Western Civilization: Beginnings to Present
Although Western culture has been defined by both Christian and secular values across the course of time, the West’s primary goal is to achieve economic supremacy, using Christian and secular philosophies, as well as colonization and technological innovation as means to achieve this goal.
Of the features that define western culture, the most unique is democracy. Originating in ancient Athens, democracy created a sense of pride in one’s government which, in later centuries, would evolve into nationalism. In Athens, democracy allowed the people to have a say in their government, furthering the unification of their empire and thus strengthening it. Out of this democratic world came many of the world’s oldest philosophers, including Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates who challenged the world around them and attempted to rationalize it with mathematics and even proposed the idea of elements. It was this inquisitiveness and curiosity that would be harnessed on a much greater scale in the Enlightenment, which would allow Europe to flourish. As their Greek neighbors had before them, Rome too adopted a democracy in order to unite their people after a tyrant king Tarquinius and prevent placing the control of their nation into the hands of one man, which would eventually allow Rome to expand and connect with the trading routes of the silk roads. Even after the roman republic, Julius Caesar, as the first emperor of Rome, would do any means necessary to extend the borders of Rome as far as he could to obtain profit from war. This suggests that Romans were more concerned of the profits to be made by the war than the democratic beliefs that defined their government. The romans were also tolerant of many religions as long as they paid taxes for keeping their religions suggesting that money and riches was more important to them than having everyone follow one religion. This was certainly true as Christians emerged in Rome, upsetting the...
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