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The Introduction

The Greeks' beliefs, views, and high regard toward human beings played a significant role in how we as Westerners live today and view the arts in our society. We inherited these traditions from the Greeks. The Greeks were ambitious, competitive, achievers, creative, and very talented. Greek art illustrates who they were and tells a story of their time and of their transitions. The Greek sculptures are clear and unmistakable in showing their early stages of their imperfections to the final stages of achieving realism and perfection which became original works of art. The way the Greeks lived definitely was reflected in their sculpture. The Archaic Age, the Hellenic Age, and the Hellenistic Age are perfect examples of the Greeks' transitional eras and progressions in the arts which are shown in their sculpture.

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Mycenaean Civilization

The Mycenaeans with their myths of Helen and the Trojan war began the historical roots. They were a flourishing civilization living in Greece who began speaking the early form of Greek. Their centre was the most powerful and the richest. By the end of the 1100 century B.C., this splendid civilization lay in ruins for reasons that are still obscure. Populous sites were abandoned, trade came to an end, skills were lost, and crafts diminished. A civilization that was once wealthy and literate had become poor and illiterate. Meanwhile, moving into Greece were new tribes of Greek-speaking people, the Dorians, and to the west coast of Asia Minor and eastward to the islands of Aegean, already occupied the earlier ones. The collapse of the Mycenaean civilization left nothing more than a memory. The Greeks would continue the Mycenaean traditions based on that memory and to create legends, poems, literature, and the arts (Woodford).     back to top

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The Dark Age

The beginnings of Greek civilization were a bleak time for them after the decline of the Mycenaeans. People living around the Aegean Sea spoke various Greek dialects. The Dorians were the most dominant and lived mostly on mainland Greece and the Ionians resided on many of the islands and on a portion of Asia Minor's west coast. The earliest communities were isolated from each other and from the rest of the world. They were poor and illiterate. Prosperity and development would come slowly. Technological innovation would pave the way for the political and cultural innovations of the Archaic Age (Woodford).

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