With more information, more engagingly presented, than any similar work, this is the best single-volume account of ancient Greece in more than a generation. Robin Waterfield gives a comprehensive narrative of seven hundred years of history, from the emergence of the Greeks around 750 BC to the Roman conquest of the last of the Greco-Macedonian kingdoms in 30 BC.
Here is Part 2 of only a small list of the most famous people from Ancient Greece:

Archimedes (c. 287 BC – 212 BC) was an ancient Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, astronomer, and philosopher, considered one of the greatest mathematicians in antiquity. Archimedes apparently studied mathematics in Alexandria, but lived most of his life in Syracuse, Sicily. He discovered how to find the volume of a sphere and determined the value of Pi; developed a way of counting using zeros to represent powers of ten; discovered a formula to find the area under a curve and the amount of space enclosed by a curve; and may have been the first to use integral calculus. Archimedes also invented the field of statics, enunciated the law of the lever, the law of equilibrium of fluids, and the law of buoyancy. He was the first to identify the concept of centre of gravity, and he found the centres of gravity of various geometric figures, including triangles, paraboloids, and hemispheres, assuming the uniform density of their interiors. Using only ancient Greek geometry, he also gave the equilibrium positions of floating sections of paraboloids as a function of their height, a feat that would be challenging for a modern physicist using calculus.
Archimedes only became widely known as a mathematician after Eutocius brought out editions of some of his works, with commentaries, in the sixth century AD. Ancient writers were more interested in his inventions and in the ingenious war machines, which he developed than in his achievements in mathematics. Plutarch recounts how Archimedes’ war machines defended Syracuse against Roman attackers during the Second Punic War. Many of Archimedes’ works were lost when the Library of Alexandria was burnt (twice), and survived only in Latin or Arabic translations.

Aristophanes (c. 446 BC – c. 388 BC) was a Greek dramatist of the Old and Middle Comedy period. He is also known as the “Father of Comedy” and the “Prince of Ancient Comedy.” The Old Comedy, dating from the establishment of democracy by Cleisthenes, around 510 BC, arose from the obscene jests of Dionysian revellers, composed of virulent abuse and personal vilification. The satire and abuse were directed against some object of popular dislike. The comedy used the techniques of tragedy, its choral dances, its masked actors, its meters, its scenery and stage mechanism, and above all the elegance of the Attic language, but used for the purpose of satire and ridicule. Middle Comedy omitted the chorus, and transferred the ridicule from a single personage to human foibles in general. Aristophanes was one of the key figures of this transition.

Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato, and teacher of Alexander the Great. He wrote on diverse subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry (including theatre), logic, rhetoric, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology. Along with Socrates and Plato, he was among the most influential of the ancient Greek philosophers, as they transformed Presocratic Greek philosophy into the foundations of Western philosophy, as it is known today. Most researchers credit Plato and Aristotle with founding two of the most important schools of ancient philosophy, along with Stoicism and Epicureanism.
Aristotle’s philosophy made a dramatic impact on both Western and Islamic philosophy. The beginning of “modern” philosophy in the Western world is typically located at the transition from medieval, Aristotelian philosophy to mechanistic, Cartesian philosophy in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Yet, even the new philosophy continued to put debates in largely Aristotelian terms, or to wrestle with Aristotelian views. Today, there are avowed Aristotelians in many areas of contemporary philosophy, including ethics and metaphysics.
Given the volume of Aristotle’s work, it is not possible to adequately summarise his views in anything less than a book.

Arrian, Latin in full Lucius Flavius Arrianus, (born c. 86AD, Nicomedia, Bithynia (now Izmit, Turkey) – died c. 160AD, Athens. Greek historian and philosopher who was one of the most distinguished authors of the 2nd-century Roman Empire. He was the author of a work describing the campaigns of Alexander the Great. Titled Anabasis, presumably in order to recall Xenophon’s work of that title, it describes Alexander’s military exploits in seven books; an eighth, the Indica, tells of Indian customs and the voyage of Nearchus in the Persian Gulf, with borrowings from Megasthenes and Eratosthenes.
Arrian was clearly a great admirer of Alexander but was primarily interested in the purely military aspect of the story he was telling. There is little to enlighten the reader about Alexander’s motives for conquest or his ideal of the creation of a united world. The work, however, does contain some fine pieces of descriptive writing, such as the account of the siege and capture of Tyre in Book II. Modern historians use the work as a means of recovering Arrian’s major sources, Ptolemy I and Aristobulus.

Aspasia, (c. 470BC – c. 400BC), was an influential metic woman in Classical-era Athens who, according to Plutarch, attracted the most prominent writers and thinkers of the time, including the philosopher Socrates, to her house, which became an intellectual centre in Athens. Socrates described her as a skilled teacher of rhetoric. She was the companion of the statesman Pericles, with whom she had a son, Pericles the Younger, but the full details of the couple’s marital status are unknown. Aspasia is mentioned in the writings of Plato, Aristophanes, Xenophon, and others. Although she spent most of her adult life in Greece, few details of her life are fully known. The ancient sources about Aspasia’s life are scant, of often of questionable reliability and contradictory, with some portraying her as an intellectual luminary, rhetorician, and philosopher and others portraying her as a brothel keeper or hetaera. Aspasia’s role in history provides crucial insight into understanding the women of ancient Greece. Very little is known about women from her time period. One scholar stated that, “To ask questions about Aspasia’s life is to ask questions about half of humanity.”

