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Hellenism. Culture and art.

Wonders of the world.

In the Hellenistic period, the first lists of the seven wonders of the world appeared. In addition to the famous Egyptian pyramids, the hanging gardens of Semiramis, the statue of Zeus by Phidias and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, the Lighthouse of Alexandria or Pharos and the statue of Helios on the island of Rhodes were built at this time.

The Lighthouse of Alexandria was erected by architect Sostrat Knidsky on the island of Pharos, connected to the port of Alexandria by an embankment dam one kilometer long. The lighthouse was a two-story tower 120 meters high: a cube, and on it an octahedron (in the directions of the eight main winds). The lighting lantern occupied the third floor, built in the form of a cylinder, and above it was a dome with a seven-meter statue of Poseidon. A fire was lit here, which, reflected by metal mirrors, was visible at a distance of 50-60 km. The lower floor rose up to the XIV century . Now there is a military fort on Pharos, the remains of a lighthouse are buried under it.

Rhodes, due to the rapid development of trade and navigation, became a large Hellenistic state. In honor of one of the major military victories at the beginning of the III century BC, the Rhodians decided to erect an unprecedented statue of the sun god, the patron saint of the island. The statue was supposed to be cast in bronze - from a technical point of view, an almost impossible operation, which, however, was performed by a student of Lysippus Hares from Lind. He cast the 35-meter-high statue piece by piece for twelve years. The colossus did not last long, because an earthquake occurred in Rhodes in 220 BC. The ruins of Helios were still found by the Arabs in the X century.


In literature, traditional genres have lost their leading positions. Tragedy and oratory have lost their popularity. A special relationship arose between authors and rulers based on patronage of the arts of those in power (for example, the Ptolemies were actively engaged in patronage), which inevitably led to the development of court literature filled with flattery. Even the best poets, such as Theocritus, who composed The Praise of Ptolemy II, did not escape this hobby. Theocritus gained fame as a compiler of idylls praising rural pastoral life. The lyrics of escaping from reality with the appropriate entourage became widespread: "a crystal clear spring, a streamlet, mossy stones, a carpet of silky grass, shady trees, hills overgrown with myrtle and olives, bees collecting honey, birds and cicadas"7. The source of the bucolic genre was folk poetry. The poetry of traveling to exotic countries was also popular. For example, a detailed interpretation of the myth of the Argonauts appeared.

There was a feverish search for something new, when poetry was freed from musical accompaniment and special attention was paid to metrics in it. The "poetry of small forms" - eclogues and epigrams - spread. The desire to convey the feelings of individuals contributed to the development of love poetry, in which various symbolic images were invented: cupids, arrows, hearts, chains, etc., etc. - original in the Hellenistic era, but banal in subsequent times.

The reading public has also changed: education has spread among the rich and noble strata of society, in connection with which there was also a subtly refined poetry "for a minority", paradoxically, which many people liked.

Libraries arose, the largest one was in Alexandria, in the Museion (about 700 thousand papyrus scrolls), where scientists systematized the works of previous ancient authors. In their processing, many ancient manuscripts have come down to us: Homer, Hesiod, etc. There was criticism of the text and its detailed commentary, necessary in the presence of a large number of books. It was in Alexandria (approximately II century BC) that the first translation into Greek of the books of the Old Testament was made - the Septuagint (translation of 70 interpreters).


In art, traditional trends were formed under the influence of the Lysippus school, as exemplified by the famous Aphrodite (Venus) of Milo. Her loftily calm features are the last splash of the finally departing classics. Statues and bas-reliefs were popular in the Hellenistic era, but an increase in demand for works of art always leads to the appearance of a huge number of things designed for mass consumption - a direct path to the decline of real craftsmanship.

In art, as in other spheres of spiritual life, there was a search for new forms. The endless fermentation of Asia found expression in pathetic plots. The symbol of Hellenism was Nika from the temple in Samothrace. Once she towered on a cliff, on the seashore, the folds of her flowing clothes were doused with salt spray, Nika blew a horn, heralding the dawn of a new era, and now, with broken arms and head, she greets visitors to the Louvre. The altar of Zeus in Pergamum with a frieze 130 m long became very famous . It depicts the struggle of gods and giants - gigantomachy. The complexity of the composition, expression, fear of empty space are striking, the bodies of the struggling are intertwined into one huge elongated tangle, in which classical simplicity and clarity have disappeared. The horror in the face of barbarism and death was expressed by the sculpture of Laocoon, who, according to legend, predicted the death of the Trojans from a wooden horse created by Odysseus. The sculptural group depicts the prophet and his two sons, struggling in the last convulsions at the moment when they are strangled by a serpent sent as punishment by Apollo. The victory of reason is cruelly and invisibly stained with blood.

Hellenism is characterized by a taste for the gloomy, morbid, senile, ugly, barbaric. There are famous statues of a drunken old woman, a Gaul killing himself and his wife, and Marcius, who was flayed - if Myron had previously depicted only the beginning of the legend, when Athena only threw the flutes, and Marcius picked them up, now the artist was attracted by the cruel ending. Everyday sketches also appear: a peasant plowing a field, a boy playing with a goose (or strangling him), etc. The essence of the new art is the image of a man with all his earthly sorrows and sorrows. However, real realism as an artistic trend in culture is still far away: art is too superficial and ethnographic.

Fine plastic, decorative and applied art are developing: a huge number of cameos are being made (a relief convex image on a stone), - the largest of the ancient Gonzaga cameos with a portrait of Ptolemy II and his consort8 - intaglio (concave relief on a stone), rings, seals, medallions, which had no practical use and were a symbol of luxury of the upper strata of society, became very famous.

In the Hellenistic era, there was not created such an integral and complete artistic concept as there was in the classical era, and this is also one of the essential signs of the extinction of Greek civilization in the Hellenistic era