Ancient Greek civilizations originated in 2000 B. C. and lasted to about 300 B. C. their culture still impacts Western civilization. Also Greeks spread their ideas all over the world. They contributed significantly with the ideas of geometry, philosophy, government, sporting events, architecture, sculpture, drama, and more. All of this came about and reached new heights during Greece’s “Golden Age”. This age lasted for about 50 years. Today all of our lives are greatly affected and influenced from the lives of Greeks. Today in the Western civilizations they use a form of government called democracy. Doc 3) There is a fragment from Pericles’ Funeral Oration. It describes Athens’ governmental plan. A system of government called democracy, where more citizens participate and have more say. In direct democracy citizens rule directly not through representation. Part of Pericles’ plan for Athens was to increase the number of public officials with paid salaries and use direct democracy. Pericles plan for democracy was also for the poor to not be discriminated for social rankings. He also wanted the citizens to serve his country at any position on the social scale but you have to be a defined citizen.
Pericles once stated “…power is in the hands not of a minority but of the whole people”. Athens went through a period of time of power struggles between the rich and poor. Today there are many countries that use democracy as a form of government. During Athens “Golden Age” philosophy started to take over. A philosopher is a person who offers views or theories on profound questions in ethics, metaphysics, and logic. They were also known as “lovers of wisdom”. Philosophers taught through questioning about life, family, friends, and religion. Socrates, a philosopher that came about during the birth of philosophy.
He believed there was absolute standards existed for truth and justice. Socrates encouraged people to question their moral character and actions. For example, one of his most famous quotes was “The unexamined life is not worth living” (Doc1). At the age of 70 he was brought to trial for “corrupting the youth of Athens”. Government officials thought these ideas were radical, absurd, and dangerous. Socrates defended himself by forcing people to think for themselves. He had the decision to drink hemlock, a slow acting poison or tell the world that everything he said was a lie.
He chose the hemlock and died. His contribution became an important part of Western civilization, a lesson that taught people to think for themselves and to stand up for what they believe in. Aristotle lived from 384 to 322 B. C. He was a student of Plato. Aristotle opened a school in Athens called the Lyceum. He believed in studying how things originated to achieve the clearest view. Aristotle invented a method for arguing according to logic. Aristotle questioned the nature of the world and human belief. He applied this method to psychology, physics, and biology.
He believes that a life guided by human reason is superior to any other and that someone’s ability to reason distinguishes them from anyone else (Doc2). These ideas of human reasoning and standards for justice are still used in western civilization, therefore showing Greece’s influence and contribution. Another area of Greek achievement is theater. In ancient Greece plays became important. There were two kinds of plays written and performed, comedy and tragedy. A comedy back then usually made fun of a certain topic. A tragedy in ancient Greece usually dealt with a social or moral issue, or human suffering.
In a tragedy play a girl named Antigone goes against the king’s orders and buries her brother, who was killed while leading a rebellion (Doc 6) shows an example of a tragedy play. In this play many Greeks values were expressed which is the same purpose of the majority of western civilizations plays today which was to express certain values. It can easily be noted that all over the world is significantly impacted by ancient Greece. They made major development and advancements in the areas of math, science, philosophy, art, government, and architecture.