Are People Getting Bored Of Ancient Greece?

When people think of Ancient Greece, they think of the grandiose gods, the sophisticated sculptures, the amazing architecture and the important contributions they made to society. It’s no wonder that people throughout history have been fascinated with Ancient Greece.

During the Renaissance, there was a cultural shift and a rebirth of ideas from Ancient Greece which led to a newfound love for the time period. Many artists paid homage to Ancient Greece with paintings and sculptures with masterpieces from Sandro Botticelli and Raphael to name just a few.

When the medium of film arrived, many artists decided to take the legendary Greek myths and translate them onto the screen. Some of the earliest hits included Manfred Noa’s Helena, Ludwig Berger’s Pygmalion and Mario Mattoli’s The Man Who Smiles.

Of course, it wasn’t until the golden age of Hollywood in the 1950s and 1960s that Ancient Greece films became blockbuster hits. This ultimately carried over until the early 2000s when people began to get tired of the same old Greek tales rehashed.

Despite the popularity of Ancient Greece throughout history, it seems that the time period began to lose favour within popular culture as more films, television shows and even video games began to source other topics. There seems to be a decline in Ancient Greece led media, leading many to ask: Are people getting bored of Ancient Greece?


The golden age of Ancient Greece in cinema

Many historians debate the exact time period of the golden age of Hollywood but many agree it ended by the 1960s due to the rise of televisions. Whilst there were many films based around Ancient Greece prior to the 1950s, the most iconic films came out after this period.

Films such as Mario Camerini’s Ulysses, Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus and Don Chaffey’s Jason and the Argonauts cemented the topic of Ancient Greece as a box-office blockbuster. From this moment, the popularity of Ancient Greece increased tremendously and continued to remain high for decades.

It can be argued that the peak of Ancient Greece popularity in cinema came in the early 2000s. Epic hits such as Oliver Stone’s Alexander, Wolfgang Petersen’s Troy, Alejandro Amenábar’s Agora and Zack Snyder’s 300 reignited the public’s love for Ancient Greece as these films were box-office hits earning millions whilst also being critically acclaimed.

Sadly, this success did not last as many films in the early 2010s tried to clone the previous blockbuster hits. It’s easy to conclude that films such as Tarsem Singh’s Immortals, Louis Leterrier’s Clash of the Titans and Chris Columbus’ Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief contributed to people getting bored with Ancient Greece and oversaturating the market without adding anything extra.


Ancient Greece inspired films replaced by superheroes

The decline of Ancient Greece in cinema led to other genres stepping up. In the early 2000s, the superhero genre was seen as a joke with only a few rare hits such as Guillermo del Toro’s Blade II showcasing that superhero films can be smart and entertaining.

Superhero films like Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and Jon Favreau’s Iron Man started epic franchises that are household names. People wanted to see epic films with cool fight sequences, but Ancient Greece films couldn’t deliver the slickness of Batman’s fighting style or the witty charm of Iron Man.

The Ancient Greek-inspired films from the early 2010s took themselves too seriously and ended up boring audiences instead of entertaining them. Superhero films managed to deliver an experience to the audience that couldn’t be found elsewhere. In the early days of cinema, big Ancient Greek epics managed to do this, but the oversaturation throughout the decades led to these once-great movies becoming dull.


Videogames moving towards other Norse mythology

The decline of Ancient Greece also translated into other mediums with video games beginning to stray away from the topic. God of War started as a hack and slash video game that focused on a Spartan warrior, named Kratos, who embarked on a quest to stop the mighty Greek gods.

The series was famed for the Ancient Greece setting but had a complete revamp in 2018 as the game found inspiration in Norse mythology. Kratos returns to Midgard instead of Greece with the Norse gods at the forefront of the story. God of War (2018) absolutely blew audiences away and was both of critical and commercial success being one of the best-selling PlayStation 4 games of all time.

Other video games saw the success of God of War and tried to replicate this. The latest Assassin’s Creed following suit goes from Ancient Greece in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey to Norse mythology in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.

Even the indie world took notice of the popular Norse genre leading to titles such as Valheim, Frozenheim and Lost Viking: Kingdom of Women. It’s clear that Norse mythology is more appealing and fashionable to current video game audiences than Ancient Greece.


Television audiences drawn to other genres

The same can be said for television as the biggest shows within the past few years have had nothing to do with Ancient Greece. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, shows such as Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess, The Odyssey and Atlantis dominated television screens. Even children’s cartoons were influenced by Ancient Greece during this period as Disney’s Hercules: The Animated Series focused solely on the adventures of a young Hercules.

Within the past 10 years, there have been only a handful of shows inspired by Ancient Greece with the most notable being Blood of Zeus in 2020. However, the most popular shows on Netflix are often contemporary dramas or comedies. There were many hit television shows from 2021 but the biggest titles include Squid Games, Ted Lasso and Only Murders In The Building - all of which are dramas or comedies not set within Ancient Greece.

This reinforces that Ancient Greece, or any other time period for that matter, is not something that current audiences want to experience. There are exceptions with shows such as The Witcher or WandaVision that are not contemporary - but these programs manage to do something different within the mythical genre such as avoiding cliches and overused tropes.


Ancient Greece still has a fighting chance

Despite the fact that Ancient Greece has declined in popularity within films, video games and even television does not mean that it is forgotten in other mediums. Ancient Greece is still thriving within the iGaming world with Playtech’s Age of the Gods franchise being one of the biggest slot series out there.

Age of the Gods: Gods of Storms remains one of the most popular games within the iGaming world and there are constantly new titles released each month that are inspired by Ancient Greece. Whilst the popularity of Ancient Greece has waned within other mediums, it remains strong within the iGaming world.

As for films and other mediums, there could be a resurgence of Ancient Greece sometime in the future. Musicals were also popular during the golden age of cinema and have had a recent revival within the past few years with big films such as Tick, Tick Boom, Dear Evan Hansen and In The Heights from just 2021 alone.

People may have gotten slightly bored with the oversaturation of Ancient Greece but only time will tell to see if Ancient Greece has a revival like musicals did.

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