Monday, 26 March 2012

Ancient Greece & Ancient Rome

Ancient Greece

 Is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity (ca. 600 AD). Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era.[1] Included in Ancient Greece is the period of Classical Greece, which flourished during the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Classical Greece began with the repelling of a Persian invasion by Athenian leadership. Because of conquests by Alexander the GreatHellenistic civilization flourished from Central Asia to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea.
Classical Greek culture, especially philosophy, had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire, which carried a version of it to many parts of the Mediterranean region and Europe, for which reason Classical Greece is generally considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of Western culture.[2][3][4][5]
Classical Greece

Athens and Sparta would soon have to become allies in the face of the largest external threat ancient Greece would see until the Roman conquest. After suppressing the Ionian Revolt, a rebellion of the Greek cities of IoniaDarius I of PersiaKing of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire, decided to subjugate Greece. His invasion in 490 BC was ended by the Athenian victory at the Battle of Marathon under Miltiades the Younger.
Xerxes I of Persia, son and successor of Darius I, attempted his own invasion 10 years later, but despite his larger army he suffered heavy casualties after the famous rearguard action at Thermopylae and victories for the allied Greeks at the Battles of Salamis and Plataea. TheGreco-Persian Wars continued until 449 BC, led by the Athenians and their Delian League, during which time the MacedonThrace, the Aegean Islands and Ionia were all liberated from Persian influence.
The dominant position of the maritime Athenian 'Empire' threatened Sparta and the Peloponnesian League of mainland Greek cities. Inevitably, this led to conflict, resulting in the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC). Though effectively a stalemate for much of the war, Athens suffered a number of setbacks. The Plague of Athens in 430 BC followed by a disastrous military campaign known as the Sicilian Expedition severely weakened Athens. An estimated one-third of Athenians died, including Pericles, their leader.[15]
Sparta was able to foment rebellion amongst Athens's allies, further reducing the Athenian ability to wage war. The decisive moment came in 405 BC when Sparta cut off the grain supply to Athens from the Hellespont. Forced to attack, the crippled Athenian fleet was decisively defeated by the Spartans under the command of Lysander at Aegospotami. In 404 BC Athens sued for peace, and Sparta dictated a predictably stern settlement: Athens lost her city walls (including the Long Walls), her fleet, and all of her overseas possessions. Also in 4TH CENTURY.

Ancient Rome 

Was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world.[1]
In its centuries of existence, Roman civilization shifted from a monarchy to an aristocratic republic to an increasingly autocratic empire. It came to dominate Southern EuropeWestern EuropeBalkansAsia MinorNorth Africa and parts of Eastern Europe through conquest andassimilation. Rome was preponderant throughout the Mediterranean region, and was the sole superpower of Antiquity.
Rome was the central power of Antiquity. The Romans are still remembered today, including such names as Julius CaesarCicero, andHorace. Roman culture and history has been praised by great thinkers and philosophers such as MachiavelliRousseau and Nietzsche.
A society highly developed in military and political skills, Rome professionalized its military class and created a system of government called res publica, the inspiration for some modern republics[2][3][4] such as the United States and France.
By the end of the Republic, Rome had conquered the lands around the Mediterranean and beyond: its domain extended from the Atlantic toJudaea and from the mouth of the Rhine to North Africa.
In the Empire, Rome entered in its golden times at the hands of Augustus Caesar. Under Trajan, the Empire reached its territorial peak. The republican values started to decline in the imperial times, and civil wars became the common ritual for a new emperor's rise.[5][6][7]
Plagued by internal instability and attacked by various migrating peoples, the western part of the empire broke up into independent kingdoms in the 5th century. This splintering is a landmark historians use to divide the ancient period of universal history from the medieval era ("Dark Ages" of Europe).
The Eastern Roman Empire survived this crisis and was governed from Constantinople after the division of the Empire. It comprised Greece, the BalkansAsia MinorSyria and Egypt. Despite the later loss of Syria and Egypt to the Arab-Islamic Empire, the Eastern Roman Empire continued for another millennium, until its remnants were finally annexed by the emerging Turkish Ottoman Empire. This eastern, Christian,medieval stage of the Empire is usually called the Byzantine Empire by historians.
Roman civilization is often grouped into "classical antiquity" together with ancient Greece. Ancient Rome contributed greatly to government,lawwarartliteraturearchitecturetechnologyreligion, and language in the Western world.
Art, music and literature

