Monday, December 27, 2010

Writing Non-Fiction: The Golden Greeks (Part I of III)

P1270023 ATENAS: MUSEO ARQUEOLOGICOImage by vicguinda via Flickr

Aeschylus (525-456 a.c.s.) Athenian tragedian and soldier. He fought at the Battle of Marathon and at Salamis, Artemisium, and Plataea against the Persians. Aeschylus wrote over eighty plays, of which only seven survive. Among his best-known plays are Seven Against Thebes, The Persians, and Prometheus Bound. He is often credited with inventing the tragedy.
Aesop (co 620-560 n.c.s.) Storyteller. He was born a Thracian slave and later in his life lived on the island of Samos. His fables influenced Greek education and culture. In his fables Aesop uses didactic examples and fiction involving animals, nature, and human society.
Agesilaus II (445-359 n.c.s.) King of Sparta. Considered one of Sparta's greatest military leaders. In 396 B.C.E. Agesilaus II led Spartan forces to victory over the Persian governor of Asia Minor, Tissaphernes.
Agis King of Sparta. Son of Agesilaus II. He became king about 427 B.C.E.
Anaxagoras (c. 500-428 B.C.E.) Philosopher. Teacher of Pericles and Euripides. He taught that the intellect, nous, is the central force that animates both animals and vegetables in the universe.
Alexander III (the Great) (356-323 B.C.E.) King of Macedonia. Son of Philip II and pupil of Aristotle. In revenge for the Persian Wars against Greece, Alexander invaded and destroyed the Persian Empire, extending his kingdom from Greece to India. Alexander was responsible for the spread of the Greek language and customs throughout the then-known world.
Anaximander (c. 610-c. 545 B.C.E.) Philosopher. He taught that the universe is infinite, consisting of countless worlds, and speculated about the sizes of the sun and moon as well as their distances from Earth.
Anaximenes of Miletus (c. sixth century B.C.E.) Philosopher. Pupil of Anaximander. He taught that the world is derived from condensed air.  
Archimedes (c. 287-211 B.C.E.) Inventor and mathematician. Credited with inventing hydrostatic principles, hydraulic devices, and defense weapons. Cicero reports that Archimedes had made two spheres depicting the planets and stars and referred to them as a "planetarium" and a "star globe."
Aristides (c. fifth century B.C.E.) Athenian statesman. Also known as Aristedes the Just. He was a victorious gen­eral at the battles of Marathon, Salamis, and Plataea against the Per­sians. He was ostracized and banished from Athens in 490 B.C.E. after helping the Athenians win the Battle of Marathon. Together with Cimon he set up the Delian League. He died alone and poor c. 460 B.C.E.
Aristophanes (c. 445-c. 385 B.C.E.) Comic poet. His plays are of a satirical nature, caricaturing real-life characters such as Socrates. His surviving plays include Lysistrata, The Clouds, The Knights, The Acharnians, The Wasps, The Birds, The Thesmophoriaeusae, The Frogs, Assemblywomen, and Wealth.
Aristotle (384-322 B.C.E.) Philosopher. One of the greatest philosophers and scientists of all time. He was born in Stagyra, in northern Greece, and at the age of seven­teen joined Plato's Academy in Athens. Plato's sobriquet for his student was "the mind of the Academy." After Plato's death Aristotle left Athens. He was hired by Philip II to tutor his son Alexander (the Great). After Philip's death, Aristotle moved back to Athens, where he founded the Lyceum, a philosophic academy complete with a gymnasium and a library. He, assisted by his disciples, wrote on nearly every topic and every science. Among his surviving works are Physics, Metaphysics, Eudemian Ethics, Nicomachean Ethics, Politics, Magna Moralia, Rhetoric, and Poetics.
Arrian (c. 86-160 C.E.) Historian. A friend and pupil ofEpictetus. He wrote about the expedition of Alexander the Great against the Persian Empire, entitled Anabasis of Alexander.
Brasidas (c. fourth century B.C.E.) General. He was born in Sparta and led his city-state against Athens in the Peloponnesian War. Thucydides ranks him above all Spartan commanders.
