Ancient Greece and Rome

In the West, ideas about the human body have been dominated by Ancient Greek and Roman ideas of the ‘body beautiful’. This ideal, represented by the perfect physique of classical sculptures, such as the discus-thrower, was widely admired, particularly amongst the patrician (ruling) classes.

The philosopher, Aristotle, advised getting rid of a child if it was imperfect. Greek law even dictated that a newborn baby was not really a child until seven days after birth, so that an imperfect child could be disposed of with a clear conscience. From these beliefs arose the enduring idea that ‘good’ looked beautiful and the deformed and disabled were ‘bad’.

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The statue of the discus thrower shows an idealised male figure practising sport.

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Published in: on February 3, 2007 at 2:23 am  Comments Off on Ancient Greece and Rome  
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