Monday, June 16, 2008

Greek influence on western culture.

Hello Everyone,

I haven't written anything in quite some time. I was sitting down and thinking as I usually do :) and I started thinking about Greece. I often think of the many places I would love to travel to and Greece is one of them. Well I am always fascinated by it's people and by it's culture and history. A history that has had major influences on our culture today than any other a matter of fact..they have had more influence on the world today than any other. Lets start with one of the now most famous battles in history made popular by the movie 300. There is some fact to that movie and some extremes also. One fact is yes there were 300 Spartans..what they don't tell you is there were about 1,000 Thespians from Thespia there who died right along with them. Well...the battle was called the battle of Thermopily I may be incorrect in the spelling but at this point it's not important.
Greece and it's influence
Lets start with history its self. Herodotus was the first historian and was actually responsible for the detailed battle of the 300 Spartan war. Herodotus wrote in something he called his "histories". Now during the Persian war with Greece. Herodotus wrote something about Persian messengers that we actually use today in our culture..see if you can guess what it's used in today. "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." Figure it out? If you guessed the U.S. Post Office your right. If you guessed Fed Ex I'm going to slap you! What Herodotus was referring to were the Persian messengers to king Xerxes. Herodotus is considered the father of history. History in Greek means "Investigations"

Greece is probably more responsible for the way we entertain ourselves more than you know. They were the originators of dramatic and comedic plays. The Greeks also invented tragedy, the basis of modern plays, skits, and movies. Comedy made its appearance with Aristophanes. Aristophanes was a Greek playwright and only wrote comedies. The Greeks had many plays. The Greeks had two main types of plays Tragedy and a comedy. A tragedy was a drama with themes about love, hate, war, and/or betrayal. A comedy was a way to get political messages to the public, or just to "poke fun" at a certain group, or class of people. They were the first practitioners of mathematics. The creation of democracy and republics came from the Greeks philosophy on political science. It was the Greeks who actually thought and came up with the first siege engines, the first alarm clock and many other things.

Greek influence on medicine
One of the first physicians Hippocrates was known as the "Father of Medicine." He was the first to do a treatise on human anatomy and bodily ailments. He also wrote an oath, known as the Hippocratic Oath, which lays out ethics for physicians and which is still in use today. Greek culture spread throughout the Mediterranean region, laid the foundation for the Roman Empire, and later, growing, Romans carried on much of the Greek culture upon Europe, adding to it the Roman system of law.

Greek Politics and American Politics.
The Greeks affected many of our constitutional rights. In both the US democracy and the Athenian democracy political power can be exercised by citizens. An example of the political power to be exercised by the citizen in Athens was that laws were voted on and proposed directly by assembly of all citizens. Both the US and the Athenian government had the Legislative branch, the Executive branch, and the Judicial branch. The Legislative branch passes the laws, the Executive branch carries out the laws, and the Judicial branches had trials with paid jurors. In the US most of the democratic theories that the government uses are either identical or very similar to the Ancient Athenians theories.

Greek sports
Greeks affected sports in western civilization. Myron's famous sculpture, the Discus Thrower is an example of a kind of sport in ancient Greek times that resembled modern day javelin mixed with Frisbee. Greece was the first civilization to incorporate sports and make it a tradition. Greece was the hosts of the first Olympics, the sports that this involved were Running, Chariot racing, wrestling, boxing, javelin, and many more sports. The only difference that back then they competed for honor and glory now they just bite your ear off for a belt made out of gold..or an elbow to the face to win a gold basket ball trophy.

The Art of Greece.
The fine arts of Greece affect western civilization. The discus thrower and most other Greek sculptures are emotionless, and usually capture the serenity of motion, and were always proportional, this form of art was known as classical art. Many sculptures and paintings of presidents, and high ranking military leaders are emotionless. The Greeks believed that the emotionless art showed a sense of power. So see...naked people aren't all that bad.

There are many instances...The battle of Marathon..against the Persians. After the Persians were defeated a runner was sent to Athens from Marathon which was about 24 to 26 miles and when he got to Athens he yelled "Nike!" meaning victory. And that is why Marathons today are the distance they are and those shoes on your feet actually mean "Victory" :)

Well I'm sure theres more to talk about and maybe I'll post some more..but I hope you enjoyed our journey into history. :) Take care.



Anonymous said...

Greek thought was and still is a major influence on western civilization. It's difficult to notice, but people don't think along the same lines of logic every place in the world. The word 'virtue' doesn't translate well in every language. It's often more along the lines of "non-sin" or something similar, which is quite far from the idea of it.

The mere idea of the separation of mind and body is quite greek. In may parts of the world, if you criticize someone's idea, it's viewed as an insult to the individual, just like calling them fat or stupid. This one example alone has major effects on politics and culture. Add in virtues like 'truth' and 'justice' and it get's much more complicated.

As well, Christianity would be a useless savage religion if greek/roman virtues and ideals weren't meshed into it, and it was for 100s of years. It was quite savage and nasty before the Renaissance, during which greek culture and thought was revived. Look how fast we developed after that.

Western civilization is basically Greek/Roman civilization.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I found your post quite helpful for my essay.

Whoever is using the offensive language, GROW UP! There is so much more to life than living in your parent's basement playing video games all day!

Anonymous said...

I have to agree, this helped me alot catagorize what the greeks did, thanks!!

Anonymous said...

What do you think were the negative influences greeks had on western civilization

waleska said...

thank you go much! this helped me alot with my project!!

bewaregirls101 said...

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Anonymous said...

Thank you, alot of this info will help me with a project, deffinitely will be citing this.


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