Western Civilization from the Greeks to the 17th Century
The Roman RepublicThe Roman EmpireThe Middle AgesThe RenaissanceThe ReformationThe Seventeenth Century


The Greeks

The Greeks were simple farmers and herders when the first great cities arose in Mesopotamia and the Egyptians built the pyramids. They didn't invent civilization. They didn't even invent their own alphabet, just adapted writing systems developed by others (first the Minoans of Crete, later the Phoenicians). But from the barbaric splendor of the Mycenaean warriors who fought the Trojan War in the 1200s BC to the cultural wonders of Athens in the age of Pericles and the vast multiethnic melting pot of the Hellenistic kingdoms, the achievements of the Greeks have directly shaped all of later European civilization as none of their predecessors did. Although much of their society is alien to us, we can't properly understand our own world without appreciating the contributions of Greek civilization.

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last updated: June 28, 1997
© copyright 1997 Beth Nachison (nachison@scsu.ctstateu.edu)