During the Greek Golden Age, art flourished and philosophy was born. Although this ancient world has long since seen its demise, the Greeks left influential footprints on western culture. They were the first ancient civilization that truly displayed humanistic qualities such as respect for knowledge, indulgence in the arts and the desire to better themselves instead of falling to their knees before deranged monarchs and mythical "storyland" Gods. [And] Even though the Greek empire wasn't all sugar and spice, they are the only prehistoric culture that can be closely linked to our modern society. The similarities (such as self indulgence, slavery, and gay pride) between their "Golden Age" and our western world today are countless.
Through the works of Greek artists, playwrights, and philosophers, one can examine timeless metaphysical conflicts such as; good vs. evil, order vs. chaos, stability vs. flux, relativism vs. absolutism and cosmic balance and harmony. The Greeks were materialists. Their self-indulging ideals were expressed in the excessive regard for beautiful, worldly things and concerns. They used their art to show the glory of man. The sculptors of the Golden Age aimed to create graceful, strong and perfectly formed figures. Their art showed natural positions and thoughtful expressions rather than abstract art forms and their standards of order and balance became standards for classical art in western culture. The Greeks were proud of their temples and other architecture, made to honor the gods and beautify the polis (city-state). Their famous architectural styles were the heavy Doric columns and the slender scrolled Ionian columns. The Parthenon, the Greek temple for the goddess Athena, is an impeccable example of symmetry and proportion. The sides of the Parthenon give an optical illusion of perfect balance on all sides. Their desire for balance in art and architecture represents the balance of the world; order and moderation are expressed in the simplicity of lines and shapes.