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This image shows a wall painting from Val Camonica, Lombardy, Italy, ca. 12,000 b2k. Credit: Mazarin07.

The classics comprise "the languages, literature, philosophy, history, art, archaeology and other culture of the ancient Mediterranean world (Bronze Age ca. [Before Christ] BC 3000 – Late Antiquity ca. [Anno Domini] AD 300–600); especially Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome during Classical Antiquity (ca. BC 600 – AD 600). Initially, the study of the Classics (the period's literature) was the principal study in the humanities."[1]


Main source: Humanities

"The classics ... refer to [studies of the] cultures of classical antiquity"[2], namely the cultures of the 8th-7th centuries BC (2800-2700 b2k) ending "with the dissolution of classical culture at the close of Late Antiquity [between] AD 300-600 [1700-1400 b2k]."[3]

"The study of the classics is considered one of the cornerstones of the humanities"[2]

"During [classical antiquity], the concept of the seven liberal arts evolved, involving grammar, rhetoric and logic (the trivium), along with arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music (the quadrivium).[4] These subjects formed the bulk of medieval education, with the emphasis being on the humanities as skills or "ways of doing.""[2]



  1. "[o]f or relating to the first class or rank, especially in literature or art",[5]
  2. "[o]f or pertaining to established principles in a discipline",[5]
  3. "[d]escribing European music and musicians of the late 18th and early 19th centuries",[5]
  4. "[o]f or pertaining to the ancient Greeks and Romans, especially to Greek or Roman authors of the highest rank, or of the period when their best literature was produced; of or pertaining to places inhabited by the ancient Greeks and Romans, or rendered famous by their deeds",[5] or
  5. "[c]onforming to the best authority in literature and art; chaste; pure; refined; as, a classical style"[5]

is called classical.

"The power of the 'classical' does not spring, as is usually thought, from its relation to a real or imagined past, but from its relation to current social, political, and moral values that it helps to legitimate (Settis 2004: 104). In other words, the 'classical' is ideological. An ideology may be defined as 'a self-serving set of deeply held, often unconscious beliefs [and values]' (Rose 2006: 103) and a way of expressing these beliefs and values in a 'legitimating discourse' that 'takes for granted a particular, established social order', but 'fails to include an analysis of the institutional mechanisms that maintain this order, and is liable to be no more than a contribution to the efficacy of the ideology itself' (Bourdieu 1977: 188). Since antiguity, the discourse of the 'classical' has functioned in just this way to legitimate a social order and a set of institutions, beliefs, and values that are commonly associated with western civilization and 'our' western cultural heritage."[6]

Planetary sciences[edit]

Def. "[a]ny of several periods of history noted for a particular style of art, architecture, literature or music termed classical"[7] is called a classical era.


"Though we generally use the words "classical" and "Classics" in a high-cultural sense, this use is derivative and figuratively loaded. These words derive from the Latin adjective classicus,-a,-um, originally referring to someone belonging to the highest of the five classes of Roman citizens in the division of the Roman people according to property and wealth made by Servius Tullius (Livy 1.43.5; Aulus Gellius 6[7].13.1, 3)."[8]


Main source: Minerals

The classical era from 5000 b2k to 1400 b2k had the recovery of minerals and metals from the Earth as commodities. So too did nations or empires use hominins as slaves, sometimes their own children or the members of other tribes, peoples, or intelligent species.

"Whilst a relatively small proportion of Attica’s slaves worked on grand building projects, an enormous number – perhaps even 35,000 by 340 B.C.E. – worked in the mining region of southern Attica."[9]

Ancient Italy[edit]

Roman collared slaves in chains are portrayed in this relief found at Smyrna (present day İzmir, Turkey), 1800 b2k. Credit: .

"Slavery in ancient Rome played an important role in society and the economy. Besides manual labor, slaves performed many domestic services, and might be employed at highly skilled jobs and professions. Teachers, accountants, and physicians were often slaves. Greek slaves in particular might be highly educated. Unskilled slaves, or those condemned to slavery as punishment, worked on farms, in mines, and at mills. Their living conditions were brutal, and their lives short."[10]

"Slaves were considered property under Roman law and had no legal personhood. Unlike Roman citizens, they could be subjected to corporal punishment, sexual exploitation (prostitutes were often slaves), torture, and summary execution. The testimony of a slave could not be accepted in a court of law unless the slave was tortured—a practice based on the belief that slaves in a position to be privy to their masters' affairs would be too virtuously loyal to reveal damaging evidence unless coerced. Over time, however, slaves gained increased legal protection, including the right to file complaints against their masters. Attitudes changed in part because of the influence among the educated elite of the Stoics, whose egalitarian views of humanity extended to slaves."[10]

