Culture of Greece
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Culture of Cyprus
The culture of Greece has evolved over thousands of years, beginning in
The first great ancient Greek civilization were the Minoans, a Bronze Age Aegean civilization on Crete and other Aegean Islands, that flourished from c. 3000 BC to c. 1450 BC and, after a late period of decline, finally ended around 1100 BC during the early Greek Dark Ages. At the height of their power, they built architecture ranging from city houses and royal palaces. Exemplary of this construction was the palace of king Minos, located at Knossos, which was composed of two to three levels, had over 500 rooms and many terraces with porticos and stairs. The interior of this palace included monumental reception halls, vast apartments for the queen and bridesmaids, baths with complete sewage and drainage systems, food deposits, shops, theatres, sport arenas, and other amenities. The walls were built of polished marble or masonry that was covered with highly-decorated frescos. Besides the palace, on the island of Santorini, an entire Minoan city was discovered in 1967, called Akrotiri. Later, the Mycenaean civilization erected palatial structures at Mycenae, Tiryns and Pylos.
Byzantine instruments included the guitar, single, double or multiple flute, sistrum, timpani (drum), psaltirio, Sirigs, lyre, cymbals, keras and kanonaki.
Popular dances of this period included the Syrtos, Geranos, Mantilia, Saximos, Pyrichios, and Kordakas . Some of these dances have their origins in the ancient period and are still enacted in some form today.
A range of domestically and internationally known composers and performers across the musical spectrum have found success in modern Greece, while traditional
Famous Greek musicians and composers of modern era include the central figure of 20th-century European modernism
The birth of the first School of modern Greek classical music (Heptanesean or Ionian School, Greek:Επτανησιακή Σχολή) came through the Ionian Islands (notable composers include Spyridon Samaras, Nikolaos Mantzaros and Pavlos Carrer), while Manolis Kalomiris is considered the founder of the Greek National School.
Greece is one of the few places in Europe where the day-to-day role of folk dance is sustained. Rather than functioning as a museum piece preserved only for performances and special events, it is a vivid expression of everyday life. Occasions for dance are usually weddings, family celebrations, and paneyeria (Patron Saints' name days). Dance has its place in ceremonial customs that are still preserved in Greek villages, such as dancing the bride during a wedding and dancing the trousseau of the bride during the wedding preparations. The carnival and Easter offer more opportunities for family gatherings and dancing. Greek taverns providing live entertainment often include folk dances in their program.
Regional characteristics have developed over the years because of variances in climatic conditions, land morphology and people's social lives. Kalamatianos and Syrtos are considered Pan-Hellenic dances and are danced all over the world in diaspora communities. Others have also crossed boundaries and are known beyond the regions where they originated; these include the Pentozali from Crete, Hasapiko from Constantinople, Zonaradikos from Thrace, Serra from Pontos and Balos from the Aegean islands.
The avant-garde choreographer, director and dancer Dimitris Papaioannou was responsible for the critically successful opening ceremony of the 2004 Olympic Games, with a conception that reflected the classical influences on modern and experimental Greek dance forms.
There were several interconnected traditions of painting in ancient Greece. Due to their technical differences, they underwent somewhat differentiated developments. Not all painting techniques are equally well represented in the archaeological record. The most respected form of art, according to authors like Pliny or Pausanias, were individual, mobile paintings on wooden boards, technically described as panel paintings. Also, the tradition of wall painting in Greece goes back at least to the Minoan and Mycenaean Bronze Age, with the lavish fresco decoration of sites like Knossos, Tiryns and Mycenae.
Much of the figural or architectural sculpture of ancient Greece was painted colourfully. This aspect of Greek stonework is described as polychrome (from Greek πολυχρωμία, πολύ = many and χρώμα = colour). Due to intensive weathering, polychromy on sculpture and architecture has substantially or totally faded in most cases.
Byzantine art is the term created for the
Post-Byzantine and Modern Greece
The term Cretan School describes an important school of icon painting, also known as Post-Byzantine art, which flourished while Crete was under Venetian rule during the late Middle Ages, reaching its climax after the Fall of Constantinople, becoming the central force in Greek painting during the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. The Cretan artists developed a particular style of painting under the influence of both Eastern and Western artistic traditions and movements. The most famous product of the school, El Greco, was the most successful of the many artists who tried to build a career in Western Europe.
Modern Greek painting, after the
The Byzantines inherited the
The so-called "minor arts" were very important in Byzantine art and luxury items, including ivories carved in relief as formal presentation
After the establishment of the
Notable sculptors of the new state were Leonidas Drosis (his major work was the extensive neo-classical architectural ornament at the Academy of Athens, Lazaros Sochos, Georgios Vitalis, Dimitrios Filippotis, Ioannis Kossos, Yannoulis Chalepas, Georgios Bonanos and Lazaros Fytalis.
Theatre was born in Greece. The city-state of Classical Athens, which became a significant cultural, political, and military power during this period, was its centre, where it was institutionalised as part of a festival called the Dionysia, which honoured the god Dionysus. Tragedy (late 6th century BC), comedy (486 BC), and the satyr play were the three dramatic genres to emerge there. Athens exported the festival to its numerous colonies and allies in order to promote a common cultural identity.
