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Sophocles (1), Athenian tragic playwright  

P. J. Finglass

Sophocles was one of the three great masters of the genre of Greek tragedy. His life spanned the 5th century bce, and saw him compose approximately 123 dramas, while simultaneously occupying a series of important offices within the democratic state of ancient Athens. His plays demonstrate a mastery of dramatic technique, as well as of the resources of Greek poetic language; driven by a restless searching for innovation, they confront viewers with profound questions about a man’s, or woman’s, position within their city, and the often turbulent nature of their relationship with the gods. The fascination that his dramas exerted on succeeding generations has ensured their survival down to our own day, where their ongoing cultural influence can be documented around the world.Sophocles’ life (497/6–405bce) spanned almost the whole of that century of Athens’s history that later generations would call classical; the enduring reputation of his dramas (see .


Asianism and Atticism  

Lawrence Kim

Asianism is a modern coinage referring to the rhetorical practice of certain Greek and Latin orators whose styles were designated by ancient critics as Asian (Asianus, Asiaticus, Ἀσιανός)—the “Asia” in question being the Republican Roman province. Asian eloquence was often contrasted unfavorably to a corresponding Attic style (Atticus, Ἀττικός), which was modelled on the prose of classical Athenian writers (a practice now known as Atticism). This opposition between Asian and Attic styles is first attested in Roman oratorical circles during the mid-1st century bce and was subsequently adopted by Greek critics in Augustan Rome, but seems to have fallen out of fashion by the reign of Tiberius. While Attic remains a general stylistic ideal in the more broadly conceived classicism of Imperial Greek literature, the term Asian disappears as a stylistic label. In a related, but separate development, from the late 1st century ce onwards, Greek literary writers increasingly adhered to a linguistic, rather than stylistic, variety of Atticism, which concentrated on reproducing the ancient Attic dialect used by Athenian authors of the 5th and 4th centuries bce.


Linear B  

Dimitri Nakassis

Linear B is a script used to write the Greek language during the palatial period of Mycenaean civilization, c. 1400–1200 bce. It employed 87 syllabic and 143 logographic signs written from left to right. The vast majority of Linear B texts take the form of clay tablets, labels, and sealings that were used by palatial administrators to record diverse transactions. The other major document type is the inscribed stirrup jar, a coarse transport vessel with short texts painted before firing. Major deposits of Linear B texts are located at palatial sites on the Greek mainland and Crete, especially at Pylos and Cnossus. The texts are entirely administrative in nature and are therefore silent on historical events, but they shed light on many aspects of the Late Bronze Age world, especially economy, society, religion, and of course language and writing itself.Linear B is a Late Bronze Age script that was used to write documents in the Greek .