"The 1st-century BC Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus indicates that the Roman institution of slavery began with the legendary founder Romulus giving Roman fathers the right to sell their own children into slavery, and kept growing with the expansion of the Roman state. Slave ownership was most widespread throughout the Roman citizenry from the Second Punic War (218–201 BC) to the 4th century AD. The Greek geographer Strabo (1st century AD) records how an enormous slave trade resulted from the collapse of the Seleucid Empire (100–63 BC).[11]"[10]

Ancient Greece[edit]

"During the Classical period, Athens and a number of other poleis relied upon trade with ‘barbarian’ territories on the periphery of the Aegean world to maintain large slave populations which played an integral role in economic life and formed the bedrock of elite wealth."[9]

Slaves "were imported from a number of regions [...] Thrace and the Black Sea regions [...] Colchis [...] Getic slaves from the lower Danube region [the] Scythian slave-trade in the 6th and 5th centuries BC [...] Asia Minor and the Levant [...] which fell under the domination of the Persian Empire during the Classical period. [...] Boeotia [...] Sarmatia and Syria. [...] the region of southern Iran generally known as Elam [...] Paphlagonia, bordering the southern Black Sea littoral, was another well-known source of slaves. [...] Phrygia, Caria and Paphlagonia were the most important suppliers of slaves from Asia Minor, Lydia and Cilicia are also attested as slave sources for the Greeks"[9]

"The Getai are the people living in the area reaching eastwards to the Black Sea, while the Dacians live in the area towards Germany and the sources of the Danube. I think that in ancient times they were called ‘Dai’; and it was because of them that the names ‘Geta’ and ‘Daos’ were common for slaves among the Athenians – at least, this is a more likely explanation than that they were named after the Scythian tribe called the ‘Daai’, since they live far away in Hyrcania and it is most unlikely that any slaves were ever brought to Attica from there. In fact, the Athenians would either name their slaves after the area from which they were imported, or give them the same names as their tribes (such as ‘Lydos’ or ‘Syros’), or give them names which were common in those countries, like ‘Manes’ or ‘Midas’ for a Phrygian, or ‘Tibios’ for a Paphlagonian."[9]

"The Athenians wanted to diversify the ethnic composition of their slave holdings to limit cohesion among the slaves, and were not overly concerned about the ethnicity of their slave stock so long as it was free from what they perceived as excessively weak or excessively bellicose peoples. This was aimed at maximizing the profits of slave labour whilst minimizing the risks of resistance; there was little incentive for a slave seller to falsify the ethnicity of his merchandise."[9]

"In Attica alone during the Classical period there was a slave population of perhaps 100–150,000 at its height.60"[9]

"Slavery was common practice and an integral component of ancient Greece throughout its rich history, as it was in other societies of the time including ancient Palestine and early Christian societies.[12][13][14] It is estimated that in Athens, the majority of citizens owned at least one slave. Most ancient writers considered slavery not only natural but necessary, but some isolated debate began to appear, notably in Socratic dialogues while the Stoics produced the first condemnation of slavery recorded in history.[14]"[15]

"Slaves were present through the Mycenaean civilization. In the tablets from Pylos 140 do-e-ro can be identified with certainty. Two legal categories can be distinguished: "common" slaves and "slaves of the god" (te-o-jo do-e-ro / θεοιο), the God in this case probably being Poseidon. Slaves of the god are always mentioned by name and own their own land; their legal status is close to that of freemen. The nature and origin of their bond to the divinity is unclear.[16]"[15]

Ancient Israel[edit]

Slavery "played an important role in ancient Israel [...] the qualities of an ideal housewife are set out, which centre upon the ability to manage a household, including ordering the slaves to perform their various tasks.64 And recently, Catherine Hezser has demonstrated that slave labour was the key ingredient in elite wealth as pictured in the stories of the early patriarchs, which reveals that the Israelites as well as the Greeks perceived a connection between large slaveholdings and wealth.65"[9]

Ancient Babylonia[edit]

Slaves "may have constituted between a quarter and a third of the population of Babylonia under the Persian Empire; in terms of its social location, many households owned a few slaves, with wealthier families owning dozens and sometimes hundreds, and the Royal household owning considerably more.66"[9]

Ancient Asia Minor[edit]

