Greece & Its Theatre

Topics: Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Roman Empire Pages: 15 (5905 words) Published: January 13, 2014
Ancient Greece has been celebrated for its cultural achievements and its government. Although most of this culture was changed or altered after the Roman Empire came to existence Greek theatre has come to be the main contributor to the structure of theatre today. The style of writing the plays; comedy and tragedy, and the layout of the theater itself has evolved from the original format comprised by the Athenians. Theatre was a huge part of ancient Greek culture, with theaters in every town and competitions to find the best playwrights and actors. Without the theatre constructed by the ancient Greeks we would either not have theatre today, or it would be widely different. The island of Crete was the cradle of an early civilization that later influenced the Greeks. The people of Crete had accumulated many ideas from the Egyptians and Mesopotamians. These people, although unknown what they had called themselves, are referred to as Minoans, after Minos; the legendary king of Crete. Their success was based upon trade rather than conquest, and their civilization reached its peak between 1600 BC and 1500 BC. The ideas and technology (i.e. writing, architecture, etc.) garnered from the Egyptians and Mesopotamians through trading posts throughout the Aegean world, were further adapted into the Minoan culture. These Minoan traders would cross the Aegean Sea to the Nile Valley and the Middle East. The rulers of this vast trading empire lived in a palace, at Knossos. This palace included rooms for the royal family, banquet halls, working areas for artisans, and religious shrines. The walls of this palace were covered in frescoes; watercolor paintings done on wet plaster. The imagery of these frescoes indicates the importance’s of the civilization; some emphasized the important of the sea as a means of trading, while others show that the Minoans worshipped the bull and the mother goddess. Paintings also suggest that the women freely appeared in public, this was more freedom than other ancient civilizations allowed. In about 1400 BC, the Minoan civilization vanished, the reasons behind this disappearance are unknown. One theory is that a sudden volcanic eruption on a nearby island wiped out the people. Another theory is that an earthquake hit the area, causing the ruin of Minoan people. It is, however, certain that invaders played a part in the destruction of the Minoans. These intruders were Mycenaeans; the first Greek speaking people of record. Mycenaeans were an Indo-European people who conquered the Greek mainland before moving on to Crete. This was the dominant civilization in the Aegean world from 1400 BC to 1200 BC. The Mycenaean people were sea traders, like the Minoans – they reached beyond the Aegean Sea to Sicily, Italy, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. They continued the trend of absorbing the skills and culture of Egypt and Mesopotamia, but they also learned many skills from the Minoans; like writing. The Mycenaeans lived on the Greek mainland in separate city-states that were ruled individually by warrior kings. Each warrior king would build a fortress and rule over the surrounding villages, amassing treasures. Mycenaeans are best remembered in history for their role in the Trojan War, which took place in approximately 1250 BC. There are conflicting origins about the Trojan War; one option is that it stemmed from economic rivalry between Mycenae and Troy regarding water passage control. The other theory is based in the Greek legend, that Paris, a Trojan Prince, kidnapped Helen – the beautiful wife of a Greek king. The Mycenaeans then sailed to Troy for a rescue, after ten years of war the Greeks seized Troy and burned it. In the past the Trojan War was regarded as a legend, but was proven through site excavation where evidence of fire and war dating around 1250 BC were found in Troy. Not long after the Trojan War, the Mycenaeans came under attack from both sea raiders and another Greek-speaking...
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