Ancient Greece was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Three centuries after the Late Bronze Age collapse of Mycenaean Greece, Greek urban poleis began to form in the 8th century BC, ushering in the Archaic period and colonization of the Mediterranean Basin; this was followed by the period of Classical Greece, an era that began with the Greco-Persian Wars, lasting from the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Due to the conquests by Alexander the Great of Macedon, Hellenistic civilization flourished from Central Asia to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea; the Hellenistic period came to an end with the conquests and annexations of the eastern Mediterranean world by the Roman Republic, which established the Roman province of Macedonia in Roman Greece, the province of Achaea during the Roman Empire. Classical Greek culture philosophy, had a powerful influence on ancient Rome, which carried a version of it to many parts of the Mediterranean Basin and Europe.
For this reason, Classical Greece is considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of modern Western culture and is considered the cradle of Western civilization. Classical Greek culture gave great importance to knowledge. Science and religion were not separate and getting closer to the truth meant getting closer to the gods. In this context, they understood the importance of mathematics as an instrument for obtaining more reliable knowledge. Greek culture, in a few centuries and with a limited population, managed to explore and make progress in many fields of science, mathematics and knowledge in general. Classical antiquity in the Mediterranean region is considered to have begun in the 8th century BC and ended in the 6th century AD. Classical antiquity in Greece was preceded by the Greek Dark Ages, archaeologically characterised by the protogeometric and geometric styles of designs on pottery. Following the Dark Ages was the Archaic Period, beginning around the 8th century BC.
The Archaic Period saw early developments in Greek culture and society which formed the basis for the Classical Period. After the Archaic Period, the Classical Period in Greece is conventionally considered to have lasted from the Persian invasion of Greece in 480 until the death of Alexander the Great in 323; the period is characterized by a style, considered by observers to be exemplary, i.e. "classical", as shown in the Parthenon, for instance. Politically, the Classical Period was dominated by Athens and the Delian League during the 5th century, but displaced by Spartan hegemony during the early 4th century BC, before power shifted to Thebes and the Boeotian League and to the League of Corinth led by Macedon; this period saw the Greco-Persian Wars and the Rise of Macedon. Following the Classical period was the Hellenistic period, during which Greek culture and power expanded into the Near and Middle East; this period ends with the Roman conquest. Roman Greece is considered to be the period between Roman victory over the Corinthians at the Battle of Corinth in 146 BC and the establishment of Byzantium by Constantine as the capital of the Roman Empire in AD 330.
Late Antiquity refers to the period of Christianization during the 4th to early 6th centuries AD, sometimes taken to be complete with the closure of the Academy of Athens by Justinian I in 529. The historical period of ancient Greece is unique in world history as the first period attested directly in proper historiography, while earlier ancient history or proto-history is known by much more circumstantial evidence, such as annals or king lists, pragmatic epigraphy. Herodotus is known as the "father of history": his Histories are eponymous of the entire field. Written between the 450s and 420s BC, Herodotus' work reaches about a century into the past, discussing 6th century historical figures such as Darius I of Persia, Cambyses II and Psamtik III, alluding to some 8th century ones such as Candaules. Herodotus was succeeded by authors such as Thucydides, Demosthenes and Aristotle. Most of these authors were either Athenian or pro-Athenian, why far more is known about the history and politics of Athens than those of many other cities.
Their scope is further limited by a focus on political and diplomatic history, ignoring economic and social history. In the 8th century BC, Greece began to emerge from the Dark Ages which followed the fall of the Mycenaean civilization. Literacy had been lost and Mycenaean script forgotten, but the Greeks adopted the Phoenician alphabet, modifying it to create the Greek alphabet. Objects with Phoenician writing on them may have been available in Greece from the 9th century BC, but the earliest evidence of Greek writing comes from graffiti on Greek pottery from the mid-8th century. Greece was divided into many small self-governing communities, a pattern dictated by Greek geography: every island and plain is cut off from its neighbors by the sea or mountain ranges; the Lelantine War is the earliest documented war of the ancient Greek period. It was fought between the important poleis of Chalcis and Eretria over the fertile Lelantine plain of Euboea. Both cities seem to have suffered a decline as result of the long war, though Chalcis was the nominal victor.
