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►Philosophy / Art:

“Evolution of the Concept of Beauty and Examples in Greek Sculpture”:

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Discobolus (discus-thrower) by Myron. Nude male discus-thrower. Roman copy of 460-450 BCE bronze original. British Museum-

“The Diskobolus of Myron”. Nude male discus-thrower. Classical Period. Roman copy of 450 B.C bronze original. British Museum-

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Plato considered beauty to be the Idea (Form) above all other Ideas. 

Plato’s account in the “Symposium” connect beauty to a response of love and desire, but locate beauty itself in the realm of the Forms, and the beauty of particular objects in their participation in the Form.

In this platonic dialogue, beauty is at least as objective as any other concept, or indeed takes on a certain ontological priority as more real than particular Forms: it is a sort of Form of Forms.

Plato maintained that in addition to being able to identify a beautiful person or a beautiful painting, we also have a general conception of Beauty itself.

In other words, the beautiful things we can see are beautiful only because they participate in the more general Form of Beauty. This Form of Beauty is itself invisible, eternal, and unchanging, unlike the things in the visible world that can grow old and lose their beauty. 

The universal elements of beauty according to Aristotle in his book “Metaphysics” are : order, symmetry, and definiteness or determinateness.

In “Poetics” he added another essential, namely, a certain magnitude, it being desirable, for a synoptic and single view of the parts, that the object should not be too large, while clearness of perception requires that it should not be too small.

Aristotle saw a relationship between the beautiful (to kalon) and virtue, arguing that “Virtue aims at the beautiful”.  Aristotle also said that when the good person chooses to act virtuously, he does so for the sake of the “kalon”—a word that can mean “beautiful,” “noble,” or “fine. (Nicomachean Ethics. 1106b5–14)

Aristotle distinguished between the good and the beautiful. The good implies an action or conduct, while the beautiful is found only in motionless objects. “Beauty is a bodily excellence and produces many other good things.” Because “beautiful things are effects of mathematical sciences,” Aristotle viewed beautiful forms to have order, symmetry, and definiteness.

Aristotle says in the Poeticsthat “to be beautiful, a living creature, and every whole made up of parts, must present a certain order in its arrangement of parts” (Aristotle, “Poetics”, volume II, 2322).

Plato and Aristotle both regard beauty as objective in the sense that it is not localized in the response of the beholder

The classical conception is that beauty consists of an arrangement of integral parts into a coherent whole, according to proportion, harmony, symmetry, and similar notions. This is a primordial Western conception of beauty, and is embodied in classical and neo-classical architecture, sculpture, literature, and music wherever they appear.

The Pythagorean school saw a strong connection between mathematics  and beauty. In particular, they noted that objects proportioned according to the golden ratio seemed more attractive.

Ancient Greek Sculpture and Architecture are based on this view of symmetry and proportion.

Classical and Hellenistic sculptures of men and women produced according to the Greek philosophers’ tenets of ideal human beauty were rediscovered in Renaissance Europe, leading to a re-adoption of what became known as a “classical ideal”.

In his book, “Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime” (1764),  Immanuel Kant describes the feeling of the sublime and the feeling of the beautiful.

Some of his examples of feelings of the beautiful are the sight of flower beds, grazing flocks, and daylight.  

As to Kant, they “occasion a pleasant sensation but one that is joyous and smiling.”

Feelings of the sublime are the result of seeing mountain peaks, raging storms, and night. These ones, according to Kant, “arouse enjoyment but with horror”.

Beauty and the sublime can be joined or alternated. Kant claimed that tragedy, for the most part, stirs the feeling of the sublime. Comedy arouses feelings for beauty.

Kant subdivided the sublime into three kinds. The feeling of the terrifying sublime is sometimes accompanied with a certain dread or melancholy. The feeling of the noble sublime is quiet wonder. Feelings of the splendid sublime are pervaded with beauty.

For Kant, judgments of taste rest on something universal in human nature. So, correct judgments of taste, like the capacity to do the morally right thing, are available to all.

Friedrich Nietzsche disputes Kant’s view. He thinks that beauty may be highly personal, elusive, and not universally available, and perhaps is available only to aristocratic souls in unusual enhanced ecstatic experiences.

