Democracy in Ancient Greece (03:36)
Many societies erected governmental buildings symbolizing stability and integrity. They represent government for the people, by the people, an idea born in Ancient Greece. Democracy, a system of elected government, existed in Ancient Greece for less than 100 years.
Artistic Expression in Democracy (02:06)
Art blossoms during periods of successful democracy. In Ancient Greece, dramatist flourished during democracy; Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides were three important dramatists of the age.
Gods and Greeks (04:24)
The gods were integral to Ancient Greek life and artistic expression. Religion developed out of natural ignorance and fear. Freedom of speech was vital to their culture, and speeches center Homer’s works.
Dramatists and Renaissance (03:40)
Dramatists assisted in spreading ideas in a free society. In Italy, the Renaissance marked a time when individuals began to think for themselves, outside of the influence of religion. Amphitheaters were created for performances, making use of natural space and light.
People, Places, and Playwrights (03:27)
Ancient Greek theaters served as places for people to learn about different social and political options. Playwrights participated in competitions which audiences voted on.
Democracy: Every Counts Equally (02:33)
In Ancient Greek plays, the chorus supported the main actors and performed rituals. Dialogue between characters became popular after the Aeschylean Moment.
Flawed Athenian Democracy (02:03)
After the Aeschylean Moment, individualism became important for Greeks, but slaves remained a part of society and women were not represented.
Liberally educated, Aeschylus lived and wrote plays during the democracy of Ancient Greece. His most famous play is Agamemnon. Democracy made Athens strong in the face of invasion.
Listen to a reading of the play by Aeschylus.
An ethical them shapes "Agamemnon." Sophocles was gifted as an athlete, musician, and playwright. He wrote over 120 plays and won many prizes.
Oedipus Complex (02:20)
Aristotle credits Sophocles for making several large changes to traditional Greek plays. He penned "Oedipus Rex," which created the Oedipus complex still referred to today.
"Oedipus Rex" (06:07)
Listen to a reading of the play by Sophocles.
The significance of Sophocles' play comes from the direct and open speech of his characters. Little is known about the life of Euripides, but he wrote 90 plays. Emotions and feelings were highlighted in his plays.
Listen to a reading of the play Medea by Euripides.
Tragedians and Comedians of Ancient Greece (01:54)
Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides are the great Greek tragedians. They represented women in their plays despite the lack of power women had at the time. Aristophanes wrote great Greek comedies.
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