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For the branch of study in the humanities, see Classics.

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Classicism, in the arts, refers generally to a high regard for a classical period, classical antiquity in
the Western tradition, as setting standards for taste which the classicists seek to emulate. The art of
classicism typically seeks to be formal and restrained: of the Discobolus Sir Kenneth Clark observed,
"if we object to his restraint and compression we are simply objecting to the classicism ofclassic art.
A violent emphasis or a sudden acceleration of rhythmic movement would have destroyed those
qualities of balance and completeness through which it retained until the present century its position
of authority in the restricted repertoire of visual images." [1] Classicism, as Clark noted, implies a
canon of widely accepted ideal forms, whether in the Western canon that he was examining in The
Nude (1956), or the literary Chinese classics or Chinese art, where the revival of classic styles is
also recurring feature.

Classicism is a force which is often present in post-medieval European and European influenced
traditions; however, some periods felt themselves more connected to the classical ideals than
others, particularly the Age of Enlightenment.

1 General term

2 In the theatre

3 In architecture

4 In the fine arts

5 Political philosophy

6 See also

7 References

8 Further reading

9 External links

General term[edit]

Fountain of the Four Rivers, Bernini, 1651.

Classicist door inOlomouc, The Czech Republic.

Classicism is a specific genre of philosophy, expressing itself in literature, architecture, art, and
music, which has Ancient Greek and Roman sources and an emphasis on society. It was particularly
expressed in the Neoclassicism of the Age of Enlightenment.
Classicism was a recurrent tendency in the Late Antique period, and had a major revival
in Carolingian and Ottonian art. There was another, more durable revival in the Italian
renaissance when the fall of Byzantium and rising trade with the Islamic cultures brought a flood of
knowledge about, and from, the antiquity of Europe. Until that time the identification with antiquity
had been seen as a continuous history of Christendomfrom the conversion of Roman
Emperor Constantine I. Renaissance classicism introduced a host of elements into European
culture, including the application of mathematics and empiricism into art, humanism, literary and
depictive realism, and formalism. Importantly it also introducedPolytheism, or "paganism", and the
juxtaposition of ancient and modern.
The classicism of the Renaissance led to, and gave way to, a different sense of what was "classical"
in the 16th and 17th centuries. In this period classicism took on more overtly structural overtones of
orderliness, predictability, the use of geometry and grids, the importance of rigorous discipline and
pedagogy, as well as the formation of schools of art and music. The court of Louis XIV was seen as
the center of this form of classicism, with its references to the gods of Olympus as a symbolic prop
for absolutism, its adherence to axiomatic and deductive reasoning, and its love of order and
This period sought the revival of classical art forms, including Greek drama and music. Opera, in its
modern European form, had its roots in attempts to recreate the combination of singing and dancing
with theatre thought to be the Greek norm. Examples of this appeal to classicism included Dante,
Petrarch, and Shakespeare in poetry and theatre. Tudor drama, in particular, modeled itself after
classical ideals and divided works into Tragedy and Comedy. Studying Ancient Greek became
regarded as essential for a well-rounded education in the liberal arts.
The Renaissance also explicitly returned to architectural models and techniques associated with
Greek and Roman antiquity, including thegolden rectangle as a key proportion for buildings, the
classical orders of columns, as well as a host of ornament and detail associated with Greek and
Roman architecture. They also began reviving plastic arts such as bronze casting for sculpture, and
used the classical naturalism as the foundation of drawing, painting and sculpture.

The Age of Enlightenment identified itself with a vision of antiquity which, while continuous with the
classicism of the previous century, was shaken by the physics of Sir Isaac Newton, the
improvements in machinery and measurement, and a sense of liberation which they saw as being
present in the Greek civilization, particularly in its struggles against the Persian Empire. The ornate,
organic, and complexly integrated forms of the baroque were to give way to a series of movements
that regarded themselves expressly as "classical" or "neo-classical", or would rapidly be labelled as
such. For example the painting of Jacques-Louis David which was seen as an attempt to return to
formal balance, clarity, manliness, and vigor in art.
The 19th century saw the classical age as being the precursor of academicism, including such
movements as uniformitarianism in the sciences, and the creation of rigorous categories in artistic
fields. Various movements of the romantic period saw themselves as classical revolts against a
prevailing trend of emotionalism and irregularity, for example the Pre-Raphaelites. By this point
classicism was old enough that previous classical movements received revivals; for example, the
Renaissance was seen as a means to combine the organic medieval with the orderly classical. The
19th century continued or extended many classical programs in the sciences, most notably the
Newtonian program to account for the movement of energy between bodies by means of exchange
of mechanical and thermal energy.
The 20th century saw a number of changes in the arts and sciences. Classicism was used both by
those who rejected, or saw as temporary, transfigurations in the political, scientific, and social world
and by those who embraced the changes as a means to overthrow the perceived weight of the 19th
century. Thus, both pre-20th century disciplines were labelled "classical" and modern movements in
art which saw themselves as aligned with light, space, sparseness of texture, and formal coherence.
In the present day philosophy classicism is used as a term particularly in relation
to Apollonian over Dionysian impulses in society and art; that is a preference for rationality, or at
least rationally guided catharsis, over emotionalism.

In the theatre

Molire in classical dress, by Nicolas Mignard, 1658.

Classicism in the theatre was developed by 17th century French playwrights from what they judged
to be the rules of Greek classical theatre, including the "Classical unities" of time, place and action,
found in the Poetics of Aristotle.

Unity of time referred to the need for the entire action of the play to take place in a fictional
24-hour period

Unity of place meant that the action should unfold in a single location

Unity of action meant that the play should be constructed around a single 'plot-line', such as
a tragic love affair or a conflict between honourand duty.

Examples of classicist playwrights are Pierre Corneille, Jean Racine and Moliere. In the period
of Romanticism, Shakespeare, who conformed to none of the classical rules, became the focus of
French argument over them, in which the Romantics eventually triumphed; Victor Hugo was among
the first French playwrights to break these conventions.
The influence of these French rules on playwrights in other nations is debatable. In the English
theatre, Restoration playwrights such as William Wycherly and William Congreve would have been
familiar with them. William Shakespeare and his contemporaries did not follow this Classicist
philosophy, in particular since they were not French and also because they wrote several decades
prior to their establishment. Those of Shakespeare's plays that seem to display the unities, such
as The Tempest, probably indicate a familiarity with actual models from classical antiquity.

In architecture[edit]
Main articles: Classical architecture and Outline of classical architecture

Villa Rotonda, Palladio, 1591

Classicism in architecture developed during the Italian Renaissance, notably in the writings and
designs of Leon Battista Alberti and the work of Filippo Brunelleschi. It places emphasis
on symmetry, proportion, geometry and the regularity of parts as they are demonstrated in the
architecture of Classical antiquity and in particular, the architecture of Ancient Rome, of which many
examples remained.
Orderly arrangements of columns, pilasters and lintels, as well as the use of semicircular arches,
hemispherical domes, niches andaedicules replaced the more complex proportional systems and
irregular profiles of medieval buildings. This style quickly spread to other Italian cities and then to
France, Germany, England, Russia and elsewhere.
In the 16th century, Sebastiano Serlio helped codify the classical orders and Palladio's legacy
evolved into the long tradition of Palladian architecture. Building off of these influences, the 17thcentury architects Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren firmly established classicism in England.
For the development of classicism from the mid-18th-century onwards, see Neoclassical

In the fine arts[edit]

For Greek art of the 5th century B.C.E., see Classical art in ancient Greece and the Severe

Italian Renaissance painting and sculpture are marked by their renewal of classical forms, motifs
and subjects. In the 15th century Leon Battista Alberti was important in theorizing many of the ideas
for painting that came to a fully realised product with Raphael's School of Athens during the High
Renaissance. The themes continued largely unbroken into the 17th century, when artists such
as Nicolas Poussin and Charles Le Brun represented of the more rigid classicism. Like Italian
classicizing ideas in the 15th and 16th centuries, it spread through Europe in the mid to late 17th
Later classicism in painting and sculpture from the mid-18th and 19th centuries is generally referred
to as Neoclassicism.

Classical antiquity
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Classical era" redirects here. For the Classical period in music, see Classical period (music). For
the classics journal, see Classical Antiquity (journal).

The Parthenon is one of the most iconic symbols of the classical era, exemplifying ancient Greek culture
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Classical antiquity

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Between World War I and II





Human history

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Earliest records



East Asia

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Near East



Central Asia

East Asia

South Asia

Southeast Asia

Middle East


Early modern

See also




Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is a broad term for a
long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking
civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world. It is
the period in which Greek and Roman society flourished and wielded great influence
throughout Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
Conventionally, it is taken to begin with the earliest-recorded Greek poetry of Homer (8th7th
century BC), and continues through the emergence of Christianity and the decline of the Roman
Empire (5th century AD). It ends with the dissolution of classical culture at the close of Late
Antiquity (AD 300600), blending into the Early Middle Ages (AD 6001000). Such a wide sampling
of history and territory covers many disparate cultures and periods. "Classical antiquity" may refer
also to an idealised vision among later people of what was, in Edgar Allan Poe's words, "the glory
that was Greece, and the grandeur that was Rome."[1]
The culture of the ancient Greeks, together with some influences from the ancient Near East,
prevailed throughout classical antiquity as the basis of art, [2] philosophy, society, and educational
ideals. [3] These ideals were preserved and imitated by the Romans. [4] This Greco-Roman cultural
foundation has been immensely influential on the language, politics, educational
systems,philosophy, science, art, and architecture of the modern world: From the surviving
fragments of classical antiquity, a revival movement was gradually formed from the 14th century
onwards which came to be known later in Europe as the Renaissance, and again resurgent during
various neo-classical revivals in the 18th and 19th centuries.

1 Archaic period (8th to 6th centuries BC)


1.1 Phoenicians and Carthaginians

1.2 Greece

1.2.1 Greek colonies

1.3 Iron Age Italy

1.4 Roman Kingdom

2 Classical Greece (5th to 4th centuries BC)

3 Hellenistic period (323 BC to 146 BC)

4 Roman Republic (5th to 1st centuries BC)

5 Roman Empire (1st century BC to 5th century AD)

6 Late Antiquity (4th to 7th centuries AD)

7 Revivalism

7.1 Politics

7.2 Culture

8 Timeline

9 See also

10 Notes

11 References

Archaic period (8th to 6th centuries BC)[edit]

Further information: Iron Age Europe
The earliest period of classical antiquity takes place before the background of gradual reappearance of historical sources following theBronze Age collapse. The 8th and 7th centuries BC
are still largely proto-historical, with the earliest Greek alphabetic inscriptions appearing in the first
half of the 8th century. Homer is usually assumed to have lived in the 8th or 7th century, and his
lifetime is often taken as marking the beginning of classical antiquity. In the same period falls
the traditional date for the establishment of the Ancient Olympic Games, in 776 BC.

Phoenicians and Carthaginians[edit]

Main articles: Phoenicia and Ancient Carthage
The Phoenicians originally expanded from Levantine ports, by the 8th century dominating trade in
the Mediterranean. Carthage was founded in 814 BC, and the Carthaginians by 700 BC had firmly
established strongholds in Sicily, Italy and Sardinia, which created conflicts of interest with Etruria.

Main article: Archaic period in Greece
The Archaic period followed the Greek Dark Ages, and saw significant advancements in political
theory, and the rise of democracy, philosophy, theatre, poetry, as well as the revitalisation of the
written language (which had been lost during the Dark Ages).
In pottery, the Archaic period sees the development of the Orientalizing style, which signals a shift
from the Geometric style of the later Dark Ages and the accumulation of influences derived
from Phoenicia and Syria.
Pottery styles associated with the later part of the Archaic age are the black-figure pottery, which
originated in Corinth during the 7th century BC and its successor, the red-figure style, developed by
the Andokides Painter in about 530 BC.
Greek colonies[edit]
Main articles: Apoikiai and Magna Graecia

Iron Age Italy[edit]

Etruscan civilization in north of Italy, 800 BC.

The Etruscans had established political control in the region by the late 7th century BC, forming the
aristocratic and monarchial elite. The Etruscans apparently lost power in the area by the late 6th
century BC, and at this point, the Italic tribes reinvented their government by creating a republic, with
much greater restraints on the ability of rulers to exercise power.[5]

Roman Kingdom[edit]
Main article: Roman kingdom

According to legend, Rome was founded on April 21, 753 BC by twin descendants of
the Trojan prince Aeneas, Romulus and Remus.[6]As the city was bereft of women, legend says that
the Latins invited the Sabines to a festival and stole their unmarried maidens, leading to the
integration of the Latins and the Sabines.[7]
Archaeological evidence indeed shows first traces of settlement at the Roman Forum in the mid-8th
century BC, though settlements on the Palatine Hill may date back to the 10th century BC.[8][9]
The seventh and final king of Rome was Tarquinius Superbus. As the son of Tarquinius Priscus and
the son-in-law of Servius Tullius, Superbus was of Etruscan birth. It was during his reign that the
Etruscans reached their apex of power.
Superbus removed and destroyed all the Sabine shrines and altars from the Tarpeian Rock,
enraging the people of Rome. The people came to object to his rule when he failed to recognize the
rape of Lucretia, a patrician Roman, at the hands of his own son. Lucretia's kinsman, Lucius Junius
Brutus (ancestor to Marcus Brutus), summoned the Senate and had Superbus and the monarchy
expelled from Rome in 510 BC. After Superbus' expulsion, the Senate voted to never again allow the
rule of a king and reformed Rome into a republican government in 509 BC. In fact the Latin word
"Rex" meaning King became a dirty and hated word throughout the Republic and later on the
Empire.[citation needed]

Classical Greece (5th to 4th centuries BC)[edit]

Main article: Classical Greece

Delian League ("Athenian Empire"), right before the Peloponnesian War in 431 BC

The classical period of Ancient Greece corresponds to most of the 5th and 4th centuries BC
(i.e. from the fall of the Athenian tyranny in 510 BC to the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC).
In 510, Spartan troops helped the Athenians overthrow their king, the tyrant Hippias, son
of Peisistratos. Cleomenes I, king of Sparta, put in place a pro-Spartan oligarchy conducted
by Isagoras.
The Greco-Persian Wars (499449 BC), concluded by the Peace of Callias resulted in the dominant
position of Athens in theDelian League, which led to conflict with Sparta and the Peloponnesian
League, resulting in the Peloponnesian War (431404 BC), which ended in a Spartan victory.

Greece entered the 4th century under Spartan hegemony. But by 395 BC the Spartan rulers
removed Lysander from office, and Sparta lost her naval
supremacy. Athens, Argos, Thebes and Corinth, the latter two of which were formerly Spartan allies,
challenged Spartan dominance in the Corinthian War, which ended inconclusively in 387 BC. Later,
in 371 BC, the Theban generals Epaminondas and Pelopidas won a victory at the Battle of Leuctra.
The result of this battle was the end of Spartan supremacy and the establishment of Theban
hegemony. Thebes sought to maintain its position until it was finally eclipsed by the rising power
of Macedon in 346 BC.
Under Philip II, (359336 BC), Macedon expanded into the territory of the Paeonians,
the Thracians and the Illyrians. Philip's son, Alexander the Great, (356323 BC) managed to briefly
extend Macedonian power not only over the central Greek city-states, but also to the Persian
Empire, including Egypt and lands as far east as the fringes of India. The classical period
conventionally ends at the death of Alexander in 323 BC and the fragmentation of his empire, which
was at this time divided among the Diadochi.

Hellenistic period (323 BC to 146 BC)[edit]

Main article: Hellenistic period
Further information: Hellenistic philosophy and Hellenistic religion
Classical Greece entered the Hellenistic period with the rise of Macedon and the conquests
of Alexander the Great. Greek becomes the lingua franca far beyond Greece itself, and Hellenistic
culture interacts with the cultures of Persia, Central Asia, India and Egypt. Significant advances are
made in the sciences (geography, astronomy, mathematicsetc.), notably with
the followers of Aristotle (Aristotelianism).
The Hellenistic period ended with the rise of the Roman Republic to a super-regional power in the
2nd century BC and the Roman conquest of Greece in 146 BC.

