Category Archives: (2) How Art Shaped Our Society & Us – 500 BC to 500 AD

Spotlight: Mayan Civilization and Culture

Mayan_ruin3_ICS12v33_rgb

From Latin America, this Great civilization reached its highest state of development around 500 AD before falling to the Spanish conquistadors around the 16th century. Their Artwork was a high level of aesthetic and artisan sophistication. They also constructed grand pyramids and temples for religious purposes—Temple of the Cross at Palenque is pictured.

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*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayan_civilization

Spotlight: The Gospels of the Bible (1st Century AD) – how much have these works influenced our culture??

Gospels

These four renowned literary works (the Gospels of the Bible)—written in the 1st century AD—arguably have had the greatest impact on our life in the United States. These works changed forever human’s relationship with God, and almost every religion has taken inspiration from them.

The Gospels were originally oral accounts of Jesus’s life written down years after the Crucifixion. The Quran dedicates one of its four Islamic holy books to Jesus—Injil, translated as “gospel.”

The four Gospels taught us values that sustained over time:

Respect for the Life and Dignity of Each Individual; Trust in God; Honesty; Compassion; Forgiveness; Mercy; Community; Servant Leadership; Equality; Simplicity; Justice; Peace

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*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospels

Spotlight: Constantinople (331 AD) – moving Rome east…

Constantinople-bridge

In 331 AD, the Romans moved its capital from Rome to Constantinople—now Istanbul—becoming the richest and largest city in Europe at its peak in the 12th century. Upon the city’s fall, the vast accumulated manuscripts in its library were smuggled to Italy and played a vital role in stimulating the Renaissance, which transitioned us to the modern world.

Founded by Constantine the Great, after whom it was named, it was the capital city of Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, the Latin and the Ottoman Empire.  Constantinople was famed for its massive defenses. Although besieged on numerous occasions by various peoples, it was taken only in 1204 by the army of the Fourth Crusade, in 1261 by Michael VIII Palaiologos), and – finally – in 1453 by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II.

It was also famed for architectural masterpieces such as the church of Hagia Sophia, the sacred palace of the emperors,the hippodrome, and the Golden Gate, lining the arcade avenues and squares.

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*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantinople

Spotlight: The Pont du Gard (1st Century AD) – now give us water…

Pont du Gard

The Pont du Gard–the most famous aqueduct and built around 1st century A.D.—is one of France’s most visited tourist attractions.  It was added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1985 on the criteria of “Human creative genius; testimony to cultural tradition; significance to human history.”

This aqueduct—engineered with precision by Romans—carried fresh water to the Roman Empire for centuries.   It is part of the Nîmes aqueduct, a 50 km-long (31 mi) structure built by the Romans to carry water from a spring at Uzès to the Roman colony of Nemausus (Nîmes). Because the terrain between the two points is hilly, the aqueduct – built mostly underground – took a long, winding route that crossed the gorge of the Gardon, requiring the construction of an aqueduct bridge.

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*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pont_du_gard

Spotlight: Rosetta Stone (196 BC) – not the learning-language software…

Rosetta

The Rosetta Stone—pictured above and inscribed with a decree at Memphis, Egypt in 196 B.C.—was rediscovered in 1799 by a French soldier in a small village in the Delta called Rosetta.  This stone has been the key to understanding and decoding Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Today, it is the most visited object in the British Museum (Britain defeated France in Egypt in 1801 and took ownership ever since), and a very popular computer-assisted language learning program named its company based on this rock.

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*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosetta_stone

Spotlight: Aristotle’s Rhetoric (4th Century BC) – Art of Persuasion

art-of-rhetoric001_thumb

Aristotle’s Rhetoric, is his great literary work on ‘the art of persuasion.’  He saw poetry and rhetoric as tools that were used too often to manipulate others by manipulating emotions and omitting facts. Many of our politicians today use this type of hyperbole to sway opinions.

The Rhetoric is regarded by most rhetoricians as the most important single work on persuasion ever written.  Gross & Walzer concur, indicating that, just as Alfred North Whitehead considered all Western philosophy a footnote to Plato, “all subsequent rhetorical theory is but a series of responses to issues raised” by Aristotle’s Rhetoric.

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*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhetoric_(Aristotle)

Spotlight: Villa of the Mysteries – quite mysterious and intriguing…

Villa of Mysteries

This Villa from Pompeii (ancient Rome) was rediscovered after volcanic ash buried it for nearly 1700 years—featuring mural paintings of a dramatic ritual for women to go through before marriage.

The Villa is named for the paintings in one room of the residence.  Although the actual subject of the frescoes is hotly debated, the most common interpretation of the images is scenes of the initiation of a woman into a special cult of Dionysus, a mystery cult that required specific rites and rituals to become a member.

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*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villa_of_the_Mysteries

Spotlight: Venus de milo (140 BC) simply beautiful…

Venus de Milo

Created around 140 B.C., the Venus de Milo statue’s great fame came from not only its beauty but also the major propaganda effort by the French Authorities to enhance this treasure.  It currently is on permanent display at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

This statue is from ancient Greek and one of the most famous works of ancient Greek sculpture.  It is a marble sculpture, slightly larger than life size at 203 cm (6 ft 8 in) high. The arms and original plinth were lost following its discovery. From an inscription that was on its plinth, it is thought to be the work of Alexandros of Antioch.

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*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_de_milo