Roman painting styles show Greek influences, and surviving examples are primarily frescoes used to adorn the walls and ceilings of countryvillas, though Roman literature includes mentions of paintings on woodivory, and other materials.[205][206] Several examples of Roman painting have been found at Pompeii, and from these art historians divide the history of Roman painting into four periods. The first style of Roman painting was practiced from the early 2nd century BC to the early- or mid-1st century BC. It was mainly composed of imitations of marble andmasonry, though sometimes including depictions of mythological characters.[205][206]
The second style of Roman painting began during the early 1st century BC, and attempted to depict realistically three-dimensional architectural features and landscapes. The third style occurred during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD), and rejected the realism of the second style in favor of simple ornamentation. A small architectural scene, landscape, or abstract design was placed in the center with a monochromebackground. The fourth style, which began in the 1st century AD, depicted scenes from mythology, while retaining architectural details and abstract patterns.[205][206]
Portrait sculpture during the period utilized youthful and classical proportions, evolving later into a mixture of realism and idealism. During theAntonine and Severan periods, ornate hair and bearding, with deep cutting and drilling, became popular. Advancements were also made in relief sculptures, usually depicting Roman victories.
Latin literature was, from its start, influenced heavily by Greek authors. Some of the earliest extant works are of historical epics telling the early military history of Rome. As the Republic expanded, authors began to produce poetrycomedyhistory, and tragedy.
Roman music was largely based on Greek music, and played an important part in many aspects of Roman life.[207] In the Roman military, musical instruments such as the tuba (a longtrumpet) or the cornu (similar to a French horn) were used to give various commands, while the bucina (possibly a trumpet or horn) and the lituus (probably an elongated J-shaped instrument), were used in ceremonial capacities.[208] Music was used in the amphitheaters between fights and in the odea, and in these settings is known to have featured the cornu and the hydraulis (a type of water organ).[209]
Most religious rituals featured musical performances, with tibiae (double pipes) at sacrifices, cymbals and Tambourines at orgiastic cults, and rattles and hymns across the spectrum.[210]Some music historians believe that music was used at almost all public ceremonies.[211] Music historians are not certain if Roman musicians made a significant contribution to the theoryor practice of music.[207]
The graffitibrothelspaintings, and sculptures found in Pompeii and Herculaneum suggest that the Romans had a sex-saturated culture.[212

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Women in History

History texts and classes are often dominated by male figures, yet women have played and continue to play a major role in the world's economy, politics, culture and discoveries and deserve their fair share of recognition as well. March is Women's History Month and there's no better time to celebrate their contributions. Here are some fascinating facts about women's history that will showcase some standouts, accomplishments, impacts and just how far they have come.
Sports .

  1. No women or girls were allowed at the first Olympics, but the Games of Hera, featuring footraces for women, were held every four yearsIn fact, women were not even allowed to watch the Olympic games or encouraged to participate in athletics (with the exception of the Spartans) so that the games existed at all is surprising. At their inception, the games only included that one event.
  2. At the first Winter Olympic Games in 1924, the only event open to women was figure skating.Only 15 women participated in these games, something that would change drastically over the decades.
  3. Women were not allowed to compete in track and field events at the Olympics until 1928. The ancient Greeks and Romans may have let women run in footraces in the Heraen Games, but when it came to the Olympics, both ancient and modern, these events were off limits to women until 1928. Unfortunately, some of the events were too much for the untrained female athletes, and because many collapsed after the end of the 800-meter race, it was banned until 1960.
  4. Roberta Gibb was the first woman to run and finish the Boston Marathon in 1966. Of course, she didn't get official credit for it, as women were not allowed to enter the race until 1972, but her wins, in '66, '67, and '68 seriously challenged long-held beliefs about the athletic prowess of women.
  5. Virne "Jackie" Mitchell, a pitcher, was the first woman in professional baseball. While women still don't have much of a presence in baseball today, Mitchell proved that it wasn't because they couldn't play. During an exhibition game, she struck out both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Her performance probably played a part in baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis banning women from the sport later that year.
  6. Mary, Queen of Scots is reported to be the first woman to play golf in Scotland. Golf today is still seen as a man's sport, but this powerful and scandalous queen couldn't have cared less. In fact, she even went out to play golf a few days after her husband Lord Darnley's murder.
  7. Donald Walker's book, Exercise for Ladies, warns women against horseback riding, because it deforms the lower part of the body. While this book was published in 1837, the views it documented about women doing any kind of exertion or exercise were to hold throughout the Victorian era and beyond.


