Greek literature

Greek literature dates from ancient Greek literature, beginning in 800 BC, to the modern Greek literature of today.

Ancient Greek literature was written in an Ancient Greek dialect. This literature ranges from the oldest surviving written works until works from approximately the fifth century AD. This time period is divided into the Preclassical, Classical, Hellenistic, and Roman periods. Preclassical Greek literature primarily revolved around myths and include the works of Homer; the Iliad and the Odyssey. The Classical period saw the dawn of drama and history. Three philosophers are especially notable: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. During the Roman era, significant contributions were made in a variety of subjects, including history, philosophy, and the sciences.

Byzantine literature, the literature of the Byzantine Empire, was written in Atticizing, Medieval and early Modern Greek. Chronicles, distinct from historics, arose in this period. Encyclopedias also flourished in this period.

Modern Greek literature is written in common Modern Greek. The Cretan Renaissance poem Erotokritos is one of the most significant works from this time period. Adamantios Korais and Rigas Feraios are two of the most notable figures.

Ancient Greek literature (800 BC-350 AD)

Ancient Greek literature refers to literature written in Ancient Greek dialects. These works range from the oldest surviving written works in the Greek language until works from the fifth century AD. The Greek language arose from the proto-Indo-European language; roughly two-thirds of its words can be derived from various reconstructions of the tongue. A number of alphabets and syllabaries had been used to render Greek, but surviving Greek literature was written in a Phoenician-derived alphabet that arose primarily in Greek Ionia and was fully adopted by Athens by the fifth century BC.[1]

Homer British Museum
Idealized portrayal of Homer

Preclassical (800 BC-500 BC)

The Greeks created poetry before making use of writing for literary purposes. Poems created in the Preclassical period were meant to be sung or recited (writing was little known before the 7th century BC). Most poems focused on myths, legends that were part folktale and part religion. Tragedies and comedies emerged around 600 BC.[2]

At the beginning of Greek literature stand the works of Homer; the Iliad and the Odyssey. Though dates of composition vary, these works were fixed around 800 BC or after. Another significant figure was the poet Hesiod. His two surviving works are Works and Days and Theogony.

Classical (500 BC-323 BC)

During the classical period, many of the genres of western literature became more prominent. Lyrical poetry, odes, pastorals, elegies, epigrams; dramatic presentations of comedy and tragedy; histories, rhetorical treatises, philosophical dialectics, and philosophical treatises all arose in this period.[3]

The two major lyrical poets were Sappho and Pindar. Of the hundreds of tragedies written and performed during this time period, only a limited number of plays survived. These plays are authored by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides.[4]

The comedy arose from a ritual in honor of Dionysus. These plays were full of obscenity, abuse, and insult. The surviving plays by Aristophanes are a treasure trove of comic presentation.

Two influential historians of this age are Herodotus and Thucydides. A third historian, Xenophon, wrote "Hellenica," which is considered an extension of Thucydides's work.[5]

The greatest prose achievement of the 4th century BC was in philosophy. Greek philosophy flourished during the classical period. Of the philosophers, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle are the most famous.

Hellenistic (323 BC-31 BC)

By 338 BC many of the key Greek cities had been conquered by Philip II of Macedon. Philip II's son Alexander extended his father's conquests greatly.

The Hellenistic age is defined as the time between the death of Alexander the Great and the rise of Roman domination. After the 3rd century BC, the Greek colony of Alexandria in northern Egypt became the center of Greek culture.

Greek poetry flourished with significant contributions from Theocritus, Callimachus, and Apollonius of Rhodes. Theocritus, who lived from about 310 to 250 BC, was the creator of pastoral poetry, a type that the Roman Virgil mastered in his Eclogues.[6]

Drama was represented by the New Comedy, of which Menander was the principal exponent.

One of the most valuable contributions of the Hellenistic period was the translation of the Old Testament into Greek. This work was done at Alexandria and completed by the end of the 2nd century BC.

