Is the Ancient Greek contribution to Western civilization overstated?

By: | Post date: 2016-12-30 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Ancient Greek, Culture

Whensoever you get a silly-looking premiss, think harder. 🙂

It’s a very good question, Habib le toubib.

I mean, in one way, of course not, Western civilisation started with the Greeks, and throughout the renaissance, it kept checking back with the Greeks, to see whether they were Doing It Right.

But on the other hand, Western Civilisation as rebooted in the Renaissance wasn’t a direct continuation of the Greeks, and the extent to which Greek civilisation determined what happened in the West can be overstated, if you get too romantic. Things got filtered and reinterpreted and recontextualised. It is still a culture created in Western Europe.

Opera is not a carbon copy on what was happening on the stage in the Dionysia festivals. Representative democracy is not really what the Athenians were doing in the Ecclesia. Lots of our vocabulary is Greek, but we communicate things with that vocabulary that the Greeks never conceived of.

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