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Western culture, also known as Western civilization, Occidental culture, or Western society, is the
heritage Heritage may refer to: History and society * In history History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past. Events occurring before the invention of writing systems are conside ...
of
social norms Social norms are shared standards of acceptance, acceptable behavior by groups. Social norms can both be informal understandings that govern the behavior of members of a society, as well as be codified into wikt:rule, rules and laws. Social norm ...
,
ethical value In ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong action (philosophy), behavior".''Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy'"Ethics"/ref> The field of ...
s, traditional customs,
belief systems A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconscio ...
,
political system In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such ...
s, artifacts and
technologies Technology ("science of craft", from Greek , ''techne'', "art, skill, cunning of hand"; and , '' -logia'') is the sum of Art techniques and materials, techniques, skills, Scientific method, methods, and Business process, processes used in the ...

technologies
of the
Western world The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various regions, nations and state (polity), states, depending on the context, most often consisting of the majority of Europe, Northern America, and Australasia.
. The term also applies beyond Europe to countries and cultures whose histories are strongly connected to Europe by immigration, colonization, or influence. For example, Western culture includes countries in the Americas and Oceania. Western culture is most strongly influenced by
Greek philosophy Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, at a time when the inhabitants of ancient Greece were struggling to repel devastating invasions from the east. Greek philosophy continued throughout the Hellenistic period The Hellenistic p ...
,
Roman law Roman law is the law, legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of jurisprudence, from the Twelve Tables (c. 449 BC), to the ''Corpus Juris Civilis'' (AD 529) ordered by Eastern Roman emperor J ...
, and
Christian culture Christian culture generally includes all the cultural practiceCultural practice is the manifestation of a culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societ ...
. Ancient Greece is considered the birthplace of many elements of Western culture, including the development of a democratic system of government and major advances in philosophy, science and mathematics. The expansion of Greek culture into the
Hellenistic The Hellenistic period spans the period of Mediterranean history The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, We ...

Hellenistic
world of the
eastern Mediterranean Eastern Mediterranean is a loose definition of the eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current Chinese airline based in Shanghai *Eastern Air, former name of Zambia Skyways *Eastern Air Lines, a defunct Amer ...

eastern Mediterranean
led to a synthesis between Greek and
Near-East The Near East (Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Michael P. ...
ern cultures, and major advances in literature, engineering, and science, and provided the culture for the expansion of early Christianity and the Greek
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
. This period overlapped with and was followed by
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...
, which made key contributions in law, government, engineering and political organization. Western culture is characterized by a host of artistic, philosophic, literary and
legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundari ...
themes and traditions. Christianity, primarily the
Roman Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Roman Catholic Church
, and later
Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an , based on the and of . It is the , with about 2.5 billion followers. Its adherents, known as , make up a majority of the population in , and believe that is the , whose comin ...
has played a prominent role in the shaping of Western civilization since at least the 4th century,Caltron J.H Hayas, ''Christianity and Western Civilization'' (1953), Stanford University Press, p. 2: That certain distinctive features of our Western civilization—the civilization of western Europe and of America—have been shaped chiefly by Judaeo–Christianity, Catholic and Protestant.Jose Orlandis, 1993, "A Short History of the Catholic Church," 2nd edn. (Michael Adams, Trans.), Dublin:Four Courts Press, , preface, se

accessed 8 December 2014. p. (preface)
Thomas E. Woods Thomas Ernest Woods Jr. (born August 1, 1972) is an American author and libertarian Libertarianism (from french: libertaire, "libertarian"; from la, libertas, "freedom") is a political philosophy that upholds liberty as a core principle. Libe ...
and Antonio Canizares, 2012, "How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization," Reprint edn., Washington, D.C.: Regnery History, , se
accessed 8 December 2014. p. 1: "Western civilization owes far more to Catholic Church than most people—Catholic included—often realize. The Church in fact built Western civilization."
/ref> as did
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion ...
. A cornerstone of Western thought, beginning in
ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era wa ...
and continuing through the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
and
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
, is the idea of
rationalism In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, ...
in various spheres of life developed by
Hellenistic philosophy Hellenistic philosophy is the period of Western philosophy Western philosophy encompasses the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge ...
,
scholasticism Scholasticism was a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people ...
and
humanism Humanism is a philosophical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively. The meaning of the term ''humanism'' has fluctuated according to the successive intellectual movements which have ident ...
.
Empiricism In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical reality Reality is the sum or aggregate of all th ...
later gave rise to the
scientific method The scientific method is an empirical Empirical evidence for a proposition is evidence, i.e. what supports or counters this proposition, that is constituted by or accessible to sense experience or experimental procedure. Empirical evidence ...

scientific method
, the
scientific revolution The Scientific Revolution was a series of events that marked the emergence of modern science during the early modern period, when developments in History of mathematics#Mathematics during the Scientific Revolution, mathematics, History of phys ...

scientific revolution
, and the
Age of Enlightenment The Age of Enlightenment (also known as the Age of Reason or simply the Enlightenment); ger, Aufklärung, "Enlightenment"; it, L'Illuminismo, "Enlightenment"; pl, Oświecenie , "Enlightenment"; pt, Iluminismo, "Enlightenment"; es, link= ...
. Western culture continued to develop with the Christianisation of European society during the Middle Ages, the reforms triggered by the
Renaissance of the 12th century The Renaissance of the 12th century was a period of many changes at the outset of the High Middle Ages The High Middle Ages, or High Medieval Period, was the period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full sto ...
and 13th century under the influence of the Islamic world via and
Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demographi ...
(including the transfer of technology from the East, and Latin translations of Arabic texts on science and
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...
), and the
Italian Renaissance The Italian Renaissance ( it, Rinascimento ) was a period in Italian history The history of Italy covers the Ancient Period, the Middle Ages and the modern era. Since classical times, ancient Phoenicians, Magna Graecia, Greeks, Etruscan civi ...
as
Greek scholars Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor of ...
fleeing the fall of the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
after the Muslim conquest of Constantinople brought classical traditions and philosophy.
Medieval Christianity Christianity in the Middle Ages covers the history of Christianity The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion, Christian countries, and the Church with its various denominations, from the 1st century to the present. ...
is credited with creating the modern university,Rüegg, Walter: "Foreword. The University as a European Institution", in: ''A History of the University in Europe. Vol. 1: Universities in the Middle Ages'', Cambridge University Press, 1992, , pp. xix–xx the modern hospital system, scientific economics, and
natural law Natural law ( la, ius naturale, ''lex naturalis'') is a system of law based on a close observation of human nature Human nature is a concept that denotes the fundamental disposition A disposition is a quality of character, a habit A habit (or ...
(which would later influence the creation of
international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally recognized as binding between nation A nation is a community A community is a social unitThe term "level of anal ...
). Christianity played a role in ending practices common among
pagan Paganism (from classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin, Latin language recognized as a Literary language, literary standard language, standard by writers of the late Roman Republic and early Roman Empire. It was used from 75 BC ...

pagan
societies, such as human sacrifice, slavery,Chadwick, Owen p. 242. infanticide and polygamy.Hastings, p. 309. The globalization by successive
European colonial empires European, or Europeans, may refer to: In general * ''European'', an adjective referring to something of, from, or related to Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convent ...
spread European ways of life and European educational methods around the world between the 16th and 20th centuries. European culture developed with a complex range of philosophy, medieval scholasticism, mysticism and Christian and secular humanism. Rational thinking developed through a long age of change and formation, with the
experiments An experiment is a procedure carried out to support or refute a hypothesis A hypothesis (plural hypotheses) is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. For a hypothesis to be a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that on ...
of the Enlightenment and breakthroughs in the
sciences Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern science is a discovery as well as an invention. ...

sciences
. Tendencies that have come to define modern Western societies include the concept of political pluralism,
individualism Individualism is the Ethics, moral stance, political philosophy, ideology and social outlook that emphasizes the intrinsic worth of the individual. Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and to value independence and self- ...
, prominent
subcultures A subculture is a group of people within a culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, ...
or
counterculture A counterculture is a culture whose values and norms of behavior differ substantially from those of mainstream society, sometimes diametrically opposed to mainstream cultural mores.Eric Donald Hirsch. ''The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy''. Houg ...
s (such as
New Age New Age is a range of spiritual or religious Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religi ...
movements) and increasing cultural
syncretism Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs and various schools of thought A school of thought, or intellectual tradition, is the perspective of a group of people who share common characteristics of opinion or outlook of a philosophy, Lis ...
resulting from
globalization Globalization, or globalisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which ha ...

globalization
and
human migration Human migration involves the movement of people from one place to another with intentions of settling, permanently or temporarily, at a new location (geographic region). The movement often occurs over long distances and from one country to anoth ...

human migration
.