Roman Age (31 BC-284 AD)

Roman literature was written in Latin and contributed significant works to the subjects of poetry, comedy, history, and tragedy. A large proportion of literature from this time period were histories.

Significant historians of the period were Timaeus, Polybius, Diodorus Siculus, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Appian of Alexandria, Arrian, and Plutarch. The period of time they cover extended from late in the 4th century BC to the 2nd century AD.

Eratosthenes of Alexandria wrote on astronomy and geography, but his work is known mainly from later summaries. The physician Galen pioneered developments in various scientific disciplines including anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, and neurology. This is also the period in which most of the Ancient Greek novels were written.

The New Testament, written by various authors in varying qualities of Koine Greek, hails from this period. The Gospels and the Epistles of Saint Paul were written in this time period as well.[7]

Byzantine literature (290 AD–1453 AD)

A page from a 16th-century edition of the 10th century Byzantine encyclopaedia of the ancient Mediterranean world, the Suda

Byzantine literature refers to literature of the Byzantine Empire written in Atticizing, Medieval and early Modern Greek.

Byzantine literature combined Greek and Christian civilization on the common foundation of the Roman political system. This type of literature was set in the intellectual and ethnographic atmosphere of the Near East. Byzantine literature possesses four primary cultural elements: Greek, Christian, Roman, and Oriental.

Aside from personal correspondence, literature of this period was primarily written in the Atticizing style. Some early literature of this period was written in Latin; some of the works from the Latin Empire were written in French.

Chronicles, distinct from historic, arose in this period. Encyclopedias also flourished in this period.[8]

Modern Greek literature (1453 AD- Present)

Modern Greek literature is written in common Modern Greek. During this period, the modern vernacular form of the Greek language became more commonplace in writing.

This period saw the revival of Greek and Roman studies and the development of Renaissance humanism[9] and science.

The Cretan Renaissance poem Erotokritos is a prominent work of this time period. It is a verse romance written around 1600 by Vitsentzos Kornaros (1553–1613).

Modern Greek literature is significantly influenced by the Diafotismos, a movement that translated the ideas of the European Enlightenment into the Greek world. Adamantios Korais and Rigas Feraios are two prominent figures of this movement.

Today, Modern Greek Literature participates in the global literary community. The Greek authors George Seferis and Odysseas Elytis have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.[10]

See also

Related Topics

General Information








  1. ^ "Introduction to Classical Greek". Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  2. ^ "Greek literature". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  3. ^ "Greek literature". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2016-12-10.
  4. ^ Schroeder, Chad Matthew (2016-12-09). "Review of: A Guide to Hellenistic Literature. Blackwell Guides to Classical Literature". Bryn Mawr Classical Review. ISSN 1055-7660.
  5. ^ Schroeder, Chad Matthew (2016-12-09). "Review of: A Guide to Hellenistic Literature. Blackwell Guides to Classical Literature". Bryn Mawr Classical Review. ISSN 1055-7660.
  6. ^ "Historiography of the Hellenistic Age". 2016-12-09.
  7. ^ "Student Resources in Context - Document". Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  8. ^ "King's College London - A History of Byzantine literature". Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  9. ^ Byzantines in Renaissance Italy
  10. ^ "Modern Greek Studies Association". Retrieved 2016-12-09.
Acritic songs

The Acritic songs (Greek: Ακριτικά τραγούδια "frontiersmen songs") are the epic poems that emerged in the Byzantine Empire probably around the ninth century. The songs celebrated the exploits of the Akritai, the frontier guards defending the eastern borders of the Byzantine Empire. The historical background was the almost continuous Arab–Byzantine wars between the seventh and twelfth centuries. Against this background several romances were produced, the most famous of which is that of Digenes Akritas, considered by some to signal the beginnings of modern Greek literature.

Ancient Greek literature

Ancient Greek literature refers to literature written in the Ancient Greek language from the earliest texts until the time of the Byzantine Empire. The earliest surviving works of ancient Greek literature, dating back to the early Archaic period, are the two epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey, set in the Mycenaean era. These two epics, along with the Homeric Hymns and the two poems of Hesiod, Theogony and Works and Days, comprised the major foundations of the Greek literary tradition that would continue into the Classical, Hellenistic, and Roman periods.