A mercantile class arose in the first half of the 7th century BC, shown by the introduction of coinage in about 680 BC. This
A ballad is a form of verse a narrative set to music. Ballads derive from the medieval French chanson balladée or ballade, which were "danced songs". Ballads were characteristic of the popular poetry and song of Ireland and Britain from the medieval period until the 19th century, they were used across Europe, in Australia, North Africa, North America and South America. Ballads are 13 lines with an ABABBCBC form, consisting of couplets of rhymed verse, each of 14 syllables. Another common form is ABCB repeated, in alternating 8 and 6 syllable lines. Many ballads were sold as single sheet broadsides; the form was used by poets and composers from the 18th century onwards to produce lyrical ballads. In the 19th century, the term took on the meaning of a slow form of popular love song and is used for any love song the sentimental ballad of pop or rock, although the term is associated with the concept of a stylized storytelling song or poem when used as a title for other media such as a film; the ballad derives its name from medieval French dance songs or "ballares", from which'ballet' is derived, as did the alternative rival form that became the French ballade.
As a narrative song, their theme and function may originate from Scandinavian and Germanic traditions of storytelling that can be seen in poems such as Beowulf. Musically they were influenced by the Minnelieder of the Minnesang tradition; the earliest example of a recognizable ballad in form in England is "Judas" in a 13th-century manuscript. Ballads were written to accompany dances, so were composed in couplets with refrains in alternate lines; these refrains would have been sung by the dancers in time with the dance. Most northern and west European ballads are written in ballad stanzas or quatrains of alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter, known as ballad meter. Only the second and fourth line of a quatrain are rhymed, taken to suggest that ballads consisted of couplets of rhymed verse, each of 14 syllables; this can be seen in this stanza from "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet": The horse | fair Ann | et rode | upon | He amb | led like | the wind |, With sil | ver he | was shod | before, With burn | ing gold | behind |.
There is considerable variation on this pattern in every respect, including length, number of lines and rhyming scheme, making the strict definition of a ballad difficult. In southern and eastern Europe, in countries that derive their tradition from them, ballad structure differs like Spanish romanceros, which are octosyllabic and use consonance rather than rhyme. Ballads are influenced by the regions in which they originate and use the common dialect of the people. Scotland's ballads in particular, both in theme and language, are characterised by their distinctive tradition exhibiting some pre-Christian influences in the inclusion of supernatural elements such as travel to the Fairy Kingdom in the Scots ballad "Tam Lin"; the ballads do not correct version. The ballads remained an oral tradition until the increased interest in folk songs in the 18th century led collectors such as Bishop Thomas Percy to publish volumes of popular ballads. In all traditions most ballads are narrative in nature, with a self-contained story concise, rely on imagery, rather than description, which can be tragic, romantic or comic.
Themes concerning rural laborers and their sexuality are common, there are many ballads based on the Robin Hood legend. Another common feature of ballads is repetition, sometimes of fourth lines in succeeding stanzas, as a refrain, sometimes of third and fourth lines of a stanza and sometimes of entire stanzas. Scholars of ballads have been divided into "communalists", such as Johann Gottfried Herder and the Brothers Grimm, who argue that ballads are communal compositions, "individualists" such as Cecil Sharp, who assert that there was one single original author. Communalists tend to see more recent printed, broadside ballads of known authorship as a debased form of the genre, while individualists see variants as corruptions of an original text. More scholars have pointed to the interchange of oral and written forms of the ballad; the transmission of ballads comprises a key stage in their re-composition. In romantic terms this process is dramatized as a narrative of degeneration away from the pure'folk memory' or'immemorial tradition'.
