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Impact of Humanism upon Development of Literature - Research Paper Example

4 pages
888 words
Vanderbilt University
Type of paper: 
Research paper
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Humanism is not centered on philosophy and religion; it focuses on how Greek and Roman literature portray human experience in its complexity of morals and psychology. It puts human living as the central focus, unlike Hebrews and Christians whose focus is on God. In the tribute by a Greek philosopher, Pericles after the Peloponnesian war, he did not consider gods and afterlife. Instead, he said that the dead were killed for the sake of Athens and their memory would live on among the people.Humanists believed that the humans were equal to the gods as portrayed in the legend literature of He is equal to the gods, that man where the humans are shown to be flawless in their nature ("Sappho (630 BC570 BC) - Poems and Fragments"). The core of humanism is an educational program where ancient texts are taken in their original context and not through a scholastic prism. It embraces the Greek and Roman history, literature, philosophy and governance. In this paper, we will discuss the impact of humanism in Greek and Roman writings.

Revival of literature is basically the rebirth of old ideologies in poetry, paintings and sculptures. The Greek and the Roman era literature renaissance were notable in Italy in the 14th century and spread throughout Europe by the 17th century. The use and revival of old literature propelled the philosophers and other leaders to pay attention to present life instead of the afterlife which as a result drastically improved human life.

In the current day, the Greek and Roman literature have oddly continued to influence poetry, paintings, and sculptures. There is an extended love of these old antiques which are significant influences on the majority of artwork. Besides that, poets still borrow the Latin and Greek phrases in their works. In the Fragment on love and divine the poet uses Aphrodite which is a Greek word to express the sexual desire of the persona ("Sappho (630 BC570 BC) - Poems and Fragments"). Greek words and phrases are commonly applied to express happy and light moments. On the other hand, Roman words are used for dull and horrid situations.

Greek and Latin literature, art and sculpture encouraged civic humanism. The literature emphasizes that the society should be equipped with understanding, intrinsic worth and integrity. The writing influenced renaissance secularism by shifting peoples mindset to focus on material gains. Humanism encouraged people to gain knowledge by learning their environment. The humanist was more intentional with their surroundings as they ought to learn how things worked. This stable outlook encouraged new inventions which significantly contributed to progress in human evolution. In the middle ages, the core of human focus was to appease the gods and the afterlife contrary to what humanists emphasis which was on the secular. The humanists used the materialistic aspect to develop an argument that enjoyment of the worlds materials is the highest ethical good that everyone should strive towards. The literature has a better understanding of human needs and behavior. In the satire of the trades Dua Khety glorifies materialism by encouraging him to strive to excel he tells him The scribe, whatever his place at the Residence, He cannot be poor in it ("Ancient Egypt Online").

As the name suggests, humanists were impressed by humans and their potentials and talents. The literature encourages people to strive to realize their abilities fully. This aspect of humanism promotes individuality. In the Middle Ages, sacred music was monophonic, and individuals were encouraged to sing in one voice to eliminate individuality. The argument was that the purpose of singing was to appease the gods and not to showcase the uniqueness in the voices of the worshippers. However, with the renaissance of literature with the Greek and Roman influences encouraged individuality. The choirs, though male-dominated were encouraged to be polyphonic and there was a range of voices which blended beautifully

In the instructions of Dua-Khehty, we see him encouraging his son to take pride in the school and learn to be successful in his career. The poet singles out the uniqueness of a career derived from writing over the other careers which in his view are less prestigious. Humanism in this aspect also celebrates human as the center of events where Duaus son Peppy has to achieve individual humanity, face all the struggles that come with learning to get to his end goal ("Ancient Egypt Online").

The literature has influenced current day cultures of heroism in how we gratify our athletes. It is even evident in the superheroes stories and video games. The legacy has been passed since the ancient times where the sportsmen physicality was defined as divine. The athletes have continued to be bestowed on economic gratification, and people are obsessed by these individuals capabilities. Humanism shows off the human body, the classical sculptures and paints were commonly nude to express realism in humanism. The beliefs that beauty manifests in the physical continue to influence our cultures up to date. Beauty in the human body is celebrated and is elaborative described in much English literature which is an element borrowed from Greco-Latin.


Works Cited

"Ancient Egypt Online." Ancient Egypt Online,

"Sappho (630 BC570 BC) - Poems and Fragments." Poetry In Translation - A.S. Kline's Free Poetry Archive - Main Site,


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