Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Greek Beliefs Carried on Today

What Greek Beliefs still hold today?

Protagoras, a philosopher mentioned in our art history book, said that human beings are the "measure of all things." This is the way by which to measure that influenced the Greeks in art, architecture, and even government. Democracy does mean ruled by the people. The gods and goddesses themselves were human in form and action. They just lived forever was the only difference. So, in western culture today we do still sustain that we are made in God's image, though now because of other influences he is believed to be perfect. And in most western nations there is some sort of Democratic government.
Modern art today is humanist. Showing the measures of human emotion. Because the Greeks started taking credit for what they did artistically so do all modern artists. Because in humanism credit should be given where it is due. Our educational system takes an interest in developing "a sound mind and sound body" much like the Greeks did. Today we not only have math classes but health and p.e. classes as well. This interest in exercise and physical endurance helped bring together the city states of Greece in the Olympics which we hold in their honor today.
To the Greeks it was the human being that matter. Even mythology often times heroes became gods. In all art it was the human form that dominated. Unlike earlier art works. Which were really heavy on the showing of animals and the artist didn't sign their work possibly because it was the thing they were depicting that had the most importance rather then the person depicting it. But in ancient Greece the artist was just as important.

So, all these things I named I hope describe how we have been influenced by the Greeks. We may, however, just until recently may have been influenced by their shortcomings. It was the Greek philosopher, Aristole, who said "It is clear that some are free by nature, and others are slaves." Greeks did not find it "unhumanistic" to keep slaves. It was only less then two hundred years ago that us in the western world thought the same way about slavery. The Greeks were not a inegalitarian society. Women were not seen as equal. Could not vote and it seemed that married women married to free men had less freedom then the prostitutes that entertained their husbands in public while they stayed at home alone. In our portion of the western world
women didn't get the right to vote until 1920. Many of the stereotypes and standards use to oppress women remain til this day.
In the mind of true Greek humanism, white property owning men were the "measure of all things." Admittedly without the Greeks we would not have the people ruled government we have today. And even though it's society had many faults that we ourselves had to overcome ironically by perfecting this concept of humanism, it was indeed this concept from the Greeks that eventually lead to all peoples being the measure of all things by the western perspective.

1 comment:

Stephanie Lewis said...

Good point about the focus on athletics and fitness.