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Modern greeks uglier than ancient greeks?

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
As a learned man, I visit a lot of museums, which inevitably contain a Greek collection of nude statutes among other notable collections. The sculptures always project life size figures of great beauty. However, many Greeks I meet in person are not as attractive. Why?
post #2 of 34
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post #3 of 34
It's all that processed gyro meat they eat.
post #4 of 34
Hellenic art always portrays the ideal. If you want people who sculpted, painted and crafted life in a practical and realistic manner, you should look at Roman artwork. Their busts feature people who have wrinkles, baldness and other physical faults - which I would assume look closer to modern day Italian people.
post #5 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by fwiffo View Post
Hellenic art always portrays the ideal. If you want people who sculpted, painted and crafted life in a practical and realistic manner, you should look at Roman artwork. Their busts feature people who have wrinkles, baldness and other physical faults - which I would assume look closer to modern day Italian people.

Wasn't that an effect of Christianization on Rome, that artwork could depict humans as weak and frail rather than heroic and idealized?
post #6 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by tagutcow View Post
Wasn't that an effect of Christianization on Rome, that artwork could depict humans as weak and frail rather than heroic and idealized?

Not at all. The realistic aesthetic of the Romans predates the existence of Christianity.
post #7 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archivist View Post
Not at all. The realistic aesthetic of the Romans predates the existence of Christianity.

This.

And at least in ancient Athens they were obsessed (especially males) with their bodies, they really took care of them. Also, yes there is an unrealistic 'perfect human' to ancient Greek statues which do not depict real life; see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riace_bronzes
post #8 of 34
I saw some incredibly beautiful Greek women when I was in Athens. Yeah, you can find beautiful women in any city and I see a lot everyday in NYC, but they seemed to be different.
post #9 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsgNYC View Post
I saw some incredibly beautiful Greek women when I was in Athens. Yeah, you can find beautiful women in any city and I see a lot everyday in NYC, but they seemed to be different.

NYC women.
post #10 of 34
I always thought the Pilgrims were hotter than today's Bostonians.
post #11 of 34
Thread Starter 

post #12 of 34
Afaik the people living in Greece today are a different ethnicity than the ones 1000 bc.
post #13 of 34
nm
post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sander View Post
Afaik the people living in Greece today are a different ethnicity than the ones 1000 bc.

+1

Same with pretty much all of the ancient civilizations.
post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sander View Post
Afaik the people living in Greece today are a different ethnicity than the ones 1000 bc.

This is the old "Fallmerayer Thesis" that was proposed by an Austrian scholar of that name. His argument ran that the "ancient" Greeks had pretty well all perished in the course of the extensive plagues and invasions of late antiquity and the early middle ages and that the modern inhabitants of Greece were mostly descendants of Slavic immigrants with a later admixture of Albanians. This got a lot of notice because it was published in the 1830s at the very time the Greeks were struggling for their freedom from Turkish rule. The Greeks were getting a lot of sympathy at the time because they were the heritors of the glorious civilization of ancient Greece, especially since educated people in Europe and elsewhere were far better educated in the classics than today. I guess the corollary was that it was somehow more acceptable for the Turks to oppress Slavs and Albanians than the heritors of Aeschylus, Phidias and Plato, odd though that may seem to us today.

In any event, I gather the Fallmerayer Thesis has been pretty well disproved by skeletal and DNA analyses. The modern Greeks are in fact the same people that gave us Thucydides, Socrates, Aristotle and all the gang.

I suspect, however, there may have been a "beauty drain" on Greece and other areas under Turkish dominion during the days of the Ottoman Empire, when a lot of the prettiest girls of the subject peoples ended up in the harems of Constantinople while many of the likeliest boys were impressed into the fearsome Janissaries.
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