  1. The world's first novel, The Tale of Genji, was published in Japan around A.D. 1000 by female author Murasaki Shikibu. It is still revered today for its masterful observations about court life and has been translated into dozens of languages.
  2. In 1921, American novelist Edith Wharton was the first woman to receive a Pulitzer Prize for fiction. She won the award for her novel The Age of Innocence, a story set in upper-class New York during the 1870s.
  3. Women often wrote under pen names in times when it was not seen as appropriate for them to contribute to literature. Even some female authors who are highly acclaimed today had to resort to fake names like Jane Austen, the Bronte Sisters, Mary Ann Evans (perhaps better known by her pen name George Eliot), and Louisa May Alcott.
  4. In the early years of the blues, from 1910 to 1925, the vast majority of singers were women. It might go against the common idea of just what the blues are or what they should sound like, but new research has found that some of the biggest players in the form of music were actually women.
  5. In an era when female painters had to struggle for acceptance, Artemesia Gentileschi was the first female to be accepted by the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence. A follower of the style popularized by Caravaggio, her work is often particularly adept at bringing to life the passion and suffering of mythological and biblical women.
Amazing Women
  1. Marie Curie is the only woman to ever win two Nobel PrizesHer first award was for physics for her work on spontaneous radiation with her husband, with her second being in Chemistry for her studies of radioactivity.
  2. Hatshepsut was one of the most powerful women in the ancient world and the one and only female pharaoh in recorded history. She was the fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt after taking over as a supposed regent for her son and reigned for over twenty years. While accounts seem to paint her reign as a favorable one, her images have been defaced on temples and inscriptions as though they meant to wipe her existence from history.
  3. Queen Victoria ruled one of the largest empires in the history of the world, at one point controlling land on nearly every continent.This included countries like including India, Australia, Egypt, Kenya, Canada, and British Guiana promoting the saying that the sun never sets on the British empire.
  4. Martha Wright Griffiths, an American lawyer and judge, pushed through the Sex Discrimination Act in 1964 as part of the Civil Rights Act. This act has helped protect countless women on the job and in everyday life from discrimination based on their gender.
  5. Journalist Nellie Bly put Jules Verne's character Phileas Fogg to shame when she completed an around the world journey in only seventy two days– quite a feat before the invention of the airplane. Bly is also well-known for her expose on mental institutions, a project for which she had to fake psychological illness to gain access to the facilities.
  6. Jane Addams was the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Because of her work with the Hull House, the public philosopher, writer, leader and suffragist went down as one of the most influential and prolific women in American history.
  7. Upon her husband's death, Cherokee leader Nancy Ward took his place in a 1775 battle against the Creeks, and led the Cherokee to victory. After the victory, she became head of the Woman's Council and a member of the Council of Chiefs, playing a key role in social and political changes to the Cherokee nation throughout her life.
  8. In 1777, sixteen-year-old Sybil Ludington raced through the night to warn New York patriots that the British were attacking nearby Danbury, CT, where munitions and supplies for the entire region were stored during the heat of the Revolutionary War. While Paul Revere gets all the glory for nighttime rides, her journey took her twice the distance and helped the troops prepare and repel a British attack.
  9. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony spent their lives fighting for women's suffrage, but neither lived long enough to see the Amendment granting them the right to vote. Stanton passed away in 1902, decades before women finally won out, and Anthony in 1906 only a few years later.
  10. African-American performer Josephine Baker was working in France during WWII, but not only as a singer, dancer and actress. She was also helping the war movement, smuggling numerous messages to French soldiers. She often hid messages inside her dress or concealed with invisible ink on her sheet music. Baker's work in the war is only part of what makes her such an amazing figure, as she was the first African American female to star in a major motion picture, perform in a concert hall and played a big role in the Civil Rights Movement.