Terminology

The West as a geographical area is unclear and undefined. More often the ideology of a state's inhabitants 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 are considered to be distinct from the west and eastern by most scholars, since the Byzantine empire was primarily influenced by eastern practices due to its proximity and cultural similarity to Iran and Arabia, thus lacking features seen as "Western". The traditions of scholarship around
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, wikt:Πλάτων, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian philosopher during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thoug ...

Plato
,
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental quest ...

Aristotle
, and
Euclid Euclid (; grc-gre, Εὐκλείδης Euclid (; grc, Εὐκλείδης – ''Eukleídēs'', ; fl. 300 BC), sometimes called Euclid of Alexandria to distinguish him from Euclid of Megara, was a Greek mathematician, often referre ...

Euclid
had been forgotten in the West and were rediscovered by Italians during the Renaissance from scholars fleeing the collapse of the . Thus, the culture identified with East and West itself interchanges with time and place (from the ancient world to the modern). Geographically, the "West" of today would include Europe (especially the states that collectively form the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
, the United Kingdom, Norway, and Switzerland) together with extra-European territories belonging to the
English-speaking world Speakers of English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the Wo ...
, the
Hispanidad ''Hispanidad'' (, en, Hispanicity) is a term alluding to the group of people, countries, and communities that share the Spanish language Spanish () or Castilian (, ) is a Romance languages, Romance language that originated in the Iberian Pen ...

Hispanidad
, the
Lusosphere File:WIKITONGUES- Freddie speaking Portuguese.webm, A Lusophone speaking Portuguese, recorded in the United States. Lusophones ( pt, Lusófonos) are an ethnolinguistic group of peoples and nations that comprise an estimated 270 million people spre ...
; and the
Francophonie The Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF; sometimes shortened to the Francophonie, french: La Francophonie , but also called International Organisation of La Francophonie in English-language context) is an international organiza ...

Francophonie
in the wider context. Since the context is highly biased and context-dependent, there is no agreed definition of what the "West" is. It is difficult to determine which individuals fit into which category and the East–West contrast is sometimes criticized as relativistic and arbitrary. Globalism has spread Western ideas so widely that almost all modern cultures are, to some extent, influenced by aspects of Western culture. Stereotypical views of "the West" have been labeled Occidentalism, paralleling
Orientalism 300px, Eugène Delacroix, ''The Women of Algiers,'' 1834, the Louvre">Women_of_Algiers.html" ;"title="Eugène Delacroix, ''The Women of Algiers">Eugène Delacroix, ''The Women of Algiers,'' 1834, the Louvre, Paris In art history, literature an ...
—the term for the 19th-century stereotyped views of "the East". It has been disputed by some
philosophers A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, ...
whether Western culture can be considered a historically sound, unified body of thought. For example,
Kwame Anthony Appiah Kwame Akroma-Ampim Kusi Anthony Appiah ( ; born 8 May 1954) is a British-Ghanaian philosopher, cultural theorist, and novelist whose interests include political and moral theory, the philosophy of language and mind, and African intellectual hi ...

Kwame Anthony Appiah
points out that many of the fundamental influences on Western culture, such as those of
Greek philosophy Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, at a time when the inhabitants of ancient Greece were struggling to repel devastating invasions from the east. Greek philosophy continued throughout the Hellenistic period The Hellenistic p ...
are also shared by the
Islamic world The terms Muslim world and Islamic world commonly refer to the Islamic Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodne ...

Islamic world
to a certain extent. Appiah argues that the origin of the Western and European identity can be traced back to the Muslim invasion of Iberia where Christians would form a common Christian or European identity. Contemporary Latin chronicles from Spain described the victors in the
Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient northern European tribes, first mentioned by Graeco-Roman author ...
victory over the
Umayyads The Umayyad dynasty ( ar, بَنُو أُمَيَّةَ, Banū Umayya, Sons of Umayya) or Umayyads () were the ruling family of the Muslim caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under the leadership of an Islam ...
at the
Battle of Tours The Battle of Tours, also called the Battle of Poitiers and, by Arab sources, the Battle of the Highway of the Martyrs ( ar, معركة بلاط الشهداء, Ma'arakat Balāṭ ash-Shuhadā'), was fought on 10 October 732, and was an importa ...
as Europeans according to Appiah, denoting a shared sense of identity. As Europeans discovered the wider world, old concepts adapted. The area that had formerly been considered the
Orient The Orient is a term for the East, traditionally comprising anything that belongs to the Eastern world Eastern world, also known as the East or the Orient The Orient is a term for the East, traditionally comprising anything that belong ...
("the East") became the
Near East The Near East ( ar, الشرق الأدنى, al-Sharq al-'Adnā, he, המזרח הקרוב, arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik, tr, Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental ...
as the interests of the European powers interfered with
Meiji Japan The is an era An era is a span of time defined for the purposes of chronology or historiography, as in the regnal eras in the history of a given monarchy, a calendar era used for a given calendar, or the geological eras defined for the hi ...
and
Qing China The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford University Pre ...
for the first time in the 19th century. Thus the in 1894–1895 occurred in the Far East while the troubles surrounding the
decline of the Ottoman Empire In the late eighteenth century, the () faced numerous enemies. In response to these threats, the empire initiated a period of internal reform which came to be known as the , which succeeded in significantly strengthening the Ottoman central stat ...
simultaneously occurred in the Near East. The term Middle East in the mid-19th century included the territory east of the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
, but West of China—
Greater Persia File:Median_empire_map.png, 200px, Medes, Median Empire ( BC) at its greatest extent () Greater Iran or Greater Persia ( fa, ایران بزرگ, ) refers to the regions of West Asia, Central Asia, South Asia and Transcaucasia where Culture ...
and
Greater India Greater India, or the Indian cultural sphere, is an area composed of many countries and regions in South Asia, South and Southeast Asia that were historically influenced by Indian culture, which itself formed from the various distinct indigen ...
—is now used synonymously with "Near East" in most languages.


History

The earliest
civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a complex society A complex society is a concept that is shared by a range of disciplines including anthropology, archaeology, history and sociology to describe a stage of social formation. The concep ...

civilization
s which influenced the development of Western culture were those of
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the ...

Mesopotamia
; the area of the
Tigris–Euphrates river system The Tigris–Euphrates river system is a large river system in Western Asia which discharges into the Persian Gulf. Its principal rivers are the Tigris and Euphrates along with smaller tributaries. From their sources and upper courses in the ...
, largely corresponding to modern-day
Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq), is a country i ...

Iraq
, northeastern
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
, southeastern
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and ...

Turkey
and southwestern
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
: the
cradle of civilization A cradle of civilization is any location where civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratification, a form of government, and symbol A symbol is a ...
.Jacobus Bronowski; ''The Ascent of Man''; Angus & Robertson, 1973 Geoffrey Blainey; ''A Very Short History of the World''; Penguin Books, 2004
Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional char ...

Ancient Egypt
similarly had a strong influence on Western culture. The
Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllines'' ) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has cer ...

Greeks
contrasted themselves with both their Eastern neighbours (such as the
Trojans Trojan or Trojans may refer to: * Of or from the ancient city of Troy * Trojan language, the language of the historical Trojans Arts and entertainment Music * ''Les Troyens'' ('The Trojans'), an opera by Berlioz, premiered part 1863, part 1890 ...

Trojans
in ''
Iliad The ''Iliad'' (; grc, Ἰλιάς, Iliás, ; sometimes referred to as the ''Song of Ilion'' or ''Song of Ilium'') is an in , traditionally attributed to . Usually considered to have been written down circa the 8th century BC, the ''Iliad'' i ...

Iliad
'') as well as their Western neighbours (who they considered
barbarians A barbarian is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. They ...
). Concepts of what is ''the West'' arose out of legacies of the
Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican ...

