Why Ancient Greece is considered the cradle of European civilization? The answer is simple: because almost all the achievements of this civilization can be reduced to the ideas and images of ancient Greek culture.
And the history of European culture is not a continuous thread, there were cliffs, but again and again this thread was restored, ideas and images of antiquity were revived. The basis of many branches of modern science is the works of ancient Greek scientists and philosophers. Much of the scientific terminology, the names of many sciences, including “history”, the majority of female and male names, and much more was born in ancient Greece. Always, starting from the time of the Roman Republic, not excluding the middle Ages, with especial intensity in the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods, Greek antiquity was a peculiar challenge of any modernity.
The character of any people is formed under the influence of the nature with which it is surrounded, and the Greeks were no exception.
The Aegean Sea, concluded between Hellas from the west and Asia Minor from the east, is the center of Greek culture. On either side of the mainland are numerous islands: Euboea with fertile lowlands; Lesbos; Chios, famous for wine and marble; Samos; Rhodes. From the south, the Greek archipelago closes the most significant island in Crete. Actually Greece, the southernmost part of the Balkan Peninsula, is separated from its northern regions by a mountain range.
Greece was directed to the sea by its mountainous border; in addition, its entire coast line in connection with the islands promotes navigation as anywhere else in Europe.
This world of ridges and valleys contributed to a policy of disunity. The only way of communication between the Greeks was the sea, it also divided Greece into three main parts: Northern Greece, Middle Greece (or Hellas), Peloponnese.
Of course, this factor played a big role, and yet it is not enough to explain the “Greek miracle”, as the ancient Greek culture is called.
At the basis of the uniqueness of the Greek cultural “miracle” are the following factors: private property, slavery, polis democracy, the absence of bureaucratic and bureaucratic elite and priestly caste, the desacralization of political and cultural life, the emergence of Greek letter writing, the ideal of disinterested contemplation, confessed by people who were engaged in Spiritual production. It is these factors that explain the emergence of the Greek type of culture, the transition from mythological thinking to theoretical reflection (analysis, reflection), the flowering of art. These features of ancient culture determined its uniqueness. Too much time has been gained by the Greek culture for its not so long life.
For the sake of clarity, we can give a periodization of the history of Ancient Greece: Aegean, or Creto-Mycenaean (III-II millennium BC); Pre-liminary period (XI-X centuries BC); Archaic period (VIII-VI centuries BC); the classical period (V-IV centuries BC); Hellenistic period (the second half of the IV the middle of the 1st century BC).
However, the activation of political life began only in the very end of the 7th century. BC. E. After the civil wars in Athens in the VI. BC. E. There have been significant changes in society.
This was reflected in the final design of slaveholding policies in most of Greece. The time of the greatest rise of the Greek policy and the highest flowering of Hellenic culture was the V century. BC. E.
Thus, only three generations of cultural figures, whose life practically fit into the classical period of the history of ancient Greece, laid the foundations of European civilization and created models for imitation for millenniums ahead.
A distinctive feature of the ancient culture is its plasticity, “bodily character”. The world “cosmos” was understood by the ancient Greeks as an animated, beautiful spherical body inhabited by people and gods. The first most ancient gods were terrible, but in terms of the degree of growth of self-consciousness, the formation of the mythical picture of the world came from ugliness to beauty, from chaos to order, from animistic representations to anthropomorphic ones. The gods were endowed not only with the appearance of people. Their life on Olympus was very similar to the everyday life and ideals of the Greeks. The gods were close to people, for they themselves are, as it were, ennobled, “improved” people, beings that differ from people only by immortality. They love and hate people, they are jealous and cry, laugh and suffer, and this, according to the Greeks, manifested the beauty of life.
This attitude led to the acceptance of life in all its manifestations, with its good and evil, balancing each other and forming harmony, as “everything different, the opposite is thereby not chaos, but the most beautiful harmony.” The very word “space” means peace, order. The sense of order and measure is one of the most important for antiquity. In the quest for harmony by the Hellenes, a canon was created, that is, a measure (proportionality) reflecting a certain pattern in creating the correct beautiful a building, statue, drama or song.