Have you ever wondered how we got things like culture, democracy, philosophy, theatre, etc.?
Today, we are looking at the history and roots of our civilisation, examining where we got the cornerstones of our way of living and where they came from.
If you’d like to know more about the roots of western civilisation, check out the rest of our article below.
Where Did Western Civilization Start?
Western civilisation (as we know it today) first reared its head in Europe. In fact, the first civilisation emerged in the Mediterranean region around Greece and Rome. These civilisations were built on the foundations of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.
Eventually, our civilisation took shape around the medieval era in Europe, with Christianity, feudalisms and economic dynamics coming to the fore. Eventually, this type of civilisation would stretch its legs and make its way to North and South America, Australasia, and many other parts of the world, achieving economic power that dwarfed any other civilisations in the past.
As science and technological innovation redefined the way people interacted with one another and performed jobs, our civilisation evolved a series of personal freedoms, increasing efficiency and making our lives easier in the process. As such, western civilisation quickly grew into something entirely different to any other civilization that had come before.
What Did We Get from the Ancient Greeks?
Despite growing into the world we know today, western civilisation has maintained some of the key aspects of ancient Greek and Roman civilisations. For example, ancient Greece gave us unique things like mathematics, philosophy, science, art, and democracy.
In fact, democracy has been one of the biggest influences on cultures worldwide, with many countries being shaped by their desire for democracy and the opportunity for people to make their own decisions about their homeland (French and American Revolutions come to mind).
Did the Greeks Change Our Way of Thinking?
Ancient Greek thinkers are responsible for some of our culture’s most innovative concepts and constructs. For example, mathematicians still use Pythagoras’ theories to describe and measure shapes.
Aristotle developed new experiments to study the intricate nature of plants and animals, developing our understanding of the world we live in – modern scientists still use his techniques to understand the wonders of life.
Even historians take their practices from the ancient Greeks. Historians like Herodotus wrote the history of their people, using eyewitness reports to create a valid and reputable text. Meanwhile, the likes of Socrates and Plato are widely considered as the fathers of modern philosophy, asking questions that continue to intrigue and confound key thinkers today.
The ancient Greeks have even influenced the way we tell stories. Ancient Greek plays continue to form the basis of modern storytelling, with many key themes and plot structures creating the foundation of the most popular movies, books, and television shows. So next time you go to the cinema, you may watch a film that’s inspired by the Greek plays of old.
As you can see, we owe a lot of modern culture to the ancient Greeks. Take a look around – you never know what has been inspired by this Mediterranean civilisation in your day-to-day life.