The lyric poets Sappho, Alcaeus, and Pindar were highly influential during the early development of the Greek poetic tradition. Aeschylus is the earliest Greek tragic playwright for whom any plays have survived complete. Sophocles is famous for his tragedies about Oedipus, particularly Oedipus the King and Antigone. Euripides is known for his plays which often pushed the boundaries of the tragic genre. The comedic playwright Aristophanes wrote in the genre of Old Comedy, while the later playwright Menander was an early pioneer of New Comedy. The historians Herodotus of Halicarnassus and Thucydides, who both lived during the fifth century BC, wrote accounts of events that happened shortly before and during their own lifetimes. The philosopher Plato wrote dialogues, usually centered around his teacher Socrates, dealing with various philosophical subjects, whereas his student Aristotle wrote numerous treatises, which later became highly influential.

Important later writers included Apollonius of Rhodes, who wrote The Argonautica, an epic poem about the voyage of the Argonauts; Archimedes, who wrote groundbreaking mathematical treatises; and Plutarch, who wrote mainly biographies and essays. The second-century AD writer Lucian of Samosata was a Hellenized Syrian, who wrote primarily works of satire. Ancient Greek literature has had a profound impact on later Greek literature and also western literature at large. In particular, many ancient Roman authors drew inspiration from their Greek predecessors. Ever since the Renaissance, European authors in general, including Dante Alighieri, William Shakespeare, John Milton, and James Joyce, have all drawn heavily on classical themes and motifs.


An epitome (; Greek: ἐπιτομή, from ἐπιτέμνειν epitemnein meaning "to cut short") is a summary or miniature form, or an instance that represents a larger reality, also used as a synonym for embodiment. Epitomacy represents, "to the degree of." An abridgment differs from an epitome in that an abridgment is made of selected quotations of a larger work; no new writing is composed, as opposed to the epitome, which is an original summation of a work, at least in part.

Many documents from the Ancient Greek and Roman worlds survive now only "in epitome", referring to the practice of some later authors (epitomators) who wrote distilled versions of larger works now lost. Some writers attempted to convey the stance and spirit of the original, while others added further details or anecdotes regarding the general subject. As with all secondary historical sources, a different bias not present in the original may creep in.

Documents surviving in epitome differ from those surviving only as fragments quoted in later works and those used as unacknowledged sources by later scholars, as they can stand as discrete documents but refracted through the views of another author.

Epitomes of a kind are still produced today when dealing with a corpus of literature, especially classical works often considered dense and unwieldy and unlikely to be read by the average person, to make them more accessible: some are more along the lines of abridgments, such as many which have been written of Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a work of eight large volumes (some 3600 pages), often published as one volume of about 1400 pages

Some are of the same type as the ancient epitome, such as various epitomes of the Summa Theologiae of St Thomas Aquinas, originally written as an introductory textbook in theology, and now accessible to very few except for the learned in theology and Aristotelian philosophy, such as A Summa of the Summa and A Shorter Summa. Many epitomes today are published under the general title, "The Companion to...", such as The Oxford Companion to Aristotle or "An Overview of" or "guides", such as An Overview of the Thought of Immanuel Kant, How to Read Hans Urs von Balthasar, or, in some cases, as an introduction, in the cases of An Introduction to Søren Kierkegaard or A Very Short Introduction to the New Testament (many philosophical "introductions" and "guides" share the epitomic form, unlike general "introductions" to a field).