Roman Republic (5th to 1st centuries BC)[edit]

The extent of the Roman Republic and Roman Empire in 218 BC (dark red), 133 BC (light red), 44 BC
(orange), 14 AD (yellow), after 14 AD (green), and maximum extension under Trajan 117 (light green)

Main article: Roman Republic

Further information: culture of ancient Rome
The republican period of Ancient Rome began with the overthrow of the Monarchy c. 509 BC and
lasted over 450 years until itssubversion, through a series of civil wars, into the Principate form of
government and the Imperial period. During the half millennium of the Republic, Rome rose from a

regional power of the Latium to the dominant force in Italy and beyond. The unification of Italy under
Roman hegemony was a gradual process, brought about in a series of conflicts of the 4th and 3rd
centuries, the Samnite Wars, Latin War, and Pyrrhic War. Roman victory in the Punic
Wars and Macedonian Wars established Rome as a super-regional power by the 2nd century BC,
followed up by the acquisition of Greece and Asia Minor. This tremendous increase of power was
accompanied by economic instability and social unrest, leading to the Catiline conspiracy, the Social
Warand the First Triumvirate, and finally the transformation to the Roman Empire in the latter half of
the 1st century BC.

Roman Empire (1st century BC to 5th century AD)[edit]

Main article: Roman Empire

The extent of the Roman Empire under Trajan, AD 117

Determining the precise end of the Republic is a task of dispute by modern historians; [10] Roman
citizens of the time did not recognize that the Republic had ceased to exist. The early JulioClaudian "Emperors" maintained that the res publica still existed, albeit under the protection of their
extraordinary powers, and would eventually return to its full Republican form. The Roman state
continued to call itself a res publica as long as it continued to use Latin as its official language.
Rome acquired imperial character de facto from the 130s BC with the acquisition of Cisalpine
Gaul, Illyria, Greece and Hispania, and definitely with the addition of Iudaea, Asia Minor and Gaul in
the 1st century BC. At the time of the empire's maximal extension under Trajan (AD 117), Rome
controlled the entire Mediterranean as well as Gaul, parts of Germania and Britannia,
the Balkans,Dacia, Asia Minor, the Caucasus and Mesopotamia.
Culturally, the Roman Empire was significantly hellenized, but also saw the rise of syncratic
"eastern" traditions, such as Mithraism,Gnosticism, and most notably Christianity. The empire began
to decline in the crisis of the third century

Late Antiquity (4th to 7th centuries AD)[edit]

The Western and Eastern Roman Empiresby 476

Main articles: Late Antiquity and Migration period

Late Antiquity saw the rise of Christianity under Constantine I, finally ousting the Roman imperial
cult with the Theodosian decreesof 393. Successive invasions of Germanic tribes finalized
the decline of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century, while theEastern Roman
Empire persisted throughout the Middle Ages, in a state called the Roman Empire by its citizens, and
labelled theByzantine Empire by later historians. Hellenistic philosophy was succeeded by continued
developments in Platonism andEpicureanism, with Neoplatonism in due course influencing
the theology of the Church Fathers.
Many individuals have attempted to put a specific date on the symbolic "end" of antiquity with the
most prominent dates being the deposing of the last Western Roman Emperor in 476,[11][12] the closing
of the last Platonic Academy in Athens by the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I in 529,[13] and
the conquest of much of the Mediterranean by the new Muslim faith from 634-718.[14]These Muslim
conquests, of Syria (637), Egypt (639), Cyprus (654), North Africa (665), Spain (718), Crete (820),
and Sicily (827), (and the sieges of the Eastern Roman capital, First Arab Siege of Constantinople
(67478) and Second Arab Siege of Constantinople (71718)) severed the economic, cultural, and
political links that had traditionally united the classical cultures around the Mediterranean, ending
antiquity, see (Pirenne Thesis).[15]
The original Roman Senate continued to express decrees into the late 6th century, and the last
Eastern Roman emperor to use Latin as the language of his court in Constantinople was
emperor Maurice, who reigned until 602. The overthrow of Maurice by his mutinying Danube army
under Phocas resulted in the Slavic invasion of the Balkans and the decline of Balkan and Greek
urban culture (leading to the flight of Balkan Latin speakers to the mountains, see Origin of the
Romanians), as well as provoked the ByzantineSasanian War of 602628, in which all the great
eastern cities, except Constantinople, were lost. The resulting turmoil did not end until the Muslim
conquests of the 7th century finalized the irreversible loss of all the largest Eastern Roman imperial
cities besides the capital itself. The emperor Heraclius in Constantinople, who emerged during this
period, conducted his court in Greek, not Latin, though Greek had always been an administrative
language of the eastern Roman regions. Eastern-Western links weakened with the ending of
the Byzantine Papacy.
The Eastern Roman empire's capital city of Constantinople was left as the only unconquered large
urban center of the original Roman empire, as well as being the largest city in Europe. Over the next
millennium the Roman culture of that city would slowly change, leading modern historians to refer to
it by a new name, Byzantine, though many classical books, sculptures, and technologies survived
there along with classical Roman cuisine and scholarly traditions, well into the Middle Ages, when
much of it was "rediscovered" by visiting Western crusaders. Indeed, the inhabitants of
Constantinople continued to refer to themselves as Romans, as did their eventual conquerors in
1453, the Ottomans. (SeeRm and Romaioi.) The classical scholarship and culture that was still
preserved in Constantinople was brought by refugees fleeing its conquest in 1453 and helped to
spark theRenaissance, see Greek scholars in the Renaissance.

Ultimately, it was a slow, complex, and graduated change in the socioeconomic structure
in European history that led to the changeover between Classical Antiquity and Medieval society and
no specific date can truly exemplify that.

Further information: Carolingian Renaissance, Ottonian Renaissance, Renaissance, Classical
studies, Classicism and Legacy of the Roman Empire
Respect for the ancients of Greece and Rome affected politics, philosophy, sculpture,
literature, theater, education, architecture and even sexuality.

In politics, the late Roman conception of the Empire as a universal state, headed by one supreme
divinely-appointed ruler, united with Christianity as a universal religion likewise headed by a
supreme patriarch, proved very influential, even after the disappearance of imperial authority in the
That model continued to exist in Constantinople for the entirety of the Middle Ages; the Byzantine
Emperor was considered the sovereign of the entire Christian world. ThePatriarch of
Constantinople was the Empire's highest-ranked cleric, but even he was subordinate to the Emperor,
who was "God's Vicegerent on Earth". The Greek-speaking Byzantines and their
descendants continued to call themselves "Romans" until the creation of a new Greek state in 1832.
After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the Russian Tsars (a title derived from Caesar) claimed the
Byzantine mantle as the champion of Orthodoxy; Moscow was described as the "Third Rome" and
the Tsars ruled as divinely-appointed Emperors into the 20th century.
Despite the fact that the Western Roman secular authority disappeared entirely in Europe, it still left
traces. The Papacy and the Catholic Church in particular maintained Latin language, culture and
literacy for centuries; to this day the popes are called Pontifex Maximus which in the classical period
was a title belonging to the Emperor, and the ideal ofChristendom carried on the legacy of a united
European civilisation even after its political unity had disappeared.
The political idea of an Emperor in the West to match the Emperor in the East continued after the
Western Roman Empire's collapse; it was revived by the coronation ofCharlemagne in 800; the selfdescribed Holy Roman Empire ruled over central Europe until 1806.
The Renaissance idea that the classical Roman virtues had been lost under medievalism was
especially powerful in European politics of the 18th and 19th centuries. Reverence for Roman
republicanism was strong among the Founding Fathers of the United States and the Latin American
revolutionaries; the Americans described their new government as a republic (from res publica) and
gave it a Senate and a President (another Latin term), rather than make use of available English
terms like commonwealth or parliament.
Similarly in Revolutionary and Napoleonic France, republicanism and Roman martial virtues were
upheld by the state, as can be seen in the architecture of the Panthon, theArc de Triomphe, and the
paintings of Jacques-Louis David. During the revolution France itself followed the transition from
republic to dictatorship to Empire (complete with Imperial Eagles) that Rome had undergone
centuries earlier.

Epic poetry in Latin continued to be written and circulated well into the 19th century. John Milton and
even Arthur Rimbaud got their first poetic education in Latin. Genres like epic poetry, pastoral verse,
and the endless use of characters and themes from Greek mythology left a deep mark on literature
of the Western World.
In architecture, there have been several Greek Revivals, which seem more inspired in retrospect by
Roman architecture than Greek. Washington, DC is filled with large marblebuildings with facades
made out to look like Roman temples, with columns constructed in the classical orders of
In philosophy, the efforts of St Thomas Aquinas were derived largely from the thought of Aristotle,
despite the intervening change in religion from Hellenic Polytheism toChristianity. Greek and Roman
authorities such as Hippocrates and Galen formed the foundation of the practice of medicine even
longer than Greek thought prevailed in philosophy. In the French theater, tragedians such
as Molire and Racine wrote plays on mythological or classical historical subjects and subjected
them to the strict rules of theclassical unities derived from Aristotle's Poetics. The desire
to dance like a latter-day vision of how the ancient Greeks did it moved Isadora Duncan to create her
brand of ballet.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Not to be confused with Pagani. "Pagan" redirects here. For other uses, see Pagan

This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key point
of its contents. Please consider expanding the lead to provide an
accessible overview of all important aspects of the article. (November 2014)

The Venus of Arles, depicting the goddess Venus holding the apple ofHesperides.

Paganism is a broad group of religions including modern pagan religions, indigenous

religions and historical polytheistic religions. It is often taken to exclude monotheism, and to
express a worldview that is pantheistic, polytheistic, or animistic. In a wider sense, paganism
has also been understood to include any non-Abrahamic, folk, or ethnic religion. However, not all
pagans were strictly polytheist. Throughout history, many of them believed in a class of
subordinate gods/daimons which included some kind of supreme deity.[1] Once monotheistic
religions such as Christianity started to become more prominent, names to encompass
polytheistic worshipers started to develop; some of these include Hellene, pagan, and heathen.
These names came to be used as slurs.
Modern knowledge of old pagan religions comes from several sources, including:
anthropological field research records, the evidence of archaeological artifacts, and the historical
accounts of ancient writers regarding cultures known to the classical world. Before the rise of
monotheistic religions, most people practiced some type of polytheism. Eventually monotheism
began to increase in popularity causing these religions to lose followers. As a result, some
polytheistic religions began to advocate for some type of main deity. Unfortunately, this was not
enough to completely regain their popularity and many of these religions started to die out and
eventually became extinct. Paganism would later on be studied during
the Renaissance and Romantic era; it would even go on to inspire folklore. Forms of these
religions, influenced by various historical pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe, exist today and
are known as contemporary or modern paganism, also referred to as Neopaganism.[2][3]

Greco-Roman world

This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain
unclear because it lacksinline citations. Please improve this article by introducing more precise
citations. (February 2010)

Temple of Olympian Zeus inAthens, construction started byAthenian tyrants in 6th century BC and completed
by Roman emperor Hadrianin 2nd century AD.

The Greco-Roman world, Greco-Roman culture, or the term Greco-Roman (/rko

romn/ or /rkromn/; spelled Graeco-Roman in the United Kingdom and
the Commonwealth), when used as an adjective, as understood by modern scholars and writers,
refers to those geographical regions and countries that culturally (and so historically) were directly,
long-term, and intimately influenced by the language, culture, government and religion of the ancient
Greeks and Romans. In exact terms the area refers to the "Mediterranean world", the extensive
tracts of land centered on the Mediterranean and Black Sea basins, the "swimming-pool and spa" of
the Greeks and Romans, i.e. one wherein the cultural perceptions, ideas and sensitivities of these
peoples were dominant.
As mentioned, the term Greco-Roman world describes those regions who were for many
generations subjected to the government of the Greeks and then the Romans and thus accepted or
at length were forced to embrace them as their masters and teachers. This process was aided by
the seemingly universal adoption of Greek as the language of intellectual culture and at least
Eastern commerce, and ofLatin as the tongue for public management and forensic advocacy,
especially in the West (from the perspective of the Mediterranean Sea). Though these languages
never became the native idioms of the rural peasants (the great majority of the population), they
were the languages of the urbanites and cosmopolitan elites, and at the very least intelligible
(see lingua franca), if only as corrupt or multifarious dialects to those who lived within the large
territories and populations outside of the Macedonian settlements and the Roman colonies.
Certainly, all men of note and accomplishment, whatever their ethnic extractions, spoke and wrote in
Greek and/or Latin. Thus, the Roman jurist and Imperial chancellor Ulpianwas Phoenician, the
Greco-Egyptian mathematician and geographer Claudius Ptolemy was a Roman citizen and the
famous post-Constantinian thinkers John Chrysostom andAugustine were pure Syrian
and Berber respectively.[dubious discuss] The historian Josephus Flavius was Jewish but he also wrote and
spoke in Greek and was a Roman citizen.
Properly speaking, the term "Greco-Roman World" signifies the entire realm from the Atlas
Mountains to the Caucasus, from northernmost Britain to the Hejaz, from the Atlantic
coast of Iberia to the Upper Tigris River and from the point at which the Rhine enters the North
Sea to the northern Sudan. The Black Sea basin, particularly the renowned country
of Dacia or Romania, the Tauric Chersonesus or the Crimea, and the Caucasic kingdoms which
straddle both the Black and Caspian Seas are deemed to comprehend this definition as well. As the
Greek Kingdoms of Western Asia successively fell before the reputedly invincible arms of Rome, and
then were gradually incorporated into the universal empire of the Caesars, the diffusion of Greek
political and social culture and that of Roman "law and liberty" converted these areas into parts of
the Greco-Roman World.


1 Cores/Domains of the Greco-Roman world

2 Greco-Roman Culture

3 Architecture

4 Politics

5 See also

6 References

7 Sources

Cores/Domains of the Greco-Roman world[edit]

Based on the above definition, it can be confidently asserted that the "cores" of the Greco-Roman
world were Greece, Cyprus, Italy, the Iberian Peninsula, Asia Minor, Gaul(modern
France), Syria, Egypt and Africa Proper (Tunisia and Libya). Occupying the periphery of this world
were "Roman Germany" (the Alpine countries and the so-called Agri Decumates, the territory
between the Main, the Rhine and the Danube), Illyria and Pannonia (the
former Yugoslavia and Hungary), Moesia (roughly corresponds to modernBulgaria), Dacia (roughly
corresponds to modern Romania), Nubia (roughly corresponds to modern
northern Sudan), Mauretania (modern Morocco and western Algeria), Arabia Petraea (the Hejaz
and Jordan, with modern Egypt's Sinai Peninsula), Mesopotamia (northern Iraq and Syria beyond
the Euphrates), the Tauric Chersonesus (modern Crimeain Ukraine), Kingdom of Armenia and the
suppliant kingdoms which swathed the Caucasus Mountains, namely Colchis, and the Caucasian
Albania and Caucasian Iberia. The above seems to ignore the major rivalry between the GrecoRomans, during their period of ascendancy, and the great empire to the east, the Persians. See
Xenophon,The Anabasis, or, the March Up Country, the Greco-Persian wars, the famous battles of
Marathon and Salamis, the Greek tragedy "The Persians" by Aeschylus, Alexander the Great's
defeat of the Persian emperor Darius and conquest of the Persian empire, or, the later Roman
generals' difficulties with the Persian armies, such as Pompey the Great, and of Marcus Licinius
Crassus (conqueror of the slave general Spartacus), who was defeated in the field by a Persian
force, and was beheaded by them. (Ref: Appian, The Civil Wars).

Greco-Roman Culture[edit]

In the schools of art, philosophy and rhetoric, the foundations of education were transmitted
throughout the lands of Greek and Roman rule. Within its educated class, spanning all of the "GrecoRoman" era, the testimony of literary borrowings and influences is overwhelming proof of a mantle of
mutual knowledge. For example, several hundred papyrus volumes found in a Roman villa
atHerculaneum are in Greek. From the lives of Cicero and Julius Caesar, it is known that Romans
frequented the schools in Greece. The installation both in Greek and Latin of Augustus' monumental
eulogy, the Res Gestae, is a proof of official recognition for the dual vehicles of the common culture.
The familiarity of figures from Roman legend and history in the "Parallel Lives" composed
by Plutarch is one example of the extent to which "universal history" was then synonymous with the
accomplishments of famous Latins and Hellenes. Most educated Romans were likely bilingual in
Greek and Latin.