The word τραγῳδία (tragoidia), from which the word "tragedy" is derived, is a compound of two Greek words: τράγος (tragos) or "goat" and ᾠδή (ode) meaning "song", from ἀείδειν (aeidein), "to sing". This etymology indicates a link with the practices of the ancient Dionysian cults. It is impossible, however, to know with certainty how these fertility rituals became the basis for tragedy and comedy.
During the Byzantine period, the theatrical art was heavily declined. According to Marios Ploritis, the only form survived was the folk theatre (Mimos and Pantomimos), despite the hostility of the official state.
The modern Greek theatre was born after the
Greek cuisine has a long tradition and its flavors change with the season and its geography. Greek cookery, historically a forerunner of Western cuisine, spread its culinary influence – via ancient Rome – throughout Europe and beyond.
The Byzantine cuisine was similar to the classical cuisine including however new ingredients that were not available before, like caviar, nutmeg and lemons, basil, with fish continuing to be an integral part of the diet. Culinary advice was influenced by the theory of humors, first put forth by the ancient Greek doctor Claudius Aelius Galenus.
The modern Greek cuisine has also influences from the Ottoman and Italian cuisine due to the Ottoman and Venetian dominance through the centuries.
Greece is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. The earliest evidence of Greek wine has been dated to 6,500 years ago where wine was produced on a household or communal basis. In ancient times, as trade in wine became extensive, it was transported from end to end of the Mediterranean; Greek wine had especially high prestige in Italy under the Roman Empire. In the medieval period, wines exported from Crete, Monemvasia and other Greek ports fetched high prices in northern Europe.
Education in Greece is compulsory for all children 6–15 years old; namely, it includes Primary (Dimotiko) and Lower Secondary (Gymnasio) Education. The school life of the students, however, can start from the age of 2.5 years (pre-school education) in institutions (private and public) called "Vrefonipiakoi Paidikoi Stathmi" (creches). In some Vrefonipiakoi Stathmoi there are also Nipiaka Tmimata (nursery classes) which operate along with the Nipiagogeia (kindergartens).
Post-compulsory Secondary Education also includes the
Nea Dimokratia (
The Institute of Entrepreneurship Development (iED) is a Greek Non-governmental organization formed for the promotion of innovation and for enhancing the spirit of entrepreneurship intending to link with other European initiatives.
The origins of
The leading philosophers of the period preceding Greece's golden age were
The sculptor Phidias created the statue of Athena and the figure of Zeus in the temple at Olympia and supervised the construction and decoration of the Parthenon. Another renowned sculptor was Praxiteles.
The legal reforms of Solon served as the basis of Athenian democracy. The Athenian general
The most renowned Greek painter during the Renaissance was
Outstanding Greek public figures in the 20th century include Cretan-born
The Greek language is the official language of the
Greek has had enormous impact on other languages both directly on the Romance languages, and indirectly through its influence on the emerging Latin language during the early days of Rome. Signs of this influence, and its many developments, can be seen throughout the family of Western European languages.
Internet and "Greeklish"
More recently, the rise of internet-based communication services as well as cell phones have caused a distinctive form of Greek written partially, and sometimes fully in Latin characters to emerge; this is known as Greeklish, a form that has spread across the Greek diaspora and even to the two countries with majority Greek population, Greece and Cyprus.
Katharévousa (Καθαρεύουσα) is a form of the Greek Language midway between modern and ancient forms set in train during the early nineteenth century by Greek intellectual and revolutionary leader Adamantios Korais, intended to return the Greek language closer to its ancient form. Its influence, in recent years, evolved toward a more formal role, and it came to be used primarily for official purposes such as diplomacy, politics, and other forms of official documentation. It has nevertheless had significant effects on the Greek language as it is still written and spoken today, and both vocabulary and grammatical and syntactical forms have re-entered Modern Greek via Katharevousa.
There are a variety of dialects of the Greek language; the most notable include
Greece has a remarkably rich and resilient literary tradition, extending over 2800 years and through several eras. The Classical era is that most commonly associated with
The first recorded works in the western literary tradition are the
Classical Greece is also judged the birthplace of theatre. Aeschylus introduced the ideas of dialogue and interacting characters to playwriting and in doing so, he effectively invented "drama": his Oresteia trilogy of plays is judged his crowning achievement. Other refiners of playwriting were Sophocles and Euripides. Aristophanes, a comic playwright, defined and shaped the idea of comedy as a theatrical form.
Herodotus and Thucydides are often attributed with developing the modern study of history into a field worthy of philosophical, literary, and scientific pursuit. Polybius first introduced into study the concept of military history.
The growth of Christianity throughout the
Modern Greek literature refers to literature written in the Greek language from the 11th century, with texts written in a language that is more familiar to the ears of Greeks today than is the language of the early Byzantine times.
The years before the
After the independence the intellectual center was transferred in Athens. A major figure of this new era was Kostis Palamas, considered "national poet" of Greece. He was the central figure of the Greek literary generation of the 1880s and one of the cofounders of the so-called New Athenian School (or Palamian School). Its main characteristic was the use of Demotic Greek. He was also the writer of the Olympic Hymn.
Moving into the twentieth century, the modern Greek literary tradition spans the work of
Philosophy, science and mathematics
The tradition of
The period of
The Hellenistic period, following Alexander's conquests, continued and built upon this knowledge.