"In Asia Minor, slave ownership was not merely restricted to the Greek cities of the coast; for instance, Herodotus tells us of Atys, the richest man in Asia (besides the king of Persia), who was apparently willing to give up the vast majority of his riches to finance Xerxes’ invasion of Greece and to live out the rest of his days on his estates, from wealth generated by his slaves and flocks (Hdt. 7.27–8)."[9]

Ancient Phrygia[edit]

"Eumenes of Cardia seized a number of similar estates in Phrygia, full of slaves and flocks, in the fourth century (Plu. Eum.8.5)".[9]

Ancient Lydia[edit]

"Xenophon (An. 7.8.9–23). Seizing an opportunity for apparently easy plunder, Xenophon and a number of mercenaries raided the estate of a wealthy Persian named Asidates in northern Lydia, but found the venture more difficult than they had originally envisaged; the slaves who worked Asidates’ lands mostly got away, but some 200 were captured by the Greek soldiers. An estate of 200 slaves would be enormous by Greek standards, and Xenophon’s account makes clear that this was only a por- tion of Asidates’ holdings (Asidates, we may mention, was not even exceptionally wealthy by Persian standards).67"[9]

Ancient Egypt[edit]

"Aršam the satrap of Egypt, from a number of letters dating to the fifth century, and it is clear that slavery was the predominant form of labour on his lands. Many of these letters are addressed to subordinates who had been appointed to administer his estates, and the supply of slave labour is an important theme; in one letter, Aršam orders an officer to acquire more workers for his estates and brand them with his own mark, since many of his slaves had fled during the chaos of a revolt. Aršam also owned estates in Syria and Babylonia in addition to his Egyptian holdings.68"[9]

Ancient Persia[edit]

In relation to Greeks in the Persian work gangs, "There are men in our texts who are simply called Yaunā. No one that I know of has spoken against the obvious view that this is not a true proper name, that the persons concerned are Greeks, known by their ethnics instead of their strange and no doubt unpronounceable names, just as the Greeks habitually called slaves Skythes or Kar."[9]

Ancient Thracia[edit]

"The ownership of slaves in appreciable numbers was possible in other regions; the Thracian king Seuthes had large enough holdings that he could easily give 120 slaves to a Greek mercenary force as a gift (Xen. An. 7.7.53); see Velkov (n. 2 [1986])."[9]

Theoretical classics[edit]

Def. "the languages, literature, philosophy, history, art, archaeology and other culture of the ancient Mediterranean World; especially Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome during the classical era"[17] is called the classics.

As the classical era seems to refer to an historical era between 5000 b2k and 1400 b2k, any languages, literature, philosophy, history, art, archaeology and other culture during this era may be referred to as the classics.


Main sources: Astronomy/Entities and Entities

"The word “classics” is derived from the Latin adjective classicus: “belonging to the highest class of citizens”, connoting superiority, authority, and perfection. The first “Classic” writer was Aulus Gellius, a 2nd-century Roman writer who, in the miscellany Noctes Atticae (19, 8, 15), refers to a writer as a Classicus scriptor, non proletarius(“A distinguished, not a commonplace writer”). Such classification began with the Greeks’ ranking their cultural works, with the word canon (“carpenter’s rule”). Moreover, early Christian Church Fathers used canon to rank the authoritative texts of the New Testament, preserving them, given the expense of vellum and papyrus and mechanical book reproduction, thus, being comprehended in a canon ensured a book’s preservation as the best way to retain information about a civilization. Contemporarily, the Western canon defines the best of Western culture. In the ancient world, at the Alexandrian Library, scholars coined the Greek term Hoi enkrithentes (“the admitted”, “the included”) to identify the writers in the canon."[1]

Highest class is a synonym for dominant group.

Patrician classes[edit]

"According to Livy, the first 100 men appointed as senators by Romulus were referred to as "fathers" (patres),[18] and the descendants of those men became the Patrician class.[19] The patricians were distinct from the plebeians because they had wider political influence, at least in the times of the Republic."[20]

"Until the year 445 B.C. [2445 b2k] a regular marriage (iustae nuptiae) could be contracted only between patricians - members of the ruling class."[21] Bold added.

"'Consequently, the ruling class accumulated all the wealth for themselves, and the slave-population filled the country, while the real Italian population decreased terribly, worn out by poverty, taxation, and military service. And when there was a respite from these things they found themselves unemployed, because the land was owned by rich men who used slaves instead of freemen on their farms.' Whatever the origin of this passage may be, it shows the necessary result of the military expansion of Rome,"[21]

"Farmers found it unprofitable to grow grain in Italy since the Roman market was flooded with masses of imported grain which forced down the price (Liv., xxx, 26)."[21]

Patrician class when an exact synonym for ruling class is a relative synonym for dominant group.


