Greek Influence on Society

Topics: Ancient Greece, Democracy, Ancient Rome Pages: 5 (1509 words) Published: February 20, 2014
Greek Influence on Today’s Society
In this day in age, people are obsessed with the most advanced technology, the most modern style, and fair government. Little does most of the population know, that the influence and knowledge of the ancient Greeks has greatly shaped science and technology, architecture, and government.

The knowledge and the findings of the ancient Greeks are the building blocks of the science we have today. It is understood that science is just math with a purpose, so the Greeks have made a massive impact on science due to their advancements in math. They were the mathematicians that devised formulas and practices that are still used to solve problems. This includes such things as the Pythagorean Theorem, Pi, and other advancements in the realm of measurements (Bellos). These advancements are some of the most common forms of math used today. I asked Douglas Cutler, math teacher at Pella High School, what he thought of the influence of the Greeks on math today, and he said, “The greeks can be credited with just about all the geometry you learn at the high school level. Another significant contribution that the ancient Greeks made was greater understanding of irrational numbers.There were many scholars that contributed to this movement, Pythagoras, Archimedes, and Euclid (Bellos). These gentlemen were very important to the future knowledge and advancement to math and science. “It isn't that the mathematics the ancient Greeks discovered has changed, only that we continue to discover more and more of what lays beneath what they discovered before us,” Cutler says.

Math is just a very small part of sciences, and there were many more scholars and advancements made in this field of discovery. A significant part of ancient Greek society was astronomy. This is one of the most major gains in knowledge from the Greeks. Astronomy was used to calculate distances, directions, and even used in some of ancient Greek mythology. Hipparchus was one gentleman who is known for his advancements and knowledge in astronomy. He developed an astrolabe, which uses stars and geometry to calculate angles. Another thing that was presented as a forthcoming idea, was the idea of Earth having its own orbit. Although the idea was not new, it was made slightly more popular by the astronomer Aristarchus. Of course this idea wasn’t accepted until much much later in history, it makes a presence here in ancient Greece.

The final science that the Greek knowledge influenced is medicine. Medicinal practices were first seen in Homer’s, Iliad (Demand). The Iliad shows some significant knowledge by Homer, as he mentions wounds taken by soldiers, and he can clearly identify body parts (Demand). He also shows what wounds are fatal, like shots to the stomach, chest, head and then goes on to say what wounds cause pain, but aren’t lethal, like arms and legs (Demand). This is only the beginning though. As time moves along, we see more and more information being sought after by the Greeks. The father of medicine comes into play at this time, Hippocrates. Hippocrates has improved today’s technology, because he credited with being the first to turn medicine away from the gods (Greeks). This has a huge impact on the world today because there are very few people that are polytheistic, or believe that worshiping the gods/God will heal a person. He used physical observations to diagnose his patients. He is author of the hippocratic oath, although the wording is different, which is still used by practicing medical personnel today (Greeks). Overall, the Greeks are credited with being the developers of modern science.

Moving away from science the next major Greek influence we see in todays society is in their form of government. The Athenians were the first civilization that used a form of government that did not include a king; democracy. The term democracy, when broken down into its Greek roots literally means people power (Demos-People,...

Cited: "Athenian Democracy." Athenian Democracy. Princeton University, n.d. Web. 03 Oct. 2013.
Camp, John McKesson, and Craig A.. Mauzy. “The Athenian Agora.” 5th ed. Princeton
(N.J.): American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2010
Cartledge, Paul. “Ancient Greece.” Great Britain: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.
Cartledge, Paul. "The Democratic Experience." Bbc.co.uk. BBC, 17 Feb. 2011. Web. 3 Oct.
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