The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, Hellenistic period, it is succeeded by medieval Greek. Koine is regarded as a separate historical stage of its own, although in its earliest form it resembled Attic Greek and in its latest form it approaches Medieval Greek. Prior to the Koine period, Greek of the classic and earlier periods included several regional dialects. Ancient Greek was the language of Homer and of fifth-century Athenian historians and philosophers, it has contributed many words to English vocabulary and has been a standard subject of study in educational institutions of the Western world since the Renaissance. This article contains information about the Epic and Classical periods of the language. Ancient Greek was a pluricentric language, divided into many dialects; the main dialect groups are Attic and Ionic, Aeolic and Doric, many of them with several subdivisions.
Some dialects are found in standardized literary forms used in literature, while others are attested only in inscriptions. There are several historical forms. Homeric Greek is a literary form of Archaic Greek used in the epic poems, the "Iliad" and "Odyssey", in poems by other authors. Homeric Greek had significant differences in grammar and pronunciation from Classical Attic and other Classical-era dialects; the origins, early form and development of the Hellenic language family are not well understood because of a lack of contemporaneous evidence. Several theories exist about what Hellenic dialect groups may have existed between the divergence of early Greek-like speech from the common Proto-Indo-European language and the Classical period, they differ in some of the detail. The only attested dialect from this period is Mycenaean Greek, but its relationship to the historical dialects and the historical circumstances of the times imply that the overall groups existed in some form. Scholars assume that major Ancient Greek period dialect groups developed not than 1120 BCE, at the time of the Dorian invasion—and that their first appearances as precise alphabetic writing began in the 8th century BCE.
The invasion would not be "Dorian" unless the invaders had some cultural relationship to the historical Dorians. The invasion is known to have displaced population to the Attic-Ionic regions, who regarded themselves as descendants of the population displaced by or contending with the Dorians; the Greeks of this period believed there were three major divisions of all Greek people—Dorians and Ionians, each with their own defining and distinctive dialects. Allowing for their oversight of Arcadian, an obscure mountain dialect, Cypriot, far from the center of Greek scholarship, this division of people and language is quite similar to the results of modern archaeological-linguistic investigation. One standard formulation for the dialects is: West vs. non-west Greek is the strongest marked and earliest division, with non-west in subsets of Ionic-Attic and Aeolic vs. Arcadocypriot, or Aeolic and Arcado-Cypriot vs. Ionic-Attic. Non-west is called East Greek. Arcadocypriot descended more from the Mycenaean Greek of the Bronze Age.
Boeotian had come under a strong Northwest Greek influence, can in some respects be considered a transitional dialect. Thessalian had come under Northwest Greek influence, though to a lesser degree. Pamphylian Greek, spoken in a small area on the southwestern coast of Anatolia and little preserved in inscriptions, may be either a fifth major dialect group, or it is Mycenaean Greek overlaid by Doric, with a non-Greek native influence. Most of the dialect sub-groups listed above had further subdivisions equivalent to a city-state and its surrounding territory, or to an island. Doric notably had several intermediate divisions as well, into Island Doric, Southern Peloponnesus Doric, Northern Peloponnesus Doric; the Lesbian dialect was Aeolic Greek. All the groups were represented by colonies beyond Greece proper as well, these colonies developed local characteristics under the influence of settlers or neighbors speaking different Greek dialects; the dialects outside the Ionic group are known from inscriptions, notable exceptions being: fragments of the works of the poet Sappho from the island of Lesbos, in Aeolian, the poems of the Boeotian poet Pindar and other lyric poets in Doric.
After the conquests of Alexander the Great in the late 4th century BCE, a new international dialect known as Koine or Common Greek developed based on Attic Greek, but with influence from other dialects. This dialect replaced most of the older dialects, although Doric dialect has survived in the Tsakonian language, spoken in the region of modern Sparta. Doric has passed down its aorist terminations into most verbs of Demotic Greek. By about the 6th century CE, the Koine had metamorphosized into Medieval Greek. Ancient Macedonian was an Indo-European language at least related to Greek, but its exact relationship is unclear because of insufficient data: a dialect of Greek; the Macedonian dialect (or l
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the 20 regions of Italy. It is one of the five Italian autonomous regions, in Southern Italy along with surrounding minor islands referred to as Regione Siciliana. Sicily is located in the central Mediterranean Sea, south of the Italian Peninsula, from which it is separated by the narrow Strait of Messina, its most prominent landmark is Mount Etna, the tallest active volcano in Europe, one of the most active in the world 3,329 m high. The island has a typical Mediterranean climate; the earliest archaeological evidence of human activity on the island dates from as early as 12,000 BC. By around 750 BC, Sicily had three Phoenician and a dozen Greek colonies and, for the next 600 years, it was the site of the Sicilian Wars and the Punic Wars. After the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, Sicily was ruled during the Early Middle Ages by the Vandals, the Ostrogoths, the Byzantine Empire, the Emirate of Sicily; the Norman conquest of southern Italy led to the creation of the Kingdom of Sicily, subsequently ruled by the Hohenstaufen, the Capetian House of Anjou and the House of Habsburg.
