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Classic, Classics, And Classicals

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Joseph A. Bailey, II, M.D.
Originally the scriptor classicus wrote for the upper Roman classes in the 2nd century AD and to them "Classic" meant "a first-class author of acknowledged excellence." Every feature of the ancient Greeks and Romans elite was expanded into the world of eminent authors. Those of ancient Romans were termed Classici Auctores (Classic authors)-i.e. authors of the best or first class because of their masterpieces having been declared to be Classic, Classics, or Classical. However, "Classic" should mean nothing more than "belonging to a certain class." But by a process analogous to that whereby we say a person has "taste"-when we mean she has ‘good taste'-by common usage "Classic" came to refer to "belonging to the first class of excellence, the best." For scholars of the Middle Ages the best consisted of writings deemed worthy of preservation and study. During the Renaissance, ‘Classic' referred to the Classical ("the height of an achievement" in art or literature) in the sense of "a writer read in the classroom" (i.e. of an ancient author and not necessarily of first class). Throughout the Renaissance the high esteem in which ancient Greek and Latin, but especially Ancient African authors, was held bestowed on these authors the name "Classic."

At the end of the Renaissance, Classical was applied to serious or conventional music (as distinct from light or popular music). The period of the 18th century marked the development of the symphony and the rise of such composers as Bach, Beethoven (a mulatto), Brahms, Tchaikovsky Handel, Haydn, and Mozart. In the Western world those who specialized in classical Latin were known as classical ‘scholars'-not to be confused with the vastly different African speculative ‘scholars.' The works studied, the subject itself, and the study of the subject took the label of the Classics-meaning first-rate works. Characteristics of such first rate Classical works were deemed to be: formal elegance, correctness, dignity, order, balance, unity, proportion, restraint, and "noble simplicity and quiet grandeur." Supposedly as a result, the Classics of Art or Literature are regarded as forming the basis of modern culture.

Today, Classic, Classics, and Classical refer to masterpieces of ancient cultures--the implication being that nothing can be taken away from or added to it without doing it some injury. This determination is best made by Sages of all culture and certainly not by Europeans. Classic are works of acknowledged excellence and used as standards and foundations-or to establish them. ‘Classic' points to the highest class-- a standard of excellence-a perfect instance-the highest or pre-eminent excellence (e.g. Homer's Iliad). Western Classics point to works of great and lasting value; to the character of the author's achievement as authoritative, significant; and to great merit (based on wide agreement)-although it may have been superceded by some subsequent person. Because of its vagueness, "Classical" can apply to the Classics; to Classicism; to a way of thinking; or to a period of style (e.g. music, education) related to or typical of the Arts, Literature, and Culture of the ancient Greeks (400 to 350 BC) and Romans (50 BC to AD 50). Classical Thought is of enduring importance or significance; with a high standard of principles; and of simple and basic (i.e. rationality, objectivity, logic, and clarity) conclusions. Classical Art has balance, idealized beauty, and perfected form (i.e. form over content). Even though Western Classic, Classics, and Classical customarily refer to the Arts and Literature of ancient Greece and Rome, both the ancient Greeks and Romans borrowed their foundation and models from Ancient Africa. However, whereas Europeans honor perfecting, elaborating, or expanding on lofty patterns of a Material World nature, Spiritually and Creativity are at the core of Africans' Classic, Classics, and Classical masterpieces.

 website: www.jablifeskills.com

Joseph A. Bailey, II, M.D.

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