"Greco-Roman" architecture is architecture of the Roman world that followed the principles and style
established in ancient Greece. The most representative building of that era was the temple. Other
prominent structures that represented the style included government buildings, like the Roman
Senate, and cultural structures, like the Colosseum. The three primary styles of column design used
in temples in classical Greece were Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. Examples of Doric architecture are
the Parthenon and the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens, while the Erechtheum, which is located right
next to the Parthenon is Ionic. Ionic Greco-Roman architecture tend to be more decorative than the
formal Doric styles.
Age of Enlightenment

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For other uses, see Neoclassical (disambiguation).

Antonio Canova's Psyche Revived by Love's Kiss

Henry Fuseli, The artist moved to despair at the grandeur of antique fragments, 177879

Neoclassicism (from Greek nos and klassiks classicus)[1] is the name given to
Western movements in the decorativeand visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that
draw inspiration from the "classical" art and culture of Ancient Greece orAncient Rome. The main
Neoclassical movement coincided with the 18th century Age of Enlightenment, and continued into
the early 19th century, latterly competing with Romanticism. In architecture, the style continued
throughout the 19th, 20th and up to the 21st century.

1 Overview

2 Painting and printmaking

3 Sculpture

4 Architecture and the decorative arts

5 Neoclassical gardens

6 Neoclassicism and fashion

7 Later "Neoclassicisms"

7.1 In music

7.2 Architecture in Russia and the Soviet Union

7.3 Architecture in the 21st century

8 See also

9 Notes

10 References

11 Further reading

12 External links

Neoclassicism is a revival of the styles and spirit of classic antiquity inspired directly from the
classical period,[2] which coincided and reflected the developments in philosophy and other areas of
the Age of Enlightenment, and was initially a reaction against the excesses of the
preceding Rococo style While the movement is often described as the opposed counterpart
of Romanticism, this is a great over-simplification that tends not to be sustainable when specific
artists or works are considered. The case of the supposed main champion of late
Neoclassicism, Ingres, demonstrates this especially well.[4] The revival can be traced to the
establishment of formal archaeology.[5][6]
The writings of Johann Joachim Winckelmann were important in shaping this movement in both
architecture and the visual arts. His books, Thoughts on the Imitation of Greek Works in Painting
and Sculpture (1750) and Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums ("History of Ancient Art", 1764) were
the first to distinguish sharply between Ancient Greek and Roman art, and define periods within
Greek art, tracing a trajectory from growth to maturity and then imitation or decadence that continues
to have influence to the present day. Winckelmann believed that art should aim at "noble simplicity
and calm grandeur",[7] and praised the idealism of Greek art, in which he said we find: "not only
nature at its most beautiful but also something beyond nature, namely certain ideal forms of its
beauty, which, as an ancient interpreter of Plato teaches us, come from images created by the mind
alone." The theory was very far from new in Western art, but his emphasis on close copying of
Greek models was: "The only way for us to become great or if this be possible, inimitable, is to
imitate the ancients".[8]
With the advent of the Grand Tour, a fad of collecting antiquities began that laid the foundations of
many great collections spreading a Neoclassical revival throughout Europe. [9]"Neoclassicism" in each
art implies a particular canon of a "classical" model.

Johann Joachim Winckelmann, often called "the father of archaeology" [10]

In English, the term "Neoclassicism" is used primarily of the visual arts; the similar movement
in English literature, which began considerably earlier, is called Augustan literature, which had been
dominant for several decades, and was beginning to decline, by the time Neoclassicism in the visual
arts became fashionable. Though terms differ, the situation in French literature was similar. In music,
the period saw the rise of classical music, and "neoclassicism" is used of 20th century
developments. However the operas of Christoph Willibald Gluck, represented a specifically neoclassical approach, spelt out in his preface to the published score of Alceste (1769), which aimed to
reform opera by removing ornamentation, increasing the role of the chorus in line with Greek
tragedy, and using simpler unadorned melodic lines.[11]
The term "Neoclassical" was not invented until the mid-19th century, and at the time the style was
described by such terms as "the true style", "reformed" and "revival"; what was regarded as being
revived varying considerably. Ancient models were certainly very much involved, but the style could
also be regarded as a revival of the Renaissance, and especially in France as a return to the more
austere and noble Baroque of the age of Louis XIV, for which a considerable nostalgia had
developed as France's dominant military and political position started a serious decline. [12] Ingres's
coronation portrait of Napoleon even borrowed from Late Antique consular diptychs and
their Carolingian revival, to the disapproval of critics.
Neoclassicism was strongest in architecture, sculpture and the decorative arts, where classical
models in the same medium were relatively numerous and accessible; examples from ancient
painting that demonstrated the qualities that Winckelmann's writing found in sculpture were and are
lacking. Winckelmann was involved in the dissemination of knowledge of the first large Roman
paintings to be discovered, at Pompeii and Herculaneum and, like most contemporaries except
for Gavin Hamilton, was unimpressed by them, citingPliny the Younger's comments on the decline of
painting in his period.[13]
European Neoclassicism in the visual arts began c. 1760 in opposition to the thendominant Baroque and Rococo styles. Rococo architecture emphasizes grace, ornamentation and
asymmetry; Neoclassical architecture is based on the principles of simplicity and symmetry, which
were seen as virtues of the arts of Rome and Ancient Greece, and were more immediately drawn
from 16th century Renaissance Classicism. Each "neo"- classicism selects some models among the
range of possible classics that are available to it, and ignores others. The neoclassical writers and
talkers, patrons and collectors, artists and sculptors of 17651830 paid homage to an idea of the

generation of Pheidias, but the sculpture examples they actually embraced were more likely to be
Roman copies of Hellenistic sculptures. They ignored both Archaic Greek art and the works of Late
Antiquity. The "Rococo" art of ancient Palmyra came as a revelation, through engravings in
Wood's The Ruins of Palmyra. Even Greece was all-but-unvisited, a rough backwater of the
Ottoman Empire, dangerous to explore, so neoclassicists' appreciation of Greek architecture was
mediated through drawings and engravings, which subtly smoothed and regularized, "corrected' and
"restored" the monuments of Greece, not always consciously.
As for painting, Greek painting was utterly lost: neoclassicist painters imaginatively revived it, partly
through bas-relief friezes, mosaics, and pottery painting and partly through the examples of painting
and decoration of the High Renaissance of Raphael's generation, frescos in Nero's Domus
Aurea, Pompeii and Herculaneum and through renewed admiration of Nicholas Poussin. Much
"neoclassical" painting is more classicizing in subject matter than in anything else. A fierce, but often
very badly informed, dispute raged for decades over the relative merits of Greek and Roman art,
with Winckelmann and his fellow Hellenists generally the winning side.[14]

Painting and printmaking[edit]

Print of a drawing by John Flaxmanof a scene in Homer's Iliad, 1795

It is hard to recapture the radical and exciting nature of early neo-classical painting for contemporary
audiences; it now strikes even those writers favourably inclined to it as "insipid" and "almost entirely
uninteresting to us"some of Kenneth Clark's comments on Anton Raphael Mengs'
ambitious Parnassus at the Villa Albani,[15] by the artist who his friend Winckelmann described as "the
greatest artist of his own, and perhaps of later times". [16] The drawings, subsequently turned
into prints, of John Flaxman used very simple line drawing (thought to be the purest classical
medium[17]) and figures mostly in profile to depict The Odyssey and other subjects, and once "fired
the artistic youth of Europe" but are now "neglected",[18] while the history paintings of Angelica
Kauffman, mainly a portraitist, are described as having "an unctuous softness and tediousness"
by Fritz Novotny.[19] Rococo frivolity and Baroque movement had been stripped away but many artists
struggled to put anything in their place, and in the absence of ancient examples for history painting,
other than the Greek vases used by Flaxman, Raphael tended to be used as a substitute model, as
Winckelmann recommended.

Jacques-Louis David, Oath of the Horatii, 1784

The work of other artists, who could not easily be described as insipid, combined aspects of
Romanticism with a generally Neoclassical style, and form part of the history of both movements.
The German-Danish painter Asmus Jacob Carstens finished very few of the large mythological
works that he planned, leaving mostly drawings and colour studies which often succeed in
approaching Winckelmann's prescription of "noble simplicity and calm grandeur". [20] Unlike Carstens'
unrealized schemes, the etchings of Giovanni Battista Piranesiwere numerous and profitable, and
taken back by those making the Grand Tour to all parts of Europe. His main subject matter was the
buildings and ruins of Rome, and he was more stimulated by the ancient than the modern. The
somewhat disquieting atmosphere of many of his Vedute (views) becomes dominant in his series of
16 prints of Carceri d'Invenzione ("Imaginary Prisons") whose "oppressive cyclopean architecture"
conveys "dreams of fear and frustration".[21] The Swiss-born Johann Heinrich Fssli spent most of his
career in England, and while his fundamental style was based on neoclassical principles, his
subjects and treatment more often reflected the "Gothic" strain of Romanticism, and sought to evoke
drama and excitement.
Neoclassicism in painting gained a new sense of direction with the sensational success of JacquesLouis David's Oath of the Horatii at the Paris Salon of 1785. Despite its evocation of republican
virtues, this was a commission by the royal government, which David insisted on painting in Rome.
David managed to combine an idealist style with drama and forcefulness. The central perspective is
perpendicular to the picture plane, made more emphatic by the dim arcade behind, against which
the heroic figures are disposed as in a frieze, with a hint of the artificial lighting and staging of opera,
and the classical colouring of Nicholas Poussin. David rapidly became the leader of French art, and
after the French Revolution became a politician with control of much government patronage in art.
He managed to retain his influence in theNapoleonic period, turning to frankly propagandistic works,
but had to leave France for exile in Brussels at the Bourbon Restoration.[22]
David's many students included Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, who saw himself as a classicist
throughout his long career, despite a mature style that has an equivocal relationship with the main
current of Neoclassicism, and many later diversions into Orientalism and the Troubadour style that
are hard to distinguish from those of his unabashedly Romantic contemporaries, except by the
primacy his works always give to drawing. He exhibited at the Salon for over 60 years, from 1802
into the beginnings ofImpressionism, but his style, once formed, changed little.[23]

Fantasy depiction of the Appian Way;etching by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, 1756

Angelica Kauffman, Venus Induces Helen to Fall in Love with Paris, 1790

Asmus Jacob Carstens, Night and Her Children, Sleep and Death, 1794, Black chalk on paper, 745 x
985 cm

Ingres' version of Neoclassicism,Oedipus and the Sphinx, 1808


Hebe by Canova (180005), in the appropriately neoclassical surroundings of theHermitage Museum

If Neoclassical painting suffered from a lack of ancient models, Neoclassical sculpture tended to
suffer from an excess of them, although examples of actual Greek sculpture of the "classical period"
beginning in about 500 BC were then very few; the most highly regarded works were mostly Roman
copies.[24] The leading Neoclassical sculptors enjoyed huge reputations in their own day, but are now
less regarded, with the exception of Jean-Antoine Houdon, whose work was mainly portraits, very
often as busts, which do not sacrifice a strong impression of the sitter's personality to idealism. His
style became more classical as his long career continued, and represents a rather smooth
progression from Rococo charm to classical dignity. Unlike some Neoclassical sculptors he did not
insist on his sitters wearing Roman dress, or being unclothed. He portrayed most of the great figures
of the Enlightenment, and travelled to America to produce a statue of George Washington, as well as
busts of Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and other luminaries of the new republic.[25][26]
Antonio Canova and the Dane Bertel Thorvaldsen were both based in Rome, and as well as portraits
produced many ambitious life-size figures and groups; both represented the strongly idealizing
tendency in neoclassical sculpture. Canova has a lightness and grace, where Thorvaldsen is more
severe; the difference is exemplified in their respective groups of the Three Graces.[27] All these, and
Flaxman, were still active in the 1820s, and Romanticism was slow to impact sculpture, where
versions of Neoclassicism remained the dominant style for most of the 19th century.
An early neoclassicist in sculpture was the Swede Johan Tobias Sergel,.[28] John Flaxman was also,
or mainly, a sculptor, mostly producing severely classical reliefs that are comparable in style to his
prints; he also designed and modelled neoclassical ceramics for Josiah Wedgwood for several
years. Johann Gottfried Schadow and his son Rudolph, one of the few neoclassical sculptors to die
young, were the leading German artists,[29] with Franz Anton von Zauner in Austria. The late Baroque
Austrian sculptor Franz Xaver Messerschmidt turned to Neoclassicism in mid-career, shortly before
he appears to have suffered some kind of mental crisis, after which he retired to the country and
devoted himself to the highly distinctive "character heads" of bald figures pulling extreme facial
expressions.[30] Like Piranesi's Carceri, these enjoyed a great revival of interest during the age
of psychoanalysis in the early 20th century. The Dutch neoclassical sculptor Mathieu Kessels studied
with Thorvaldsen and worked almost exclusively in Rome.

Since prior to the 1830s the United States did not have a sculpture tradition of its own, save in the
areas of tombstones, weathervanes and ship figureheads,[31] the European neoclassical manner was
adopted there, and it was to hold sway for decades and is exemplified in the sculptures of Horatio
Greenough, Hiram Powers, Randolph Rogers andWilliam Henry Rinehart.

Resting Faun, 1770, Johan Tobias Sergel

Voltaire by Jean-Antoine Houdon, 1778, one of several different versions.

Monument to Copernicus byThorwaldsen, Warsaw

Le triomphe de 1810, Jean-Pierre Cortot, from the Arc de triomphe

Hercules and the horses of Diomedes,Johann Gottfried Schadow, study for the Brandenberg
Gate triumphal arch

Diskobolos preparing to throw, Mathieu Kessels, Chatsworth House

One of the "character heads" of Franz Xaver Messerschmidt

Nydia, Randolph Rogers, 1859

Architecture and the decorative arts[edit]

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Main article: Neoclassical architecture

Adam style, Interior of Home House in London, designed by Robert Adam in 1777

Neoclassicism first gained influence in England and France, through a generation of French art
students trained in Rome and influenced by the writings of Winckelmann, and it was quickly adopted
by progressive circles in other countries such as Sweden and Russia. At first, classicizing decor was
grafted onto familiar European forms, as in the interiors for Catherine II's lover Count Orlov,
designed by an Italian architect with a team of Italian stuccadori: only the isolated oval medallions
like cameos and the bas-relief overdoors hint of neoclassicism; the furnishings are fully Italian
A second neoclassic wave, more severe, more studied (through the medium of engravings) and
more consciously archaeological, is associated with the height of the Napoleonic Empire. In France,
the first phase of neoclassicism was expressed in the "Louis XVI style", and the second in the styles
called "Directoire" or Empire. The Rococo style remained popular in Italy until the Napoleonic
regimes brought the new archaeological classicism, which was embraced as a political statement by
young, progressive, urban Italians with republican leanings.[according to whom?]
In the decorative arts, neoclassicism is exemplified in Empire furniture made in Paris, London, New
York, Berlin; inBiedermeier furniture made in Austria; in Karl Friedrich Schinkel's museums in Berlin,
Sir John Soane's Bank of England in London and the newly built "capitol" in Washington, DC; and
in Wedgwood's bas reliefs and "black basaltes" vases. The style was international; Scots
architect Charles Cameron created palatial Italianate interiors for the German-born Catherine II the
Great, in Russian St. Petersburg.
Indoors, neoclassicism made a discovery of the genuine classic interior, inspired by the
rediscoveries at Pompeii and Herculaneum. These had begun in the late 1740s, but only achieved a
wide audience in the 1760s,[32] with the first luxurious volumes of tightly controlled distribution of Le
Antichit di Ercolano (The Antiquities of Herculaneum). The antiquities of Herculaneum showed that
even the most classicizing interiors of the Baroque, or the most "Roman" rooms of William Kent were
based on basilica and templeexterior architecture turned outside in, hence their often bombastic
appeatrance to modern eyes: pedimented window frames turned into gilded mirrors, fireplaces
topped with temple fronts. The new interiors sought to recreate an authentically Roman and
genuinely interior vocabulary. Techniques employed in the style included flatter, lighter motifs,
sculpted in low frieze-like relief or painted in monotones en camaeu ("like cameos"), isolated
medallions or vases or busts or bucrania or other motifs, suspended on swags of laurel or ribbon,
with slender arabesques against backgrounds, perhaps, of "Pompeiian red" or pale tints, or stone
colors. The style in France was initially a Parisian style, theGot grec ("Greek style"), not a court
style; when Louis XVI acceded to the throne in 1774, Marie Antoinette, his fashion-loving Queen,
brought the "Louis XVI" style to court. However there was no real attempt to employ the basic forms
of Roman furniture until around the turn of the century, and furniture-makers were more likely to

borrow from ancient architecture, just as silversmiths were more likely to take from ancient pottery
and stone-carving than metalwork: "Designers and craftsmen ... seem to have taken an almost
perverse pleasure in transferring motifs from one medium to another".[33]

