The Humanistic Tradition I

From the Ancient World to The Reformation

The Humanistic Tradition:  Study Questions.
Chapter 5: Greece: The Classical Style.

1. Elements of the classical style are: order, proportion, humanism, realism, and idealism.  For the Greeks, what did each of these terms mean?  How did the Roman architect Vitruvius characterize the classical style.  Use examples from the text to illustrate these terms.

2. Trace the evolution of Greek sculpture from the Archaic to the Late Classical Age.  Use specific examples (taken from the illustrations in your text) to illustrate the steps in this transformation.  Why did Greek artists depict the human figure in the nude?  Is there a creative tension between the Greek ideals of realism and idealism?

3. Describe the architecture of the Parthenon as an example of the classical style.  Describe the sculptural program of the Parthenon – the metopes, the cella frieze, and the pediment sculptures.  About this program, one historian has written: “Taken as a whole, the Parthenon marbles present a picture of the Greek past and of their aspirations for the future.”  What was that past?  What are these aspirations?

4. Describe how elements of the classical style influenced poetry and music.

5. What are the key elements of these Hellenistic schools of thought: Skepticism, Cynicism, Epicureanism, and Stoicism?  How did Hellenistic art differ from Hellenic?

6. Compare and contrast the characteristics of Hellenic and Hellenistic civilizations.  What elements of Hellenic civilization were preserved?  What elements were lost?  Use specific examples.  What explains these changes?  How did the conquests of Alexander the Great influence this transformation? Which aspects of the classical tradition continue to influence the western Humanistic Tradition?

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Last Update:  23.VIII.2006

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