Archaic Greece

The concept of archaism called an epoch in the political and cultural development of Greece. The Archaic Period begins about 750 BC ( in art history about 700 BC) and ending about 500 BC They followed in the general Greek history thus on the so-called Dark Ages (ca. 1200 - 750 BC ) and in the history of art to the Geometric period (ca. 900-700 BC) and was preceded by the classical (ca. 500/480-336 BC).


The adjective " archaic " ( AltGr. Ἀρχαῖος archaios ) means old-fashioned 'or' arise in the early history of mankind '. The Periodisierungsterminus " archaism " ( as an art epoch ) originates from the archeology and history of art, but also as an early historical period designation (see age ) was taken.

General usage

In common parlance, the term " archaic " also in the sense of old-fashioned 'is used - but nowadays they are usually not (more) neutral - descriptive, but in an emotionally excessive, sometimes primitive and monumental manner and as symbol of inhumane brutality. For example, the term " archaic punishment" as (negative ) assessment of a perceived as least anachronistic punishment, such as flogging.

Historical developments

The epoch of archaism is historically a time of crisis. The Greek community was marked by two fundamental problems. They came - albeit to varying degrees - in all Greek states: First, it was the competitive mentality of the noble houses and secondly, the plight of small farmers. The solution to these problems was forced by the gradual emergence of a sense of community as Greeks. This phenomenon is referred to as Panhellenism.

Two different approaches have been developed: either a nobleman was able to compete the noble houses prevail sustained with the help of the people and set up a tyranny. The tyrant had to be careful, to alleviate the plight of the farmers in order to obtain its popularity and to tie his aristocratic competitors per se, or to eliminate. Or it evolved into a community with verschriftlichtem law and institutionalized domination, which was rudimentary democratic features and is referred to as Polis. The evolution processes can be the example of Sparta and Athens is best illustrated. In Sparta, a militarized community, headed by two kings stood, which were controlled by ephors and a People's Assembly developed. In Athens, however, the balancing process, the reforms should initiate Solon was interrupted first by the tyranny of Pisistratus. After the end of his successors, the conflicts were back to days; the reforms of Cleisthenes led to the emergence of Athenian democracy. With this solution, the end of the Archaic and the beginning of the classical era is set in a historical perspective.

Cultural aspects

The notion of " archaic " but carries the stigma of "primitive " itself. This judgment is simplistic and factually not always justified. This applies to the visual arts in a very significant extent. The archaic Kore and Kouros the Early and Middle Archaic with the characteristic upright posture and symmetry both in the face with the so-called archaic smile differ significantly from the late archaic and early classical, one usually assigns to the so-called strict style. Archaic characters and representations are commonly understood and cross-culturally in the rule.

The first half of the Archaic period is also called the Orientalizing phase, because in the 7th century - some even earlier - are taken elements from the Middle East in an increasing degree. This concerns both the art and customs and probably even social aspects.

From the Archaic period many laws have been passed down. The reforms of Solon fall, for example, in this time.