Chteau de Malmaison, 1800, room for the Empress Josphine, on the cusp between Directoire
style and Empire style

From about 1800 a fresh influx of Greek architectural examples, seen through the medium of
etchings and engravings, gave a new impetus to neoclassicism, the Greek Revival. At the same time
the Empire style was a more grandiose wave of neoclassicism in architecture and the decorative
arts. Mainly based on Imperial Roman styles, it originated in, and took its name from, the rule
ofNapoleon I in the First French Empire, where it was intended to idealize Napoleon's leadership and
the French state. The style corresponds to the more bourgeois Biedermeier style in the Germanspeaking lands, Federal style in the United States,[32] the Regency style in Britain, and
the Napoleonstil in Sweden. According to the art historian Hugh Honour "so far from being, as is
sometimes supposed, the culmination of the Neo-classical movement, the Empire marks its rapid
decline and transformation back once more into a mere antique revival, drained of all the highminded ideas and force of conviction that had inspired its masterpieces". [34] An earlier phase of the
style was called the Adam style in Great Britain and "Louis Seize", or Louis XVI, in France.
Neoclassicism continued to be a major force in academic art through the 19th century and beyond
a constant antithesis to Romanticismor Gothic revivals although from the late 19th century on it
had often been considered anti-modern, or even reactionary, in influential critical circles. [who?] The
centres of several European cities, notably St Petersburg and Munich, came to look much like
museums of Neoclassical architecture.
Gothic revival architecture (often linked with the Romantic cultural movement), a style originating in
the 18th century which grew in popularity throughout the 19th century, contrasted Neoclassicism.
Whilst Neoclassicism was characterized by Greek and Roman-influenced styles, geometric lines and
order, Gothic revival architecture placed an emphasis on medieval-looking buildings, often made to
have a rustic, "romantic", appearance.

Gold egg-cup, Paris 1762-63, in thegout Grec (Greek style)

Empire style table

Wedgwood vase in the style of Greekred-figure pottery, c. 1815

Empire style sauce boat, Svres porcelain, 180910

Neoclassical gardens[edit]

In England, Augustan literature had a direct parallel with the Augustan style of landscape design.
The links are clearly seen in the work of Alexander Pope. The best surviving examples of
Neoclassical English gardens are Chiswick House, Stowe House and Stourhead.[35]

Neoclassicism and fashion[edit]

Revolutionary socialite Thrsa Tallien in the 1800s

In fashion, Neoclassicism influenced the much greater simplicity of women's dresses, and the longlasting fashion for white, from well before the French Revolution, but it was not until after it that
thorough-going attempts to imitate ancient styles became fashionable in France, at least for women.
Classical costumes had long been worn by fashionable ladies posing "as" some figure from Greek or
Roman myth in a portrait (in particular there was a rash of such portraits of the young
"model" Emma, Lady Hamilton from the 1780s), but such costumes were only worn for the portrait
sitting and masquerade balls until the Revolutionary period, and perhaps, like other exotic styles, as
undress at home. But the styles worn in portraits by Juliette Rcamier, Josphine de
Beauharnais, Thrsa Tallien and other Parisian trend-setters were for going-out in public as well.
Seeing Mme Tallien at the opera, Talleyrand quipped that: "Il n'est pas possible de s'exposer plus
somptueusement!" ("One could not be more sumptuously undressed"). In 1788, just before the
Revolution, the court portraitist Louise lisabeth Vige Le Brun had held a "Greek supper" where the
ladies wore plain white "greek" tunics.[36]Shorter classical hairstyles, where possible with curls, were
less controversial and very widely adopted, and hair was now uncovered even outdoors; except for
evening dress bonnets or other coverings had typically been worn even indoors before. Thin Greekstyle ribbons or fillets were used to tie or decorate the hair instead.
Very light and loose dresses, usually white and often with shockingly bare arms, rose sheer from the
ankle to just below the bodice, where there was a strongly emphasized thin hem or tie round the
body, often in a different colour. The shape is now often known as theEmpire silhouette although it
predates the First French Empire of Napoleon, but his first Empress Josphine de Beauharnais was
influential in spreading it around Europe. A long rectangular shawl or wrap, very often plain red but
with a decorated border in portraits, helped in colder weather, and was apparently laid around the
midriff when seated - for which sprawling semi-recumbent postures were favoured. [37] By the start of
the 19th century, such styles had spread widely across Europe.
Neoclassical fashion for men was far more problematic, and never really took off other than for hair,
where it played an important role in the shorter styles that finally despatched the use of wigs, and
then white hair-powder, for younger men. The trouser had been the symbol of the barbarian to the

Greeks and Romans, but outside the painter's or, especially, the sculptor's studio, few men were
prepared to abandon it. Indeed the period saw the triumph of the pure trouser, or pantaloon, over
the cullottes or knee-breechesof the Ancien Regime. Even when David designed a new French
"national costume" at the request of the government during the height of the Revolutionary
enthusiasm for changing everything in 1792, it included fairly tight leggings under a coat that
stopped above the knee. A high proportion of well-to-do young men spent much of the key period in
military service because of the French Revolutionary Wars, and military uniform, which began to
emphasize jackets that were short at the front, giving a full view of tight-fitting trousers, was often
worn when not on duty, and influenced cilivian male styles.

Francis Russell, 5th Duke of Bedford in a Bedford Crop

The trouser-problem had been recognised by artists as a barrier to creating contemporary history
paintings; like other elements of contemporary dress they were seen as irredeemably ugly and
unheroic by many artists and critics. Various strategems were used to avoid depicting them in
modern scenes. In James Dawkins and Robert Wood Discovering the Ruins of Palmyra (1758)
by Gavin Hamilton, the two gentleman antiquaries are shown in toga-like Arab robes. In Watson and
the Shark (1778) by John Singleton Copley, the main figure could plausibly be shown nude, and the
composition is such that of the eight other men shown, only one shows a single breeched leg
prominently. However the Americans Copley and Benjamin West led the artists who successfully
showed that trousers could be used in heroic scenes, with works like West's The Death of General
Wolfe (1770) and Copley's The Death of Major Peirson, 6 January 1781 (1783), although the trouser
was still being carefully avoided in The Raft of the Medusa, completed in 1819.
Classically inspired male hair styles included the Bedford Crop, arguably the precursor of most plain
modern male styles, which was invented by the radical politician Francis Russell, 5th Duke of
Bedford as a protest against a tax on hair powder; he encouraged his frends to adopt it by betting
them they would not. Another influential style (or group of styles) was named by the French after the
Roman Emperor Titus, from his busts, with hair short and layered but somewhat piled up on the
crown, often with restrained quiffs or locks hanging down; variants are familiar from the hair of
both Napoleon and George IV of England. The style was supposed to have been introduced by the
actor Franois-Joseph Talma, who upstaged his wigged co-actors when appearing in productions of
works such as Voltaire's Brutus. In 1799 a Parisian fashion magazine reported that even bald men
were adopting Titus wigs,[38] and the style was also worn by women, the Journal de Parisreporting in
1802 that "more than half of elegant women were wearing their hair or wig la Titus.[39]

James Dawkins and Robert Wood Discovering the Ruins of Palmyra, byGavin Hamilton (1758)

Madame Raymond de Verninac byJacques-Louis David, with clothes and chair in Directoire style. "Year
7", that is 1798-99.

Portrait of Madame Rcamier, David, 1800

Princess Elizabeth Alexeievna (Louise of Baden) in 1802

Later "Neoclassicisms"[edit]
Part of a series on

Classical antiquity

Greco-Roman world
Age of Enlightenment





20th-century neoclassicism

Between World War I and II




In American architecture, neoclassicism was one expression of the American

Renaissance movement, ca 18901917; its last manifestation was in Beaux-Arts architecture, and
its very last, large public projects were the Lincoln Memorial (highly criticized at the time),
the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC (also heavily criticized by the architectural community
as being backward thinking and old fashioned in its design), and the American Museum of Natural
History's Roosevelt Memorial. These were considered stylistic anachronisms when they were
finished. In the British Raj, Sir Edwin Lutyens' monumental city planning for New Delhi marks the
glorious sunset of neoclassicism. World War II was to shatter most longing for and imitation of
mythical, heroic times.
Conservative modernist architects such as Auguste Perret in France kept the rhythms and spacing
of columnar architecture even in factory buildings. Where a colonnade would have been decried as
"reactionary," a building's pilaster-like fluted panels under a repeating frieze looked
"progressive." Pablo Picasso experimented with classicizing motifs in the years immediately
following World War I, and the Art Deco style that came to the fore following the 1925
Paris Exposition des Arts Dcoratifs, often drew on neoclassical motifs without expressing them
overtly: severe, blocky commodes by E. J. Ruhlmann or Sue et Mare; crisp, extremely low-relief
friezes of damsels and gazelles in every medium; fashionable dresses that were draped or cut on
the bias to recreate Grecian lines; the art dance of Isadora Duncan; the Streamline Moderne styling
of US post offices and county court buildings built as late as 1950; and the Roosevelt dime.
There was an entire 20th century movement in the Arts which was also called Neo-classicism. It
encompassed at least music, philosophy, and literature. It was between the end of World War I and
the end of World War II. For information on the musical aspects, see 20th century classical
music and Neoclassicism (music). For information on the philosophical aspects, see Great Books.
This literary neo-classical movement rejected the extreme romanticism of (for example) dada, in
favour of restraint, religion (specifically Christianity) and a reactionary political program. Although the
foundations for this movement in English literature were laid by T. E. Hulme, the most famous
neoclassicists were T. S. Eliot and Wyndham Lewis. InRussia, the movement crystallized as early as
1910 under the name of Acmeism, with Anna Akhmatova and Osip Mandelshtam as the leading

In music[edit]
Neoclassicism in music is a 20th-century movement; in this case it is the classical music of the late
18th and early 19th century that is being revived, not the music of the ancient world. It was ultimately
a response to German Modernism in the first part of the 20th century. It was an anti-progress, antiindustrial and anti-innovative musical style. This was inspired by composers claiming that mankind is
inherently "diatonic" and "tonal" ; the opposite of ultra-modernist musical influences and
compositions at the time. Composers started to look back to historical musical influences. Although
the practice of borrowing musical styles from the past has not been uncommon throughout musical
history, art musics have gone through periods where musicians used modern techniques coupled
with older forms or harmonies to create new kinds of works. Notable compositional characteristics
are, the return to tonality, return to conventional forms (dance suites, concerti grossi, evident sonata
forms, etc.), return to the idea of absolute music, the use of light musical textures, and the
composers conciseness of musical expression. In classical music, this was most notably perceived
between the 1920s and the 1950s. Igor Stravinsky is the most well known composer using this style;
he effectively began the musical revolution with his Bach-like Octet for Wind Instruments (1923). A
particular individual work that represents this style well is Prokofiev's Classical Symphony No. 1 in D,
which is reminiscent of the symphonic style of Haydn or Mozart. Neoclassical balletcomes from the
same period, and aimed to de-clutter the Russian Imperial style in terms of steps and narrative,
while retaining its technical innovations.

Architecture in Russia and the Soviet Union [edit]

Ostankino Palace, designed byFrancesco Camporesi and completed in 1798, in Moscow, Russia

In 19051914 Russian architecture passed through a brief but influential period of neoclassical
revival; the trend began with recreation of Empire style of alexandrine period and quickly expanded
into a variety of neo-Renaissance, palladian and modernized, yet recognizably classical schools.
They were led by architects born in the 1870s, who reached creative peak before World War
I like Ivan Fomin, Vladimir Shchuko, Ivan Zholtovsky. When economy recovered in the 1920s, these
architects and their followers continued working in primarilymodernist environment; some
(Zholtovsky) strictly followed the classical canon, others (Fomin, Schuko, Ilya Golosov) developed
their own modernized styles.[40]
With the crackdown on architects' independence and official denial of modernism (1932),
demonstrated by the international contest for the Palace of Soviets, neoclassicism was instantly
promoted as one of the choices in stalinist architecture, although not the only one. It coexisted with
moderately modernist architecture of Boris Iofan, bordering with contemporary Art Deco (Schuko);
again, the purest examples of the style were produced by Zholtovsky school that remained an
isolated phenomena. The political intervention was a disaster for constructivist leaders yet was
sincerely welcomed by architects of the classical schools.
Neoclassicism was an easy choice for the USSR since it did not rely on modern construction
technologies (steel frame or reinforced concrete) and could be reproduced in traditional masonry.
Thus the designs of Zholtovsky, Fomin and other old masters were easily replicated in remote towns
under strict material rationing. Improvement of construction technology after World War II permitted
Stalinist architects to venture into skyscraper construction, although stylistically these skyscrapers
(including "exported" architecture of Palace of Culture and Science, Warsaw and
the Shanghai International Convention Centre) share little with the classical models. Neoclassicism
and neo-Renaissance persisted in less demanding residential and office projects until 1955,
when Nikita Khrushchev put an end to expensive Stalinist architecture.

Architecture in the 21st century[edit]

Main article: New Classical Architecture

Schermerhorn Symphony Center

After a lull during the period of modern architectural dominance (roughly post-World War II until the
mid-1980s), neoclassicism has seen somewhat of a resurgence.

As of the first decade of the 21st century, contemporary neoclassical architecture is usually classed
under the umbrella term of New Classical Architecture. Sometimes it is also referred to as NeoHistoricism or Traditionalism.[41] Also, a number of pieces of postmodern architecture draw inspiration
from and include explicit references to neoclassicism, Antigone District and the National Theatre of
Catalonia in Barcelona among them. Postmodern architecture occasionally includes historical
elements, like columns, capitals or the tympanum.
For sincere traditional-style architecture that sticks to regional architecture, materials and
craftsmanship, the term Traditional Architecture(or vernacular) is mostly used. The Driehaus
Architecture Prize is awarded to major contributors in the field of 21st century traditional or classical
architecture, and comes with a prize money twice as high as that of the modernist Pritzker Prize.[42]
In the United States various contemporary public buildings are built in neoclassical style, with the
2006 Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville being an example.
In Britain a number of architects are active in the neoclassical style. Examples of their work include
two university Libraries: Quinlan Terry's Maitland Robinson Library atDowning College and Robert
Adam Architects' Sackler Library.

Europe, 1450 to 1789: Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World | 2004 | CRANE, MARK | Copyright
CLASSICISM. In general, classicism can be defined as a style in literature, visual art, music, or
architecture that draws on the styles of ancient Greece and Rome, especially fifth- and fourth-century
b.c.e. Athens and late Republican Augustan Rome. The term can be confusing, because it has taken on
many other meanings. It can refer to a general aesthetic characterized by clarity, elegance, and
symmetry, or to a style that is generally thought of as exemplifying greatness or perfection. For instance,
most people would identify the Boston Pops as performers of "classical music" or John
Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath as a "classic" of American literature, even though they have little to do with
antiquity. Variations on the term, like neoclassicism, can furthermore refer to a specific school or style in a
particular time period. Despite this confusion, the term is still useful in describing particular styles and
impulses in literature and the arts from the Middle Ages to the eighteenth century.
The Middle Ages experienced two noteworthy revivals of the literature of antiquity that were inspired by
and helped to promote classicism. The first is known as the Carolingian Renaissance, so called to
recognize the flowering of learning under the reign of Charlemagne (ruled 768814). The most famous
figure of this period was the monk Alcuin (c. 732804), who amassed a remarkable manuscript collection
of classical works in the library of York. At the invitation of the emperor Alcuin developed an educational
curriculum at the Palace School in Aachen that included readings of classical authors. He also developed
the Carolingian miniscule, a clear script based on classical principles, and promoted the copying and
distribution of classical texts. The achievements of the Carolingian age set the stage for the next classical
revival, known as the Renaissance of the Twelfth Century, a term coined by Charles Homer Haskins
(18701937) to describe the flowering of classical learning during this period. It was more far-reaching
than the earlier revival and had implications beyond the field of literature, most importantly in architecture,
the visual arts, and the revival of Roman law.