In the introduction to Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border the romantic poet and historical novelist Walter Scott argued a need to'remove obvious corruptions' in order to attempt to restore a supposed original. For Scott, the process of multiple recitations'incurs the risk of impertinent interpolations from the conceit of one rehearser, unintelligible blunders from the stupidity of another, omissions to be regretted, from the want of memory of a third.' John Robert Moore noted'a natural tendency to oblivescence'. According to Scott, transcribed ballads have a'flatness and insipidity' compared to their oral counterparts. European Ballads have been classified into three major groups: traditional and literary. In America a distinction is drawn between ballads that are versions of European British and Irish songs, and'Native American ballads
Classical Chinese poetry
Classical Chinese poetry is traditional Chinese poetry written in Classical Chinese and typified by certain traditional forms, or modes. Its existence was documented at least as early as the publication of the Classic of Poetry. Various combinations of forms and genres exist. Many or most of these were developed by the end of the Tang Dynasty, in 907 CE. Use and development of Classical Chinese poetry continued up to until the May Fourth Movement, in 1919, is still developed today. Poetry created during this 2,500-year period of more-or-less continuous development displays a great deal of diversity – categorized by both major historical periods and by dynastic periods. Another key aspect of Classical Chinese poetry is its intense inter-relationship with other forms of Chinese art, such as Chinese painting and Chinese calligraphy. Classical Chinese poetry has proven to be of immense influence upon poetry worldwide; the stylistic development of Classical Chinese poetry consists of both literary and oral cultural processes.
These are divided into certain standard periods or eras, in terms both of specific poems as well as characteristic styles. The poems preserved in written form the poetic literature. Parallel traditions of oral and traditional poetry known as popular or folk poems or ballads exist; some of these poems have been preserved in written form. Folk-type poems are anonymous, many show signs of having been edited or polished in the process of recording them in written characters; the main source sources for the earliest preserved poems are the Classic of Poetry and the Songs of the South. Some individual pieces or fragments survive in other forms – embedded, for example, in classical histories or other literature; the literary tradition of Classical Chinese poetry begins with the Classic of Poetry, or Shijing, dated to early 1st millennium BC. According to tradition, Confucius was the final editor of the collection in its present form, although the individual poems were older than this. Burton Watson dates the anthology's main compilation date to about the 7th century BCE, with the poems having been collected over the previous four to five centuries before.
This, among other factors, indicates a sustained cross-class popularity for this type of poetry, including their characteristic four-character per line meter. The Shijing tends to be associated with northern Chinese vocabulary and culture, in particular with the great sage and philosopher Confucius: this helped encourage the development of this type of poetry into the classic shi style, the literal meaning of Shijing. Despite their commendation by Confucius, there are no extant samples of any poetry of this style made within the next three hundred years. Another early poetry collection/genre is the Chu Ci, typified by various line lengths and the imagery and influence of the vernacular associated with the state of Chu, in southern China. One important part of this is the Li Sao, attributed to Qu Yuan; these poems from the State of Chu are among the most important of all Classical Chinese poetry, these poems and their style seem to have had less impact on Classical Chinese poetry, at least at first, than did the Shijing collection and style.
The classic shi poetry, with its four-character lines, was revived by Han and Three Kingdoms poets, to some extent. Among other poetic developments during the Han epoch was the development of a new form of shi poetry, dating from about the 1st century BCE, which consisted of five- and seven-character lines; the development of this form of shi poetry occurred in conjunction with various other phenomena related to Han poetry. The new form of shi developed during the Han and the Jian'an period would become known as "gushi", or "ancient style poetry"; the Han dynasty witnessed major developments in Classical Chinese poetry, including both the active role of the imperial government in encouraging poetry through the Music Bureau and through its collection of Han dynasty folk ballads. In Chinese, Yuefu, "Music Bureau", is synonymous with yuefu the poetry style, thus the term Yuefu has come to refer both to the Music Bureau's collected lyrics and to the genre of which they are representative and serve as a source of inspiration.