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►Beauty as it appears in Classical and Hellenistic Greek Sculptures:

►I) Greek Sculptures from the Classic Period (480 / 323 B.C):

During the Classical Period (480 /323 B.C.) the Greek artists replaced the stiff vertical figures of the archaic period with three-dimensional snap shots of figures in action.

While the archaic sculptures appeared static the classical statues held dynamic poses bursting with potential energy.

Figures become sensuous and appear frozen in action; it seems that only a second ago they were actually alive. Faces are given more expression and whole figures strike a particular mood. Clothes too become more subtle in their rendering and cling to the contours of the body in what has been described as “wind-blown”.

The concept of dialectics began to take shape. The world became understood as a series of opposing forces that created a certain synthesis and a transient balance that always shifted to accommodate the movement of the opposing forces. So in sculpture the human figure became understood as a universe of opposing forces which created a perfect aesthetic entity the moment they achieved balance.

It was clear to an artist of the Classical period of Greece that the beauty of the whole depends on the harmony of the parts which comprise it, and that each part depends on the others in order to create a harmonious group.

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Zeus of Artemision. Dated 450 B.C. Found Found in the sea near cape Artemision. National Archaeological Museum of Athens

Zeus of Artemision. Dated 450 B.C. Classical Period. Found Found in the sea near cape Artemision. National Archaeological Museum of Athens.-

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The original 'Doryphorus', or Spear Bearer, done in the style of a Greek school in about 450-40 BC, was probably by Polyclitus. A marble Roman copy pictured, now in the National Museum in Naples, Italy, was modeled on the bronze Greek original.-

‘”Doryphorus”, or Spear Bearer, done in the style of a Greek school in about 450-40 B.C (Classical Period), was probably by Polyclitus. A marble Roman copy pictured, now in the National Museum in Naples, Italy, was modeled on the bronze Greek original.-

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Praxiteles' 'Hermes with the Infant Dionysus' is the only known original by an early Greek master. Unearthed in 1877 at Olympia, Greece, it is in the Olympia Museum. The missing arm probably held a bunch of grapes, toward which the child is reaching.

Praxiteles” “Hermes with the Infant Dionysus'”is the only known original by an early Greek master from the Classical Period. Unearthed in 1877 at Olympia, Greece, it is in the Olympia Museum. The missing arm probably held a bunch of grapes, toward which the child is reaching.-

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►II) Greek Sculptures from the Hellenistic Period (323/31 B.C):

The Hellenistic period begins in 323 with the death of Alexander the Great and ends with the battle of Actio in 31 BC.

During this period, the Idealism of classical art gave way to a higher degree of Naturalism. While the interest in deities and heroic themes was still of importance, the emphasis of Hellenistic art shifted from religious and naturalistic themes towards more dramatic human expression, psychological and spiritual preoccupation, and theatrical settings. The sculpture of this period abandons the self-containment of the earlier styles and appears to embrace its physical surroundings with dramatic groupings and creative landscaping of its context. 

Eroticism gained popularity during this period and statues of Aphrodite, Eros, Satyrs, Dionysus, Pan, and even hermaphrodites are depicted in a multitude of configurations and styles. Statues of female nudes became popular in Hellenistic art and statues of Venus in various poses and attitudes adorn the halls of many museums around the world.-

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 The Nike of Samothrace (Unknown Greek artist) is a 2nd-century BC marble sculpture of the Greek goddess Nike (Victory).  Unknown Greek artist Since 1884, it has been  displayed at the Louvre.-

The Nike of Samothrace (Unknown Greek artist) is a 2nd century B.C (Hellenistic Period) marble sculpture of the Greek goddess Nike (Victory). Unknown Greek artist Since 1884, it has been displayed at the Louvre.-

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“Venus or Aphrodite of Milo”, greek ancient statue of Aphrodite, now in Paris at the Louvre. Carved by Alexandros, a sculptor of Antioch on the Maeander River in about 150 B.C, Hellenistic Period. It was found on the Aegean island of Melos in 1820.-

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Aphrodite (Venus), Pan, and Eros. Circa 100 BC. (Hellenistic Period). National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Found at Delos.-