Western Roman Empire
and the
Eastern Roman Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Eastern Roman Empire
. Later, ideas of the West were formed by the concepts of Latin Christendom and the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
. What is thought of as Western thought today originates primarily from
Greco-Roman The term "Greco-Roman world" (also "Greco-Roman culture" or ; spelled Graeco-Roman in the ), as understood by modern scholars and writers, refers to geographical regions and countries that culturally—and so historically—were directly and ...
and
Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* Proto-Germanic language, a reconstructed proto-language of ...

Germanic
influences, and includes the ideals of the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
,
the Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a Periodization, period in History of Europe, European history marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity and covering the 15th and 16th centuries, characterized by an e ...
, and the
Enlightenment Enlightenment, enlighten or enlightened may refer to: Age of Enlightenment * Age of Enlightenment, period in Western intellectual history from the late 17th to late 18th century, centered in France but also encompassing: ** Midlands Enlightenment ...
, as well as Christian culture.


Classical West

While the concept of a "West" did not exist until the emergence of the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
, the roots of the concept can be traced back to
Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era wa ...
. Since
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally re ...

Homer
ic literature (the
Trojan Wars In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical cosmology, nature ...
), through the accounts of the
Persian Wars The Greco-Persian Wars (also often called the Persian Wars) were a series of conflicts between the Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empi ...
of
Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllines'' ) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has cer ...

Greeks
against
Persia Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Tu ...

Persia
ns by
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), ge ...
, and right up until the time of
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title ...

Alexander the Great
, there was a
paradigm In science Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern science is a discovery as well as ...
of a contrast between Greeks and other civilizations. Greeks felt they were the most civilized and saw themselves (in the formulation of
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental quest ...

Aristotle
) as something between the advanced civilizations of the
Near East The Near East ( ar, الشرق الأدنى, al-Sharq al-'Adnā, he, המזרח הקרוב, arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik, tr, Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental ...
(who they viewed as soft and slavish) and the wild
barbarians A barbarian is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. They ...
of most of Europe to the west. During this period writers like Herodotus and
Xenophon Xenophon of Athens (; grc, Ξενοφῶν Xenophon of Athens (; grc-gre, Ξενοφῶν, , ''Xenophōn''; – 354 BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens mont ...

Xenophon
would highlight the importance of freedom in the Ancient Greek world, as opposed to the perceived slavery of the so-called barbaric world. Alexander's conquests led to the emergence of a
Hellenistic civilization The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the conquest of Ptolemaic ...
, representing a synthesis of Greek and
Near-East The Near East (Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Michael P. ...
ern cultures in the
Eastern Mediterranean Eastern Mediterranean is a loose definition of the eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current Chinese airline based in Shanghai *Eastern Air, former name of Zambia Skyways *Eastern Air Lines, a defunct Amer ...

Eastern Mediterranean
region.Green, Peter. ''Alexander to Actium: The Historical Evolution of the Hellenistic Age''. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990. The Near-Eastern civilizations of
Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional char ...

Ancient Egypt
and the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
, which came under Greek rule, became part of the Hellenistic world. The most important Hellenistic centre of learning was
Ptolemaic Egypt The Ptolemaic Kingdom (; grc-koi, Πτολεμαϊκὴ βασιλεία, Ptolemaïkḕ basileía) was an Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divi ...
, which attracted Greek,
Egyptian Egyptian describes something of, from, or related to Egypt. Egyptian or Egyptians may refer to: Nations and ethnic groups * Egyptians, a national group in North Africa ** Egyptian culture, a complex and stable culture with thousands of years of r ...
, Jewish,
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...

Persian
,
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3 ...
n and even
Indian Indian or Indians refers to people or things related to India, or to the indigenous people of the Americas, or Aboriginal Australians until the 19th century. People South Asia * Indian people, people of Indian nationality, or people who come ...
scholars. Hellenistic science, philosophy,
architecture upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted), Plan of the second floor (attic storey) of the Hôtel de Brionne in Paris – 1734. Architecture (Latin ''archi ...

architecture
,
literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the definition has expan ...
and art later provided a foundation embraced and built upon by the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
as it swept up Europe and the
Mediterranean world The history of the Mediterranean region and of the cultures and people of the Mediterranean Basin is important for understanding the origin and development of the Mesopotamian, Ancient Egypt, Egyptian, Canaanites, Canaanite, Phoenician, History of ...
, including the Hellenistic world in its conquests in the 1st century BCE. Following the Roman conquest of the Hellenistic world, the concept of a "West" arose, as there was a cultural divide between the
Greek East and Latin West Greek East and Latin West are terms used to distinguish between the two parts of the Greco-Roman world Roman Theatre of Mérida, Spain. The term "Greco-Roman world" (also "Greco-Roman culture" or ; spelled Graeco-Roman in the Commonwealth), ...
. The Latin-speaking
Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican ...

Western Roman Empire
consisted of Western Europe and Northwest Africa, while the Greek-speaking
Eastern Roman Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Eastern Roman Empire
(later the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
) consisted of the
Balkans The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rathe ...

Balkans
,
Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of ...

Asia Minor
,
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning the and the of . It is bordered by the to , the () and to , the to the east, to , and to . In the northeast, the , which is the northern arm of the R ...

Egypt
and
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
. The "Greek" East was generally wealthier and more advanced than the "Latin" West. With the exception of
Italia Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Italian Peninsula, a peninsula delimited by the Alps and List of islands of Italy, several islands surrounding it, whose t ...

Italia
, the wealthiest provinces of the Roman Empire were in the East, particularly
Roman Egypt , conventional_long_name = Roman Egypt , common_name = Egypt , subdivision = Province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrativ ...

Roman Egypt
which was the wealthiest Roman province outside of Italia. Nevertheless, the Celts in the West created some significant literature in the ancient world whenever they were given the opportunity (an example being the poet
Caecilius Statius Statius Caecilius, also known as Caecilius Statius (; c. 220 BC – c. 166 BC), was a Roman comic poet. Life and work A contemporary and intimate friend of Ennius Quintus Ennius (; c. 239 – c. 169 BC) was a writer and poet who lived during the ...
), and they developed a large amount of scientific knowledge themselves (as seen in their
Coligny Calendar The Coligny calendar is a Gaulish Gaulish was an ancient Celtic language that was spoken in parts of Continental Europe Mainland or continental Europe is the contiguous continent of Europe, excluding its surrounding islands. It can a ...
). For about five hundred years, the Roman Empire maintained the
Greek East Greek East and Latin West are terms used to distinguish between the two parts of the Greco-Roman world Roman Theatre of Mérida, Spain. The term "Greco-Roman world" (also "Greco-Roman culture" or ; spelled Graeco-Roman in the Commonwealth), ...
and consolidated a Latin West, but an east–west division remained, reflected in many cultural norms of the two areas, including language. 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. From the time of Alexander the Great (the
Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the conquest of Ptolemaic ...
), Greek civilization came in contact with Jewish civilization. Christianity would eventually emerge from the
syncretism Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs and various schools of thought A school of thought, or intellectual tradition, is the perspective of a group of people who share common characteristics of opinion or outlook of a philosophy, Lis ...
of Hellenic culture,
Roman culture The culture of ancient Rome existed throughout the almost 1200-year history of the civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratification, a form of gover ...
, and Second Temple Judaism, gradually spreading across the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
and eclipsing its antecedents and influences. The rise of Christianity reshaped much of the Greco-Roman tradition and culture; the Christianised culture would be the basis for the development of Western civilization after the fall of Rome (which resulted from increasing pressure from barbarians outside Roman culture). Roman culture also mixed with Celts, Celtic,
Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* Proto-Germanic language, a reconstructed proto-language of ...

Germanic
, and Slavic peoples, Slavic cultures, which slowly became integrated into Western culture: starting mainly with their acceptance of Christianity.


Medieval West

The Medieval West referred specifically to the Catholic "Latin" West, also called "Frankish" during Charlemagne's reign, in contrast to the Orthodox East, where Greek remained the language of the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
. 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 center of a new West. Europe fell into political anarchy, with many warring kingdoms and principalities. Under the Frankish kings, it eventually, and partially, reunified, and the anarchy evolved into feudalism. Much of the basis of the post-Roman cultural world had been set before the fall of the
Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican ...

