Greek Civilization Essay, Research Paper
The Greek culture had vast effects on the formation of every culture thereafter. Had Greek culture never existed the art styles, philosophies, literature, and governments of most of cultures that followed would have been extremely different. One of the major areas that Greek culture effected was philosophy. The Greeks were the first people to think in a systemic manner and categorize things according to logic and reasoning rather than emotion and faith. Many groups of thinkers developed in Greek culture. One such group was the materialists. Materialists explain the world in terms of the elements of earth, wind, fire , and water. Herakleitos was a famous materialist. He concluded that a person cannot step in the same river twice because the water flows downstream and even if one were to follow the water downstream it would still be a different bank. Another group of thinkers that arose out of Greek culture are the atomists. The atomists, who were initially led by Democritus, believed that the world was made up of two basic elements, atoms and voids. Atomist theory had a great influence on the scientists who later developed the modern atomic theory. Pthyagorus, however, may be the most important thinker of Greek times. His mathematical theories of geometry had a vast effect on modern culture and knowledge. Another area that was greatly effected was government. The Greeks were the first civilization to develop a democracy. Cleisthenes divided Athens into smaller neighborhoods called demes. Each of these neighborhoods were guaranteed spots on the Council of Five Hundred. The representatives for these spots were chosen at random forma list of qualified citizens. The Council elected ten generals to run the city. The commander-in-chief, also elected annually, was the head of the generals. Without this first democracy, the idea of democracy may have been left undiscovered.
One example of a specific culture that was shaped from Greek culture is the Roman culture. The influence if Greek culture on roman culture was inevitable, especially since the Italian peninsula was occupied by the Greeks during the seventh century. In fact, Roman imperialism helped to spread Greek culture more effectively and even farther than Alexandar the Great. The Romans spread the influences of Greek art and literature as far as Britain, Africa, Spain, and India. Fearing that their fate would be similar to that of Athens, the Romans intensely studied Greek history. Their ultimate goal was to learn from it and try to avoid making the same mistakes. The Romans also took the Greek democracy and expanded it, creating the field of civil law which became the basis for many modern legal systems. The Romans also borrowed their architectural style from the Greeks, having many of their temples strongly resembling those found in Greek culture. Although the effects of Greek art, philosophy and government can easily be seen in many of the cultures that followed, it is impossible to see its full effects. Many cultures may have developed extremely differently had Greek culture never existed. You cannot put a measurement on the extent to which Greek culture influenced future cultures. Greek culture may have indirectly influenced even more cultures. For example, since Greek culture influenced Roman culture, every culture that Roman culture influenced was indirectly influenced by Greek culture as well. Therefore, Greek culture indirectly effected the formation of a vast number of cultures.