Classical Civilization and Art

Classical Civilization and Art:

Classical Civilization is the branch of the Humanities comprising the literature, languages history, art, philosophy,  archaeology and other culture of the ancient Mediterranean world (Bronze Age ca. BC 3000 – Late Antiquity ca. AD 300–600); especially Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece during Classical Antiquity (ca. BC 600 – AD 600). Primarily, the study of the Classics (the period's literature) was the principal study in the humanities.

Sub-disciplines within the classics:  


In Western culture, there is a surviving tradition of Latin philology linking the Roman Empire along with the Early Modern period. The philology of Greek survived in the Byzantine Empire till the fall of Constantinople, and was re-introduced in Western Europe in the Renaissance.

Classical philology was a main preoccupation of the 19th-century German education system that became "the paradigm for higher education" during Western culture.

Although less dominant than it utilized to be, philology retains a central role in classical studies.

One definition of classical philology defined it as "the science which concerns itself along with everything that has been transmitted from antiquity in the Latin or Greek language. Thus the object of this science is the, Classical or Graeco-Roman, world to the extent that it has left behind monuments in linguistic form." or otherwise as "the careful study of the philosophical and literary texts of the ancient Roman and Greek worlds."

Before the invention of the printing press, texts were regenerated through hand and distributed haphazardly. Consequently, extant versions of the similar text frequently differ from one another. Some classical philologists, known as textual critics, seek out to synthesize these defective texts to discover the most accurate version.

In classical philology significant scholars included Eduard Norden, Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Karoly Kerenyi and Franz Boll.


Classical archaeology is the investigation of the physical remains of the great Mediterranean civilizations of Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece. The archaeologists’ field library, laboratory and documentation work make accessible the extant literary & linguistic cultural artifacts to the field’s sub-disciplines, like Philology. Similarly, archaeologists rely on the philology of ancient literatures in establishing historic contexts among the classic-era remains of Mesopotamia, Greece, Egypt, and Rome.

Art history:

Some art historians target their study of the development of art on the classical world. In reality, the architecture and art of Ancient Rome and Greece is very well regarded and remains at the heart of much of our art today. For instance, Ancient Greek architecture gave us the Classical Orders: Doric order, Corinthian order and Ionic order. The Parthenon is till the architectural symbol of the classical world.

Greek sculpture is well known and we know the names of numerous Ancient Greek artists: for instance, Phidias.

Civilization and history:

With archaeology, philology and art history, scholars seek understanding of the culture and history of a civilization, through critical study of the physical artifacts and extant literary, in order to compose and establish a continual historic narrative of the Ancient World and its peoples. The task is difficult, given the dearth of physical evidence; for example, Sparta was a leading Greek city-state, yet little evidence of it survives to study, and what is available comes from Athens, Sparta’s principal rival; like-wise, the Roman Empire destroyed most evidence (cultural artifacts) of earlier, conquered civilizations, such as that of the Etruscans.


Pythagoras coined the word philosophy (“love of wisdom”), the work of the “Philosopher” who seeks understanding of the world as it is, therefore, most classics scholars identify that the roots of Western philosophy originate in Greek philosophy, the works of Plato, Socrates,  Aristotle, and the Stoics.

Characteristics of Classical Civilization:

500 BCE-500 CE (China, Rome, Greece, Persia)

Religion and Culture:

  • Extended view of deities in new religions
  • SALVATION the chief objective
  • Understanding moral inequalities among people


  • Increased spending
  • More challenges specifically from Nomadic groups
  • Taxation levied to support great military cultures (Rome)
  • Empires becoming increasingly common


Social Class/Group dynamics:

  • Distinctions increasingly becoming obvious, rich getting poor getting poorer, richer.
  • Social stratification depend on employment (Indo-China)
  • Rigid social structures depend on caste
  • Cultures interested in regulating the moral behavior of its citizens (China-Confucius)
  • Evolution of social norms


  • Increased participation in long distance trade
  • Built roads and supported networks of trade & communication
  • All of the civilizations were agrarian in nature (minor exception in Greece)
  • Extensive control and taxation over agriculture to build elaborate projects.
  • Need to defend private property


  • New effective means of administration (elaborate bureaucracy-Persia)
  • Evolution of Imperial States (Greco-Roman/Persia)
  • Centralized states (China)
  • Rebellions/Civil Strife increasingly becoming common

Classical Art:

Classical Art adheres to artistic principles & rules laid down by centuries of Master Artist Painters & Sculptors all along artistic lineage leading all the way back to the noble Romans and Greeks and their interpretation and formal representation of the human form and the environment in which it presents.

Classical Art is depends on the philosophical and aesthetic principles established through the Greco-roman civilization and i.e. also is the wellspring of our modern culture.

Characteristics of classical art:

  • Bodies look active
  • Bodies nude or dressed in togas
  • Perfect, ideal figures
  • Scenes show heroes or people doing real tasks of daily life
  • No emotion on faces
  • Little background or sense of perspective (while distant objects look small and far)

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