Basil of Caesarea
Basil of Caesarea, also called Saint Basil the Great (330AD– 379AD), was a Byzantine bishop of Caesarea Mazaca in Cappadocia, Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). He was an influential theologian who supported the Nicene Creed and opposed the heresies of the early Christian church, fighting against both Arianism and the followers of Apollinaris of Laodicea. His ability to balance his theological convictions with his political connections made Basil a powerful advocate for the Nicene position.
In addition to his work as a theologian, Basil was known for his care of the poor and underprivileged. Basil established guidelines for monastic life, which focus on community life, liturgical prayer, and manual labour. Together with Pachomius, he is remembered as a father of communal monasticism in Eastern Christianity. He is considered a saint by the traditions of both Eastern and Western Christianity.
Basil, together with his brother Gregory of Nyssa and his friend Gregory of Nazianzus, are collectively referred to as the Cappadocian Fathers. The Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches have given him, together with Gregory of Nazianzus and John Chrysostom, the title of Great Hierarch. He is recognised as a Doctor of the Church in the Roman Catholic Church.

Brasidas, (died 422 BC, Amphipolis, Macedonia, Spartan officer generally considered the only commander of genius produced by Sparta during the Archidamian War (431–421), the first decade of the Peloponnesian War (431–404) between Athens and Sparta. Through his eloquence and charm, qualities unusual in a Spartan, he earned the admiration of many of Athens’ allies, thus paving the way for the revolts against Athens that took place after the failure (413) of the Athenian expedition against Syracuse, Sicily.
Brasidas first distinguished himself in combat in 431. In 424 he frustrated an Athenian attack on Megara and immediately set about breaking up the Athenian empire in the north, winning over to Sparta the cities of Acanthus and Stagirus (both in Chalcidice) and, most important, the Athenian colony of Amphipolis. A truce was concluded between Athens and Sparta in the spring of 423, but Brasidas refused to give up Scione, and he occupied Mende (in Chalcidice) shortly afterward. In April 422 the truce with Sparta expired, and the Athenians sent Cleon to recover their former possessions on the coast of Thrace. By skillful generalship Brasidas routed the Athenians at Amphipolis, but both he and Cleon were killed, thereby removing the key members of the pro-war faction of both sides. The Peace of Nicias was concluded the next year.

Callisthenes of Olynthus
Callisthenes of Olynthus, (c. 360 BC – c. 327BC), ancient Greek historian best known for his influential history of Greece. Callisthenes was appointed to attend Alexander the Great as historian of his Asiatic expedition on the recommendation of his uncle Aristotle, who was Alexander’s former tutor. In 327 BC Callisthenes offended Alexander, who had proclaimed himself divine and demanded that Greeks prostrate themselves before him in adoration (the custom of proskynesis). Callisthenes led the opposition to this practice, was falsely accused of conspiracy, and was summarily executed. His death was commemorated by his friend Theophrastus in Callisthenes; or, a Treatise on Grief.
Callisthenes wrote a 10-volume history of Greece from the peace of Antalcidas (386) to the Phocian War (355); a history of the Phocian War (or Third Sacred War); and a eulogistic account of Alexander’s conquests, The Deeds of Alexander. With Aristotle he drew up a complete list of victors in the Pythian Games, which was important for ancient chronology. His works survive only in fragments. It is known that he alluded to the story of Alexander’s divine birth and may have been the first to do so.

Cleon, (died 422 BC, Amphipolis, Macedonia), the first prominent representative of the commercial class in Athenian politics, he became leader of the Athenian democracy in 429 after the death of his political enemy, Pericles. In the Peloponnesian War he strongly advocated an offensive strategy. When Mytilene, which had revolted against Athens, fell in 427, Cleon proposed that all its citizens be put to death and the women and children enslaved. His decree was passed but rescinded the next day, in time to save Mytilene. He reached the summit of his fame by capturing the Spartans on the besieged island of Sphacteria in 425 after refusing their peace terms, but was defeated and killed at Amphipolis by the Spartan general Brasidas when trying to recover the cities of Thrace for the Athenian Empire. Cleon is represented by Aristophanes and Thucydides in an extremely unfavourable light, but neither can be considered an unprejudiced witness.

Cleopatra VII Philopator (69 BC – 30 BC) was queen of Ancient Egypt, the last member of the Macedonian Ptolemaic dynasty and hence the last Greek ruler of Egypt. Although many other Egyptian queens shared the name, she is usually known as simply Cleopatra, all of her similarly named predecessors having been largely forgotten. She has been nicknamed the “Queen of the Nile.”
As co-ruler of Egypt with her father Ptolemy XII Auletes, her brother/husband Ptolemy XIV, and later her son Caesarion, Cleopatra survived a coup engineered by her brother’s courtiers, consummated a liaison with Julius Caesar that solidified her grip on the throne, and, after Caesar’s assassination, aligned with Mark Antony, with whom she produced twins.
After Antony’s rival and Caesar’s legal heir, Octavian, brought the might of Rome against Egypt, Cleopatra took her own life on August 12, 30 BC.
Her legacy survives in the form of numerous dramatizations of her story, including William Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra and several modern films. Partly, she is remembered because of the glamour and tragedy of her life but she is also significant as a woman who exercised considerable power and influence in a male-dominated, patriarchal world whose chief goal was not power for her own sake but to protect the ancient autonomy of her state. As the last Ptolemaic heir of Alexander the Great, she also remained committed to his policy of cultural fusion, valuing all races and cultures with the ultimate aim of a single world community.

Source: en.wikipedia.com, newworldencyclopedia.org and britannica.com

Leave a Reply