The Golden Age Of Greece

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The Golden Age Of Greece

The ancient statues and pottery of the Golden Stone Age of Greece were much

advanced in spectacular ways. The true facts of Zeus's main reason for his statue. The

great styles of the Kouros and the Kore. The story of The Blinding of Polphemus,

along with the story of Cyclops. The Dori and Ionic column stone temples that were

built in Greece that had an distinctive look. The true colors of the vase, Aryballos. The

vase that carried liquids from one place to another. The Lyric Poetry that was originally

a song to be sung to the accompaniment of the lyre.

Zeus was considered, according to Homer, the father of the gods and of mortals.

He did not create either gods or mortals; he was their father in the sense of being the

protector and ruler both of the Olympian family and of the human race. He was lord of

the sky, the rain god, and the cloud gatherer, who wielded the terrible thunderbolt. His

breastplate was the aegis, his bird the eagle, his tree the oak. Zeus presided over the

gods on Mount Olympus in Thessaly. His principal shrines were at Dodona, in Epirus,

the land of the oak trees and the most ancient shrine, famous for its oracle, and at

Olympia, where the Olympian Games were celebrated in his honor every fourth year.

The Nemean games, held at Nemea, northwest of Argos, were also dedicated to Zeus.

Zeus was the youngest son of the Titans Cronus and Rhea and the brother of the deities

Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Demeter, and Hera. According to one of the ancient myths of

the birth of Zeus, Cronus, fearing that he might be dethroned by one of his children,

swallowed them as they were born. Upon the birth of Zeus, Rhea wrapped a stone in

swaddling clothes for Cronus to swallow and concealed the infant god in Crete, where

he was fed on the milk of the goat Amalthaea and reared by nymphs. When Zeus grew

to maturity, he forced Cronus to disgorge the other children, who were eager to take

vengeance on their father. Zeus henceforth ruled over the sky, and his brothers Poseidon

and Hades were given power over the sea and the underworld, respectively. The earth

was to be ruled in common by all three. Beginning with the writings of the Greek poet

Homer, Zeus is pictured in two very different ways. He is represented as the god of

justice and mercy, the protector of the weak, and the punisher of the wicked. As

husband to his sister Hera, he is the father of Ares, the god of war; Hebe, the goddess of

youth; Hephaestus, the god of fire; and Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth. At the same

time, Zeus is described as falling in love with one woman after another and resorting to

all kinds of tricks to hide his infidelity from his wife. Stories of his escapades were

numerous in ancient mythology, and many of his offspring were a result of his love

affairs with both goddesses and mortal women. It is believed that, with the development

of a sense of ethics in Greek life, the idea of a lecherous, sometimes ridiculous father

god became distasteful, so later legends tended to present Zeus in a more exalted light.

His many affairs with mortals are sometimes explained as the wish of the early Greeks to

trace their lineage to the father of the gods. Zeus's image was represented in sculptural

works as a kingly, bearded figure. The most celebrated of all statues of Zeus was

Phidias's gold and ivory colossus at Olympia.

The standing nude youth (kouros), the standing draped girl (kore), and the seated

woman. All emphasize and generalize the essential features of the human figure and

show an increasingly accurate comprehension of human anatomy. The youths were

either sepulchral or votive statues. Examples are Apollo (Metropolitan Museum), an

early work; Strangford Apollo from Limnos (British Museum, London), a much later

work; and the Anavyssos Kouros (National Museum, Athens). More of the musculature

and skeletal structure is visible in this statue than in earlier works. The standing, draped

girls have a wide range of expression, as in the sculptures in the Acropolis Museum,

Athens. Their drapery is carved and painted with the delicacy and meticulousness

common to the details of sculpture of this period.

The Blinding of Polyphemus. Polyphemus, a Cyclops, the son of Poseidon, god

of the sea, and of the nymph Thoosa. During his wanderings after the Trojan War, the

Greek hero Odysseus and his men were cast ashore on Polyphemus's island home, Sicily.

The enormous giant penned the Greeks in his cave and began to devour them. Odysseus

then gave Polyphemus some strong wine and when the giant had fallen into a drunken

stupor, bored out his one eye with a burning stake. The Greeks then escaped by clinging

to the bellies of his sheep. Poseidon punished Odysseus for blinding Polyphemus by

causing him many troubles in his subsequent wanderings by sea. In another legend,

Polyphemus was depicted as a huge, one-eyed shepherd, unhappily in love with the sea

nymph Galatea. Cyclops, giants with one enormous eye in the middle of the forehead. In

Hesiod, the three sons—Arges, Brontes, and Steropes—of Uranus and Gaea, the

personifications of heaven and earth, were Cyclopes. The Greek hero Odysseus was

trapped with his men in the cave of the Cyclops Polyphemus, a son of Poseidon, god of

the sea. In order to escape from the cave after the giant devoured several men, Odysseus

blinded him.

Dori and Ionic Columns. Aware of Egyptian temples in stone, Greeks in the 7th

century began to build their own stone temples in a distinctive style. They used

limestone in Italy and Sicily, marble in the Greek islands and Asia Minor, and limestone

covered with marble on the Greek mainland. Later they built chiefly in marble. The

temples were rectangular and stood on a low, stepped terrace in an enclosure where

rituals were performed. Small temples had a two-columned front porch, sometimes with

a portico before it. Larger temples, with front and back porches, might have a six-

columned portico before each porch or be entirely surrounded by a colonnade. The

colonnade supported an entablature, or lintel, under the gabled, tiled roof.

Architects developed two orders, or styles of columns, the Doric and the Ionic

(see Column). Doric columns, which had no bases and whose capitals consisted of a

square slab over a round cushion shape, were heavy and closely spaced to support the

weight of the masonry. Their heaviness was relieved by the tapered and fluted shaft. On

the entablature, vertical triglyphs were carved over every column, leaving between them

oblong—later square—metopes, which were at first painted and later filled with painted

reliefs. The Doric style originated on the mainland and became widespread. The Doric

temples at Syracuse, Paestum, Selinus, Acragas, Pompeii, Tarentum (Taranto),

Metapontum, and Corcyra (Kerkira) still exist. Especially notable is the Temple of

Poseidon at Paestum (450 BC).

Columns in the Ionic style, which began in Ionia (Asia Minor) and the Greek

islands, are more slender, more narrowly fluted, and spaced farther apart than Doric

columns. Each rests on a horizontally fluted round base and terminates in a capital

shaped like a flat cushion rolled into volutes at the sides. The entablature, lighter than in

the Doric style, might have a frieze. Examples of Ionic temples are in Ephesus near

modern Izmir, Turkey, in Athens (the Erechtheum), and (some traces) in Naucratis,

Egypt. There are three standard types of columns in Greek classical architecture. The

oldest is the Doric, which is the widest, has no base, and is topped by a simple abacus

with an echinus directly underneath it. The Ionic column has a base and a capital made

of scroll-shaped volutes directly beneath the abacus. The most elaborate column is the

Corinthian. It has the most complex base, and the capital is made of layers of carved

acanthus leaves ending in volutes. All three columns have fluted shafts.

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