Another important Han dynasty poetry collection is the Nineteen Old Poems. The Han dynasty poetry is associated with the fu, as opposed to the shi style of poetry or literature: note, that this fu is a different word than the fu meaning government bureau in the term yuefu. One exponent of this style was Sima Xiangru. Jian'an poetry refers to those poetic movements occurring during the final years of the failing Han Dynasty and continuing their development into the beginning of the Six Dynasties period. Jian'an is considered as a separate period because this is one case where the poetic developments fail to correspond with the neat categories aligned to chronology by dynasty. Typical poets of this period are Cao Cao, Cao Pi, Cao Zhi, Xu Gan. One of the more important poetic developments of this period is toward the odd number, fixed length verse styles typical of the Tang poetry period; as a result, some of the poetic forms associated with Tang poetry can be traced back developmentally to some of the forms developed during the
Annus Mirabilis (poem)
Annus Mirabilis is a poem written by John Dryden published in 1667. It commemorated the "year of miracles" of London. Despite the poem's name, the year had been one of great tragedy, including the Great Fire of London; the title was meant to suggest that the events of the year could have been worse. Dryden wrote the poem while at Charlton in Wiltshire, where he went to escape one of the great events of the year: the Great Plague of London; the title of Dryden's poem, used without capitalisation, annus mirabilis, derives its meaning from its Latin origins and describes a year of notable events. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Dryden's use of the term for the title of his poem constitutes the first known written use of the phrase in an English text; the first event of the miraculous year was the Battle of Lowestoft fought by English and Dutch ships in 1665. The second was the Four Days Battle of June 1666, the victory of the St. James's Day Battle a month later; the second part of the poem deals with the Great Fire of London that ran from September 2–7, 1666.
The miracle of the Fire was that London was saved, that the fire was stopped, that the great king would rebuild, for he announced his plans to improve the streets of London and to begin great projects. Dryden's view is that these disasters were all averted, that God had saved England from destruction, that God had performed miracles for England; the poem contains 1216 lines of verse, arranged in 304 quatrains. Each line consists of ten syllables, each quatrain follows an ABAB rhyme scheme, a pattern referred to as a decasyllabic quatrain. Rather than write in the heroic couplets found in his earlier works, Dryden used the decasyllabic quatrain exemplified in Sir John Davies' poem Nosce Teipsum in 1599; the style was revived by William Davenant in his poem Gondibert, published in 1651 and influenced Dryden's composition of Annus Mirabilis. This particular style dictates that each quatrain should contain a full stop, which A. W. Ward believes causes the verse to become "prosy". Dryden's "Annus Mirabilis"
A hymn is a type of song religious written for the purpose of adoration or prayer, addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification. The word hymn derives from Greek ὕμνος, which means "a song of praise". A writer of hymns is known as a hymnodist; the singing or composition of hymns is called hymnody. Collections of hymns are known as hymnals or hymn books. Hymns may not include instrumental accompaniment. Although most familiar to speakers of English in the context of Christianity, hymns are a fixture of other world religions on the Indian subcontinent. Hymns survive from antiquity from Egyptian and Greek cultures; some of the oldest surviving examples of notated music are hymns with Greek texts. Ancient hymns include the Egyptian Great Hymn to the Aten, composed by Pharaoh Akhenaten; the Western tradition of hymnody begins with the Homeric Hymns, a collection of ancient Greek hymns, the oldest of which were written in the 7th century BC, praising deities of the ancient Greek religions.