In ancient Greek religion and mythology, the Erinyes (; sing. Erinys , ; Greek: Ἐρινύες, pl. of Ἐρινύς, Erinys), also known as the Furies, were female chthonic deities of vengeance, sometimes referred to as "infernal goddesses" (χθόνιαι θεαί). A formulaic oath in the Iliad invokes them as "the Erinyes, that under earth take vengeance on men, whosoever hath sworn a false oath." Walter Burkert suggests they are "an embodiment of the act of self-cursing contained in the oath." They correspond to the Dirae in Roman mythology. The Roman writer Maurus Servius Honoratus wrote that they are called "Eumenides" in hell, "Furiae" on earth, and "Dirae" in heaven.According to Hesiod's Theogony, when the Titan Cronus castrated his father, Uranus, and threw his genitalia into the sea, the Erinyes (along with the Giants and the Meliae) emerged from the drops of blood which fell on the earth (Gaia), while Aphrodite was born from the crests of sea foam. According to variant accounts, they emerged from an even more primordial level—from Nyx ("Night"), or from a union between air and mother earth. Their number is usually left indeterminate. Virgil, probably working from an Alexandrian source, recognized three: Alecto or Alekto ("endless"), Megaera ("jealous rage"), and Tisiphone or Tilphousia ("vengeful destruction"), all of whom appear in the Aeneid. Dante Alighieri followed Virgil in depicting the same three-character triptych of Erinyes; in Canto IX of the Inferno they confront the poets at the gates of the city of Dis. Whilst the Erinyes were usually described as three maiden goddesses, the Erinys Telphousia was usually a by-name for the wrathful goddess Demeter, who was worshipped under the title of Erinys in the Arkadian town of Thelpousa.


Euripides (; Greek: Εὐριπίδης Eurīpídēs, pronounced [eu̯.riː.pí.dɛːs]; c. 480 – c. 406 BC) was a tragedian of classical Athens. Along with Aeschylus and Sophocles, he is one of the three ancient Greek tragedians for whom a significant number of plays have survived. Some ancient scholars attributed 95 plays to him but, according to the Suda, it was 92 at most. Of these, 18 or 19 have survived more or less complete (there has been debate about his authorship of Rhesus, largely on stylistic grounds) and there are also fragments, some substantial, of most of the other plays. More of his plays have survived intact than those of Aeschylus and Sophocles together, partly because his popularity grew as theirs declined—he became, in the Hellenistic Age, a cornerstone of ancient literary education, along with Homer, Demosthenes, and Menander.Euripides is identified with theatrical innovations that have profoundly influenced drama down to modern times, especially in the representation of traditional, mythical heroes as ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. This new approach led him to pioneer developments that later writers adapted to comedy, some of which are characteristic of romance. Yet he also became "the most tragic of poets", focusing on the inner lives and motives of his characters in a way previously unknown. He was "the creator of...that cage which is the theatre of Shakespeare's Othello, Racine's Phèdre, of Ibsen and Strindberg," in which "...imprisoned men and women destroy each other by the intensity of their loves and hates", and yet he was also the literary ancestor of comic dramatists as diverse as Menander and George Bernard Shaw.Unique among writers of Ancient Athens, Euripides demonstrated sympathy towards the underrepresented members of society. His male contemporaries were frequently shocked by the 'heresies' he put into the mouths of characters, such as these words of his heroine Medea:

His contemporaries associated him with Socrates as a leader of a decadent intellectualism, both of them being frequently lampooned by comic poets such as Aristophanes. Whereas Socrates was eventually put on trial and executed as a corrupting influence, Euripides chose a voluntary exile in old age, dying in Macedonia. Recent scholarship casts doubt on ancient biographies of Euripides. For example, it is possible that he never visited Macedonia at all, or, if he did, he might have been drawn there by King Archelaus with incentives that were also offered to other artists.

Gaelic literature

Gaelic literature (Irish: Litríocht na Gaeilge; Scottish Gaelic: Litreachas na Gàidhlig) is literature in the vernacular Gaelic languages of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man.

Gaelic literature is recognised as one of the oldest literature traditions of Europe, excepting only Latin literature and Greek literature: literature has been written in Gaelic languages from the 1st centuries AD to the present day. Latin had been used extensively in the Gaelic lands, with the advent of Christianity, however, the Gaels were in the vanguard as regards using their own language to write literary works of merit.