It was unified under the House of Bourbon with the Kingdom of Naples as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. It became part of Italy in 1860 following the Expedition of the Thousand, a revolt led by Giuseppe Garibaldi during the Italian unification, a plebiscite. Sicily was given special status as an autonomous region on 15th May 1946, 18 days before the Italian constitutional referendum of 1946. Albeit, much of the autonomy still remains unapplied financial autonomy, because the autonomy-activating laws have been deferred to be approved by the parithetic committee, since 1946. Sicily has a rich and unique culture with regard to the arts, literature and architecture, it is home to important archaeological and ancient sites, such as the Necropolis of Pantalica, the Valley of the Temples and Selinunte. Sicily has a triangular shape, earning it the name Trinacria. To the east, it is separated from the Italian mainland by the Strait of Messina, about 3 km wide in the north, about 16 km wide in the southern part.
The northern and southern coasts are each about 280 km long measured as a straight line, while the eastern coast measures around 180 km. The total area of the island is 25,711 km2, while the Autonomous Region of Sicily has an area of 27,708 km2; the terrain of inland Sicily is hilly and is intensively cultivated wherever possible. Along the northern coast, the mountain ranges of Madonie, 2,000 m, Nebrodi, 1,800 m, Peloritani, 1,300 m, are an extension of the mainland Apennines; the cone of Mount Etna dominates the eastern coast. In the southeast lie the lower Hyblaean Mountains, 1,000 m; the mines of the Enna and Caltanissetta districts were part of a leading sulphur-producing area throughout the 19th century, but have declined since the 1950s. Sicily and its surrounding small islands have some active volcanoes. Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe and still casts black ash over the island with its ever-present eruptions, it stands 3,329 metres high, though this varies with summit eruptions.
It is the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps. Etna covers an area of 1,190 km2 with a basal circumference of 140 km; this makes it by far the largest of the three active volcanoes in Italy, being about two and a half times the height of the next largest, Mount Vesuvius. In Greek mythology, the deadly monster Typhon was trapped under the mountain by Zeus, the god of the sky. Mount Etna is regarded as a cultural symbol and icon of Sicily; the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea, to the northeast of mainland Sicily form a volcanic complex, include Stromboli. The three volcanoes of Vulcano and Lipari are currently active, although the latter is dormant. Off the southern coast of Sicily, the underwater volcano of Ferdinandea, part of the larger Empedocles volcano, last erupted in 1831, it is located between the island of Pantelleria. The autonomous region includes several neighbouring islands: the Aegadian Islands, the Aeolian Islands and Lampedusa; the island is drained by several rivers, most of which flow through the central area and enter the sea at the south of the island.
The Salso flows through parts of Enna and Caltanissetta before entering the Mediterranean Sea at the port of Licata. To the east, the Alcantara flows through the province of Messina and enters the sea at Giardini Naxos, the Simeto, which flows into the Ionian Sea south of Catania. Other important rivers on the island are the Platani in the southwest. Sicily has a typical Mediterranean climate with mild and wet winters and hot, dry summers with changeable intermediate seasons. On the coasts the south-western, the climate is affected by the African currents and summers can be scorching. Sicily is seen as an island of warm winters but above all along the Tyrrhenian coast and in the inland areas, winters can be cold, with typical continental climate. Snow falls in abundance above 900–1000 metres, but stronger cold waves can carry it in the hills and in coastal cities on the northern coast of the island; the interi
Dr Leonhard Schmitz FRSE LLD was a Prussian-born classical scholar and educational author active in the United Kingdom. He is sometimes referred to in the Anglicised version of his name Leonard Schmitz. Schmitz was born in Eupen in what was Prussia close to the Belgium/Germany border, he attended gymnasium in Aix-la-Chappelle to the east. He nonetheless excelled academically, he studied at the University of Bonn, where he earned a PhD, was in particular influenced by Barthold Georg Niebuhr. He became associated with a number of scholars there, writing many of the mythological entries for classicist William Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, serving as "a key figure in the transmission of German classical scholarship to Victorian Britain". Schmitz moved to Scotland in 1846 to serve as rector of the Royal High School in Edinburgh from that year until 1866, he lived at 11 Carlton Terrace on Calton Hill close to the school. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1846 his proposer being James Pillans.