From the twelfth century on, classicism was the domain mainly of lawyers and churchmen, most notably
in the papal curia (the circle of theologians and secretaries who carried on papal business), where
learned men could come together to share their interests in classical letters and style. It was in this
environment at Avignon that Petrarch (13041374), the father of Italian humanism, first learned about and
promoted classical learning. But it was in Florence, particularly among the patrician class, that Petrarch's
classicism was most strongly received, most notably through his friend and disciple Giovanni Boccaccio
(13131375). Up to this point classicism had been mainly a literary pursuit that influenced the art of letter
writing, poetry, and rhetoric. In the following generation, the Florentine chancellor Colucio Salutati (1331
1406) helped turn classicism from a literary movement into a powerful tool for shaping politics and society
on the Italian peninsula. It was in the works of the humanist historian Leonardo Bruni (c. 13701444) that
classicism laid the foundation for a republican ideology.
The study of ancient Greek was virtually unknown in western Europe from the fifth century c.e. onward.
Greek had been a fundamental part of the Roman educational system; any educated Roman would have
known it and been able to quote from its most famous authors and orators, such as Demosthenes,
Aristophanes, or Lucian. As humanists in Petrarch's circle read more and more ancient authors they
discovered that a full appreciation of their literature required a thorough background in the literature and
culture of ancient Greece. Salutati invited the most celebrated Byzantine scholar of the times, Manuel
Chrysoloras (c. 13531415), to teach in Florence. The revival of Greek learning was aided by growing
contact between the Greek and Latin churches at the Council of Ferrara-Florence in 14381445 and also
by the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453, after which Greek migrs fleeing the city took up
residence in Italy and made a living by teaching Greek to Italian pupils. They also brought with them many
Greek texts that had been virtually unknown and unread in western Europe since the fall of Rome.
Cardinal Bessarion (14031472), a priest who converted from the Greek to the Latin church and was a
tireless promoter of ancient Greek studies, bequeathed thousands of Greek manuscripts to the people of
his adopted home of Venice, where they formed the nucleus of St. Mark's Library. The works of Plato
were especially influential, and a circle of Neoplatonic scholars led by Marsilio Ficino (14331499) sought
to fuse Christian thought with Platonic philosophy.
Classicism was also the foundation of the educational revolution of the Renaissance, which sought to
revive the studia humanitatis, the educational system of ancient Rome as set out in the writings of
classical authors like Cicero and Quintilian. The schoolmasters Gasparino da Barzizza (1360?1430) and
Guarino da Verona (1370/13741460) attracted wealthy students to study ancient literature and culture in
their schools, and along with Bruni they wrote educational treatises that outlined their pedagogical
method. Their disciples carried on their teachingsboth in classrooms and in educational treatises and
editions of classical worksand spread them throughout Italy and across the Alps into northern Europe.
The introduction of printing in the latter part of the fifteenth century greatly propelled humanist learning,
providing stable editions of classical texts to a far wider audience than could have been imagined in the
earlier classical revivals of the Carolingian period or the twelfth century. The advent of printing is likely
responsible for the permanent establishment of classicism as an integral part of Western civilization from
the fourteenth century to the present day.
Classicism was embraced in many ways during the Renaissance in Italy, and it manifested itself in
various pursuits. For example, Julius Pomponius Laetus (14281497) founded the Roman Academy,
whose members took an active role in antiquarianism and the study of the ancient ruins of the city of
Rome. They also embraced non-Christian ideas and revived ancient pagan ceremonies, which brought
them under the scrutiny of church authorities. The collection and preservation of inscriptions, coins, and
buildings by antiquarians were important in the historical reconstruction of the history of Rome, and these
activities represented the early development of modern archaeology. Meanwhile, Lorenzo Valla (1407
1457) explored the linguistic aspects of ancient writers and gave the study of the Latin language a more

scientific grounding. His most famous work, Elegances of the Latin Language (published 1471), was a
practical style guide for writing and speaking the most elegant Latin, which he identified with the Latin of
the "golden age" of Roman letters. By periodizing Latin style, Valla invented a philological method for the
scientific study of texts that was further developed by Christian humanists like Desiderius Erasmus of
Rotterdam (1466?1536), who used it to challenge the authenticity of the Vulgate Bible. This philological
method also laid the foundation for modern textual criticism.
While the classicism of the Renaissance started as a literary pursuit, its most striking and accessible
flourishing occurred in the visual arts and architecture at the beginning of the fifteenth century. The
sculptor Filippo Brunelleschi (13771446) turned his talents to architecture and designed (or redesigned)
many churches and palaces in a style that reflected his study of ancient buildings. He was particularly
interested in the mathematical proportions behind the design of ancient Roman buildings and in
developing engineering processes to build them. His slightly younger contemporary Donatello (c. 1386
1466) used the same principles to create statues that imitated the style of classical sculpture. Along with
the painter Masaccio (14011428), who included classical elements in the content of his paintings and
used newly developed techniques of perspective, these visual artists reflected what is known as the early
Renaissance style. Its techniques were recorded and explained in treatises written in the vernacular by
Leon Battista Alberti (14041472), who made the principles of perspective drawing and painting
accessible to a wide variety of artists who wanted to learn this fashionable approach. The new style of art
was funded by wealthy patrons, including businessmen, aristocrats, and the popes. Classical styles and
themes continued to dominate the period of the High Renaissance in the work of the early-sixteenthcentury masters Leonardo da Vinci (14521519), Michelangelo Buonarroti (14751564), and Raphael
Sanzio (14831520).
If Italians played the lead role in the revival of antiquity in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, in the
sixteenth century that role was assumed by northern Europe, where classicism particularly flourished
among scholars in France, Germany, Switzerland, and England. While classicism had played a small role
in medieval universities like Oxford and Paris, its influence had not been widespread. With the new
availability of relatively inexpensive printed books and Italian-trained native teachers, however, the study
of classical literature became more accessible, and by the middle of the century it was the norm in most
educational curricula.
The study of theology in the sixteenth century was completely overhauled as humanist scholars like
Erasmus insisted that a thorough grounding in the three biblical languages (Hebrew, Greek, and Latin)
was necessary to understand the Bible. Scholasticism, the prevailing school of theology that had its
origins in the twelfth-century Paris schools, did not have any particular animosity toward classicism;
indeed, a number of Scholastic theologians of the Middle Ages, such as Jean de Gerson (13631429),
displayed interest in the classics. But Scholastic theologians did object strongly to the application of the
philological method to the text of the Bible and to language study as the foundation of theological training.
Humanists like Erasmus and Protestant reformers like Philipp Melanchthon (14971560), himself a
scholar of ancient Greek, argued that the theologians were hostile to their biblical studies because they
disliked and were ignorant of classical literature, thus turning a debate over authority in theology into a
debate over classical learning. By mid-century, classical literature was the foundation of the educational
program both in Catholic countries, where the Jesuit order promoted classical learning, and in Protestant
Another controversy that arose among classical scholars themselves was over the status and influence of
the Roman orator Cicero. Most prominent in Rome, the Ciceronian faction promoted Cicero as the highest
standard of Latin usage, and some, like the papal secretary Pietro Bembo (14701547), vowed never to
use a word that did not appear in Cicero's writings. Erasmus wrote a famous dialogue mocking what he

saw as the Ciceronians' slavish following of Cicero, and he argued for a broader-based standard for Latin
usage. This debate continued into the seventeenth century as some scholars sought to dethrone Cicero.
At the end of the sixteenth century the Dutch humanist and scholar Justus Lipsius (15471606) promoted
the revival of the Stoic philosophy. Strongly influenced by the Roman philosopher Seneca, Lipsius
promoted Stoicism as an alternative to Neoplatonism, which had been so influential in the earlier part of
the century. A little later in France, the astronomer and mathematician Pierre Gassendi (15921655)
championed the revival of Epicureanism, a more materialist ancient philosophy that was more in tune with
the rationalism that was gaining ground at the time.
The dramatic growth of vernacular literature in the sixteenth century hastened the abandonment of
classical form in literature, though many of its stylistic attributes were adopted as conventions of
vernacular style and content. This is visible in works of the group of sixteenth-century French poets
known as La Plade, and it continues right through to the plays of William Shakespeare (15641616) at
the beginning of the seventeenth century. In art classical themes and motifs remained the norm
throughout the sixteenth century, but they were challenged late in the century by the emergence of
baroque and rococo styles in art, architecture, and music. This movement away from classicism
corresponded to a general shift away from the authority of the ancients and toward a greater emphasis on
human reason and sense perception, as articulated most strongly in the Discours de la mthode (1637;
Discourse on method) by Ren Descartes (15961650). In the arts this shift was reflected by a tendency
to focus on human emotions and movement, while retaining the grandiose style and form more
characteristic of Renaissance art. The Italian painter, sculptor, and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598
1680) exemplifies the baroque style by infusing classical style with intense emotion, as in his Ecstasy of
St. Theresa (16451652). Likewise baroque music, exemplified by the compositions of Johann Sebastian
Bach (16851750), retained the classical notion of music expressing the order of the universe but was at
the same time lively and tuneful. "Neoclassical" is the name given to the style of art and architecture that
prevailed from the middle of the eighteenth century through the nineteenth. In music, Franz Joseph
Haydn (17321809) and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (17561791) represent the tenets of classicism,
emphasizing balance and proportion. But for Mozart, and even more so for Ludwig van Beethoven (1770
1827), classical elements were mixed with Romantic ones.
Classicism created a standard of civilization against which contemporary society could be judged, a
standard that was prevalent in the early modern period. What began as an elitist literary hobby bloomed
from the time of Petrarch and was applied to all facets of lifefrom education and politics to music, visual
art, and architecture. The classical ideal was something to strive for, and in striving for it adherents
developed new methods to attain the ideal. Along the way they made advances in mathematics,
engineering, linguistics, and design that in turn led to advances in other areas. Moreover, classicism was
extremely flexible. It could temper the ascetic desires of a Carmelite monk like Baptista Spagnoli
(Mantuanus; 14471516), known in his own time as the Christian Virgil, just as easily as it could feed the
vanity of an artist like Benvenuto Cellini (15001571), who in his autobiography boasted of his own
talents. The same style of architecture that the Americans used for their new capital in Washington, D.C.,
in order to present their sense of achievement in gaining independence from the British, had previously
been used as a symbol of the opulence of the French nobility and crown at Versailles, and it also
enshrined the gods of reason in the Pantheon in Paris. Because the classical world contained a spectrum
of thought and style, classicism offered an almost endless variety of models and ideas. Though it
continued to be strong in some quarters in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, classicism never again
became as widespread as it had been in the previous five centuries. To a great extent, the discoveries of
modern science began to show just how much the ancients had not known, as had been foreshadowed
by the European discovery of the "New World" and by Galileo's telescope. As a standard, at least, the
ancients were eventually surpassed.

Historicism (art)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about a school of art and architecture. For philosophical theories known as historicism,
see historicism.
This article may be expanded with text translated from
the corresponding article in the German Wikipedia. (July 2013)
Click [show] on the right to read important instructions before translating.


This article may be expanded with text translated from

the corresponding article in the French Wikipedia. (July 2013)
Click [show] on the right to read important instructions before translating.


Thomas Cole, The Architect's Dream, 1840

Schwerin Palace, historical ducalseat of Mecklenburg, Germany - an example of historicism in architecture

Historicism or also Historism (German: Historismus) comprises artistic styles that draw their
inspiration from recreating historic styles or artisans.[1] This is especially prevalent in architecture,
such as revival architecture. Through combination of different styles or implementation of new
elements, historicism can create completely different aesthetics than former styles. Thus it offers a
great variety of possible designs.

In history of art, after Neoclassicism which in the Romantic era could itself be considered a historicist
movement, the 19th century saw a new historicist phase marked by an interpretation not only
of Greek and Roman classicism, but also of succeeding stylistic eras, which were increasingly
considered equivalent. In particular in architecture and in the genre ofhistory painting, which
increasingly painted historical subjects with great attention to accurate period detail, the global
influence of historicism was especially strong from the 1850s onwards. The change is often related
to the rise of thebourgeoisie during and after the Industrial Revolution. By the end of the century, in
the fin de sicle, Symbolism and Art Nouveau followed by Expressionism and Modernism acted to
make Historicism look outdated, although many large public commissions continued in the 20th
century. The Arts and Crafts movement managed to combine a looser vernacular historicism with
elements of Art Nouveau and other contemporary styles.
Influences of historicism remained strong even until the 1950s in many countries. When postmodern
architecture became widely popular in the 1980s, a movement of Neo-Historism followed, that is still
prominent and can be found around the world, especially inrepresentative and upper-class buildings.

Revivalism (architecture)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Revival architecture)

Typical historicist house:Grnderzeit building by Arwed Robach in Leipzig, Germany (built in 1892)

See also: Revival architectural styles.

Revivalism in architecture is the use of visual styles that consciously echo the style of
a previous architectural era.

Modern-day revival styles can be summarized within New Classical Architecture, and sometimes
under the umbrella term traditional architecture.

1 List of architectural revivals


1.1 Mixed movements

1.2 Western civilizations Revivalist architecture

1.3 Non-Western civilizations Revivalist architecture

2 Notes

3 References

4 External links

List of architectural revivals[edit]

Neogothic Clock Tower at Palace of Westminster in London, by Charles Barry and Augustus Welby
Northmore Pugin

Mixed movements[edit]

Grnderzeit German historicist architecture of the 2nd half of the 19th century, distinctive
style mlange; later variations included, e.g., "Heimatstil"

Historicism or Historism mixed revivals that can include several older styles, combined with
new elements

Neo-Historism revival of historicist architecture including several revival styles;

emerged from Postmodern architecture in the late 1990s

New Classical Architecture an umbrella term for modern-day architecture following premodernist principles

Traditionalist School revival of different regional traditional styles

Vernacular architecture umbrella term for regional architecture traditions continuing

through the eras, also used and cited in revival architecture

Western civilizations Revivalist architecture[edit]

Preclassical Revival
Mycenaean Revival architecture (revival of Mycenaean Greek architecture)
Classical Revival

Neoclassical architecture (revival of Classical architecture)

Federal architecture

Greek Revival architecture (revival of Ancient Greek architecture)

Jeffersonian architecture

Regency architecture

Russian neoclassical revival

Postclassical Revival

Byzantine Revival architecture (revival of Byzantine architecture)

Bristol Byzantine

Russo-Byzantine architecture
Medieval Revival

Romanesque Revival architecture (revival of Romanesque architecture)

Richardsonian Romanesque

Gothic Revival architecture (revival of Gothic architecture)

Carpenter Gothic

Neo-Manueline (revival of Manueline)

Scots Baronial Style architecture

Russian Revival architecture (revival of Kievan Rus architecture)

Schwerin Palace, historical ducalseat of Mecklenburg, Germany an example of pompous renaissance

revival for representation purposes (built in 1857)

Renaissance Revival

Renaissance Revival architecture (revival of Renaissance architecture)

Italianate architecture

Palazzo style architecture revival based on Italian Palazzo

Mediterranean Revival architecture (revival of Italian Renaissance architecture)

Palladian Revival architecture (revival of Palladian architecture)

Chteauesque (revival of French Renaissance architecture)

Spanish Revival architecture (revival of Spanish Renaissance architecture)

Opera, Paris (Palais Garnier) byCharles Garnier, 1861-1875

Wenckheim-Palais, Budapest(18861889) an example of Neo-Baroque by Arthur Meinig

Baroque Revival

Baroque Revival architecture (revival of Baroque architecture)

Dutch Revival architecture (revival of Dutch Baroque architecture)

Spanish Revival architecture (revival of Spanish Baroque architecture)

Edwardian Baroque architecture

Stalinist baroque

Queen Anne Style architecture

Modern era Revivals

Tudor Revival architecture (revival of Tudor Style architecture)

Black-and-white Revival architecture

Jacobethan (revival of Jacobean architecture and Elizabethan architecture)

Colonial Revival architecture (revival of American Colonial architecture)

Cape Cod Revival (revival of Cape Cod)

Dutch Colonial Revival architecture (revival of Dutch Colonial architecture)

Georgian Revival architecture (revival of Georgian architecture)

Mediterranean Revival architecture (revival of Italian Renaissance architecture and Spanish

Baroque architecture)

Spanish Colonial Revival architecture (revival of Spanish Colonial

architecture and Churrigueresque style)

Mission Revival Style architecture (revival of Architecture of the California Missions)

Resort architecture (Bderarchitektur, includes revival elements and adds new stylistic

Swiss chalet style

Non-Western civilizations Revivalist architecture [edit]

The following are largely Orientalist styles.

