What were the ideas behind Greek individualism?

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chelseaosborne314 | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

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The ancient Greeks were some of the first to really identify as individuals, rather than only as a whole community. Of course, it only applied to male citizens, certainly not females or slaves. The main idea behind Greek individualism was that every man could contribute to society in their own way, be it politically, philosophically, artistically, etc. Every man's opinion could be heard, could be compared, could be argued - that was what democracy was for. But the individualism wasn't just within the political sphere. For the first time, artists started to sign their works, or to have individual styles that allow archaeologists now to identify their works specifically. They also departed from the traditional style of Egypt that they had imitated, the kouros style, which depicted young, naked males; instead, they started to depict more realistic subjects, which is how we now have busts of famous Greek people (though many of the existing sculptures we have are actually Roman reproductions). Gone were the days of the generic young man; here were the days of individuals.

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