In his induction speech he expressed the hope that his appointment would be "the means of strengthening and increasing the intellectual sympathy which has so long existed between this country and Germany". In that office in 1859 he tutored HRH The Prince of Wales in Roman history. Schmitz moved back to England in 1866, serving as Principal of London International College from 1866 to 1874, Classical Examiner at the University of London from 1874 to 1884, he was granted a civil list pension of £50 in 1881, doubled in 1886. He married an English woman, Eliza Mary Machell, moved to England in 1837. A Grammar of the Latin Language with Karl Zumpt The History of Rome co-author Lectures on Ancient History Lectures on the History of Rome Elementary Latin Grammar and Exercise Lectures on Ancient Ethnography and Geography A Manual of Ancient Geography The Ancient History of Herodotus Biographies of Eminent Soldiers of the Last Four Centuries A History of England for Junior Classes A History of Latin Literature A Practical Grammar of the German Language Putnam's Short School Histories: England + Germany + Greece + Rome Works by Leonhard Schmitz at Project Gutenberg Works by or about Leonhard Schmitz at Internet Archive
History of the Peloponnesian War
The History of the Peloponnesian War is a historical account of the Peloponnesian War, fought between the Peloponnesian League and the Delian League. It was written by Thucydides, an Athenian historian who happened to serve as an Athenian general during the war, his account of the conflict is considered to be a classic and regarded as one of the earliest scholarly works of history. The History is divided into eight books. Analyses of the History occur in one of two camps. On the one hand, some scholars view the work as an scientific piece of history; the judgment of J. B. Bury reflects his traditional interpretation of the work: " severe in its detachment, written from a purely intellectual point of view, unencumbered with platitudes and moral judgments and critical."On the other hand, in keeping with more recent interpretations that are associated with reader-response criticism, the History can be read as a piece of literature rather than an objective record of the historical events. This view is embodied in the words of W. R. Connor, who describes Thucydides as "an artist who responds to, selects and skillfully arranges his material, develops its symbolic and emotional potential."
Thucydides is considered to be one of the great "fathers" of Western history, thus making his methodology the subject of much analysis in area of historiography. Thucydides is one of the first western historians to employ a strict standard of chronology, recording events by year, with each year consisting of the summer campaign season and a less active winter season; this method contrasts with Herodotus. Thucydides makes extensive use of speeches in order to elaborate on the event in question. While the inclusion of long first-person speeches is somewhat alien to modern historical method, in the context of ancient Greek oral culture speeches are expected; these include addresses given to troops by their generals before battles and numerous political speeches, both by Athenian and Spartan leaders, as well as debates between various parties. Of the speeches, the most famous is the funeral oration of Pericles, found in Book Two. Thucydides undoubtedly heard some of these speeches himself while for others he relied on eyewitness accounts.
These speeches are suspect in the eyes of Classicists, inasmuch as it is not clear to what degree Thucydides altered these speeches in order to elucidate better the crux of the argument presented. Some of the speeches are fabricated according to his expectations of, as he puts it, "what was called for in each situation". Despite being an Athenian and a participant in the conflict, Thucydides is regarded as having written a unbiased account of the conflict with respect to the sides involved in it. In the introduction to the piece he states, "my work is not a piece of writing designed to meet the taste of an immediate public, but was done to last for ever". There are scholars, who doubt this. Ernst Badian, for example has argued. In keeping with this sort of doubt, other scholars claim that Thucydides had an ulterior motive in his Histories to create an epic comparable to those of the past such as the works of Homer, that this led him to create a nonobjective dualism favoring the Athenians; the work does display a clear bias against certain people involved in the conflict, such as Cleon.