Greek mythology

Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the ancient Greeks. These stories concern the origin and the nature of the world, the lives and activities of deities, heroes, and mythological creatures, and the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own cult and ritual practices. Modern scholars study the myths in an attempt to shed light on the religious and political institutions of ancient Greece and its civilization, and to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself.The Greek myths were initially propagated in an oral-poetic tradition most likely by Minoan and Mycenaean singers starting in the 18th century BC; eventually the myths of the heroes of the Trojan War and its aftermath became part of the oral tradition of Homer's epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey. Two poems by Homer's near contemporary Hesiod, the Theogony and the Works and Days, contain accounts of the genesis of the world, the succession of divine rulers, the succession of human ages, the origin of human woes, and the origin of sacrificial practices. Myths are also preserved in the Homeric Hymns, in fragments of epic poems of the Epic Cycle, in lyric poems, in the works of the tragedians and comedians of the fifth century BC, in writings of scholars and poets of the Hellenistic Age, and in texts from the time of the Roman Empire by writers such as Plutarch and Pausanias.

Aside from this narrative deposit in ancient Greek literature, pictorial representations of gods, heroes, and mythic episodes featured prominently in ancient vase-paintings and the decoration of votive gifts and many other artifacts. Geometric designs on pottery of the eighth century BC depict scenes from the Trojan cycle as well as the adventures of Heracles. In the succeeding Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic periods, Homeric and various other mythological scenes appear, supplementing the existing literary evidence.Greek mythology has had an extensive influence on the culture, arts, and literature of Western civilization and remains part of Western heritage and language. Poets and artists from ancient times to the present have derived inspiration from Greek mythology and have discovered contemporary significance and relevance in the themes.

Hellenic Nomarchy

Hellenic Nomarchy (Greek: Ελληνική Νομαρχία The Greek rule of law) was a pamphlet written by "Anonymous the Greek" published and printed in Italy in 1806. It advocated the ideals of freedom, social justice and equality as the main principles of a well-governed society, making it the most important theoretical monument of Greek republicanism. Its author, arguing for both social autonomy and national sovereignty, supported the Greek struggle for national liberation and turned to the moral greatness of ancient Greece in order to stimulate collective pride. Although this work was widely read by Greeks before the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence in 1821, from its first appearance it was received with discomfort by contemporary scholars, and generated debates on the identity of its author.

Hellenic historiography

Greek historiography refers to Hellenic efforts to track and record history. By the 5th century BC, it became an integral part of ancient Greek literature and held a prestigious place in later Byzantine literature.


Hipponax (Ancient Greek: Ἱππῶναξ; gen.: Ἱππώνακτος), of Ephesus and later Clazomenae, was an Ancient Greek iambic poet who composed verses depicting the vulgar side of life in Ionian society in the sixth century BC. He was celebrated by ancient authors for his malicious wit (especially for his attacks on some contemporary sculptors, Bupalus and Athenis), and he was reputed to be physically deformed (a reputation that might have been inspired by the nature of his poetry). Little of his work survives despite its interest to Alexandrian scholars, who collected it in two or three books. He influenced Alexandrian poets searching for alternative styles and uses of language, such as Callimachus and Herodas, and his colourful reputation as an acerbic, social critic also made him a popular subject for verse, as in this epigram by Theocritus:

Here lies the poet Hipponax. If you are a scoundrel, do not approach the tomb; but if you are honest and from worthy stock, sit down in confidence and, if you like, fall asleep.Ancient literary critics credited him with inventing literary parody and "lame" poetic meters suitable for vigorous abuse, as well as with influencing comic dramatists such as Aristophanes. His witty, abusive style appears for example in this quote by Herodian, who however was mainly interested in its linguistic aspects (many of the extant verses were preserved for us by lexicographers and grammarians interested in rare words):

τίς ὀμφαλητόμος σε τὸν διοπλῆγα

ἔψησε κἀπέλουσεν ἀσκαρίζοντα;What navel-snipper wiped and washed you as you squirmed about, you crack-brained creature?where 'navel-snipper' signifies a midwife.

