chapter  Chapter 3
19 Pages

Greek philosophers

WithL.S. Hearnshaw

Systematic psychology originated in Ancient Greece, and was an outcome of the revolutionary changes in modes of thinking which first clearly manifested themselves in the sixth century BC. The collapse of the earlier Mycenean civilization in the Aegean around 1150 BC was followed by a dark age lasting some three hundred years, during which the mainland of Greece was occupied by Dorian invaders, and the Asia Minor coast by Ionian settlers. By the eighth century a new civilization was beginning to emerge. A new alphabet, derived from Phoenicia but elaborated by the invention of vowels, formed the basis of a spreading literacy, the poets Homer and Hesoid provided the Greeks with a cultural identity, and the Olympic Games, first held in 776 BC, provided an institutional focus. More settled conditions, and technological improvements in metal working, pottery and other crafts, led to economic advances and a large growth of population, which was a main cause for promoting the establishment of Greek colonies throughout the Mediterranean basin. The Greeks were essentially seafarers and traders, living dangerously on the fringes, and under the shadow of, more powerful or more barbarous communities. This was the background of the astonishing flowering of the Greek genius, which occurred roughly between 600 and 300 BC and of which the creation of psychology was a part. 1