Western Roman Empire
, mainly through the integration and reshaping of Roman ideas through Christian thought. The Greek and Roman Religion in ancient Rome, paganism gradually was replaced by Christianity, first with its legalisation with the Edict of Milan and then the Edict of Thessalonica which made it the State church of the Roman Empire. Roman Catholic Christianity, served as a unifying force in Christian parts of Europe, and in some respects replaced or competed with the secular authorities. The Jewish Christian tradition out of which it had emerged was all but extinguished, and antisemitism became increasingly entrenched or even integral to Christendom. Much of art and literature, law, education, and politics were preserved in the teachings of the Church. The Eastern Orthodox Church founded many cathedrals, universities, Monastery, monasteries and Seminary, seminaries, some of which continue to exist today. After the fall of the Roman Empire, many of the classical Greek texts were translated into Arabic and preserved in the medieval Islamic world. The Transmission of the Greek Classics, Greek classics along with Science in the medieval Islamic world, Arabic science,
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...
and technology were Islamic world contributions to Medieval Europe, transmitted to Western Europe and Latin translations of the 12th century, translated into Latin, sparking the
Renaissance of the 12th century The Renaissance of the 12th century was a period of many changes at the outset of the High Middle Ages The High Middle Ages, or High Medieval Period, was the period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full sto ...
and 13th century.George Sarton: ''A Guide to the History of Science''
Waltham Mass. U.S.A. 1952
Burnett, Charles. "The Coherence of the Arabic-Latin Translation Program in Toledo in the Twelfth Century," ''Science in Context'', 14 (2001): 249–288.
Medieval Christianity Christianity in the Middle Ages covers the history of Christianity The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion, Christian countries, and the Church with its various denominations, from the 1st century to the present. ...
is credited with creating the first modern universities. The Catholic Church established a hospital system in Medieval Europe that vastly improved upon the Roman ''valetudinaria'' and Greek healing temples. These hospitals were established to cater to "particular social groups marginalized by poverty, sickness, and age," according to the historian of hospitals, Guenter Risse. Christianity played a role in ending practices common among pagan societies, such as human sacrifice, slavery, infanticide and polygamy. Francisco de Vitoria, a disciple of Thomas Aquinas and a Catholic thinker who studied the issue regarding the human rights of colonized natives, is recognized by the United Nations as a father of international law, and now also by historians of economics and democracy as a leading light for the West's democracy and rapid economic development. Joseph Schumpeter, an economist of the twentieth century, referring to the Scholasticism, Scholastics, wrote, "it is they who come nearer than does any other group to having been the 'founders' of scientific economics." In a broader sense, the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
, with its fertile encounter between Greek philosophical reasoning and
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
ine monotheism was not confined to the West but also stretched into the old East. The philosophy and science of Classical Greece were largely forgotten in Europe after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, other than in isolated monastic enclaves (notably in Ireland, which had become Christian but was never conquered by Rome). The learning of Classical Antiquity was better preserved in the Byzantine
Eastern Roman Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Eastern Roman Empire
. Justinian's Corpus Juris Civilis Roman civil law code was created in the East in his capital of Constantinople, and that city maintained trade and intermittent political control over outposts such as Venice in the West for centuries. Classical Greek learning was also subsumed, preserved, and elaborated in the rising Eastern world, which gradually supplanted Roman-Byzantine control as a dominant cultural-political force. Thus, much of the learning of classical antiquity was slowly reintroduced to European civilization in the centuries following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. The rediscovery of the Roman law, 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. In the Catholic or Franks, Frankish west,
Roman law Roman law is the law, legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of jurisprudence, from the Twelve Tables (c. 449 BC), to the ''Corpus Juris Civilis'' (AD 529) ordered by Eastern Roman emperor J ...
became the foundation on which all legal concepts and systems were based. Its influence is found in all Western legal systems, although in different manners and to different extents. The study of canon law, the legal system of the Catholic Church, fused with that of Roman law to form the basis of the refounding of Western legal scholarship. During the Reformation and Enlightenment, the ideas of civil rights, social equality, equality before the law, procedural justice, and democracy as the ideal form of society began to be institutionalized as principles forming the basis of modern Western culture, particularly in Protestant regions. 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.Grant ''God and Reason'' p. 9 This period is commonly referred to as the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
. In the following century, this process was further enhanced by an exodus of Greek Christian priests and Greek scholars in the Renaissance, scholars to Italian cities such as Venice after the end of the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
with the fall of Constantinople. From Late Antiquity, through the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
, and onwards, while Eastern Europe was shaped by the Eastern Orthodox Church, Southern and Central Europe were increasingly stabilized by the Catholic Church which, as Roman imperial governance faded from view, was the only consistent force in Western Europe. In 1054 came the East–West Schism, Great Schism that, following the
Greek East and Latin West Greek East and Latin West are terms used to distinguish between the two parts of the Greco-Roman world Roman Theatre of Mérida, Spain. The term "Greco-Roman world" (also "Greco-Roman culture" or ; spelled Graeco-Roman in the Commonwealth), ...
divide, separated Europe into religious and cultural regions present to this day. Until the Age of Enlightenment,
Christian culture Christian culture generally includes all the cultural practiceCultural practice is the manifestation of a culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societ ...
took over as the predominant force in Western civilization, guiding the course of philosophy, art, and science for many years. Movements in art and philosophy, such as the Humanism, Humanist movement of the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
and the Scholasticism, Scholastic movement of the High Middle Ages, were motivated by a drive to connect Catholicism with Greek and Arab thought imported by Christian pilgrims. However, due to the division in Western Christianity caused by the Protestant Reformation and the Enlightenment, religious influence—especially the temporal power of the Pope—began to wane. 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 Imperialism, imperialists from the 17th century to the early 20th century. During the Great Divergence, a term coined by Samuel P. Huntington, Samuel Huntington the Western world overcame pre-modern growth constraints and emerged during the 19th century as the most powerful and wealthy world
civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a complex society A complex society is a concept that is shared by a range of disciplines including anthropology, archaeology, history and sociology to describe a stage of social formation. The concep ...

civilization
of the time, eclipsing Qing dynasty, Qing China, Mughal Empire, Mughal India, Tokugawa shogunate, Tokugawa Japan, and the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
. The process was accompanied and reinforced by the Age of Discovery and continued into the modern period. Scholars have proposed a wide variety of theories to explain why the Great Divergence happened, including lack of government intervention, geography, colonialism, and customary traditions.


Early modern era

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. The Age of Discovery faded into the
Age of Enlightenment The Age of Enlightenment (also known as the Age of Reason or simply the Enlightenment); ger, Aufklärung, "Enlightenment"; it, L'Illuminismo, "Enlightenment"; pl, Oświecenie , "Enlightenment"; pt, Iluminismo, "Enlightenment"; es, link= ...
of the 18th century, during which cultural and intellectual forces in European society emphasized reason, analysis, and individualism rather than traditional lines of authority. It challenged the authority of institutions that were deeply rooted in society, such as the Catholic Church; there was much talk of ways to reform society with toleration, science and skepticism. Philosophers of the Enlightenment included Francis Bacon, René Descartes, John Locke, Baruch Spinoza, Voltaire (1694–1778), David Hume, and Immanuel Kant. influenced society by publishing widely read works. Upon learning about enlightened views, some rulers met with intellectuals and tried to apply their reforms, such as allowing for toleration, or accepting multiple religions, in what became known as enlightened absolutism. New ideas and beliefs spread around Europe and were fostered by an increase in literacy due to a departure from solely religious texts. Publications include ''Encyclopédie'' (1751–72) that was edited by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert. The ''Dictionnaire philosophique'' (Philosophical Dictionary, 1764) and ''Letters on the English'' (1733) written by Voltaire spread the ideals of the Enlightenment. Coinciding with the Age of Enlightenment was the
scientific revolution The Scientific Revolution was a series of events that marked the emergence of modern science during the early modern period, when developments in History of mathematics#Mathematics during the Scientific Revolution, mathematics, History of phys ...

scientific revolution
, spearheaded by Newton. This included the emergence of modern science, during which developments in History of mathematics#Mathematics during the Scientific Revolution, mathematics, History of physics#Scientific Revolution, physics, History of astronomy#Renaissance Period, astronomy, History of biology#Renaissance and early modern developments, biology (including History of anatomy, human anatomy) and History of chemistry#17th and 18th centuries: Early chemistry, chemistry transformed views of society and nature.Galileo Galilei, ''Two New Sciences'', trans. Stillman Drake, (Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Pr., 1974), pp. 217, 225, 296–97.Marshall Clagett, ''The Science of Mechanics in the Middle Ages,'' (Madison, Univ. of Wisconsin Pr., 1961), pp. 218–19, 252–55, 346, 409–16, 547, 576–78, 673–82; Anneliese Maier, "Galileo and the Scholastic Theory of Impetus," pp. 103–23 in ''On the Threshold of Exact Science: Selected Writings of Anneliese Maier on Late Medieval Natural Philosophy,'' (Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Pr., 1982).Hannam, p. 342E. Grant, ''The Foundations of Modern Science in the Middle Ages: Their Religious, Institutional, and Intellectual Contexts'', (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Pr., 1996), pp. 29–30, 42–47. While its dates are disputed, the publication in 1543 of Nicolaus Copernicus's ''De revolutionibus orbium coelestium'' (''On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres'') is often cited as marking the beginning of the scientific revolution, and its completion is attributed to the "grand synthesis" of Newton's 1687 ''Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, Principia''.


Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This included going from hand production methods to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, improved efficiency of water wheel, water power, the increasing use of steam power, and the development of machine tools. These transitions began in Great Britain and spread to Western Europe and North America within a few decades. The Industrial Revolution marks a major turning point in history; almost every aspect of daily life was influenced in some way. In particular, average income and population began to exhibit unprecedented sustained growth. Some economists say that the major impact of the Industrial Revolution was that the standard of living for the general population began to increase consistently for the first time in history, although others have said that it did not begin to meaningfully improve until the late 19th and 20th centuries. The precise start and end of the Industrial Revolution is still debated among historians, as is the pace of economic and social changes.Eric Hobsbawm, ''The Age of Revolution: Europe 1789–1848'', Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd., p. 27 GDP per capita was broadly stable before the Industrial Revolution and the emergence of the modern capitalism, capitalist economy, while the Industrial Revolution began an era of per-capita economic growth in capitalist economies. Economic historians are in agreement that the onset of the Industrial Revolution is the most important event in the history of humanity since the domestication of animals, plants and fire. The First Industrial Revolution evolved into the Second Industrial Revolution in the transition years between 1840 and 1870, when technological and economic progress continued with the increasing adoption of steam transport (steam-powered railways, boats, and ships), the large-scale manufacture of machine tools and the increasing use of machinery in steam-powered factories. No name is given to the transition years. The "Transportation Revolution" began with improved roads in the late 18th century.. Reprinted by McGraw-Hill, New York and London, 1926 (); and by Lindsay Publications, Inc., Bradley, Illinois, ().


After the Industrial Revolution

Tendencies that have come to define modern Western societies include the concept of political pluralism,
individualism Individualism is the Ethics, moral stance, political philosophy, ideology and social outlook that emphasizes the intrinsic worth of the individual. Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and to value independence and self- ...
, prominent
subcultures A subculture is a group of people within a culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, ...
or
counterculture A counterculture is a culture whose values and norms of behavior differ substantially from those of mainstream society, sometimes diametrically opposed to mainstream cultural mores.Eric Donald Hirsch. ''The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy''. Houg ...
s (such as
New Age New Age is a range of spiritual or religious Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religi ...
movements) and increasing cultural
syncretism Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs and various schools of thought A school of thought, or intellectual tradition, is the perspective of a group of people who share common characteristics of opinion or outlook of a philosophy, Lis ...
resulting from
globalization Globalization, or globalisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which ha ...

globalization
and
human migration Human migration involves the movement of people from one place to another with intentions of settling, permanently or temporarily, at a new location (geographic region). The movement often occurs over long distances and from one country to anoth ...

human migration
. Western culture has been heavily influenced by the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
, the Ages of Age of Exploration, Discovery and
Enlightenment Enlightenment, enlighten or enlightened may refer to: Age of Enlightenment * Age of Enlightenment, period in Western intellectual history from the late 17th to late 18th century, centered in France but also encompassing: ** Midlands Enlightenment ...
and the Industrial Revolution, Industrial and Scientific Revolutions. In the 20th century, Post-Christianity, Christianity declined in influence in many Western countries, mostly in the European Union where some member states have experienced falling church attendance and membership in recent years, and also elsewhere. Secularism (separating religion from politics and science) increased. Christianity remains the dominant religion in the Western world, where 70% are Christians. The West went through a series of great cultural and social changes between 1945 and 1980. The emergent mass media (film, radio, television and recorded music) created a global culture that could ignore national frontiers. Literacy became almost universal, encouraging the growth of books, magazines and newspapers. The influence of cinema and radio remained, while televisions became near essentials in every home. By the mid-20th century, Western culture was exported worldwide, and the development and growth of international transport and telecommunication (such as Transatlantic telegraph cable, transatlantic cable and the radiotelephone) played a decisive role in modern
globalization Globalization, or globalisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which ha ...

globalization
. The West has contributed a great many technological, political, philosophical, artistic and religious aspects to modern international culture: having been a crucible of Catholicism,
Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an , based on the and of . It is the , with about 2.5 billion followers. Its adherents, known as , make up a majority of the population in , and believe that is the , whose comin ...
, democracy, industrialisation; the first major civilisation to seek to Abolitionism, abolish slavery during the 19th century, the first to Women's suffrage, enfranchise women (beginning in Australasia at the end of the 19th century) and the first to put to use such technologies as steam power, steam, electric power, electric and nuclear power. The West invented cinema, television, the personal computer and the Internet; developed sports such as soccer, cricket, golf, tennis, Rugby football, rugby, basketball, and volleyball; and transported humans to an astronomical object for the first time with the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon Landing.


Arts and humanities

What is distinctive of European art is that it comments on so many levels-religious, humanistic, satirical, metaphysical, and the purely physical. 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. European art pays deep tribute to human suffering. 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.


Music

In music, Catholic monks developed the first forms of modern Western musical notation to standardize liturgy throughout the worldwide Church,Hall, p. 100. 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 Baroque style, which encompassed music, art, and architecture, was particularly encouraged by the post-Reformation Catholic Church as such forms offered a means of religious expression that was stirring and emotional, intended to stimulate religious fervor.Murray, p. 45. The symphony, concerto, sonata, opera, and oratorio have their origins in Italy. Many musical instruments developed in the West have come to see widespread use all over the world; among them are the violin, piano, pipe organ, saxophone, trombone, clarinet, accordion, and the theremin. In turn, it has been claimed that some European instruments have roots in earlier Eastern instruments that were Islamic world contributions to Medieval Europe, adopted from the medieval Islamic world. The solo piano, symphony orchestra, and the string quartet are also significant musical innovations of the West. File:Bernardo Strozzi - Claudio Monteverdi (c.1630).jpg, Claudio Monteverdi, 1567–1643 File:Vivaldi.jpg, Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, 1678–1741 File:Georg Friedrich Händel.jpg, George Frideric Handel, 1685-1759 File:Bach.jpg, Johann Sebastian Bach, 1685-1750 File:Joseph Haydn.jpg, Franz Joseph Haydn, 1732-1809 File:Wolfgang-amadeus-mozart 1.jpg, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1756–1791 File:Beethoven.jpg, Ludwig van Beethoven, 1770–1827 File:Chopin, by Wodzinska.JPG, Frédéric François Chopin, 1810-1849 File:Porträt des Komponisten Pjotr I. Tschaikowski (1840-1893).jpg, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, 1840–1893


Painting and photography

Jan van Eyck, among other renaissance painters, made great advances in oil painting, and perspective (graphical), perspective drawings and paintings had their earliest practitioners in Florence. In art, the Celtic knot is a very distinctive Western repeated motif. Depictions of the nude human male and female in photography, painting, and sculpture are frequently considered to have special artistic merit. Realistic portraiture is especially valued. Photography and the motion picture as both a technology and basis for entirely new art forms were also developed in the West. File:Cubiculum (bedroom) from the Villa of P. Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale MET DP170950.jpg, Restoration of a fresco from an Ancient Roman villa bedroom, circa 50-40 BC, dimensions of the room: 265.4 x 334 x 583.9 cm, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City) File:Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci, from C2RMF retouched.jpg, ''Mona Lisa'', by Leonardo da Vinci, circa 1503–1506, perhaps continuing until circa 1517, oil on poplar panel, 77 cm × 53 cm, Louvre, (Paris) File:Las Meninas, by Diego Velázquez, from Prado in Google Earth.jpg, ''Las Meninas'', by Diego Velázquez, 1656, oil on canvas, 318 cm × 276 cm, Museo del Prado, El Prado (Madrid) File:Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Le Moulin de la Galette.jpg, ''Bal du moulin de la Galette, Dance at Le moulin de la Galette'', by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1876, oil on canvas, height: 131 cm, Musée d'Orsay (Paris) File:Atget Intérieur d'un ouvrier rue de Romainville (cropped).jpg, Photo of the interior of the apartment of Eugène Atget, taken in 1910 in Paris


