Ancient Greek literature

Ancient Greek Literature

Ancient Greek literature

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Ancient Greek literature refers to literature written in the Ancient Greek language until the 4th century.

Classical and Pre-Classical Antiquity

This period of Greek literature stretches from Homer until the 4th century BC and the rise of Alexander the Great. Alfred North Whitehead once claimed that all of philosophy is but a footnote to Plato. To suggest that all of Western literature is no more than a footnote to the writings of ancient Greece is an exaggeration, but it is nevertheless true that the Greek world of thought was so far-ranging that there is scarcely an idea discussed today not already debated by the ancient writers.

The earliest known Greek writings are Mycenaean, written in the Linear B syllabary on clay tablets. These documents contain prosaic records largely concerned with trade (lists, inventories, receipts, etc.); no real literature has been discovered. Several theories have been advanced to explain this curious absence. One is that Mycenaean literature, like the works of Homer and other epic poems, was passed on orally, since the Linear B syllabary is not well-suited to recording the sounds of Greek (see phonemic principle).

Greek literature was divided in well-defined literary genres, each one having a compulsory formal structure, about both dialect and metrics. The first division was between prose and poetry. Trendly, fictional literature was written in verse, while scientific literature was in prose. Within the poetry we could separate three...
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