“Aphrodite (Venus), Pan, and Eros”. Circa 100 B.C. (Hellenistic Period). National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Found at Delos.-

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 ►Ancient Greek Sculpture: 

“The three main periods: Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic”:

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►Last but not least: I would like to thank Maria from The Tropical Flowering Zone for her help as regard to searching the information for this post and for the discussions we had as to the main points on it :D

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►Links Post:
http://lyceumphilosophy.com/?q=node/50
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/plato-aesthetics/
http://public.wsu.edu/~kimander/teraray.htm
http://www.hull.ac.uk/php/465848/HOMEPAGE/PDFs/05_Zangwill_HPQ_30_1.pdf
http://www.1902encyclopedia.com/A/AES/aesthetics-09.html
http://www.greeklandscapes.com/greece/athens_museum_hellenistic.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observations_on_the_Feeling_of_the_Beautiful_and_Sublime

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►Greek Mythology: “Dionysian Mysteries”:

 guarda_griega1_2Cortege Dionysus

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Dionysus is best known in Greek mythology as the god of wine, but he has also been associated with peace, agriculture, law, civilization, and most especially, the theatre. In Thrace he was known as Eleutherios, “the Liberator,” or Liber Pater, “the Free One,” because he freed people through drunken ectasy

The place of origin of the Hellenic Dionysian Mysteries is unknown, but they almost certainly first came to Greece with the importation of wine, which is widely believed to have originated, in the West, around 6000 BC in one of two places, either in the Zagros Mountains (the borderlands of Mesopotamia and Persia, both with their own rich wine culture since then) or from the ancient wild vines on the mountain slopes of Libya / North Africa (the source of early Egyptian wine from around 2500 BC, and home of many ecstatic rites), quite probably from both

Wine probably also entered Greece over land from Asia Minor. But it was most likely in Minoan Crete that the eclectic ‘wine cult’, that would become the Dionysian Mysteries, first emerged

The basic principle beneath the original initiations, other than the seasonal death-rebirth theme supposedly common to all vegetation cults (such as the Osirian, which closely parallels the Dionysian), was one of spirit possession and atavism. This in turn was closely associated with the effects of the wine. The spirit possession involved the invocation of spirits by means of the bull roarer, followed by communal dancing to drum and pipe, with characteristic movements (such as the backward head flick) found in all trance inducing cults.

Unlike many trance cults however, the Dionysian rites were primarily atavistic, that is the participant was possessed by animal spirits and bestial entities, rather than intelligible divinities, and may even “transform into animals”. A practise preserved by the riteof the “goat and panther men” of the “heretical” Aissaoua Sufi cult of North Africa, and remembered in the satyrs and sileni of the Dionysian procession, and perhaps even the “bull man”, or Minotaur, of the chthonic Minoan labyrinth.

The purpose of this atavism is controversial, some see it simply as a Greek saturnalian catharsis, a ritualised release of repressed elements of civilised psychology, and temporary inversion, in order to preserve it, others see it as a return to the “chaotic” sources of being and essentially a reaction against civilisation, while yet others regard it as a magical connection with chthonic powers

In the late 1800s A.D., the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche elaborated the dichotomy Apollonian- Dionysian in his book “The Birth of Tragedy”, arguing that the Apollonian principal corresponded to the principium individuationis, the principal of individualization, a concept coined by German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. This is because rational thought defines and thus compartmentalizes forms into different structures.

Nietzsche rather identified with the Dionysian principal that corresponded to Schopenhauer’s conception of Will, the principal of submerging oneself into a greater whole. Music, drunkenness, dancing, and madness were considered Dionysian characteristics because they apply to the instinctive, chaotic, and ecstatic side of the human mind. 

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“The Initiation Chamber”. Villa of The Mysteries. Pompeii. (79 CE).-

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►”Dyonisiac Frieze, Villa of Mysteries, Pompeii” (In English):

►”Pompeii: Villa dei Misteri” (In Italian):

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•Further Information: “The Villa of the Mysteries” or “Villa dei Misteri” is a well preserved ruin of a Roman Villa which lies some 400 metres northwest of Pompeii, southern Italy.