Dance and performing arts

The ballet is a distinctively Western form of performance dance. The ballroom dance is an important Western variety of dance for the elite. The polka, the square dance, the flamenco, and the Irish step dance are very well known Western forms of folk dance. Greek theater, Greek and Theatre of ancient Rome, Roman theatre are considered the antecedents of modern theatre, and forms such as medieval theatre, Passion Plays, morality plays, and commedia dell'arte are considered highly influential. Elizabethan theater, Elizabethan theatre, with playwrights including William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, and Ben Jonson, is considered one of the most formative and important eras for modern drama. The soap opera, a popular culture dramatic form, originated in the United States first on radio in the 1930s, then a couple of decades later on television. The music video was also developed in the West in the middle of the 20th century. Musical theatre was developed in the West in the 19th and 20th Centuries, from music hall, comic opera, and Vaudeville; with significant contributions from the Jewish diaspora, African-American culture, African-Americans, and other marginalized peoples.


Literature

While epic literary works in verse such as the Mahabharata and Homer's
Iliad The ''Iliad'' (; grc, Ἰλιάς, Iliás, ; sometimes referred to as the ''Song of Ilion'' or ''Song of Ilium'') is an in , traditionally attributed to . Usually considered to have been written down circa the 8th century BC, the ''Iliad'' i ...

Iliad
are ancient and occurred worldwide, the prose novel as a distinct form of storytelling, with developed, consistent human characters and, typically, some connected overall plot (although both of these characteristics have sometimes been modified and played with in later times), was popularized by the West in the 17th and 18th centuries. Of course, extended prose fiction had existed much earlier; both novels of adventure and romance in the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic world and in Heian period, Heian Japan. Both Petronius' ''Satyricon'' (c. 60 CE) and the ''Tale of Genji'' by Murasaki Shikibu (c. 1000 CE) have been cited as the world's first major novel but they had a very limited long-term impact on literary writing beyond their own day until much more recent times. The novel, which made its appearance in the 18th century, is an essentially European creation. Chinese and Japanese literature contain some works that may be thought of as novels, but only the European novel is couched in terms of a personal analysis of personal dilemmas. As in its artistic tradition, European literature pays deep tribute to human suffering. Tragedy, from its ritually and mythologically inspired Greek origins to modern forms where struggle and downfall are often rooted in psychological or social, rather than mythical, motives, is also widely considered a specifically European creation and can be seen as a forerunner of some aspects of both the novel and of classical opera. The validity of reason was postulated in both Christian philosophy and the Greco-Roman classics. Christianity laid a stress on the inward aspects of actions and on motives, notions that were foreign to the ancient world. This subjectivity, which grew out of the Christian belief that man could achieve a personal union with God, resisted all challenges and made itself the fulcrum on which all literary exposition turned, including the 20th–21st century novels. Western literature encompasses literary traditions of Europe, as well as Northern America and Latin America.


Architecture

Important Western architectural motifs include the Doric order, Doric, Corinthian order, Corinthian, and Ionic order, Ionic columns, and the Romanesque architecture, Romanesque, Gothic architecture, Gothic, Baroque, and Victorian architecture, Victorian styles are still widely recognised, and used even today, in the West. Much of Western architecture emphasizes repetition of simple motifs, straight lines and expansive, undecorated planes. A modern ubiquitous architectural form that emphasizes this characteristic is the skyscraper, their modern equivalent first developed in New York and Chicago. The predecessor of the skyscraper can be found in the Towers of Bologna, medieval towers erected in Bologna. File:Parthenon-2008 entzerrt.jpg, The Parthenon under restoration in 2008, the most iconic Classical architecture, Classical building, built from 447 BC to 432 BC, located in Athens File:Sainte Chapelle Interior Stained Glass.jpg, Stained glass windows of the ''Sainte-Chapelle'' in Paris, completed in 1248, mostly constructed between 1194 and 1220 File:Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.jpg, Saint Basil's Cathedral, built from 1555 to 1561, in the Red Square of Moscow, with its extraordinary onion dome, onion-shaped domes, painted in bright colors File:Paris Opera full frontal architecture, May 2009.jpg, The Palais Garnier in Paris, built between 1861 and 1875, a Beaux-Arts architecture, Beaux-Arts masterpiece File:Borgundstavkirke.jpg, Borgund Stave Church, built between 1180 and 1250 AD, displays a common palisade Church (building), church building constructions once common in north-western Europe. Similar constructions are known from buildings from the Viking Age.


Cuisine

Western foodways were, until recently, considered to have their roots in the ancient Roman cuisine, cuisines of Classical Rome and Greece, but the influence of Arab and Near Eastern cuisine on the West has become a topic of research in recent decades. The Crusaders, known mostly for fighting over holy land, settled in the Levant and acclimated to the local culture and cuisine. Fulcher of Chartres said "For we who were occidentals have now become orientals." These cultural experiences, carried back to France by notables like Eleanor of Aquitaine influenced Western European foodways. Many Oriental ingredients were relatively new to the Western lands. Sugar, almonds, pistachios, rosewater, and dried citrus fruits were all novelties to the Crusaders who encountered them in Saracen lands. Pepper, ginger and cinnamon were the most widely used spices of the European courts and noble households. By the end of the middle ages cloves, nutmeg, mastic, galingale and other imported spices had become part of the Western cuisine. Saracen influence can be seen in medieval cookbooks. Some recipes retain their Arabic names in Italian translations of the ''Liber de Coquina''. Known as ''bruet Sarassinois'' in the cuisine of North France, the concept of sweet and sour sauce is attested to in Greek tradition when Anthimus (physician), Anthimus finishes his stew with vinegar and honey. Saracens combined sweet ingredients like date-juice and honey with pomegranate, lemons and citrus juices, or other sour ingredients. The technique of browning pieces of meat and simmering in liquid with vegetables is used in many recipes from the Kitab al-Tabikh, Baghdad cookery book. The same technique appears in the late-13th century ''Viandier''. Fried pieces of beef simmered in wine with sugar and cloves was called ''bruet of Sarcynesse'' in English.


Scientific and technological inventions and discoveries

A notable feature of Western culture is its strong emphasis and focus on innovation and invention through science and technology, and its ability to generate new processes, materials and material artifacts with its roots dating back to the Ancient Greeks. The
scientific method The scientific method is an empirical Empirical evidence for a proposition is evidence, i.e. what supports or counters this proposition, that is constituted by or accessible to sense experience or experimental procedure. Empirical evidence ...

