Vessels and jewellery were produced to high standards, and exported far afield. All adult male citizens participated in the elections and meetings of the assembly, which served as both the seat of government and a court of law.
The Athenians organized a confederacy of allies to ensure the freedom of the Greek cities in the Aegean islands and on the coast of Asia Minor.
Pottery was the main form of grave goods deposited in tombs, often as "funerary urns" containing the cremated ashes, and was widely exported. Part of the fascination of Greek art is that its themes were taken up by artists down the centuries, as the myths of this culture were constantly being rediscovered.
The Dionysus Cup by Exekias c BC Dionysus, god of wine and madness, sails on his boat, surrounded by dolphins, in this delightful painting. His treatise, the Canon, is now lost, but one of his most important sculptural works, the Diadoumenos, survives in numerous ancient marble copies of the bronze original This powerful painting captures the tension as Odysseus strains at his bonds, his whole body agonised, his head raised in rapt listening.
Translated from the Greek… A youth preparing for the cavalcade, left, from the north frieze of the Parthenon, cBC.
Earlier statues of people had looked awkward and fake, but by the classical period they looked natural, almost at ease.