method, which involves questions and answers. He believed in psuedo-gods called Daimones(Daimon is singular). He was tried for corrupting the youth of Athens and compelled to commit suicide by drinking hemlock in 399.

Plato

student of Socrates, lived from c 427-348; he founded the Academy, a school in Athens that survived for centuries. Demiurgus is a Platonic term for the creator.

Xenephon

an Athenian, a student of Socrates; he was a member of the Ten Thousand in their expedition, took command after the officers were killed and led the mercenaries out of Persia. Xenophon wrote the Anabasis, which tells that story in seven books and contains the famous cry: Thalatta, Thalatta. Other writings: APOLOGY: like Plato‟s work of the same name, it is Socrates‟ address during his trial.
MEMOROABILIA: recollections of Socrates, including his character and some of his philosophical ideas. SYMPOSIUM: like Plato‟s work of the same name, is set at a dinner party and discusses love; Socrates is present in both Symposia.

Aristotle

lived from 384-322, born in Stageira in Chalcidice. He became Alexander's tutor; Plato nicknamed him Reader. The Lyceum was a school he founded. He also founded the Peripatetic school and was its first head.

Zeno

the founder of the Stoics, taught in the Eleatic school after Parmenides.
Stoicism: school of philosophy, founded by Zeno c 315, in Athens. It took its name from stoa, a Greek word meaning porch, as Zeno taught there. The Stoics believed that man should pursue harmony and stay detached, and believed in self-discipline. They believed the universe is periodically doused in fire and in a divine law called logos.

Anisthenes

the founder of the Cynics

Diogenes

the most famous Cynic, lived in a tub; Alexander said that if he could not be Alexander, he would like to be Diogenes.

Cynicism

founded by Antisthenes c 440, the Cynics believed that virtue makes happiness; Diogenes modified this philosophy into a general comtempt for knowledge and morality.

Epicarus

founder of Epicureanism, born in Samos, he moved to Athens and founded the school in the gardens in 306. He wrote On Nature, expounding the beliefs of Epicureanism.

Epicureanism

founded by Epicurus, believed that happiness comes from pleasure(absence of pain). The Roman author Lucretius continued Epicurean theory.

Scepticism

philosophy founded by Pyrrhon of Elis; the Academy later adopted sceptic beliefs. The Sceptics believed that true knowledge is unattainable and therefore the proper attitude is one of indifference.

Neo-Platonism

the school of philosophy centered in Alexandria in the early centuries A.D. It developed the ideas of Plato, until basically eliminated by Christianity. The most famous Neo-Platonist was Hypatia, murdered by a Christian mob in A.D. 415.

Leucippus

original developer of the atomic theory, later improved by Democritus

Democritus

developer of the atomic theory, sometimes incorrectly stated to be its originator; he was born c 460 in Abdera, lived a long life, and traveled widely.

Euclid

wrote Elements, establishing plane geometry.

Oratory/Rhetoric

may have come from Sicily, via the Sophists, travelling teachers who gave lectures in various places on various topics. Corax may have been its originator.

Gorgias

the most famous Sophist, from Leontini in Sicily

Protagoras

another famous Sophist, he was from Abdera, and came to Athens in the mid 400s. He is most famous for saying, "Man is the measure of all things."
Pericles gave speeches, paraphrased by Thucydides, also a famous speaker.

Antiphon

the earliest of the Attic Orators, he lived c 480-411; we have several of his law speeches and Tetralogies. He is said to have been a teacher of Thucydides.

Andocides

One of the Ten Attic Orators. convicted for the Mutilation of the Hermae and disgraced, he wrote On his Return, asking for a return to Athens, and On the Mysteries, referring to the Eleusinian Mysteries, which he once attended.

Lysias

originally from Syracuse, he settled in Athens; he fled from the Thirty Tyrants, who killed his brother Polemarchus. His style was clear and resigned. Some of his 34 extant speeches are:
On the Murder of Eratosthenes

Isocrates

One of the Ten attic Orators. Lived from 436-338, influenced by the Sophists and Socrates(who in one of Plato‟s dialogues predicts Isocrates‟ future greatness as either an orator or philosopher), he stayed out of public life for a while, due to a weak voice and a lack of nerve. He overcame this eventually, and is most famous for his Panegyricus, which urged Greeks to unite. He was pro-Macedonian, and wrote the Phillipus to Philip II of Macedon, urging him to unite Greece. On the Peace: given in 355, it urged Athens to pursue a non- aggressive foreign policy and to abandon the maritime empire Athens had built.

Demosthenes

One of the Ten Attic Orators. the greatest Athenian(also the greatest Greek) orator, he studied under Isaeus. Demosthenes overcame a speech impediment(he practiced speaking with stones in his mouth) to become a prominent politician. He was strongly against Philip II of Macedon.