Chinese architecture and other traditional East-Asian styles are revived and continued until
today, such as Japanese, Korean,Mongolian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Thai, Khmer and

Egyptian Revival architecture (revival of Ancient Egyptian architecture)

Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture (revival of Indian architecture and Islamic architecture)

Mayan Revival architecture (revival of Maya architecture)

Moorish Revival architecture (revival of Moorish architecture)

Pueblo Revival Style architecture (revival of Puebloan traditional architecture)


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about philosophical theories known collectively as "historicism". For the school of
historiography known as "historicism" or "historism", see historism. For the school of art and
architecture, see Historicism (art). For the method of interpreting the Book of Revelation,
see Historicism (Christianity). For historicism in music, see Musical historicism.
This article needs additional citations for verification. Please
help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced
material may be challenged and removed. (May 2013)
Historicism is a mode of thinking that assigns a central and basic significance to a specific context,
such as historical period, geographical place and local culture. As such it is in contrast to individualist
theories of knowledges such as empiricism and rationalism, which neglect the role of traditions.[citation
Historicism therefore tends to behermeneutical, because it places great importance on cautious,
rigorous and contextualized interpretation of information, or relativist, because it rejects notions of
universal, fundamental and immutable interpretations.[1]
The term has developed different and divergent, though loosely related, meanings. Elements of
historicism appear in the writings of Italian philosopher G. B. Vico and French essayist Michel de
Montaigne, and became fully developed with the dialectic of G. W. F. Hegel, influential in 19thcentury Europe. The writings of Karl Marx, influenced by Hegel, also contain historicism. The term is
also associated with the empirical social sciences and the work of Franz Boas.
Historicism may be contrasted with reductionist theories, which suppose that all developments can
be explained by fundamental principles (such as in economic determinism), or theories that posit
historical changes as result of random chance.
The Austrian-English philosopher Karl Popper attacked historicism along with the
(hard) determinism and holism [citation needed] which he argued were at its root. In his Poverty of
Historicism, he identified historicism with the view that there are "inexorable laws of historical
destiny", which view he warned against. But, this is in sharp contrast with the contextually relative
interpretation of historicism that its proponents argue for. Also Talcott Parsons criticized historicism
as a case of idealistic fallacy in The Structure of Social Action (1937).
Post-structuralism uses the term New Historicism, which has some connections to both anthropology
and Hegelianism.
The theological use of the word denotes the interpretation of biblical prophecy as being related to
church history.

1 Variants

1.1 Hegelian

1.2 Anthropological

1.3 New

1.4 Modern

1.5 Christian

1.5.1 Eschatological

1.5.2 Dogmatic and ecclesiastic

2 Critics

2.1 Karl Marx

2.2 Karl Popper

2.3 Leo Strauss

3 See also

4 References

5 Further reading

6 External links



G. W. F. Hegel

Hegel's historicism suggests that any human society and all human activities such as science, art,
or philosophy, are defined by their history. Consequently, their essence can be sought only through
understanding said history. The history of any such human endeavor, moreover, not only builds upon
but also reacts against what has gone before; this is the source of Hegel's famous dialectic teaching
usually summed up by the slogan "thesis, antithesis, and synthesis". (Hegel did not use these terms,
although Fichte did.) Hegel's famous aphorism, "Philosophy is the history of philosophy," describes it
Hegel's position is perhaps best illuminated when contrasted against the atomistic and reductionist
view of human societies and social activities self-defining on an ad hoc basis through the sum of
dozens of interactions. Yet another contrasting model is the persistent metaphor of a social contract.
Hegel sees the relationship between individuals and societies as organic, not atomic: even their
social discourse is mediated by language, and language is rooted in etymology and unique
character. It thus preserves the culture of the past in thousands of half-forgotten frozen metaphors.
To understand why a person is the way he is, you must put that person in a society: and to
understand that society, you must understand its history, and the forces that shaped it. The Zeitgeist,
the "Spirit of the Age," is the concrete embodiment of the most important factors that are acting in
human history at any given time. This contrasts with teleological theories of activity, which suppose
that the end is the determining factor of activity, as well as those who believe in a tabula rasa, or
blank slate, view, where individuals are defined by their interactions.
These ideas can be taken in several directions. The Right Hegelians, working from Hegel's opinions
about the organicism and historically determined nature of human societies, took Hegel's historicism
as a justification of the unique destiny of national groups and the importance of stability and
institutions. Hegel's conception of human societies as entities greater than the individuals who
constitute them influenced nineteenth century romantic nationalism and its twentieth century
excesses. The Young Hegelians, by contrast, took Hegel's thoughts on societies shaped by the
forces of social conflict for a doctrine of progress, and attempted to chart a course that would
manipulate these forces to lead to various improved outcomes. Karl Marx's doctrine of "historical
inevitabilities" and historical materialism is one of the more influential reactions to this side of Hegel's
thought. Significantly, Karl Marx's theory of alienation argues among other things
that capitalism disrupts the rooted nature of traditional relationships between workers and their work.

Hegelian historicism is related to his ideas on the means by which human societies progress,
specifically the dialectic and his conception of logic as reflecting the inner essential nature of reality.
Hegel attributes the change to the "modern" need to interact with the world, whereas ancient
philosophers were self-contained, and medieval philosophers were monks. In his History of
Philosophy Hegel writes:
In modern times things are very different; now we no longer see philosophic individuals who
constitute a class by themselves. With the present day all difference has disappeared; philosophers
are not monks, for we find them generally in connection with the world, participating with others in
some common work or calling. They live, not independently, but in the relation of citizens, or they
occupy public offices and take part in the life of the state. Certainly they may be private persons, but
if so, their position as such does not in any way isolate them from their other relationship. They are
involved in present conditions, in the world and its work and progress. Thus their philosophy is only
by the way, a sort of luxury and superfluity. This difference is really to be found in the manner in
which outward conditions have taken shape after the building up of the inward world of religion. In
modern times, namely, on account of the reconciliation of the worldly principle with itself, the external
world is at rest, is brought into order worldly relationships, conditions, modes of life, have become
constituted and organized in a manner which is conformable to nature and rational. We see a
universal, comprehensible connection, and with that individuality likewise attains another character
and nature, for it is no longer the plastic individuality of the ancients. This connection is of such
power that every individuality is under its dominion, and yet at the same time can construct for itself
an inward world.[2]
This view that entanglement in society creates an indissoluble bond with expression, would become
an influential question in philosophy, namely, the requirements for individuality. It would be taken up
by Nietzsche, John Dewey and Michel Foucault directly, as well as in the work of numerous artists
and authors. There have been various responses to Hegel's challenge. The Romantic period
focused on the ability of individual genius to transcend time and place, and use the materials from
their heritage to fashion works which were beyond determination. The modern would advance
versions of John Locke's infinite malleability of the human animal. Post-structuralism would argue
that since history is not present, but only the image of history, that while an individual era or power
structure might focus on a particular history, that the contradictions within the story would hinder the
very purposes that the history was constructed to advance.

Within anthropology and other sciences which study the past, historicism has a different meaning. It
is associated with the work of Franz Boas. His theory took the diffusionistconcept that there were a
few "cradles of civilization" which grew outwards in circles, and merged it with the idea that societies
would adapt to their circumstances, which is calledhistorical particularism. The school of historicism
grew up in response to unilinear theories that social development reflected adaptive fitness, and
therefore existed on a spectrum. While these theories were espoused by Charles Darwin and many
of his students, their application as applied in Social Darwinism and General Evolutioncharacterized
in the theories of Spencer and White, historicism was neither anti-selection, nor anti-evolution, as
Darwin never attempted nor offered an explanation for cultural evolution. However, it attacked the
notion that there was one normative spectrum of development, instead focusing on how local
conditions would create adaptations to the local environment. Steward refuted the viability of globally
and universally applicable adaptive standards proposing that culture was honed adaptively in
response to the idiosyncrasies of the local environment, the cultural ecology, by specific evolution.
What was adaptive for one region might not be so for another. This conclusion has likewise been
adopted by modern forms of biological evolutionary theory.

The primary method of historicism was empirical, namely that there were so many requisite inputs
into a society or event, that only by focusing on the data available could a theory of the source be
determined. In this view, grand theories are unprovable, and instead intensive field work would
determine the most likely explanation and history of a culture, and hence it is named Historicism.
This view would produce a wide range of definition of what, exactly, constituted culture and history,
but in each case the only means of explaining it was in terms of the historical particulars of the
culture itself.

Main article: New Historicism
Since the 1950s, when Lacan and Foucault argued that each epoch has its own knowledge system,
within which individuals are inexorably entangled, many post-structuralistshave used historicism to
describe the view that all questions must be settled within the cultural and social context in which
they are raised. Answers cannot be found by appeal to an external truth, but only within the confines
of the norms and forms that phrase the question. This version of historicism holds that there are only
the raw texts, markings and artifacts that exist in the present, and the conventions used to decode
them. This school of thought sometimes goes by the name of New Historicism.
The same label, new historicism is also employed for a school of literary scholarship which interprets
a poem, drama, etc. as an expression of or reaction to the power-structures of the surrounding
society. Stephen Greenblatt is an example of this school.

Within the context of 20th-century philosophy, debates continues as to whether ahistorical and
immanent methodologies were sufficient to understand meaning that is to say, "what you see is
what you get" positivism or whether context, background and culture are important beyond the
mere need to decode words, phrases and references. While post-structural historicism is relativist in
its orientation, that is, it sees each culture as its own frame of reference, a large number of thinkers
have embraced the need for historical context, not because culture is self-referential, but because
there is no more compressed means of conveying all of the relevant information except through
history. This view is often seen as being rooted in the work of Benedetto Croce. Recent historians in
this tradition include Thomas Kuhn.

Main article: Historicism (Christian eschatology)
In Christianity, the term historicism refers to the confessional Protestant form of prophetical
interpretation which holds that the fulfillment of biblical prophecy has taken place throughout history
and continues to take place today; as opposed to other methods which limit the time-frame of
prophecy-fulfillment to the past or to the future. The historicist method is what led reformers
throughout Europe to declare that the Pope was the man of sin sitting on the seven hills of Rome.
[citation needed]

Dogmatic and ecclesiastic[edit]

There is also a particular view in ecclesiastical history and in the history of dogmas which has been
described as historicist by Pope Pius XII in the encyclical Humani generis. "They add that the history

of dogmas consists in the reporting of the various forms in which revealed truth has been clothed,
forms that have succeeded one another in accordance with the different teachings and opinions that
have arisen over the course of the centuries."[3]

Karl Marx[edit]
The social theory of Karl Marx, with respect to modern scholarship, stands in a deeply ambiguous
relation to historicism. Critics of Marx have leveled the charge of historicism against his theory since
its very genesis. However, the issue of historicism also finds itself at the center stage of many
debates within Marxism itself; the charge of historicism has been leveled against various theoretical
strains of Marxism, typically disparaged by Marxists as "vulgar" Marxism.
Marx himself expresses deep critical concerns with this historicist tendency in his Theses on
The materialist doctrine that men are products of circumstances and upbringing, and that, therefore,
changed men are products of changed circumstances and changed upbringing, forgets that it is men
who change circumstances and that the educator must himself be educated. Hence this doctrine is
bound to divide society into two parts, one of which is superior to society. The coincidence of the
changing of circumstances and of human activity or self-change [Selbstvernderung] can be
conceived and rationally understood only as revolutionary practice.[4]
Karl Marx, "Theses on Feuerbach, III"

Karl Popper[edit]
Karl Popper used the term historicism in his influential books The Poverty of Historicism and The
Open Society and Its Enemies, to mean: "an approach to the social sciences which assumes
that historical prediction is their primary aim, and which assumes that this aim is attainable by
discovering the 'rhythms' or the 'patterns', the 'laws' or the 'trends' that underlie the evolution of
history".[5] Karl Popper wrote with reference to Hegel's theory of history, which he criticized
extensively. However, there is wide dispute whether Popper's description of "historicism" is an
accurate description of Hegel, or more a reflection of his own philosophical antagonists,
including Marxist-Leninist thought, then widely held as posing a challenge to the philosophical basis
of the West, as well as theories such as Spengler's which drew predictions about the future course
of events from the past.
In The Open Society and Its Enemies, Popper attacks "historicism" and its proponents, among
whom (as well as Hegel) he identifies and singles out Plato and Marx calling them all "enemies of
the open society". The objection he makes is that historicist positions, by claiming that there is an
inevitable and deterministic pattern to history, abrogate the democratic responsibility of each one of
us to make our own free contributions to the evolution of society, and hence lead to totalitarianism.
Another of his targets is what he calls "moral historicism", the attempt to infer moral values from the
course of history. This may take the form of conservatism (former might is right), positivism (might is
right) or futurism (coming might is right). Futurism must be distinguished from prophecies that the
right will prevail: these attempt to infer history from ethics, rather than ethics from history, and are
therefore historicism in the normal sense rather than moral historicism.

He also attacks what he calls "Historism", which he regards as distinct from historicism. By historism,
he means the tendency to regard every argument or idea as completely accounted for by its
historical context, as opposed to assessing it by its merits. In Popperian terms, the "New Historicism"
is an example of historism rather than of historicism proper.

Leo Strauss[edit]
Leo Strauss used the term historicism and reportedly called it the single greatest threat to intellectual
freedom insofar as it denies any attempt to address injustice-pure-and-simple (such is the
significance of historicism's rejection of "natural right" or "right by nature"). Strauss argued that
historicism "rejects political philosophy" (insofar as this stands or falls by questions of permanent,
trans-historical significance) and is rooted in the belief that "all human thought, including scientific
thought, rests on premises which cannot be validated by human reason and which came from
historical epoch to historical epoch." Strauss further identified R. G. Collingwood as the most
coherent advocate of historicism in the English language. Countering Collingwood's arguments,
Strauss warned against historicist social scientists' failure to address real-life problemsmost
notably that of tyrannyto the extent that they relativize (or "subjectivize") all ethical problems by
placing their significance strictly in function of particular or ever-changing socio-material conditions
devoid of inherent or "objective" "value." Similarly, Strauss criticized Eric Voegelin's abandonment of
ancient political thought as guide or vehicle in interpreting modern political problems.
In his books, Natural Right and History and On Tyranny, Strauss offers a complete critique of
historicism as it emerges in the works of Hegel, Marx, and Heidegger. Many believe that Strauss
also found historicism in Edmund Burke, Tocqueville, Augustine, and John Stuart Mill. Although it is
largely disputed whether Strauss himself was a historicist, he often indicated that historicism grew
out of and against Christianity and was a threat to civic participation, belief in human agency,
religious pluralism, and, most controversially, an accurate understanding of the classical
philosophers and religious prophets themselves. Throughout his work, he warns that historicism, and
the understanding of Progressthat results from it, expose us to tyranny, totalitarianism,
and democratic extremism. In his exchange with Alexandre Kojve in On Tyranny, Strauss seems to
blame historicism for Nazism and Communism. In a collection of his works by Kenneth Hart
entitled Jewish Philosophy and the Crisis of Modernity, he argues that Islam, traditional Judaism,
and ancient Greece, share a concern for sacred law that makes them especially resistant to
historicism, and therefore to tyranny. Strauss makes use of Nietzsche's own critique of progress and
historicism, although Strauss refers to Nietzsche himself (no less than to Heidegger) as a "radical
historicist" who articulated a philosophical (if only untenable) justification for historicism.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Philosophical hermeneutics" redirects here. For other uses, see Hermeneutics (disambiguation).
The neutrality of this article is disputed. Relevant discussion may be found on
the talk page. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is
resolved. (December 2014)

Hermes, messenger of the gods.