scientific method
as "a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses" was fashioned by the 17th-century Italian Galileo Galilei, with roots in the work of medieval scholars such as the 11th-century Physics in the medieval Islamic world, Iraqi physicist Ibn al-Haytham and the 13th-century English friar Roger Bacon. By the Will and testament, will of the Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel the Nobel Prize were established in 1895. The prizes in Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Literature, Literature, Nobel Peace Prize, Peace, Nobel Prize in Physics, Physics, and Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, Physiology or Medicine were first awarded in 1901. The percentage of ethnically European Nobel prize winners during the first and second halves of the 20th century were respectively 98 and 94 percent. A study by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) – Japan's equivalent of the Department of Trade and Industry (United Kingdom), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – concluded that 54% of the world's most important inventions were British. Of the rest, 25% were American and 5% Japanese. The West is credited with the development of the steam engine and adapting its use into factories, and for the generation of electric power. The electrical Electric motor, motor, Electrical generator, dynamo, transformer, electric light, and most of the familiar electrical appliances, were inventions of the West.Tom McInally, The Sixth Scottish University. The Scots Colleges Abroad: 1575 to 1799 (Brill, Leiden, 2012) p. 115 The Four-stroke cycle, Otto and the Diesel engine, Diesel internal combustion engines are products whose genesis and early development were in the West. Nuclear power stations are derived from the first atomic pile constructed in Chicago in 1942. Communication devices and systems including the Telegraphy, telegraph, the telephone, radio, television, Communications satellite, communications and Satellite navigation system, navigation satellites, mobile phone, and the Internet were all invented by Westerners.John F. Mitchell Biography
/ref>Who invented the cell phone?
/ref>
''The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco'', retrieved 15 July 2009.
The pencil, ballpoint pen, Cathode ray tube, liquid-crystal display, light-emitting diode, camera, photocopier, laser printer, ink jet printer, plasma display screen and world wide web were also invented in the West. Ubiquitous materials including aluminum, clear glass, synthetic rubber, synthetic diamond and the plastics polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride and polystyrene were discovered and developed or invented in the West. Iron and steel ships, bridges and skyscrapers first appeared in the West. Nitrogen fixation and petrochemicals were invented by Westerners. Most of the Chemical element, elements were discovered and named in the West, as well as the contemporary Bohr model, atomic theories to explain them. The transistor, integrated circuit, memory chip, first programming language and computer were all first seen in the West. The Longitude by chronometer, ship's chronometer, the screw propeller, the locomotive, bicycle, automobile, and airplane were all invented in the West. Glasses, Eyeglasses, the telescope, the microscope and electron microscope, all the varieties of chromatography, Protein sequencing, protein and DNA sequencing, computerized tomography, computerised tomography, nuclear magnetic resonance, x-rays, and light, ultraviolet and infrared spectroscopy, were all first developed and applied in Western laboratories, hospitals and factories. In medicine, the pure antibiotics were created in the West. The method of preventing Rh disease, the treatment of diabetes, and the germ theory of disease were discovered by Westerners. The eradication of smallpox, was led by a Westerner, Donald Henderson. Radiography, computed tomography, positron emission tomography and medical ultrasonography are important diagnostic tools developed in the West. Other important diagnostic tools of clinical chemistry, including the methods of spectrophotometry, electrophoresis and immunoassay, were first devised by Westerners. So were the stethoscope, the electrocardiograph, and the endoscope. Vitamins, hormonal contraception, hormones, insulin, beta blockers and ACE inhibitors, along with a host of other medically proven drugs, were first used to treat disease in the West. The double-blind study and evidence-based medicine are critical scientific techniques widely used in the West for medical purposes. In mathematics, calculus, statistics, mathematical logic, logic, Vector (geometric), vectors, tensors and complex analysis, group theory, abstract algebra and topology were developed by Westerners.Dodge, Y. (2006) ''The Oxford Dictionary of Statistical Terms'', OUP. In biology, evolution, chromosomes, DNA, genetics and the methods of molecular biology are creations of the West. In physics, the science of mechanics and quantum mechanics, theory of relativity, relativity, thermodynamics, and statistical mechanics were all developed by Westerners. The discoveries and inventions by Westerners in electromagnetism include Coulomb's law (1785), the first Battery (electricity), battery (1800), the unity of Electromagnetism, electricity and magnetism (1820), Biot–Savart law (1820), Ohm's Law (1827), and Maxwell's equations (1871). The atom, Atomic nucleus, nucleus, electron, neutron and proton were all unveiled by Westerners. The world's most widely adopted system of measurement, the International System of Units, derived from the metric system, was first developed in France and evolved through contributions from various Westerners. In business, economics, and finance, Double-entry bookkeeping system, double entry bookkeeping, credit cards, and the charge card were all first used in the West. Westerners are also known for their explorations of the globe and outer space. The first expedition to Magellan's circumnavigation, circumnavigate the Earth (1522) was by Westerners, as well as the first journey to the South Pole (1911), and the Apollo 11, first Moon landing (1969). The Mars Exploration Rovers, landing of robots on Mars (2004 and 2012) and on an NEAR Shoemaker, asteroid (2001), the ''Voyager 2'' explorations of the outer planets (Uranus in 1986 and Neptune in 1989), ''Voyager 1''s passage into interstellar space (2013), and ''New Horizons'' flyby of Pluto (2015) were significant recent Western achievements.


Media

The roots of modern-day Western mass media can be traced back to the late 15th century, when printing presses began to operate throughout wealthy European cities. The emergence of news media in the 17th century has to be seen in close connection with the spread of the printing press, from which the publishing Publishing, press derives its name. In the 16th century, a decrease in the preeminence of New Latin, Latin in its literary use, along with the impact of economic change, the discoveries arising from trade and travel, navigation to the New World, science and arts and the development of increasingly rapid communications through print led to a rising corpus of vernacular media content in European society. After the launch of the satellite Sputnik 1 by the Soviet Union in 1957, satellite transmission technology was dramatically realised, with the United States launching Telstar in 1962 linking live media broadcasts from the UK to the US. The first digital broadcast satellite (DBS) system began transmitting in US in 1975. Beginning in the 1990s, the Internet has contributed to a tremendous increase in the accessibility of Western media content. Departing from media offered in bundled content packages (magazines, CDs, News broadcasting, television and radio slots), the Internet has primarily offered unbundled content items (Digital journalism, articles, audio and video files).


Religion

The native religions of Europe were polytheism, polytheistic but not homogenous – however, they were similar insofar as they were predominantly Indo-European religion, Indo-European in origin. Religion in ancient Rome, Roman religion was similar to but not the same as Religion in ancient Greece, Hellenic religion – likewise for Germanic paganism, indigenous Germanic polytheism, Celtic polytheism and Slavic paganism, Slavic polytheism. Before this time many Europeans from the north, especially Scandinavians, remained polytheistic, though southern Europe was predominantly Christian from the 5th century onwards. Western culture at some level influenced by the Judeo-Christian and
Greco-Roman The term "Greco-Roman world" (also "Greco-Roman culture" or ; spelled Graeco-Roman in the ), as understood by modern scholars and writers, refers to geographical regions and countries that culturally—and so historically—were directly and ...
traditions. These cultures had a number of similarities, such as a common emphasis on the individual, but they also embody fundamentally conflicting worldviews. For example, in Judaism and Christianity, God is the ultimate authority, while Greco-Roman tradition considers the ultimate authority to be reason. Christian attempts to reconcile these frameworks were responsible for the preservation of Greek philosophy. Historically, Europe has been the center and cradle of Christian civilization. As in other areas, the Jewish diaspora and Judaism exist in the Western world. Religion has waned in Europe, where people who are agnostic or atheist make up about 18% of the European population today. In particular, over half of the populations of the Czech Republic (Religion in the Czech Republic, 79% of the population was agnostic, atheist or irreligious), the United Kingdom (Religion in the United Kingdom, 52%), Germany (Religion in Germany, 25–33%), France (30–35%)
Views on globalisation and faith
''. Ipsos MORI, 5 July 2011.
Catholicisme et protestantisme en France: Analyses sociologiques et données de l'Institut CSA pour La Croix
– Groupe CSA TMO for ''La Croix'', 2001
and the Netherlands (39–44%) are agnostic or atheist. However, per another survey by Pew Research Center from 2011, Christianity remains the dominant religion in the Western world where 70–84% are Christians, According to this survey, 76% of Europeans described themselves as Christians, and about 86% of the Americas' population identified themselves as Christians, (90% in Latin America and 77% in North America). 73% in Oceania self-identify as Christian, and 76% in South Africa are Christian. According to new polls about religiosity in the European Union in 2012 by Eurobarometer, Christianity is the largest religion in the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
, accounting for 72% of the EU population. The question asked was "Do you consider yourself to be...?" With a card showing: Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Other Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, and Non-believer/Agnostic. Space was given for Other (SPONTANEOUS) and DK. Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu did not reach the 1% threshold. Catholics are the largest Christians, Christian group, accounting for 48% of the EU citizens, while Protestants make up 12%, Eastern Orthodox Church, Eastern Orthodox make up 8% and other Christians make up 4%. Agnostic, Non-believers/Agnostics account for 16%, atheists account for 7%, and Muslims account for 2%. Throughout the Western world there are increasing numbers of people who seek to revive the indigenous religions of their European ancestors; such Reconstructionist Paganism, groups include Germanic Polytheistic Reconstructionism, Germanic, Roman polytheistic reconstructionism, Roman, Hellenic Polytheistic Reconstructionism, Hellenic, Celtic Polytheistic Reconstructionism, Celtic, Slavic Neopaganism, Slavic, and polytheistic reconstructionist movements. Likewise, Wicca,
New Age New Age is a range of spiritual or religious Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religi ...
spirituality and other Neopagan, neo-pagan belief systems enjoy notable minority support in Western states.


