Greek Literature

The great British philosopher-mathematician Alfred North Whitehead once
commented that all philosophy is but a footnote to Plato . A similar point can
be made regarding as a whole.
Over a period of more than ten centuries, the ancient Greeks created a
literature of such brilliance that it has rarely been equaled and never
surpassed. In poetry, tragedy, comedy, and history, Greek writers created
masterpieces that have inspired, influenced, and challenged readers to the
present day.
To suggest that all Western literature is no more than a footnote to the
writings of classical Greece is an exaggeration, but it is nevertheless true
that the Greek world of thought was so far-ranging ...

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alphabet was derived from the
Phoenician alphabet. During the period from the 8th to the 5th century BC, local
differences caused the forms of letters to vary from one city-state to another
within Greece. From the 4th century BC on, however, the alphabet became uniform
throughout the Greek world.


There are four major periods of Greek literature: preclassical, classical,
Hellenistic-Roman, and Byzantine. Of these the most significant works were
produced during the preclassical and classical eras.

Epic Tradition

At the beginning of Greek literature stand the two monumental works of Homer,
the 'Iliad' and the 'Odyssey'. The figure of Homer is shrouded in mystery.
Although the works as they now stand are credited to him, it is certain that
their roots reach far back before his time (see Homeric Legend). The 'Iliad' is
the famous story about the Trojan War. It centers on the person of Achilles, who
embodied the Greek heroic ideal.
While the 'Iliad' is ...

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of daily life.

Lyric Poetry

The type of poetry called lyric got its name from the fact that it was
originally sung by individuals or a chorus accompanied by the instrument called
the lyre. The first of the lyric poets was probably Archilochus of Paros about
700 BC. Only fragments remain of his work, as is the case with most of the poets.
The few remnants suggest that he was an embittered adventurer who led a very
turbulent life.
The two major poets were Sappho and Pindar. Sappho, who lived in the period
from 610 to 580 BC, has always been admired for the beauty of her writing. Her
themes were personal. They dealt with her friendships with and dislikes of other
women, though her ...

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Greek Literature. (2006, June 5). Retrieved November 20, 2019, from
"Greek Literature.", 5 Jun. 2006. Web. 20 Nov. 2019. <>
"Greek Literature." June 5, 2006. Accessed November 20, 2019.
"Greek Literature." June 5, 2006. Accessed November 20, 2019.
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Added: 6/5/2006 02:50:39 PM
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 4164
Pages: 16

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