|Further Reading||The 4 Most Important City-States Of Classical Greece|
For hundreds of years academics, world leaders, military generals, and businessmen have studied classical Greece because of its importance as the birthplace of western civilization. When you look at the ancient city-states of Athens, Sparta, Corinth, or Thebes you will see traces of our modern culture in them. Here is why that is.
Today Greece is called the birthplace of western civilization for three main reasons. First, classical Greece is seen as the birthplace of the concept of democratic government. Second, western civilization gets modern military tradition from the classical Greeks. Third, all western academic and cultural institutions stem from classical Greece. Simply put, western civilization was born in classical Greece.
Classical Greece lasted from the 6th-3rd century BC. This period was characterized by rising living standards, independent city-states, and a flourishing cultural and academic sector.
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Without further ado, here is why classical Greece is considered the birthplace of western civilization.
Classical Greece Is Seen As The Birthplace Of Modern Democratic Government
The first reason why classical Greece is seen as the birthplace of western civilization is because most historians attribute Greece as the creator of modern democracy.
The Greek city-state of Athens practiced a form of direct democracy where all male citizens above the age of 25 who held land could vote. These votes were weighed equally. Whichever action received the most votes would be performed by the state.
While Athenian democracy was not a true democracy by our definition it was one of the world’s first examples of a democracy in action. This form of government would last for several centuries and would lead to one of the largest and most prosperous city-states in classical Greece.
The ancient Romans would take Greek democratic models of government and incorporate portions of them into their own government. We can see examples of this from late Roman Republican politicians such as Cicero who argued for the use of natural law to form the basis of a government.
Democratic government would ultimately come to influence all modern governments today. During the modern era Greek democratic government would be molded into nations across the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Democracy is one of the main reasons why classical Greece is seen as the birthplace of western civilizations.
Modern Western Nations Get Their Military Tradition From Classical Greece
Another reason why classical Greece is seen as the birthplace of western civilization is because of the creation of western military tradition.
Classical Greece was known to use its military as a civic force that represented the citizenry body of the city-state. This in turn would create a culture of military/civic service that served to solidify the voting population of the state.
Military tradition has impacted western civilization tremendously. Today we can see nations across the world honoring members of the military. While classical Greece was not the first to do this it did create a military culture which still impacts us today.
A prime example of this can be seen in the legendary Spartan military. Unlike other classical era Greek city-states the Spartan military was professional soldiers. This meant that the Spartan soldier was a professional soldier and nothing else. Most other Greek city-states had civic militaries which were only mobilized during military operations.
Because Sparta had a permanent military it developed a strong tradition of military honor which helped grow its influence across classical Greece. A prime example of Spartan military influence can be seen in Herodotus’s account of the 300 Spartans fighting at the Battle of Thermopylae. This legendary last stand has forever impacted the development of modern culture and military tradition.
Today all modern nations have permanently standing militaries. These standing militaries serve two purposes; to defend the state and project influence. This is one of the major defining characteristics of the modern era.
As such one of the main reasons why classical Greece is considered the birthplace of western civilization is because of the creation of modern military tradition and theory.
All Modern Academic And Cultural Institutions Stem From Classical Greece
The final reason why classical Greece is considered the birthplace of western civilization is because all modern academic and cultural institutions stem from it.
The worlds first university was created in ancient Athens in 347 BC by Plato. This institution was paid for by the state and was responsible for pursuing knowledge and higher thought.
The purpose of Plato’s Academy was to create a place of higher learning that would train the Athenian population. This in turn would help to create better leaders that would position the Athenian state to become better then it was previously.
All academic institutions in the world stem from this idea. That education is a process for making better citizens of a nation. In turn these educated citizens are given higher places of authority within a society. Today this comes in the form of a higher salary and better quality of life.
This is why when you earn a degree from a modern academic institution it opens up more doors for advancement within society for you. As such one of the primary goals of parents is to push their children to pursue a higher education in modern society.
Further, classical Greece has also inspired western culture. Today when you think of classical Greece you think of white marble temples with massive statues. However, the culture of classical Greece also has minted coinage, sporting games, fresco paintings, and epic literature.
All of this Greek culture has come to heavily inspire our modern culture.
As such one of the primary reasons why classical Greece is called the birthplace of western civilization is because all modern academic and cultural institutions stem from it.
There you have it an entire article dedicated to the reason why classical Greece is considered the birthplace of western civilization.
Ancient and classical Greece is a fascinating subject. The region is home to some of the oldest cultures in the world and historians know very little about them. Prospective graduate students will find substantial research opportunities in subjects such as the Dorian invasion.
Here at The History Ace I strive to publish the best history articles on the internet. If you enjoyed this article then consider subscribing to the free newsletter and sharing around the web.
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