The Greek Way Chapter Summaries

4049 Words Mar 21st, 2010 17 Pages
Chapter 1 – East and West

In Chapter 1, the author assesses the unique and eternal achievements of 5th century BCE Athenian culture. She introduces several basic dichotomies that define her understanding of the writers and events of the period in the later chapters.

One of the basic themes of the book is that the thought and the art of classical Athens is full of meaning for people of later generations. It is the full of meaning for nations, cultures and societies beset by broad-scale and profound social and political change and the accompanying confusion and fear produced in the minds and souls of human beings.

The first question Hamilton addresses is “What gave rise to such an unprecedented and unique achievement?” To answer this
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Greek architecture resulted from studying everything; whether where to build such things or what to use to build it, and followed by creating a masterpiece.

Greek art, unlike the art of the East, resulted from the intellectual mastery of form and proportion. However, it also resulted from a spiritual ability to recognize beauty in the reality and perfection of the natural world.

Again, by exploiting the dichotomy between East and West and between mind and spirit, Hamilton explains the defining character of Greek artistic achievement. Again, by returning to the theme of balance and proportion, she demonstrates how the Athenians' unique worldview changed all civilizations to follow.

Chapter 4 – The Greek Way of Writing

The first thing to be recognized in the style of Greek literature is that it is as plain and direct as everything else they did. The simplicity and directness in writing seems bare to modern English readers. Modern English readers are accustomed to elaborate and adorned description. In fact, among most modern English readers there is almost an equivalent appreciation of the thing described and the way it is described in words.

The Greek way of thinking and of writing was that truths need no elaboration and should not be exaggerated. Athenians wanted to know the truth about everyone and everything in the world.

Hamilton explains the Greeks did not use repetition to create a sort of emotional effect and they expressed themselves as more simple then

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