The Physical Setting of Athens
Why the Social Life of Athens is so Significant
Because, then, the contributions of Athens to our own life are so important, because they touch (as a Greek would say) upon almost every side of "the true, the beautiful, and the good," it is obvious that the outward conditions under which this Athenian genius developed deserve our respectful attention. For assuredly such personages as Sophocles, Plato, and Phidias were not isolated creatures, who developed their genius apart from, or in spite of, the life about them, but rather were the ripe products of a society, which in its excellences and weaknesses presents some of the most interesting pictures and examples in the world. To understand the Athenian civilization and genius it is not enough to know the outward history of the times, the wars, the laws, and the lawmakers. We must see Athens as the average man saw it and lived in it from day to day, and then perhaps we can partially understand how it was that during the brief but wonderful era of Athenian freedom and prosperity, Athens was able to produce so many men of commanding genius as to win for her a place in the history of civilization which she can never lose.
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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-greece/old-athens-setting.asp?pg=3