Q:

What is the symbolism of the Greek key design?

A:

The Greek key design symbolizes infinity or the eternal flow of life. It can also represent waves, the four compass points, the four seasons and snakes. The design was named "meander" after the twisting and turning of the Meander river in present-day Turkey. It was the most important symbol utilized in Ancient Greece.

Know More

Full Answer

The shape of the symbol — both angled and rounded — has been used as a decorative motif in architecture, in mosaic tiles and to encircle stone columns. Temples were widely decorated using the meander design, and it is common in Greek and Roman art. Furniture craftsmen often incorporate the meander into their wood carvings. Jewelry designers see the Greek key as representing the eternal bonds of friendship and love. Tattoo artists use it to signify a journey that has no particular destination planned.

Some historians believe that the Greek key symbol originated in the myth of the labyrinth, a garden maze formed by rectilinear paths separated by tall hedge-like vegetation. It has most notably been associated with the legend of Jason, a seafarer who led a band of adventurous heroes known as "the Argonauts." The Greek culture had many connections to the sea, and meandering water permeated their daily life and thoughts.

Learn more in Ancient Greece

Related Questions

  • Q:

    Who was Thespis, and what was his contribution to Greek theater?

    A:

    Thespis was reputedly the first actor to perform in Greek theater as an individual character instead of as part of a chorus. He introduced the style of theater known as tragedy and was also the first actor to travel from city to city on theatrical tours.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is a summary of ancient Greek civilization?

    A:

    Ancient Grecian culture lasted through numerous governmental periods and changed drastically from one to the next, according to the website Ancient Greece. However, certain elements of Greek culture remained the same, such as the division between free man and slave, two primary social classes and a thriving public life.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How did ancient Greek theatre begin?

    A:

    Ancient Greek theatre grew out of festivals honoring the gods and goddesses. Around 700 BC, at the same time ancient Athens rose to political and military power, it became the cultural center of the festival of Dionsysis, god of wine and religious ecstasies. Out of the Dionysia developed three dramatic genres: tragedy in the late 6th century BC, comedy in 486 BC and the satyr play.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What were ancient Greek coins called?

    A:

    Ancient Greek coins are most commonly referred to as drachmas. Around the eighth century B.C., the majority of the ancient Greek city-states began to move away from a barter system to the use of silver coins called drachmas. Drachma means "a handful."

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore