Classical Culture and History: Commonly referenced elements

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Persephone

Goddess of vegetation and the Underworld; abducted by Hades

Centaur

half-horse/half-man

Ares/Mars

God of war--especially violence in war (as opposed to Athena who is goddess of military strategy)

Hera/Juno

Queen of Olympus, married to Zeus, and protector of women; goddess of the hearth/home

Hermes/Mercury

Olympic Gods' messenger and guide to the underworld; very swift; symbols include winged sandals and winged helmet

Poseidon/Neptune

rules the seas with a trident in hand

Heracles/Hercules

demigod known for incredible strength; as an infant, fought and defeated serpents in his crib; later completed 12 labors as penance

Eros/Cupid

God of love and desire; son of Venus and Mars; shoots arrow of love into mortals; fell in love himself with the mortal psyche, but could not show her his face. Her sisters suggested she use a candle to look at him, but the wax dripped and woke him up.

Athena/Minerva

tthe goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, warfare, strength, strategy, female arts, crafts, justice and skill; patron goddess of Athens; sprung from Zeus (her father)'s head; turned Arachne into a spider after losing a weaving contest to her

Cerberus

three-headed dog that guards the Underworld

Hades/Pluto

ruler of the Underworld

Hephaestus/Vulcan

Lame blacksmith to the gods; god of technology/industry, craftsmen, and fire/volcanoes

Apollo/Phoebus Apollo

The ideal of the kouros (a beardless, athletic youth), Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of light and the sun, truth and prophecy, medicine, healing, plague, music, poetry, arts, archery and more. Twin brother of Artemis; god of the temple at Olympus

Artemis/Diana

goddess of the hunt; presides over childbirth, but doesn't believe in marriage or sex herself

Hestia/Vestia

God of home, safety, and security

Dionysus/Bacchus

God of wine, grapes, ritual madness and ecstasy; Greek plays were developed for his festivals

Zeus/Jupiter

God of Thunder and the sky; ruler of the other gods; married to Hera but famous for his sexual escapades. These resulted in offspring including Athena, Apollo and Artemis, Hermes, Persephone, Dionysus, Perseus, Heracles, Helen of Troy, Minos, and the Muses. By Hera he fathered Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus.

Orpheus

archetype of the inspired musician; played a lyre and could charm most anyone who heard him; descended into the Underworld to retrieve his wife; killed by those who could not hear his music.

Demeter

Goddess of grain, especially corn; since agriculture is a hallmark of civilization, she is goddess of civilization and the protector of marriage

Pegasus

horse with wings

Pan/Faunus

half-man/half-goat; god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, nature, of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music, as well as the companion of the nymphs; associated with unbridaled sexuality; turned King Midas's ears into donkey ears after a contest he lost to Apollo

classical world

The civilization and culture of ancient Greece and Rome.

Darius

A Persian King who wanted to conquer more land, by 500 BC he had conquered the Greek towns of Asia Minor.

Sparta

militaristic city state in Ancient Greece; out of fear of a slave uprising, Spartans gave up most elements of family life and leisure to live a minimalistic/bare (Spartan) warrior life.

phalanx

A special Greek battle formation: the soldiers formed rows, closely pressed together

Delphi

A shrine in Greece, site of Apollo's Temple and home of the Delphic Oracle, which told fortunes

Xerxes

son of Darius; became Persian king. He vowed revenge on the Athenians. He invaded Greece with 180,000 troops in 480 B.C.

Pericles

Athenian ruler of Greece - Athen's Golden Age - model for the world in art, philosophy and democracy - 461-429 B.C.

tragedy

a serious drama dealing with the downfall of the main character or hero

comedy

a play that pokes fun at human foolishness

Pelopennesian War

war from 431-404 BCE which was started when Sparta attacked Athens due to their growing power; the Spartans won - democracy declined

Socrates

Devoted himself to discussion with the aristocratic young citizens of Athens, qestioning the truth of popular opinions. Charged with corrupting the youth of Athens they sentenced him to death in 399 B.C.E. Accepting this outcome, Drank hemlock and died

Plato

student under Socrates, another greek philospher who taugh about human behavior, government, math, and astronomy - teacher of Aristotle

Aristotle

A Greek Philosopher, taught Alexander the Great, started a famous school, studied with Plato

Solon

abolished debt slavery and freed slaves. limited land allowed to be owned and extended citizenship. citizens gained more power

Pericles

Athenian statesman. He was the central ruler of Athens during its golden age. He was the central patron behind many of their achievements. He was also a very skilled speaker (built the parthenon).

Aeschylus

writer of tragedies; wrote Oresteia; proposed the idea of having two actors and using props and costumes

Sophocles

writer of tragedies; used three actors; and made Oedipus Rex, and Antigone

Euripides

Tragedy writer, used regular people instead of Gods, and tried to answer real life questions. Wrote Medea

Aristophanes

Greek playright of comedy; wrote "The Birds," "The Frogs," and Lysistrata

Hippocrates

Father of Western medicine; introduced simple empirical method (take notes on whether cures work) and famous for saying "First, do no harm."

Herodotus

Father of history, wrote about persian war, father of history, word history comes from name, 1st to gather facts and write them down.

Democritus

Greek philosopher who developed an atomistic theory of matter (460-370 BC)

Protagoras

He said " man is the measure of all things" - the argument that all Sophists had.

Socrates

philosopher who believed in an absolute right or wrong; asked students pointed questions to make them use their reason, later became Socratic method

Aristotle

philosopher who wrote more than 200 books from politics to astronomy; made Lyceum and Assembly, two schools

Phillip of Macedon

ambitious King of Macedonia and father of Alexander the Great. to raise the economic and cultural level of his people, to unite the Greek city states under Macedonian rule, to lead a combined Greek/Macedonian army against the Persian Empire

Alexander the Great

son of Philip II, pupil of Aristotle - invaded Persia and liberated Greek cities in Asia Minor - then defeated Persians in Egypt, Syria, and Mesopotamia, founded Alexandria (center of hellenistic/Jewish culture with great libraries), conquers huge empire - tired soldiers want to turn back in end, gifted athlete and natural leader with charisma, ruled 13 yrs and died (age 32) of a fever in Babylon w/out designated heir

Archimedes

found pi, law of lever, invented compound principle and Archimedes screw, catapult, and volume(when he was butt NEKED)

Cynics

Philosophy groups which believed in all pleasures of life where evil and should be scorned

Stoics

These Hellenistic philosophers taught the importance of self-discipline, control of their emotions, and a calm attitude towards death.

Epicureans

People who believed the proper pursuit of humankind is undisturbed withdrawal from the world

Skeptics

This group of Hellenistic philosophers questioned any assumptions and had a goal of achieving peace of mind.

Flickr Creative Commons Images

Some images used in this set are licensed under the Creative Commons through Flickr.com. Click to see the original works with their full license.

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