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Theatre Of Greece

Theatre of Greece was closely associated with the life of the policy, being in fact the second national Assembly, where they discussed the most pressing issues. Greek theatre originally arose from religious cult of the God of nature Dionysus, developed very quickly. The financing and organization of theatrical performances were one of the duties (liturgies) of the richest citizens (the so-called choregia): the theatre was a public institution. History has preserved plays of the four great dramatists of antiquity, among them Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes.

Unlike modern theatre, Greece was not permanent troupes and professional actors did not appear immediately. Originally played, sang and danced the citizens themselves, for each formulation was prepared costumes, masks and very simple decorations. In Athens the age of Pericles, usually do not repeat of old tragedies and comedies. This accounts for the huge number of works created by the ancient Greek playwrights. According to the estimates of contemporaries of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes each had more than 90 works.

Theatre performances usually lasted during nationwide public holidays for three days, and lasted from sunrise to sunset, were in the nature of competitions. The competition allowed three tragic and three comic poet, and cardiatric had to submit three tragedies and one of the so-called Shatilovskoy drama. Every morning, taking with him food and a pillow for the seat in the theater was going to be his reaction to inspire artists and empathize with them, while the winners were determined by a special judge.

Theatrical performances according to custom, was held in celebration of the Great Dionysius. On the round platform — “the orchestra” (“Playground dance”) is a chorus, Here played by actors. To stand out from the chorus, the actor wore shoes on high stilts — the height. Initially all the roles in the play performed by one actor. Aeschylus introduced a second actor, making the action dynamic; has introduced the scenery, masks, buskins, thunder, and flying machines. Sophocles introduced a third actor. But the three actors had to play many roles, to reincarnate in different persons. Behind the orchestra was a small wooden structure — the “Skene” (“tent”) where actors are prepared to perform in the new role.

Transformation was carried out simply: the actors change masks participated. The masks were made of clay. Each specific character and mood corresponded to “own” mask. So, strength and health was represented by the brown color face mask, pain — yellow, trick — red, and the anger of crimson. Smooth forehead expressed a cheerful mood, cool and dark. The expressiveness of masks was necessary for clarity, furthermore, a mask and performed the role of sounding Board, strengthening the voice of the actor.

Theatrical performances usually began in the morning, and ended with the sunset. One day put and tragedy, and drama, and Comedy. Theatrical spectacles were particularly loved by the Greeks. Social, ethical, political problem, education, deep portrayal of heroic characters, theme high civil consciousness constitute life-affirming basis of ancient Greek theatre.

The basic world view of the Greeks was limited to the fact that the world is a theatre stage, and people living there are actors who appear on stage, play their role and leave. They come from heaven go there, there are dissolved. The earth is but a stage, where they perform their intended role. Therefore, the ancient Greek theatre so good: it is an expression of the sublime, heroic, high and solemn cosmologism.


The true founder of tragedy Aeschylus was. He is the author of more than seventy works, of which we have only seven: “the Persians”, “Pleading”, “Seven against Thebes”, “Prometheus Chained”, “Agamemnon”, “Choephori, Eumenidi”. All the plays of Aeschylus permeated with a strong religious feeling, they are based on the conflict between human passions and spirituality.

Aeschylus was the founder of the civic in its ideological sounding tragedy, a contemporary of and participant in the Greco-Persian wars, a poet of the time of formation of democracy in Athens. The main motive of his work – the glorification of civil courage, patriotism. One of the most remarkable heroes of the tragedies of Aeschylus are sworn against religion Prometheus is the personification of the creative forces of the Athenians. This image of the indomitable fighter for high ideals, for the happiness of the people, the embodiment of the mind, overcoming the power of nature, a symbol of the struggle for the liberation of humanity from tyranny, embodied in the image of a cruel and vengeful of Zeus, slavish service to which Prometheus chose flour.


125 Sophocles wrote dramas, of which seven have survived the tragedy: “Antigone”, “Ajax”, “Oedipus the king”, “Electra” etc. According to Aristotle, Sophocles portrayed people perfect, whereas Euripides such as they really are. Euripides was more of a commentator and not a participant in the events, was deeply interested in women’s psychology. The most well-known from 19 extant works are “Medea” and “Phaedra”.

A characteristic of all ancient dramas was a choir singing and dancing all the action is accompanied. Aeschylus introduced two actors instead of one, reducing the party of the choir and focusing on dialogue that was a decisive step for transforming the tragedy of a pure mimic of choral lyrics into a genuine drama. Game two actors gave the opportunity to heighten the tension of the action. The appearance of a third actor, an innovation of Sophocles, which allows drawing different lines of action in the same conflict.


In the tragedies of Euripides reflect a crisis of the traditional policy ideology and the search for new foundations of worldview. He responded to the burning issues of political and social life, and his theatre was a kind of encyclopedia of the intellectual movement of Greece in the second half of V century BC In the works of Euripides were staged a variety of social problems, presented and discussed new ideas.

Ancient criticism called Euripides a “philosopher on the stage”. The poet was not, however, advocate a particular philosophical doctrines, and his views did not differ sequence. The dual was his attitude toward the Athenian democracy. He praised it as a system of freedom and equality, however it frightened the poor “crowd” of citizens, which the national Assembly was also under the influence of demagogues. A through thread through all the work of Euripides passes the interest to the personality with its subjective aspirations. The great playwright depicted people with their cravings and impulses, joys and suffering. All his works Euripides forced viewers to think about their place in society over attitude to life.


The most famous author of comedies was Aristophanes, who knew how to direct his satirical arrows against contemporary political figures, writers, philosophers. The most striking of his works — “Wasp”, “Frog”, “Clouds”, “Lysistrata”. The characters in the comedies of Aristophanes — not the legendary figure, and the inhabitants of modern Athens Aristophanes: merchants” artisans, slaves. In comedies, there is no such reverence to the gods as in the tragedies. They are sometimes even ridiculed.

Aristophanes gives a bold satire on the political and cultural status of Athens at a time when democracy begins to experience a crisis. In his comedies of various sections of the society: statesmen and generals, poets and philosophers, peasants and soldiers, the urban inhabitants and slaves. Aristophanes achieves sharp comic effects, combining real and fantastic and ridiculed the idea of bringing to the point of absurdity. In Aristophanes flexible and living language, approaching everyday, sometimes very rough and primitive, mock-upbeat and rich unexpected comedic word formation.

Science and literature of Ancient Greece was created by free people, poetically gifted-of the mythological perception of the world. In all that befell the Greek, he is opening a harmony, whether the universe or the human person. In his mythological perception of the Greek breathed spirit into everything it touched his mind. The harmony and spirituality— this is what determines the wholeness and integrity of Greek culture in the first place — the art.

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