Greek and Roman Thought:
Greek thought is the necessary wellspring from which the ethical, intellectual and political civilization of the West draws and to which, even today.
Ancient Greek Philosophy learns the philosophical activities and enquiries of the Greco-Roman thinkers. It covers up a period of 1,000 years; from the 6th century BC to the 6th century AD. It begins from the theoretical novelty the early Presocratic thinkers such like and Anaximander and Thales and ends to the late Aristotelian and Neoplatonic commentators such like Philoponus and Simplicius. Ancient Greek philosophers can be found throughout the Greek-speaking Mediterranean regions such like Sicily, South Italy, Egypt, Asia Minor, and North Africa. The questions posed from the Greek thinkers concern the philosophical areas of, Cosmology, Ethics, Logic, Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Aesthetics such as: What is the characteristic of Cosmos? What is the origin of Universe? Is there any transcendental realism beyond perceptual survival? Is there any ethical standard for good life? Is there any accurate knowledge?
Ancient Greek Philosophers were mostly pagans and for this causes their philosophical activities were not overall welcomed by the rising Christianity. Hence the end of ancient philosophy is marked through the close of the Platonic Academy of Athens through the emperor Justinian in 529AD. The final director of the Academy was Damascius.
Unhappily only a small part of the ancient philosophical writings survives today. It is noteworthy that the works of the Presocratic thinkers plus of the Hellenistic philosophers survive just in fragments chiefly from late doxographical sources. Conversely, despite the fragmentary evidences of the Greek philosophical thought, its theoretical completeness & originality can be undoubtedly observed in the survived texts.
Ancient Greek Philosophy is usually divided into four time-periods:
1. Classical Period (4th century BC); 2. Presocratic Period (6th – 5th century BC);3. Hellenistic Period (late 4th – 1st century BC); 4. Imperial Period (1st BC – 6th century AD).
The Romans, according to the politician Cicero and orator, excelled all other peoples in the unique wisdom that made them realize that everything is subordinate to the direction and rule of the gods. Yet Roman religion was depends not on divine grace however instead on mutual trust (fides) among man and god. The object of Roman religion was to protect the benevolence, cooperation, and “peace” of the gods (pax deorum). The Romans believed that this divine help would make it possible for them to master the unknown forces around them that motivated anxiety (religion) and awe, and therefore they would be able to live successfully. As a result, there arose a body of rules, jus divinum (“divine law”), ordaining what had to be done or ignored.
In detail Roman philosophy is grounded in the traditions of Greek philosophy. Interest in the subject was primary excited at Rome in 155 BCE. Through an Athenian embassy, containing Academic Carneades, the Stoic Diogenes, and the Peripatetic Critolaus. Of more permanent influence was the work of the Stoic Panaetius, the friend of the younger Scipio and of Laelius; but a thorough study of Greek philosophy was primary introduced in the time of Varro and Cicero. In a number of works they tried to make it available even to those of their countrymen who were outside the learned circles. Chiefly Cicero took it up in a spirit of eclecticism; but amongst his contemporaries Epicureanism is represented in the poetical treatise of Lucretius on the nature of things, and Pythagoreanism through Nigidium Figulus. In Imperial times and Stoicism and Epicureanism were most popular, especially the latter on, as represented by the writings of Cornutus, Seneca and the emperor Marcus Aurelius; whereas Eclectic Platonism was taken up by Apuleius of Madaura. One of the latest philosophical writers of antiquity is Boethius, whose writings were the key source of information as to Greek philosophy during the 1st centuries of the Middle Ages.
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