Surviving from the 3rd century BC is a collection of six literary hymns by the Alexandrian poet Callimachus. Patristic writers began applying the term ὕμνος, or hymnus in Latin, to Christian songs of praise, used the word as a synonym for "psalm". Modeled on the Book of Psalms and other poetic passages in the Scriptures, Christian hymns are directed as praise to the Christian God. Many refer to Jesus Christ either indirectly. Since the earliest times, Christians have sung "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs", both in private devotions and in corporate worship. Non-scriptural hymns from the Early Church still sung today include'Phos Hilaron','Sub tuum praesidium', and'Te Deum'. One definition of a hymn is "...a lyric poem and devotionally conceived, designed to be sung and which expresses the worshipper's attitude toward God or God's purposes in human life. It should be simple and metrical in form, genuinely emotional and literary in style, spiritual in quality, in its ideas so direct and so apparent as to unify a congregation while singing it."Christian hymns are written with special or seasonal themes and these are used on holy days such as Christmas and the Feast of All Saints, or during particular seasons such as Advent and Lent.
Others are used to encourage reverence for the Bible or to celebrate Christian practices such as the eucharist or baptism. Some hymns praise or address individual saints the Blessed Virgin Mary. A writer of hymns is known as a hymnodist, the practice of singing hymns is called hymnody. A collection of hymns is called a hymnary; these may not include music. A student of hymnody is called a hymnologist, the scholarly study of hymns and hymnody is hymnology; the music to which a hymn may be sung is a hymn tune. In many Evangelical churches, traditional songs are classified as hymns while more contemporary worship songs are not considered hymns; the reason for this distinction is unclear, but according to some it is due to the radical shift of style and devotional thinking that began with the Jesus movement and Jesus music. Of note, in recent years, Christian traditional hymns have seen a revival in some churches more Reformed or Calvinistic in nature, as modern hymn writers such as Keith and Kristyn Getty and Sovereign Grace Music have reset old lyrics to new melodies, revised old hymns and republished them, or written a song in accordance with Christian hymn standards such as the hymn, In Christ Alone.
In ancient and medieval times, string instruments such as the harp and lute were used with psalms and hymns. Since there is a lack of musical notation in early writings, the actual musical forms in the early church can only be surmised. During the Middle Ages a rich hymnody developed in the form of Gregorian plainsong; this type was sung in unison, in one of eight church modes, most by monastic choirs. While they were written in Latin, many have been translated. Hymnody in the Western church introduced four-part vocal harmony as the norm, adopting major and minor keys, came to be led by organ and choir, it shares many elements with classical music. Today, except for choirs, more musically inclined congregations and a cappella congregations, hymns are sung in unison. In some cases complementary full settings for organ are published, in others organists and other accompanists are expected to transcribe the four-part vocal score for their instrument of choice. To illustrate Protestant usage, in the traditional services and liturgies of the Methodist churches, which are based upon Anglican practice, hymns are sung during the processional to the altar, during the receiving of communion, during the recessional, sometimes at other points during the service.
These hymns c
Dark Ages (historiography)
The "Dark Ages" is a historical periodization traditionally referring to the Middle Ages, that asserts that a demographic and economic deterioration occurred in Western Europe following the decline of the Roman Empire. The term employs traditional light-versus-darkness imagery to contrast the era's "darkness" with earlier and periods of "light"; the concept of a "Dark Age" originated in the 1330s with the Italian scholar Petrarch, who regarded the post-Roman centuries as "dark" compared to the light of classical antiquity. The phrase "Dark Age" itself derives from the Latin saeculum obscurum applied by Caesar Baronius in 1602 to a tumultuous period in the 10th and 11th centuries; the concept thus came to characterize the entire Middle Ages as a time of intellectual darkness between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance. As the accomplishments of the era came to be better understood in the 18th and 20th centuries, scholars began restricting the "Dark Ages" appellation to the Early Middle Ages.
