Happy Greek Independence Day! Today is the official national Greek holiday that commemorates the beginning of the War of Greek Independence in 1821. It also just happens to coincide with the Greek Orthodox Church’s celebration of the Annunciation to the Theotokos — when the Archangel Gabriel spoke to Mary that she was carrying the son of God. So, it’s a pretty big day for many Greeks.
One might argue about what has been the Greek’s greatest contribution to society (baklava and dolmathes get my vote), however, there’s no denying that ancient Greek writers have had a profound influence on culture and society, both past and present.
The Iliad and The Odyssey, Homer
Considered to one of the oldest poems in western civilization, the Iliad is a poem written by Homer. Sadly, very little is known about this man from eighth century B.C. and scholars often debate whether or not he’s the primary author behind these epic poems or if they were actually created by multiple writers.
The Bacchae, Euripides
Euripides was a playwright from 480 – 406 B.C. and was responsible for writing 92 plays of which only around 18 survived. A classical tragedian from Athens, Greece, he often used characters in unconventional ways, which heavily influenced drama during his lifetime and through today. His portrayal of strong females and sympathy toward victims of society often roused shock among members of the audience. His most well know plays are The Trojan Women and Medea.
The Works of Archimedes, T.L. Heath
A man of many professions, Archimedes of Syracuse was a Greek mathematician, physicist, inventor, engineer and astronomer (betting his parents were super proud). Archimedes is known for a variety of mat
The Histories, Herodotus
Referred to as both the Father of History and the Father of Lies, Herodotus was a Greek historian in fifth century B.C. Through his travels he used a the art of story-telling to collect materials and arrange them in a narrative for others to read and refer to. Herodotus attempted to verify what he recorded, but also shared that he only reported what he had been told, hence the paternal-laced monikers from Cicero and Voltaire, respectively.
Back in the day (460 B.C.-ish), Sophocles was cranking out Greek tragedies for the masses — 123 plays to be exact. What distinguishes this playwright from others is his deviation from the tragic trilogy form of plays (standard for his day) and use of stand-alone plays instead. Some of his more famous works are Electra and Ajax.
All books shared above are believed to be in the public domain. Happy Greek Independence Day and happy reading to all.
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