For this article’s equivalent regarding the East, see Eastern world. Western culture, throughout most of its history, has been nearly equivalent to Christian culture, and a large portion of the population of the Western hemisphere can be described as cultural Christians. Plato, along media culture and society pdf Socrates and Aristotle, helped to establish Western philosophy. The Beatles, the best-selling band in history, continue to influence Western culture in advances in music and fashion.
Ancient Greece is considered the birthplace of many elements of Western culture, with the world’s first democratic system of government and major advances in philosophy, science and mathematics. Greece was followed by Rome, which made key contributions in law, government, engineering and political organization. The West as a geographical area is unclear and undefined. More often a country’s ideology is what will be used to categorize it as a Western society.
There is some disagreement about what nations should or should not be included in the category and at what times. Many parts of the Eastern Roman Empire are considered Western today but were Eastern in the past. West contrast is sometimes criticized as relativistic and arbitrary. As Europe discovered the wider world, old concepts adapted.
The Greeks contrasted themselves to their Eastern neighbors, such as the Trojans in Iliad, setting an example for later contrasts between east and west. Concepts of what is the West arose out of legacies of the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire. Western culture is neither homogeneous nor unchanging. As with all other cultures, it has evolved and gradually changed over time. Nevertheless, it is possible to follow the evolution and history of the West, and appreciate its similarities and differences, its borrowings from, and contributions to, other cultures of humanity.
Europe and the soft, slavish Middle-Easterners. The Maison Carrée in Nîmes, one of the best-preserved Roman temples. It is a mid-sized Augustan provincial temple of the theocratic Imperial cult of the Empire. The Roman Empire at its greatest extent.
For about five hundred years, the Roman Empire maintained the Greek East and consolidated a Latin West, but an East-West division remained, reflected in many cultural norms of the two areas, including language. Although Rome, like Greece, was no longer democratic, the idea of democracy remained a part of the education of citizens. Eventually, the empire became increasingly split into a Western and Eastern part, reviving old ideas of a contrast between an advanced East, and a rugged West. Greek civilization came in contact with Jewish civilization. Two main symbols of the medieval Western civilization on one picture: the gothic St. After the fall of Rome, much of Greco-Roman art, literature, science and even technology were all but lost in the western part of the old empire.
However, this would become the centre of a new West. Europe fell into political anarchy, with many warring kingdoms and principalities. Much of the basis of the post-Roman cultural world had been set before the fall of the Empire, mainly through the integration and reshaping of Roman ideas through Christian thought. Medieval Christianity created the first modern universities.
In a broader sense, the Middle Ages, with its fertile encounter between Greek philosophical reasoning and Levantine monotheism was not confined to the West but also stretched into the old East. The rediscovery of the Justinian Code in Western Europe early in the 10th century rekindled a passion for the discipline of law, which crossed many of the re-forming boundaries between East and West. Thomas Aquinas, a Catholic philosopher of the Middle Ages, revived and developed natural law from ancient Greek philosophy. In the 14th century, starting from Italy and then spreading throughout Europe, there was a massive artistic, architectural, scientific and philosophical revival, as a result of the Christian revival of Greek philosophy, and the long Christian medieval tradition that established the use of reason as one of the most important of human activities. The discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus.
From the late 15th century to the 17th century, Western culture began to spread to other parts of the world through explorers and missionaries during the Age of Discovery, and by imperialists from the 17th century to the early 20th century. Coming into the modern era, the historical understanding of the East-West contrast—as the opposition of Christendom to its geographical neighbors—began to weaken. As religion became less important, and Europeans came into increasing contact with far away peoples, the old concept of Western culture began a slow evolution towards what it is today. Coinciding with the Age of Enlightenment was the scientific revolution, spearheaded by Newton. The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. The steam engine, made of iron and fueled primarily by coal, propelled the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain and the world.
In particular, average income and population began to exhibit unprecedented sustained growth. Some cultural and artistic modalities are characteristically Western in origin and form. While dance, music, visual art, story-telling, and architecture are human universals, they are expressed in the West in certain characteristic ways. In Western dance, music, plays and other arts, the performers are only very infrequently masked. There are essentially no taboos against depicting a god, or other religious figures, in a representational fashion. Ludwig van Beethoven composed many Masses and religious works, including his Ninth Symphony Ode to Joy.
In music, Catholic monks developed the first forms of modern Western musical notation in order to standardize liturgy throughout the worldwide Church, and an enormous body of religious music has been composed for it through the ages. This led directly to the emergence and development of European classical music, and its many derivatives. The symphony, concerto, sonata, opera, and oratorio have their origins in Italy. Jan van Eyck, among other renaissance painters, made great advances in oil painting, and perspective drawings and paintings had their earliest practitioners in Florence. Photography, and the motion picture as both a technology and basis for entirely new art forms were also developed in the West. The ballet is a distinctively Western form of performance dance.