The gods play no active role in Thucydides' work. This is different from Herodotus, who mentions the role of the gods, as well as a nearly ubiquitous divine presence in the centuries-earlier poems of Homer. Instead, Thucydides regards history as being caused by the actions of human beings. Despite the absence of actions of the gods and piety play critical roles in the actions of the Spartans, to a lesser degree, the Athenians, thus natural occurrences such as earthquake and eclipses were viewed as religiously significant Despite the absence of the gods from Thucydides' work, he still draws from the Greek mythos from Homer, whose works are prominent in Greek mythology. Thucydides references Homer as a source of information, but always adds a distancing clause, such as "Homer shows this, if, sufficient evidence," and "assuming we should trust Homer's poetry in this case too."However, despite Thucydides' lack of trust in information, not experienced firsthand, such as Homer's, he does use the poet's epics to infer facts about the Trojan War.
For instance, while Thucydides considered the number of over 1,000 Greek ships sent to Troy to be a poetic exaggeration, he uses Homer's Catalog of Ships to determine the approximate number of Greek soldiers who were present. Thucydides claims that since Homer never makes reference to a united Greek state, the pre-Hellenic nations must have been so disjointed that they could not organize properly to launch an effective campaign. In fact, Thucydides claims that Troy could have been conquered in half the time had the Greek leaders allocated resources properly and not sent a large portion of the army on raids for supplies. Thucydides makes sure to inform his reader that he, unlike Homer, is not a poet prone to exaggeration, but instead a historian, whose stories may not give "momentary pleasure," but "whose intended meaning will be challenged by the truth of the facts." By distancing himself from the storytelling practices of Homer, Thucydides makes it clear that while he does consider mythology and epics to be evidence, these works cannot be given much credibility, that it takes an impartial and empirically minded historian, such as himself, to po
Thucydides was an Athenian historian and general. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the fifth-century BC war between Sparta and Athens until the year 411 BC. Thucydides has been dubbed the father of "scientific history" by those who accept his claims to have applied strict standards of impartiality and evidence-gathering and analysis of cause and effect, without reference to intervention by the deities, as outlined in his introduction to his work, he has been called the father of the school of political realism, which views the political behavior of individuals and the subsequent outcomes of relations between states as mediated by and constructed upon the emotions of fear and self-interest. His text is still studied at military colleges worldwide; the Melian dialogue is regarded as a seminal work of international relations theory, while his version of Pericles' Funeral Oration is studied by political theorists and students of the classics. More Thucydides developed an understanding of human nature to explain behaviour in such crises as plagues and civil war.
In spite of his stature as a historian, modern historians know little about Thucydides's life. The most reliable information comes from his own History of the Peloponnesian War, which expounds his nationality and native locality. Thucydides says that he fought in the war, contracted the plague, was exiled by the democracy, he may have been involved in quelling the Samian Revolt. Thucydides identifies himself as an Athenian, telling us that his father's name was Olorus and that he was from the Athenian deme of Halimous, he survived the Plague of Athens, which killed many other Athenians. He records that he owned gold mines at Scapte Hyle, a coastal area in Thrace, opposite the island of Thasos; because of his influence in the Thracian region, Thucydides wrote, he was sent as a strategos to Thasos in 424 BC. During the winter of 424–423 BC, the Spartan general Brasidas attacked Amphipolis, a half-day's sail west from Thasos on the Thracian coast, sparking the Battle of Amphipolis. Eucles, the Athenian commander at Amphipolis, sent to Thucydides for help.
Brasidas, aware the presence of Thucydides on Thasos and his influence with the people of Amphipolis, afraid of help arriving by sea, acted to offer moderate terms to the Amphipolitans for their surrender, which they accepted. Thus, when Thucydides arrived, Amphipolis was under Spartan control. Amphipolis was of considerable strategic importance, news of its fall caused great consternation in Athens, it was blamed on Thucydides, although he claimed that it was not his fault and that he had been unable to reach it in time. Because of his failure to save Amphipolis, he was exiled: I lived through the whole of it, being of an age to comprehend events, giving my attention to them in order to know the exact truth about them, it was my fate to be an exile from my country for twenty years after my command at Amphipolis. Using his status as an exile from Athens to travel among the Peloponnesian allies, he was able to view the war from the perspective of both sides. Thucydides claimed that he began writing his history as soon as the war broke out, because he thought it would be one of the greatest wars waged among the Greeks in terms of scale:Thucydides, an Athenian, wrote the history of the war between the Peloponnesians and the Athenians, beginning at the moment that it broke out, believing that it would be a great war, more worthy of relation than any that had preceded it.
