An Introduction to the Analysis and History of Western Civilization
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Western civilization, which is usually referred to as modern society is primarily composed of Western Europe and North America. The western way of life came about as a result of many different factors, but the key factor was through the assimilation of ancient cultures. The Greek and the Roman cultures are the two major cultures which influenced the growth of western civilization. Ancient Greece contributed to the western way of life through its golden age while Rome’s contribution was through its magnificent state and empire.
Western civilization is closely related to the ancient Greek civilization in very many ways. For instance, it is the Greeks who started the Olympic Games which are still in existence today. The Greeks are also the ones who developed the idea of an alphabet which is still in use in the present day. In addition, the idea of democracy was brought about by the Greeks who permitted ordinary people to participate in the running of their government and in the election of their leaders. Their trial chambers consisted of an actual jury which was made up of commoners. Ancient Greece was also the first to come up with the idea of paying laborers. The very first philosophers like Plato and Aristotle originated from Greece. These philosophers pioneered the way we presently view things and write literature. Great thinkers and writers such as Homer, who came up with the idea of writing poems also influenced the writing of what is now referred to as epic poetry. Nevertheless, it was the government of Greece itself that played the major role of influencing the western civilization (Gilbert, 34-45). Ancient Rome also influenced western civilization to a very great extent. For instance, the Romans came up with a law code which is similar to the ones that are being used by many countries today. They had a senate that consisted of the both the lower class and the upper-class people, similar to the ones that are in use by many countries in the contemporary world, plus other assemblies. It is also Rome which spread the use of Latin language which forms the basis of nearly all languages. The modern calendar is also a replica of the ancient Roman calendar. The spread of Christianity was also escalated by ancient Rome. In addition, the Romans invented a numeral system that is still in use today. These and many other things reveal that ancient Rome really impacted on western civilization.
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The architecture of both the ancient Greece and Rome also impacted heavily on western civilization. Apart from using bricks and glass for building, the Romans invented concrete which is an essential material that is used in building today. On the other hand, the Greeks used marble which is also in existence today. The invention of the column by the Greeks and the architectural shapes of the Romans are still in wide use today especially in the construction of capital and government buildings. The idea of making sculptors was also derived from the Greeks who used to make sculptors of their gods, animals and people. Western civilization also borrowed the idea of constructing great roads and sewers from the Romans. All these things have really influenced the way modern buildings and cities are constructed in the present-day world.
The US constitution and other common laws are influenced by the Pagan Romans and Saxons. The United States’ forefathers such as Jefferson, Adams and Madison structured the government of the US basing on Roman, Greek and Anglo-Saxon ideas together with the Enlightenment ideas. Since the Romans, the Greeks and the Anglo-Saxons practiced paganism, this means that the US government structure also derives from the ideas of paganism (Gilbert, 50-54). In conclusion, it is worth noting that the ancient Rome and Greek ideas left an enduring legacy on the whole world. Greek and Roman civilizations have helped to shape ideas in important fields of mathematics, science, architecture, philosophy, art and literature among others. Nevertheless, the greatest influence is on government and religion. Democracy and Christianity are the two major developments in modern history and their development is traced in Greece and Rome. Even though these mighty empires fell many years ago, they left a legacy that will stand forever.