Hermeneutics /hrmnjutks/ is the theory of text interpretation, especially the interpretation

of biblical texts, wisdom literature, andphilosophical texts.[1][2]
Hermeneutics was initially applied to the interpretation, or exegesis, of scripture. It emerged as a
theory of human understanding in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries through the
work of Friedrich Schleiermacher and Wilhelm Dilthey.[3] Modern hermeneutics includes both verbal
and nonverbal communication as well as semiotics, presuppositions, and preunderstandings.
The terms "hermeneutics" and "exegesis" are sometimes used interchangeably. Hermeneutics is a
wider discipline which includes written, verbal, and nonverbal communication. Exegesis focuses
primarily upon texts.
Hermeneutic, as a singular noun, refers to some particular method of interpretation (see, in
contrast, double hermeneutic).

"Hermeneutic consistency" refers to the analysis of texts to achieve a coherent explanation of them.
"Philosophical hermeneutics" refers primarily to the theory of knowledge initiated by Martin
Heidegger and developed by Hans-Georg Gadamer in his Truth and Method (1960). It sometimes
refers to the theories of Paul Ricur.[4]

1 Etymology

1.1 Folk etymology

2 Aristotle and Plato

3 Talmudic hermeneutics

4 Vedic hermeneutics

5 Biblical hermeneutics

5.1 Literal

5.2 Moral

5.3 Allegorical

5.4 Anagogical

6 Apostolic Age

6.1 Apostolic Fathers

7 Late antiquity

7.1 Ante-Nicene period

7.2 First seven ecumenical councils

7.3 Schools of Alexandria and Antioch

8 Medieval period

9 Modern period

9.1 Schleiermacher (17681834)

9.2 Dilthey (18331911)

9.3 Heidegger (18891976)

9.4 Gadamer (19002002) et al.

9.5 Objective hermeneutics

10 Applications

10.1 Archaeology

10.2 Architecture

10.3 Environment

10.4 International relations

10.5 Law

10.6 Political philosophy

10.7 Psychology

10.8 Religion and theology

10.9 Safety science

10.10 Sociology

11 Criticism

12 See also

13 References

14 Bibliography

15 External links

Hermeneutics is derived from the Greek word (hermeneu, "translate, interpret"),

from (hermeneus, "translator, interpreter"), of uncertain etymology (R. S. P. Beekes has

suggested a Pre-Greek origin).[6] The technical term (hermeneia, "interpretation,

explanation") was introduced into philosophy mainly through the title ofAristotle's work On
Interpretation, commonly referred to by its Latin title De Interpretatione. It is one of the earliest
(c. 360 B.C.) extant philosophical works in the Western traditionto deal with the relationship between
language and logic in a comprehensive, explicit and formal way.
The early usage of "hermeneutics" places it within the boundaries of the sacred.[7] A divine message
must be received with implicit uncertainty regarding its truth. This ambiguity is an irrationality; it is a
sort of madness that is inflicted upon the receiver of the message. Only one who possesses a
rational method of interpretation (i.e., a hermeneutic) could determine the truth or falsity of the

Folk etymology[edit]
Folk etymology places its origin with Hermes, the mythological Greek deity who was the 'messenger
of the gods'.[9] Besides being a mediator between the gods and between the gods and men, he led
souls to the underworld upon death.
Hermes was also considered to be the inventor of language and speech, an interpreter, a liar, a thief
and a trickster.[9] These multiple roles made Hermes an ideal representative figure for hermeneutics.
As Socrates noted, words have the power to reveal or conceal and can deliver messages in an
ambiguous way.[9] The Greek view of language as consisting of signs that could lead to truth or to
falsehood was the essence of Hermes, who was said to relish the uneasiness of those who received
the messages he delivered.

Aristotle and Plato[edit]

In De Interpretatione, Aristotle offers a theory which lays the groundwork for many later theories
of interpretation and semiotics:

Words spoken are symbols or signs (symbola) of affections or impressions

As writing, so also is speech not the same for all races of men.

But the mental affections themselves, of which these words are primarily s

Equally important to later developments are some ancient texts on poetry, rhetoric, and sophistry:

Aristotle's Poetics, Rhetoric, and On Sophistical Refutations

Plato's dialogues, Cratylus, Ion, Gorgias, Lesser Hippias, and The Republic

However, these texts deal with the presentation and refutation of arguments, speeches, and poems
rather than with the understanding of texts per se. As Ramberg and Gjesdal note, "Only with the
Stoics, and their reflections on the interpretation of myth, do we encounter something like a
methodological awareness of the problems of textual understanding." [10]
Some ancient Greek philosophers, particularly Plato, vilified poets and poetry as harmful nonsense.
In The Republic, Plato denied poets entry into his "ideal state" until they could prove their value.
In Ion, Plato famously portrayed poets as possessed:

You know, none of the epic poets, if they're good, are masters of their subj

The meaning of the poem thus becomes open to ridicule. Whatever hints of truth it may have, the
truth is covered up by madness. However, another line of thinking arose withTheagenes of Rhegium,
who suggested that, instead of taking poetry literally, it ought to be taken as allegories of nature.
Stoic philosophers further developed this idea, reading into poetry both allegories of nature and
allegories of ethical behavior.
Aristotle differed with his predecessor, Plato, about the worth of poetry. Both saw art as an act
of mimesis, but where Plato saw a pale, essentially false, imitation of reality, Aristotle saw the
possibility of truth in imitation. As critic David Richter points out, "For Aristotle, artists must disregard

incidental facts to search for deeper universal truths." Thus, instead of being essentially false, poetry
may be universally true. [Richter, The Critical Tradition, 57]

Talmudic hermeneutics[edit]
Main article: Talmudic hermeneutics
See also: Judaism #Rabbinic hermeneutics
Rabbinical Eras









A common use of the word hermeneutics refers to a process of scriptural interpretation. Its earliest
example is, however, found not in the written texts but in the Jewish Oral Tradition [dated to
the Second Temple era, 515 BCE 70 CE] that later became the Talmud.
Summaries of the principles by which Torah can be interpreted date back to, at least, Hillel the Elder,
although the thirteen principles set forth in the Baraita of Rabbi Ishmael are perhaps the best known.
These principles ranged from standard rules of logic (e.g., a fortiori argument [known in Hebrew as
kal v'chomer]) to more expansive ones, such as the rule that a passage could be
interpreted by reference to another passage in which the same word appears (Gezerah Shavah).
The rabbis did not ascribe equal persuasive power to the various principles.[11]
Traditional Jewish hermeneutics differed from the Greek method in that the rabbis considered
the Tanakh (the Jewish bibilical canon) to be without error. Any apparent inconsistencies had to be

understood by means of careful examination of a given text within the context of other texts. There
were different levels of interpretation: some were used to arrive at the plain meaning of the text,
some expounded the law given in the text, and others found secret or mystical levels of

Vedic hermeneutics[edit]
Main article: Mimamsa
Vedic hermeneutics involves the exegesis of the Vedas, the earliest holy texts of Hinduism.
The Mimamsa was the leading hermeneutic school and their primary purpose was understanding
what Dharma (righteous living) involved by a detailed hermeneutic study of the Vedas. They also
derived the rules for the various rituals that had to be performed precisely.
The foundational text is the Mimamsa Sutra of Jaimini (ca. 3rd to 1st century BCE) with a major
commentary by abara (ca. the 5th or 6th century CE). The Mimamsa sutra summed up the basic
rules for Vedic interpretation.

Biblical hermeneutics[edit]
Main article: Biblical hermeneutics
Biblical hermeneutics is the study of the principles of interpretation of the Bible. While Jewish and
Christian biblical hermeneutics have some overlap, they have distinctly different interpretive
The early patristic traditions of biblical exegesis had few unifying characteristics in the beginning but
tended toward unification in later schools of biblical hermeneutics.
Augustine offers hermeneutics and homiletics in his De doctrina christiana. He stresses the
importance of humility in the study of Scripture. He also regards the duplex commandment of love in
Matthew 22 as the heart of Christian faith. In Augustines hermeneutics, sign has an important role.
God can communicate with the believer through the signs of the Scriptures. Thus, humility, love, and
the knowledge of signs are an essential hermeneutical presupposition for a sound interpretation of
the Scriptures. Although Augustine endorses some teaching of the Platonism of his time, he corrects
and recasts it according to a theocentric doctrine of the Bible. Similarly, in a practical discipline, he
modifies the classical theory of oratory in a Christian way. He underscores the meaning of diligent
study of the Bible and prayer as more than mere human knowledge and oratory skills. As a

concluding remark, Augustine encourages the interpreter and preacher of the Bible to seek a good
manner of life and, most of all, to love God and neighbor.[12]

There are four different types of biblical hermeneutics, literal, moral, allegorical (spiritual) and

Encyclopaedia Britannica states that literal analysis means a biblical text is to be deciphered
according to the plain meaning expressed by its linguistic construction and historical context. The
intention of the authors is believed to correspond to the literal meaning. Literal hermeneutics is often
associated with the verbal inspiration of the Bible.[13]

Moral interpretation searches for moral lessons which can be understood from writings within the
Bible. Allegories are often placed in this category. This can be seen in theEpistle of Barnabas, which
explains the dietary laws by stating which meats are forbidden but is interpreted as forbidding
immorality with animals. [14]

Allegorical interpretation states that biblical narratives has a second level of reference that is more
than the people, events and things that are explicitly mentioned. One type of allegorical
interpretation is known as typological, where the key figures, events, and establishments of the Old
Testament are viewed as types. In the New Testament this can also include foreshadowing of
people, objects, and events. According to this theory readings like Noahs Ark could be understood
by using the Ark as a type of Christian church that God expected from the start. [15]

This type of interpretation is more often known as mystical interpretation. It purports to explain the
events of the Bible and how they relate to or predict what the future holds. This is evident in
the Jewish Kabbalah, which attempts to reveal the mystical significance of the numerical values
of Hebrew words and letters.
In Judaism, anagogical interpretation is also evident in the medieval Zohar. In Christianity, it can be
seen in Mariology.[16]

Apostolic Age[edit]
See also: Apostolic Age
The earliest Christian period of biblical interpretation was the Apostolic Age. Traditionally, that was
the period of the Twelve Apostles, dating from the Great Commission until the death of John the
Apostle (about 100 A.D.). Because John lived so long and was the last of the apostles to die, there is
some overlap between the Apostolic Age and the firstApostolic Fathers. (See Deaths of the Twelve
The operative hermeneutical principle in the New Testament was prophecy fulfillment. The Gospels,
particularly the Gospel of Matthew, make extensive use of the Old Testament for the purpose of
demonstrating that Jesus was the Messiah. Examples include Matthew 1:23, 2:1518, 3:3, 21:42,
Mark 1:23, 4:12, Luke 3:46, 22:37, John 2:17, 12:15, and notably Luke 4:1821. Jesus read
extensively from Book of Isaiah and said that the prophecy was fulfilled in the crowds who heard it.
The Pauline epistles also employ the principle of prophecy fulfillment, as evidenced by
1 Corinthians 1:19 and Ephesians 4:810.

Apostolic Fathers[edit]
See also: Apostolic Fathers and Christianity in the 2nd century
The Apostolic Fathers were followers of the Apostles. This period is sometimes called the subapostolic period.
The principle of prophecy fulfillment was carried over from the Apostolic Age and was continued up
to the beginning of the 3rd century A.D. For example, Irenaeus dedicates an entire chapter of Against
Heresies to the defense of Isaiah 7:14, which was one of the chief prophecies used to validate Jesus
as the Messiah. [17] This is consistent with Irenaeus' other writings.
Even more than Irenaeus, the second century apologists tended to interpret and utilize most
scripture as if it were primarily for the purpose of showing prophecy fulfillment. Prominent among
these was Justin Martyr, who made extensive use of scripture to this end. Examples of prophecy
fulfillment can be seen in his Apology, in which chapters 3153 are specifically dedicated to proving
through prophecy that Jesus was the Messiah. He uses scripture similarly in Dialogue with Trypho.

And when Herod succeeded Archelaus, having received the authority whic

Here Justin demonstrates that prophecy fulfillment supersedes logical context in hermeneutics. He
ignores the Christological issues that arise from equating Jesus with thegolden calf of Bethel, which
is the "him" that is being brought to the king in Hosea 10:6.
It is likely that the preeminence of prophecy fulfillment was a product of the circumstances of the
early church. The primary intent of early authors was a defense of Christianity against attacks from
paganism and Judaism, as well as suppressing what were considered to be schismatic or heretical
groups. To this end, Martin Jan Mulder suggested that prophecy fulfillment was the primary
hermeneutical method because Roman society placed a high value upon both antiquity and oracles.

By using the Old Testament (a term linked with supersessionism) to validate Jesus, early

Christians sought to tap into both the antiquity of the Jewish scriptures and the oracles of
the prophets.

Late antiquity[edit]
Two divergent schools of thought emerged during this period, which extends from 200



the medieval period. Historians divide this period into the Ante-Nicene Period and the First seven
Ecumenical Councils.

Ante-Nicene period[edit]
See also: Ante-Nicene Period
The Ante-Nicene Period (literally meaning "before Nicaea") of the history of early
Christianity extended from the late 1st century to the early 4th century. Its end was marked by
the First Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. Christianity during this time was extremely diverse, with many
developments that are difficult to trace and follow. There is also a relative paucity of available
material, and this period is less studied than the preceding Apostolic Age and the historical ages
following it. Nevertheless, this part of Christian history is important because it had a significant effect
upon the development of Christianity.

First seven ecumenical councils[edit]

See also: First seven Ecumenical Councils
This era begins with the First Council of Nicaea, which enunciated the Nicene Creed that, in
its original form and as modified by the First Council of Constantinople of 381 A.D., was seen as the
touchstone of orthodoxy for the doctrine of the Trinity.
The first seven Ecumenical Councils, from the First Council of Nicaea (325 A.D. ) to the Second
Council of Nicaea (787 A.D. ), represent an attempt to reach an orthodoxconsensus and to establish a
unified Christendom.

The first scholar to study this time period as a whole was Philip Schaff, who wrote The Seven
Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church, first published after his death in 1901. The topic is of
particular interest to proponents of paleo-orthodoxy, who seek to recover the church as it was before
the schisms.

Schools of Alexandria and Antioch[edit]

See also: Catechetical School of Alexandria and School of Antioch
As early as the third century, Christian hermeneutics began to split into two primary schools:
the Alexandrian and the Antiochene.
The Alexandrian biblical interpretations stressed allegorical readings, often at the expense of the
texts' literal meaning. Origen and Clement of Alexandria were two major scholars in this school.
The Antiochene school stressed the literal and historical meaning of texts. Theodore of
Mopsuestia and Diodore of Tarsus were the primary figures in this school.

Medieval period[edit]
Medieval Christian biblical interpretations of text incorporated exegesis into a fourfold mode which
emphasized the distinction between the letter and the spirit of the text. This schema was based on
the various ways of interpreting text that were utilized by the patristic writers.

The literal sense (sensus historicus) of scripture denotes what the text states or reports

The allegorical sense (sensus allegoricus) explains text in the light of the doctrinal content of
church dogma, so that each literal element has a symbolic meaning (see alsoTypology

The moral application of a text to the individual reader or hearer is the third sense
(the sensus tropologicus or sensus moralis).

The fourth sense (sensus anagogicus) draws out of the text the implicit allusions it contains
to secret metaphysical and eschatological knowledge, called gnosis.

The hermeneutical terminology used here is in part arbitrary. For almost al

derived from a restrictive systematization of the numerous possibilities whi

Biblical hermeneutics in the Middle Ages witnessed the proliferation of nonliteral interpretations of
the Bible. Christian commentators could read Old Testament narratives simultaneously:

as prefigurations of analogous New Testament episodes,

as symbolic lessons about church institutions and current teachings,

and as personally applicable allegories of the Spirit.