The majority of modern scholars avoid the term altogether due to its negative connotations, finding it misleading and inaccurate. The original definition remains in popular use, popular culture employs it as a vehicle to depict the Middle Ages as a time of backwardness, extending its pejorative use and expanding its scope; the idea of a Dark Age originated with the Tuscan scholar Petrarch in the 1330s. Writing of the past, he said: "Amidst the errors. Christian writers, including Petrarch himself, had long used traditional metaphors of'light versus darkness' to describe'good versus evil'. Petrarch was the first to give the metaphor secular meaning by reversing its application, he now saw Classical Antiquity, so long considered a'dark' age for its lack of Christianity, in the'light' of its cultural achievements, while Petrarch's own time lacking such cultural achievements, was seen as the age of darkness. From his perspective on the Italian peninsula, Petrarch saw the Roman and classical period as an expression of greatness.
He spent much of his time travelling through Europe and republishing classic Latin and Greek texts. He wanted to restore the Latin language to its former purity. Renaissance humanists saw the preceding 900 years as a time of stagnation, with history unfolding not along the religious outline of Saint Augustine's Six Ages of the World, but in cultural terms through progressive development of classical ideals and art. Petrarch wrote that history had two periods: the classic period of Greeks and Romans, followed by a time of darkness in which he saw himself living. In around 1343, in the conclusion of his epic Africa, he wrote: "My fate is to live among varied and confusing storms, but for you if as I hope and wish you will live long after me, there will follow a better age. This sleep of forgetfulness will not last forever; when the darkness has been dispersed, our descendants can come again in the former pure radiance." In the 15th century, historians Leonardo Bruni and Flavio Biondo developed a three-tier outline of history.
They used Petrarch's two ages, plus a modern,'better age', which they believed the world had entered. The term'Middle Ages' - Latin media tempestas or medium aevum - was used to describe the period of supposed decline. During the Reformations of the 16th and 17th centuries, Protestants had a similar view to Renaissance Humanists such as Petrarch, but added an Anti-Catholic perspective, they saw classical antiquity as a golden time, not only because of its Latin literature, but because it witnessed the beginnings of Christianity. They promoted the idea that the'Middle Age' was a time of darkness because of corruption within the Roman Catholic Church, such as: Popes ruling as kings, veneration of saints' relics, a licentious priesthood, institutionalized moral hypocrisy. In response to the Protestants, Catholics developed a counter-image to depict the High Middle Ages in particular as a period of social and religious harmony, not'dark' at all; the most important Catholic reply to the Magdeburg Centuries was the Annales Ecclesiastici by Cardinal Caesar Baronius.
Baronius was a trained historian who produced a work that the Encyclopædia Britannica in 1911 described as "far surpassing anything before" and that Acton regarded as "the greatest history of the Church written". The Annales covered the first twelve centuries of Christianity to 1198, was published in twelve volumes between 1588 and 1607, it was in Volume X that Baronius coined the term "dark age" for the period between the end of the Carolingian Empire in 888 and the first stirrings of Gregorian Reform under Pope Clement II in 1046: "The new age, beginning, for its harshness and barrenness of good could well be called iron, for its baseness and abounding evil leaden, moreover for its lack of writers dark". Baronius termed the age'dark' because of the paucity of written records; the "lack of writers" he referred to may be illustrated by comparing the number of volumes in Migne's Patrologia Latina containing the work of Latin writers from the 10th century with the number containing the work of writers from the preceding and succeeding centuries.
A minority of these writers were historians. There is a sharp drop from 34 volumes in the 9th century to just 8 in the 10th; the 11th century, with 13, evidences a certain recovery, the 12th century, with 40, surpasses the 9th, so
Poetry is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language—such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, metre—to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, the prosaic ostensible meaning. Poetry has a long history, dating back to prehistorical times with the creation of hunting poetry in Africa, panegyric and elegiac court poetry was developed extensively throughout the history of the empires of the Nile and Volta river valleys; some of the earliest written poetry in Africa can be found among the Pyramid Texts written during the 25th century BCE, while the Epic of Sundiata is one of the most well-known examples of griot court poetry. The earliest Western Asian epic poetry, the Epic of Gilgamesh, was written in Sumerian. Early poems in the Eurasian continent evolved from folk songs such as the Chinese Shijing, or from a need to retell oral epics, as with the Sanskrit Vedas, Zoroastrian Gathas, the Homeric epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey. Ancient Greek attempts to define poetry, such as Aristotle's Poetics, focused on the uses of speech in rhetoric, drama and comedy.