The Villa is named for the paintings in one room of the residence. This space is decorated with very fine frescoes, dated 79 B.C. Although the actual subject of the frescoes is hotly debated, the most common interpretation of the images is scenes of the initiation of a woman into a special cult of Dionysus, mystery cult  hat required specific rites and rituals to become a member.

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►Gallery: “Dionysian Mysteries”:

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►Links Post:
http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/LX/DionysianMysteries.html
http://www.lost-history.com/mysteries.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villa_of_the_Mysteries
http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/dionysiac-frieze-villa-of-the-mysteries.html
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►Greek Mythology: “The Eleusinian Mysteries”:

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"Proserpine" (three-quarter portrait holding a pomegranate), by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1874).-

“Proserpine / Persephone” (three-quarter portrait holding a pomegranate), by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1874).-

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The Eleusinian Mysteries are related to a greek religious festival held each year at Eleusis, fourteen miles northwest of Athens. It  was celebrated in honor of the grain and fertility goddess Demeter (whose name means “spelt mother” being “spelt” is a variety of wheat.)

The festivity took place each year, when it was time for the crops to be sown, in the month of Boedromion (September).

It all stems from the myth of Demeter and her daughter Persephone

Demeter was the Greek Goddess of the Harvest, while Persephone was the Goddess of  wheats.

The conflict was originated when Hades, God of the Underworld, abducted Persephone and took her down into the underworld. 

After that, Demeter searched the world looking for her daughter, and while doing this, she neglected her duties and let the earth go barren. 

As she couldn’ t find her, she finally decided to rest by a well in the city of Eleusis. 

There, disguised as an old woman, she cared for the queen’s son, baptizing him nightly in fire so that he would be immortal. 

Demeter later on  taught the queen’s son, who was called Triptolemos, the art of agriculture.

As a reward for having protected the prince Triptolemos, eleusian citizens began to build a temple in their city, as a tribute to Demeter.

Demeter’s attempts to find her daughter were in vain. Besides Demeter’s grief, and plants were dried, the crops died and the earth turn out into something sterile

The gods were worried and Zeus, who had witnessed the abduction, finally intervened. 

He did by persuading his brother, Hades to return Persephone to her mother. Hades agreed but before that he made sure to tricked Persephone into eating some pomegranate seeds and, if one ate in the land of the dead, one remained with the dead. 

As she had only eaten some, however, it was agreed she would spend half the year with Hades in the underworld and half with her mother on earth. 

That’s why while Demeter remained on earth with her mother Demeter, she caused the world to be fruitful while when she was in the underworld with Hades, the plants withered and died; thus the seasons were explained.

Another interesting detail is that when Persephone was abducted by Hades in the underworld, her name was changed to Kore. When she emerged from the underworld she recovered her original name,  Persephone (“she who brings doom”).-

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•The Ceremonies: The Mysteries began with the march of the mystai (initiates) in solemn procession from Athens to Eleusis. The rites that they then performed in the Telesterion, or Hall of Initiation, were and remain a secret. 

Those who were to be initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries had to go through preliminary rites of purification and instruction before they would be allowed to participate in the final revelations at Eleusis. 

 The mysteries were divided into the Lesser and Greater mysteries.  

The Lesser mysteries were preparatory to the Greater, involving purifications and perhaps some instruction or other rites, and they were celebrated near Athens,  in the month of Anthesterion (March).

The initial stages involved physical rites which were preparatory for the spiritual rites at Eleusis  After a series of further ritual actions, the initiate was ready for the myesis, the first level of initiation.

The Greater Mysteries began on 14th Boedromion (September/October), when the “sacred things,” carried in baskets, were brought from Eleusis to Athens by the Eleusinian priestesses escorted by epheboi (young Athenians of military age).  The following day, the hierophant opened the festival, making an announcement (prorrhesis) that those “who are not of pure hands or speak an incomprehensible tongue,” that is, those stained by human blood and non-Greek speaking barbarians, were not permitted to participate.  Other than these exclusions, anyone–including slaves, foreigners, men and women–could participate in the mysteries. A procession, named the Sacred Way , began at Athens on the morning of 19th of Boedromion and ended that evening in Eleusis.

