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Chapter 3

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PSYC 397
Mary C Olmstead

PSYC 397Antiquity 323 BCE to 1000 CEChapter 3Hellenism and the EmpireRoman Empire 31 BCE476 CEAlexander the GreatGreekStudent of AristotleWanted to create a universal empire that would bring Greek culture to all landsRomans were able to achieve thisused a common language culture and politics to bind its citizens togetherPolis small citystate in ancient GreeceThe Romans abolished the idea of the polispersons were citizens of Rome as opposed to identifying with the citystate polis in which they lived Why is this importantIdea that the state comes before the community had powerful influence in settling ethnic and geographic disputesThe idea that a universal empire of reasonof mutual trust rather than genetic altruismthat embraced yet transcended local and ethnic divisions exerted a powerful influence on the modernizers of the Enlightenment Project and the founders of the American republicHellenistic period 323331 BCEBegan with the death of Alexander the Great ended at the final conquest of EgyptTime of turmoil and intense social change between Alexander the Greats death and establishment of the Roman EmpireWhat happened during the Hellenistic periodWhen Alexander the Great dies the vision he had for a universal empire becomes perverted by his generals who rule conquered lands and wage wars against one anotherHaving lost their beloved polis Hellenistic women and men turned away from public life toward the pleasures of private life and homeConsequences of the Hellenistic periodGreater value was placed on marriage as lifelong companionship previously wives were kept as a means to produce heirsHome life emphasizedCitizens sought comfort from turmoil ie the wars among Alexander the Greats former generalsaka the warring kings through philosophy or religion31 PSYC 397Pax Romana period of relative peace and minimal territorial expansion by the Roman Empire Neoplatonism a philosophical religion popular in the Hellenistic periodTyche fate Greek figure who controls the destiny of a city able to bring fortune or destruction onto a citys peopleAtaraxia state of happy peacefulness characterized by freedom from distress and worry This is achievable without luckEudaemonia living well flourishing This is thought to depend on luck Whereas the Classic Greeks sought eudaemonia Hellenistic Greeks and Romans sought ataraxia Selfmastery increasedidea that contentment was not the will of fortune but in ones own controlPhysicians acting as philosopherscatalyze psychology as a scienceAristotleAlcmaeonEmpedoclesPhilosophers acting as physicians such in the case of reducing distress in striving for ataraxia as opposed to eudaemonia catalyze psychology as psychotherapyWhy is this important for psychologyNew beginningspsychological freedom from distress when Hellenes seek ataraxiaThis moves psychology toward a role of psychotherapyEmphasis on therapy for the soulNew philosophies focused on therapy for the soul and by turning inward they reduced adherence to cultlike religionsReligion became more about soulsearchingPaved the way for ChristianityEpicureanism philosophy established by Epicurus which posited that suffering should be flushed from the body and spirit He subscribed to the idea of ataraxia describing pleasure as the absence of suffering He encouraged introversion and avoiding of strong passions eg erotic love He renounced the idea of a soul as a means to state that there would be no afterlife an idea known as atomism His philosophy gave rise to a cultlike followingLifestyle and philosophyWithdrawal from the world literallyseeking quiet places like gardensand figuratively meaning not relying on others or the worldCynicism rejection of all social constraints and worldly conventions As opposed to Epicureanism this had less to do with withdrawal from the social aspect of the world and more to do with rejecting the 32
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