Callicrates (c. fifth century B.C.E.) Architect. Together with Ictinus he designed the Parthenon. He also designed the sanctuary of Nike and the central wall of the Acropolis.
Cimon (c. 510-450 B.C.E.) Athenian statesman and general. He was the son of Miltiades. Together with Aristides he founded the Delian League, a Greek alliance created to protect Greek city-states from Persian aggression. In 467 B.C.E. he led the Athenian fleet to the destruction of the entire Persian fleet in what is known as the Eurymedon campaign.
Cleisthenes (c. fifth century B.C.E.) Athenian statesman. One of Athens's most important constitutional reformers. He introduced a representative system which included ten tribes, representing the entire population of Athens, and a lawmaking council of five hundred, the Boule. Cleisthenes also introduced ostracism, by which excessively powerful citizens, possibly tyrants, could be exiled after a referendum.
Draco (c. seventh century H.C.E.) Athenian lawmaker. His penal code was extremely harsh. He insti­tuted the death penalty for many offenses. The adjective "draconian," very severe, was coined after his laws.
Empedocles (c. 493-433 H.C.E.) Philosopher. He taught that the universe is spherical in shape and composed of four basic elements: earth, water, fire, and air.
Epaminondas (c. 418-362 H.C.E.) General from Thebes. He led Theban forces to an unprecedented vic­tory over the Spartans at Leuctra in 371 B.C.E.
Epictetus (c. 55-c. 135 C.E.) Stoic philosopher. Formerly a slave. He attended philosophical lec­tures in Rome. Arrian, Epictetus' pupil, wrote eight books entitled Discourses, and a philosophical treatise, Enchiridion, which popularized his mentor's teachings. Epictetus taught that man ought to use his intellect and will to make moral decisions and that corrupt people were injuring themselves more than their victims and should be treated with clemency rather than with severity.
Epicurus (341-270 H.C.E.) Philosopher. He wrote more than three hundred books on topics ranging from moral philosophy to physics and epistemology. He taught that the human soul does not survive the body's death and that the gods, even though they exist, do not govern fate or destiny.  
Democritus (c. 460-356 B.C.E.) Philosopher and scientist. His research included physics, mathematics, and music. Together with Leucippus, Democritus is credited with the development of the atomic theory. The two scientists, also called "atom­ists," believed that the cosmos is made up of minute, indivisible elements called "atoms." Democritus taught that by joining together, atoms are responsible for the creation of solid, liquid, and gaseous objects. Dem­ocritus also believed in the existence of other worlds, similar to Earth.
Demosthenes (384-322 B.C.E.) Athenian orator. His speeches became models for later oratory. His influence on Athenian politics and foreign policy was much felts during the fourth century B.C.E Demosthenes delivered many orations against King Philip II of Macedonia when the latter attempted to unite all the Greek city-states under Macedonian rule. He was renowned for clarity of thought and precise use of language.
Diogenes of Sinope (c. 400-c. 323 B.C.E.) Philosopher. Also known as "the Cynic." He practiced extreme self­ denial and asceticism. Diogenes taught that through self-abnegation and strict avoidance of self-indulgence would make a person vir­tuous and happy. It is said that he once went about Athens carrying a lantern in broad daylight searching for an honest man.
Diogenes Laertius (early third century C.E.) Biographer. His Live of Eminent Philosophers rescued for posterity the teachings of most Greek philosophers and scientists.
Eratosthenes (c. 276-c.194 B.C.E.) Geographer and mathematician. In his book, Geographica, he gives an accurate measurement of the earth's circumference and also describes the sizes of the moon and the sun and their distances from earth.
To become a writer I write every day. Since English is my second language, when I write articles I consult Mary Duffy's Sentence Openers.

When I write fiction I consult Toolbox for Writers

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