Priestesses brought back the sacred things, with a procession of dancing and chanting initiates, perhaps almost in state of ecstasy

Only the initiates were allowed to proceed further into the cult area, which was dedicated to Hades.  The mysteries took place in the Telestrion, a large building which could hold a few thousand people.  The only ones permitted to enter were the mystai, those entering for the first time, and the epoptai, for whom it would be at least their second experience.

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•Literary Sources and Philosophical Notes:

The mythical basis for many of the mystery rites are accounted for in the “Hymn to Demeter”, which is part of the Homeric Hymns collection of poems

Those ones are thirty-three anonymous ancient greek Hymns celebrating individual gods. The hymns are “Homeric” in the sense that they employ the same epic meter as “the Iliad, use many similar formulas and are couched in the same dialect.

In Plato’s dialogue “The Symposium” he overtly establishes an analogy to the mysteries at Eleusis near the end of Diotima’s speech (as relayed by Socrates), when he has her say that “even you, Socrates, could probably come to be initiated [myētheiēs] into these rites of love [erōtika].  But as for the purpose of these rites when they are done correctly–that is the final and highest mystery” (209e-210a). 

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“Blessed is the mortal on earth who has seen these rites / But the uninitiated who has no share in them never / Has the same lot once dead in the dreary darkness”. (“Hymn To Demeter”. Lines 480/482).-

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 ►Gallery: “The Eleusinian Mysteries, held  in honor of the grain and fertility goddess Demeter”:

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Triptolemos.-

Triptolemos.-

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►Links Post:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleusinian_Mysteries
http://www.ancient.eu.com/article/32/
http://www.classics.upenn.edu/myth/php/hymns/index.php?page=eleusis
http://www.theoi.com/Georgikos/EleusiniosTriptolemos.html
http://www.theoi.com/Gallery/O28.2.html
http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/ebm/ebm05.htm#page_31
http://www.lsu.edu/artsci/groups/voegelin/society/2005%20Papers/Steven%20McGuire.shtml

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►Mythology / Philosophy: 

“The Lost City of Atlantis”, according to Plato’s dialogues “Timaeus” and “Critias”:

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Plato’s two dialogues pertaining to Atlantis are “Timaeus” and “Critias”, written in 360 BC. These are the earliest known written records about the Lost Continent of Atlantis, all other written references to Atlantis have been written since, and have been based on these writings by Plato.

“Timaeus” and “Critias” are actually written in the form of dialogues between four main characters: Socrates (Greek philosopher, and Plato’s teacher), Critias (poet & historian), Timaeus (an Italian astronomer.), and Hermocrates (a general from Syracuse). All were real people.

The dialogue “Timaeus” includes only a passing reference to Atlantis, but the second writing, the Critias, has a much more in depth description of Atlantis leading upto it’s downfall. 

The fabled island-continent derives its name from the Titan Atlas. It was said to be out beyond the western headland where the immortal giant holds up the heavens by means of a pillar on his back.

•The Atlantis, as described by Plato:

Plato told the story of Atlantis around 360 B.C.

According to Plato, Atlantis was the domain of Poseidon, god of the sea. When Poseidon fell in love with a mortal woman, Cleito, he created a dwelling at the top of a hill near the middle of the island and surrounded the dwelling with rings of water and land to protect her.

Cleito gave birth to five sets of twin boys who became the first rulers of Atlantis. The island was divided among the brothers with the eldest, Atlas, first King of Atlantis, being given control over the central hill and surrounding areas.

At the top of the central hill, a temple was built to honor Poseidon which housed a giant gold statue of Poseidon riding a chariot pulled by winged horses. It was here that the rulers of Atlantis would come to discuss laws, pass judgments, and pay tribute to Poseidon.

The founders of Atlantis, he said, were half god and half human. They created a utopian civilization and became a great naval power. Their home was made up of concentric islands separated by wide moats and linked by a canal that penetrated to the center. The lush islands contained gold, silver, and other precious metals and supported an abundance of rare, exotic wildlife. There was a great capital city on the central island.

For generations the Atlanteans lived simple, virtuous lives. But slowly they began to change. Greed and power began to corrupt them. When Zeus saw the immorality of the Atlanteans he gathered the other gods to determine a suitable punishment and destroy them.