Sport

Since classical antiquity, sport has been an important facet of Western cultural expression. A wide range of sports was already established by the time of
Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era wa ...
and the military culture and the development of sports in Greece influenced one another considerably. Sports became such a prominent part of their culture that the Greeks created the Olympic Games, which in ancient times were held every four years in a small village in the Peloponnese, Peloponnesus called Olympia, Greece, Olympia. Baron Pierre de Coubertin, a Frenchman, instigated the modern revival of the Olympic movement. The first modern Olympic games were held at 1896 Summer Olympics, Athens in 1896. The Romans built immense structures such as the Roman amphitheatre, amphitheatres to house their festivals of sport. The Romans exhibited a passion for blood sports, such as the infamous Gladiatorial battles that pitted contestants against one another in a fight to the death. The Olympic Games revived many of the sports of Classical Antiquity—such as Greco-Roman wrestling, discus and javelin. The sport of bullfighting is a traditional spectacle of Spain, Portugal, southern France, and some Latin American countries. It traces its roots to prehistoric bull worship and animal sacrifice, sacrifice and is often linked to Roman Empire, Rome, where many human-versus-animal events were held. Bullfighting spread from Spain to its American colonies, and in the 19th century to France, where it developed into a distinctive form in its own right. Jousting and hunting were popular sports in the European
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
, and the aristocratic classes developed passions for leisure activities. A great number of popular global sports were first developed or codified in Europe. The modern game of golf originated in Scotland, where the first written record of golf is James II of Scotland, James II's banning of the game in 1457, as an unwelcome distraction to learning archery. The Industrial Revolution that began in Britain in the 18th Century brought increased leisure time, leading to more time for citizens to attend and follow spectator sports, greater participation in athletic activities, and increased accessibility. These trends continued with the advent of mass media and global communication. The bat and ball sport of cricket was first played in England during the 16th century and was exported around the globe via the British Empire. A number of popular modern sports were devised or codified in Britain during the 19th Century and obtained global prominence—these include ping pong, modern tennis, association football, netball and Rugby football, rugby. association football, Football remains hugely popular in Europe, but has grown from its origins to be known as the ''world game''. Similarly, sports such as cricket, rugby, and netball were exported around the world, particularly among countries in the Commonwealth of Nations, thus India and Australia are among the strongest cricketing states, while victory in the Rugby World Cup has been shared among New Zealand, Australia, England, and South Africa. Australian Rules Football, an Australian variation of football with similarities to Gaelic football and Rugby football, rugby, evolved in the British colony of Victoria in the mid-19th century. The United States also developed unique variations of English sports. English migrants took antecedents of baseball to America during the colonial period. The history of American football can be traced to early versions of rugby football and association football. Many games are known as "football" were being played at colleges and universities in the United States in the first half of the 19th century. American football resulted from several major divergences from rugby, most notably the rule changes instituted by Walter Camp, the "Father of American Football". Basketball was invented in 1891 by James Naismith, a Canadian physical education instructor working in Springfield, Massachusetts, in the United States. Volleyball was created in Holyoke, Massachusetts, a city directly north of Springfield, in 1895.


Themes and traditions

Western culture has developed many themes and traditions, the most significant of which are: * Greco-Roman classic letters, arts, architecture, philosophical and cultural tradition, which include the influence of preeminent authors and philosophers such as Socrates,
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, wikt:Πλάτων, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian philosopher during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thoug ...

Plato
,
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental quest ...

Aristotle
,
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally re ...

Homer
, Virgil, and Marcus Tullius Cicero, Cicero, as well as a long Greek mythology, mythologic tradition. * Christian ethical, philosophical, and Jewish mythology, mythological tradition, stemming largely from the Bible, Christian Bible, particularly the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
Gospels. * Monasteries, schools, libraries, books, book making, universities, teaching, education, and lecture halls. * A tradition of the importance of the rule of law. * Secular humanism,
rationalism In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, ...
and Enlightenment thought. This set the basis for a new critical attitude and open questioning of religion, favouring freethinking and questioning of the church as an authority, which resulted in open-minded and reformist ideals inside, such as liberation theology, which partly adopted these currents, and secular and political tendencies such as separation of church and state (sometimes termed ''laicism''), agnosticism and atheism. * Generalized usage of some form of the Latin alphabet, Latin or Greek alphabet, and derived forms, such as Cyrillic script, Cyrillic, used by those southern and eastern Slavic countries of Eastern Christianity, Christian Orthodox tradition, historically under the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
and later within the Russian czarist or the Soviet area of influence. Other variants of the Latin or Greek alphabets are found in the Gothic alphabet, Gothic and Coptic alphabets, which historically superseded older scripts, such as Runic, runes, and the Egyptian Demotic (Egyptian), Demotic and Hieroglyphic systems. * Natural law, human rights, constitutionalism, parliamentarism (or presidentialism) and formal liberal democracy in recent times—prior to the 19th century, most Western governments were still monarchies. * A large influence, in modern history, modern times, of many of the ideals and values developed and inherited from Romanticism. * An emphasis on, and use of, science as a means of understanding the natural world and humanity's place in it. * More pronounced use and application of innovation and scientific developments, as well as a more rational approach to scientific progress (what has been known as the
scientific method The scientific method is an empirical Empirical evidence for a proposition is evidence, i.e. what supports or counters this proposition, that is constituted by or accessible to sense experience or experimental procedure. Empirical evidence ...

scientific method
).


See also


Notes


References


Citations


Sources

* * Barzun, Jacques ''From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life 1500 to the Present'' HarperCollins (2000) . * Daly, Jonathan.
The Rise of Western Power: A Comparative History of Western Civilization
(London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2014). . * Daly, Jonathan.
Historians Debate the Rise of the West
(London and New York: Routledge, 2015). . * Jones, Prudence and Pennick, Nigel ''A History of Pagan Europe'' Barnes & Noble (1995) . * Merriman, John ''Modern Europe: From the Renaissance to the Present'' W. W. Norton (1996) . * Derry, T. K. and Williams, Trevor I. ''A Short History of Technology: From the Earliest Times to A.D. 1900'' Dover (1960) . * Eduardo Duran, Bonnie Dyran
Native American Postcolonial Psychology
' 1995 Albany: State University of New York Press * McClellan, James E. III and Dorn, Harold ''Science and Technology in World History'' Johns Hopkins University Press (1999) . * Stein, Ralph ''The Great Inventions'' Playboy Press (1976) . * Asimov, Isaac ''Asimov's Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology: The Lives & Achievements of 1510 Great Scientists from Ancient Times to the Present'' Revised second edition, Doubleday (1982) . * Ludwig von Pastor, Pastor, Ludwig von, ''History of the Popes from the Close of the Middle Ages; Drawn from the Vatican Secret Archives, Secret Archives of the Vatican and other original sources'', 40 vols. St. Louis, B. Herder (1898ff.) * James Joseph Walsh, Walsh, James Joseph, ''The Popes and Science; the History of the Papal Relations to Science During the Middle Ages and Down to Our Own Time'', Fordam University Press, 1908, reprinted 2003, Kessinger Publishing. Reviews
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* Ankerl, Guy (2000). C''oexisting Civilizations: Arabo-Muslim, Bharati, Chinese, and Western''. INUPRESS, Geneva, 119–244. . * Atle Hesmyr (2013). ''Civilization, Oikos, and Progress'' * Victor Davis Hanson, Hanson, Victor Davis; Heath, John (2001). ''Who Killed Homer: The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom'', Encounter Books. * Stearns, P.N. (2003). ''Western Civilization in World History'', Routledge, New York. * Bruce Thornton, Thornton, Bruce (2002). ''Greek Ways: How the Greeks Created Western Civilization'', Encounter Books.


Further reading

* Barzun, Jacques. iarchive:fromdawntodecade00barz 0, ''From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life : 1500 to the Present''. New York: HarperCollins, 2001. * Hesmyr, Atle Kultorp: ''Civilization; Its Economic Basis, Historical Lessons and Future Prospects'' (Telemark: Nisus Publications, 2020).


External links


An overview of the Western Civilization
{{Authority control Western culture, Cultural anthropology Sociological terminology