Custom «Western Civilizations» Essay Paper Sample
According to (Stearns 53) the term Western civilization is also referred to as the Western culture, that later become the European civilization. Stearns continues to use the term “Western Civilization” in broad to refer to the social norms, heritage, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and also artifacts. The term has emerged to be applied by many countries, the history of which is being termed strongly by the European immigrants, Americans and Australians. It is, however, not being restricted within the Western European countries. The Western culture is believed to have originated from the two sources, namely the classical period and the Greco-Roman era, and the latter was under the influence of Christianity. Therefore, we can formulate a thesis “Western Civilization” is a positive form of transition as we are going to see in this research paper how its improvements have led to its long-lasting existence as compared to the Greek culture.
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Western culture in Europe began from the Ancient Greece before it was adopted by the Ancient Rome, which means it was a form of the dominant culture. It was further adopted by many European countries and started spreading in the European empires. The process of spreading brought about a mixture of the European ways of life, which were later named the European culture. The European culture then developed with different range of complex philosophies namely, the Christian, secular humanism, and also the medial scholasticism. Rational thinking in this culture developed a long time ago and its formation involved the experiments on enlightenment, science, democracy, naturalism, and socialism. As a result of this global connection, the European cultures than grew to be an all-inclusive trend to urge, adopt, and adapt that finally influenced the other cultural trends in Europe (Thornton 42).
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The Ancient Greece later became a separate nation with different units. Greek peninsula had enormous mountain terrains that made travelling and communication with this country more difficult. The local communities began to form their own political units, also known as the city-states and finally developed into their own governments. Such a separation made the Greek culture last for a shorter period as compared to the Roman culture. More and more democratic movements developed in Athens during periods of political unrest. Trying to resolve these conflicts, the rulers allowed the citizens to take part in the decision making issues that affected the affairs of the country.
The Athens government had three bodies namely the Assembly, the Council of 500 and the People’s Court. The Assembly was made by all citizens of Athens and met regularly to discuss the issues that affected the aspects of the Athenian life. The Council of 500, on the other hand, had the responsibility of setting the agenda to be discussed by the Assembly and could also issue its own decrees. The final part of a government body, The People’s Court, listened to various cases and gave judgments. These democracy activities in the Ancient Greece were difficult to understanding since they had two different aspects, participation and eligibility. All citizens were participants and the eligibility of political rights was restricted. People ended up having different interests and preferences that led to the Great conflicts in the Greek land.
The Romans, on the other hand, created a form of government that elected officials to govern and manage the state activities. Such form of government was known as a republic, in contrast to the democratic government of Greece. The Roman Republic did not have a written constitution but had a complex set of unwritten laws and some traditions that defined its political structure. The dominant political body in the Roman Republic had three parts namely, the Council, the Senate and Assembly. The Council was the highest in ranking that shared the civil and military power. In the Roman context, only men were allowed to participate in the government activities and women were totally excluded (Burzun 62).
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The Senate was responsible for giving advice to the government. It majorly consisted of the 300 most influential men, who controlled the financial and the foreign policies but could not make laws; it instead issued the decrees, which were later voted in by the Centuriate Assembly. The Senate was so strong and influential that most of its decrees were approved and could also last for life without replacement. The Assembly, on the other hand, dealt majorly with administering disciplines and enacted the legislation activities. The members of the Assembly also did not vote individually, but as groups, and more authority was given to the wealthier classes which, as a result, weakened the poorer Roman citizens. The leadership in the Roman culture is hereditary, and since the poor communities are weaker, there are no cases of rebellious activities; it is another reason of the long-lasting existence of this culture.
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Looking at the economic activities, ancient Greece was much simpler and smaller in proportions as compared to the current modern economies. The agriculture sector played a key role and that is why economy became more prominent as more ways of getting the items were discovered. Most farms were covered with olives and grapes, but the farming activities were labor intensive, which made some people get involved into the trade activities, since the foods produced on the farms could not satisfy the growing populations. There were many goods traded that led to more adoption of the new cultures. Adopting of the new techniques could have led to the erosion of the ancient Greece culture (Hanson and John 18).
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The Roman culture was, on the other hand, simpler than the current modern economies. Agriculture was the main activity but people involved themselves into extra activities such as tool making, cloth making and furniture making. Trade was not hugely popular since the majority of the required needs were found locally. The farmers eventually ventured more into the farming activities, hence creating a surplus in the food market. As a result, people learned to make their livings in different ways such as pottery, metal melting and producing of luxury goods. As a result, the Romans started exporting the surplus to other nations through trade and their business partners became dependent on them. Thus, the Roman Empire gained more value since it was respected by their trading partners. As a result, other nations started compete with the Romans, hence leading to the longest lifespan of this culture as compared to the Greek one (Duran and Bonnie70).
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The Greek and Roman cultures have had lasting impacts on the modern society especially in the political perspective. The ancient Greek culture focused more on the democratic government while the Roman culture focused more on the republican leadership. The two ideals of democracy and republicanism then influenced the Western world, especially the 18th century movement that was called Enlightenment. Democracy is the best way for any state, but there are high chances of rebellious activities to occur, hence many modern states still practice the republican types of leadership for the peaceful living environments. Thus, it finally became evident why the Roman culture existed longer than the Greek culture.