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•Destruction of the Atlantis:

The most popular theories as to the destruction of Atlantis are exactly what Plato described, earthquakes and floods. The floods more than likely attributable to the tidal waves that would have been caused by the earthquakes. 

Another theory is that there was a volcano on the island that errupted with such force that the island was buried in molten lava. 

For Plato, Atlantis was an island, supposedly the size of Libya and Asia Minor combined, located in the Atlantic beyond Gibraltar and due to its central position a stepping stone by which travelers could reach other islands and the opposing land mass.

•Where was the city of Atlantis placed?:

There are many theories about where Atlantis was—in the Mediterranean: Thera,  Chales Pellegrino and Walter Friedrich, Cyprus (Robert Sarmast ), Central or South America (Ivar Zapp and George Erikson ) even under what is now Antarctica (Colin Wilson). [Note: You can check out ten possible locations here].

Many believe that Plato was basing his account of Atlantis on the history of the Minoan civilization, which would coincide well with these new dates. The history of the Minoan civilization and the description of Atlantis have a suspicious amount in common at any rate.

Ballard says, the legend of Atlantis is a “logical” one since cataclysmic floods and volcanic explosions have happened throughout history, including one event that had some similarities to the story of the destruction of Atlantis. About 3,600 years ago, a massive volcanic eruption devastated the island of Santorini in the Aegean Sea near Greece. At the time, a highly advanced society of Minoans lived on Santorini. The Minoan civilization disappeared suddenly at about the same time as the volcanic eruption.

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►”The Atlantis: Hypothetical Locations” (Map Gallery):

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►The Atlantis in Plato’s dialogues “Timaeus” and “Critias”.

(Read the relevant excerpts):

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►Check out “Timaeus” excerpts with regard to the Atlantis: Click Here.

►Check out “Critias”‘ excerpt with regard to the Atlantis: Click Here.

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►Bonustrack: Video: “Atlantis by artist Monsu Desiderio”:

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►Links Post:
http://www.mythweb.com/encyc/entries/atlantis.html
http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/archaeology/atlantis/
http://www.mcmillinmedia.com/atlantean-geography/
http://unxplained-factor.com/critias.htm
http://unxplained-factor.com/timaeus.htm
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►Last but not Least: Two Awards: 

Kolytyi from “Trifles” nominated me  for a Liebster Award. Thank you very much, dear blogger friend :D

►Here are the Award Rules:

1) The nominee shall display the Liebster Award logo on her/his blog.

2) The nominee shall nominate eleven (11)  bloggers she/he admires, by linking to their blogs and informing them about it.

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Liebster Award.-

Liebster Award.-

 These are my eleven nominees for this award:

1) Kev´s Blog  2) En Humor arte 3) Autonomía en las formas 4Jet Eliot 5) London Senior 6) Unclee Tree 7Brushespapers 8) The Passion Dew 9) A solas con Caronte 10) Animasmundi11) Blog de Javier

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My  blogger friend, Caronte Moratalla from “A solas con Caronte” and my dear friend Verónica from “En Humor Arte” have both nominated me for the same award. Thanks a lot :)

►Here are the Award Rules:

1) The nominee shall display the Premio sin premio logo on her/his blog.

2) The nominee shall nominate ten (10)  bloggers she/he admires, by linking to their blogs and informing them about it.

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Premio Sin Premio

Premio Sin Premio.-

  These are my ten nominees for this award:

1) Chesterton Blog 2) Sweet as a picture 3) Isaspi 4) Word Musing 5) A little bird tweets 6) Angelart Star 7) Imaginecontinua 8) Cruz del Sur 9) Diwata in Lalaland 10) Si vis pacem para bellum.

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Thanks for dropping by, fellow bloggers. Happy Thursday and best wishes, Aquileana/Amalia :D

amalia7

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►Greek Mythology and Philosophy:

“The Dichotomy Apollonian -Dionysian”, according to Friedrich Nietzsche:

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Apollonian and Dionysian are terms used by Nietzsche in his book “The Birth of Tragedy” to designate the two central principles in Greek culture. 

Apollo was the son of zeus and Leto. Artemis was his twin sister. He was the greek god of prophecy, music, intellectual pursuits, healing, plague, and sometimes, the sun.

