To provide documentation on figures from Antiquity.
Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world.
It is the period in which Greek and Roman society flourished and wielded great influence throughout Europe, North Africa and Southwestern Asia.
Conventionally, it is taken to begin with the earliest-recorded Epic Greek poetry of Homer (8th–7th century BC), and continues through the emergence of Christianity and the decline of the Roman Empire (5th century AD).
It ends with the dissolution of classical culture at the close of Late Antiquity (300–600), blending into the Early Middle Ages (600–1000).
Such a wide sampling of history and territory covers many disparate cultures and periods.
"Classical antiquity" may refer also to an idealised vision among later people of what was, in Edgar Allan Poe's words, "the glory that was Greece, and the grandeur that was Rome."
The culture of the ancient Greeks, together with some influences from the ancient Near East, was the basis of art, philosophy, society, and educational ideals, until the Roman imperial period.
The Romans preserved, imitated and spread over Europe these ideals until they were able to competitively rival the Greek culture, as the Latin language became widespread and the classical world became bilingual, Greek and Latin.
This Greco-Roman cultural foundation has been immensely influential on the language, politics, educational systems, philosophy, science, art, and architecture of the modern world: From the surviving fragments of classical antiquity, a revival movement was gradually formed from the 14th century onwards which came to be known later in Europe as the Renaissance, and again resurgent during various neo-classical revivals in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Aristotle 384–322 BC was a Greek philosopher and scientist born in the city of Stagira, Chalkidice, on the northern periphery of Classical Greece.
His father, Nicomachus, died when Aristotle was a child, whereafter Proxenus of Atarneus became his guardian.
At eighteen, he joined Plato's Academy in Athens and remained there until the age of thirty-seven (c. 347 BC).
His writings cover many subjects – including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theater, music, rhetoric, linguistics, politics and government – and constitute the first comprehensive system of Western philosophy.
Shortly after Plato died, Aristotle left Athens and, at the request of Philip of Macedon, tutored Alexander the Great starting from 343 BC.
According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "Aristotle was the first genuine scientist in history ... [and] every scientist is in his debt."
Teaching Alexander the Great gave Aristotle many opportunities and an abundance of supplies.
He established a library in the Lyceum which aided in the production of many of his hundreds of books.
The fact that Aristotle was a pupil of Plato contributed to his former views of Platonism, but, following Plato's death,
Aristotle immersed himself in empirical studies and shifted from Platonism to empiricism.
He believed all peoples' concepts and all of their knowledge was ultimately based on perception.
Aristotle's views on natural sciences represent the groundwork underlying many of his works.
Aristotle's views on physical science profoundly shaped medieval scholarship.
Their influence extended into the Renaissance and were not replaced systematically until the Enlightenment and theories such as classical mechanics.
Some of Aristotle's zoological observations, such as on the hectocotyl (reproductive) arm of the octopus, were not confirmed or refuted until the 19th century.
His works contain the earliest known formal study of logic, which was incorporated in the late 19th century into modern formal logic.
In metaphysics, Aristotelianism profoundly influenced Judeo-Islamic philosophical and theological thought during the Middle Ages and continues to influence Christian theology, especially the scholastic tradition of the Catholic Church.
Aristotle was well known among medieval Muslim intellectuals and revered as "The First Teacher".
His ethics, though always influential, gained renewed interest with the modern advent of virtue ethics.
All aspects of Aristotle's philosophy continue to be the object of active academic study today.
Though Aristotle wrote many elegant treatises and dialogues – Cicero described his literary style as "a river of gold" – it is thought that only around a third of his original output has survived.
Eratosthenes of Cyrene c. 276 BC – c. 195/194 BC was a Greek mathematician, geographer, poet, astronomer, and music theorist.
He was a man of learning, becoming the chief librarian at the Library of Alexandria.
He invented the discipline of geography, including the terminology used today.
He is best known for being the first person to calculate the circumference of the Earth, which he did by applying a measuring system using stadia, which was a standard unit of measure during that time period.
