The Classical World Context: Philosophy

Classic, Golden Age of Perikles, 480-350 BCE (450 BCE)
Late Hellenism 350-100 BCE (350-100 BCE)
Roman Empire 100BCE-315 CE
Roman Empire- 200 B.C.- 315 C.E.
Early Christian/Byzantine 315-750 C.E  (some sources say the Byzantine style survived all the way to 1450)
Romanesque 800-1150 C.E.
Gothic 1150-1350 C.E.

Etymology: Middle English, weaving together of words, from Latin contextus connection of words, coherence, from contexere to weave
 together, from com- + texere to weave

1 : the parts of a discourse that surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning

 2 : the interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs : ENVIRONMENT, SETTING

contextual analysis
Is the analysis of a work by discussing its history, culture and or background. Roughly close to conclusion in music.

Fig 109 Jacques Louis David. The Death of Socrates. 1787
France, French Neoclassical Style
  See more info on line here.

Socrates b. c. 470 BC, Athens [Greece] d. 399, Athens
ancient Athenian philosopher. He was the first of the great trio of ancient Greeks--Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle--who laid the philosophical foundations of Western culture. As Cicero said, Socrates "brought down philosophy from heaven to earth"--i.e., from the nature speculation of the Ionian and Italian cosmologists to analyses of the character and conduct of human life, which he assessed in terms of an original theory of the soul. Living during the chaos of the Peloponnesian War, with its erosion of moral values, Socrates felt called to shore up the ethical dimensions of life by the admonition to "know thyself" and by the effort to explore the connotations of moral and humanistic terms.

Plato b. 428/427 BC, Athens, or Aegina, Greece d. 348/347, Athens
ancient Greek philosopher, the second of the great trio of ancient Greeks--Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle--who between them laid the philosophical foundations of Western culture. Building on the life and thought of Socrates, Plato developed a profound and wide-ranging system of philosophy. His thought has logical, epistemological, and metaphysical aspects; but its underlying motivation is ethical. It sometimes relies upon conjectures and myth, and it is occasionally mystical in tone; but fundamentally Plato is a rationalist, devoted to the proposition that reason must be followed wherever it leads. Thus the core of Plato's philosophy, resting upon a foundation of eternal Ideas, or Forms, is a rationalistic ethics.

Aristotle b. 384 BC, Stagira, Chalcidice, Greece d. 322, Chalcis, Euboea
Greek ARISTOTELES, ancient Greek philosopher and scientist, one of the two greatest intellectual figures produced by the Greeks (the other being Plato). He surveyed the whole of human knowledge as it was known in the Mediterranean world in his day.

More than any other thinker, Aristotle determined the orientation and the content of Western intellectual history. He was the author of a philosophical and scientific system that through the centuries became the support and vehicle for both medieval Christian and Islamic scholastic thought: until the end of the 17th century, Western culture was Aristotelian. Even after the intellectual revolutions of centuries to follow, Aristotelian concepts and ideas remained embedded in Western thinking.

Greek, Archaic, 
Kouros Figure c600 BCE

Greek, Classic,
Polykleitos, Doryphoros c450BCE

Greek, Late Hellenistic, 
Praxiteles, Hermes and Dionysos c340BCE
Influenced by Platonic thinking "schema and correction"

Kallikrates and Iktinos, 
Parthenon, Acropolis, Athens. 447-438BCE.
View from the West

View from the NW
Main Entry: Py·thag·o·ras
 Pronunciation: p&-'tha-g&-r&s, pI-
circa 580-circa 500 B.C. Greek philosopher & mathematician; generally credited with theory of functional significance of numbers in the objective world and in music
 - Py·thag·o·re·an /p&-"tha-g&-'rE-&n/ adjective

symmetria ". . .derived from Pythagoreans, a belief that numbers underlie both physical and abstract phenomena served to anchor human experience and action in a stable and comprehensible universe.  Numbers reveal divine prescence in the human sphere."Art History's History by Vernon Hyde Minor

Iktinos and Kallikrates
The Parthenon c450 BCE
Athens, Greece


Battle of the Lapiths and the Centaurs
Apollonian/Dionysian Conflict
in vino veritas

Fig 249 Polykleitos Doryphoros
also called the
Spear Bearer, or Canon
or Kanon, c450BCE
Roman copy of a Classic, Greek

lost wax process (cire perdue)

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English, from Late Latin, from Latin, ruler, rule, model, standard, from Greek kanOn
Date: before 12th century
4 a : an accepted principle or rule b: a criterion or standard of judgment c : a body of principles, rules, standards, or norms
1 a : a regulation or dogma decreed by a church council b : a provision of canon law
2 [Middle English, prob. from Old French, from Late Latin, from Latin, model] : the most solemn and unvarying part of the Mass including the consecration of the bread and wine
3 [Middle English, from Late Latin, from Latin, standard] a : an authoritative list of books accepted as Holy Scripture b : the authentic works of a writer c: a sanctioned or accepted group or body of related works <the canon of great literature>
5 [Late Greek kanOn, from Greek, model] : a contrapuntal musical composition in two or more voice parts in which the melody is imitated exactly and completely by the successive voices though not always at the same pitch
synonym see LAW

Greece 450 BCE:  The Golden Age of Perikles
The "Classic Era"
Perikles b. c. 495 BCE - 429 BCE
Athenian statesman largely responsible for the full development, in the later 5th century BC, of both the Athenian democracy and the Athenian empire, making Athens the political and cultural focus of Greece. His achievements included the construction of the Acropolis, begun in 447.