Main sources: Astronomy/Sources and Sources

"The initial enslavement of individuals was the result of a number of mechanisms of enslavement: war, piracy, brigandage, enslavement by judicial condemnation, enslavement for debt or self-sale due to poverty, the sale of infants and child abandonment, and the natural reproduction of a slave population; some or all of these processes could be in play in any given region at any given time in the ancient world. By these means individuals could be severed from their indigenous social milieu and become items of trade to be sold to foreign lands such as Greece. In terms of the northern branch of the slave trade, most historians have concluded that the majority of slaves ‘generated’ in Thrace, Scythia and Colchis were the product of inter-tribal warfare and raiding (both by land and sea); others were sold by parents who could not afford to keep large families (e.g. Hdt. 5.6; Poll. 7.14).71"[9]

Enslavement is in "a "market economy" in which the trade in slaves was the result of individual initiatives developing in an atmosphere of free competition".[9]

A "polyglot population [...] was principally drawn from Asia Minor, Syria and the eastern Balkans".[9]


Main sources: History/Prehistory and Prehistory

The prehistory period dates from around 7 x 106 b2k to about 7,000 b2k.


The paleolithic period dates from around 2.6 x 106 b2k to the end of the Pleistocene around 12,000 b2k.


The mesolithic period dates from around 13,000 to 8,500 b2k.

Ancient history[edit]

The ancient history period dates from around 8,000 to 3,000 b2k.

Early history[edit]

Main sources: History/Early and Early history

The early history period dates from around 3,000 to 2,000 b2k.

Classical history[edit]

The classical history period dates from around 2,000 to 1,000 b2k.

Recent history[edit]

Main sources: History/Recent and Recent history

The recent history period dates from around 1,000 b2k to present.


Main source: Hypotheses
  1. The classicus used local disasters caused by events they could see in the sky to put themselves above others as a dominant group.

See also[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Classics, In: Wikipedia". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. February 26, 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Humanities, In: Wikipedia". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. December 21, 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  3. "Classical antiquity, In: Wikipedia". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. December 28, 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  4. Levi, Albert W.; The Humanities Today, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1970.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 "classical, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. February 17, 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  6. Seth L. Schein (April 12, 2011). Lorna Hardwick and Christopher Stray. ed. 'Our Debt to Greece and Rome': Canon, Class and Ideology, In: A Companion to Classical Receptions. The Atrium, Souther Gate, Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. pp. 75-85. ISBN 1444393774. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  7. "classical era, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. November 10, 2012. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  8. Seth L. Schein (1999). Thomas Michael Falkner, Nancy Felson, David Konstan. ed. Cultural Studies and Classics: Contrasts and Opportunities, In: Contextualizing Classics: Ideology, Performance, Dialogue. Essays in Honor of John J. Peradotto. 4720 Boston Way, Lanham, Maryland USA: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 285-300. ISBN 0847697339. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 9.14 9.15 9.16 David Lewis (January 2011). "Near Eastern Slaves in Classical Attica and the Slave Trade with Persian Territories". Classical Quarterly 61 (1): 91-113. doi:10.1017/S0009838810000480. Retrieved 2014-07-03. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 "Slavery in ancient Rome, In: Wikipedia". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. February 21, 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  11. Roman Slavery: The Social, Cultural, Political, and Demographic Consequences by Moya K. Mason
  12. John Byron, Slavery Metaphors in Early Judaism and Pauline Christianity: A Traditio-historical and Exegetical Examination, Mohr Siebeck, 2003, ISBN 3-16-148079-1, p.40
  13. Roland De Vaux, John McHugh, Ancient Israel: Its Life and Institutions, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1997, ISBN 0-8028-4278-X, p.80
  14. 14.0 14.1 J.M.Roberts, The New Penguin History of the World, p.176–177, 223
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Slavery in ancient Greece, In: Wikipedia". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. February 20, 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  16. Burkert, p.45.
  17. "classics, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. September 26, 2012. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  18. Kenny Zeng, 2007, A History Of Ancient and Early Rome
  19. Livy, Ab urbe condita, 1:8
  20. "Patrician (ancient Rome), In: Wikipedia". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. February 21, 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Otto Kiefer (1952). Sexual Life in ancient Rome. Taylor & Francis. pp. 379. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

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