The Influence of Ancient Greece on Western Civilization

Topics: Ancient Rome, Western culture, Ancient Greece Pages: 3 (937 words) Published: March 30, 2008
Amongst their numerous accomplishments, the ancient Greeks are credited with inventing competitive athletics, drama, democracy, oratory, rhetoric, biology, zoology, and the atomic theory. Several ancient Greek concepts have since been applied in civilizations throughout much of Western history. Greek principles in literature and drama, as well as those in art and government, are thus said to have had a continuing impact on people in countless phases of history. Certain themes in literature and drama originated from Greek authors and are believed to have influenced much of the world. Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey are the first epic poems in recorded history. These poems became popular throughout Mediterranean societies and are said to have caused the Romans to want an epic poem for themselves. Virgil soon wrote the Aeneid primarily because of the success of Homer’s poems (Knox 14). After the cessation of Greek civilization, Greek writings still affected various cultures. The study of Greek classics was a key element of the Renaissance, and ancient Greek writings were used in ideological wars of the Victorian era. Furthermore, reformation leaders in many countries considered Greek literature a favorite study (Knox 15-18). In addition to being credited with advancements in literature, the ancient Greeks are credited with the invention of the first plays. These originated from musical presentations of Greek liturgy at religious festivals. In a similar way, medieval dramas were based on Medieval Latin liturgy (Cahill 122). Usage of a stage and scenic backdrop were additional Greek inventions used by scores of later playwrights. As a whole, Greek literature and drama affected the world in several ways. Therefore, modern society would probably not be what it is today if it were not for the Greek poems, narratives, and plays that have impacted society at numerous time periods. In addition to affecting literature and drama, the Greeks had an impact on the...

Cited: Cahill, Thomas. Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter. 1st ed. New York: Nan. A. Telese, 2003.
Knox, Bernard. The Oldest Dead White European Males and Other Reflections on the Classics. 1st ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1993.
Spurling, Hilary. “Matisse and His Models.” Smithsonian October 2005: 72-80.
Wood, Michael, Bruce Cole, and Adelheid Gealt. Art of the Western World: From Ancient Greece to Post-Modernism. 1st ed. New York: Summit Books, 1989.
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