Meaning of ancient literature

What is Ancient Literature:

Ancient literature is understood to be the set of literary works that were written, approximately, between the 5th century BC. C. and the beginning of the Middle Ages, when literature as it is known began to take shape, that is, the art of rhetorical and poetic expression.

Hence, it has been established that the texts known as ancient literature date back centuries after the appearance of writing.

However, it must be taken into account that ancient literature did not develop equally and at the same time throughout the world, and this as a consequence of the distances that existed between the various groups and communities and that were growing at times and at rhythms. different.

It is considered as the oldest literary work of mankind the Gilgamesh Poem, approximately of the year 2000 a.C., through which the feat of a Sumerian hero is exposed. Also included are various texts from the Mesopotamian empires, including Egypt, which saw the first steps of literature, although the oral tradition still predominated.

In ancient times, literary works dealt with religious themes, which is why it is common for these texts to talk about gods and other beliefs. Among other texts of ancient literature we can mention the Book of the Dead, written on Papyrus of Ani dating from the 13th century BC.

A percentage of the ancient literature produced in Egypt was translated throughout the 19th century, including the Rosseta stoneThis is why it took time to include these texts as part of ancient literature.

Unfortunately, and due to different circumstances, it is believed that many of the first texts that are part of ancient literature were lost through time, one of the events that stands out the most is the burning of the Library of Alexandria, created in the third century. BC

However, it should be mentioned that both China and India wrote literary texts that are considered even older, from the Iron Age, although these claims generate controversy.

In India, two important Sanskrit works stand out, the Ramiana and the Mahabharata. In China, the work stands out War art of Sun Tzu, as well as the various teachings of Confucius, Lao Tzi, and Tao te Ching.

Then the Iliad and the Odyssey They were two literary epic works attributed to Homer that began Classical Antiquity in Greece. These works are followed by a list of ancient literary works dating from the first millennium BC, among the authors include Sophocles, Euripides, Sappho, Aeschylus, as well as Plato and Aristotle.

Later, during the Roman Empire, important literary works considered ancient and written by the following authors, Virgilio, Horacio, Ovidio, among others, were also produced.

See also:

  • Literature.
  • Literary trends.

Characteristic of ancient literature

Among the main characteristics that can be mentioned in ancient literature are:

  • The themes of these literary works, for the most part, dealt with religious, supernatural and godly themes.
  • They tried to give an answer to the origin of the human being and the world, a subject of great unknown for the time.
  • There was a vision of the human being that integrated body, soul and mind.
  • Writers influenced peoples in various ways.
  • After ancient Greek literature, other literary genres emerged, including epic (narration of heroic stories), lyrical (making poems), prose (narration of novels) and theater (dramatic representation of comedy or tragedy in amphitheaters).
  • Greek writers wrote works that stand out for their literary beauty and originality.
  • It gave way to transmit in writing many of the oral cultural traditions of the peoples.
  • After ancient literature, novels were created in the West.
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