During the Archaic period the fundamental changes that determined the face of Greek culture took place. The reacquisition of writing combined with social developments gave a new boost to literature. The epic underwent a second flourishing, whereas at the same time the systemization of ideas regarding the world and man created Ionic philosophy. However, the understanding of the world could now have a subjective or experimental character, a fact which can be seen in the various and vivid -even for the contemporary reader- works of lyric poetry.
The contacts with Anatolia enriched the shaping of Greek art, inspired original compositions and liberated the imagination of the Greek artists and craftsmen. Pottery and metalwork, as practical arts, were the first to benefit from the prolific moulding with eastern elements and very soon they developed an iconographic repertoire magnificent both in size and in variety. The study of the human form became the centre of sculpture, thus reflecting the decisive transposition of Greek thought from the theoretic to the anthropocentric perception of the world.
Many rituals and forms of worship were born or crystallized during the Archaic period. The religious practices were closely connected to the social developments and needs, which were very often codified or interpreted. Through sacrifices, purifications, oblations, initiations and festivals, the Hellenes tried to harmonize the primitive fear of the divine with the rational approach and trust in the human experience. This view, which was not greatly altered until the prevalence of Christianity, is probably the most important accomplishment of Archaic Greeks and continues, up to today, to form one of the poles of inner contradiction of Western civilization.
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