Attempts concentrated on features such as repetition, verse form and rhyme, emphasized the aesthetics which distinguish poetry from more objectively informative, prosaic forms of writing. Poetry uses forms and conventions to suggest differential interpretation to words, or to evoke emotive responses. Devices such as assonance, alliteration and rhythm are sometimes used to achieve musical or incantatory effects; the use of ambiguity, symbolism and other stylistic elements of poetic diction leaves a poem open to multiple interpretations. Figures of speech such as metaphor and metonymy create a resonance between otherwise disparate images—a layering of meanings, forming connections not perceived. Kindred forms of resonance may exist, between individual verses, in their patterns of rhyme or rhythm; some poetry types are specific to particular cultures and genres and respond to characteristics of the language in which the poet writes. Readers accustomed to identifying poetry with Dante, Goethe and Rumi may think of it as written in lines based on rhyme and regular meter.
Much modern poetry reflects a critique of poetic tradition, playing with and testing, among other things, the principle of euphony itself, sometimes altogether forgoing rhyme or set rhythm. In today's globalized world, poets adapt forms and techniques from diverse cultures and languages; some scholars believe. Others, suggest that poetry did not predate writing; the oldest surviving epic poem, the Epic of Gilgamesh, comes from the 3rd millennium BCE in Sumer, was written in cuneiform script on clay tablets and on papyrus. A tablet dating to c. 2000 BCE describes an annual rite in which the king symbolically married and mated with the goddess Inanna to ensure fertility and prosperity. An example of Egyptian epic poetry is The Story of Sinuhe. Other ancient epic poetry includes the Iliad and the Odyssey. Epic poetry, including the Odyssey, the Gathas, the Indian Vedas, appears to have been composed in poetic form as an aid to memorization and oral transmission, in prehistoric and ancient societies.
Other forms of poetry developed directly from folk songs. The earliest entries in the oldest extant collection of Chinese poetry, the Shijing, were lyrics; the efforts of ancient thinkers to determine what makes poetry distinctive as a form, what distinguishes good poetry from bad, resulted in "poetics"—the study of the aesthetics of poetry. Some ancient societies, such as China's through her Shijing, developed canons of poetic works that had ritual as well as aesthetic importance. More thinkers have struggled to find a definition that could encompass formal differences as great as those between Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Matsuo Bashō's Oku no Hosomichi, as well as differences in content spanning Tanakh religious poetry, love poetry, rap. Classical thinkers employed classification as a way to assess the quality of poetry. Notably, the existing fragments of Aristotle's Poetics describe three genres of poetry—the epic, the comic, the tragic—and develop rules to distinguish the highest-quality poetry in each genre, based on the underlying purposes of the genre.
Aestheticians identified three major genres: epic poetry, lyric poetry, dramatic poetry, treating comedy and tragedy as subgenres of dramatic poetry. Aristotle's work was influential throughout the Middle East during the Islamic Golden Age, as well as in Europe during the Renaissance. Poets and aestheticians distinguished poetry from, defined it in opposition to prose, understood as writing with a proclivity to logical explication and a linear narrative structure; this does not imply that poetry is illogical or lacks narration, but rather that poetry is an attempt to render the beautiful or sublime without the burden of engaging the logical or narrative thought process. English Romantic poet John Keats termed this escape from logic "Negative Capability"; this "romantic" approach views form as a key element of successful poetry because form is abstract and distinct from the underlying notional logic. This approach remained influential into t