Greek Classical Period: The classical age time period of Greece begins with the Persian War (490-479 B.C.) and ends with the death of Alexander the Great (323 B.C.). When Persia defeated Lydia, the Greek colonies became part of the Persian Empire.

The people of these colonies were not imprisoned or forced into slavery, but they did have to pay taxes and supply men for the Persian army. More damaging was that they had to install tyrants to oversee them, and these tyrants were chosen by the Persian king.

Besides war and conquest, in this period of Ancient Greece, the Greeks produced great literature, poetry, philosophy, drama, and art. Greek Classical Period includes the period known as the Age of Pericles.

classical period of Greek art

Greek Classical Period

During the era before the Classical Age, in what is sometimes called the Archaic Age, Athens and Sparta had followed different paths. Between 480 and until 323 BCE Athens and Sparta dominated the Hellenic world with their cultural and military achievements.

These two cities, with the involvement of the other Hellenic states, rose to power through alliances, reforms, and a series of victories against the invading Persian armies. One of the unique contributions of the Greeks, democracy lasted beyond the Classical period and had its roots in the earlier time, but it still characterized the Classical age.

The Classical Period produced remarkable cultural and scientific achievements. The city of Athens introduced to the world a direct democracy the likes of which had never been seen hitherto, or subsequently, with western governments like Great Britain, France, and the USA emulating it a thousand years later.

The Classical Period

Classical Period Greece art

The art of Greece Classical Period began the trend towards a more naturalistic (even in its early idealistic state) depiction of the world, thus reflecting a shift in philosophy from the abstract and supernatural to more immediate earthly concerns.

Artists stopped merely suggesting the human form and began describing it with accuracy. The man became the focus, and measure of all things in daily life through Democratic politics, and in cultural representations. Rational thinking and Logic became the driving force behind this cultural revolution at the expense of emotion and impulse.

It was the first time in human history that the human body was studied for its aesthetic values, and was treated as an autonomous universe. The object of art became the human itself as the focus of the artist revolved around ordinary subjects like the the weight shift during the forward step at the moment before the release of the thunder, the tying of a ribbon around one’s head, or just the shift of the pelvis when one leg supports the man’s weight.

Statue of Aphrodite riding on a goose, Greek, Late Classical Period

The Greek Classical Period ends with the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C. Besides war and conquest, in the Classical period, the Greeks produced great literature, poetry, philosophy, drama, and art. This was the time when the genre of history was first established. It also produced the institution we know of as Athenian democracy.

More info on- Hellenistic period Greece