This is all that Thucydides wrote about his own life, but a few other facts are available from reliable contemporary sources. Herodotus wrote that the name Olorus, Thucydides's father's name, was connected with Thrace and Thracian royalty. Thucydides was connected through family to the Athenian statesman and general Miltiades and his son Cimon, leaders of the old aristocracy supplanted by the Radical Democrats. Cimon's maternal grandfather's name was Olorus, making the connection quite likely. Another Thucydides lived before the historian and was linked with Thrace, making a family connection between them likely as well. Combining all the fragmentary evidence available, it seems that his family had owned a large estate in Thrace, one that contained gold mines, which allowed the family considerable and lasting affluence; the security and continued prosperity of the wealthy estate must have necessitated formal ties with local kings or chieftains, which explains the adoption of the distinctly Thracian royal name Óloros into the family.
Once exiled, Thucydides took permanent residence in the estate and, given his ample income from the gold mines, he was able to dedicate himself to full-time history writing and research, including many fact-finding trips. In essence, he was a well-connected gentleman of considerable resources who, after involuntarily retiring from the political and military spheres, decided to fund his own historical investigations; the remaining evidence for Thucydides' life comes from and rather less reliable ancient sources. According to Pausanias, someone named Oenobius had a law passed allowing Thucydides to return to Athens shortly after the city's surrender and the end of the war in 404 BC. Pausanias goes on to say that Thucydides was murdered on his way back to Athens, placing his tomb near the Melite gate. Many doubt this
Pindar was an Ancient Greek lyric poet from Thebes. Of the canonical nine lyric poets of ancient Greece, his work is the best preserved. Quintilian wrote, "Of the nine lyric poets, Pindar is by far the greatest, in virtue of his inspired magnificence, the beauty of his thoughts and figures, the rich exuberance of his language and matter, his rolling flood of eloquence, characteristics which, as Horace rightly held, make him inimitable." His poems can however, seem difficult and peculiar. The Athenian comic playwright Eupolis once remarked that they "are reduced to silence by the disinclination of the multitude for elegant learning"; some scholars in the modern age found his poetry perplexing, at least until the 1896 discovery of some poems by his rival Bacchylides. His poetry, while admired by critics, still challenges the casual reader and his work is unread among the general public. Pindar was the first Greek poet to reflect on the poet's role. Like other poets of the Archaic Age, he has a profound sense of the vicissitudes of life, but he articulates a passionate faith in what men can achieve by the grace of the gods, most famously expressed in the conclusion to one of his Victory Odes: His poetry illustrates the beliefs and values of Archaic Greece at the dawn of the classical period.
Five ancient sources contain all the recorded details of Pindar's life. One of them is a short biography discovered in 1961 on an Egyptian papyrus dating from at least 200 AD; the other four are collections that weren't finalized until some 1600 years after his death: Commentaries on Pindar by Eustathius of Thessalonica. Although these sources are based on a much older literary tradition, going as far back as Chamaeleon of Heraclea in the 4th century BC, they are viewed with scepticism today: much of the material is fanciful. Scholars both ancient and modern have turned to Pindar's own work – his victory odes in particular – as a source of biographical information: some of the poems touch on historic events and can be dated; the 1962 publication of Elroy Bundy's ground-breaking work Studia Pindarica led to a change in scholarly opinion—the Odes were no longer seen as expressions of Pindar's personal thoughts and feelings, but rather as public statements "dedicated to the single purpose of eulogizing men and communities."
It has been claimed that biographical interpretations of the poems are due to a "fatal conjunction" of historicism and Romanticism. In other words, we know nothing about Pindar's life based on either traditional sources or his own poems. However, the pendulum of intellectual fashion has begun to change direction again, cautious use of the poems for some biographical purposes is considered acceptable once more. Pindar was born in 522 BC or 518 BC in Cynoscephalae, a village in Boeotia, not far from Thebes, his father's name is variously given as Daiphantus, Pagondas or Scopelinus, his mother's name was Cleodice. It is told that he was stung on the mouth by a bee in his youth and this was the reason he became a poet of honey-like verses. Pindar was about twenty years old in 498 BC when he was commissioned by the ruling family in Thessaly to compose his first victory ode, he studied the art of lyric poetry in Athens, where his tutor was Lasos of Hermione, he is said to have received some helpful criticism from Corinna.
