DBQ: Ancient Greek Civilization There were many great ancient civilizations that set the foundation for modern western culture to develop; yet none influenced our modern-day civilization more than the Greeks. The ancient Greeks were revolutionaries in many fields, such as science, philosophy, governmental structure, and warfare tactics. Without Greek influence, the world today would lack some of its greatest pieces of art, philosophy, and human values. The ancient Greeks revolutionized human thought and philosophy, changed mankind’s values toward human life, and introduced art and culture that exemplifies human creativity of the era.
Greeks revolutionized human thought and philosophy. They were the first civilization to embrace the idea that humans can reason, and self-examination is important for mankind if man wishes to better understand himself and his world. For instance, one of Greece’s most famous philosophers, Socrates, stated: “The unexamined life is not worth living,” (Document 1). Socrates is one of the most renowned philosophers in all of ancient Greece. His statement is revolutionary because it demonstrates how mankind must examine his own life to make it meaningful, a new theory in the world.
Previously, man accepted the notion that you were born in your place and must accept whatever your ruler and/or priest tells you believe, but Socrates believed that man must examine himself to truly better their own lives. Another revolutionary thought of the Greeks was made in the fields of mathematics. For example a Greek mathematician named Euclid developed the theorem: “If you straight lines cut one another, the vertical, or opposite, angles shall be equal,” (Document 5). Euclid is a prime example of how Greeks advanced in the mathematical world, pushing human thought to new limits.
The Greeks were very influential on our modern concepts of mathematics, laying the foundation for advances in all scientific fields. Even though the Greeks set the foundation for modern sciences and philosophy, their most important contribution in this area is undoubtedly their appreciation and respect for human reason. Greeks took great pride in their ability to reason. For instance, another famous Greek philosopher, Aristotle, stated: “Since human reason is the most godlike part of human ature, a life guided by human reason is superior to any other… For man, this is the life of reason, since the faculty of reason is distinguished characteristics of human beings,” (Document 2). Aristotle believed the most important characteristic of human nature is the ability to reason. The Greeks were the first use logic to solve their problems. They used their logic to understand the natural world and question authority, using logic to make decisions best for themselves and their polis. The Greeks revolutionized human thought, setting the foundation for possible advancement in our western civilization.
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