The term philosopher itself came from Ancient Greek word “philosophos”, meaning “lover of wisdom”. When the origin itself is Ancient Greek, it becomes necessary to know about Greek Philosophers and historians. It is the philosophers who had a great hand in moulding the common sense of the world with their wisdom.
Philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, Epictetus and Epicurus had a major contribution in Ancient Greek literature. Plato (427 – 347 BCE) was one of the most influential Greek philosophers. His early works Apology, Crito and Phaedo were a tribute to the life and death of his tutor, Socrates. He also wrote Symposium, a series of speeches at a dinner party. The Republic, a book on the nature and value of justice, was the most famous of all.
It is in the decree of a philosopher to keep re-examining. Platos’s student, Aristotle (384 –322 BCE) disagreed with him on several issues, mainly the concept of empiricism. It is the idea that an individual relies on his/her senses for information. Many of his works include Nichomachean Ethics (a treatise on ethics and morality), Poetics and Physics. It was he who defined syllogism and was Alexander the Great’s tutor. It is Aristotle who introduced the Aristotle’s theory of tragedy which we use today to determine whether a novel fulfils them to become a tragedy.
Historians are the final group of contributors of Ancient Greek Literature: Herodotus, Thucydides, and Polybius. Both Herodotus (484 –425 BCE) and Thucydides (460 – 400 BCE) wrote around the time of the Peloponnesian Wars.
Although little is known about his early life, Herodotus was born in Halicarnassus, which was under Persian control at that time. He is best known for his book The Histories, which contains detailed record about the origin of the Greco-Persian wars. However, he is often criticized for factual errors, though he opens up, whatever he recorded was what he witnessed or heard about. Unlike previous writers, he did not judge. His narratives demonstrate an understanding of human experience.
“The secret to happiness is freedom… And the secret to freedom is courage” quoted by Athenian historian Thucydides. Herodotus’ contemporary, Thucydides, was the author, although incomplete of The History of the Peloponnesian War. It is he, who developed an understanding of human nature to explain behaviour in crises such as plagues, massacres, and civil war.
Ancient Greek Literature had a major influence as a whole on western literature and Roman literature as well due to Greek Philosophers and Historians apart from writers. It is due to the historians that we know much about the history of Ancient Greek Literature. Ancient Roman authors adopted various styles and motifs from ancient Greek literature. Later, these ideas were in turn adopted by other western European writers and literary critics. For instance, Roman poet Vergil depicted his epic poem The Aeneid on The Iliad and The Odyssey.