The early-to-middle years of Pindar's career coincided with the Persian invasions of Greece in the reigns of Darius and Xerxes. During the invasion in 480/79 BC, when Pindar was forty years old, Thebes was occupied by Xerxes' general, who with many Theban aristocrats subsequently perished at the Battle of Plataea, it is possible. His choice of residence during the earlier invasion in 490 BC is not known, but he was able to attend the Pythian Games for that year, where he first met the Sicilian prince, nephew of Theron of Acragas. Thrasybulus had driven the winning chariot and he and Pindar were to form a lasting friendship, paving the way for his subsequent visit to Sicily. Pindar seems to have used his odes to advance his, his friends', personal interests. In 462 BC he composed two odes in honour of Arcesilas, king of Cyrene, pleading for the return from exile of a friend, Demophilus. In the latter ode Pindar proudly mentions his own ancestry, which he shared with the king, as an Aegeid or descendent of Aegeus, the legendary king of Athens.
The clan was influential in many parts of the Greek world, having intermarried with ruling families in Thebes, in Lacedaemonia, in cities that claimed Lacedaemonian descent, such as Cyrene and Thera. The historian Herodotus considered the clan important enough to deserve mention. Membership of this clan contributed to Pindar's success as a poet, it informed his political views, which are marked by a conservative preference for oligarchic governments of the Doric kind. "Pindar might not claim to be an Aegeid since his'I' statements do not refer to himself. The Aegeid clan did however have a branch in Thebes, his reference to'my ancestors' in Pythian 5 could have been spoken on behalf of both Arcesilas and himself – he may have used this ambivalence to e
Greek mythology is the body of myths told by the ancient Greeks. These stories concern the origin and the nature of the world, the lives and activities of deities and mythological creatures, 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, to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself; the Greek myths were propagated in an oral-poetic tradition most by Minoan and Mycenaean singers starting in the 18th century BC. 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, the origin of sacrificial practices. Myths are 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, 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 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 and Hellenistic periods and various other mythological scenes appear, supplementing the existing literary evidence. Greek mythology has had an extensive influence on the culture 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. Greek mythology is known today from Greek literature and representations on visual media dating from the Geometric period from c. 900 BC to c. 800 BC onward. In fact and archaeological sources integrate, sometimes mutually supportive and sometimes in conflict.
Mythical narration plays an important role in nearly every genre of Greek literature. The only general mythographical handbook to survive from Greek antiquity was the Library of Pseudo-Apollodorus; this work attempts to reconcile the contradictory tales of the poets and provides a grand summary of traditional Greek mythology and heroic legends. Apollodorus of Athens wrote on many of these topics, his writings may have formed the basis for the collection. Among the earliest literary sources are the Iliad and the Odyssey. Other poets completed the "epic cycle", but these and lesser poems now are lost entirely. Despite their traditional name, the "Homeric Hymns" have no direct connection with Homer, they are choral hymns from the earlier part of the so-called Lyric age. Hesiod, a possible contemporary with Homer, offers in his Theogony the fullest account of the earliest Greek myths, dealing with the creation of the world. Hesiod's Works and Days, a didactic poem about farming life includes the myths of Prometheus and the Five Ages.
The poet gives advice on the best way to succeed in a dangerous world, rendered yet more dangerous by its gods. Lyrical poets took their subjects from myth, but their treatment became less narrative and more allusive. Greek lyric poets, including Pindar and Simonides, bucolic poets such as Theocritus and Bion, relate individual mythological incidents. Additionally, myth was central to classical Athenian drama; the tragic playwrights Aeschylus and Euripides took most of their plots from myths of the age of heroes and the Trojan War. Many of the great tragic stories took on their classic form in these tragedies; the comic playwright Aristophanes used myths, in The Birds and The Frogs. Historians Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus, geographers Pausanias and Strabo, who traveled throughout the Greek world and noted the stories they heard, supplied numerous local myths and legends giving little-known alternative versions. Herodotus in particular, searched the various traditions presented him and found the historical or mythological roots in the confrontation between Greece and the East.
Herodotus attempted to reconcile the blending of differing cultural concepts. The poetry of the Hellenistic and Roman ages was composed as a literary rather than cultic exercise, it contains many important details that would otherwise be lost. This category includes the works of: The Roman poets Ovid, Valerius Flaccus and Virgil with Servius's commentary; the Greek poets of the Late Antique period: Nonnus, Antoninus Liberalis, Quintus Smyrnaeus. The Greek poets of the Hellenistic period: Apollonius of Rhodes, Pseudo-Eratosthenes, Parthenius. Prose writers from the same periods who make reference to myths includ