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OUTLINE FOR EARLY CLASSICAL GREEK ART Although the cultural components for the humanist revolution of the Classical period were in place by the late Archaic period, the generally recognized date for the change to classicism is 480/479 B.C. when the Greek city states under the leadership principally of Athens and to a lesser extent Sparta, handed crushing defeats to the navy (Battle of Salamis in the fall of 480 BCE ) and the army (Battle at Plateia in the spring of 479 BCE ) of the Persian Empire which had invaded Greece, intending to annex the entire Balkan peninsula. The glorious and unexpected victory over such apparently overwhelming odds gave the Greeks the confidence to push through the Classical Revolution. The mood of Early Classical art reflects that sublime, almost divine confidence that Greeks now felt. Between 480 and 430 BCE, there was a concept of progress, a sense that the world could be made a better place, and that Mankind was in control of its own destiny, not at the whim or mercy of supernatural forces beyond its control. After the culminating battle at Plateia , all the city states which had participated in the defense of Greece took an oath which included the following provisions: 1. Never to rebuild the sanctuaries destroyed by the Persians, but to leave them in ruins as "a monument to the impiety of the barbarian." 2. Never to form alliances with Thebes, the great city state which had taken the Persian side ("Medized") against their fellow Greeks.
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