List of Ancient Greek poets

This list of Ancient Greek poets covers poets writing in the Ancient Greek language, regardless of location or nationality of the poet. For a list of modern-day Greek poets, see List of Greek poets.

Modern Greek literature

Modern Greek literature refers to literature written in common Modern Greek, emerging from the late Byzantine era in the 11th century AD. During this period, spoken Greek became more prevalent in the written tradition, as demotic Greek came to be used more and more over the Attic idiom and the katharevousa reforms.

The migration of Byzantine scholars and other émigrés from southern Italy and Byzantium during the decline of the Byzantine Empire (1203–1453) and mainly after the fall of Constantinople in 1453 until the 16th century, is considered by some scholars as key to the revival of Greek and Roman studies and subsequently in the development of the Renaissance humanism and science. These emigres were grammarians, humanists, poets, writers, printers, lecturers, musicians, astronomers, architects, academics, artists, scribes, philosophers, scientists, politicians and theologians. They brought to Western Europe the far greater preserved and accumulated knowledge of their own civilization.

The Cretan Renaissance poem Erotokritos is undoubtedly the masterpiece of this early period of modern Greek literature, and represents one of its supreme achievements. It is a verse romance written around 1600 by Vitsentzos Kornaros (1553–1613). The other major representative of the Cretan literature was Georgios Chortatzis and his most notable work was Erofili. Other plays include The Sacrifice of Abraham by Kornaros, Panoria and Katsourbos by Chortatzis, Fortounatos by Markos Antonios Foskolos, King Rodolinos by Andreas Troilos, Stathis (comedy) and Voskopoula by unknown artists.

Much later, Diafotismos was an ideological, philological, linguistic and philosophical movement among 18th century Greeks that translate the ideas and values of European Enlightenment into the Greek world. Adamantios Korais and Rigas Feraios are two of the most notable figures. In 1819, Korakistika, written by Iakovakis Rizos Neroulos, was a lampoon against the Greek intellectual Adamantios Korais and his linguistic views, who favoured the use of a more conservative form of the Greek language, closer to the ancient.

The years before the Greek Independence, the Ionian islands became the center of the Heptanese School (literature). Its main characteristics was the Italian influence, romanticism, nationalism and use of Demotic Greek. Notable representatives were Andreas Laskaratos, Antonios Matesis, Andreas Kalvos, Aristotelis Valaoritis and Dionysios Solomos.

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.

Modern Greek literature is usually (but not exclusively) written in polytonic orthography, though the monotonic orthography was made official in 1981 by Andreas Papandreou government. Modern Greek literature is represented by many writers, poets and novelists. Major representatives are Angelos Sikelianos, Emmanuel Rhoides, Athanasios Christopoulos, Kostis Palamas, Penelope Delta, Yannis Ritsos, Alexandros Papadiamantis, Nikos Kazantzakis, Andreas Embeirikos, Kostas Karyotakis, Gregorios Xenopoulos, Constantine P. Cavafy, Demetrius Vikelas, Georgios Vizyinos, while George Seferis and Odysseas Elytis have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Other writers include Manolis Anagnostakis, Nicolas Calas, Georgios Drosinis, Kiki Dimoula, Maro Douka, Nikos Engonopoulos, Nikos Gatsos, Iakovos Kambanelis, Nikos Kavvadias, Andreas Karkavitsas, Kostas Krystallis, Dimitris Lyacos, Petros Markaris, Lorentzos Mavilis, Jean Moréas, Stratis Myrivilis, Zacharias Papantoniou, Dimitris Psathas, Ioannis Psycharis, Aristomenis Provelengios, Alexandros Rizos Rangavis, Vasilis Rotas, Miltos Sahtouris, Antonis Samarakis, Giannis Skarimpas, Dido Sotiriou, Georgios Souris, Alexandros Soutsos, Panagiotis Soutsos, Georgios Stratigis, Angelos Terzakis, Kostas Varnalis, Vassilis Vassilikos, Elias Venezis, Demetrios Bernardakis and Nikephoros Vrettakos.

