The notion of "Western" thought and culture began with Classical Greece. Officially, it was kicked off in 1500 BC, but western culture was interrupted during the Greek Dark Ages (about 1100-900 BC). It then truly began to soar during the Classical period beginning around 900 BC, when Greece would enter its most glorious era, laying the foundation for dominant nations and empires in the centuries and millennia ahead.
Western thought and culture traces its roots to Classical Greece philosophy, which is based upon reason and inquiry pertaining to a variety of disciplines, including science, technology, literature, law, politics, economics, psychology, ethics, art, etc.
Rise of Greece Through Favored Geopolitical Position
How did Greece become the epicenter of Western thought and culture? The answer begins with its geopolitical position. The Greek city-states dotted the northeastern coasts of the Mediterranean Sea, exposing it to the influence of the advanced civilizations which cradled the eastern end of the sea, including (at various times) the Phoenicians, Egyptians, Hittites, Assyrians, Persians and Mesopotamians.
The Mediterranean Sea was the "information highway" of its time, especially at the eastern section, where three continents converged together, accessible to one another through the across the water. Civilizations thrived in this region thanks to its fertile lands, which supported a collection of large populations. This gave rise to a collection of diverse societies, which became sophisticated through the accelerated exchange of ideas.
Greek city-states (a sovereign political entity consisting of a city and surrounding lands) were not only in relatively close proximity to these bastions of advanced thought, but their location also served as excellent trading ports. This provided ample opportunity for the Greek peoples to be opened to a diversity of ideas and... [continues]
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