His calculation was remarkably accurate.
He was also the first to calculate the tilt of the Earth's axis (again with remarkable accuracy).
Additionally, he may have accurately calculated the distance from the Earth to the Sun and invented the leap day.
He created the first map of the world incorporating parallels and meridians, based on the available geographical knowledge of the era.
Eratosthenes was the founder of scientific chronology; he endeavored to revise the dates of the chief literary and political events from the conquest of Troy.
In number theory, he introduced the sieve of Eratosthenes, an efficient method of identifying prime numbers.
He was a figure of influence who declined to specialize in only one field.
According to an entry in the Suda (a 10th-century reference), his critics scorned him, calling him Beta, from the second letter of the Greek alphabet, because he always came in second in all his endeavors.
Nonetheless, his devotees nicknamed him Pentathlos, after the Olympians who were well rounded competitors, for he had proven himself to be knowledgeable in every area of learning.
Eratosthenes yearned to understand the complexities of the entire world.
Marcus Tullius Cicero 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC was a Roman philosopher, politician, lawyer, orator, political theorist, consul, and constitutionalist.
He came from a wealthy municipal family of the Roman equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.
His influence on the Latin language was so immense that the subsequent history of prose in not only Latin but European languages up to the 19th century was said to be either a reaction against or a return to his style.
According to Michael Grant, "the influence of Cicero upon the history of European literature and ideas greatly exceeds that of any other prose writer in any language".
Cicero introduced the Romans to the chief schools of Greek philosophy and created a Latin philosophical vocabulary (with neologisms such as evidentia, humanitas, qualitas, quantitas, and essentia) distinguishing himself as a linguist, translator, and philosopher.
Petrarch's rediscovery of Cicero's letters is often credited for initiating the 14th-century Renaissance in public affairs, humanism, and classical Roman culture.
According to Polish historian Tadeusz Zielinski, "Renaissance was above all things a revival of Cicero, and only after him and through him of the rest of Classical antiquity."
The peak of Cicero's authority and prestige came during the 18th-century Enlightenment, and his impact on leading Enlightenment thinkers such as John Locke, David Hume, and Montesquieu was substantial.
His works rank among the most influential in European culture, and today still constitute one of the most important bodies of primary material for the writing and revision of Roman history, especially the last days of the Roman Republic.
Though he was an accomplished orator and successful lawyer, Cicero believed his political career was his most important achievement.
It was during his consulship that the Second Catilinarian Conspiracy attempted to overthrow the government through an attack on the city by outside forces, and Cicero suppressed the revolt by executing five conspirators without due process.
During the chaotic latter half of the 1st century BC marked by civil wars and the dictatorship of Gaius Julius Caesar, Cicero championed a return to the traditional republican government.
Following Julius Caesar's death Cicero became an enemy of Mark Antony in the ensuing power struggle, attacking him in a series of speeches.
He was proscribed as an enemy of the state by the Second Triumvirate and consequently executed by soldiers operating on their behalf in 43 BC after having been intercepted during attempted flight from the Italian peninsula.
His severed hands and head were then, as a final revenge of Mark Antony, displayed in the Roman Forum.
Socrates 470/469 – 399 BC was a classical Greek (Athenian) philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy.
He is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon and the plays of his contemporary Aristophanes.
Plato's dialogues are among the most comprehensive accounts of Socrates to survive from antiquity, though it is unclear the degree to which Socrates himself is "hidden behind his 'best disciple', Plato".
Through his portrayal in Plato's dialogues, Socrates has become renowned for his contribution to the field of ethics, and it is this Platonic Socrates who lends his name to the concepts of Socratic irony and the Socratic method, or elenchus.
The latter remains a commonly used tool in a wide range of discussions, and is a type of pedagogy in which a series of questions is asked not only to draw individual answers, but also to encourage fundamental insight into the issue at hand.
Plato's Socrates also made important and lasting contributions to the field of epistemology, and his ideologies and approach have proven a strong foundation for much Western philosophy that has followed.
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