Modern Greek theatre

Modern Greek theatre refers to the theatrical production and theatrical plays written in the Modern Greek language, from the post-Byzantine times until today.


Sophrosyne (Greek: σωφροσύνη) is an ancient Greek concept of an ideal of excellence of character and soundness of mind, which when combined in one well-balanced individual leads to other qualities, such as temperance, moderation, prudence, purity, decorum and self-control.

It may be related to similar concepts such as of zhōngyōng (中庸) of Chinese Confucianism and sattva of Indian thought.


Stesichorus (; Greek: Στησίχορος, Stēsikhoros; c. 630 – 555 BC) was the first great lyric poet of the West. He is best known for telling epic stories in lyric metres but he is also famous for some ancient traditions about his life, such as his opposition to the tyrant Phalaris, and the blindness he is said to have incurred and cured by composing verses first insulting and then flattering to Helen of Troy.

He was ranked among the nine lyric poets esteemed by the scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria and yet his work attracted relatively little interest among ancient commentators, so that remarkably few fragments of his poetry now survive. As one scholar observed in 1967: "Time has dealt more harshly with Stesichorus than with any other major lyric poet." Recent discoveries, recorded on Egyptian papyrus (notably and controversially, the Lille Stesichorus), have led to some improvements in our understanding of his work, confirming his role as a link between Homer's epic narrative and the lyric narrative of poets like Pindar.The following description of the birthplace of the monster Geryon, preserved as a quote by the geographer Strabo, is characteristic of the "descriptive fulness" of his style:

σχεδὸν ἀντιπέρας κλεινᾶς Ἐρυθείας


> Ταρτησ-

σοῦ ποταμοῦ παρὰ παγὰσ ἀπείρονας ἀρ-


ἐν κευθμῶνι πέτρας.A nineteenth century translation imaginatively fills in the gaps while communicating something of the richness of the language:

Where monster Geryon first beheld the light,

Famed Erytheia rises to the sight;

Born near th' unfathomed silver springs that gleam

'Mid caverned rocks, and feed Tartessus' stream.Stesichorus exercised an important influence on the representation of myth in 6th century art and on the development of Athenian dramatic poetry.

The Last Temptation of Christ

The Last Temptation of Christ or The Last Temptation (Greek: Ο Τελευταίος Πειρασμός, O Teleftéos Pirasmós) is a historical novel written by Nikos Kazantzakis, first published in 1955. It was first published in English in 1960. The Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church in Athens wanted this book banned in Greece stating:

This novel, which is derived from the inspiration of the theories of Freud and historical materialism, perverts and hurts the Gospel discernment and the God-man figure of our Lord Jesus Christ in a way coarse, vulgar, and blasphemous.

I. A. Richards claims that Kazantzakis, in his The Last Temptation novel, tried to reclaim the values of early Christianity, such as love, brotherhood, humility, and self-renunciation. According to P. Bien, the psychology in The Last Temptation is based on the idea that every person, Jesus included, is evil by nature as well as good: violent and hateful as well as loving. A psychologically sound individual does not ignore or bury the evil within him. Instead, he channels it into the service of good.The central thesis of the book is that Jesus, while free from sin, was still subject to fear, doubt, depression, reluctance, and lust. Kazantzakis argues in the novel's preface that by facing and conquering all of man's weaknesses, Jesus struggled to do God's will without ever giving in to the temptations of the flesh. The novel advances the argument that, had Jesus succumbed to any such temptation, especially the opportunity to save himself from the cross, his life would have held no more significance than that of any other philosopher.

Tragic hero

A tragic hero is the protagonist of a tragedy in dramas. In his Poetics, Aristotle records the descriptions of the tragic hero to the playwright and strictly defines the place that the tragic hero must play and the kind of man he must be. Aristotle based his observations on previous dramas. Many of the most famous instances of tragic heroes appear in Greek literature, most notably the works of Sophocles and Euripides.

Origin and genealogy
Writing systems
Promotion and study
Greece Greece topics

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.