Few aristocracies in later ages have come close to equaling the cultural activity of the upper classes of the Greek states both directly and also as patrons. The amazing outburst of Hellenic civilization in virtually every field from the eighth century onward is studded with many great names. This chapter cites a few examples and considers the varied ways in which aristocrats affected contemporary arts and letters. In sum, the artists of Greece could not have exhibited that unceasing search for perfection in developing styles without the support of aristocratic patrons, though it must be emphasized again that unlike poets and philosophers they were not themselves of upper-class lineage.
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