Category Archives: (1) How Art Shaped Our Society & Us – before 500 BC

Spotlight: Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC), such a magnificent thinker!

Aristotle

Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) believed imitation—what poetry, comedy, tragedy, and music to be—is one of mankind’s advantages over animals.

He was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry,theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology. Together with Plato and Socrates (Plato’s teacher), Aristotle is one of the most important founding figures in Western philosophy. Aristotle’s writings were the first to create a comprehensive system of Western philosophy, encompassing ethics, aesthetics, logic, science, politics, and metaphysics.

His views on the physical sciences profoundly shaped medieval scholarship, and their influence extended well into the Renaissance, although they were ultimately replaced by Newtonian physics.

His ethics, though always influential, gained renewed interest with the modern advent of virtue ethics. All aspects of Aristotle’s philosophy continue to be the object of active academic study today.

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

Spotlight: Parthenon (438 BC), a symbol of democracy

P

The Parthenon is a temple in Greece, dedicated to the maiden goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron deity. Its construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the height of its power.  It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered the culmination of the development of the Doric order.

The Partheon is regarded as an enduring symbol of democracy and western civilization, and one of the world’s greatest cultural monuments.

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

Spotlight: Confucius – 551-479 BC…a huge influence

Confucious

Confucius (551-479 BC) was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher.  He taught personal and governmental morality, recommended family as basis for ideal government, and greatly emphasized the importance of study to improve judgement. Confucius also espoused an early version of the Golden rule, “do not do to others what you do not what done to yourself.”

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

Spotlight: Odyssey – an epic poem (8th century BC)

Odyssey

Odyssey is an epic poem—many believed composed by rhapsodists (live performers) around the 8th century BC—has now become a word known for a long trip?

Odyssey – attributed to Homer – is about the Greek hero Odysseus’s LONG voyage home after the fall of Troy…hence, odyssey now means a long eventful journey.

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

Spotlight: Venus of Willendorf Statuette

Venus

The Venus of Willendorf—one of the earliest images of the body made by humans—is a statuette of a female figure estimated to have been made between 24,000 and 22,000 BCE.  The statuette depicts over-sized breasts and pelvic region thought as desirable fertile characteristics of the time.

It was found in 1908 by a workman named Johann Veran or Josef Veram during excavations conducted by archaeologists Josef Szombathy, Hugo Obermaier and Josef Bayer at a paleolithic site near Willendorf, a village in Lower Austria near the city of Krems. It is carved from a limestone that is not local to the area, and tinted with red ochre. The “Venus of Willendorf” is now in the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria.

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

Spotlight: How long have we played music? Paleolithic Flutes – 35,000 years old…

Flute2

These types of flutes—made of bird bone and dated back to over 35,000 years ago—represent the earliest known musical instruments and provide valuable evidence of prehistoric music. The presence of these flutes demonstrates that a developed musical tradition existed from the earliest period of modern human presence in Europe. 

The undisputed claims are all products of the Aurignacian archaeological culture, and have been found in the Swabian Alb region of Germany.  How talented these first musicians were must be left to our imagination…

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