In each case, the meaning of the narrative was constrained by imputing a particular intention to the
Bible, such as teaching morality. But these interpretive bases were posited by the religious tradition
rather than suggested by a preliminary reading of the text.
A similar fourfold mode is found in rabbinic writings. The four categories are:

Peshat (simple interpretation)

Remez (allusion)

Derash (interpretive)

Sod (secret or mystical)

It is uncertain whether the rabbinic categories of interpretation predate those of the patristic version.
The medieval period saw the growth of many new categories of rabbinic interpretation and of
exegesis of the Torah. Among these were the emergence of Kabbalah and the writings
of Maimonides.
The customary medieval exegetical technique commented on the text in glossae or annotations that
were written between the lines or at the side of the text (which was left with wide margins for this
purpose). The text might be further commented on in scholia, which are long, exegetical passages,
often on a separate page.

Modern period[edit]

The discipline of hermeneutics emerged with the new humanist education of the 15th century as a
historical and critical methodology for analyzing texts. In a triumph of early modern hermeneutics,
the Italian humanist Lorenzo Valla proved in 1440 that the Donation of Constantine was a forgery.
This was done through intrinsic evidence of the text itself. Thus hermeneutics expanded from its
medieval role of explaining the true meaning of the Bible.
However, biblical hermeneutics did not die off. For example, the Protestant Reformation brought
about a renewed interest in the interpretation of the Bible, which took a step away from the
interpretive tradition developed during the Middle Ages back to the texts themselves. Martin
Luther and John Calvin emphasized scriptura sui ipsius interpres(scripture interprets itself). Calvin
used brevitas et facilitas as an aspect of theological hermeneutics.
The rationalist Enlightenment led hermeneutists, especially Protestant exegetists, to view Scriptural
texts as secular classical texts. They interpreted Scripture as responses to historical or social forces
so that, for example, apparent contradictions and difficult passages in the New Testament might be
clarified by comparing their possible meanings with contemporary Christian practices.

Schleiermacher (17681834)[edit]
Friedrich Schleiermacher explored the nature of understanding in relation not just to the problem of
deciphering sacred texts but to all human texts and modes of communication.
The interpretation of a text must proceed by framing its content in terms of the overall organization of
the work. Schleiermacher distinguished between grammatical interpretation and psychological
interpretation. The former studies how a work is composed from general ideas; the latter studies the
peculiar combinations that characterize the work as a whole. He said that every problem of
interpretation is a problem of understanding and even defined hermeneutics as the art of avoiding
misunderstanding. Misunderstanding was to be avoided by means of knowledge of grammatical and
psychological laws.
During Schleiermacher's time, a fundamental shift occurred from understanding not merely the exact
words and their objective meaning, to an understanding of the writer's distinctive character and point
of view.[21][10]

Dilthey (18331911)[edit]
Wilhelm Dilthey broadened hermeneutics even more by relating interpretation to historical
objectification. Understanding moves from the outer manifestations of human action and productivity
to the exploration of their inner meaning. In his last important essay, "The Understanding of Other
Persons and Their Manifestations of Life" (1910), Dilthey made clear that this move from outer to

inner, from expression to what is expressed, is not based on empathy. Empathy involves a direct
identification with the Other. Interpretation involves an indirect or mediated understanding that can
only be attained by placing human expressions in their historical context. Thus, understanding is not
a process of reconstructing the state of mind of the author, but one of articulating what is expressed
in his work.
Dilthey divided spiritual science into three structural levels: experience, expression, and

Experience means to feel a situation or thing personally. Dilthey suggested that we can
always grasp the meaning of unknown thought when we try to experience it. His understanding
of experience is very similar to that of phenomenologist Edmund Husserl.

Expression converts experience into meaning because the discourse has an appeal to
someone outside of oneself. Every saying is an expression. Dilthey suggested that one can
always return to an expression, especially to its written form, and this practice has the same
objective value as an experiment in science. The possibility of returning makes scientific analysis
possible, and therefore the humanities may be labeled as science. Moreover, he assumed that
an expression may be "saying" more than the speaker intends because the expression brings
forward meanings which the individual consciousness may not fully understand.

The last structural level of spiritual science, according to Dilthey, is comprehension, which is
a level that contains both comprehension and incomprehension. Incomprehension means, more
or less, wrong understanding. He assumed that comprehension produces coexistence: "he who
understands, understands others; he who does not understand stays alone."

Heidegger (18891976)[edit]
Since Dilthey, the discipline of hermeneutics has detached itself from spiritual science and has
broadened to include all texts and multimedia.[22] In the 20th century, Martin Heidegger's
philosophical hermeneutics shifted the focus from interpretation to existential understanding, which
was treated more as a direct, non-mediated and thus more authentic way of being in the world
than merely as "a way of knowing."[23] For example, he called for a "special hermeneutic of empathy"
to dissolve the classic philosophic issue of "other minds" by putting the issue in the context of the
being-with of human relatedness. (Although Heidegger himself did not complete this inquiry.) [24]
Advocates of this approach claim that some texts, and the people who produce them, cannot be
studied by means of using the same scientific methods that are used in thenatural sciences, thus
drawing upon arguments similar to those of antipositivism. Moreover, they claim that such texts are

conventionalized expressions of the experience of the author. Thus, the interpretation of such texts
will reveal something about the social context in which they were formed, and, more significantly, will
provide the reader with a means of sharing the experiences of the author.
The reciprocity between text and context is part of what Heidegger called the hermeneutic circle.
Among the key thinkers who elaborated this idea was the sociologist Max Weber.

Gadamer (19002002) et al.[edit]

Hans-Georg Gadamer's hermeneutics is a development of the hermeneutics of his teacher,
Heidegger. Gadamer asserted that methodical contemplation is opposite to experience and
reflection. We can reach the truth only by understanding or mastering our experience. According to
Gadamer, our understanding is not fixed but rather is changing and always indicating new
perspectives. The most important thing is to unfold the nature of individual understanding.
Gadamer pointed out that prejudice is an element of our understanding and is not per se without
value. Indeed, prejudices, in the sense of pre-judgements of the thing we want to understand, are
unavoidable. Being alien to a particular tradition is a condition of our understanding. He said that we
can never step outside of our tradition all we can do is try to understand it. This further elaborates
the idea of the hermeneutic circle.
Bernard Lonergan's (19041984) hermeneutics is less well known, but a case for considering his
work as the culmination of the postmodern hermeneutical revolution that began with Heidegger was
made in several articles by Lonergan specialist Frederick G. Lawrence.[25]
Paul Ricur (19132005) developed a hermeneutics that is based upon Heidegger's concepts. His
work differs in many ways from that of Gadamer.
Karl-Otto Apel (b. 1922) elaborated a hermeneutics based on American semiotics. He applied his
model to discourse ethics with political motivations akin to those of critical theory.
Jrgen Habermas (b. 1929) criticized the conservatism of previous hermeneutists, especially
Gadamer, because their focus on tradition seemed to undermine possibilities for social criticism and
transformation. He also criticized Marxism and previous members of the Frankfurt School for missing
the hermeneutical dimension of critical theory.
Habermas incorporated the notion of the lifeworld and emphasized the importance for social theory
of interaction, communication, labor, and production. He viewed hermeneutics as a dimension of
critical social theory.

Andrs Ortiz-Oss (b. 1943) has developed his symbolic hermeneutics as

the Mediterranean response to Northern European hermeneutics. His main statement regarding
symbolic understanding of the world is that meaning is a symbolic healing of injury.
Two other important hermeneutic scholars are Jean Grondin (b. 1955) and Maurizio Ferraris (b.
Mauricio Beuchot coined the term and discipline of analogic hermeneutics, which is a type of
hermeneutics that is based upon interpretation and takes into account the plurality of aspects of
meaning. He drew categories both from analytic and continental philosophy, as well as from
the history of thought.
Two scholars who have published criticism of Gadamer's hermeneutics are the Italian jurist Emilio
Betti and the American literary theorist E. D. Hirsch.

Objective hermeneutics[edit]
In 1992, the Association for Objective Hermeneutics (AGOH) was founded in Frankfurt am Main by
scholars of various disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Its goal is to provide all
scholars who use the methodology of objective hermeneutics with a means of exchanging
In one of the few translated texts of this German school of hermeneutics, its founders declared:

Our approach has grown out of the empirical study of family interactions as well as
reflection upon the procedures of interpretation employed in our research. For the
time being we shall refer to it as objective hermeneutics in order to distinguish it
clearly from traditional hermeneutic techniques and orientations. The general
significance for sociological analysis of objective hermeneutics issues from the fact
that, in the social sciences, interpretive methods constitute the fundamental
procedures of measurement and of the generation of research data relevant to
theory. From our perspective, the standard, nonhermeneutic methods of quantitative
social research can only be justified because they permit a shortcut in generating
data (and research "economy" comes about under specific conditions). Whereas the
conventional methodological attitude in the social sciences justifies qualitative
approaches as exploratory or preparatory activities, to be succeeded by standardized
approaches and techniques as the actual scientific procedures (assuring precision,
validity, and objectivity), we regard hermeneutic procedures as the basic method for

gaining precise and valid knowledge in the social sciences. However, we do not
simply reject alternative approaches dogmatically. They are in fact useful wherever
the loss in precision and objectivity necessitated by the requirement of research
economy can be condoned and tolerated in the light of prior hermeneutically
elucidated research experiences.[27]

In archaeology, hermeneutics means the interpretation and understanding of material through
analysis of possible meanings and social uses.
Proponents argue that interpretation of artifacts is unavoidably hermeneutic because we cannot
know for certain the meaning behind them. We can only apply modern values when interpreting. This
is most commonly seen in stone tools, where descriptions such as "scraper" can be highly subjective
and actually unproven until the development ofmicrowear analysis some thirty years ago. Of course,
one could argue that only the individual lithic being examined was ever used as a "scraper", and that
all the many thousands of near-identical instances were something else entirely, which is where this
kind of approach leads us. All attempts at systematic materialist classification become a nonsense.
Opponents argue that a hermeneutic approach is too relativist and that their own interpretations are
based on common-sense evaluation.

There are several traditions of architectural scholarship that draw upon the hermeneutics of
Heidegger and Gadamer. Lindsay Jones examines the way architecture is received and how that
reception changes with time and context (e.g., how a building is interpreted by critics, users, and
Dalibor Vesely situates hermeneutics within a critique of the application of overly scientific thinking to
architecture.[29] This tradition fits within a critique of the Enlightenment[30]and has also informed
design-studio teaching.
Adrian Snodgrass sees the study of history and Asian cultures by architects as a hermeneutical
encounter with otherness.[31] He also deploys arguments from hermeneutics to explain design as a
process of interpretation.[32] Along with Richard Coyne, he extends the argument to the nature of
architectural education and design.[33]

Environmental hermeneutics applies hermeneutics to environmental issues conceived broadly to
subjects including "nature" and "wilderness" (both terms are matters of hermeneutical contention),
landscapes, ecosystems, built environments (where it overlaps architectural hermeneutics [34][35] ),
inter-species relationships, the relationship of the body to the world, and more.

International relations[edit]
Insofar as hermeneutics is a basis of both critical theory and constitutive theory (both of which have
made important inroads into the postpositivist branch of international relations theory and political
science), it has been applied to international relations.
Steve Smith refers to hermeneutics as the principal way of grounding a foundationalist yet
postpositivist theory of international relations.
Radical postmodernism is an example of a postpositivist yet anti-foundationalist paradigm of
international relations.

Main articles: Jurisprudence and Law
Some scholars argue that law and theology are particular forms of hermeneutics because of their
need to interpret legal tradition or scriptural texts. Moreover, the problem of interpretation has been
central to legal theory since at least the 11th century.
In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the schools of glossatores, commentatores, and usus
modernus distinguished themselves by their approach to the interpretation of "laws"
(mainly Justinian's Corpus Juris Civilis). The University of Bologna gave birth to a "legal
Renaissance" in the 11th century, when the Corpus Juris Civilis was rediscovered and systematically
studied by men such as Irnerius and Johannes Gratian. It was an interpretative Renaissance.
Since then, interpretation has always been at the center of legal thought. Friedrich Carl von
Savigny and Emilio Betti, among others, made significant contributions to general
hermeneutics. Legal interpretivism, most famously Ronald Dworkin's, may be seen as a branch of
philosophical hermeneutics.

Political philosophy[edit]
Italian philosopher Gianni Vattimo and Spanish philosopher Santiago Zabala in their
book Hermeneutic Communism, when discussing contemporary capitalist regimes, stated that, "A
politics of descriptions does not impose power in order to dominate as a philosophy; rather, it is
functional for the continued existence of a society of dominion, which pursues truth in the form of
imposition (violence), conservation (realism), and triumph (history)." [36]
Vattimo and Zabala also stated that they view interpretation as anarchy and affirmed that "existence
is interpretation" and that "hermeneutics is weak thought."

See also: Postcognitivism
Psychologists and computer scientists have recently become interested in hermeneutics, especially
as an alternative to cognitivism.
Hubert Dreyfus's critique of conventional artificial intelligence has been influential among
psychologists who are interested in hermeneutic approaches to meaning and interpretation, as
discussed by philosophers such as Martin Heidegger (cf. Embodied cognition) and Ludwig
Wittgenstein (cf. Discursive psychology).
Hermeneutics is also influential in humanistic psychology.[37]

Religion and theology[edit]

See also: Exegesis, Biblical hermeneutics, Talmudical hermeneutics and Quranic hermeneutics
The understanding of a theological text depends upon the reader's particular hermeneutical
viewpoint. Some theorists, such as Paul Ricur, have applied modern philosophical hermeneutics
to theological texts (in Ricoeur's case, the Bible).

Safety science[edit]
In the field of safety science, and especially in the study of human reliability, scientists have become
increasingly interested in hermeneutic approaches.
It has been proposed by ergonomist Donald Taylor that mechanist models of human behaviour will
only take us so far in terms of accident reduction, and that safety science must look at the meaning
of accidents for human beings.[38]

Other scholars in the field have attempted to create safety taxonomies that make use of hermeneutic
concepts in terms of their categorisation of qualitative data.[39]

In sociology, hermeneutics is the interpretation and understanding of social events through analysis
of their meanings for the human participants in the events. It enjoyed prominence during the 1960s
and 1970s, and differs from other interpretive schools of sociology in that it emphasizes the
importance of both context[40] and form within any given social behaviour.
The central principle of sociological hermeneutics is that it is only possible to know the meaning of
an act or statement within the context of the discourse or world view from which it originates. Context
is critical to comprehension; an action or event that carries substantial weight to one person or
culture may be viewed as meaningless or entirely different to another. For example, giving the
"thumbs-up" gesture is widely accepted as a sign of a job well done in the United States, while other
cultures view it as an insult.[41]Similarly, putting a piece of paper into a box might be considered a
meaningless act unless it is put into the context of democratic elections (the act of putting a ballot
paper into a box).
Friedrich Schleiermacher, widely regarded as the father of sociological hermeneutics believed that,
in order for an interpreter to understand the work of another author, they must familiarize themselves
with the historical context in which the author published their thoughts. His work led to the inspiration
of Heidegger's "hermeneutic circle" a frequently referenced model that claims one's understanding of
individual parts of a text is based on their understanding of the whole text, while the understanding of
the whole text is dependent on the understanding of each individual part. [42] Hermeneutics in
sociology was also heavily influenced by German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer.[43]

Murray Rothbard, an economist, had this to say in his 1989 article, The Hermeneutical Invasion of
Philosophy and Economics:
So why then does the present author ... have the temerity to tackle a field as arcane, abstruse,
metaphysical, and seemingly unrelated to economics as hermeneutics? Here my plea is the always
legitimate one of self-defense. Discipline after discipline, from literature to political theory to philosophy to
history, has been invaded by an arrogant band of hermeneuticians, and now even economics is under
assault.... The essential message of deconstructionism and hermeneutics can be variously summed up
asnihilism, relativism, and solipsism. That is, either there is no objective truth or, if there is, we can never
discover it. With each person being bound to his own subjective views, feelings, history, and so on, there
is no method of discovering objective truth.[44][45]