Writers often contrast the cerebral, beardless young Apollo with his half-brother, the hedonistic Dionysus.

As to Dionysus, he was the son of Zeus and Semele. Dionysus was the greek god of wine, agriculture, and fertility of nature. He was also related to mystery religions, such as those practised at Eleusis, being linked to ecstasy and initiation into secret rites.

Apollo, as the sun-god, represents light, clarity, and form, whereas Dionysus, as the wine-god, represents drunkenness and ecstasy.

The Apollonian, which corresponds to Schopenhauer’s principium individuationis (“principle of individuation”), is the basis of all analytic distinctions.

Everything that is part of the unique individuality of man or thing is Apollonian in character; all types of form or structure are Apollonian, since form serves to define or individualize that which is formed; thus, sculpture is the most Apollonian of the arts, since it relies entirely on form for its effect. Rational thought is also Apollonian since it is structured and makes distinctions.

The Dionysian, which corresponds to Schopenhauer’s conception of “Will”, is directly opposed to the Apollonian.

Drunkenness and madness are Dionysian because they break down a man’s individual character; all forms of enthusiasm and ecstasy are Dionysian, for in such states man gives up his individuality and submerges himself in a greater whole: music is the most Dionysian of the arts, since it appeals directly to man’s instinctive, chaotic emotions and not to his formally reasoning mind.

“Dionysian spirit” is defined in the philosophy of Nietzsche, as displaying creative-intuitive power as opposed to critical-rational power.

But, both of them, the Apollonian and the Dionysian are necessary in the creation of art. Without the Apollonian, the Dionysian lacks the form and structure to make a coherent piece of art, and without the Dionysian, the Apollonian lacks the necessary vitality and passion. Although they are diametrically opposed, they are also intimately intertwined.

The Greek tragedies of Aeschylus and Sophocles, which Nietzsche considers to be among humankind’s greatest accomplishments, achieve their sublime effects by taming Dionysian passions by means of the Apollonian. Greek tragedy evolved out of religious rituals featuring a chorus of singers and dancers, and it achieved its distinctive shape when two or more actors stood apart from the chorus as tragic actors. The chorus of a Greek tragedy is not the “ideal spectator,” as some scholars believe, but rather the representation of the primal unity achieved through the Dionysian. By witnessing the fall of a tragic hero, we witness the death of the individual, who is absorbed back into the Dionysian primal unity. Because the Apollonian impulses of the Greek tragedians give form to the Dionysian rituals of music and dance, the death of the hero is not a negative, destructive act but rather a positive, creative affirmation of life through art.

Unfortunately, the golden age of Greek tragedy lasted less than a century and was brought to an end by the combined influence of Euripides and Socrates. Euripides shuns both the primal unity induced by the Dionysian and the dreamlike state induced by the Apollonian, and instead he turns the Greek stage into a platform for morality and rationality.

One of Nietzsche’s concerns in “The Birth of Tragedy” is to address the question of the best stance to take toward existence and the world. He criticizes his own age for being overly rationalistic, for assuming that it is best to treat existence and the world primarily as objects of knowledge, which is for him meaningless.

Greek tragedy as Nietzsche understands it cannot coexist in a world of Socratic rationality.

Tragedy gains its strength from exposing the depths that lie beneath our rational surface, whereas Socrates insists that we become fully human only by becoming fully rational.

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Dionysus.-

Dionysus (on the right side).-

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This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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Check out: “The Birth of Tragedy (1872), by Friedrich Nietzsche”:

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Click on the cover book to read it.-

Click on the cover book to read it.-

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"Apollo Playing the Lyre" by Charles Philippe Lariviere.-

“Apollo Playing the Lyre” by Charles Philippe Lariviere (1825/1830).-

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"Dionysus drunk by Tsarouchis (1972).-

“Dionysus drunk by Yannis Tsarouchis (1972).-

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►Links Post:
http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/nietzsche/section1.rhtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Birth_of_Tragedy
http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/Mythology/Dionysus.html
http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Apollon.html
http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/apollomyth/ig/Apollo/Apollo-and-Other-Olympian-Gods.htm
http://mythologian.net/apollo-the-god-of-sun-music-prophecy-and-healing/

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