Aeschines

One of the Ten attic Orators. rival of Demosthenes, lived c 390-336; he was impeached in 343 by Demosthenes, but successfully appealed. Three of his speeches survive. Aeschines gave Against Timarchus(an ally of Demosthenes) and successfully convicted him of immorality in 345. He convinced Athens to start a war a sacred war with Amphissa, which culminated in war with Macedonia and defeat for Athens. He gave Against Ctesiphon in 330, but was defeated by Demosthenes‟ On the Crown. Aeschines was decidedly inferior to Demosthenes in oratory.

Lycurgus

One of the Ten Attic Orators. member of the Eteobutadae family; a pupil of Isocrates, he was in charge of Athenian finances from 338-326. Only one of his fifteen speeches, Against Leocrates, survives.

Anaximenes

Ionian scientist, came to Athens c 460 and became a friend of Pericles; he wrote On Nature and believed in a divine intelligence called Nous, and also was the first to explain solar eclipses.

Apollodorus

wrote On the Gods, and Chronicle; lived in Athens c 140.

Apollonius of Rhodes

said to succeded Eratosthenes as head of the Alexandrian library, he wrote the
Argonautica, an epic four books long describing the story of Jason.

Aratus

wrote Phainomena, describing the stars and constellations, and Diosemal, which Cicero
translated into Latin in his youth.

Archimedes

scientist who lived from 287-212 in Syracuse, was killed by the Romans under Marcellus when they took Syracuse. He helped the defenders to hold out for two years with his inventions such as huge mirrors which set Roman ships on fire. He also invented a new type of pulley, and is famous for saying that that if he had a place to stand, he could move the earth. He also said „Eureka‟, after discovering, by observing the displacement of water in his tub by his body, a way to test the purity of metals.

Aristarchus (of Samos)

an astronomer who first developed the theory that the sun is the center of the solar system; but because he supposed the planets‟ orbits to be circular and not elliptical, his ideas were rejected as not confirmed by observation until Copernicus in the late Middle Ages.

Aristarchus (of Samothrace)

head of the Alexandrian library from c 180 to c 145, he edited the works of such authors as Homer, Hesiod, and Pindar, among others.

Aristides of Miletus

wrote Milesian Tales, a series of short stories, similar to the Satyricon of the Latin author Petronius.

Aristippus

a pupil of Socrates from founded the Cyrenaic philosophy, which believed pleasure was the ultimate good; he was a predecessor to Epicurus.

Asclepiades

a writer of epigrams, he was from Samos, and invented a new type of meter which was named for him.

Bion

poet, imitator of Theocritus, wrote a Lament for Adonis.

Callimachus

a head of the Alexandrian library in the early to middle 200s, he wrote Lock of Berenice, a very famous poem translated by Catullus in his poem 66. Callimachus feuded with Apollonius of Rhodes. He had other works, such as an epigram to a friend of his named Heraclitus(not the scientist, obviously), but most is fragmentary. He originated the famous saying, "Big book, big evil."He also wrote Hecale and Aetia(the latter is about customs).

Callisthenes

a nephew and pupil of Aristotle, he was the historian accompanying Alexander, until he was executed in 327 for knowledge of an assassination plot against Alexander.

Crates

a Cynic philosopher who instructed Zeno
Another Crates(different from the comic poet and the philosopher) was the last head of the Old Academy(The Academy went through several changes in philosophy).

Eratosthenes

succeded Zenodotus as head of the Alexandrian library in the late 200s; he was proficient at many areas from mathematics to poetry to philosophy. He is most famous for calculating the circumference of the earth. He also wrote Chronographiae, which is the first scientific attempt to fix the dates of Greek history.

Hippocrates

the father of medicine, he was born on Cos c 460 and lived to a very old age; many treatises and books on medicine are attributed to him, but most were probably by his disciples. The oath modern doctors take is named after him.

Lucian

wrote the Way to Write History, and many other things

Lycophron

lived c 325, wrote Alexandra, in which Cassandra foretells the fall of Troy

Menippus

another Cynic philosopher, he lived in the 200s and wrote combined prose and verse

Nicander

poet of the 2nd century B.C. from Colphon, who wrote Theriaca, about the bites of venomous animals, and Alexipharmaca, about antidotes to poisons.

Nostoi

a lost epic poem of unknown authorship dealing with the returns of various heroes from Troya

Pausanias

not the Spartan regent, he wrote Descriptions of Greece, a ten book long guidebook for
tourists

Strabo

wrote Geographica and Historical Studies

Theocritus

poet born c 300 in Syracuse, moved to Alexandria. He is known for writing idylls, short poems usually describing pastoral scenes. His most famous is Lament for Daphnis, a much imitated work. Another famous idyll by Theocritus is Adoniazusae. His other subjects include Polyphemus and Galatea, Hylas, Pollux and Amycus. He also wrote letters to Hieron II of Syracuse and Ptolemy II of Egypt.

Theophrastus

lived from c 371-287, he was a pupil of Aristotle and succeded him as head of the Peripatetic school. He wrote two treatises on plants, a treatise on metaphysics, and one called On Style. He is most famous for Characters, a series of character sketches with each character humorously illustrating a different fault.

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