The Ottoman period for Athens began in 1458 with the city’s peaceful occupation, following a treaty between the Ottomans and the last duke of the Acciaioli, and ended in 1821 with the proclamation of Greek Independence. During this period the city was in Ottoman hands continuously with the exception of a brief interval of Venetian occupation between 1687 and 1688, which is usually taken as the boundary between the historical subdivisions of the first and second Ottoman periods. Continue reading Athens in the Ottoman Period
Plato (c. 427-347 BC) was Socrates’ student and one of the most influential philosophers in Western civilization. Born to a politically active and wealthy noble Athenian family, (Plato’s mother was descended from Solon, the famous lawgiver credited with major democratic reforms that paved the way for Athen’s Golden Age) Plato grew up during the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC), a conflict that arose among Athens, Sparta, and their allies. This civil war was the beginning of the end of the Athenian Golden Age, and created an opening for later conquest by Philip of Macedon. The principles of democracy in Athens were lost, as was much of the cultural wealth of both city states. Continue reading Plato
Aristotle, or Aristoteles, (c.384-322 BC) was born in Stagirus in the Greek colony of Chalcidice, which lies to the north of Greece near Macedon. Aristotle was never an Athenian citizen, despite having spent most of his life in Athens. Nicomachus, Aristotle’s father, was court physician to King Amyntas III of Macedon.
Aristotle came to Athens to study and joined Plato’s Academy in 367 BC. Aristotle became Plato’s best student and was generally felt to be Plato’s successor. He remained at the Academy until Plato’s death in 347 BC, when, bypassed in the election of the Academy’s next president, Aristotle left Athens with a few students and friends. Continue reading Aristotle
El Greco – Domenikos Theotokopoulos – (1541-1614) is one of the few old master painters who enjoys widespread popularity. Like Vermeer, Piero della Francesca, and Botticelli, he was rescued from obscurity by an avid group of nineteenth-century collectors, critics, and artists and became one of the select members of the modern pantheon of great painters. For Picasso, as for so many later admirers, El Greco was both the quintessential Spaniard and a proto-modern—a painter of the spirit. It was as a painter who “felt the mystical inner construction” of life that El Greco was admired by Franz Marc and the members of the Blue Rider school: someone whose art stood as a rejection of the materialist culture of modern life. Continue reading El Greco
Karagiozis, Greek shadow puppet theater, has a history in Greece that links conceptually with one line of development that goes back to pre-classical times, and with a second, more direct connection, that positions the form in Greece from 1799, the earliest date at which the term shows up in a documented source. Going forward, Karagiozis spawned a comic tradition that served Greece well up to modern times — through epitheorisis, or review performances, Karlos Koun’s theatrical renditions of Karagiozis, and satiric comedy on the stage.* Continue reading Karagiozis